Throwback Thursday: Vicaria Blanca – 2013

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


Ever been in history class and found it weird that people didn’t have medicine all those years ago, and died from common diseases? You’d think that they form of medicine didn’t work, but actually, some of those methods are still used today, and some people think they work better the usual run of the mill medicine we all use! The elder I interviewed for this project on the use of plants, as medicine was my grandfather, Jose Rios. He was born and raised in Cuba, where he met my grandmother and had his three children, my uncle, my mother, and aunt. They moved to Miami, Florida when he was forty years old in 1980, and has been here ever since. He speaks primarily Spanish and can understand English, though when he speaks it, it’s heavily accented and usually has butchered grammar. He is now 72, and he cares for my younger sister and me after school everyday.

When I interviewed him, he told me he uses Vicaria Blanca (White Vicaria) to treat pink eye, and other problems. He’s been using it since he was a child, when his grandmother used it on him and taught him how to use it. He told me that to use it, you boil the flower bowling in water, into a type of tea looking liquid, greenish-yellow in color. You then use it as eye drops or wet a napkin with it and hold it on the eye. He’s been using it for over 50 years and says it’s worked for him every time. He says he prefers to use this then over the counter eye drops because it has the natural vitamins and has less chemicals, which makes it good to use on small children and adults.

Based on the research done by the University of Florida Herbarium, Vicaria Blanca is useful for treating eye infections. Based on a study in 1995, the drops made from boiling the flower in water does help your vision. And according to Wikipedia, Vicaria Blanca, a type of Madagascar Periwinkle commonly found in tropical and sub-tropical regions, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat many things, including: diabetes, malaria, Hodgkin’s disease, and well as some extracted substances used to treat leukemia. On the other side however, if ingested orally, it can be fatal and if not, it causes hallucinations. So, if used on children, it should under supervision.

What I’ve learned from this, is that plants can be used as medicine just as they did thousands of years ago, and that, though I hadn’t known it, my grandfather has been using it on me since I was an infant. It seems odd that people would still use these things, but they do, I’ve also learned that they still use poisonous plants…at least people don’t poison themselves anymore!

Throwback Thursday: “I Hear America Singing”/”Let America Be America Again” Compare and Contrast Essay: Block Organization – Views of America

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.

“I Hear America Singing”/”Let America Be America Again”

Compare and Contrast Essay: Block Organization

Views of America

“Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes and “I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman (who inspired Langston Hughes as a writer) are two important pieces of American poetry. They have several similarities despite being written several decades apart, and both are about America, and life in America. Both poems reflect on their author’s views on America at the time at which they were written. However, those views are very different in each poem because of the differences in experiences and culture of their two authors.

The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement in New York around the 1920’s. The movement consisted of African-American poets, singers, and artists beginning to express their own voice, style, and culture instead of mimicking popular white styles as they had in the past. “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes was written during this time. This poem is quite long, maybe a page and a half long. In the poem, Langston Hughes talks about the American dream of freedom and equal opportunity, and how it failed to live up to that promise. He writes about wanting to change things, change America to fit the values it was built on, “O, let America be America again/The land that never has been yet/And yet must be/the land where every man is free.” About how, as a black man, the American dream never seemed to apply to him, and how he wants to change that. You can see this in the lines “There’s never been equality for me, nor freedom in this ‘homeland of the free’”. “Let America be America Again” is a more negative poem, with themes of racism based on Hughes’ own experiences.

“I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman was published in the 19th century, a few decades prior to Hughes poem. This poem is in, comparison quite short, maybe half a page long. In this poem, Walt Whitman writes how different people lead different lives but each works in harmony with another. He writes of different professions singing different songs, but together they are all singing, “What belongs to him or her and to none else”. This is a more metaphorical poem, as I doubt everyone he met was always singing about his or her work. But his intention was to convey that people work hard and take pride in their work. Unlike Hughes, he doesn’t speak of the differences in people or in himself. He writes about people as a whole, not separate. His poem is more positive, with themes of unity. People sing joyfully, you can tell by the line “I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear” because carols are happy songs. As a white man, Whitman didn’t have the same experiences as Hughes. So his poem is not tinged with bitterness or sadness, unlike “Let America Be America Again”.

