Essay Antics

As AP tests and the end of the year close in, preparations for those tests begin to escalate. As part of that, feedback and constructive criticism can be devastating, but the most useful asset a student has to overcome the AP exam.

Today in English class, we wrote essays in response to a reading we did to analyze the style of writing the author took to make the writing more effective. After I had written my essay, I had realized that I made a poor mistake in my choice of analysis in my thesis and my ideas were poorly organized. I had only realized this after I had written, and wondered on how I could fix this problem. The next day, we did peer reviews, and I got immediate feedback on what I needed to do, including better organization and that I was slightly off from the prompt, and some analytical choices. This was what I needed to succeed, and I was extremely grateful of the criticism because I wanted to improve and score higher on the AP Composition exam. While the criticism is useful, I feel that I need more practice to iron out all the mistakes I would have made on the actual test.

Some people take criticism very sharply and translate it as an attack on their character, but what they need to realize that it is not to hurt them, but rather, to help them. Those who give criticism are not out to hurt you (unless they actually are), but rather to help you improve and succeed, as is the job of teachers.

Another time in my APUSH history class, we had presentations to do, and from what I heard, the previous periods had gotten chewed out. My group was giving the presentation, and after I said some of my lines, I could visibly see my teacher cringe a little. At the end of the presentation, he gave us plenty of criticism and asked us questions, hinting us towards the correct answer that we were so slightly off from. In situations like that, most would have been upset with the teacher’s tone, but I had to stand there and take the feedback. After thinking about this for a little bit afterwards and the following day, I realized that my teacher was not out to get us, but to guide us on the right idea. While others gave their presentations and stood in the front for criticism, I perked up at his words like, “You presented that idea very well.” “You didn’t quite hit the mark, but got very close.” “You are on the right track, but keep going.” These key phrases made me realize that he was not being critical to be critical, but to help all of us prepare for the key things we will need to write on for the AP exam for US history.

I have come to realize that some teachers are sometimes rude and grumpy, but while these may be their qualities, they often aren’t doing it on purpose. They want to help us, to guide us on the right path, to see us succeed in class and in life. I’ll now have to be more keen towards my teachers and the things they say, because while it may seem rude, there is always a deeper meaning and feeling to words.


Fallout 4: A Man’s Best Friend

Ah Fallout 4, you’re the reason why I don’t have a social life! Fallout 4 is currently the latest in the Fallout series developed by the one and only Bethesda Studios, infamous for their bug-filled games. Fallout 4 is an rpg shooter, leaning more towards the shooter side, set in a post-apocalyptic game where the world is stuck in the 60’s. The game starts with the player’s son being taken away and the player proceeds to relentlessly hunt down the man who took him. Well…when I mean relentlessly hunt down, I mean leisurely take you’re time finding your son while you get sidetracked by the numerous side quests that are littered throughout the game.

Now whilst exploring the wasteland, you’ll come across several unique npcs that has nothing better to do but to following you around while judging you and your actions. The companions are but not limited to:

Piper: The bubbly reporter.

Nick Valentine: The robotic detective.

Hancock: The chem addict who’s also a zombie.

Preston Garvey: The one that nobody likes (I like him).

However, none of the companions I have listed even holds a candle to the greatest of companions!

Dogmeat: The dog.

Now there are many reasons why Dogmeat is the best companion in Fallout 4, but the most obvious is that he unbelievably adorable! Even when he’s executing a raider with his steel-like jaws! He’s also arguably the more useful companion in terms of combat. Most of the companions in the game are simply glorified meat-shields who gets a kill every two hours. Now Dogmeat is like that too, a meat-shield who does next to no damage, but he has the added bonus of “holding” your enemies down by biting their arm or leg. This “holding” gives you more than enough time to line-up a head shot to dispatch your enemies at a quick rate.

Now the two reasons I mentioned are great and all, but the real reason why I love Dogmeat is that because he doesn’t judge your actions. As I have previously mentioned, companions will judge your actions though the entirety of the game, either positively or negatively. Dogmeat is the only exception. He does not judge you or your actions but instead remains loyal to you no matter what path you follow.

Truly a man’s best friend!Dogmeat

What is the meaning of life?



©2016Foundry  (CC0 1.0)

No one really has the answer to life. It is left up to yourself to answer that question which is what makes it so great.

