Blackout Poetry

In social studies, we have been reading The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant. This week, we were tasked with the challenge of creating a “blackout” poem using one or two pages from the book. I chose to use pages 8 and 9 because the imagery the author used to describe the forests of the west coast was very striking, and I liked the idea explored on those pages of the forest being a very powerful force. I really liked the language of many of the sentences on the pages I chose, so there were sections that I did not blackout as much because I liked the sentence as a whole. Though this was quite a bit out of my comfort zone, I am glad that I did attempt to write a blackout poem. I know that it is not the best, but I think that I definitely gained a new appreciation for poetry, the book itself, and also some new problem-solving skills. This was a very involved task and I like that this activity encouraged us to synthesize something from a page of the book into poetry. I think that this activity was a lot of fun, and I would like to do more creative activities like this in the future to push my boundaries and see in what new ways I can apply the knowledge I have gained from The Golden Spruce.


 

Here is the poem that I came up with:

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If you cannot read it from the picture, here it is in written format:

The trail of  person, the thread of a story,

is easily lost in such a place.

It is not a particularly comfortable place to be,

you can become disoriented.

No future, no past,

only now.

Boundaries between life and death,

blur and blend.

everyone wants a piece of the sky,

the feeling that you will be over grown,

absorbed,

by the slow ancient riot around you,

can be suffocating.

The need to see the sun can become overpowering,

you could easily,

if it weren’t for all those,

virtually unbroken,

rain clouds.

Airborne,

burst open.

It rained enough to float an ark,

essentially,

to support life on a grand scale.


 

The other part of this activity was to choose a photograph or drawing to go with the poem. Since the first line is about “the trail of a person” I thought back to my time in the mountains, at home, and in Nepal. I thought that a picture of a trail in Nepal would be appropriate and would be a good accompaniment to the poem. This is a picture of the stretch of trail just after Namche Bazaar.

Chemistry 11 Independent Project – Gas Station Visit

This is my chemistry 11 project, and the topic that I chose to study in-depth is to learn about how gas station manage their flammable materials as well as the safety rules and regulations that are put into place.  After learning about this topic for over a month, I am very proud of the knowledge that I have obtained through the process.

I filmed this vlog and I summarize my project in this video.

Franny and I on our reconnaissance trip around Coquitlam.  Shell helped us well!
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The electrical room inside the Shell building.

Emergency spill kit below counter

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Notes Gathered at Shell
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Notes from Shell pt. 2
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Online research notes   
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Notes gathered on reconnaissance trip

As for visiting Petro Canada, it is not confirmed yet but I still might be able to go with Franny and Alec if Melissa remembers to talk to her boss.

I really enjoyed working on this project even though sometimes I wish it went smoother. I think that this topic is quite useful to know because, as I said in the video, a gas station is a very common destination and we should all be fairly familiar with the safety rules and regulations to keep ourselves and others safe.

In-Depth Post 4

It’s been nearly 2 months since I first endeavored on this project and things are going by quickly but smoothly as well. In this week’s meeting with my mentor, we went out and got the parts needed for my model Lions Gate Bridge which, if you remember, is going to be 6 feet in length. For this model bridge to work out, we, my mentor and I, both need to be on the same page and understand any ideas that we suggest or rebound. So, with many the problems and unexpected situations we’ve been put through, both of us used brainstorming and questioning to find solutions that would not only work but also give us new ideas to build off of. Here’s what we got so far:

img_5174

1: 3” x 36” Balsa wood for the Deck (2x)

2: 1/2” x 24” Basswood for the Towers (4x)

3: 120 ml Wood glue for making joints (1x)

4: Tube cutter (1x)

5: 1/8” x 156” Plastic tubing for holding suspender cables in place (1x)

6: 1/8” x 132” Metal cable for the main cable (2x)

7: 28 Ga. x 100” wire for suspender cable (3x)

Here’s some of the parts of a bridge for comparison:

bridgebasics

Next on the list is to find a base for the bridge and use Paper-Mache to construct the land scape. From there, I’ll be able to so how to orientate the bridge.