In all, both poems show the author’s view on American life. Hughes shows a harsher reality, he is straightforward with what he says needs to change. He speaks of the dissonance between what America claims to be and what it is. And uses his own experiences, as an African-America who is free but not really as evidence to support his claims. Whitman paints a happier, more metaphorical picture. People get along, are grouped as a whole: people. Not separated. If he noticed any of the problems Hughes did he didn’t mention them. He writes about Americans having pride in themselves and their work. Hughes came only a few decades after Whitman, but their views on the very same place differed greatly. And though Whitman came earlier, he is the one who writes as if America already has had its problems fixed. He didn’t see the same problems Hughes does, because he did not experience them himself.


Throwback Thursday: Research – BioTech Product

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


Ibuprofen is an over the counter medication, in the category of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) used to treat pain, cramps, fever, and to reduce inflammation. It usually comes in the form of a pill, but does come in liquid form, usually for children. It was developed as a safer alternative to aspirin (though its use has been linked to increased chances of liver and heart diseases). It is manufactured by various companies, under brand names such as “Advil”, “Nurofen”, and “Moltrin”. Some specific companies include: Bayer Healthcare, Johnson and Johnson, and Pfizer Inc.

Ibuprofen is a synthesized compound. The process begins with a compound called “2-methylpropylbenzene” and through a six step process of adding and removing various molecules (a process which has since been reduced in what is called “green” synthesis), you end up with Ibuprofen. The original method was called the “Boot Process” after the company with the original patent, but now the “Hoechst Process” is used (this would be that new “green synthesis”). With the Hoechst process, the original
2-methylpropylbenzene is still used, then a H2 catalyst is added and then a CO catalyst is added. Through this, the proper molecules are added and removed to form Ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen was first developed and patented by the Boot Pure Drug Company in the UK. The research team was led by Stewart Adams. Ibuprofen became available as an over the counter medication in America in 1974 when the American Upjohn Company was given permission to market it as Motrin. Later, the Boots Company also sold it in America under the name Rufen.

Throwback Thursday: Heroes Need Followers Synthesis Essay

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


Each of our protagonists are considered the heroes of their stories, though they had similar aims of making their worlds better, and very different methods of achieving their goals (with varying degrees of success), they are all none the less the heroes of their respective stories. However, the heroes are not heroes without their followers. None of the heroes we see in the following novels attained that heroism by standing alone, because they are too easily shunned or dismissed that way. If they stand with others, they are not so easily ignored, and can more likely “enlighten” others or otherwise attain their goal. According to Plato’s definition, enlightenment is achieved by sharing your acquired wisdom with others, to do this, V from V for Vendetta, Harrison from “Harrison Bergeron”, and Jonas from The Giver all need their followers in order to become heroes.

Hero has several definitions with different connotations. Ranging from “the chief main character…” to “a man greatly admired” or “a legendary warrior of great strength”. We can fit some form of this definition to each of our protagonists. Showing they are heroes in terms of the works in which they appear.

Take V from V for Vendetta by Alan Moore for example. He is perhaps a controversial hero, but for his story, he is the hero. He achieves his goals, despite his death, but he only achieves them vicariously through Evey. Without his training and manipulation of Evey his plan of overthrowing the government would not have worked. He needed people on his side, to understand his ideals in order for them to come to life. He is the original “enlightened man” in V for Vendetta, and he becomes “truly enlightened” as per Plato’s definition when he begins to share the art, music, and literature he has saved from destruction. Without Evey, he is a terrorist, trying to change the world for the worst. With her, more citizens are swayed to his view, and despite perhaps being a tragic hero through his death; he becomes a hero nonetheless.

We see this similarly in The Giver by Lois Lowry. Jonas becomes the Receiver of Memory, and with this title becomes “special”, this is of course, a classic hallmark of a hero. But Jonas does not become a hero simply through this. It is The Giver and Gabe that make him a hero from his potential to be one. He gets the memories, as well as strength to carry out his plan from The Giver. The Council assigns him his role as the Receiver. And ultimately, it is the memory of love, The Giver’s love for Jonas, and Jonas’s similar love for Gabe that incites his heroism, stealing himself to make a change, to bring the memories back, all in order to save Gabe’s life. Without Gabe, the entire course of the story is changed. Jonas would not have left the community, or at the very least he would have left much later. Jonas becomes a hero when he decides to make a change for what he believes is the better, and without Gabe, he never would have made the choice at all, for there would have been no choice to make.

