Friday, October 25, 2013

Literary Analysis #3

TOPIC(S) and/or EVENT(S)

1. My book is called Zodiac Unmasked and it is about the zodiac killer in the 1970s. Robert Graysmith, the author, talks about what happened as soon as the killings began and all the way until the suspects death. He also talks about how he thinks the killer got away and how he decoded his messages. It even talks about what the Zodiac killer looks like in a sketch. In the introduction of the book Graysmith tells us how the Zodiac got his name. The book follows a cartoonist at a local newspaper and how he finds out who America's most elusive serial killer is.

2. The author chose to write about this topic because he was there when the newspaper he worked for received the first letter. He was just a cartoonist there but he decoded the first message and shortly after became obsessed with finding out who the Zodiac killer was.

3. I chose this book because the whole mystery of the Zodiac really interested me and when I heard there was a book of it I had to read it. I knew a little bit about the Zodiac but I wanted to know more so I just went to the library and found the book. The mystery and suspense of it all was what kept me interested in the book. One thing that I always looked forward too was the messages the killer would send to the newspapers.

4. I found the book very realistic. One of the reasons I found it so realistic was the fact that the man who wrote it was there through the whole thing. It did not make any connections to things I have read about or seen but it did help me understand the whole story better. I had known several things about the Zodiac before but the book connected everything together and made sense of the whole thing. The book did a really good job of telling the story how I think it really happened. 


1. I think if we met the characters in this very true story that we might see them differently than Robert Graysmith. I imagine some to be more caring and some to be more greedy and only wanting fame out of the situation. For example, I think some of the news reporters only wanted their fifteen minutes of fame and didn't care whether justice was brought to the culprit or not while the detectives actually cared and wanted the killer off the streets. I think the author portrayed the characters as lighter versions of themselves because in his world their was only one bad person and that was the Zodiac as he became obsessed. Graysmith chose to write this book because no one figured out who the Zodiac killer was so he decided to write a book with all the facts and say who he thought, rather knew it was. Who he thought it was was Arthur Leigh who happened to be the number one suspect until his death. The authors tone seems to be aggressive and motivated toward what he is talking about. I think this says that he is a hard worker and when he gets involved with something he becomes obsessed and doesn't stop until he figures it out. 

2. Robert Graysmith, the author, is a medium build guy and had facial hair when the Zodiac killings start and all the way through the writing of the book. He had OCD which is one of the main reasons why he became so obsessed with the Zodiac and his puzzles. If I were to write him as a fictional character I would use direct characterization and describe him as a simple cartoonist who in his spare time obsessed over the stories that came in and didn't stop until he or the police figured them out. Arthur Leigh, the number one suspect for the case was a large build man who didn't have any hair for most of the photos of him. He wore military boots that you could only get with a military license from a military store and walked with a limp. For one of his killings he was described as wearing what seemed to be a black bag over his head and a black piece of cloth that he wore over his neck and upper torso that had the zodiac sign on it. He also wore a long sleeve shirt under the piece of clothing, gloves, ray-ban sunglasses, and black pants when he committed this specific murder. When he was talked to with detectives he had a very shifty attitude and way of wording things and that alone made him a prime suspect. If I were to write him as a fictional character I would use indirect characterization and let his own thoughts and horrible actions describe him. For example I would go into detail about what he was thinking when he was committing murders and writing his puzzles.

3. These people are interesting enough to write about because Graysmith seems like an unimportant person but then becomes the person that ties all of the clues together to almost prove that Arthur Leigh is the killer. The detectives did a lot of work but Graysmith put it all together to make sense of all the information. As for Arthur Leigh, he is an interesting character because he was the prime suspect for one of the most notorious serial killers in history. He even had a history where he molested students of his class when he was a teacher. He was a very messed up guy and there is no surprise that Arthur Leigh could very well be the Zodiac killer.


 1. One example of direct characterization is how the author described Paul Avery, a writer for the newspaper that Robert Graysmith was the cartoonist for. He was described as a drunk who just wanted his fame and didn't seem to care if there was justice brought to the killer or not. He was drunk too often at work so they had to let him go and he went to a lower ranked newspaper and began writing there. Another example of direct characterization is how the writer described David Toschi. He was described as a hard working family man. He didn't have any kids but he had a wife that he loved very much. He worked homicide for most of his career and was good at what he did. He was the one assigned to the Zodiac case for the longest time and the author said he was compelled to solve the case but went crazy and almost gave up when he couldn't. An example of indirect characterization would be how the Zodiac killer wrote his messages and puzzles for the newspapers. He wrote his words in a unique way, for example he wrote Christmas with two S's at the end of it and so did Arthur Leigh. Without anyone telling you, you can tell that whoever the Zodiac killer was could write puzzles that stump the best code crackers and he was smart when it came to being elusive and mysterious. Another example would be how Arthur Leigh was described by the detectives who talked to him. They basically said that he was sketchy and even though he had his story straight, there was something about him that made him seem suspicious. He also had pigeons in his home so that showed that he was a vile man and didn't care what was living with him.