This is really all me and my mentor did this week; now it all comes down to how and when I execute the building process of the is bridge.


 

Beautiful Mind

How to Listen

This overall process of building the model bridge has required me to stay attentive and stay on top of the ball at all times. During our meetings, I make sure to listen fully so I don’t miss anything. When we were faced with the problem of how to get the suspender cables attached to the main cable and maintain weight without any slippage. To be honest, I had little to no idea what he was thinking when he presented his solution; it was to have 2 claps around each suspender cable. However, in my head, I was thing that we simply tie the wire around the main cable and it should be fine. We did some testing and I realized that without any support, the wire would slip. So now with this new information, I thought of ways to secure the suspender cable. After doing some research, I found a way using small pieces of plastic tubing that would fit snuggly around the main cable. We would slip in the 1st piece, then tie the wire up against the tubing, and then the 2nd piece off tubing would be put on and hold the wire from moving. I checked with an employee at Rona to see if this would work before presenting my idea to my mentor. This way I would be not only 1 but 2 or 3 steps ahead in the project. I got this idea after listen to my mentor say “There are many ways to achieve the same thing when making models, you just triple check that the alternative doesn’t screw anything up.” This made me find multiple uses for the simplest of thing; whether related or not to my in-depth project.

Questions

Like I said before, my biggest question was what is the whole reason for the clamps around the suspender cable and the reason this was the most important is because I needed to know what my mentor meant by this. I simply asked for clarification and a visual description because I am a kinesthetic and visual learner; I couldn’t fully understand from a verbal description. After a clear explanation, I was able to work out a way to solve this problem and once again, picked up the pace after facing that speed bump

Now it’s time to put the pieces together and look out for any other problems to be solved.

Confederation DoL

Unity, in different shapes and forms, whether it be promoting for, waging a war on, or being brought to light, transcends the tests of time and is something ubiquitous throughout Confederation. I mean, you’ve got John A. Macdonald, the father of Confederation, pushing for provincial rights, and the Maritime provinces creating unions to be heard. My character, Harriet Tubman, wanted freedom, equality, and equity for her people. Confederation, patriotic in connotation, had many different groups of people pushing for different things: central governments, federal-based decision making, a voice, — but overall, unity was one of the key themes that I picked up from our study of Confederation. After all, what says unity more than individual provinces coming together to form a country? So a question I have is, how was unity achieved and ignored in Confederation? What is unity in diversity? And how did unity in diversity tie into Confederation and the creation of a nation?

“While everyone conceded in the 1860’s that the object of the Fathers of Confederation was to produce the bases of one political entity, no one anticipated that this task would be performed by imposing uniformity on the diverse peoples and regions of British North America.” (source)

We all know, having read numerous papers highlighting both the good and bad of Confederation, about the exclusion that occurred. The First Nations, and even the Maritimes were ignored, and truthfully speaking, it seems regressive to create a country for the people without even including the people. We know about the attempts to assimilate Aboriginal people and the erasure of their culture, through residential schools, immersion, and abuse. When seeing these on paper, it becomes difficult to think that Canada is something built on the basis of unity.

However, we also need to realize that things were very different back then. This may sound really privileged and condescending, but from an outsider’s POV, I think that the divides that were put up increased the chances of stronger, permanent unity between different groups, because the drive to overcome them was so much stronger.

In conclusion, this document of learning was a way of creating a summary of the concepts we learned about during Confederation, using history and facts while also forming our own viewpoints on this interesting and pivotal act in Canada’s history. Do I believe that Confederation was an all-inclusive concept? Superficially yes, but digging deeper we can see that that is not always the case. However, the struggles that minorities and other groups went through and the beginning steps of compensation for such actions are what I believe has made the country stronger, because its attempts at at inclusiveness remind us what Confederation was meant to achieve.

