Wednesday, April 5, 2017

High Expectations

Tonight I read "It Gets Worse" by Shane Dawson. Today I read my favorite chapter/ story so far. In this chapter, he talked about his mom thinking that god told her she was going to win the lottery. They went and looked at fancy houses worth  millions more than their house at the time. Of course, they didn't win, but the story itself was touching, funny, and emotional.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Today I stopped reading If I Stay (mostly because it was depressing me) and started reading It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson. This book is a collection of essays about his childhood that I find funny and interesting. I predict that sometime in his high school age he will begin his interest in making videos, as something must have lead him to the career he has today.

Far From Perfect...

I believe that the book version of The Giver by Lois Lowry is far better than the movie that was made over twenty years later.  I believe this for three main reasons; first because in the book everything was well developed and the reader understood basically what was going on, however in the movie that was not the case.  The next reason that I think the book was better than the movie is because everything in the movie is very, very futuristic, but in the book the environment isn’t thoroughly described and we can almost imagine it taking place in the near future.   Last and most importantly I believe that the movie is not nearly as good as the book is because the movie is because they made the movie very Hollywood and took away all the special meaning of the book. This really changed a lot of the emotions felt by the reader/watcher throughout the whole story.
The book is far better than the movie because the author fully develops the issues, whereas in the movie the producer jumps around, never focusing on one thing. One example of this would be how in the book, we go through eight chapters before Jonas gets his job.  In the movie, mere minutes pass and Jonas has been skipped, called back up, and given his job.  Although this may not seem important at first, when you dig a little deeper, it really is.  The book fully develops the character, the community, and what life is all about for them before Jonas is given his job. This makes it easier for us to understand Jonas’s emotions when he’s given the memories, the reasons behind his desire to escape, and his feeling of accomplishment when his memories are sent back to the community. During those few minutes before Jonas gets his job in the movie, we are shown only glimpses of Jonas’s life and no real characters or emotions are developed. This changes the whole impact of the story.  This isn’t the only time that the producer fails to develop something in the movie, either.  In the book, Jonas and the Giver’s relationship is developed so that we feel Jonas’ love and devotion for the Giver.  Similarly, in the book Jonas’ devotion to Gabe is developed which explains his rapid departure from the community.  The movie does not develop a strong relationship between Jonas and Gabe.  Another example would be the book explains the “stirrings” and the daily pills, but in the movie the viewer sees the injections but does not know what they are for.
Another reason that The Giver is far better than the movie is because the setting of the book seems very simple.  Although it it doesn't seem to take place in today's world, it does not seem that far off.  However in the movie, everything seems super futuristic.  All of the buildings look the same, they have holograms, and so much more technology that we’re not even close to today.  In the book, the author doesn’t give many details about the technology and the reader’s focus is on the developing story..  In the movie, all of the technology distracts from the main storyline.  Although this may benefit the Hollywood version of the story, it really takes away from the philosophical meaning of the book.
The final reason that the book is better than the movie is because the producer made the movie very “Hollywood”.  Jonas and his friends were twelve-years old in the book.  In the movie, they appear to be around sixteen or seventeen.  This takes away from the whole feel of the book.  In the book they are so young and seemingly unprepared for the jobs that they’re given.  In the movie they are practically adults so the jobs don’t see as far-fetched..  Not only that, but the movie really emphasizes an adult romance between Jonas and Fiona which was not a part of the book.  Again, this definitely distracts from the story because instead of focusing on Jonas and his emotions as he discovers all of what has been lost in the interest of sameness, and how he can save his community, we’re focusing on their little love story.  When Jonas is escaping the community in the movie, he runs to the nursery where Fiona works (another slight change) and grabs the baby, Gabe. The movie makes this scene all about action and anticipation, whereas in the book, Jonas grabs the baby, gets on his dad’s bike, and rides out of the community.  In the book, although the reader is nervous about Jonas getting caught or surviving outside the community, they’re mostly thinking about the community and what will happen when the memories are released.  In the movie, the focus is on Jonas’ action-packed escape.   
In conclusion, I enjoyed the book much more than the movie because the movie took a book which was written in a simple way and turned it into a futuristic Hollywood production which jumped around and on the way lost the depth and meaning of the book.  I think that if the movie focused less on the technology in the community, stayed in one spot for a little longer, and focused more on the philosophical meaning of the story instead of the action and romance, then it would be much better. I loved the book and its meaning with all of my heart, but the movie fell far short.  