Then there are those like the Unknown Citizen, who is not, by any definition of the word, a hero. He stands alone, and does as he is told, and dies without being known. Had he died for a cause, for his cause, he’d have been a tragic hero, much like Harrison Bergeron, but he did not have a cause, or a conflict to solve, or a person to save. He was not special in anyway. He stood alone, and was in no way a hero for his world. And that is exactly the point the poem made. Heroes are known, remembered, praised. And the Unknown Citizen was praised by the government for not trying to be a hero, and his thanks was his name already forgotten.

Heroes need others in order to be heroes. To act as foils to make them better. To incite the heroism they have the potential for. To start the support, because there is power in numbers and multiple voices are harder to ignore. Heroes need others because they are by nature constructed by others, they must be seen as heroes to be heroes. Heroes without others aren’t heroes, they simply are.


Throwback Thursday: Gene Therapy Treated Disease – Hemophilia B

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


Hemophilia is a genetic, X-linked disorder that causes a lack of clotting factors in the blood, which leads to prolonged bleeding, and can lead to serious health issues with internal bleeding. Surgery can be necessary, and in some cases is common when bleeds in joints occur, and it can be life threatening. Hemophilia A and B, because they are X-linked are more prevalent in males. Hemophilia C though, is autosomal, and is roughly equally prevalent in men and women.

Normal treatments for hemophilia include clotting factor injections, physical therapy, and vaccinations. Recently (2012), breakthroughs have come through in using gene therapy to treat hemophilia B patients. In the study done by American and British researchers at the University College London (UCL), the gene for clotting factor IX (FIX) was inserted using an Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) as a vector. This is the ideal vector for treating hemophilia because AAV effects liver cells, which is where the clotting factors are produced, and it does not tend to illicit immune responses in patients. By inserting the non-defective gene for FIX via the vector, patients could, if the gene therapy is successful, produce their own clotting factor, and be effectively cured of their hemophilia, which was unheard of before.

The gene therapy is still being researched, but seems promising. Of the six patients in the study, four ceased to need injections of clotting factors, and 2 needed greatly reduced amounts of injections with less frequency. The main worries of the drug therapy is the long-term effects of tampering with the human genome and, with this specific case, the longevity of the treatment. Liver cells have a short life span and regenerate slowly, which will affect the long-term viability of the treatment.

Despite this, gene therapy is a promising treatment to hemophilia, among other diseases, and as research continues and techniques improve, it may prove to be a real cure.

Throwback Thursday: V for Vendetta Final Five Page Essay

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.


The Guy Fawkes mask is a defining characteristic of V. In the same way, cameras (and the constant surveillance they allow) are a defining characteristic of V’s dystopian England. These things are important because the perception of others, as well of the perception of one’s self, has a profound effect on a person’s actions and reactions. People tend to conform to the majority, particularly when one can be persecuted for doing otherwise. When this element is removed, either by turning off the camera, or donning a mask, a person can be their true self, with their own actions, without fear of condemnation. Which is why V would not be V, were he to be unmasked.

The Guy Fawkes mask symbolizes the ideas he presented on the fifth of November when Fawkes tried to blow up parliament. Though Guy Fawkes failed, V holds similar values and goals, and he wants to pay tribute. Unlike Guy Fawkes however, V does not fail, he succeeds in knocking the government off its pedestal.  Though the mask itself is important, the perception of it is also important. V believes he will succeed where Guy Fawkes has failed, and by wearing the mask, he acknowledges this past in a way the government can see, especially since the government never truly sees V, they only ever see the mask. This makes them underestimate him, makes them think he is simply a terrorist. It gives the illusion, strengthens the perception, that V will fail as well. Perception is important in V, because how people see him, see the government, see each other, how V sees himself, all have important ramifications on the characters and their story arcs. If you change the perceptions, you change the story. The mask changes the perception others have of V, were he not wearing the mask, or if he were even wearing a different mask, the perceptions would change and the story would with it.

V’s mask is necessary because of the presence of cameras, as is controlled and monitored by the government. Necessary, because being watched changes a person’s behavior. While V’s behavior would probably not change much without the mask, because he is quite convinced of the good behind his actions, the reactions of others would differ quite greatly were he to be unmasked. The mask, aside from playing into V’s extremely theatrical nature, because he is an actor, playing the part of an idea, and so he becomes that idea fully, rather than a man, by de-personifying himself through de-individuation. He makes himself stand out to remain invisible.

