Welcome to my blog!

This is IsaBlog, where you can see all the books I'm reading. I especially like fiction books. Feel free to read the books and comment to reply what you think. Some of my favorite things are playing music, reading, and baking. I have been playing violin for eight years.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Should've Seen it Coming

I am reading "Story Thieves" by James Riley, and Bethany seemed to have a lapse of judgment for a while. After Owen saw Bethany jump out of a book, he really wanted her to take him into one to see. She was skeptical and said no. However, Owen just persisted and she ended up telling about her fictional father who went missing in a book. As a cover for wanting to go into the book to save one of the main characters, he said that there was a finding spell she could use to get her father back. She agreed, but I think she should have stuck with her better judgment and not let him come, It was pretty obvious that Owen was planning something other than finding Bethany's father.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Full of Lies

I am reading "Story Thieves" by James Riley, and I noticed many lies that the characters are telling. These three are just part of the overall amount of lies. Bethany has been lying to her mother ever since she was little. When her father disappeared one day, Bethany was forbidden to jump into books ever again. She still jumps into books almost every day, looking for her father. This is minor, but Owen lied to his mother, making her think that he was doing homework, not jumping into a book with Bethany. Owen also lied to Bethany and tricked her into thinking that they were going into the book just to get a spell to find Bethany's father, when really Owen wanted to change the story.

Monday, April 3, 2017

What Did She Just Say?

I am reading "Story Thieves" by James Riley. Owen just accidentally found out that Bethany could jump into books. She finally agreed to take him into a book so afterwards he wouldn't talk about it anymore. She told him to not interfere with the book at all. What is in the books is already written, and can't be changed. If they made a big appearance in the book and somehow changed it, unknown things would happen, but it wouldn't be good. Despite all that, when Bethany takes him into the book, Owen plans to become a hero and save his second favorite character in the book.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Changes for the Better... or Worse?

I like the book version of The Giver better than the movie version. There are a lot of changes that are very different from the book that the movie might be better without. There was a “villain” in a world where everyone is nice, the connections in the book changed a lot, and the changes are just too big. I often think that whichever kind comes first is better. When the movie comes first, the book doesn’t always seem to measure up, and same for when the book comes first. When books try to copy movies, the details don’t show up very well because it is very hard to write all of what you see. Also, just the general story doesn’t get written out very well and it is just usually written out as just one thing happening at a time. It doesn’t play together as well as it could. When movies try to copy books, they sometimes get the details wrong or just add things that are straying too far from the original story. That is what happened with the movie of The Giver. There were just too many changes to be the exact same as the book. Despite all that, the movie did do a pretty good job at staying pretty true to the original book; there weren’t any huge changes that just ruined all of it.
First of all, the Chief Elder was an antagonist. In a world where it is against the rules to do anything mean or even slightly rude, it just doesn’t seem to add up. It seems like the makers of the movie tried to make the Chief Elder look like she was trying to be nice and keep everything from going back to “The Ruin,” but it seemed like they kind of missed the mark. “The Ruin” was also new, but I think I liked it better that way because it explained why they made the Community the way it was. But back to the point, the Chief Elder tried to release Fiona for doing something against the rules, but really she should have been released herself. She was the one being mean and pretty much ruining everyone’s lives. It was a good idea to make an antagonist to make the movie more interesting, but the plan just didn’t work out. The focus kind of came off of Jonas and gave it to the Chief Elder and how she went from such a small character in the book to a “villain” in the movie. It just doesn’t add up in a world where everyone is nice and polite.
The relationships in the movie also changed a lot from the book. Fiona was just Jonas’s friend in the book, but they got a lot closer in the movie. Asher was close to Jonas in the book, but they grew apart as Jonas and Fiona grew together. In the book Jonas touched Asher to try to make him see colors, but in the movie, he tried to make Fiona see colors. The first time Jonas and Asher started to grow apart while Jonas and Fiona grew together was when Jonas was trying to show them sledding. Asher was starting to grow up and he knew it was against the rules, so he refused, but Fiona didn’t. It also just seemed kind of cheesy that Fiona would break the rules like that to do what Jonas said. Even the building itself was kind of cheesy. Why would the solar panels be there so that they could slide down them if there is no sunlight in the Community? Even if there was sunlight, it would be more effective if the solar panels covered the entire building. I don’t know why they even made the building that tall because in a “perfect” world, no one would need to climb that many stairs. It was also dangerous because if they even stuck their hands out for five seconds while sliding down, they could've made at least ten people fall off the stairs. Another time Jonas got less close with Asher and closer with Fiona was as he was trying to escape. Asher tried to stop him from leaving, so Jonas punched him. At about the same time, Fiona broke the rules to help him escape. I am happy that since the movie people did make that happen, they made Asher say he trusted Jonas and let him go in the end.
The final thing was that there were just too many big changes for it to replicate the book. Going off of the idea of Fiona breaking the rules, Jonas made her do some things that she wouldn’t have agreed to do in the book. He made her skip the injection that kept them from having feelings. He told her to get an apple and put a bit of her blood on it so the injection machine would think it was her. Then she would inject the apple instead of herself. After skipping the injection for a few days, Fiona started feeling emotions, something that she had not felt before, or in the book. At the end when she helped him escape, there was another big change where she almost got released. When Jonas was taking Gabe, she took an empty baby carrier and started running with it, to trick the people trying to find Jonas and Gabe. She was about to be released, but that was the exact moment Jonas crossed the barrier and memories flooded back to everyone. Another huge change was that the Chief Elder knew that Jonas was about to escape. It did add more drama and action to the scene, but it just was too different from the book for me.