Scientifically, the purpose or meaning of life is just to reproduce and populate the earth, but the majority of the world are not scientist. So, I will explain to you guys what life means to me.

Life is the many purposes you are put on this earth for, whether it was meant to be or just an accident. I believe that your purpose in life is not predetermined and you can decide where and what you want to do in life.

I would say a key moment in a person’s life is the time they are in college. They get to learn so much more about themselves and most of all they will pick a career that may stick with them for a life time. College is a time about about exploring and if you never explore then how can you discover yourself. Imagine all the possibilities in life. You could be siting in class one day and discover your love for aerospace and boom, the next moment you are an astronaut. Anything is possible as long as you want it bad enough.

It is very hard to find an exact purpose in life so I like to think of life of having many purposes. Maybe you want to become a parent and raise your child but at the same time you want to be a an Olympic athlete. Both can be accomplished in life. Maybe not at the same time but purposes in life do not always have to take a life time to complete. You might think that is your purpose in life but it is really not. No one can really answer this question except you. Only  you can control you. Fate cannot control your life unless you let it.

Life is beautiful and you should cherish every moment you have on this earth because you never now when your last breath may be. No matter how hard life gets just remember that it is always temporary and that better things lie ahead. Life will always have its up and downs but hey that’s life. When you look back on your life you will realize that there is so much more in life then that one bad moment. You only have one chance and should cherish it forever.

How much Homework?


John Liu

Homework is school (or not school) assigned practice work to help students understand and conceptualize what they are learning. often enough, practice homework, is helpful for understanding an idea or lesson, but if the homework were too long to complete, for example, 6 classes, 1 hour per class’ homework, 6 hours of homework daily, then students would slowly (or quickly) get exhausted and consider homework a chore, busywork, that students will eventually find themselves skimping out on. 

Children in elementary grade level are at time where they are developing themselves, their imagination, and their creativity, a crucial stage in development. From my experiences and from others as well, children despise homework because it takes away from their fun time, which it does. For them, lessons and practice should be done in class, and should have only slight to no homework at home.

“There is no evidence that any amount of homework improves the academic performance of elementary students.” – Harris Cooper, Duke University.

However, at later stages, like middle school, high school, and on, students begin to realize the importance of homework and its influence on their education. This is especially important at this later stage because concepts and lessons learned in school begin to take a more complex form. At the same time, homework shouldn’t be piled on, like 6 hours per day, but to a maximum of two. 

My current calculus teacher does this as well, which benefits all of her students. What she does is she teaches the lesson for the day in class, but short and concise enough that we understand the material, and afterwards, we are given a fair amount of homework to do in class. During that “class work” time, the environment of the classroom becomes moderately quiet, with small pockets of conversations going on. We can ask our teacher or our friends for help on questions we don’t understand and get the appropriate amount of help we need that we usually can’t get from home.. By the time class is over, classwork becomes homework but there is usually so little left, that it can be done in ten to twenty minutes. This is especially benefitted from the fact that by them time we leave class, we understand the material than when we initially took notes and began working.

But unlike my situation,my other friends in calculus with a different teacher work differently. She gives them much more homework and material to learn from, and online quizzes. My friends often come to me for help because they sometimes can’t get it at home, and sometimes stay up late doing the homework or online quizzes, and I know this because they complain every now and then. This is the current system that is often found in classrooms across the nation.

I propose in supporting and implementing Cooper’s idea that elementary students should receive no homework and higher grade students should receive about two hours of homework per day or less (excluding projects/essays). As a student, I don’t support this just because I want less homework, I support this because many do find themselves understanding the material, but also are exhausted from being overworked. We need just the right amount of homework to make learning more efficient and time-wise.

Happy 20th Anniversary

Wow. Can you guys believe it? It’s been 20 years since the first pokemon games. Game Freak has been such an amazing company over the past 20 years. Pokemon was a large portion of my childhood. It still is a portion of my life to this day. It was and still is one of my favorite franchises to this day. I can say the same thing for many Nintendo franchises such as Legend of Zelda and Mario, but Pokemon had the most amount of impact on me.

