Sunday, December 9, 2007

Outside Reading Q2 Week 4

Part A:
-"blanket party": when a recruit who has been falling behind in training is wrapped in a blanket and beaten with soap bars that have been stuffed inside socks by his fellow comrades. (168)
-"A Line" firing: advanced rifle training which includes shooting at moving targets, firing with a gas mask on, firing in low light conditions, and fire M60 machine guns.
-"During those days I realized what it felt like to not be part of the platoon. So I thought about being like everybody else. I wasn't fighting it anymore. I wasn't scared anymore. I all of a sudden got the drive I needed, that some guys had the whole time" (170). This quote stood out to me because of its character. Here is a recruit that hasn't really been fitting in or doing well in any of the exercises, but he doesn't lack spirit. He has an encounter with himself and decides to bust his ass for the rest of boot camp and actually ends up graduating in the top 10 of his class.

Part B:
For this part, I am choosing to relate this to my life. I want to actually relate to the quote and its meaning that I listed above. The amount of commitment that Recruit Buijis has and that is exemplified through that quote is incredible and that's why I want to relate it to my life.

I believe that this amount of dedication and perseverance can be helpful to me right now as I am going through ski tryouts. I am a great skier, but I have never raced in my life so this experience is something totally new to me. Originally going into tryouts I thought that it would be a piece of cake and it was until our first day skiing a race course. Number one, I don't have the proper equipment yet to ski the course efficiently, but I;m not going to use this as an excuse. Mainly, I am just not familiar with racing technique. The first run down the course was a disaster. I couldn't complete it without going out of the course and this occurred repeatedly for many more times. I became very frustrated with myself and was beginning to doubt my ability to make the team. I just thought that racing wasn't for me and I should give up. I came across this portion of my book the night I got home and had a realization. By Buijis's example, I decided to keep trying and improving, and it worked! I went to ski practice the next day and tried as hard as I could on every drill and that night he announced who had made the team and I did! I am going to continue hustling and working hard, but I credit my success to Recruit Buijis and his
perfect example of commitment and courage. Thanks Buijis.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Debate Paper

Affirmative Speech

For years, homosexuals have been trying to gain the legal right of marriage. But their efforts have been near useless because of the local, state, and federal authorities. The authorities on all levels simply ignore the complaints of gays, hoping they’ll be pushed aside and forgotten. But, in the past three decades, gays have been thrusting forward toward their right to marry. So therefore, I believe that Minnesota should establish laws that allow gays to marry and laws that ensure equality for all.

Contention I. Sheer Numbers
Gay marriage cannot be ignored. The numbers of gays and gay activists will continue to grow until Minnesota has no choice but to allow the legal marriage between same sexes. According to a recent survey done by the Washington Times, about 57.6 million U.S. citizens are affected by or related to a gay family member. Now those numbers are only going to grow. Just because the state doesn’t allow gay marriage, that doesn’t mean there are no gays. Gayness will continue to spread, just like it is inside many high schools. Time magazine stated in one of their articles that the average gay now comes out of the closet at around graduation year of high school! Now look, homophobia has spread down to the high school level! At this rate, there will be so many gays that no state will be able to ignore their cries for freedom.

Contention II. Betterment of Society
Back to our previous contention, think of those 57.6 million people affected by homophobia. Imagine that they were able to live their life without persecution or live together as a happy gay couple. Those 57.6 million people would benefit our state economy in such a way that we would have wished that we legalized gay marriage a long time ago. The Washington Times states, “It [the legalization of gay marriage] will reduce the number of divorces caused by fraudulent marriages, ensure that more orphaned children grow up in stable and loving homes, raise the standard of living for children with gay parents, make neighborhoods safer for families and boost the economies of struggling communities.”

Outside Reading Q2 Week 3

Part A:
-" It was good for Prish, because it helped him realize the team concept- that he may be a little weaker, but he has the Marines behind him." I liked this quote because it symbolizes the bond that the soldiers are beginning to make with each other. They are forgetting their differences, like above, and backing each other. It's a good step forward for Platoon 3086. They are only three weeks away from graduation too.
- Team work has been an emerging theme in this section, as seen through the quote above.

