Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book Reports

A book I read which is completely and totally unrelated to The Den of Shadows, or vampires in general is Catching Fire.

Catching Fire: If you want a good book to read, this would be one of them. I absolutely loved this book! Ah! but the way it ended has me dying for the next book to hurry up and come out! The book picks up where The Hunger Games ended. Katniss, the main character, has to face a problem of a rising rebellion within the districts(which she may have only added fire to), an evil president that hates her, and a decision between two guys whom she likes (personally I'm a Peeta person). The plot is amazing and so are the characters, this book is such a good read. Can't believe I'm going to say this but, I think this series is even better that the Twilight Saga. Shocked, yes I know, but that should indicate just how amazing The Hunger Games and Catching Fire are. So take a hint go grab these books and read them!

Ok guys so as you should know I'm a huge vampire novel fan. Ever since I read the Twilight Saga I have enjoyed this genre of books, so it should come as no surprise that I read this (these) book/s.

(Counts as 4 books)

In the Den of Shadows: this book has four books within it: In the Forests of the Night, Demon in My View, Shattered Mirror, and Midnight Predator.

In the Forests of the Night: This book really interested me just from the blurb on the back of the book describing it, and it didn't disappoint. I was really interested in the main character of this story, Risika. She had more layers than I expected a three hundred year old vampire to have. The book switches from modern times back to when Risika was still human and then newly turned. It was very interesting how the story unfolded a centuries old mystery. The book is written in a modern style so it's easy to follow along. The vampires within this book are very different from the other vampires in books that I have read. The vampire's power or skill depends upon which vampire turns them. I have to admit though that I am not too pleased with how this one ended, it leaves things a bit open-ended with Risika's brother.

Demon In My View: I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this book because this book doesn't have the same main character as the first. But, surprisingly I did enjoy this one almost as much as the first one. In this book, the main character Jessica is a human, or so you think until later on in the book, which technically she still is, just not completely. Something I found interesting is that the antagonist from In the Forests of the Night is also in this book, but as one of the main protagonists. Something else I liked about this book is learning how Jessica knows all about vampires, not just the basics about them, but every single detail of their history, it was very interesting. I also liked that this one ended with romance, while the first book ended with the conclusion of a confrontation. This one like all the others in the series are written in a modern style.

Shattered Mirror: This book also brought back a character from the previous book, Demon In My View, unfortunately it was a character that didn't interest me much, and one that I didn't like a whole lot. This story plot was also very good. It is about a girl (who happens to be a very powerful, vampire-hunting witch) who goes after her family's most hated vampire. Along the way she runs into two not-so-powerful vampires (not powerful only because of how they choose to live) and begins to fall in love with one of them. The problem? Well her mother being the the leader of all the clans of the vampire-hunting witches makes things difficult for her to have a vampire boyfriend, not to mention that that certain vampire also knows the vampire that she is hunting very well. So, yes I enjoyed this book. And I have to admit, I love scenes when the clueless vampires realize just who exactly the main character is and what she is capable of.

Midnight Predator: I think this would have to be my second favorite book in this series, just because of the plot line. This book is about Turquoise, who is a mercenary hired to take out one of the cruelest vampires in history, within a fabled vampire land known as Midnight. Luckily she has been within Midnight before, not so lucky, she was a human slave and will have to enter as one once again. There are a few good twists within this book that I really enjoyed. I especially like the character called Jaguar, he is the main vampire running Midnight, only he is surprising nice and caring, really much so toward Turquoise. One of my favorite parts would have to be the confrontation between Turquoise's old master and Jaguar over who truly has possession over her. I was a bit disappointed with the ending, I would have really enjoyed a better relationship between Turquoise and Jaguar, but over all this was a good read.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Health Care

The government should not run our health care. It should be left to private companies, and sure some sort of coverage by the government, but not completely. Yes, health insurance companies have some serious problems with their plans, but will a government-run health care plan really solve all our problems? The answer, no it won't.