Let’s dive into a bit of the history of the Pokemon franchise. In 1996, the first two pokemon games were released in Japan. They were Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green. The games were a big hit in Japan, so much so that a third game came out called Pokemon Blue which was an enhanced edition. They then reprogrammed Pokemon Blue to make Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue for international release in 1998. It was a large hit internationally as well. And that was the beginning of a franchise beloved by many. The success of pokemon prompted the release of its own show with over 900 episodes and counting, over 15 movies, a trading card game, a line of toys, etc.

I simply adore the franchise. It has been that way since I was a little boy. I would spend much of my time dedicated to these games and the show. I even bought little phone straps and plushies for myself. I just love the franchise. It has been in my life for many years and I do hope it will continue to be in it for a long while. I don’t want to see the Pokemon franchise die out. I want my children to experience the same thing.

It has been 20 years since the start of Pokemon and the franchise is still going strong after all this time. There has been 6 generations of Pokemon games and recently a new one has been announced recently. I am very much excited about this and I know that many others are just like me. I genuinely hope that Pokemon will continue to evolve over the years to come.

Mitsubishi Evo vs. Subaru Sti

The Evo vs. the Sti , a long disputed question that has been asked by car enthusiasts time and time again. Both come from a world rally pedigree of greatness,  have a 2.0 4-cylinder turbo charge engine and are 4 wheel drive. So what defines the two apart?


2016 Wrx

The Subaru with about 305 hp against the Mitsubishi with 291 hp has a slight edge against the Evo, but it doesn’t stop there. The ride and road noise on the Sti is much less noticeably than its competitor. The loud road noise is most likely due to the fact that it was not meant to be a very comfortably road car. It sacrificed the luxury for speed and handling which it excels at greatly.


©2007 baku13  [CC BY-SA 3.0]

On the other hand while the Sti is also focused on speed and handling it offers a more luxurious ride and interior compared to the Mitsubishi. The 2015 Subaru sti offers an updated star-link in vehicle technology with a 7 inch touch screen, while the 2015 Mitsubishi Evo offers an outdated Color LCD Multi-Information Display that is not well built. Nothing seems refined in the Evo while in the Sti it feels as if Subaru has spent years refining the car to the point where it becomes a master piece.

However, these cars come at price with the Subaru setting you back  $34,695 for the base model and the Mitsubishi $34,495. Both these cars are fairly reasonably priced for what they have to offer, but there are cars out there nowadays that offer more horsepower for the price such as the 2016 Ford Focus Rs offer 350hp for only $35,900.

Nevertheless the Subaru Sti is superior to both cars due to its handling, updated engine on the WRX models, refinement, and luxury accommodaties that the Mitsubishi Evo could never compete with. Maybe that is why they discounted the model.

Steven Universe: Sadie’s Song

Ah Steven Universe, how I love thee. Steven Universe is currently Cartoon Network’s most popular animated cartoon series and for obvious reasons. The show has great animation, colorful scenery, unique story, likable and relatable characters. Oh god the characters are my favorite part of the show, all of them are so colorful and varied, even the side characters are amazing! Now by reading the title of the blog, you can tell that I’m only focusing on a single episode, Sadie’s Song.

©2015 Cartoon Network [CC by 2.0]

Now if you ever watched the show, Sadie is a reoccurring character in the series who not only works at a donuts shop but also one of Steven’s, the main character, good friends. She later got her own episode dedicated to her in season two.

The episode starts off with Steven handing out flyers to advertise tonight’s Beach-A-Palooza. He soon makes way to his local donuts shop where he finds Sadie singing a song. Now knowing Sadie’s singing talents, Steven tries to convince Sadie to participate in the Beach-A-Palooza. Sadie at first was reluctant but soon starts to warm up to the idea. That is until her mom, Barbara, gets involved. Barbara began to become over-bearing, telling Sadie what to do, what to wear, and such. When the Beach-A-Palooza finally starts, Sadie bales out last minute due to her not liking the adjustments Barbara made. The episode ends with Steven taking Sadie’s place on stage and Sadie and her mother talking it out, reaching a common ground.

This episode is one of my favorites in season two as this episode was able to keep me captivated even with the lack of main characters. This really accentuates the variety of unique and likable characters in the show. Also the song played in this episode is a nice plus. I also related to this episode a bit, similar to Sadie, my own mother have made me done several things that I wasn’t fond of.