Part B:
Dear Andrew Lee (Platoon 3086's top graduate),

Over the years, I've heard of a lot of men like you. Strong, courageous, kind, smart; a perfect soldier. But why is it that I seem to relate to you more? I think it is because I relate to you personally in "Making the Corps."

I'll start from the beginning. Your strength of character is shown right in the start of boot camp, right in the midst of chaos. After about 2 weeks of intense physical exercising and drills, the platoon nominates you as their leader. This must have felt great because it has happened to me too. I love the feeling of representing someone else because you know that you have more responsibility now and you need to pull through for the others you represent. Anyway, over the next couple of weeks, everyone gets acclimated with Parris Island. But then, you come across an angry and most likely drunk drill instructor in the halls. He asked you an absurd order, something like "Give me your qualification papers for Platoon 3086 son." But you knew something was different, so you took a stand and said no. I probably would have done the same thing. So what does the drill instructor do... he takes down a flag from the wall and bashes you across the leg, drawing blood. Why did you never report the incident? That was an act of misconduct for sure! So, over Warrior Week is when I really fall in love with the whole idea of "Making the Corps." It seems like it would be a hard road, but at least that week I would have fun. Night drills and fake night missions would bring me back to my middle school days of ding-dong ditching or night games.

In conclusion, I'm very proud of what you did during boot camp Andrew Lee. You led your platoon faithfully so far and I hope you continue to do so for the rest of Parris Island and into the real world.


Tom Wooldridge

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Debate Blog

Children vs. Parents- occur at various locations, here the child is trying to persuade his parents, it can result in a better situation, unstructured, unstructured can lead to variance of topics with no real boundary.

Children vs. Teacher- occurs mainly in the classroom, child most likely trying to receive a better grade, can result in a switch of grade, unstructured, unstructured can lead to direct effect of teacher's authority.

Worker vs. Boss- mostly occurs at the work place, employee is trying to persuade his boss for something, could result in what employee wants but it probably won't, unstructured, unstructured can lead to employee asking for too much or boss just saying no.

Prosecutor vs. Defendant- court rooms, plantiff tries to argue his point where the defendant tries to defend theirs, can result in a win of the case for either side, structured, structured allows for an organized and civilized debate so order is preserved.

Speeder vs. Cop- occurs all over the place, speeder trying to convince the cop that they weren't speeding or that the radar gun is busted, never works, unstructured, unstructured results in cop getting iritated and writing the speeder a large ticket.

Friends vs. Friends- all over the world, friends try to convince eachother that their Saturday night plans are the best, often works, unstructured, unstructured results in one side of friends giving in and going with the other plan.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Outside Reading Q2 Week 2

Part A:
"quarter decking"- the term the drill instructors use for singling out one recruit and having them perform extra exercises in front of the whole platoon for 15 minutes.
"the pit"- a pit dug 7ft deep that is very hot due to its open position. The sand in there can reach 100 degrees and recruits who slack off are sent to "the pit" to due extra exercises, while being bitten by the sand fleas that inhabit Parris Island.
Figurative Language
-"Marine history is exactly the same as it was back in high school; hell." Here, this is an example of a metaphor. The recruit compares the history portion of training to hell, but in reality, is isn't hell.
-"After pugil stick training, I was as tired as an old dog." A simile. I know this because the recruit compares his tiredness to an old dog using like or as.
-Irony: One part of the section that I found ironic was that Junior Drill Instructor Zwayer demands perfection from Platoon 3086 in the fitness tests, but he himself can barely muster up a passing grade on them!

Part B:
"Week three has performed its function, sorting out the platoon and letting its members know where they stand. They have shed their old civilian selves. They aren't yet Marines, but they are moving in that direction" (115).

This quote is significant to the book, but also very significant to me. It symbolizes many things in the book. Such as how far the platoon has come from week one. They are cooperating and working as a team. Plus, they know what is expected of them; push themselves further than they believe they can go. So, it resembles a part of progress for the platoon, but also what still needs to be done. The training does get harder as the weeks go by and Platoon 3086 still has a long way to go before they become Marines.