The mask makes him unidentifiable, physically removing his identify. No face, no name other than “codename: V” (Moore). In this world, the state’s biggest power is its ability to watch its subjects. The cameras capture every face, at every moment; can find any man masquerading as a terrorist. Except for V, because the mask nullifies the man. As stated by Alice Robb in a New Republic article, “anonymity is disinhibiting” (Robb). In other words, hiding your face makes you act differently, act without consequences, because if people cannot see you they cannot judge you. He makes himself stand out; he makes it impossible for them to find him. That is what makes him dangerous to the state; he is an uncontrollable, unaccounted for, and unknowable variable that isn’t intimidated by their main threat, because if they don’t know who he is, he cannot be found. They do not know the truth, not until he wants them to by leaving the doctor’s journal for them to find. The mask adds to, it creates this anonymity, creates the mystery that surrounds V. The mask deprives the cameras of their purpose, weakening the power V is trying to take down before he has even started.

Without the mask, V would blend into the crowd; V would be able to be found by the cameras. It would counteract V’s theatrical nature, it would nullify his speech of being an invulnerable idea, and it would eliminate the fact that V has flipped the fear on its head. Because the government cannot scare V, V scares the government, though they are loathe to admit that fear. Admitting the fear would be admitting that V has a chance of success. The future of their rule hinges on the fact that V does not succeed. The government comes to power on the fear of the people, and it will burn for their fear of the people, or at least a person.  The mask gives V the power to be unseen by the government. By making himself standout, he becomes invisible. V is easily found in the cameras view, but the man beneath the mask never is. Had he been unmasked this would not be the case. Had they seen his face, they would have known him as the man from room five. The withholding of information from the government keeps the power of intimidation in V’s hands. V’s power of them scares the members of the finger and other parts of the head, and this fear makes them sloppy. Inhibits their ability to catch him. It makes them lose, and lets V win.

As told, the government of dystopian England gets power from the people’s fear. They garner this fear with constant surveillance via cameras. As seen in both the book and movie, when the cameras are on, people mostly behave as the government enforces. As soon as V turns them off, true colors start to show. A prime example being the young girl who spray-paints “V” over faith posters while chanting “bullocks” (Moore). This is in part caused by a phenomenon called “social desirability bias” (Weiten G-8) which basically means when supervised, people act, as they feel expected to act, in order to avoid condemnation and/or embarrassment. As people start acting against the government, more people join them. When people aren’t being watched, the government’s threats lessen, because people assume they will not be found, that the threats will not apply to them (self-serving bias) (Weiten G-8). We see this culminate in the movie as the mass of people comes to watch parliament blow up, dressed in capes and masks. When not being watched, people express themselves truly, and in this case, that expression is over throwing a tyrannical government.

Being watched changes people, both actively being watched and the idea of being watched, and as made clear in the novel, ideas can be very powerful, and very dangerous. The idea of being watched, not knowing whether you are or are not being watched, is the idea that lends power to the concept of the panoptica, a prison designed to ensure the prisoners knew they could be being watched, but never knowing when, and thus the fear of being watched would enforce desirable behavior, decreasing the need for much actual surveillance (Ellard). The panoptica is a prison that was never built in true form, but V’s dystopian government creates their own version of through cameras and the perceived omniscience of “fate”. But the idea of the panoptica shows that, in having the power to be watched, less people are truly observed, with his stash of hidden knowledge, V was sure to know this. This idea is seen in V when we see the two men listening to conversations on the telephones. They could hear anything, but it is nearly impossible for them to hear everything (Moore). Being watched changes people, and V was sure to know this. And so, the mask serves a greater purpose than hiding his face, it takes away every power the government could hold over him.

In this world, where everyone cannot help but be seen, V is unseen as a man. He is only V, only the mask, only an idea. This government knows every citizen, what each person is doing at any and every moment, and yet, they do not know who V is. Not until he gives them the knowledge, by leaving the journal, he tells them he is the man from room five, had he not, they may very well have never known. The mask denies the police their ability to find and stop V. The mask allows V to, not be unnoticed, but to be unknown. The mask shields him from the eyes of those watches though the camera. The cameras provide fear, the fear of being watched, being seen, and the ability to stop the behaviors deemed undesirable. But the mask is the greatest contingency against them, because V doesn’t want to be unseen, he wants to be unknown, and the mask, not only draws attention, but it denies the cameras their purpose of knowing, for all they can capture, is the unwavering, ever smiling face of the mask. Allowing V to accomplish his goals in a way that, being unmasked, he wouldn’t be able to do.


