Reflection on 09-10 school year

06/02/2010

Q: Reflect on what you have learned this year in class – this is a mandatory submission for your final 5 blog posts so make it a good one. 🙂

Wow, all I could say is that time goes by so fast! It’s like a year is a page of a thick book, and all it takes to turn a page is a split of a second… I clearly remembers the beginning of the year. I have matured a lot mentally (Ms. P, you were right! You told us in the beginning of this year that we will find ourselves much more mature at the end of the school year), and I discovered a lot about who I am and what kind of life I want. But right now, I am caught between two contradicting feelings; happiness and regret.

The former, I feel this way because it is finally summer vacation! Just one more week and freedom from school! Of course, hagwons are waiting for me out there, but I get to go there with my best friends. After all, at hagwon there is no worry or pressure of grades and tests… I am also happy that after the last day of school, many many cool things are waiting for me. First, on Thursday, after the last final exam, I am going to play some paintball, on Friday, I am going to just relax at home (got a list of movies I need to watch!),  and finally, on Saturday, I am performing in an music ensemble that does a community service work -which is totally cool and worthwhile – and after that, I think I am sleeping over with my buddies – Jaeook, Youngkyu, Dongmyung- and going to watch THE 2010 SOUTH AFRICA WORLD CUP! GREECE vs. KOREA! We’ve been waiting for such a longtime. Oh, and all three days,  I am going to lay back and watch the baseball games on TV. Wait, oh no, this post has turned into my agenda for next week… back to my topic.

The latter, of course, is just an annual thing- by this time of year, all the students regret. Now that I look back on my school year, I think, “I could have done much better than this… why did I slack off?” My grades aren’t bad, but because I know I could do better than this, I regret. Another sadness that runs through me is something that I developed not quite long ago. In fact, this feeling, or more like a thought, happened first at the end of the 9th grade year. When I reflected back on my year back then, I thought to myself… “wow, what have I accomplished this year? I could have done many cool things and experienced many new stuff.” I could have learned how to play the bass guitar in 9th grade when I had more free-time, or I could have watched more movies… I personally blame MSN, Ichat, and Facebook for this loss of time. This year was a little bit better. I actually accomplished quite a lot of thing; I have founded the baseball club which was a GREAT SUCCESS, I have taken an AP and will be taking a SAT II this Saturday, I did a lot of community service -from which I learned A LOT about society and life in general-, I joined the tennis team, and so on. But I still think I could have done much more.. I could have joined the drama backstage or technology crew, I could have submitted  a movie to the Phoenix Film Festival (directing and filming a movie is a new talent and a joy I’ve discovered this year), or I could have went out for an officer election (which happened today).

As far as the classes go, I liked this year’s schedule. There was not a class that was too painfully boring (except math, since it is boring by the subject itself), and I loved the teachers -who were nice, warm, and passionate- this year. In this post, I would like to talk about one in specific; English. Oftentimes, in movies and TV shows, English classes are often depicted as the worst and most boring class in high school. But it was quite the opposite with Ms. Patterson’s class. We always had interactive, integrated lessons, where we got to talk and communicate more, as well as develop our English language proficiency. One biggest thing I learned in this class is how to express myself clearly. In past debates and discussion in other classes, due to the nervousness and pressure, I would often sound ambiguous and  unclear. People would go, “huh?” But now, due to a plethora of discussions, I have finally learned how to make myself verbally clear as crystal. I think this is the most important thing I have learn in this course, not to mention how to behave well in class 🙂

Before Ford Vs. After Ford

05/20/2010

Blog Post: Make connections between society and BNW (book + film). What’s eerily correct? Where is Huxley way off track? What do you think about this book/film thus far?

These days, especially in Korea and Thailand most recently, many people are unhappy with their government. In Thailand, many Coups were attempted, and in Korea, people started the candle protests against the government. Living in Korea, one will often hear people derogating the president and the government for their poverty. On the other hand, people of BNW never question their government (of course, except Bernard). In my opinion, society now and Brave New World are different in people’s attitudes toward their government.

These days, according to Brave New World sense, social stability does not exist. People are constantly protesting and revolting, nations of the world go through political shift often between parties, and in certain parts of the world, civil wars very hot. This is directly opposite of BNW, in that in Brave New world there is no such thing as political parties; one one, the World State and the Controllers, rule over the world. There is no such thing as rebellion or riot happening in this world. Everyone totally trusts the World State – Lenina, for example, believes that the World State can’t possibly be wrong.