The cost of this health care plan is already looking to be in the trillions. Can we, as Americans, really afford this total? Especially when we are spending large sums of money overseas in the different wars we are in. And our national debt is already, according to zfacts, about 8 trillion dollars. And the cost of this health care plan will be paid for in rises in taxes and cuts to other programs. According to Mike Huckabee, 'Government doesn't have to compete; it doesn't have to be successful; it doesn't have to make a profit or be efficient, and it doesn't even have to work very well. And, if it doesn't work, it won't necessarily change or go out of business -- but you'll still be paying for it.'

Another problem is that more people would go to see a doctor for more things that they would normally not, because it would be free. Doctors would end up spending more time with people that did not have serious needs, then people that actually do have needs that require medical attention. And because more people will go to see doctors then there will be longer waits to actually see the doctor. The waiting lines would increase drastically and the people needing attention would be forced to wait for a long period of time. Click here for more information.

So is government-run health care really the best idea for America right now?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pranking the Police

It seems that pranking the police has become a favorite pastime in America, one that can result in serious trouble. Misusing 911 and playing hoaxes on police is dangerous and should not be done. The results are very costly and wasted time that could be used to help someone that is actually in need.

Recently, the "Balloon Boy" hoax occurred in Denver, Colorado. Supposedly Mr. Heene's six-year-old son was trapped in a spaceship like balloon. Police and rescuers spent over two hours in pursuit of the balloon. And when it finally landed it was learned that the boy was never in the balloon but in the family's garage attic. Still everyone thought this story was truthful until on an interview the little boy said to his dad "You said we did this for a show." And so it was discovered it was all a hoax. And what might the cost be to this publicity stunt? According to examiner the cost includes a black hawk in the air for three hours at the cost of $4,600 an hour and a smaller Kiowa helicopter in the air for one hour costing $700 an hour. So the total just for the helicopters... $14,500. Not to mention the 2 hours of time taken up that police could be helping someone with an actual emergency.

Prank calls to 911 are also on the rise according to rd a Californian study found that as many as 45% of the emgerceny calls placed from cell phones in the state were frivolous or prank. But it's not just prank calls, it is also calls made for minor, stupid even, reasons. For example, in Florida, a man called 911 because Burger King did not have lemonade. A woman in Flordia called 911 three times to complain that McDonalds had ran out of McNuggets. While this may seem like small instances calls like this do happen quite often and can cause a delay of information of an actual emergency.

But compared to meaningless calls, prank calls are much worse and much more serious. Take for example the Bates' story click here for more information. The Bates were in bed at 10 p.m when they were awakened by police sirens. When Mr. Bates went downstairs to lock the doors, he was ordered by a mass of police, assault rifles drawn, out of the house. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bates were cuffed while the police searched the house. But what the police had thought to be a grisly murder scene turned out to be a prank by a teenage boy 1,200 miles away. Swatting calls, called so because usaually SWAT teams respond to them, place an immense strain on responding departments. The Orange County Sheriff's Department deployed about 30 people to the Bateses' home, including a SWAT team, a helicopter and K-9 units. It cost the department $14,700. Another example would be of a teenage hacker in Massachusets who plead guilty to a five-month swatting spree including a bomb threat and report of an armed gunman that caused two schools to be evacuated.

Some people may say that they are harmless pranks, but are they really harmless? While police are responding to a false case, someone else who is in real need could be suffering the consaquences of that little prank. The money used up by the pranksers could have been used towards saving someones life.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sentence 12

His sentence: He is my demon, my lover, my enchanter.
from Thirst No. 1 by Christopher Pike

This sentence is a parallel structure that uses asyndeton to detail the relationship between Sita and Yaksha.

My sentence: The unknown painting showed the hills, the forest, the mountains.

Sentence 11

His sentence: Brave words, foolish words.
from Thirst No. 1 by Christopher Pike

This sentence uses a balanced rhetoric fragment to emphasis that no matter what Ray says, she can still make him leave.

My sentence: Dark hearts, pure hearts.

Sentence 10

His sentence: The bun nodded.
from The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

The sentence uses metonymy to describe Liesel's mother.

My sentence: The redneck drove.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sentence 9

His sentence: The crowd: mayhem.
from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This sentence uses juxtaposition to describe the crowd of Max's imaginary boxing match.

My sentence: The laughter: echoes of dying curses.

