Thursday, April 15, 2010

Friends and Families

The two things you need in life are families and friends

They are always there for you ‘till no end

Through ups and downs,

And smiles and frowns

They were always by you side.

They lend you shoulders when you cried,

And held your hand through tough times.

Jumping up and down during times of glory,

Listening as you poured out your life story.

Just like how they were there for us,

We were always there for them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

3rd Quarter ORB

A Man Named Dave by Dave Pelzer. Penguin Books, 2000. Genre: Autobiography

The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer is about himself as he moves into adulthood. It is the third and final book of the trilogy. Dave always wanted to fly because when he was a kid still living with “The Mother”, he would sit in the basement, in his prisoner - of - war position, and look out the window and pretend that he was Superman and that he could fly away from all his troubles. He enlisted in the air force for that reason and also because he wanted to make his father proud, he had promised him that he would. You would think that his life could only get better from here but no. During basic air force training, he kept having nightmares and they were all the same, his mother standing in front of him with a knife and then he would run. To add on to that, he married a woman, named Patsy, that he does not trust or love, he married her because he got her pregnant. After eight years, they finally got divorced, and they had to share their son Stephen. His life seems filled with hardships and obstacles that gets in the way of his happiness but that’s not so.

“Pelzer…inspires us all. He is a living example that all of us have the capability to better ourselves no matter what the odds.” – Jack Canfield.

Dave Pelzer writes with great details about the obstacles that he faces, such as the death of his father, his mother haunting him in his dreams, and a friend who turned out to be an enemy. Although there were some downsides to his life, there were definitely ups in his life too, such as his loving son, a new wife that loves him very much and finally making his father proud. One can have empathy for him when he writes about the hardships and joy when he writes about his triumph and how he climbed over a hill in his life.

“All those years you tried your best to break me, and I’m still here. Father’s finally free, Ron’s in the service, and soon the boys will move out on their own. I’m a good person. I try my best in everything I set out to do. I make my problems. I stand on my own. And one day you’ll see, I’m going to make something out of myself. Whether I dig ditches or flip burgers for the air force, I’ll be the best, and somehow, someway, I won’t waste my life away. If you taught me anything, you taught me that.”

I loved the first two books of the trilogy and I loved this book just as much. I will probably read some of his other books because I loved his writing style and the message of “don’t give up hope” that is incorporated in those three books.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Significant Struggles of Santiago

Everyone has struggles that they have to face. Life is full of it and they are inevitable. Overcoming these struggles do nothing but make us stronger. In the Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, the main character Santiago goes through several disparaging obstacles that include his old age, the unsympathetic sharks that sabotaged all his hard works, and the huge marlin. He conquered them all with determination and strength.

The first and foremost conflict that he faced was his age. As people grow older, they get physically weaker and can’t do things that they used to when they are younger, they also develop conditions such as hunched back and cramps, and finally, fatigue. Old people get worn out really easily because their body isn’t as fit and healthy as they used to be. Santiago is about eighty years old so fighting a marlin isn't exactly easy to do. His left hand cramps up often (and he calls it a curse) so he has to rely on is good hand to keep a grip on the marlin. Santiago hasn’t slept in three days so he is exhausted. He may not want to admit it but he knows that he is. “You’re tired old man…You’re tired inside.” (112).

Another obstacle that he faces is the marlin itself. The marlin is so enormous that when it came out of the water, it came out "unending and water poured from his sides...his sword was as long as a baseball bat and tapered like a rapier...[and had] a great scythe-blade tail." (104). the marlin could easily dive and pull Santiago under or diver and kill him. Fortunately, it did neither of the things and allowed itself to be caught. Even though he wanted to kill the marlin, he was resentful when he did because he didn’t think of it as just another fish in the sea, but his own brother.

What killed Santiago the most on the inside were the spiteful sharks that sabotaged all his hard work. They wounded his pride because the marlin was the first fish nearly a thousand pounds that he had caught all by himself and he was proud of it. "Eat that, galanos. And make a dream you've killed a man. “(119). He worked hard fighting for it and now it was destroyed to the point that it was barely even recognizable. When the skeleton was just lying around, waiting go return back to the ocean, people passed by it and though that it was just a mere shark, not a noble majestic being that once swam the great seas. “‘What’s that?' she asked a waiter and pointed to the long backbone of the great fish that was now just garbage waiting to go out with the tide...'I didn’t know sharks had such handsome, beautifully formed tails." (127). Santiago was disgusted by what the sharks left behind and wished that he had never went out that far into the sea and caught the marlin. Atleast the marlin would still have its dignity. The sharks, in a way, are symbolic of the people who try to bring someone else down, just so that they would feel better about themselves. The sharks killed Santiago’s pride just so that they could get a little something to fill their belly.