Some people say the movie was better for those exact reasons I said that the book was better. One of the reasons was probably that they didn’t actually have to read, I might add. They say that having an antagonist made it interesting and added depth. They say the new relationships with the characters made it more realistic, showing what would actually happen if a real person was in that situation. They say the excess changes in the movie just made it more interesting and enhanced all that was already there. But I made my point clear earlier that I liked the book better for the reasons I stated. In addition, the book leaves an open ending, which lets people use their imagination. The movie takes that away because it shows you what happened. Both the versions were good and the movie did do a pretty good job copying the book. All in all, although the movie was good, the original book was even better.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Hidden History

Hidden history is when you learn something new about a person you thought you knew everything about. We were sitting at the table in front of the glass doors leading to the deck. The sun was shining because it was 3:30. There was a chocolate cake in the oven and the timer was ticking away. The smells from the kitchen wafted into the room we were in because the cake was almost done. We were going to make a Valentine’s cake later.
My dad walked in and sat down. He is always ready to share his old stories, and sometimes I hear them in the car. They are always nice to listen to. He always wears his baseball cap style hats, and this time it was blue. He was wearing blue jeans and a blue sweater. It was a pretty blue day. His short black hair kind of stuck up in different ways under his hat. When he smiled, I could see that he needed braces when he was a kid, but he couldn’t get them. He works as a geography teacher at Cal Poly. Then we started the interview.
I first asked him where he grew up and what it was like. He was born in Tulare, which is in the San Joaquin Valley. It was a town of about twenty thousand people with one, and eventually two, high schools. His dad liked to hunt and had a poultry shop. He processed and sold dead chickens. His mother took care of the family, then got a job at a hospital. He shared a room with his brother, who was five years older than him.
I knew that the next question would be very interesting: what was your relationship with animals? His first and favorite dog was named Fatdaddy and he had a cat named Midnight. “...and a peacock in the neighborhood that I called Gertrude, and I had many chickens. The biggest was Smokey, and then I innovatively named the others Blackie, Whitie, Brownie… and I had ducks that I won at the county fair, and they were baby little ducklings, and then they turned into great big yard messers. And I had a parakeet, and a canary, and one time I had pigeons as well,” he said. Smokey would ride on his tricycle and spend all day, every day with him, pecking at everyone. Smokey would ride on his handlebars and people would say, “There’s the Preston kid with his chicken.” He would go to his friends’ houses and knock on the door, and the parents would say that he could come in, but he couldn’t bring his chicken. “Take your chicken home, Billy.”
Then I asked him what he did every day as a child. His house was about one thousand square feet, and half a block from the cemetery. He always spent all day playing with his animals, and a lot of time with his friends too. The neighborhood had a lot of children who liked to play outside. Everyone was always outside playing with their friends and the unique animals.
After living in Tulare, he moved to SLO. The reason was, according to him, “For a job.” He went to college and eventually figured out that he wanted to be a teacher. At the time, he was living in Sacramento, working for state parks, so he applied at a few places that wanted a teacher for one year. Cal Poly agreed to let him teach. It was only supposed to be for a year, but they turned it into a full time job.
Lastly, I asked him to go back to his childhood to tell me a story of something interesting that happened when he was a kid. He decided to tell the story about the “wames” (worms). When he was about five years old, one day it rained more that usual. He thought it was wonderful how the worms would come out from the grass and crawl onto the sidewalks and into the gutter. It was very unusual, so he went out and grabbed as many as his little hands could carry. He was so very proud that he caught so many that he went into the kitchen to show his mother. “And I pushed the front door open with my shoulder, and went into the kitchen and went, ‘wames, Mommy, wames!” and she screamed and blew out the back door and ran outside. So I chased her because I knew she wanted to see the worms. She continued to run,” he said. So he chased her around, thinking how proud his mother would be of him when he showed her his “wames.”
Life was very different back then. Children wouldn’t just go to school, go home, and then play on their phones. They would go outside to play with their friends and many animals. In the city, they could have chickens, peacocks, ducks, and more. Overall, life then was much different than what there is now.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

All Made by Hand

Violins are made by hand, so someone has to learn, don't they? A violin maker is called a luthier. It takes a long time to learn the art of making violins. In some three year violin schools, the first year is just to learn how to use, recognize, and sharpen the tools. Learning how to make a violin is very tedious, so students really need a lot of motivation. It could be from being able to play instruments to having an interest in woodworking. It is also hard to find a master to learn under, so that is why there are instrument making schools, which require a minimal number of instruments made to graduate. It usually takes students six months or longer to build their first violin, but professionals can do it in only from three to four weeks. Even with all that violin making school, some students will do more repairs than actually making the violins.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Many Steps

After a violin maker gathers their materials and tools, they need to actually make it. There are many steps to making a violin.The first step is to put pieces of wood into molds made of walnut wood. After the violin maker has done that, they make the ribs for the C bouts, the thin part of the body on the violin, and clamp it onto the violin mold. Then the rest of the ribs are glued on, reinforced with a thin wooden lining to keep the violin in shape when the mold is removed. The wood for the top and back is carefully curved into the correct shape. The violin maker later will remove the mold and glue it together. The scroll, on the end of the neck, is carefully sized and carved. Even the difference of a millimeter will affect the tone of the violin. Other pieces are made too, including the fingerboard, which is shaved out of ebony. The violin maker then takes out the mold and glues all the pieces together. Clamps are used to keep the violin together until the glue dries.