2. No, the authors syntax doesn't really change when focusing on the main character. It seems to stay the same through the whole story but I feel it changes a bit when he is talking about how he did the murders. I feel like he has some respect for the deceased but still makes it informative providing all the information he can about the murder.

3. The protagonist is static through most of the story. He is pretty much completely taken in by the case and it even ruins relationships for him. It seems to be all he cares about until the end of the book where he is living with is wife and kids and the case is pretty much over. He also stopped receiving phone calls when Arthur Leigh died of a heart attack and that made him feel relieved and he changed around then to focus on his family more.

4. When the Zodiac killed two teenagers on December 20, 1968 with .22 caliber semiautomatic J.C. Higgins Model 80 I felt like I was reading a character. I know it really happened but it seems like something that would only happen in movies or in fictional books. When I read it I was suddenly pulled out of the nonfiction book and put in to a fictional book. It's hard to describe but I felt as though it didn't really happen when I read it. It was a unique feeling.


1. The author didn't really use any textual tools such as symbolism or foreshadowing. It was a more journalistic style because the information in the book is based on facts and it even has the dates of each day the events occurred on. Even though he wasn't a writer he was still very thorough with his work and factual evidence.

2. The author uses somewhat lengthy descriptions when describing places or people but it's mostly what was said in police reports and news articles. I would say that he mostly focuses on dialogue and especially actions. A lot happens in the book whether it's in the past or the present and he relies on describing events as they most likely happened and creates a more real feel to the book. It makes the book more informative rather than focusing on an entertaining aspect but it still keeps it entertaining just in a more real way.

3. The author uses the natural mystery of the story to create an ominous tone that can be uncomfortable and eerie at times. It's a natural mystery because that's what the Zodiac was going for. How Graysmith describes everything was how it actually happened so he didn't have to create a mysterious feeling, it just happened.

4. I think the author's attitude towards the subject was something to be admired. True he did mess up relationships by focusing on it too heavily but I think how hard he worked on the book and the crime was amazing. He didn't stop until he figured it out and a lot of people gave up years before he did. He wanted to get his information out there to the world and he thought the best way to do that would be to publish a book describing it all. He wanted to inform the world about what he found and make sure as many people knew as he could. I think his driving force was that everyone else gave up so he had to be the one to discover who it really was and to make sure people knew his name.

5. The author offers a plethora of news articles, interviews, police reports, and historical documents because that's pretty much all the book is. The whole book talks about how the police figured out what they did and how the newspapers described what was happening. It helped that he worked at a newspaper so he could get information right as it came in. He even got to read the codes sent in before they were even published. I think it mattered in my thinking because it verified the information that the author wrote down. It helped me make sense of it all.


 One idea from the book that I think will stick with me for a long time is how hard Robert Graysmith worked to write the book. I know it isn't really about the book but I think it is important to recognize how determined he was to find out who the killer was even if he couldn't help it. When everyone gave up he kept researching and digging deeper to find facts and evidence that could put him away forever. It's almost something out of an inspirational movie because I don't think it would have mattered if everyone gave up including him but he didn't because he wanted to prove that it was Arthur Leigh. He wrote another book and even if his career wasn't in writing, Zodiac Unmasked was his life's work.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Well, the day is finally here. The day we all have been waiting for. The day we get to graduate this god forsaken place we call high school. Everyone knew this day would come and it has been a tough road to get here. Some, such as me, wished it came a lot sooner and others probably thought it went by too fast. The four years I have been here have been tough, not only in school but in my personal life. You all of no idea what I have had to go through to get here. Enough about me. This is about us. To the lucky people who get to go off and experience college I wish you luck and I am envious of your opportunity. I may not get the chance to go to college but I can say that I had a memorable experience with my colleagues. I wish everyone the best of luck and I hope you all succeed in whatever it is you plan to achieve. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Literary Analysis #2


1. Black Bart - Boulevardier Bandit is about a mysterious stagecoach robber in the late 1800s. It talks about almost all the robberies he did and it also talks about the people who sought out to capture him. The author describes how Black Bart got his nickname and what he did when we wasn't robbing stagecoaches. Black Bart had a reputation for being polite when asking for the safes and mail bags. He also robbed a lot of stagecoaches with an unloaded shotgun and put up sticks to look like guns to act as though he had accomplices. Black Bart was one of the most notorious stagecoach robbers ever and he was a huge pain to Wells Fargo and detectives across California.

