Jane's Blog

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Author: weijie.sun (page 1 of 3)

Impressive Improvement Practice Plan

It was quite hard for me to choose an aspect of playing the bass clarinet to work on, as there was a lot of room for improvement for all of the aspects like articulation, finger dexterity, rhythm, etc. However, while playing warm-ups like running fifths, I’ve noticed that my tongue gets really tired and clumsy easily, so I decided to work on my articulation.

I chose a pretty easy piece, consisting of a repetitive eighth note – sixteenth note – sixteenth note rhythm. Because this piece is so straightforward regarding rhythm and so on, it’ll be easier for me to focus on the aspect of articulation. I started off being able to play the piece correctly, but at a pretty slow pace, and throughout the month I hope to increase the speed in which I’m able to play it.

I chose multiple warm-up pieces that are similar in style to the piece I’m being tested on. Some of these pieces were designed for clarinet players (and not bass clarinet players), so I’ll be making adjustments to the pieces to fit my instrument and current level of playing. I will incorporate any or all of these pieces into my normal practice routine, meaning I’ll be practicing these pieces at least a few times each week. I will use a metronome to keep time, and as my skill level improves, the speed at which I’ll play will increase too.

Band Reflection: Aug. 13 to Aug. 31

The first three weeks of class were pretty much exactly how I imagined it. It took a few lessons for me to get used to playing the bass clarinet again. My jaws became tired really easily when I played repeated, fast rhythms, and my fingers don’t move as fast as it did at the end of last year, but I think a few more weeks will be enough for me to get used to these aspects of playing my instrument. Something I really want to work on this year is probably a better sense of rhythm when there’s a syncopated rhythm or a 7/8 time signature. I’m pretty prepared during class and always have my music, because I have a studyhall now and so I have a lot of time to print music out. I’ve started bringing my entire pencil case in the band room too. I really like this year’s band, and I’m glad we have another tuba and more percussionists, but it’s kind of sad that we only have one oboe now :(. Overall, I have a pretty good feeling about band this year!

PS: Mr. Long’s new glasses are very trendy and hip

 

Rain

It was November 13th, 1994. It was an especially gloomy afternoon. It were as if someone had put a black and white filter in the skies and on the streets. The sky was completely covered with clouds and not a ray of sunshine fell through. Rain was falling nonstop since that morning. The street itself was small and quiet, with the grey streets that seriously lacked noise, the small trees that appeared every ten meters down the road, and the month-old posters stuck to the walls and windows of shops on every corner. A few blocks down, there were rows and rows of two-story houses that had parts of paint peeling off of the walls. And just next to that was the public high school that’s been there since the 70s that everyone in the neighborhood went to.
She casually strolled down the road, stopping every now and then to admire the streets. There were less than a dozen people on the road, all rushing to find cover from the pouring rain. She didn’t understand that, though; she didn’t mind rain at all. Instead, she found it quite pleasant. The smooth, somewhat cold raindrops rolled down her skin, leaving a watery residue. She could hear the clattering as the rain fell on the ground, roof, and plants. And the smell. It’d be impossible to describe it. She believed petrichor was the word made just for the purpose of describing the scent. That, combined with the smell of the coffee shop a few meters away was just heavenly.
This was her hometown, where she lived for almost 17 years. She made memories here that were irreplaceable. She loved this place, and genuinely thought she would’ve lived here for the rest of her life. She truly missed her hometown and hoped she’d be able to stay for another couple of days, just so she’d be able to explore this place further and catch up with family and old friends. But, knowing that she would have to leave very soon, she turned around and left the neighborhood behind.

Wondering about Wanderlust

During the magazine project, I learned a lot of things about myself and about others. I’m especially proud of my ability to put together a magazine, with no prior experience. It was pretty hectic and I had to put together 6 different documents. Additionally, some of my groupmates didn’t have the design layout we agreed on, so that had to be added as well. I think I could’ve planned my personal piece better, as the design wasn’t as good as it could’ve been. It was a full three pages of text (with only one picture), and after that, three pages of the infographic and map. I could’ve planned it so the map or infographic went first so it won’t look as busy. The lesson I learned is that not all people work at the same pace as others, so to make sure everyone gets their work done in time, we should have daily check-in sessions so we know where everyone is. Overall, this was a very rewarding experience and I discovered numerous things about myself, about my groupmates, and about working in a team.

The Mysterious, Magnificent, and Marvelous Truth

warning: spoiler alert!