Book Report: Living With Our Genes


Living With Our Genes is a nonfiction book, written by Dean Hamer and Peter Copeland, about the genetic basis of personality and behavior. The book is divided into 8 chapters, each covering a different genetically influenced aspect of personality, behavior or growth: thrills, worry, anger, addiction, sex, thinking, hunger, and aging. There is also an introduction on Emotional Instinct, and a conclusion on Engineering Temperament. The book explores the nature v. nurture controversy deeply, covering the aspects and extant to which genes are known to influence these eight aspects, and the extant thought to be determined, altered, or otherwise dependent on environmental factors. Genes being the nature, and the environment (basically the experiences and setting in which you live and cannot separate yourself from if you tried) being the nurture.

As told in “Living With Our Genes”, genes are the first determining factors to basically everything about us. They are the basic reason why people find happiness in different things, why some people are more intelligent, why some people are anxious and some are calm. While nurture plays a role, are genes determine more than many people think, especially when the variability between people is much smaller than you’d think (les than 2% changed between people, and we share 98% of our DNA with monkeys, closer to 99% in bonobos). “Living With Our Genes” is easily summed up by its tag line: “The Groundbreaking Book About The Science Of Personality, Behavior, and Genetic Destiny”.

“Thrills” is all about novelty seeking. People who score high on novelty seeking seek new experiences; they do well in high risk-high reward situations and careers, and do not handle repetitive experiences well or with enjoyment. People who score low on novelty seeking enjoy routine and order. They do not handle stressful situations well, but are not easily bored, and can handle tedious tasks with grace. Both of course have their pros and cons in any given situation. Novelty seeking is one personality aspect that tends to be similar in marriage couples rather than abiding by the “opposite attracts” rule. Novelty seeking is, in part, affected by the D4DR gene, which is highly variable and affects dopamine binding. Through twin studies, we know roughly 60% of novelty seeking is heritable, and the other 40% is due to environmental factors.

Where novelty seeking is affected by dopamine, worry is affected by serotonin, another neurotransmitter. Prozac is a medication commonly used to treat mood disorders, especially depression, as it regulates serotonin uptake. Worry and anxiety would be things you’d expect to be heavily influenced by environment, upbringing and parental guidance and attention would logically seem to be factors of a worrisome or calm dispositions. But, like most things, there is a strong genetic component, which is illustrated in “Living With Our Genes” in a case study like example, about identical twin sisters who, despite living in nearly opposite homes in everyway possible, were near identical in worrisome temperament and personality. Both were fussy babies and grew to be anxious adults. Which goes to show just how prevalent genes are in determining who we will be, which is the entirely point of the book.

The book continues on to explain anger, addiction, sex, thinking, hunger, and aging. While different genes control each, with different correlations of nature v. nurture in which is more prominent in affecting the trait. The message remains consistent. Both genes and environment play a role. There are specific genes that control every aspect of personality, and each variation gives us a good idea of who you will be, but it isn’t the end all, be all, because environment always plays a role, even when you cannot interpret its influence.

Aside from separating each chapter by trait, the book is written in a way that using both story-like examples and then explaining the science behind said story in order to keep the reader engaged. Then it is backed up by case studies, or twin studies, with the research cited and statistics for heritability and other correlations given. The book balances the story examples with the actual science being explained effectively, neither detracts from the other, while keeping the reader engaged. The book also has each chapter divided into subsections, easily letting you find relevant information when skimming, and breaking up the denser parts of the text into smaller sections that makes it feel less like a textbook and more like an actual book. At several times, the authors switch to first person (saying “in our lab” etc.), which not only reminds you that this is real, and has practical application, but that real people conducted this research. The first person sections turn denser parts of the reading into friendlier, more easily accepted chunks rather than textbook reading, and help personalize the information, connecting you to the author. It feels more genuine and easier to believe, understand, and remember information when the people telling you studied it themselves rather than feeling like you getting second-hand information.

The research presented in the book also tie into current research and our textbook. For one thing, the anger and worry chapter present ideas that can most likely be applied to the bonobo monkeys in our study of how exactly how similar and different they are to humans. The intelligence factor, and the potential for intelligence based on genetics is a large part of the bonobo monkey studies, we wonder if, because of their similarity to humans, they could learn language.