Sentence 3

His sentence: How could every person there have so much to say at the same time?
from The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

This is an interrogative sentence that is used to describe the crowd around an imaginary boxing ring.

My sentence: Why does the moon hang so low on such a great night?

Sentence 2

His sentence: A mountain range of rubble was written, designed, erected around her.
from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This sentence has polysyndeton as well as asyndeton, describing how the rumble from the attack seemed to be everywhere around her.

My sentence: The blood-stained battlefield was littered, scattered, strewn with the mutilated bodies of the fallen.

Sentence 8

His sentence: Constant coldness.
from The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

This is an alliterated rhetoric fragment to describe and emphasis the symptoms of Max's sickness.

My sentence: Navy nightmares.

Sentence 7

His sentence:Waxy yellows, cloud-spat blues. Murkey darknesses. \
from The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

This sentence uses rhetoric fragments to seperate the light and darkness of the world, and to explain the narrator's distractions.

My sentence: Beatiful angels, white wings. Gruesome demons.

Sentence 6

His sentence: I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable.
from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This sentence uses alliteration and rhetoric fragments to better describe the narrator, Death.

My sentence: The night was silent. Sorrowful. Somber.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sentence 5

His sentence: People were stomping their feet, clapping, whistling, chanting, "Boboresh! Boboresh!"
from The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

This sentence uses polysyndeton to describe all of the ways that the crowd was cheering for Amir during the kite tournament.

My sentence: The wind was whipping, raging, howling, ripping through the dark night.

Sentence 4

His sentence: But this was my one chance to become someone who was looked at, not seen, listened to, not heard.
from The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

This sentence uses asyndeton to describe the type of person that Amir will become in his father's eyes if he wins the kite tournament.

My sentence: Now it was my turn to become the hunter, not hunted, predator, not prey.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sentence One

'Tis like paint on a tart's face, mere distraction.
from Stoneheart by Charle Fletcher

This sentence is used as a comparison with a comma used to emphasis the likeness.

It was like a place of undiluted innocence, utter bliss.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spot the Fake Smile Test- A Whole New Mind

I recently read in Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, about a fake smile test in the chapter called Empathy and decided I would try it out for myself. I consider myself decent at reading what people’s emotions and knowing if what they are expressing is true, but I was somewhat worried about how I would fare with this test. Most people are very good actors and are able to hide what they really feel quite well. People tend to not notice this whether it is because they do not care or if they truly do not notice I am not sure.

In this test, there were twenty questions in all. You would receive the questions one at a time and then go to the next one. Each question had a video of a person smiling and down at the bottom you would click if it was a genuine smile or a fake smile. Seems easy right? Well the real kicker was that you only get to watch the video once so you can not scrutinize over whether it was real or not, you just had to go with your instinct.
These are two images taken from the test one is a fake smile and one is a genuine smile:

I missed the fake one and I answered the genuine correctly. There is not much of a difference is there?

I really did not think I was going to do well. Once I started to watch the videos I found it was very difficult to distinguish the difference, but I did my best and I am pleased with my result. Out of twenty questions, I answered fourteen correctly. The results said that surprisingly most people do very poorly in spotting the fake smiles. It said a reason for this may be because it is easier to get along with people when you do not know what they really feel; that made me think. And to me that opinion seems very realistic, I mean wouldn’t you get along with someone better if you didn’t know that they thought you were boring and senseless? I know I would.

I realize that I hardly ever look to see if a smile is real or not, I just don’t notice. This test has made me realize that maybe I should look to see a little more closely and learn to understand the person’s feelings better.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Animal Farm Review

Going from a totalitarian government to a socialistic government should be a grand revolution should not it? In Animal Farm by George Orwell, the animals rebel and overthrow Mr. Jones, the owner of the farm. Animal Farm symbolizes the Russian Revolution and the reign of Stalin.

The plot is what occurs after the animals have established themselves as the joint owners of the farm. The plot flows very well and is easy to understand and even catch the underlying implications. The power struggle within the plot is also very stimulating.

The story is enhanced every further by the characters. There are the pigs, sheep, dogs, horses, chicken, and one stubborn donkey. The characters' personalities are very well drawn out. Some characters I loved and others I absolutely could not stand, which just adds to the book's greatness.