To me, this quote has a lot of meaning. I know I talked about this in my week one post, but so far it has been the main message I have gotten out of this book so far: determination. Reading about this platoon really makes me want to push myself beyond what I imagine in order to become something great. I can use this throughout all aspects of my life too. I can use it to motivate me in sports, school work, social activities, and the list goes on. I think that this book has done a good job of telling the platoon's story, but it has also done a great job of establishing morals and life lessons that are of mistaken by society because they are hidden. Hidden, no. But embedded deep in the core of Marine culture.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Outside Reading Q2 Week 1

Post A:
Quote-"His face just inches away from the recruits, he screams, 'I? I? I? I is gone!'"(60).
This quote symbolizes the transformation the recruits undergoe in the first three weeks of boot camp. Here, the recruits leave behind their old civilian identities and build new characters; qualities of a Marine. I is 'gone' so the recruits can only focus on others before themselves, teaching them selfless servive values and discipline.
Emerging Theme- So far, the new recruits have met the hardest obstacle of their lives. And the only way they are going to graduate as Marines is if they give all they have every time.

Post B:
Response- I thought this book has many connections to my life, other media, and the outside world. It is a powerful book with many lessons that not only an military recruit might need to know, but any average citizen. Some of the values brought up are great ones that we all can try to adhere to and hopefully benefit from.

First off, I love this book! I've have always been interested in everything to do with any branch of the military. So, this is right my alley so to say. I like to relate the training phase of the book so far to similar experiences I have faced like: tryouts for sports, weight lifting, and overall determination. Hopefully, I can use this book and its values of self-motivation, determination, and hard work to propel myself beyond what I think is possible.

It is also easy to relate this book to the media. So many different books or movies have been made about the military and its tough lifestyle. Such as Saving Private Ryan, We Were Soldiers, Black Hawk Down, and there are many many more. But one thing all of these different types of media have in common is there theme. All of the movies show the bravery, brains, and loyalty it takes to suceed in combat and in life.

The last part of response includes the outside world. The soldiers stationed abroad all have shown their commitment to our country and have answered the call. So have these new recruits. They have given all of their body, mind, and spirit in order to complete boot camp. If they do perserveere through the agony of trainig, they will emerge as something far superior to what they thought they could be. They will be Marines.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Outside Reading Q2 Book

-"Making the Corps" by Thomas E. Ricks
-Copyright 2007
-323 pages
-Evidence: this book is an appropriate book for a sophomore due to the topic of military service and the plot of boot camp and training. It rakes a mature teen to understand this type of book and I believe I chose a challenging book.
-Explanation: I chose this book because I love the military. It has always been something I've been fascinated with and something that I want to pursue. This book really interests me because it tells a story of one platoon's struggle to join the ranks of the Marines. Each soldier will have their own struggles and the author clearly shows how hard and brutal, yet satisfying making the corps can be.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Sea Inside

Part 1:

Overall, I liked this movie. even though it was in subtitles and in Spanish, it was still very powerful and meaningful. I believe Ramon had the right to assisted suicide. I would consider assisting in his suicide as sympathy rather than the destruction of a human life. I think that is how Rosa and Julia viewed it also. But the court's decision surprised me. I thought for sure Ramon would win his case, but he did not. In the end, Ramon killing himself really added drama to the movie and embeded the message of the movie deeper into all of the viewers hearts.

Part 2:

Both The Sea Inside and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly are very moving stories. I liked the Sea Inside better because, it seemed like I got to get to know the character more because he could talk and voice his opinion on the issue, where as in Bauby's case, he could do nothing of the sort. Another obvious similarity is that both of the main characters were quadripeligic, but a key differnece inside that similarity is Ramon can talk and still move his head. Bauby was really trapped and it was more of a tale of sympathy for him instead of a quest for dignity like in Ramon's case.