In the end, Sadie’s Song is one of my favorite as it was able to keep my attention and is relatable to me by a great deal.

The Journey Continues…

If you are returning back to read my blog post again you may remember the review I did a while back about the book The Alchemyst. If you have not already, I suggest checking out my previous review so you can better understand this current one. Well I am here today to bring you yet another great book from the great series of novels The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. The name of this amazing novel is The Magician by Michael Scott. The sorceress is the second book in a six book series called, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. This book picks up right where the last book left at an exhilarating rate. Josh and Sophie Newman are now in Paris, and now must face Niccoló Machiavelli, and his accomplice Dr. John Dee. In this short amount of time Sophie must start to understand the element she has recently gained control off. The element of wind. It may not seem all that strong but in the hands of the right user, it can be the most powerful of all the elements. As the race for the codex commences throughout all of Paris Josh Newman is captured by the evil but, cunning master Dr. John Dee. Dee convinces Josh to follow him with the hope of finding an elder to awaken Josh’s powers. I will the leave the rest of this amazing novel for you to read. I would rate this book a solid 7 out of ten. I do not think this book is as good as the previous novel in the series because it seems as though Michael Scott was trying to cram so much into as little pages as possible. The main reason why I think this novel was not as great as any of the others in the series is because the plot is not as well put together as some of the others. In some parts of the book you are just sitting there waiting for nothing to happen. All in all this is still a good book and I highly recommend reading it. -Zach

The Adventure of a Lifetime

As a kid you could never get me to read a book even if you forced me to. I was like this until the age of ten. I had to read a book for my fourth grade class. It could be any book we wanted at all. I decided to pick up the book A Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. This was the first time I ever experienced the love of books and the world of imagination it brings you to. The story starts off with a ship named “Vivacia” and we learn that it is a liveship. A liveship is a boat that is made out of wizardwood but, the special thing about these ships are when three owners, from separate generations of the same family, die upon the deck of the ship, the ships will come alive. They retain all memories and experiences of those who lived and died aboard them. The Vestrits area  family who gained wealth through trading and developing monopolies on goods. This family owns the liveship “Vivacia” and we learn that so far two of the three required deaths have already been fulfilled. When Kefferia’s father dies and makes the necessary third death to quicken the Vivacia into a liveship with all the memories of the previous captains. As he is dying he turns over the ownership of the ship to Kefferia and her new husband Kyle. Kyle being the power hungry character he is banishes Keffaria from her beloved liveship. I will leave the rest of the book for you to read. I would rate this book an easy 9/10. Robin Hobb has such a creative mind and it is incredible to read about all the fantasy worlds and different places she makes using her imagination. She comes up with these crazy ideas that you would never even think of. I cannot even begin to comprehend how one person can have all these great ideas. -Zach

An Unexpected Journey

Today the book I will be reviewing is a book that tells us the story of one of the world’s greatest myths of all time. This book is The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. The alchemist is the first book in a six book series called, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. Magic is one of the biggest subjects of intrigue in the world of fantasy fiction. I can say with utmost conviction that the magic in The Alchemyst does not disappoint in any way. This novel starts off with a man named Nicholas Flamel. We learn that this man is nearly seven-hundred years old because he is in possession of the most powerful book that has ever existed. The book of Abraham the Mage. This book not only holds the secret to eternal life, but many other secrets best left untold. In the hands of certain people it even contains the power to destroy the world. Dr. John Dee plans to steal the book and do just that. We now learn of the two main protagonists Josh and Sophie Newman. Josh and Sophie are about to partake in one of the most elaborate and unexpected journey we have ever seen. These siblings are said to be the fated siblings of prophecy. The siblings of silver and gold. The prophecies say that the siblings have the power to both save and destroy the world. This book has so many great aspects integrated into the extraordinary plot. But personally I believe the finest attribute is all the characters that the book features are based upon real-life historical characters such as Shakespeare. The descriptions and though that the author puts into these characters still seems to amaze me. There is not a single aspect he seems to leave out. He features characters from all different aspects of culture, from Egyptian gods all the way to the legend of the great sword Excalibur.  Michael Scott uses the knowledge of common myths and stories to make up a novel like no other. I recommend this book to anyone looking to read a well written and intriguing fantasy novel. On this final thought, I will now leave you. -Zach