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/british-columbia-and-confederation/

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/charlottetown-conference/

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/constitution-act-186

https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/confederation/023001-3010.33-e.html

http://dalspace.library.dal.ca/bitstream/handle/10222/59779/dalrev_vol55_iss1_pp63_82.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

In depth #6

So in the past week I’ve met with my mentor a lot, probably around 10 hours. Most of this was while filming, but some of it was also when we were storyboarding. When it comes to concepts, there are many that me and my mentor have had many. Most of these are in the form of the effects I will be doing later. For example, a concept we thought of was setting someone’s hand on fire(like a superpower). This effects would look really cool if done well, however we still don’t have the final idea of how to accomplish it. We have bits and pieces here and there, but nothing complete. Another concept is of teleportation. Teleporting people is really cool, and my film does call for that a few times, however there are many different ways of using it and changing the effect of what it looks like to teleport. One more unfinalized idea, but rigid concept, is having a bow that shoots magical arrows as in they appear whenever the bowstring is pulled back. While I know exactly how I want it to look, there are many different ways of accomplishing this. This ties in well with alternatives. While on the surface, deciding how to execute an effect may appear to be an action alternative, it must first start out with a perception alternative, where I take an alternative perspective to my own; and one of the audience. This is essential, as what seems good to me, may look bad to the audience, and what I think is bad, others might think is great. This puts me in a cycle where I am working way too much on the parts that are already good, and not improving what looks bad. By stepping into the audience’s shoes, I can see my film in an unbiased(good or bad) way. After all, my goal is to please the audience, not myself. This is why, when designing the arrows and how they will be done, I will look at many action alternatives before selecting the one I know the audience will like best. So far, I have come up with a few different ways of doing it, and have only tested a few. For example, place the arrow first before masking the parts it should be covered, and either masking out just the core, or adding a separate glow, which could be done many ways, like feathering a solid and adding a vibrance(video-copilot) effect, or using an invisible solid, and applying a glow effect, and duplicating that before blending it to make it even. There are many other ways of doing it, but most of them are too meticulous or time consuming to use, and there are too many other ways for me to put here.

Another example of alternative is with the teleportation effect, which was mentioned above. This again applies the principles of using a perspective alternative, before using an action one. Some examples of the latter would be: simply making a person disappear and reappear out of thin air, having them fly in and out concealed in a smoke cloud, or making them do the Harry Potter apparition twist thing(I know, very specific). All of these scenarios I’ve discussed with my mentor, but we’ve both agreed that it would be better to test them out before settling on one. I have begun doing effects, but i’ve only done around 1 minute of footage so far.

6th In-depth post – Navigating

Here we go again! I have been spending quite a bit of time working on my animation, and I just realized that animating characters is a lot more challenging than I predicted. On the brighter side, I am getting the hang of tweening and moving my character around the scene. I have made good progress on my short animation that I am working on. I also stay true to my word: ever since my very first blog post, I have been aiming for quality and precision.

I polish every transition, adjust every limb of the character until it looks just right and add fine details around the scene. Here are some pictures of the various expressions and angles I have drawn of my character.

rabbit-2 rabbit-3 rabbit

When I will have finished drawing the character in every angle, movement and facial expression I need (which is soon, I promise), I will put it all together for the final animation (that includes transitions, character, colour, and a lot and a lot of work).

For meeting with my mentor, we had an online discussion over a chat instead of meeting this time around as it was Easter and my mentor was quite busy. The discussion went very well and I asked some questions about tweening that were soon resolved. My mentor redirected me to only tutorials that answered my questions well. Now I know how to create a motion path to guide my rabbit instead of having him walk in a straight line.

Some concept that were recently discussed were tweening, because they are so vital in animation. We talked about creating tweens for body parts, for motion paths and the difference between classic tweens and motion tweens.

The alternatives I have are to complete my animation frame by frame, which does make it look more natural but takes a lot more effort. Alternatives for my animation style include: traditional animation (hand-drawn), 3D animation, motion graphics and stop motion. I am currently working on 2D animation and it’s the method I prefer.

I’m going to keep on animating now, and I look forward to showcasing my final product at in-depth night!

In-depth post #5- the six hats

I don’t know if I should go as far as to say this, but so the past month or so has been a disaster.