2. George Hooper, the author of the book, was a reporter for thirty years and was a feature writer and editor for various California newspapers. It is no surprise that he chose to write about Black Bart. He also wrote Bacon & beans From a Gold Pan, a gold country classic. You can tell that Hooper really enjoyed studying and writing about classic stories in history about the 1800s. 

3. I chose this book because the mysterious nature of Black Bart interested me. I came across it when I was at the library looking for the book called Zodiac. I found the book but I also found this book and I really wanted to learn what times were like back then and how he robbed so many stagecoaches. The mystery of it all is what made me want to keep reading it. Through the whole book I was anxious to know if he would get caught or not.

4. The book was realistic in my opinion. It is factual and all of the events really happened. There is nothing too extreme that seems like it couldn't be real. The only thing I could really relate it too would be other robbers such as Jesse James and outlaw Billy the Kid. Any "old western" movie or book could easily resemble the events in this book. Since there were stagecoaches and gun fights and California wasn't as populated, it really resembles the the movies, books, and TV shows.


1. The author described the characters the best he could to match how they were in real life. He told stories that were actually true and said exactly what the characters said according to reports. I can honestly see these characters being real in the way he described them. The authors choices show that he likes Black Bart and probably wishes he could have met him. You can tell by the authors tone that he cared about Black Bart as if he wasn't a criminal. He almost admired his work and how he was polite when robbing the stagecoaches. He knew he was a criminal but I think the fact that he was so interesting made him focus on what he did and not realize how bad it was. 

2. The main character in the book, Charles Boles aka Black Bart, is a fit man. He was in the civil war so he knows how to handle his own and how to camp out in the wilderness for long periods of time. He is tough and he had to be for he went great distances to rob stage coaches then went back to San Francisco where he lived. He had a mustache that was thick and long. When he wasn't robbing stagecoaches he was a well dressed man who enjoyed living a comfortable, luxurious life. However when he was on the road, he was known for wearing a tan duster and having a flour sack with holes in it over his head to cover his identity. He eventually switched to a handkerchief with a slit in it and eventually even not wearing a mask at all. I think the cockiness of never getting captured caught up with him and gave him a false sense of invincibility. If I were to write them as fictional characters I would probably make it so he shot more people because in the real world that wouldn't happen and it didn't. 

3. The fact that he had so many distinct characteristics about how he robbed the stagecoaches made him an interesting character to write about. How he was almost always polite when asking for the safes and mail bags was something no one else did. Especially no one else tried to rob someone with an unloaded shotgun but he did. He also left poetry at some of the crime scenes and that's how he gave himself his nickname Black Bart. No one else did this at the time and no one was more notorious than he was.


1. One example of direct characterization is how nice the author made Black Bart seem even though he was an armed robber. Another example is how polite and well dressed he was when in San Francisco. He said that he liked living a clean, stylish life opposed to how is life was during the civil war. An example of indirect characterization was how Black Bart soon didn't like camping out after robbing stagecoaches. You could tell he was becoming too accustom to the rich life in San Francisco. Another example of indirect characterization is how the author said that Black Bart traveled forty to fifty miles through mountainous turain after a robbery. It shows that he is a very skilled woodsman and survivor. The author does a good job of letting the reader connect the dots for themselves. The author uses both approaches to directly tell the reader what Black Bart does and to let the reader figure it out for themselves and make obvious assumptions. This helped me understand the character better and I just asked myself what I would do in certain situations.

2. No, the authors syntax doesn't really change when focusing on the main character. It is almost the same throughout the whole book and he describes all of the characters with the same amount of detail.

3. The main character, Charles Boles, is a dynamic character. You can see how he changes through the book. An example would be how as the robberies went on he stopped asking politely and started rudely demanding the safes and mailbags. Even though demanding the money was to be expected from a robber, it wasn't how Black Bart worked at first. He also stopped wearing a flour sack over his head and started wearing a handerchief with a slit in it that revealed his eye color. 

4. I kind of feel as though I met the person after finishing the book. At some parts I felt like I was just reading a character. I felt like I was reading a character when he was robbing stagecoaches because I couldn't relate and it was mysterious.


1. The author used a journalistic style. The author was a journalist so it seemed like he was reporting on Black Bart and studying him. He used actual newspaper articles and police reports to help write this book. He also sought out to solve the mystery of where he went after he stopped his crimes.

2. The author used somewhat lengthy descriptions when describing the crime scenes and different detectives and of course the main character. He also focused on the action for a big part of the book because the chases and robberies are all exciting. This makes the book informative while still exhilarating. He did a good job at combining the two.

3. The author uses mystery to create an abnormal tone. In a way he uses foreshadowing to show how he was an outdoorsmen and ironically dies in the outdoors while on the run.

4. I think the authors attitude towards the subject was compassionate. It was easy to tell that he enjoyed writing about the mystery of Black Bart and that he enjoyed his work before writing books. He really enjoys informing the readers about the history of this very interesting character. He also studied Black Bart and uncovered the very possible truth of what happened to him. You can tell because he is one of the only people to have this theory about what happened.