Conflicts and struggles must be overcome with fierceness and strength, just like Santiago when he was fighting the galanos. "I’ll fight them...I’ll fight them till I die." (115). Even when you fail to do so and everything seems to be falling apart, be optimistic and think of bright side, because with everything that turns sour, there's always a hidden goodness. You just don't always know what it is. When the sharks gorged on the marlin, he was devastated and felt hopeless, and even though he proabaly didn't want to do anything but grieve about his lost, he still tries to be positive. "Think about something cheerful old man...every minute now you are closer to home. You are lighter for the loss of forty pounds." (104).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Mystery of the Missing Diamond

The Mystery of the Missing Diamond

It was a sunny afternoon in the Land of the Paragon. Princess Mollie was sitting in her curtain drawn room, reading a letter from Caitlyn, a fellow peasant who also happens to be her best friend. She is coming for a visit and they concurred that she is to stay for a month. Princess Mollie just couldn’t wait to see her.

They next morning, bright and early, she jumped out of bed with great enthusiasm.

“Ding dong.” Mollie raced to the door. She stopped to throw her silky blonde hair back and took a deep breath. Then, she threw the door open and there stood Caitlyn, in her tattered apron, practically jumping up and down with excitement. Mollie wrapped her arms around Caitlyn in a warm embrace.

“Here, I’ll show you my room,” said Mollie in a sanguine voice. They walked up what seemed like a thousand flight of stairs to Caitlyn since she wasn’t used to it. When they finally reached the royal bedroom, her mind was all garbled and had to lie down.

“Your bed is so comfy,” she said, examining the silk cover.

“Thanks, I just got it last week for my birthday. I wanted it in pink but they got me purple instead,” Mollie replied with a pout. The conversation continued until they heard a soft knock on the door.

“Come in,” answered Mollie casually. In enters a servant, pushing a polished silver cart with milk and a plate of chocolate chip cookies, giving off a redolent aroma.

“Can't we get just some more of the cookies?” Caitlyn asked meekly.

“Um, I don’t know, mom doesn’t allow us to have a too many cookies because they are not salutary. She told Sam here not to give us any more than a plate of cookies every day. Maybe we could get you something else?”

“But I want cookies!” whined the obstinate peasant, “Try to cajole him into bringing us some more.”

“Oh alright, and just so you know, you’re a glutton,” she teased.

That night during dinner, King Myke discovered that his precious diamond had been stolen.

“Alright, who took my diamond?” he bellowed across the table. “It was you was, was it not? ” he roared, pointing directly at Caitlyn. He always had his suspicions about her and now they were confirmed, or so it seemed.

“What?” Caitlyn stood up, accidentally knocking over a bowl of clam chowder, “I did not! I didn’t even go near that thing!” she rebutted, with a strand of spaghetti still hanging from her mouth.

“Yeah, I know Caitlyn, and i know she would never do that. And besides, who wants that stupid diamond anyways? It’s practically useless,” defended Mollie. "And uh, Caitlyn, I think you have something…there,” she added, pointing to her mouth. Caitlyn turned bright pink as she removed it with a napkin.

“Now now honey, it’s going to be okay, we’ll find the one who stole it,” said Queen Becci, trying to mollify her husband. “And young lady, don’t provoke your father about his diamond! You know how much your father cares about it.”

Caitlyn’s eyes began to tear up, and without a warning, ran up the stairs to Mollie’s room. She flung herself on top of her bed and started to cry. She was hurt and doleful that her best friend’s dad didn’t trust her and accused her of stealing.

“Oh come on,” assuaged Mollie, “I’m sure he didn’t mean it, he just overreacted. I mean, you are the only one, besides the family, who knows about that ugly and equally vapid rock.”

Suddenly, there was a shout. The girls rushed out and saw Mandy, a maid, standing with an opened velvet container. In it lies a diamond that sparkles like a star on a crystal clear night.. King Myke’s eyes widened as his face began to turn pale.

“Where did you find it?” his voice was hoarse.

“Y-your room your majesty,” Mandy stuttered, “I was cleaning it, just like you said. I just wanted to help you with the mystery.”

“So you stole the diamond and tried to vilify this poor innocent girl here?” Queen

Becci was outraged. “You nefarious malefactor!”

“But it wasn’t me! Someone must’ve put it there to frame me!” the king argued.

“Let me first remind you that you’re the only one with the key to that box. I bet you forgot to lock it because you were so lost in the thought of ruining her life.”

“Daddy! How could you do that?” Mollie was full of hatred for her father and loathed him with all her heart.

The king was laconic because he knew that he had just lost the battle.

After receiving a diatribe from the queen, he was sentence to five years of community service. Now it might not seem much of a punishment for framing someone for stealing, but after all, he is the king.

And as for Mandy, she was extolled by Queen Becci and Princess Mollie for her help. As a reward, she received an all expense paid vacation to the Kingdom of the Ethereal, where everything is heavenly and fine.