I pretty much lost all my progress on my animation except a few storyboards since I found out my old computer couldn’t handle me re-downloading flash since flash requires your system to be running on 64-bit. And upgrading your system from 32-bit to 64-bit causes it to be very inefficient, so I had to veto out that option. So what I did was transfer everything (literally everything) over to a different device. So I spent all of yesterday doing that, downloading drivers so my tablet would work, learning how to use toonboom, and pretty much just animating and working out kinks.

Although I was previously using flash, I decided to go for a change of scenery and try out something new, since my project has pretty much been a train wreck. I found it to be relatively similar to flash and pretty much made 1 second worth of animation. Oh, the fruit of my labour. But really, the 1 second animation was quite simple, only 2 pictures which were nearly identical. But it still took my several hours since I was teaching myself how to use toonboom. That animation will probably be done by my next (and final) post.

So I guess in the short period between this post and the next, my goal should be to start on an actual animation (I have no idea how long it’ll be) and get a YouTube channel up and running. I also really want to be able to talk to my mentor more but that may not be possible because of his extremely busy schedule.

Anyways, onto the topic of my last meeting with my mentor. As aforementioned, I finally got around to talking to him about symbols and timelines. He’s pretty much been unreachable, each time I  try to contact him he’s always been incredibly busy. Which is one of the reasons why this post has been delayed till now, as well as a very full spring break. But here is an excerpt of the conversation we had (unfortunately over the phone)

Me: How do you move… the stuff and like rotate and use it, I guess. (really bad blue hat attempt)

Mentor: Mhm. So did you figure it out on your own yet?

Me: um…

Mentor: Have you tried yet?

Me: I have tried a little bit of stuff but like, the stuff about the object’s center of gravity was what I was confused about. (blue hat: I’m trying to lead the conversation towards my mentor telling me about tweening and symbols)

Mentor: Oh… okay, so, um, have you been able to use the motion tween? (green hat: asking this as an alternative)

Me: Not quite, which is why.

Mentor: Oh, okay. Well, in order to use the motion tween, the drawing has to be turned into a symbol, and not just a group. Groups cannot be tweened on the timeline. (white hat)

Me: Right. How can you turn it into a symbol?

Mentor: If you go under the tab, I believe it’s called modify? There is a convert to symbol, which the shortcut is F8. (white hat again)

Me: Oh, okay.

Mentor: So once you’ve converted to symbol, it will ask you to name it, which will be stored into your library.

Me: Right. And symbols have a specific timeline, right? (white hat: trying to confirm this is true, getting my mentor to focus on this information)

Mentor: It has a specific… What was your question?

Me: Symbols have a different timeline, right?

Mentor: Yes, when you turn something into a symbol, it becomes… well, it’s called a symbol but you can double-click and it has its own timeline because you can have multiple layers. (white hat) But for what you’re doing, I would keep it as simple as possible.

Me: Right.

Mentor: Without going too deep into it. (black hat: caution) But each symbol has its own timeline, and when you create a symbol, when you select it, you’ll see where the center point is, and the center point of that, is the center of the screen when you go inside. Does that answer your question?

Me: Yeah! I guess so…

Mentor: Yeah, groups do not move on the timeline. They cannot be tweened. Only symbols can be tweened. So it takes a lot of organizational skill.

Me: Yeah, okay, I guess I get it now. I feel like a lot of it is about working on the actual program, though. (red hat)

Hopefully my condition (?) will have improved by the next post. Until then, I’ll keep working hard on animating and figuring things out to the best of my ability.

Something surprisingly turned out great for once

Easter! Easter was this weekend, and in my family there can’t be a big dinner without dessert to go with it. I took this as an opportunity to show off some of my newly gained baking skills and make an Easter classic, carrot cake. I had never made carrot cake before but I figured that it couldn’t be too hard. Now usually, all of my other blog posts have said things like that and then it turns out that it was really hard, but this time it was different. I thought it wouldn’t be very hard, and it wasn’t.