Part 3:

Many scenes in this movie stood out to me and were influencial. But the main ones were:
-LS of sea shore, with a pan of it too. This really set the scene of the shot sequnece and gave a good example of where they were and what emotions the characters werre feeling.
-MS of Ramon, with a pedestal that followed him as he dove into the shallow ocean. This shot was very powerful too. The pedestal effect gave the impression that you fell with him to his 'death.'
-CU of Ramon's face as he was underwater. This shot had a lot of emotion in it. The close up made the viewer feel for Ramon and it brought the viewer to the accident almost.
-ELS of Spainish countryside as Ramon flies, with a HA. This was a very extreme shot. It really made the viewer feel like they were 'flying' with Ramon over the hills to the sea. Powerful.
-EL of Ramon while he's lies in his bed, CU. This set up of shot angle and field of view is almost identical everytime Ramon is seen in his bed. It connects the viewer to Ramon at the given time by bringing them to Ramon's height.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Outside Reading Final Blog

Part 1:
The final portion of my book was the epilogue. It was actually very interesting because Gerry describes the feelings he had once he was state-side again and the other adventure he tokk with Yankee Girl; a trip from Long Beach to Sydney, Australia. Gerry also included a complete list of supplies that he took: emergency supllies, cooking supplies, navigational equipment, tools and a lot more! it's remarkable to see all the items that he brought and all the preparation he put into his voyage. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this memoir because it was adventurous and inspiring.

Part 2: I choose option #2, the thinking maps.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Outside Reading Blog #6

Part One: Comment Here---

Part Two: In section five of my memoir, Gerry encounters all of the problems associated with his journey. Duldrums, close-encounters with large tankers, horrible weather and the constant sway of the sea. Yet through all of these troubles, Gerry sees Link, the ship that his wife is on. He makes a peaceful landing on England and is swarmed by photographers and publicity. His biggest relief once he was on dry land again, he said, was being able to take a huge bubble bath. Gerry's successful transient of the Atlantic proved to many that impossible is nothing and a man's courage has no limits.

I enjoyed reading part five. It was very exciting and suspenseful when Gerry was encountering all of his problems at sea. The suspense kept me turning page-by-page and it was hard to stop reading. Once he made port and had completed his voyage, it got a little boring because he talked about how hard it was and how grateful he was and so on. It seemed like it lost some of its spark or thrill-factor. But, Jerry took about 50 photos that he displayed in his book. That made it interesting because it was very fun to look at what he actually saw. Like oil barrels drifting in the sea, the shores of Cornwall and the endless horizon out on the Atlantic.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Outside Reading Blog #4

Part One:

"Surely oak and threefold brass surrounded his heart who first trusted a frail vessel to the merciless ocean" (103). :Horace <Alone Across the Atlantic by Gerry Spiess>

This quote was meaningful to me because the hardest concept for me to grasp about Gerry's whole journey is how small his boat is! Only 10 feet long by 6 across; isn't that big for one man and almost a tons worth of supplies. But Gerry finds a way to make it work. I guess that's why this quote comes across to me as startling.

Part Two:
Gerry now has finalized his provison packing and drives all the way from White Bear Lake, Minnesota to Chesapeake Bay so he can set sail. He arrives and feels very nervous about the whole adventure to the point where he actually won't eat breakfeast the morning of his departure. So at seven thirty Yankee Girl takes to the wind and slowly makes her way out of the bay, with alomost no wind in her sails. Gerry now comes in contact with horrible flies that naw at his legs for nearly twelve hours! And, his first sleep aboard his tiny boat wasn't pleasent either, due to his floor that was covered with grapefruit and eating utensils. Hopefully, his whole journey won't follow the pattern of his first few days...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Diving Bell and the Butterfly Review

Well, I had mixed reactions when it came to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I did admire the genuine story of Bauby and the tradgedy he lived with while he had locked-in syndrome, but it was a very confusing book to read. I think Mr. Hatten described it very well when he said most teens don't reall understand or appreciate the book in its entirety due to the fact that it really doesn't have a true focus or plot.

Bauby seems like an incredible man, and if someone can tell this just through his writing, then it must be true. He tells his sorrow-filled journey with such emotion and even happiness that it really makes you stop and think about what it would be like to have locked-in syndrome. He opens up to the reader and imposes very powerful subjects with testing answers to every theme or topic he brings up.

But the cons to this memoir were numerous. Personally, I did not enjoy the randomness of his writing even though he was following his thoughts. Also, it was very confusing due to all the dreams and make-believe adventures. All the fantasy did make for a good relief from his precarious state, yet it was a bit distracting.