Word Count 909

Rough Start

Today I started the book If I Stay by Gayle Forman. During what I read today, we were introduced to the main character, her family, friends, and pretty much the rest of the main parts of her life. But right away after being introduced we see her and her family get into a terrible car crash where her whole family (except her) dies. She is in a coma and is pretty much given the choice whether or not she wants to live. I predict that most of the book will be flashbacks that will help her make the choice.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Altruist

My grandparents came over to babysit my younger sister and I the night that I conducted the interview. They sat down on the couch with their iPads and read while we ate dinner and talked for a few minutes. I went and sat down on the couch and began chatting with my grandma.   My conversation however was quickly interrupted.
         “So, we gonna do this thing or what?” I turn around to see my grandpa sitting down with a big smile on his face.  So I picked up my tea, and off we went.  We decided to go into my room where it was quieter so that we weren’t disrupted or distracted.  My room has soft lighting at night.  He laid down on the end of my bed and I set down the tape recorder (and an iPad, just in case the tape recorder didn’t work).  
My grandfather is a man of medium build, who usually appears to have many things on his mind.  He’s got a short, white beard and silver- rimmed pilot glasses with thick lenses. His hair is closely cropped in the shade of salt and pepper. The warmest smile can always be spotted on his face, and his blue- gray eyes are just the happiest. There’s a mischievous twinkle in his eyes that can be spotted at any time. He is typically bundled in at least three shirts and jackets, and is usually sporting a pair of dark wash jeans.  A pair of big white sneakers can be seen on his feet as he shuffles through life.
His personality is a whole other situation (in the best way possible). He can always find something to tease you about, but has a heart of gold. He’s very sharp and can come up with something quite funny in a short amount of time.  He has a loud laugh that gets let out often, and it’s so happy, that you can’t help but laugh along. But inside he’s a pretty sensitive man, who helps everyone in need. He’s definitely worth more than the sum of his parts. In his free time, he likes to go on walks with my grandma and their dog, go “garage-saling” for whatever you may (or may not) need, and also tend his garden.  Gardening is a favorite pastime - his whole yard is covered in potted succulents, cactuses, and such.
My grandpa lived in the suburbs of Ohio until the age of ten. When he was growing up, Cleveland was a large industrial city, where the summers were very hot, and the winters had more than a few feet of snow. However, when he turned ten, his family moved to sunny Rancho Santa Fe, California. His new city had a population of only about 2,000 people, and orange groves were far from rare.  
“Ask away,” he declared confidently- so I did.
First, I asked him what his life was like when he was my age.  He responded with a pretty typical answer- wake up in the morning, take a bus to school that was a few miles away (which, he included, was named after ex- governor of California Earl Warren), and so on and so forth.  He mentioned that he had 6 or 7 girlfriends in the seventh grade, and so at lunchtime he would either “break- up, make- up, or be  ignored”.  He said that his older sister was never around when he was growing up so it was almost as if he was an only child.  His parents usually discussed money at the table during dinner, and he consistently heard his parents talking worriedly about not having enough money for the next week.  
In his young mind, the Republicans, or the people in power were the ones who were rich, and on the other side of things there were the other kind of people, the ones who worked.  Since he grew up gardening and caddying at the golf course in a family that worked to make ends meet, he associated himself with the underdog. When he was in elementary school, the election between Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman was going on. The same kids who were rooting for Eisenhower were the ones that went for the Yankees, so, my grandfather decided to go for something like the Dodgers or Cleveland Indians . . . always the underrated team.
“So did these opinions carry into anything besides sports?” I questioned.
“So my view was basically to go for people who were out of power and out of money and out of legal representation and um the word for that was disenfranchised.  The franchised people were the people who had the power and the money and the control.  The disenfranchised people were the people who worked twelve hours.  I kind of glorified them in Steinbeck and books that I read and in being a hippie and so I always felt like I did not belong to the social groups or those kinds of things,”
Just before my grandfather entered first grade, he got rheumatic fever and was confined in bed for three months.  The virus got into the valve around his heart, He couldn’t run or play sports until around the seventh or eighth grade because his heart was unable to pump blood the way it’s supposed to.  Every morning for years, in order for him to get his protein, his breakfast was a chocolate milkshake with a raw egg in it.  When he first became ill, the doctors wanted to put him in the hospital, but his mother was very conscientious and the doctor trusted her to take care of my grandpa at home.
“Wait, so did the doctors ever come and check up on you at home?”
“Yes- for almost a year a doctor would come on every Monday morning and give me a shot in the butt of penicillin . . . and so I did not like Monday mornings!” he responded, as if the uncomfortable memory was still very vivid in his mind.  
“Do you remember how you felt during that time?” I asked him incredulously.
“I was scared.  I remember those days quite a bit.  So what basically happened was when I grew up I really did not belong to a lot of groups and I did not have a lot of friends.  I mean I had a couple of friends and stuff.  I wasn’t totally outside but I didn’t have the sports connections and stuff and that made me more sensitive of other kids that had cerebral palsy in my class, had disabilities, because I could identify with them but I also wondered how many of them had things you don’t see, illnesses that you don’t  know about that aren’t visible.  Mental illness was one for instance,” he responded.  He then explained that there are many other problems that people have that aren’t always visible to the eye; neurological problems, learning problems, hyperactivity problems, speech problems, and so on. There were about 20 or 30 students at his school with these type of problems who would often be teased and ridiculed.. My grandfather said that he always felt sorry for them but that he was never really friends with them.