5. The author just used articles written at the time of Black Barts crimes and he also used police reports. He probably used the police reports because those would be the most accurate accounts of what actually happened. This made me trust that he actually knew what he was writing about and how accurate it probably was. I would have no reason to doubt the information in this story unless he messed up on his findings or the police reports were false.


Something that will stick with me for a long time is how Black Bart robbed the stagecoaches. He had this kind evilness to him. He was polite, never robbed the passengers or stagecoach drivers and he used an unloaded shotgun. He didn't want to harm anyone and he was only robbing banks and stealing the money from mailbags. It really intersted me. Another thing that will stick with me is how poetic he was. He left poems at some of the crime scenes and again it was a peaceful evil that is difficult to describe. I don't know how but it will stick with me for years to come.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Vocabulary #7

cursory - hasty and therefore not thorough or detailed
A cursory glance at the questions caused the student to fail the test.

impetus - the force that makes something happen or happen more quickly
The assembly line is the impetus that helps cars get built.

pinnacle - the most successful point; the culmination
Just being promoted to manager, John was at the pinnacle of his career.

contumely - insolent or insulting language or treatment
The parents heaped contumely on their child for failing a test.

bereavement - the state of being sad because a family member or friend has recently died
My cousin died not to long ago and our whole family was in a constant state of bereavement.

cache - a collection of items of the same type stored in a hidden or inaccessible place
The computers cache held plenty of data.

consummation - the point at which something is complete or finalized
The consummation of a marriage is when the bride and groom kiss.

calamity - an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster
The fire was the latest calamity to strike the area.

avarice - extreme greed for wealth or material gain
Walter White was motivated by pride and avarice to continue cooking methamphetamine.

fortify - strengthen (a place) with a defensive works so as to protect against attack
The fortress was fortified and was virtually invincible to ground attacks.

erratic - not even or regular in pattern or movement; unpredictable
Her breathing was erratic and caused the teacher to worry about her well being.

ubiquitous - present, appearing, or found everywhere
John's ubiquitous influence was felt by the whole church group.

fortitude - courage in pain or adversity
The wounded soldier endured the rest of combat with great and honorable fortitude.

nonchalant - feeling or appearing casually calm and relaxed; not displaying anxiety, interest, or enthusiasm
The cat nonchalantly walked over to the freshly poured cat food trying to not look eager.

affect - have an effect on; make a difference to
The government shutting down will affect Americans in a number of ways.

effect - a change that is a result or consequence of an action or other cause
The lethal effects of hard drugs are life threatening.

misappropriate - dishonestly or unfairly take for one's own use
Misappropriate assets and commit fraud, some people are able to excuse their actions, thereby relieving any sense of guilt.

pragmatic - dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations
Hopefully the next president of the United States will take a pragmatic approach.

metacognition - awareness and understanding of one's own thought processes
The study of metacognition would be very interesting to learn about in that you can dive into someone's thoughts and way of thinking.

devoutly - in a devout and pious manner
Sarah was a devout catholic and confessed her sins every week.

To Be or Not To Be

To act, or not to act, that is the question
He does not know if it is better to suffer because of the situation he is in
And suffer from the bad luck
Or to fight back and eliminate the opposing force in his way
And to finish them by rebelling and fighting back
To die, to sleep
To die and put an end to the mental difficulties and decisions
That we are subject to
To die, to sleep
Maybe even to dream and to create my own world, but there is the catch

The rest confuses me so when I figure it out I will come back and edit this post

Monday, September 30, 2013


Hamlet's soliloquy has tons of meanings and you can find them by just one search on the internet. The first time I read it it was very hard to understand, mostly because it was written in old English. I now understand that to be or not to be means should he act or shouldn't he, not should he do it or shouldn't he do it. It's interesting how someone could struggle with doing something like Hamlet did when someone could just jump in and do things and hope for the best like Steve Jobs. I'm not saying Hamlet had an easy thing to do but the way he struggled with it surprised me. I feel as if others, such as me, would be so filled with hatred and anger that they would just kill their betraying uncle and get it over with. It's also interesting how Hamlet's soliloquy can be applied to everyday decision making and doing. No matter how simple it is it can be applied and actually make sense if you think about it enough.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


I think Steve is 100% right on multiple things. The first being you have to have trust in something. If you don't then what's the point? The second thing is that if you literally live everyday like it's your last then you won't have any regrets when that day actually comes. Near death experiences can be scary but they are definitely life changing. They make you realize how valuable life is and as weird as this sounds, I wish everyone could have a near death experience. Everyone would be so much more empathetic and caring and would also try to achieve more greatness in their lifetime. It would be a wonderful thing to see everyone following their dreams and doing what they love instead of grimacing at the thought of getting up and going to a job that they hate in the morning. The point is to never give up on what you love and never stop trying to get to what you love. Don't let anyone tell you any different.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Vocabulary #6

1. adroit - clever or skillful using the hands or mind
The mechanic was adroit and it made him good at his job.