The book often cites twin studies and case studies, both valid methods of research in psychology. The twin studies are used to separate inheritable factors from environmental factors. The case studies, serve as an in depth portrayal of the subject rather than an abstract one. Bandura’s experiments with the punching dummy and children exposed to violence relates to the anger chapter. Both genes and environment play a large role in anger, as in worry, which we see in the description and effects of different child attachments: secure, anxious-ambivalent, and avoidant. Attachment styles are affected by the mothers’ treatment and responses to the infant as well as the infants natural (genetic) disposition. Each affects the other, which is coined as reciprocal determinism by Bandura as well.

In all, I feel the book is effective in explaining the information it wishes to convey. It is engaging by nonfiction standards, and serves as a decent review for topics already covered in the course, while not being alienating to someone with little to no knowledge of psychology that should choose to read it.


Throwback Thursday: Much Ado About Nothing Act 3 Scene 4 – 2014 – Valley Girl Rewrite

Throwback Thursday, where, essentially I post old writing samples, essays and short stories that I dig up from my pile of hoarded papers and school assignments or from the depths of my computer. So everyone can see how my writing has changed/improved over the years.

(Enter Hero, Margaret, and Ursula)

Hero:  Ursula, could you, like, wake up, Beatrice? Cuz, like, you know, today’s my wedding day and she needs to, like, help me into my dress. OMG where is she?

Ursula:  Fine.

(Looks in the distance)

(Hero taps her shoulder)

Hero:  Ursula?

Ursula:  Ya?

Hero:  NOW!

Ursula:  Ok, ok. Shish. Like, take a chill pill.

(She exits)

Hero:  Shoo. Ok, Margaret, like, this is, like, my dress. What do you, like, think girl?

Margaret:  I think, like, that looks like one of those, ummm, dresses from Shakespeare’s time. What was that, like, called again?

(Looks in dictionary on phone)

Hero:  Margaret!

Margaret:  Gosh! Girl, I like, already found it. It was like, called a rebato. Ok, so that dress, like, looks like a rebato, ummm… But extra ugly.

Hero:  What?!

Margaret:  Especially on you.

Hero:  Ok, like, what’s your damage and, like, call the fashion police, cuz you girl, have no style.

Margaret:  Pah-lease, girl. You’re the one, like, with no style. Have you, like, not seen the dress?

Hero:  Whatevs, you’re just jealous.

Margaret:  Am not!

(Stamps foot)

Hero:  OMG! This dress is, like, so heavy!

Margaret:  It’ll, like, be heavier soon. You know, with a man on it.

(Covers her ears)

 Hero:  Oh my gosh, no! Like, my virgin ears! Why would you, like, say something like that?

Margaret:  What? Like, we all know it’s true. I mean, like, you are getting married, you know. What did you, like, think was gonna happen?

Hero: OMG! Like, where’s Beatrice?

(“Deleted Scene” Ursula gets Beatrice)

Ursula:  Beatrice, like, wake up girl! Hero, like, needs your help.

Beatrice:  Uh, why?! Like, it’s not my problem she can’t get dressed by herself.

Ursula:  Well, she is, like, getting married and, like, you are her cousin so…, like, go.

Beatrice:  Uh! Fine, whatever. But really, marriage is bor-ing!

(Back to Hero’s room – Enter Beatrice)

Hero:  Hey girl! Like, finally!

Beatrice:  Hey, like, Ursula said you, like, needed something.

Hero:  Ya, but are you, like, sick or something? OMG if you are, like, get away from me! I CANNOT get sick on my wedding day. (Hides behind Ursula)

Beatrice:  Ok… But no, like, probably not. Just, like ummm, a headache or something.

Margaret (to Hero):  Oh, she’s not sick, girl. She’s in love, like, L-O-V-E, love.

Beatrice (to Margaret): Congrats, you can spell.

Hero (to Margaret):  What kind of other, like, love is there?

Beatrice:  Uh, no girls, I’m not in love. And you can’t talk to me like that, Margaret. You work for me, like, remember!

Margaret:  I do remember but, like, you ARE in love. And I also, like, know the cure for your sickness.

Ursula (to the side): Uh, please don’t kill each other; bloods like, so hard to get out.

(Rolls her eyes)

Beatrice (to Margaret):  What?

Margaret:   Like, Benedick. Duh!

Beatrice: OMG, NO!

Hero:  OMG, YES! I, like, totally ship you guys.

(Beatrice evilly stares at Hero)

Hero: Sorry.

Margaret:  Whatever, we all, like, know it’s true, Ms. In Denial.