As an adult, my grandpa had personal stress problems and was looking for a new job.  He applied for a regular welfare job.   However, the man who ran the welfare department thought he would do well in mental health, which was something he was interested in, plus, it paid more.
        “So what do you mean work in mental health?  What did you do?” I asked, eager for more information.
       “The first six months I worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because I was on duty like an ER doctor would be but I was the person who decided who needed to go into a mental hospital.  The cops would bring them into the hospital and I would evaluate them and I would see if they were crazy enough to have to be locked up,”
       I then asked what experience or education he had studying mental health.  He told me that he had basic training training in graduate school and had some experience while counseling teenagers while employed in child welfare..  He explained that the people he counseled in child welfare were people who were really down and out and did not have enough money to even buy diapers for their babies.  Many of the people he counseled in mental health were rich people with good jobs, like police officers and such.  He also learned on the job through meeting with psychiatrists and visiting mental hospitals.
    When my mom was little, my grandparents moved to the mountains where the mental health department was closed due to a lack of employees.  My grandparents owned land in the mountains and wanted to move there and ultimately retire there.
    “When I went to my first interview with the psychiatrist for the job, because there was a psychiatrist there two days a week, I shaved my beard and your mother walked into the kitchen and she looked at me and she looked at Sharon and she looked at me again and she looked at Sharon and said, ‘Mommy who is that man over there?’ So I shaved and we went to the interview and guess what?”
“What?”
    “The man that interviewed me had a beard down to here!”
“So did you get the job?”
“Yes, I became the director of the Mental Health Department in Calaveras County.  Due to my job, I tried to keep socialization down because I would be accused of talking about my patients and stuff so to keep things confidential, for instance Brock had no idea what I did until I took him to work when he was 25 or something.  He really did not understand what I did because I never told them.  They would sit there when I would talk to people on the phone. . . for awhile our phone at our rental was right at the kitchen table and people would call me up right at 5 o’clock when the kids were eating.  Shae would be there eating or Brock (my mom’s brother) and they would tell me they were going to kill themselves so I would be talking to them about not killing themselves in such a way that your mother would not understand,”
           “So you were talking about when you were little you kind of felt like you understood the kids who had mental problems at your school or problems that you could not see with your eyes- like mental illness and things like that.  Do you think that influenced you keeping the job working with mentally ill people?”
“Yes,” he said confidently.
“Because you had a respect for them or because you were interested in them?” I questioned him, trying to get a bit more information.
“Well because I shared some of their problems.  I have an anxiety disorder even now and I had an anxiety disorder then when I fell apart on a freeway and almost lost control of my car at 65 mph and so I could kind of identify with people who would lose control with their body or nerves.” he answered. He went on to explain that family members or close friends couldn’t usually tell when something was wrong, because the people would look totally normal, but inside they would “really be a mess”.
“Were there any specific things that you would tell them to do to help?”
“One of the things I did as a counselor there doing therapy was that I discovered I would get Shae’s (my mom’s) old coloring books that she was not even using anymore and I would come home after work, and this was when I had this anxiety disorder but I was not doing anything about it, and I would color between the lines and I would find out I would relax.  So I went ahead and I told you this story before, they actually on their own, I had some coloring books for the kids in the clinic and when some of my patients would get really upset I would bring some crayons and give them the coloring books, and then they started doing it on their own and they would end up in public with other women doing the same thing.  The only reason they knew was because of the coloring books,”  He explained that even if two people had the same issues as each other, they couldn’t tell just by looking at them (until they saw the coloring books).
“That’s pretty interesting!” I said, genuinely intrigued by what he had just said.
“Yes, it was very therapeutic for them. So I think you have more than enough now.  I don’t talk very interesting, so you can fix up my English... and you don’t have to tell them about that.  Ok now so we will turn this off. . . and we will turn . . .”

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dream Theorys

Today I read an article just based on why we dream. I learned that scientists have been trying to really figure out dreams for years and that there are many different theories  about many different aspects of dreams. One common theory is that the brain dreams at night to sort through all the things that happened or were thought of during that day. Another theory is that dreams just reflect the emotions we've had recently.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Black and White Dreams

Today I researched about people dreaming differently. First, I researched if some people dream in black in white. I found that a study showed that it pretty much depends on if you watch color tv or black and white tv. A study from this year showed that people age 25 and younger say they pretty much never dream in black and white. However, people over the age of 55 who grew up with little access to color tv said they dreamed in black and white far more often. The article also said that if we back in the 1940's, a study showed that 75% of people in all ages claimed to have rarely or never dream in color. Now it's almost the opposite. Source: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2008/12/02/health/02real.html