Friday, April 16, 2010


The walls are closing in on me and there is nowhere to go

Random noises and thumps glide across the room into my ears

Attention needs to deviate away from me and just scatter along

People’s eyes are fixated and glued on me

Please, please, please go away

Everything seems to be wrong with me and nothing can be fixed

Don’t want to spend the rest of my life insane but don’t want to please the people that caused it

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Third Quarter Outside Reading Book Review

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 2006
Genre: Nonfiction/Biography

The book starts off talking about Tom Lemming who traveled the country searching for the best high school football players who would be eligible for a scholarship to college. One day, he got a tape which had Michael Oher playing football on it. Lemming could not believe his eyes so he had to go out and meet Oher himself and from there he learned of his incredible story. Michael came from a poor family and his mother was addicted to drugs and had continuous children so Michael was always on the run. He stumbles upon Leigh Anne Tuohy who takes him in and cares for him. He gets enrolled in school but gets very poor grades. That becomes a problem as he wants to play football in college so with the help of his new family and his tutor Miss Sue he overcomes all of the struggles of his life and becomes able to play football for Ole Miss and now Michael Oher is currently playing football for the Baltimore Ravens.

"Lewis is the finest storyteller of our generation, and this is his best book. Supposedly about's actually an extraordinary story about love and redemption." -Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink.

The book is nonfiction and tells about the story of Michael Oher as well as facts about football and the author, Michael Lewis was able to write it due to countless years of research and interviews. It brings you on a journey through Michael's life and there are some pretty brutal moments from poverty, drugs and abuse. You are in awe at how generous some people can be as Leigh Anne gives Michael an education, food, shelter and most importantly a family. The book uses elements of religion, racism and love and morphs it into an incredible story.

"The lady said she was just trying to establish the facts of the case, but the facts didn't describe the case. If the Tuohys were Ole Miss boosters-and they certainly were-they had violated the letter of every NCAA rule ever written. They'd given Michael more than food, clothing and shelter. They'd given him a life." (202)

I had to choose a biography and while searching for one, I stumbled upon this book on a bookshelf and I had heard about the story before and the buzz on the movie so I knew it was a great story to begin with but I never thought that it would be so powerful. The story really showed you how a good deed goes a long away. It is up to you to do the right thing. This book has really inspired me to help out people more and to be a better person. Since I am not a sports fan and don't know much about football, I was a little skeptical but the book makes non-sports fans enjoy the story just as much because Lewis uses a very simple and easy way to describe the basics and I really appreciated that.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Necessity of Frienship

You always need someone to pick you up when you are down and someone to always be by your side. Whenenver you are afraid, confused, disgusted, gloomy, puzzled, troubled or upset, you need someone there. Friendship comes a long way and affects everyone it is associated with in a positive way. Most friends are in the same age bracket as you, give or take a few years. But, that is not always the case as indicated by Santiago and Monolin’s friendship in The Old Man and the Sea. They have an age difference of over sixty years but are still the best of friends! They depend and count on each other. They need each other.

Manolin looks up greatly to Santiago and shows a lot of respect towards him. Santiago is his role model. That also means that Manolin cares a lot about Santiago and wants the best for him just as Santiago would for Manolin. Santiago does not want Manolin to worry about him and wants him to think everything is fine. “There was no cast net and the boy remembered when they had sold it. But they went through this fiction every day. There was no pot of yellow rice and the boy knew this too.” (16)

Santiago gets lonely and very bored while fishing sometimes and always wants Manolin to be by his side. He wants Manolin to experience everything with him. He knows that that would make Manolin ecstatic, just to fish alongside his role model and friend and experience the ocean, the sight, the sound, the smell. It would be magical but Santiago knows that Manolin’s parents do not allow him to come along with him and Santiago understands that and respects their decision. That does not mean he can’t wish or hope that Manolin was there. “Then he said aloud, “I wish I had the boy. To help me and to see this.” (48) Oh, how much it would mean to the both of them for Manolin to be there. Imagine how giddy and whimsical they would feel. What if you could not be with your friends during their best moments?