2. amicable - having a spirit of friendliness; without serious disagreement or rancor
The two parents were in an amicable divorce for the sake of the child.

3. averse - having strong dislike of or opposition to something
The former CIA operative was not averse to secrets because that was part of his job.

4. belligerent - hostile or aggressive
The father was a belligerent drunk causing many problems in the family.

5. benevolent - well meaning and kindly
When he walked into the meeting, everyone had on a benevolent smile which made him calm down.

6. cursory - hasty and therefore not thorough or detailed
The victim only got a cursory glance at the robber so she could not identify him.

7. duplicity - deceitfulness; double-dealing
She described it as a scandal of financial duplicity and secrecy.

8. extol - praise enthusiastically
The sailors extolled at the sight of land.

9. feasible - possible to do easily or conveniently
The homework was a feasible task so she pushed it off until last minute.

10. grimace - an ugly, twisted expression on a person's face, typically expressing disgust, pain, or wry amusement
When the rookie cop found the dead body, he had a grimace look on his face that showed how new he was.

11. holocaust - destruction or slaughter on a mass scale, esp. caused by fire or nuclear war
Hitler's holocaust of the Jews during WWII was one of the worst in history.

12. impervious - not allowing fluid to pass through
The roofing on houses is supposed to be  impervious to rain.

13. impetus - the force of energy with which a body moves
The great employees of this company are the impetus behind the companies success.

14. jeopardy - danger of loss, harm, or failure
The police officer was in jeopardy of his life during the firefight.

15. meticulous - showing great attention to detail; very careful and precise
The investigator was very meticulous about his work.

16. nostalgia - a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period of place with happy or personal associations
The nostalgia that came over me after viewing a TV show I saw when I was a child was so immense that I almost felt like I was a child again.

17. quintessence - the most perfect or typical example of quality or class
The Catcher in the Rye is the quintessential American novel.

18. retrogress - go back to an earlier state, typically a worse one
The girl sadly retrogressed to the start of her rehabilitation.

19. scrutinize - examine or inspect closely and thoroughly
The customers were warned to scrutinize the fine print of the contract.

20. tepid - showing little enthusiasm
The crowd's applause after the show was tepid.

21. Accede- to assume an office or position
The king acceded to the throne.

22. Brandish- to waive or flourish something especially a weapon
Brandishing his sword he valiantly rode into battle on horseback.

23. Comprise- to be made up of
Seminars and lectures comprised the day's activities.

24. Deft- neatly skillful and quick in one's movement
The deft mechanic had our car ready in record time.

25. Destitute- without the basic necessities of life
The destitute children were a horrible sight when they were found in the woods.

26. Explicit- stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for confusion
The instructions were so explicit that nearly anyone could understand them.

27. Extirpate- to root out or destroy completely
Extirpated mammals had to be reintroduced to the forest after the fire.

28. Inopportune- something that occurs at a bad time
Courtney's grandmother came for an inopportune visit.

29. Ironic- something that happens in the opposite way as was expected.
It was ironic when a smoker told me not to smoke.

30. Musty- a very stale or damp smell.
The inside of the shed was musty several days after in had rained.

31. Officious- assertive of authority in an annoyingly domineering way.
The boss was very officious and everyone hated him because of it.

32. Ominous- giving the impression that something bad is going to happen
My girlfriends cat is very ominous.

33. Pinnacle- the highest or culminating point
The pinnacle of Thomas' career was when he got a raise.

34. Premeditated- to think out or plan something
The attack strategy was premeditated and it work out to their advantage.

35. Rampant- something unpleasant flourishing or spreading unchecked
The student was running rampant and caused a lot of trouble.

36 .Solace- to comfort someone in a time of sadness or distress
The mother gave solace to the widow.

37. Stately- something majestic in manner and appearance
The Ebert's had a stately home.

38. Supple- to bend or move in a graceful way
The stick they found on the beach was supple and was easily manipulated.

29. Suppress- to forcibly put an end to
Genie was suppressed from the outside world for thirteen years and had her childhood ruined.

30. Venal- to be motivated by bribery
The judge was corrupt and venal.

My Dashboard

-Weather Widget
-Yahoo Email Widget
-New York Times Widget
-Reddit Widget
-The Course Blog
It is also very bland in color. I will add more widgets as they come to mind and as I discover more.