I would recommend this to anyone interested in reading a good historical fiction book. And, anyone looking for a book linked to the Russian Revolution.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Excert from Anthem Essay

Modern society lies among the ruins of time. Our society is destroyed and no longer exists. We had a society type of all for one. We cared mostly about ourselves and did not really think of the good for others as a whole. Our society was only concerned with itself and not with other societies. Our society was very free minded. All of the people in our society had the right of expression and being creative. We were hardly restricted and we built the life we wanted to lead. The society of the brotherhood also in a way lies in ruins. Their society type is one for all. While that seems like a grand type of society to have, the people in the society are thought little of and mean almost nothing. The people of this society give their entire lives for the Brotherhood in which they serve, and think of nothing for themselves. This makes the people unhappy, for they will never know true happiness unless they do what they want to. Their society oppresses the people within the society. They never think for themselves, in fact they are punished severely if they think for themselves at all. The people are assigned what role they will play in society and they can never change that, the only option for them is to bow their heads and close their eyes and follow orders. They are ruled through fear and the society has dematerialized from former glory.

Spring Break

My spring break was pretty much and basically boring. I just stayed at home the whole time except for a few instances. I did go shopping Thursday with Becca and Kandess at Jonesboro. It was fun, but I bought some jellybeans (popcorn flavored) and I couldn't stop eating them so Kandess took them away. We tried on prom dresses and took pictures even though none of us are going to prom this year. We had to fit three people in my car while they were over, but just long enough to drive out to my land and change cars so everything worked out. Sunday my parents and my brother went to Memphis and watched North Carolina play but I stayed home and got money.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Anthem Review

Ego, the sacred word, means everything to Equality 7-2521. He and Liberty 5-3000 have to take many risks and endanger themselves to find their spirit and to find the meaning of the word "I." The future is a dark and oppressed time, and the people are no more than slaves to society. This is the time of Equality and Liberty. A time where it is illegal to write, or to draw, or to even think for oneself.

Anthem by Ayn Rand really made me stop and think. The book got me to ask the question "what if the world turned out like that." When I really thought about the book, I started to make connections between the society in Anthem and some of the different societies already in the world. The plot in Anthem flowed well and the author's style was very detailed in the philosophical meaning of Anthem.

I would recommend this to older people. This book did offend me in that the book did have some anti-Christian material. So some Christians may not want to read Anthem.

The Call of the Wild Review

Forced to survive in the harsh, frozen Arctic, Buck, in Call of the Wild by Jack London, has to change from a pampered Southern dog to a wild beast. Buck was kidnapped from his easy life at the home of Judge Miller and is sold to become a sled dog for adventurers seeking gold in the grit of Alaska. He faces many hardships along the way and has to learn the heartless lessons of survival.

The plot of Call of the Wild is very well thought out. Jack London did an exceptional job in writing this book. The storyline flows well and the book is much easier to read than some of the other classics. Call of the Wild kept me entranced up until the very end. There is a lot of description which makes it easy for me to be there in the Arctic with Buck watching the story unfold. Buck has to make life or death decisions at every turn. He has a rivalry against the leader Spitz that comes down to a battle to the death. And when Buck finally has a chance at a good life with a man he loves, will it all be ripped away from him in the end?

The characters of Call of the Wild are refreshing. Buck is a strong, defiant dog always looking for his chance to escape. He makes a great leader and is good at heart. The other dogs all have different personalities that come into play later in the story and make the story all the more interesting. The travelers that own Buck never stay for to long with the dogs, but they always bring a certain spin on the story. None of the owners handle the issues of the dogs and challenges that the team faces the same way.

I would recommend this book for anyone that enjoys a good story. Call of the Wild is an adventure story and a wonderful book. The book is one of the easier classics to read which makes it all the better for younger readers, although I would not recommend this book to anyone under the age of ten due to some improper language and use of challenging words.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My perfect world

It was late one night when a miracle occurred, a bright purple flash engulfed the world and the world was made perfect, this is the story through my eyes.