Not to sound obvious or vague here, but friendship brings happiness and joy to people’s lives. Plain and simple. It would not be hard to decipher or figure out that without each other, Santiago's and Manolin’s lives would be pretty dull and miserable. They give and bring to each other happiness, joy, excitement and most importantly fun. Just imagine a life like that. Yeah, it is not a pretty sight. "The old man had taught the boy to fish and the bo loved him." (10)

We already know that Santiago longs for Manolin to be along with him, so Santiago is forced to talk to himself in order to get his ideas across or as a form of communication. Manolin and Santiago ’s friendship is obviously pretty important and noteworthy if Santiago feels the need to talk to himself while out alone at the sea. Sure, he may have been doing it for years but it is his way of expressing his need for Manolin and I think that Manolin understands that. “You better be fearless and confident yourself, old man”, he said. “You’re holding him again but you cannot get line. But soon he has to circle.” (84) A sight of an old man talking and referring to himself in the third person might give people the idea of craziness, but it is just a simple plea of the importance of friendship.

You might think I am being overdramatic on the need of friendship and that Manolin and Santiago have other ways to bring happiness to themselves, but the reality is that friendship is one of the most important things that people can have. Imagine your life without your friends by your side, the people who you can trust and count on. The people who you can easily tell secrets to. The people who make you smile no matter what and make you feel better when you are hopeless, angry and bitter. The people who are always there for you no matter what. That is the true definition of friendship.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Back To You

Wendell Slamo was a fourteen-year old kid who was just trying to live his life like any other teenager would. For the most part, he was well-liked by his peers as he did his part to revere everyone. Of course, there were some kids who loathed Wendell as he did have one flaw. You see, Wendell played baseball, basketball and soccor. He slept, breathed and ate sports. The thing was though, he was obsessed with winning. He would always put in his best effort to win every game he played. He took the game way too seriously. He would give an attitute to the people who were jocular, loquacious and he would even get frustrated with the neophytes. It's as if that when he was in the game, he wasn't himself. It was midway through the baseball season and the team was on a winning streak, so the problems were far from wanton. However, Jack was a new kid at the school and he was able to sign up beacause a previous player had broke his neck. The popular kids alienated him and they thought of him as a recluse. So, to see him at their game was a surprise. The game was intense. It was tied, there were two outs, bases were loaded and Wendell was up. He felt like he was the paragon and nothing would go wrong. He would be the hero everyone was talking about.
"Wendell, Jack's going to bat this time."
Wendell got into a fit. "Who is this punk who's trying to vilify me? It's my moment to shine."
"Don't be so selfish. The world doesn't revolve around you."
Wendell was letting his anger get the better of him. He suddenly became truculent. He somehow quelled himself as Jack did show some dexterity when he was up at bat. Maybe this "Jack" could pull it off he thought to himself. Three strikes later, Wendell exploded. He ran as fast as he could and shoved Jack into the ground and started punching him in the face nonstop. A blur later, Wendell was on his couch with his parents screaming at him at the top of their lungs. He just ignored everything and went to bed still upset at Jack with not even the slightest bit of guilt. Of course, he would regret it all tomorrow...
"Get up now!" is the sound he woke up to. It was 9:05 and apparently he didn't set his alarm clock. He looked his mom into the eye and said, "So, I can stay home right? For once."
His mom shook her head and laughed. "Oh, you're going to school whether you like it or not. There's no get out of jail free card here."
Within seven minutes, Wendell sprang out of the door and arrived at school at 9:30. He had to deal with the principal's harangue and detention. At lunch, his friends repudiated him. It was spaghetti for lunch and as he was about to sit down by himself, it spilled all over his clothes. He ran out to the bathroom, humiliated. The rest of the day wasn't any better. He forgot his homework at home, fell out of his chair in biology class and failed an algebra quiz. He came home and his mom had a smirk on her face and she asked how school was.
"Worst day of my life", he bluntly replied. His mom giggled. He didn't understand his homework, his iPod froze, his computer crashed and it was leftover meatloaf for dinner. He planned on taking a long, hot shower but there was no hot water.
Wendell became furious. "Why is all of this happening to me?"
"Why don't you ask Jack?"
"J-Jack?" His heart froze. He had somehow forgotten all about poor Jack who he shoved to the ground the day before. All the pain that poor kid must have felt when all he wanted to do was play some baseball. Wendell literally felt like the devil. He thought to himself, How could I do that to someone? How could I have been such a cruel, heartless monster?
"Mom, I really need to change my life around." She smiled. He went up to his room, made a card and grabbed his most prized possession: a baseball signed by Kevin Youkilis himself.
"Mom, can you drive me to the hospital?"
"I thought you'd never ask," and out the door they went. Wendell gave probably the world's most sincere and heartfelt apology anyone could think of. He wanted to change his life for the better. He gave Jack his baseball and told him the story of how he obtained it and told Jack that he wanted him to take his spot and told him to give it his all and not to let him emotions ever get the better of him. Amidst all of this, Wendell learned that you do learn from your mistakes and that if you do good deeds, you do get rewarded. You do bad deeds and well...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Second Quarter Outside Reading Book Review

Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick. Scholastic, 2004. Genre: Realistic Fiction

In Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, Steven Alper is a 14-year old who's having a life like any other teenager would. Everything changes instantly once his younger brother Jeffrey (who he can't stand) gets diagnosed with leukemia. One by one things start to drastically fall apart as Jeffery gets sick; Jeffrey and his mom are constantly traveling to the Philadelphia Hospital, leaving Steven home alone with his dad who's not taking it well. His mom quits her job, the bills start piling up and Steven has to deal with everything including school as his life all of a sudden becomes extremely hard and complicated.

"A brave book....Sonnenblick carries it off with such charm and elan, you forget for a moment your heart is breaking."-Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes and'Tis.

The story is told in first person, by Steven's perspective which is the most effective as he is practically the center of everything going on. Since it's told in a teenager's perspective, teenagers such as myself can easily relate to what's going on and can connect to the issues he has to deal with. You believe it's a teenager talking to you due to the realism and the vocabulary the author uses. The story is told with dark humor as Steven makes jokes and sarcastic remarks (as teenagers do) and the reader laughs along but also keeps in mind the seriousness of the issue. The book reminds me of the book Small Steps by Louis Sachar as that featured a teen who tries to turn his life around but everything spirals out of control.

"And this was the absolute worst thing about last October 7th, the one moment I'll never forgive myself for. When my mother began to tell me tht my baby brother had leukemia, my first feeling was relief." (36)

The book taught me to always stick with what or who is important to you. When Steven met a friend named Samantha who was a cancer-patient at the hospital who was his age, they had a normal teenager conversation. They talked about clothes, music, school etc. Then she told him how her sister never visits her anymore as her sister went off to college. Samantha told Steven to promise her that he would stay by his brother no matter what. I don't want to spoil anything, but it's a good thing he kept that promise. I liked this book as it was honest about life and had the perfect amount of humor and emotion. I will try to check out more books by this author.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2 Forms of Entertainment

Value is how much something is worth. So if something has value it is worth something. But how do you determine what has more value than another thing? You can determine it by price for expensive items like iPods, jewelry and cell phones. What about the things that you value, that mean something to you? The things that don’t have a price tag like family gatherings, the moment when you enter bed after a long day or the start of a weekend. Those things mean a lot just as expensive items do. But the question is what is worth more? Do you determine that by price or how much something means to you?

Nothing beats seeing a movie at the movie theater. I love movies and I am a huge movie person. I have been to the movies seventeen times this year. One of the best priceless moments is when a movie is about to begin at the movie theater. I have gotten to the movie early with my snacks in hand whether it is popcorn, soda, candy or nachos and what not. I get there early so I have a good seat. I want to have a good view of the movie. I just sat through the commercials which are before the movie previews and I get annoyed if there is too much commercials because don't you already see enough of those on TV?! Then the movie preview starts which I actually do not mind by the way because I love to see the upcoming attractions and to see what’s coming soon so I can plan to when to see the must see movies. After all that the movie starts. It’s about time.