I set out on this quest destined for greatness on Saturday night at about 10:30pm which was terrible timing on my part, but I had to do what I had to do. I stayed surprisingly organized and had my batter done in 20 minutes (with only minimal flour spilled on the counter), and then it was time to grate the carrots. Even though it wasn’t too hard, this was the hardest part of this cake, as I am terrible at grating anything without usually grating a part of myself as well. Fortunately, no part of me ended up in the carrots and I didn’t have to restart. Once the carrots went into the batter it was time to bake. I was surprised at how long it needed to bake, 40 minutes seemed like a very long time for a cake, any others I have made in the past only needed around 20-30 minutes to do their thing in the oven. I took my cakes out of the oven just as they were starting to over-bake, which made me a little bit nervous because no one likes bitter cake. However I dismissed my worries, and left them to cool overnight because it was way too late for me to even try to ice a cake the same night.

Sunday rolled along and once of the first things I was doing (despite my mom’s protests because she needed to get the turkey in the oven) was icing my cake. I whipped up a quick cream cheese frosting and made sure it tasted good, then tried my best to make my cake look decent. It turns out that I am pretty terrible at icing cakes so I had to get my dad to help me make the sides look flat. Then I iced a cute little carrot on the top, because I have never seen carrot cake that didn’t have a cute little carrot iced on the top.

When the time came for my family to devour my hard work, I did my best to persuade them to eat the cake instead of the pie that was also set out (most people ate both), and anyone who tried it loved it. I couldn’t help but feel a little sense of pride, because my family is usually hard to impress and I was surprisingly able to. There were a few people who didn’t like it though, but that was only because they were extremely opposed to cream cheese frosting.

And with that, my Easter baking quest that was destined for greatness had achieved greatness and I went to bed happy.

carrot-cake

As for the task part of this post, I am supposed to talk about alternatives. As far as alternatives in baking goes, there are countless substitutions and alternatives for ingredients, parts of recipes, equipment, and just about any other baking related topic you could think of. Vegetable shortening can be substituted for butter, butter can be substituted for vegetable oil, vegetable oil can be substituted for coconut oil, the list goes on.

My mentor has been able to give me lots of suggestions for substitutions and alternatives in recipes. She gave me 3 different examples on how to make the same recipe for cinnamon rolls differently. You can either make them the traditional way, or make them huge so they’ll bake into each other and you get a huge tray of cinnamon roll pull apart, or you can bake them huge but in sugar and more cinnamon so they’ll turn into sticky cinnamon pull apart buns. My mentor also tends to use margarine instead of butter a lot in her recipes because it’s in the house more often and is healthier than regular butter. You can’t do this with all recipes though because for some, butter is crucial to how the recipe will turn out when baked.

What alternatives could my mentor give me? I think I would like to learn more about alternative equipment, there have been recipes I have wanted to make in the past but have not had the correct equipment to make them properly. For example, I wanted to try to make donuts in the oven but I don’t have the proper baking pan to pull this off. Maybe my mentor has the answer to if I can make them or not? I will start thinking of more questions that I have on this topic and address them the next time I see her.

In-Depth: #6

More than half way!

With adventure trip, year-end, in-depth and other projects coming up, it’s hard to choose a single focus when APRILMAYJUNE hits. I have been working on choosing a different solo piece, due to the fact that, after discussion with my mentor, this piece may prove to be a little too difficult for me. I will try to film a first version of it this weekend, if I’m able to learn the choreography properly.