Some might ask, “then what is the cause of such difference?” and the answer would be that the two governments of different times treat their citizens differently. In BNW society, democracy and liberal ideas don’t exist. One’s freedom is totally ignored and undermined, and brainwashing is frequent. However, for the most part, the modern society respects liberalism and democracy (except for few nations such as Cuba and N. Korea).

Then can we really judge which one is better? I don’t think so. Society we live in is better in that people are given freedom and democracy, while things are always unstable and susceptible for changes. On the other hand, BNW is better in that things are always stable and safe, while most of the citizens are not  given freedom and democracy. In fact, they have limited freedom of speech and press, since the government controls them from the birth.

I think Huxley was in the right direction. He totally predicted the trend -safety and stability- that the human being are entering these days. For example, the United States is slowly becoming to resemble BNW in that human rights are sometimes ignored in case of emergency (CIA, Patriot Act, and etc..). He totally got the grasp of how human society would proceed and develop, and he is basically warning our society of the future they might face.


Southern Masters!

04/27/2010

On April 25, 2010, I was hanging around in Mr. Joo’s chemistry class. Then I saw a new object on Mr. Joo’s table… It was a CD! He always had Vampire Weekend, and an acoustic guitar CD, but this one was something new… It was called, “Southern State Annual Series- 11th Edition Southern Music.” At first, I thought it was a CD of trumpet songs, because the album cover was a picture of a girl with the trumpet.

Yes, so I asked him, “what is this CD?” and he responded, “I don’t know, Mr. Greenwood gave it to me. I didn’t try yet. You can try it first.” So I said yes, and brought it home! I’ve always wondered what southern rock was like. I quickly exported to my iTunes, and started listening. The first song was called, “You Can’t Buy Me Love” by Barbara Lynn. It was a delightful, a beatles kind of song with some sort of jazz added to it. It was really upbeat, and the vocal (obviously Barbara Lynn) had a great voice! Then I thought to myself, oh, this must be southern rock!

video of Barbara Lynn, though different song.

After listening to Lynn’s song, I skimmed through, and then I got to Linda Martell’s “Color Him Father.” It had a greeaaaat intro. Just like modern day songs, it started with a quiet chords of an acoustic guitar. So I listen to it. But Whaaat theeee! This song was totally different from the first one. Instead of being a jazzy song, it was rather a country song.

At this point, I was confused. What exactly is southern rock? All the songs in the album sounded all different. It was like a big jumble of every genre in the world. So I went to wikipedia, and read the actual definition.

“Southern Rock developed in the Southern United States from rock ad roll, country music, and blues, and is focused generally on electric guitar and vocals.”

Oh, so the first song, the jazzy blues music, as well as the Elvis Presley kind of songs, and country music of Martell are all supposed to be collectively categorized as Southern Rock! Then there was a chart of development of the genre by period. Briefly summarizing it, 1950-1960 was a period when rock and roll (Elvis Preseley) represented Southern Rock. 1970 was the golden age, or peak of popularity, when jazz,  blues, country, folk and classical music was added to the previously existing rock and roll style. So this is the period when Southern Rock totally separated from other genres of music! Also, during the early 1970s, hard rock Southern groups emerged. 1980-1990, the popularity cooled down, but its influence continued. Popular groups, such as AC/DC (I didn’t know they were from Australia!), were influenced by Southern Rock. lynyrd skynyrd, during the 1990’s appeared to represent Southern Rock (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHsDa9_HSlA). From 2000- to present, Southern rock are inclining to hard rocks rather than the old countries, blues, and rock and roll kind of Southern rock.

PHEW! So today, I learn something about a new genre of music. My friend always told me, “Dennis, I like your taste of music, but I think your songs are so similar.” I guess it’s time for me to expand my musical knowledge and preference!

I love learning… why?

04/13/2010

Yes, I love learning. Why? Because there are so many things I don’t know!

When we are young, we always wonder about many things, and those things seem very unreasonable. However, we just admit it as fact what adults tell us, and never visit it again. When we grow up, we study at school. When we study at school, we revisit those things that we just left to be a fact. For example, when I was young, I always asked my mom why does a giraffe have a long neck, and my mom answered, “it is because he needs to look far away to be alert all the time.” Now that I learned biology and read more about the species, I know that it is due to the natural selection to reach more plants up in trees. In addition to this, I learn HOW they manage the long necks. Giraffes have a humongous hearts that pumps much stronger than humans’. This is why I like learning: I get to revisit the questions I haven’t solved, and get to obtain the real answers for them.