The thing about the truth, however unwanted it is, is that it can never be hidden for too long. The truth will always rise to the top eventually, and when it does, it can change a person significantly. If only one of the protagonists of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by the talented Agatha Christie, knew this very important theme beforehand…

Hercule Poirot, the esteemed detective, introduces this theme by saying, “‘Understand this, I mean to arrive at the truth. The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to the seeker after it’” (Christie 145). Poirot was talking to a few of the witnesses and suspects involved in the case of the murder of Roger Ackroyd. One of the witnesses, Flora Ackroyd, Roger’s niece, said that she did not like where all the evidence was pointing, as the suspect was someone very close to her. She hinted at wanting Poirot to look in another direction; however, he was very persistent on finding the truth, and nothing but the truth. This a respectable action, as he cared about finding out what actually happened more than he wanted to have a bias to protect someone. Not many of us are able to do that. Using this very well-put together quote, Hercule Poirot introduced us to the theme that the truth can never be hidden for too long.

Dr. Sheppard, one of the protagonists of this novel, only realized this theme when it was too late, after he killed Ackroyd: “A strange end to my manuscript. I meant it to be published some day as the history of one of Poirot’s failures! Odd, how things pan out” (283). All along, he believed that his murder of Roger Ackroyd was brilliant (which it was) and smartly planned out. He played along as a witness and thought no one would ever guess it was him, as he was a good friend of Roger Ackroyd, and he had no direct motive. However, he did not realize that the truth would always rise above, sooner or later, especially with the help of Hercule Poirot. After this, Sheppard learns that it was useless to try to conceal things, as the truth will be figured out eventually. It’s safe to assume that he learned a valuable lesson after this, although it would be of no use, as he ended his life soon after.

The theme of this story has applied to me, multiple times. There have been times when I’ve lied, or done something morally wrong. I thought I would get away with it, but the truth has always found its way to the top. There was one significant time about 7 years ago when my friend and I ganged up against a girl. We forced her to give us her stuff, like her toys or jewelry. She did give us her prized possessions, and we took it without a second thought. I thought I had gotten away with it; however, my mom figured out, and even though I kept denying it, she knew that I did bully the girl. Because of that one time, I’ve learned that the truth will always be known eventually, and now, I try my best not to do many things that I know I’ll regret.

Agatha Christie shows us this theme, and how this affects the character, repeatedly, through the suspenseful and chilling story of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. ‘The truth will always be uncovered in the end’ is a concept that many of us should remember to live by, before we do anything irrational, from saying something somewhat mean to murder.

Surprising Styles

For this multimedia post, I decided to compare and contrast page 72 of a graphic novel called Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, and page 37 of the informational article called Iran Through the Looking Glass.

Although they are both talking about the American Hostage Crisis, Persepolis is much more biased, and in a very angry and abhorring tone, while the informational article is more objective. The two pieces both have simple sentences, but because Persepolis is a graphic novel, it cannot have sentences that are too long, while Iran Through the Looking Glass has longer sentences with sentence structures of both simple and compound. The word choice of Persepolis is quite casual, and it includes some swears and prejudiced language. Iran Through the Looking Glass has a neutral diction — it does not include any really difficult vocabulary, but still is written in a way so that we will understand clearly what they’re trying to say.

It was interesting to see a part of the Iranian Revolution in two different ways: one that is biased opinionated, and another that plainly states the facts. After comparing Persepolis and Through the Looking Glass, I not only understand more about the American Hostage Crisis (and the revolution), but I also understand more about why historians would want to analyze multiple sources about one topic.

Sources: www.canva.com

The Days of War and Protest

She was a lot of things. She was a victim of war; she was a developing teenager; she was a citizen of Iran. But above all, she was a confused girl with no experience and too many ideas and too many decisions to make. Her parents were extremely anti-shah, forcing her to go to protests every week. But she did not agree with her parent’s ideas. No, of course not. How could she, when she believed that the shah’s made all of the right decisions? But she was just a teenager. All she could do was write journal entries about her life as a bystander of the Iranian Revolution. And now, after all these years, she finally decided to publish it for the world to see.

Ever since the Iranian Revolution, a lot things have changed but some things stayed the same. One thing in particular that changed was that there were elections for Iran’s leaders and government. Women have more rights now and can be part of the Iranian government and parliament. There is also a legislature, prime minister, and president. Unfortunately, one main thing stayed the same. They had presidents and parliaments; however, Ayatollah Khomeini was the only one with actual power. He was a supreme leader, and had the power to appoint leaders of TV stations (this means a lot of propaganda), armies, and more. Khomeini made the Islamic Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah, which was a police force that started off with a good cause, but ended up just oppressing the powerless citizens.

The Interesting, Intriguing, and Important Iranian Revolution

 

Our country was made to educate others on the Iranian Revolution. Before the revolution, Iranians were mad because there were a lot of countries influencing Iran, and the government was quite corrupt. The reasons so many countries wanted to be involved with Iran is because Iran is a country with a lot of oil, and oil is extremely valuable. They did not have the power at that time, though. All they wanted was to get rid of all outer influences and actually have a say in what’s going on in their country. At that time, the society was quite unstable, as there were sporadic protests all around Iran. Also, the shah (the name for their ruler) made a secret police to opress anyone who opposed him.