I realize that I have been so obsessed with learning the moves down to the last detail, I haven’t really considered how to make the moves look visually appealing. Just because the moves are textbook doesn’t mean they look good, which is the whole purpose of performance. The concept of visual appeal was brought up by Kaleigh. After watching the video with us in class, she pointed out that for me specifically, my moves looked good (she was pleasantly surprised), but I needed to work on two things, which looking back on now, make me realize are HUGE elements to the performance aspects of dance: facial expressions and clothing adjustment. Throughout the dance, I only had two expressions: annoyed, and overly happy. I need to learn to maintain a neutral expression during the dance. I also constantly pulled down the edges of the sweater I was wearing (borrowed from Katrina), so note to self: wear a longer shirt next time. Another idea that I noticed while watching the video was that I need to work on my posture and angle with the camera. A lot of times, I was looking anywhere BUT that camera, giving me a paranoid appearance because I keep changing viewpoints. By “spotting”, I need to choose a single point to focus on while performing, something that I haven’t been doing. (Something else we need to work on is film quality, in terms of the resolution of the clips and finding a proper tripod and camera to film with to get a consistent angle.)

Sunny brought up the concept of synchronicity. In our previous dance video, there were two specific areas where we could have focused more on this: making sure the music was matched properly with the visuals (when layering the sound track over the original clips, we need to spend more time on the editing process, because that was extremely rushed last time). Additionally, you may notice that at 1:00, we are all doing completely different moves. Instead of trying to alter the move to fit all our physical capabilities, we tried to follow the move exactly (and failed in doing so). The “point” move in the dance, which appears several times as a recurring move, was also executed differently by all of us. Although I have already subscribed to the 1MILLION school of thought (accuracy is important, but dancing is, above all, an expression of ones’ creative and physical abilities and therefore, it is okay and even good to add your own elements to the choreography) I am going to apply their teaching styles more to group dances, as I have mostly been applying to it to my solo dances.

Indepth Post #6

Over the past 2 weeks, I completely redid my story and I’m on the final draft of a screenplay.

During our meeting, Ms. Johnson and I focused mostly on writing and improving the screenplay I already had. The days before my meeting with Ms. Johnson I was feeling inspired to redo my entire screenplay, including the storyline. Within a few hours, I had my first draft. My new screenplay is very eccentric. I don’t think I’ll be able to show it on the projector at indepth as the storyline is confusing if you don’t watch the entire film.

The theme of the film is personality disorder, although it has an underlying theme of waffles. It chronicles a day in a girl’s life as a person with a personality disorder. There is a total of four characters; one main character, two supporting characters, and one extra. Besides the main character(GIRL), the other characters are gender neutral and can be cast as such.

When writing my screenplay, I formatted it as Ms. Johnson told me, and it looks very professional. If it fits the format correctly (one page=one minute), my film should be around 4 minutes long. This is fairly standard for a high school film.

My play includes 3 monologs, all by the main character. Two are part of a conversation, and one is solitary and conclusive. Towards the beginning of this project, I wanted to do an almost silent film, but I changed my course after choosing mental illness. Doing a mental illness film about staying silent seemed so contradictive, and not a message I want to portray.

Concepts

The concept Ms. Johnson stressed the most during our meeting was flow. She said that a good screenplay can’t feel rushed and choppy. Transition scenes, she said, were just as important as dialogue. A good transition scene will allow the audience to process the story better and give them time to pick up on little details and ask questions.

We spent a good portion of our meeting implementing this concept into my screenplay. I learned that a transition scene isn’t necessarily a transportation scene. Transition scenes can be moments of silence before dialogue begins, pauses in conversation, and even laughter. Transition scenes are mainly scenes that don’t add to the story but enhance details/moods that were already there. Ms. Johnson fondly called these scenes ‘catch-your-breath-scenes’ while explaining them.

Alternatives

One alternative my mentor was offering was to instead of trying to find a satisfying ending, was to leave the audience guessing. My original end was happy and satisfying, but my mentor offered alternative endings to me as an option. Her reasoning was because my film is about mental illness, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a complete and fulfilling ending. Instead, she proposed a more abstract choice.

Through testing out this alternative, we proposed a list of emotions we want the audience to feel throughout the ending. Our list included sympathy, bittersweet, and sadness, but we settled on hope. I decided that hope seemed the most appropriate for the already confusing and abstract theme of the film.

My plan for the next month is to film and edit, which my mentor assured me would take much less time than I thought. I was planning on putting my script on this post, but I’d much rather it be a surprise.

My next post on indepth will be a reflection. I can’t wait.