Monday, September 16, 2013


I personally really like the idea of having tablets in the classroom. It offers new experiences for the students and even the teachers. Students need a new, fresh way of learning and I think this is a good way to go about doing so. On the other hand, many teachers, I know a few, would be strongly apposed to this. They would prefer face to face teaching and more interaction with the students such as Smith, one of the trainees who got the tablets. It would be better when it comes to books because students wouldn't have to carry around all of them and waste class time going to the library to get them. It would be impossible to lose your books unless you lost the tablet itself. They would be spending $30 million on tablets which could go to something more beneficial to the schools but it may be worth it in the long run. In the end I am still on the side that is for tablets in schools but I can see how people would be against it.

Vocabulary #5

adroit - clever or skillful using the hands or mind
The mechanic was adroit and it made him good at his job.

amicable - having a spirit of friendliness; without serious disagreement or rancor
The two parents were in an amicable divorce for the sake of the child.

averse - having strong dislike of or opposition to something
The former CIA operative was not averse to secrets because that was part of his job.

belligerent - hostile or aggressive
The father was a belligerent drunk causing many problems in the family.

benevolent - well meaning and kindly
When he walked into the meeting, everyone had on a benevolent smile which made him calm down.

cursory - hasty and therefore not thorough or detailed
The victim only got a cursory glance at the robber so she could not identify him.

duplicity - deceitfulness; double-dealing
She described it as a scandal of financial duplicity and secrecy.

extol - praise enthusiastically
The sailors extolled at the sight of land.

feasible - possible to do easily or conveniently
The homework was a feasible task so she pushed it off until last minute.

grimace - an ugly, twisted expression on a person's face, typically expressing disgust, pain, or wry amusement
When the rookie cop found the dead body, he had a grimace look on his face that showed how new he was.

holocaust - destruction or slaughter on a mass scale, esp. caused by fire or nuclear war
Hitler's holocaust of the Jews during WWII was one of the worst in history.

impervious - not allowing fluid to pass through
The roofing on houses is supposed to be  impervious to rain.

impetus - the force of energy with which a body moves
The great employees of this company are the impetus behind the companies success.

jeopardy - danger of loss, harm, or failure
The police officer was in jeopardy of his life during the firefight.

meticulous - showing great attention to detail; very careful and precise
The investigator was very meticulous about his work.

nostalgia - a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period of place with happy or personal associations
The nostalgia that came over me after viewing a TV show I saw when I was a child was so immense that I almost felt like I was a child again.

quintessence - the most perfect or typical example of quality or class
The Catcher in the Rye is the quintessential American novel.

retrogress - go back to an earlier state, typically a worse one
The girl sadly retrogressed to the start of her rehabilitation.

scrutinize - examine or inspect closely and thoroughly
The customers were warned to scrutinize the fine print of the contract.

tepid - showing little enthusiasm
The crowd's applause after the show was tepid.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Literature Analysis #1

Topic(s) and/or Event(s)

1) The book I chose is about exactly what it says in the title, The Theory of Everything. Stephen Hawking wrote the book and he dives into some of the outrageous theories that have come up in the past and proves most of them to be correct. It goes as far back as Aristotle's and even Galileo's theories about the universe. He explains what they had correct and what they were slightly off about. Hawking goes on to explain the basics of Einstein's theory of relativity and how important that discovery was. The book talks about the life and death of star, the big bang, black holes, and even the direction of time.

2) Stephen Hawking probably chose to write about this subject because he is an expert at it. He has one of the most brilliant minds when it comes to physics and even space in general. It's no surprise that he would choose this subject to write about.

3) I chose this book because space really interests me. It's always interested me because there is so much out there that we have yet to discover. It came to my attention because I was looking up books about space and time and saw that this one was written by a well known theoretical physicist. I knew I had to read it.

4) I found the book highly realistic because it is all about scientific facts. The book made connections to stories I have read that are about recent discoveries in science on the microscopic level. The book talks about how stars are created and recent discoveries have dug deeper into these elements that make up stars.


1) The author chose to write this book because it is informational and insightful. There is no doubt the author wanted the audience to think bigger and to learn from this book. The authors tone is informative and straight forward. This book is purely for information and inspiration.

2) x

3) The discoveries the people spoken about in the book makes them interesting enough to write about. They made some incredible observations about the universe and proposed some outrageous theories then went on to prove them. Their life's work was dedicated to their studies.


1) The author used an informative journalistic style of writing when writing this book. He wrote sentences like, "the work that Roger Penrose and I did between 1965 and 1970 showed that, according to general relativity, there must be a singularity of infinite density within the black hole".

2) The author uses lengthy descriptions of different theories and scenes throughout the book. In a way he kind of has to to get his point across. It is not easy describing the stuff he does in this book but he manages to do it. This makes the book seem complicated at times and makes you have to read a sentence two or three times to get it but he makes it work.