You see the opening credits. You obviously know what movie you are seeing and most likely what it is about unless you were dragged to see a movie that you did not want to see. You can’t wait to be brought into another world and experience it with the whole entire audience. It is starting to tell you a story that you will hopefully be engaged in, be entertained with or have a great time watching. It is especially a great experience if you have been anticipating the movie for a while or it is a huge summer blockbuster. If you are watching an adventure film, you are going to go on an adventure with the characters, you might be thrilled with a car chase or another fast paced scene in and action film or you might be cracking up with a comedy film. Sometimes in the midst of everything, stress, school, homework, and a busy schedule you just need to escape from the real world and be brought into anew world and seeing a movie at the movie theater satisfies those requirements.

One of my favorite items that is valuable to me is my iPod. During the winter of 2007 around Christmastime I wanted one present more than anything else: an iPod. I would keep pestering and reminding my parents that I wanted one and I’m pretty sure they got the idea. Even though when Christmas came around, I didn’t get one I had enough money to go and buy one. So, in early January my dad and I went up to Target at the Holyoke Mall and he let me pick one out. I got a square silver four gigabyte iPod nano that was the new iPod at the time because it was the first nano that could hold videos. I still have that iPod to this day which is loaded with all of my favorite tunes whenever I want. I can bring it to long car rides, when I go for a walk or just when I’m in my room and I want to relax.

So, as you can see both of the things that I mentioned are both very valuable to me. Both things let me escape from the real world whether it is being brought to a new world on the big screen or hearing nothing but my favorite lyrics and beats as I close my eyes. Though not necessarily my favorite priceless moment as I love the things I stated above; family gatherings, going to bed, the start of a weekend etc I still love seeing movies at the big screen and I feel that those “priceless” moments are more valuable than the expensive ones because they can’t be brought back and will have a better memory locked in your head and those “priceless” moments you will probably enjoy forever and won’t be replaced as new gadgets come along.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

First Quarter Outside Reading Book Review

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. Scholastic,1999. Genre:Fantasy

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. In the first book, a boy named Harry Potter finds out that he is a wizard and is eligible to attend Hogwarts, a school for wizards. In Hogwarts he meets new friends, learns about his past and has some amazing adventures. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry is off to his second year at Hogwarts after he is warned not to go. Attacks begin happening and warning messages are left now that the chamber of secrets have been opened again. Harry's friend Hermione gets turned to stone and Harry's friend Ron's sister Ginny is captured into the chamber Harry saves her after a confrontation with Tom Riddle or Voldermort.

"Life at Hogwarts is chock-full of surprises. Rowling is clever and witty and fills each chapter with mystery, suspense (and on occasion terror), as well as humor."; a quote from St. Louis Post-Dispatch from the front of the book says.

The book brings you to another world. To a world with Quidditch, magic and dragons. It shows a young boy having the time of his life when only two years ago he was living with his awful aunt and uncle and had no idea that any of this stuff exsisted. J.K. Rowling uses some of the best writing techniques I have ever seen. She has the right amount of emotion and feeling and uses the best details and adjectives to describe her well-thought out settings and characters. The book is on par with the first as both are probably some of the best books I have ever read and have kept me interested to go on to read the further adventures of Harry and his friends.

"Ink spurted out of the diary in torrents, screaming over Harry's hands, flooding the floor." (322)

This book has affected me in many ways. It taught me to go and explore and to go on my own adventures and have the time of my life. It taught me how to have great friendships with friends who will go throught everything with you and remain loyal until the end. Also it taught me about the concept of good and evil. The good guy usually prevails and the bad guy will get not. That is how the book affected me and I hope everyone will give the Harry Potter series a chance because I never liked fantasy books before but this book has changed my mind about things.