In addition to the fact that I can get to obtain an explanation of things I wondered, by learning, I can be more persuasive and trustworthy. Because if one knows a lot about the world, he looks more credible. Credibility is a factor that makes a person a good friend or coworker! So I like to learn things to be more trusted.

I am Count Draacoola…

04/10/2010

I am here to compare 1931 version of Dracula and relatively modern version of 1992. Just to show you how classic the former is, and what I mean by “relative modern” the latter is, I will give you a link to short clips of the two movies:

(Yes, the most striking difference of the two is that one is black and white and the other, color!)

One similarity I found is that they both put Renfield not as a patient but as a insane butler of Dracula. This, I think, is because it is sort of awkward and unreasonable to put Renfield as a patient. But I don’t think this is a great idea, because Renfield takes up a big role in the original novel, but by making him a butler who gets fired as soon as the novel starts, basically, the big role he took gets useless.

Another similarity I found is that Dracula doesn’t look so benevolent as described in the novel. In the novel, it is said that the Count is a gentleman who has a great adequate with generosity, but in both movies, he looks vile and rather disgusting.

The difference between the two is that they show different level or sexuality. What I mean by this is that 1992 version of this is more openly and vividly depicting the part where the three witches come out. A lot of kissing in 1992 as well! However, the older one does not, and the three witches are nothing but three women wearing pajamas. I guess this is matter of society; in 1930’s, the society was rather conservative, but as time passed, people became more understanding about these things.

Well, they both are indeed good works in their own sense. Though they are both outdated and sort of childish in terms of the special effects and acting, they must have been good when it was first introduced!

Okie, time for me to think about myself?

04/10/2010

It is always necessary for a person to look back on his or her life and fix his problems, mostly personality-wise. If he or she doesn’t, he will leave a bad impression that he is stubborn and selfish. I have looked at many people so far in my relatively short, 16 years of life, who people call selfish, and one similarity they all share is that they never accept their weakness. So I am trying to look for my weakness in life!

MY GREATEST WEAKNESS THAT I CAN TALK ABOUT IN PUBLIC IS THAT I GET DISTRACTED EASILY. All of my friends, even the most organized and coordinated ones, have the same problem. Some might say that it is because we are teenagers, but I think it is all because of the “white devils” as Ms. P refers to (in my case, it’s a silver devil). Macbooks are always distracting us. When we open it up for wikipedia or ABC Clio, we end up in Facebook. When we open our macbooks to check Family Connection and Powerschool, we end up talking to our friends about the recently uploaded test grades in MSN or Ichat. Why are macbooks so easy and fast that we barely have time to realize that we are digressing? Besides this commonly shared problem, I have a problem for myself. Even without a macbook,  I tend to waste time doodling around in my bed, sofa, or on the floor (this is Korea!), and often fall asleep. Other time, I simply walk out of my room to get a glass of water or something, and end up watching the ball games with my dad in the living room, forgetting about my assignments. I really need to fix this, or else, I would have no time to do anything memorable in my high school years besides baseball, homework, and sleeping! Personally, I am very curious about many things, and love to try them, but if I continue to live this way, I would have no time! So, I am actually trying these days ( though I am slowly losing the motivation at time goes): I put my macbook in the far far corner of my room, and try to divide homework to macbook and non-macbook parts, and do my non-macbook assignments first (usually math, chem, Spanish.) In addition, I know that you’d get sorta disturbed by this fact, Ms. P, but I try to do all my daily routine in web surfing at school. Oh, I should talk about my daily task.

1. go see how LG twins did the night before, and read articles about the game!

2. Facebook!

3. Powerschool!

4. check my hotmail!

Yes, I do all these at school. Some classes (certainly not my English F!) tend to go a bit slow-paced and the teachers tend to lose us, hence, I end up falling in the never-ending abyss of Internet. These days, though, the teachers have noticed that the kids are not paying attention, and have gotten the knowhow’s. Some teachers, such as my chemistry teacher, make the boring parts of the class really short by making the lectures concise (10-20 min at max), and give us time to do whatever we want. Some others try to give incentives to those who pay attention; they make class lecture super important, that if we don’t pay attention, we get bad grades. Some others minimize the electronic parts of their classes, and go back to old school, paper and pencil class style.

Anyways, yeap. So this is how I am trying my butt out to become a time conserving student. I have a longggg way to go still.

Blog Posts de Mis Amigos!

03/27/2010

Up to this point, my blog was like a diary, in that I put my thoughts and that I don’t need to think about what other think. But we had an assignment where we were required to look at three other blogs done by my friends, and I realized, wow, somebody is looking at my own blog with a critical perspective! I should really do my best to write a masterpiece for every single post.