3) x

4) I think the author's attitude toward the subject was that he cared about the subject a lot. It was easy to tell that it really interested him and he enjoyed writing about it. The way he added so much detail to what he was describing was very thorough. You could tell that he wanted to inform the audience and that he cared about what he wanted everyone to read. The book isn't as long as you might think so in each lecture it is easy to understand the key points he was trying to make.

5) The author used the work written down by previous theoretical physicists and astronomers. He talked about what they discovered and how they came about doing that. He mentioned many people made important discoveries/proposed theories about the universe such as Aristotle, Galileo, Einstein, and many more. It gave a background about how the theories proposed today came about and made it easier when it came to understanding how they got to these theories about the universe. The author also mentioned that the theories and discoveries made today are far more accurate than the ones made by people in the Aristotle and Galileo era and even during Einstein's time. I think that is important to note because even more discoveries have yet to be found.

Enduring Memory

An idea from this book that I think will stick with me is the birth and death of a star. It is born when a large amount of gas, mostly hydrogen, starts to collapse in on itself due to gravitational attraction. The atoms of gas collide with each other as it contracts and the gas heats up. Eventually it will get so hot that hydrogen atoms will no longer bounce off of each other but rather merge with each other to form helium atoms. It then begins expanding like a balloon and lives its life over millions of years. When it has burn all of its fuel and comes to the end of its life it will either, depending on its size, expand then contract into a white dwarf or explode into a supernova. This supernova will create new galaxies and sometimes, if it is dense enough, create a black hole. Black holes interest me because we can't understand them yet because the laws of physics break down in them. The life cycle of a star is interesting to me because it is nature recycling itself and creating new matter with the leftovers of a star that was created by another star.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Vocabulary: Fall #3

accomplice - a person who helps another to commit a crime
The accomplice to the murder was never found.

annihilate - destroy utterly; obliterate
The construction workers were given orders to annihilate the old building.

arbitrary - based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system
The definitions that the teacher gave seem arbitrary.

brazen - bold and without shame
The congressman went about his business with a brazen assurance.

catalyst - a person or thing that precipitates an event
The governor's speech acted as a catalyst for the debate.

exodus - a mass departure of people
When the bell rings at the end of class, there is a mini exodus.

facilitate - make (an action or actions) easy or easier
The assistant was hired to help facilitate the businessman's lifestyle.

incorrigible - not able to be corrected, improved, or reformed
If caught cheating, the test will become incorrigible.

latent - existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden; concealed
Meditation is the process of rediscovering, enjoying and finding the positive qualities that already lie latent within you.

militant - combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favoring extreme, violent or often confrontational methods
He was the third westerner to be killed by suspected Islamic militants in Saudi Arabia in a week.

morose - sullen and ill-tempered
He became morose and withdrawn and would not talk to anyone.

opaque - not able to be seen through; not transparent
The glass was very opaque and wouldn't allow for a view of the town.

paramount - more important than anything else; supreme
The interests of the child are of paramount importance.

prattle - talk at length in a foolish or inconsequential way
The old women could prattle on all day.

rebut - claim or prove that (evidence or an accusation) is false
He had to rebut charges of acting for the convenience of his political friends.

reprimand - a rebuke, esp. an official one
In a relation to minor offenses or a first time offense you will receive a reprimand.

servitude - the state of being a slave or completely subject to someone more powerful
He imposed a sentence of fifteen years' penal servitude.

slapdash - done too hurriedly and carelessly
The students work was slapdash.

stagnant - showing no activity; dull and sluggish
The student was obviously very stagnant when it came to his work.

succumb - fail to resist
He has become the latest to succumb to the strain.

Monday, August 26, 2013


obesity - the condition of being grossly fat or overweight
Child obesity in America is at an all time and something must be done about it.

accumulate - gather together or acquire an increasing number or quantity of
The collector has been accumulating a lot of post cards over the years.

mass - a coherent, typically large body of matter with no definite shape
When my cat got off of my bed there was a mass of hair left over.

disease - a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, esp. one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury
There are many diseases that are only in Africa such as West Nile

diet - the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats
The football player had a terrific diet because he had to stay in shape for next season.

prevalence - the fact of condition of being prevalet; commonness
It is hard to assess dog fighting's prevalence.

stigma - a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person
The stigma of slavery remained long after it had been abolished.

prevent(able) - keep (something) from happening or arising; capable of being prevented
Disease from drinking water can be preventable if you simply use a filter or purifier.

adolescent - in the process of developing from a child into an adult
The child was still adolescent and naive.

cardiovascular - of or relating to the heart and blood vessels
The old mans cardiovascular system was not doing so well with his old age.

excessive - more than is necessary, normal, or desirable; immoderate
The police officer used excessive force on the man and was later fired and arrested for police brutality.

mechanism - a system of parts working together in a machine; a piece of machinery
The mechanism was malfunctioning causing the production line to slow.

sedentary - tending to spend much time seated; somewhat inactive
The mans sedentary lifestyle caused him to have health issues.

predispose -  make someone liable or inclined to a specified attitude, action, or condition
She was predisposed to becoming a drug addict because both of her parents used drugs in front of her while she was growing up.

syndrome - a group of symptoms that consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms
Stockholm's syndrome is when the hostages express empathy and sympathy towards their captors.