I woke one morning to find that everything had changed. My room was bigger and exactly matched the room of my dreams. I opened the window to let some fresh air in only to find that the air smelled cleaner and sweeter than ever before. The grass everywhere the eyes could see was lush and thick. There was no trash on the side of the road and no trash in our front yard. I left the window open, quickly changed, and ran down the stairs.

I felt like I was in the best of moods, completely happy for no apparent reason. My parents were the same way, just as happy as I was. We turned on the news only to hear how great the world had become over night. There were no more wars and even arch enemies had settled their differences to become friends. No more crimes were committed and the world was no longer polluted. The strange thing was that no one questioned what had happened to make the world perfect.

I went to school and noticed that everything looked clean and there were no more run down building, all the buildings looked brand new. Everyone on the street looked happy, and everyone working loved there job. When I arrived at school, I noticed that the school seemed different, more high-tech. I went up and talked to a few guy friends. The guys had also changed, they were no longer jerks or immature, they were sweet and kind. The rest of my day went great, at school education was very important and there were no more idiots in school.

Suddenly a loud beeping echoed through my mind. The world around me started to deteriorate, as I blinked my eyes into reality. I sat up in my bed and realized everything was a dream.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Antigone Review

Would you stay with a decision, even if you knew that decision was wrong, for the sake of your pride? That question is represented in Creon one of the main characters in Antigone. Antigone by Sophocles astounded me with its confusing themes and tangled dialogue. The play did have some redeeming qualities lying within the books characters.

The dialogue of Antigone was very complicated and confusing. I was never completely certain of the events that were unfolding. To make matters worse, prior knowledge of Greek mythology is needed to even begin to comprehend the meaning of the play. The events that take place seem almost rushed, which leads to only more puzzlement on the readers part.

The characters were the best part of Antigone. Antigone is a free-willed, stubborn woman bent on sticking with her beliefs. All women should learn from Antigone to all ways stick with one’s beliefs. Creon was another intriguing character. He was almost a character that we all love to hate. He remains the antagonist until the end when he does a complete 360. Creon is stubborn and prideful, so much so that those traits lead to self-destruction.

I would not recommend this book to any ordinary students looking for a good read. The only people I would recommend this to read are those that enjoy plays like those of Shakespeare.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Review for Crank

Crank is a book by Ellen Hopkins about a girl that gets down with the monster, crank, ice, meth. The story is in poem format, but the book shows raw emotions better than any story formated book that I have ever read. Crank really showed me the life of someone that was hooked on meth, without knowing she was hooked (she thought she was in control).

Crank is a story that is based on the really experiences of Ellen Hopkins's daughter. The story is only coming more and more familiar in our modern day society and that is extremely depressing. To know that many Americans spend their lifes revolved around a substance that is killing them, and this story shows that to the fullest. The main character, Kristina or Bree, is not some slum street kid either, she has a good family and is "the perfect daughter."

Crank tells Kristina's or Bree's struggle through a hard society and where, for her, courage is only a snort a way. It is a very real story that warned me about the dangers of meth, while inspiring me to be the best I can be.

Taking a Stand

Taking a stand is not always easy; I once took a stand for McCain and against Obama. I was the odd man out, the black sheep of the family. I was the blemish on the face of my Obama-supporting family, which was not the greatest feeling in the world. Also equally distressing, I was often ridiculed for my choice of candidate in the presidential election. My family seemed to take delight in poking fun at me for my choice of McCain. I was deemed "the little Republican," a title that was labeled as funny in my democratic family. Finally taking a stand for myself, I debated against them, thrusting my opinions in their faces whether they wanted to hear my opinions or not. Of course, my family is very stubborn, so for me debating against them was as if I were trying to swim up a river. I would get very upset, and because the opposition came at me from all sides, I felt like I was cornered. I acted accordingly, like a snarling animal, which earned more chuckles. To my eyes I was a seething tiger, but to their eyes I was a furious kitten. Even though I was mocked, debated against, and the outcast of the family, I still took a stand for myself against my own family.

So take a stand even if doing so is hard. Let everyone know your feelings and don't just bottle up anger if someone is pushing you around, stand up and make them back down. Even if standing up is hard sometimes, standing up usually makes obstacles easier to overcome.