So for the assignment, I looked at Harin, Soho, and Sharon’s. They all had three distinctive writing styles, and I think all three are good! First of all, Harin’s (http://harinl12.wordpress.com/) diction and language were really good. Her voice is very strong, but at the same time, it is not so serious. I appreciate her style, and I could see the areas I need to improve. Also, the visuals are thoughtfully chosen, and it contains a deeper meaning. So Harin!

Soho’s blog, (http://sohoc12.wordpress.com/) was more of a serious manner. His language is that of a debate style. I see this as a good way to express oneself, because in a cyber world like Internet, it is not always to show oneself completely, because anyone can see you. Also, this is how Soho talks, so I guess it is Soho-ish! 🙂 I learned that I should keep my voice more “official” because many different types of people will read my blog.

Sharon’s blog (http://sharony12.wordpress.com/) was in the middle of Harin and Soho in terms of voice. However, she had a really special topics, such as a topic about friendship. I guess Sharon is direct opposite of Soho.

Well, all three of them were special, and I saw what I lacked in their writing, such as a good diction, and I realized I should try harder to perfect my writing in the posts, because anyone could read my writing. 🙂

How Geography Shapes People.

03/09/2010

For those who do not know Asian culture that well, I will give you a brief lecture! Japan, Korea, and China all have similar culture; they share similar architectural designs, similar language (many Korean words derive from Chinese), and similar “oriental” and purified image. However, the three are very different groups of people. Usually, Japanese people are very quiet and private, Koreans and Chinese are less quiet. Chinese people have very strong individualistic characters (I haven’t met many Chinese people… this is based on a book called, Korea Unmasked.), while Koreans have exclusive, protective nature.

In Asian Studies class, we were to read about Japan, Korea, and China, and where their difference derive from. Quite surprisingly, it was geography. Some may say a different course of history has taken these three nations into three different ways, which made them different people, and this is quite right, because the different course of history was in fact caused by geography.

Koreans have protective nature that tends to exclude foreign culture, because it’s a peninsula. Because it is a peninsula, and peninsula is usually the safest way into continents, external powers, such as the Europeans and Japanese have tried many times to capture the Korean peninsula: Japan in the past has attempted multiple times to conquer Korea in attempt to conquer China. Because they were conquered too much, people naturally formed such characters, along with impatience.

Japanese value manner and etiquette more than anything (which reminds me of Victorian Era of Britain), because they are living in an island. Just like U.K, when people were having a war, there is no where else to retreat to, since an island is obviously enclosed. So people naturally formed the rules and good mannerism to avoid conflicts with each other.

China is a gigantic landmass, and it is located in geocentric area of Asia. Hence it has formed sense of pride and individualism emerged from there.

This was very interesting, honestly, because I’ve always enjoyed identifying nationalities of Asian people when I was living in the States. Because Irvine, where I lived, was full of Japanese, Chinese, and us Koreans, I had many chances to distinguish between these people. Within a year of living in Irvine, I had formed the ultimate skill in distinguishing the people this way, and I almost made a equation for this. It was something like, extremely “short pants + long hair = Japanese.” Now I see where the difference come from! Very interesting.. 🙂

While Reading Brave New World

02/27/2010

It is always fun to see how people in the past predicted 21st century. I can’t find the source, but I once saw some series of paintings that the French artists in late 19th and early 20th century drew regarding “future world” (which is obviously now). Some even had an aircraft that looks like a helicopter! Another French guy, Nostradamus, predicted the end of the world to be in 1999. (But hey, we’re still living!) Like this, people have been very curious about the future of the humans and have predicted it. The movie 2012, which was actually based on a Mayan prophecy, is also about an apocalypse. We don’t know yet –who knows, we might be running frenziedly to avoid a volcanic eruption or an earthquake two years from now, or we might be laughing about the Mayans and how they scared the crap out of us — and I think worrying about the future is yet another common fear that we have in ourselves along with the fear of death.

Personally, I am very interested in stories about apocalypse and post-apocalypse for some reason. My head is not filled with destructive thoughts or anything, but somehow I am always drawn into this topic. This is why my favorite books are The Road by Cormac McCarthy and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, which talk about the post-apocalyptic world, the world after the end of the previous one. Now I am reading the novel, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I’ve been reading it, and even in the first 60 pages, I found it really interesting that Huxley is satirizing the humans and warning the people of the generations to come.