Beatrice:  Whatevs, and you know what? I do feel sick, but, like, Benedick is not my cure. It’s, like, to get this stupid wedding over with. Sorry, Hero. Come on, let’s just, like, get you ready.   (To the side after looking at the dress: egh, gag me with a spoon.)

(Ursula gets text)

Ursula:  Girls, Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Don John, and, like, ALL the other cute guys in town have come to, like, take you to the church.

Hero:  Oh. My. Gosh, it’s, like, almost time. Come on Margaret, Ursula, Beatrice. Like, we have a wedding to attend.

 (They exit)


Story time!

So, I didn’t write this by myself. I wrote it in 8th grade with a group of three other girls. We have to dress up and perform this in front of the class.

For the project, the teacher essentially assigned each group a scene and an accent and told us to have at it.

So, we rewrote the scene with a modern setting and valley girl vernacular, as stereotypical as we could be. We dressed in all pink and sequins, did outrageous makeup (all bright colors and way too much of it) and everything.

It was fun, we got an A.

But when we were done and had to change back into our uniforms we realized that no one brought make up remover… So me and my best friend had to walk into are next class with bright purple eye shadow smeared all over, smeared all over mascara/eye liner and so much concealer/foundation that didn’t actually match our skin.

Our teacher was so confused and concerned. She thought I had a black eye.

Throwback Thursday: 10th grade Symbolism in V for Vendetta

Every once in a while, on a Thursday, I post an old school assignment that I have written as a “throwback thursday” type thing when I have an assignment I’ve found that seems interesting enough to post. This time, I have my essay on the roses in V for Vendetta as a symbol from tenth grade.


“They have eradicated culture…tossed it away like a fistful of dead roses” p.18


This is one of the first things V says to Evey. It’s important because it’s the first line we get that clearly shows his indignation with the world, and also the start of his education of Evey, in telling her all of the culture that was erased by the government he is trying to change, and later, get her to help him change. This line is also an important piece of foreshadowing because it is the first time V speaks of roses. Roses play an important part in V for Vendetta, V grows roses while at Larkhill, V gives roses to people whose deaths are carefully planned – such as Delia and the priest -, V also guides Rosemary – a different type of rose – into killing the leader. He speaks off dead roses, and he uses roses as a symbol for someone’s death. Giving them a rose means he is going to kill them, such as when he tells Evey, much later, to pick a rose to give the man who killed her Gordon. We learn that the roses have gone extinct, or at least nearly so, while reading Delia’s diary. The roses are dead. V says the culture is “tossed away like a fistful of dead roses”, so he tosses away the people who thinks are the worst of the society, of the government, the ones who worked at Larkhill with the dead roses. The roses die by consequence of their actins and they die too. V’s line “They have eradicated culture…tossed it away like a fistful of dead roses is important, because it is the first mention of the roses, which are important all throughout the novel.

Throwback Thursday: 9th grade-The Hobbit-“Gandalf’s Journal”

Every once in a while, on a Thursday, I post an old school assignment that I have written as a “throwback thursday” type thing when I have an assignment I’ve found that seems interesting enough to post.

This time, I have a project from nineth grade, where we had to choose a character from the Hobbit and write journal entries from their points of view throughout the novel.

I choose Gandalf, so this is “Gandalf’s Journal”.

The day I came upon the hobbit:

I was simply passing through The Hill when I came upon old Bilbo Baggins. His grandfather had been a good friend, and his mother had had a fine spirit for adventure. One look at the hobbit and you didn’t see it, but I remembered him from the old days. Wizards have excellent memory you know. But old Bilbo Baggins ,when he wasn’t quite so old, would get very excited indeed when I came around back then, magic and fireworks in tow. And the dwarves needed a 14th member for their adventure.  I was not certain I’d find the hobbit, but I did, and I considered it a sign. So we spoke, and I found that he was indeed in need of an adventure. The hobbit seemed quite flustered when he returned inside his hole. It’s quite amusing. So I marked the burglar’s sign upon his door, and told the dwarves to meet me there tomorrow. I told them I had found their 14th member. Let us hope I am not mistaken.


