Sunday, 24 February 2013

What is the What - Thoughts so far

What is the What, has so far been fairly enjoyable and easy to understand. I think it does a very good job of giving the war in Sudan a human face. By bringing emotions into the facts to create a story, it makes it a lot easier to digest than reading page after wikipedia page in the pursuit of research.

I feel the main problems with the book lie with its pacing - the modern day sections set in America sometimes seem to add little to the story, which is compounded by the fact that the book is a fairly long 500 pages. You can argue that it's metaphorical, for contrast, et cetera - but either way it's pretty dull.
The scenes in Valentino's past, however, are vivid and often emotional - they really show the horrors of w
ar experienced by the lost boys. I think Eggers has done a great job of trying to get inside Valentino's head and portray it from his perspective.
Overall, it's been enjoyable and thoughtful. I've been behind on occasion, for whatever reason - usually because I didn't have the energy to pick up the book and power through the slow parts. I think if you can ignore the mediocre pacing, there's a great book to be found in it, with a thoughtful take on the Sudanese conflict.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Blogging as a component of English

Blogging is a useful component in the English classroom.

I believe that blogging is a useful component in the English classroom as it is one of many ways to show and share our learning with both our teachers and our peers.
Many blog posts have sparked discussions in class, i.e Solal's post concerning being a 'social outcast'.  Solal's post sparked several insightful class discussions on the nature of our blogs.
They are not only a way to come up with interesting topics to talk about, but a way to connect with our fellow peers.
It also lets us share our learning with our English teachers - many people who may not speak up in class have written on their blogs, showing their learning. This allows our teachers to understand our ability, skills, and style of writing.
Blogs are a relatively unmoderated medium on which we can share our thoughts. We have the freedom to write of pretty much anything that strikes us.
The freedom to express ourselves is important; providing a medium and nurturing the usage of that medium improves our skills as writers and removes some of our inhibitions of writing.
I realize that it may seem odd that I'm acting as a proponent of blogging when my blog is mostly devoid of posts - I should really be blogging more. I feel that blogs are an important tool for us to express ourselves and share our learning.

How to write about Australia

When writing about Australia, remember to always use the words ‘Outback’, ‘Down Under’, or ‘The Bush’. Subtitles include ‘Beer’, ‘Beach’, ‘Sunburned’, ‘Crocodiles’, ‘Aborigines’, ‘Didgeridoos’, or ‘Koalas’.
The cover should always be of sun-tanned surfers catching some waves at Bondi Beach or of Uluru (the only part of the outback anyone cares about).

All Australians manage to slip in ‘Mate’ at least one time per sentence, and they all swear a lot (bloody hell, mate). A barbecue is called a ‘barbie’ and shrimp is the only thing cooked on it.
All Australians are taught the sport of crocodile wrestling from age 4, and carry knives with them in case of a deadly crocodile or drop-bear attack. However, crocodile wrestling pales in comparison to the only major Australian sport: Aussie rules (otherwise known as AFL to you non-Aussies). Aussie rules & watching Aussie rules (while drinking copious amounts of beer) are the only national past-times.
In between watching Aussie rules and playing Aussie rules, Australians also find the time to hop to work and back on their kangaroos.

Remember, never mention that Australia (despite only having a population of 22 million) has the worlds 5th largest economy and 12th highest GDP per Capita. Never acknowledge that any state other than New South Wales and The Outback exist. End your story with a quirky Australian quote about throwing shrimp on the barbie, the scorching heat, and the cold beer. Make sure you throw in a couple of “Bloody hell, mate”s in there too.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Writing Prompt - alleyways

Writing prompt story

I wound through the alleyways of Lukla, searching for my quarry.
Honestly, I had no idea what I was even doing. I didn’t know this city, or the people in it. The chill air brought shivers down my spine – I was wearing a t-shirt and pants in the cold mountains of Nepal. Still, I couldn’t turn back now.

Running in more of an attempt to keep warm than catch up, I bumped into an old fruit vendor. Apologizing profusely, I had no idea what he was saying. I didn’t exactly have time to brush up on my Nepali.
I caught a glimpse of the air strip, sprinting towards it.

(to be continued? probably not.)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

English novel: The Drowned Cities

For English, one of the two books I borrowed was named The Drowned Cities, written by Paolo Bacigalupi.

The Drowned Cities is the sequel to Ship Breaker. Set in a dystopian future where global warming and oil shortages have caused much strife, ship breakers salvage the wrecks of old ships. The titular hip breaker, Nailer, uncovers a ship with a survivor still aboard. This sets the stage for an adventure across post-apocalyptic North America.

The reason I chose The Drowned Cities is fairly simple; I read Ship Breaker and very much enjoyed it. It created an interesting world, a dynamic mesh of post-apocalyptic, dystopia, and science fiction. It was a very engaging novel, well paced and well written. It's main weakness being that the side characters were all much more interesting than the main character, who was fairly bland. I'm hoping that the author has resolved this somewhat in The Drowned Cities.

If you're at all interested in reading the book, I would recommend you begin with Ship Breaker. Many of the quirks of the world will be hard to understand. And in any case, it's a good book.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Reflection on chemical reactivity

1. What were at least three things you learned about chemistry?
I learned how to balance equations, I learnt the relationships between subatomic particles in an atom, and I learnt about the law of conservation of mass.

2. Which of these 3 is something you will likely never forget?
I will likely never forget what I've learned about subatomic particles.

3. What was your favourite thing we did in this unit? Why?
I enjoyed the few experiments we performed.

4. What is something that you are still curious about that you would like to know more about?
I would like to learn more about particles and particle physics.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

A rant - on how people describe themselves

Well, I suppose I should post something here that isn't just schoolwork. And I suppose I have a topic to rant about, and I won't let that go to waste.

We live in a consumerist society. Walk into any city, any town - advertisements and shops, all trying to get you to purchase their stock. This isn't bad in itself - corporations are corporations.

However, it seems these days people describe themselves more and more by the media and products they endorse rather than who they are as people. People are 'fans' of bands, 'fans' of Apple products.

Fan is not a word you should use to describe yourself.
You should not be a fanatic of anything - a fanatic is somebody who is such a large proponent of any given subject that they do not think rationally. You shouldn't consider yourself a fan of anything - in fact, you shouldn't define yourself by what you like.

Define yourself by your personality, not the stuff you like. 
People define themselves more by the products or artists they endorse, not who they are. Describe yourself as a human being, please, don't be a walking advertising board.
(To reiterate: Hobbies and interests are also an integral part of one's personality, clearly my wording was too vague.)

I realize this isn't exactly the most 'fun' way to kick off a blog, but I feel it should be said.
Feel free to comment down below.
(Also, you may want to get used to this juxtaposition of silly and serious articles for the future.)