There were people who supported the shah, too, and thought that he made Iran a better place for everybody. However, most citizens of Iran were poor and the victim of the shah’s reforms to make Iran a ‘better’ country. Eventually, large-scale protests broke out and the revolution started.

The revolution was only about a year long, though, but Iran has been indirectly controlled by other countries since 1905. During 1905 to 1980, there were six main leaders of Iran and four countries involved with Iran. Obviously, the citizens have been dissatisfied since, about 75 years before the actual revolution, so when they had the chance to end this once and for all, they went all out.

Finally, the Iranians took back what was meant to be theirs all along and everything was fine again. The Iranians were glad because they finally lived in a country where instead of being pushed around, they had an actual voice.

OneDay 2017: Making Viral DIYS

Our goal for OneDay is to try out and test DIYS we see on the internet.
I learned that whenever I do DIYS, I should leave some time at the end for cleanup, as we made a huge mess at the end of each project and spend a lot of time cleaning up. What went well was that our projects weren’t that bad, and we had enough footage, so our video ended up being both educational and interesting.

If I were to do this again, I would do some set-up beforehand, like taking the cotton out of the cosmetic puffs. Also, I would’ve probably had a tray to do all the DIYs on, so we would’ve made less of a mess, and it would’e been easier to clean up.

What happened was in the morning we set up our projects, but that took longer than imagined, as we didn’t think we’d need that much preparation. After half an hour, we started making the EOS contour and highlight, and that took until break. After break, we finished three of our DIYs (stress ball, lip scrub, slime). We made a huge mess — if we were more careful or had a tray of some sort, we might’ve started on our fifth DIY. After lunch, we made our galaxy jar, but that took a while as we didn’t have cotton balls and had to take out the cotton in cosmetic puffs. Finally, we filmed our introduction, conclusion, and us testing out DIYs.

Overall, I’d say this was a pretty successful OneDay, because even though we made a huge mess and didn’t get as far as we imagined, we did finish all our projects. It was also extremely fun.

The EOS contour and highlight credit goes out to Milana Coco who thought of the whole idea, and Natalies Outlet who tweaked the recipe to make it better. The slime credit goes to @slimetutorials101 on Instagram.

(our video refused to upload, so when it does, I’ll embed it into this blog post)

All the Hidden Emotions

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”. This is a cliche that all of us have heard at least a few dozen times in our lives. All the Bright Places, by novelist Jennifer Niven puts a new twist to this old platitude by incorporating this theme into the story.

One of the protagonists, Violet Markey hides the depressed side of her by saying, “No one likes messy. They like smiling Violet. I wonder what Ryan would do if he knew Finch was the one who talked me [into not committing suicide] and not the other way around” (Niven 49). When Violet was on the bell tower to commit suicide by jumping off, she meets the infamous quirky Theodore Finch, who is known to be odd and abnormally fascinated by death and how it works, and it was he who talked her out of jumping. Everyone thinks that it was Violet who saved Finch (Theodore goes by his last name), as Violet puts on a fake persona that you would never expect to commit suicide. All of their classmates, teachers, and the counselor assumed there was no possible way that the ‘mentally-stable’ Violet could ever attempt suicide, however, they never stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, she was also fighting a battle internally. This shows that we can never ‘judge a book by its cover’.

Similary, even Amanda Monk, a seemingly ‘perfect and happy’ girl, is fighting a battle within: “‘If I didn’t think about [commiting suicide], I wouldn’t be [at this support group]’” (286). Again, it has always been assumed that she was this dumb, popular student that really didn’t care what anyone think, and everyone liked her, but obviously, that is not the case. Some might actually see her as one of the smaller antagonists of the story, because she is not exactly nice to Finch. I both agree and disagree — she did call Finch a freak a few times, but this isn’t enough to become an antagonist. What no one could have guessed was that she was also troubled. She has experienced name-calling, and actually has deep insecurities. It’s hard to believe that someone with so many friends could ever have attempted suicide. The theme ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is shown once more with this intriguing character.

The theme of this story has definitely applied to me. More than once I have judged someone based on the little knowledge I have of them after knowing them for only a while. It’s embarrassing to say that sometimes I assume things about people that are not necessarily true. For example, last year, there was a girl I knew who I never talked to. One time, when I saw her, I said, “Hello, how’s it going?”, and she kind of shrugged and walked away. I presumed it was because she wasn’t nice and just did not want to make light conversation with me, but now I know it was because she was actually quite shy back then and did not know how to react when I, a near stranger, said hi. It was more than half a year before I realized that I shouldn’t form my entire opinion of someone based on the one time I interacted with them.

This is a very important message that everyone should learn. We can never know what’s truly going on inside someone, and it’s horrible just to judge them by the part of themselves they put out to the world. Jennifer Niven put this concept in words beautifully, and I don’t think any of us will forget how significant the old saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ really is.

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