 The first day of the journey:

Last was a long night full of explanations and eating. And on this day, the hobbit almost didn’t come on the adventure! That is a note to be made; hobbits do not clean the mantle in the mornings. I of course knew the little hobbit might lose his nerve with one foot out the hobbit hole; it is the very reason I was there at all. But he came, he came running! We may yet make a Took out of this Baggins. If I’d had any doubts, last night and this morning have proven them unfounded. Bilbo Baggins, hobbit and fond of comfort though he may be, is an adventurer at heart. He is, after all, Belladonna Took’s son. A bit too proud, a bit too stubborn, and a bit too scared. But that is, perhaps, exactly why the dwarves need him. They need a cautious one, a voice of reason when I am not there. Bilbo Baggins will certainly make a fine adventurer; all he needs to do is believe in himself. And the dwarves! Well, they do not trust poor Bilbo, but they trust me a great deal. I’m the wizard! And a fine one at that. They will be disheartened to find I do not intend to complete the journey with them. The dwarves are too minded on the gold to think of the dragon or journey, a hobbit is just what they need. Even if neither hobbit or dwarf seems to think so.


The day after the goblins:

After being caught by the goblins, nasty creatures that they are, Thorin created a distraction with the goblins fear of the sword, and in their distraction, I pulled a fancy little trick! Lots of lights and smoke, magic you know. I’d explain, but it is far too much for the funny little brain of anyone who would every read this to understand. Far too much to explain. All you need to know is this:  There was a distraction, with magic aide, and Thorin killed the great goblin. While getting captured is never a good omen, the defeat of a great and powerful, not to mention widely feared, enemy boded very well for the looming battle with Smaug. I might make fighters out of these miners yet.


We made it out of the goblins tunnels of course. Dwarves are well suited for the underground, good eyes in the dark. And a little magic always does go a long way. Dori carried Bilbo, his poor hobbit legs can’t run quite as fast. Though in the scramble to flee the goblins Bilbo was lost. He didn’t die, not that we knew. He was simply there one moment and gone the next. We made it out of the tunnels. We didn’t have to much trouble, most of the goblins were behind us, not guarding the exits. We did wait for Bilbo in the clearing, the dwarves taking turns standing guard. It’s dreadful, losing a member of your party. Not knowing if they are alive or not. Not knowing whether to wait or move on. Certainly no one considered going back! We barely made it out as it is. No sense in another casualty. Though I did hope Bilbo was alright. He is not the strongest or the bravest, he is perhaps not even the smartest, but he has a kind heart. Which is more than you could say for the goblins at any rate.


And then he came back. Out of no where. One second gone and the next there! Like his own brand of hobbit magic, which I know for a fact doesn’t exist. There are wizards, sorcerers, necromancers, enchantments, and even a curious little branch of elvish magic. But hobbits do not have magic. And Bilbo, though growing in spirit, was not enough to escape from goblins on his own. And from his story, the way he pauses and thinks, the way he describes the creature Gollum. This Gollum does not seem the sort to honor an agreement, even one such as the riddle game. No, our little burglar has a secret, for he will not even meet my eyes. I do not think he is lying, he did escape after all. But there is something he is not telling us. And I could force him to say it, but he has that spark that was missing. That look of an adventurer is finally there. Like he wants to be here, not like he was dragged. And the dwarves are being respectful to him. They are starting to think of Bilbo as a burglar. A Took rather than a Baggins. So I will let him keep his secret, until the time comes that it need not be kept.


They day I left them at mirkwood:

It is a very good thing Beorn lent us the ponies for the journey to Mirkwood, the company needs to steal their strength for the trek ahead. They are well rested and laden with as much food and water as they may carry. As are as prepared as one can be to enter Mirkwood. And what a fine time for it as well. For I believe I have done all I can for them at the moment. They must complete this leg of the journey on their own, the hobbit especially. He will never prove his skills, even to himself, if he has a wizard to rely on the whole way. He needs to be able to know he can save them himself, if only for having no other choice. And he is well prepared. He noticed Beorn following when none other, save myself, did. And after the goblins, he is more competent and confident. He does not have any brawn, or much brain. But he has spirit, and heart. And Bilbo will lead the dwarves through Mirkwood. And I do hope he succeeds. I have grown quite fond of the lot of them despite myself. Bilbo especially. But what else to be expected from Belladonna Took’s son. The same Belladonna who was one of the only hobbits to ever befriend a wizard. One of the few even brave enough to talk to one. Bilbo Baggins will do great things if given a chance. He is the splitting image of his father, but he is his mother through and through.


Bilbo Baggins will lead the dwarves through Mirkwood. A hobbit leading an adventure party full of dwarves. That is a story that has never been told before today. And I certainly hope there is no foul reason for that. Should they head my warning, and stay on the path, they should make it just fine. But, perhaps not. Only time will tell.