          The article I found was on the Huffington Post and it goes in to more detail on the "fat letters". It talked about how the letters were sent home to notify the parents that their child is overweight and it also says that they also sent letters telling them that their child is underweight or at a healthy weight. The letters have good intentions but they seem to be causing more problems than they fix.
          There are multiple problems with the body mass index (BMI) screenings. First, the BMI screenings can sometimes be inaccurate because they don't take into account muscle mass which can affect the weight of a the child. For example, a student named Cam Watson was an active member of the wrestling and football teams but was categorized as obese by the screenings. Second, if other students find out that a classmate received a letter, they may bully him. Bullying is already a problem and these letters might make it more of an issue than it already is. Finally, parents laugh at the letters and might even take offense when their child is called obese. Many arguments are the result of the letters and they seem to be doing more harm than good.
          On the other hand, the Department of Public Health has good intentions when doing the screenings and sending home the letters. Obesity in children has doubled in the last thirty years, according to Centers for Disease Control. The letters have hopes of halting this increase in obesity by drawing attention to the issue. The Department of Public Health has fears of having obese adults who are at risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Even though the letters have good intentions, they may have crossed the line into what is known as "fat shaming".
          In conclusion, the letters have good intentions but come across as offense and an invasion of personal matters. I think they were a good idea and a nice way to address the growing issue but they caused more problems than they fixed.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Text Analysis #1

In America, there are "fat letters" being sent to the parents of overweight or obese students after the school screens the students height and weight. The American Academy of Pediatrics thinks these letters will help the parents and students understand that they are overweight and maybe do something about it but I think it causes more problems than benefits. Inaccurate measurements may occur and a letter might be sent to someone who doesn't need one thus leading to arguments within the family and with the school. Some may look at the letters as an invasion of personal matters and take offense to it and say that it is none of their business. On the other hand, it might draw attention to the problem and have a successful outcome. It's all a matter of perspective.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


The article I found entitled the Bitter Truth About Fast Foods, linked here, talks about what is used when making fast food. It lists wood, sand, soil fertilizer, silly putty plastics, beetle juices and more as ingredients used for making the food at popular fast food chains.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

vocabulary: fall #1

expository - intended to explain or describe something
composition - the nature of somethings ingredients or constituents
assuage - to make less intense
decadence - moral or cultural decline especially after a peak of achievement 
hackneyed - lacking significance through having been overused
coalition - an alliance for combined action, especially a temporary alliance of politcal parties forming a govermnet or of states
transcend - be or go beyond the range of limits
meritorious - deserving reward or praise
lurid - very vivid in color especially so as to create a very unpleasantly or unnatural effect
petulant - childishly sulky or bad-tempered

Monday, August 19, 2013


1.) I'd say the only thing that would affect my participation in class would be tiredness or laziness and lack of interest. Most stuff will probably keep me interested but definitely not everything.

2.) An awesome best ever learning experience that I had that changed my life was actually a youtube video. It was a lecture by a theoretical physicist named Brian Cox about how the universe worked. It was really confusing at first but it really opened my mind up to how the universe worked and how large it actually was. After watching it several times, I started understanding it more and more and it really interested me and made me want to study the universe. It caused me to think about how small and minuscule the earth is and especially how small we are. In a way it made me feel very unimportant as well as the whole human race and made me realize how lucky we got to have the right combination of elements on a planet that is the perfect distant away from a star to sustain life. It also made me wonder why we don't put more money into space programs to venture out there and learn more about stars, blacks holes, supernovas, etc. Another thing it made me wonder is why countries just don't unite to create a space program called EARTH or something like that and group resources together. It really got me thinking.

3.) I am excited about reading pieces of work that I probably would never have read before. I am concerned about the amount of work and not finishing all of it because of work I have in other classes. I think it will make a practical difference in my life by keeping my mind focused on goals and learning new things.


2.) TIME Magazine
3.) National Geographic

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What is expository composition?

I think expository composition is explaining the structure of composition or pieces of writing.


The Theory of Everything by Stephen Hawking

This book really got my attention because it talks about previous theories, such as Aristotle's theory about how the solar system and stars work, to Stephen Hawking's amazing theories about how the universe works today. It all makes sense when he talks about it and it really peaked my interest reading about it. I literally couldn't stop reading and I kept telling my self, "okay only one more page then I'll put it down" then I found myself reading ten more pages just because it was so interesting.