Naturally, because I have been influenced by these things many times, I think about the future too, just like the French guys long time ago. It is not necessarily the typical worries about what job am I going to have, and what kind of life am I going to have. These thoughts that I have about future is not worries, since I am very intrigued and interested! For example, three weeks ago, I taught my mom how to fix the Internet connection, but my mom didn’t get it. So I was like, “MOM HOW CAN YOU NOT GET THIS? JUST PRESS THIS BUTTON RIGHT HERE!” But at that moment, I realized, 30 years from now, I would be getting scolded by my son for not understanding the “modern” technology. Same thing is happening with my grandma. My grandma does not get how to send a text message with her cellphone, and my uncles and dad have tried so many times to teach her, but she does not get it (My dad is now very annoyed by this). 30 years from now, what are we going to have? Is my generation going to have problems adapting to the new things?

This type of thoughts is what I’m talking about. When watching TV, my dad told me that when the first color TV was introduced, everyone was like, “wow, this is DEFINITELY going to be the ultimate form of television!” They thought color TV is the best and last thing the human-being can develop in the field of vision, and they couldn’t imagine what other better TV’s will be developed in the future. Now we have HD TV, and 3D TV from LG and Sony. Samsung is now close to developing a TV that can create a hologram. (Hologram is: http://www.onepicturesworth.com/files/images/hologram.jpg) I can’t imagine how far we can get. Are we going to have a TV that can give us all 5 senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste?

Quite possibly, in the far future, we could form a society similar to the one in Brave New World: Clone people for workforce, divide the human classes, drug the infants so that when they grow up, they are too dumb to ever rebel. Or we might sleep-teach and brainwash the babies so that the world does not have any dispute or conflict. Otherwise, we might create an “utopian society” like the one in the book, Giver, where everyone looks the same without skin color. Matrix, Fahrenheit 451, and many other literature and films have shown us vivid images. At the same time I’m interested, I am also worried because technology and science have developed things, oftentimes, that has become quite detrimental to the human race. For example, Swansea, an Welsh town, did not have so many drug addicts 40 years ago. But now, almost all the young 20’s are addicted, and companies and investments are leaving. Why didn’t they have so many drug addicts the generation before, but now? Isn’t it because new drugs have appeared, and the older classic ones have gotten cheaper? (http://www.vbs.tv/watch/rule-britannia/swansea-love-story-1-of-6–2)When did the PC rooms in Korea start to abduct happy teens and turn them into angry game addicts? When did more than 50% of a class start to wear glasses? Isn’t it all after the development of things such as personalized computers? I’m not trying to be an ascetic go-back-to-nature guy, but I’m very worried! (I sound old, don’t I? haha)

I just wish that people don’t accept new things so easily, because I don’t want my great great grandsons to live in a society like the one I’ve just read about. Huxley has done a good job of warning me about the technology and our future, because reading Brave New World has given me the idea of questioning new things. If you haven’t read the novel, I advise you to do so! (and the ones I mentioned above too!)

So I’d like to you watch these videos..

1.

4:23 is what I’m talking about!

2.

vision for 2019. It is not so far away!

OPE #2 Peer Editing

02/27/2010

In my English class, we have a thing called OPE (short for One Paragraph Essay) and the second one is about Dracula. The thesis the teacher gave us was: “In Dracula, Bram Stoker uses gothic elements to effectively capture the reader’s attention.” and we have to write one paragraph that proves the thesis! And last class, we had to peer edit each other’s OPE. Minhee and I did each others, and yeap, this is it!

Minhee’s Original Essay:

Gothic Influences
Thesis: 1-2 sentences that include an interesting lead in, the title, author, and thesis statement.

In Dracula, Bram Stoker uses gothic elements to effectively capture the reader’s attention. One of the main elements he used for his story was effective use of supernatural beings. Dracula being a vampire and therefore a supernatural being had inhuman strength. Supernatural beings and elements intrigue humans to an extent where it creates a gothic atmosphere. The more supernatural the character is the more horrifying or mysterious the character seems to us. Jonathan is first introduced to Count Dracula and notices his mysterious feature, which foreshadows what, might happen later in the novel.

“..cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth; these protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years.” (23)

The unusual looks of Dracula not only give a peak for the rest of the story but it also keeps the readers’ attention. Dracula is not someone anyone would meet any day and his appearance heightens the reader’s interest. Jonathan in chapter one when he first arrives at his “prison” his first impression of the mansion is not so good.

“..tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the moonlit sky..” (20)

Stoker uses the building architecture design and even the surrounding such as the moon to fascinate the readers. The whole atmosphere is shown as dark and gloomy with his use of gothic terms. Stoker uses these key elements in Gothic literature to spur the readers’ interest by using components that captures the imaginations of humans.

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