In conclusion, this memoir was a good read. Once you overcame the absent-minded writting style, it was touching and wholesome. This book had good moral lessons and told a story of a great man who was trapped in a diving bell, but had a mind of a butterfly...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Outside Reading Blog #3

Part 1: In this portion of the book, Gerry purchases many materials for the construction of his dream boat, Yankee Girl. Through many hardships and about 6 months of constructing, Yankee Girl is finished. But now with his money supply short, Gerry must decide what provisions he must buy and pack in his very small 10 foot boat. 450 cans of beans, stew, veggies, and fruit; a sleeping bag, flashlights, flares, radio, 30 gallons of distilled water, 100 cans of juice, 40 shirts, 20 pairs of pants, and 30 pairs of socks make up only a fraction of his total gear. So with the spring fading away, Gerry makes his plans to set sail in June.

Gerry Spiess, born in 1940, grew up to be a school teacher for White Bear Lake, yet that's not his greatest accomplishment. Gerry had always been a sailor, sailing nearly everyday on White Bear Lake. But his dreams were pushing him even further, so in 1978 he began his construction on Yankee Girl a 10 foot long small sail boat designed for one purpose, a solo journey across the Atlantic Ocean. So on June 1, 1979, Spiess set sail from Norfolk, Virginia and spent 54 days alone on the great ocean until he landed in Falmouth, England. He had made the trek, but later in life, he and Yankee Girl would also make another attempt, but this time it would involve crossing the Pacific Ocean.

Part 2: Journal- I have liked my memoir so far. It is very personal because Gerry takes you along where ever he is in an in-depth way that is very satisfying. Also it is packed with good knowledge of sailing techniques and terms. But this also acts like a negative to me because I don't understand everything that he says due to the complicated sailor jargon. But I've enjoyed reading it. It actually makes me want to get out and sail again up at my cabin. Gerry can describe his adventure very well and is good at communicating his feelings to the reader in a friendly manner, almost as if you were his best pal and he was telling you one of his favorite adventure tales. Hopefully, the rest of my memoir will sustain its quality throughout the whole book.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Outside Reading Blog #2

Over my second chunk of my memoir, I came across some good loaded words, such as:
-bane: This sparked a negative reaction when I read it, because it was describing the impact of a storm. (11)
-teenage: Here it was viewed as neutral. It was describing two boys who were hauling in a sailboat. (11)
-whining: Whining here was describing a small boat motor, so I'd say it was a negative impression. (12)
-jaws: This was discribing a gale force wind, negative again. (18)
-manager: This is Sally's job, but here it's a good thing, so positive reaction. (19)
-children: positive, here it shows innocence because all of the neighboorhood kids are coming over to look at the boat. (29)
-little: neutral because it's describing his boat, but in a way it's a good thing. (30)
-flood: normally a negative event but it was used to emphasize a lot of memories, so positive. (31)
-chunky: Neutral. It was most likely used to describe how odd the sailboat's shape was. (35)
-money: the envy of most humans, but in Gerry's budget he wished he had more, so negative. (38)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

First Post

My goal for this year at Edina High School is of course, to get good grades. But also, I really want to succeed at schoool. I want to put in adequate time and work to the point where I feel comfortable with every subject.

I'm very anxious about all the new people and faces here at EHS. There's so many new people who I haven't met or haven't gone to school with ever. It will be a huge bonus to study and hang with friends that I normally haven't associated with school!

Outside Reading Blog #1

My outside reading book is "Alone Against the Atlantic" by Gerry Speiss. In this book so far, Gerry has taken his homemade boat, Yankee Girl onto White Bear Lake in the middle of an intense thunder storm. But his wife Sally was worried once she realized that Gerry was out on the lake alone in the storm. So, she hopped in her car and circled the lake numerous times until she saw Yankee Girl tipped over by the dock!

Sally ran to the dock, fearing the worst, but Gerry popped his head right up out of the cabin and asked, "What's the matter?" Sally then gave him a large hug and finished helping him adjust the ballast of the boat.

In the back of his head, Gerry did adress the possibility of his ultimate goal: sailing Yankee Girl alone across the Atlantic...