Sorry I haven’t written in a while. It’s hard to get back into old habits.
So I’m back to writing. I really like it. It’s fun, it’s a good way to calm down after a long week. I didn’t do that much this time, just really set the scene. I’ve noticed that I sort of ignore the details and I want to work on that. It’s like my mind skips over that stuff in real life so I skip over it when I write. I want to change that.
I’ve been watching 30 Rock recently so I decided to make one of the locations a replica of Jack’s office. The guy who works there gets the reference and made his office like that for that reason. The toilet wall is so signature and I think it is really cool, who wouldn’t want that? Anyway it’s really coming together and I can’t wait to print it.
Since the last post I have figured out how to get the photos from my new camera onto my laptop. I had to order a separate cord on amazon because the memory card in the camera doesn’t fit into my laptop. It snowed this past weekend so I got some interesting photos of the snow. One of my favorites is of my dog jumping up in the snow (she really likes the snow so I kicked it up in the air and she tried to eat it). I have been really enjoying learning how to take photos on my new camera. I think I have been getting the hang of it and it is a fun hobby. One of my friends got a new camera too, and when I went over to her house we had a lot of fun taking photos. I’ve had a lot of fun taking photos and it is definitely something that I will continue after this project ends. Anyways here are some photos that I have taken since the last twenty time:
Over the past few weeks I have continued to work on solidifying the fluidity of all my chord changes, and decided to take the lessons a bit slower. To practice, I found the chord progressions of some of my favorite songs and played them through whenever I had a chance. Recently I have been finding that I am able to work through practically any basic song, which has been a lot of fun. Also, my fingers have finally begun to stop hurting when I play for an extended period of time.
I came across a video that showed steps on how to play one of my favorite Ed Sheeran songs called I See Fire (written for The Hobbit), but it included some complicated strumming patterns and plucking sequences that I hadn’t even remotely touched on yet. I decided to just go for it and try to learn some of the beginning part, because I had a lot of extra time from the snow days. It was definitely a huge challenge to get the rhythm and I had to learn a new technique called ‘hammering,’ which enables you to change the note of a string after you’ve plucked it. This beginning riff alone took me at least an hour, but I think my love for the song made me want to keep persevering at it. I will continue to learn and practice this song on the side, in addition to the lessons.
My hand also has to become more flexible in order to play some chords, so the teacher demonstrated a useful hand workout on the guitar to do daily. It will hopefully make it easier to reach across multiple frets.
Over the next week I will start to learn the G7, B7 and C7 chords!
It was an incredibly cold and snowy day, so I obviously went out and took pictures of the snow. For starters, taking pictures in the freezing cold is surprisingly easier than one would think. It was easy to work the camera, even with big gloves on. In order for me to get the “perfect” pictures, I wanted to shoot a variety of locations. I started photographing things around my house, such as our cars, the driveway, the trees next to my house, and plants that were covered by snow. After taking a few pictures around my house, I went on a walk outside of my house to this “park”. It isn’t an actual park, it is mostly woods and rivers, which makes it good for walking and taking pictures. I went with my dogs and took loads of pictures of them. I also tried to take pictures on a day where it was really sunny and the lighting was awful. I have found that taking pictures that are in focus is much easier on a day with overcast and grey skies. I started taking pictures of this little river, but I found it really hard to shoot a “cool” photo because it was moving so rapidly. After taking many pictures of the water, I finally got a good picture. I struggled when trying to photograph icicles on our cars at our house because I was trying to capture the simplicity and the transparency of the ice, but it was really hard to not capture obvious parts of the car.
Recently, I haven’t had as much time to work on my books, and when I have been working on them, I’ve focused more on editing the first one than on writing the second one. Though I highly doubt that I will be able to finish writing and editing my books by the time this Twenty Time project is done, but nonetheless, I have to try, so I will be doing my best to work on them whenever possible. This last Twenty Time period, I actually got a lot of work done which was surprising considering I had trouble focusing on what I was writing because my mind was preoccupied with the realization that finishing all three books in time for the deadline will be nearly impossible. I finished chapter chapter 13 and began working on chapter 14. The problem right now is that I’m at a point in the middle of the book right before the exciting ending, which is spread out through almost twenty chapters, so there’s still a lot more to come, I just have to power through writing this part, which isn’t as fun to write as the action. I’ve also really been working on developing the individual personalities of the characters and showing what’s happening through my writing, not just obviously stating it. I’ve found that showing the characters feelings, personalities and emotions through my writing makes for a much better end product, and it helps improve the story overall.
Today’s fifty minutes of Twenty Time started as they normally do, by choosing a song to sing. While I was choosing, I started to discuss a possible time to record a song with Elena. Her project is about learning guitar, and she also really likes to sing, so I think doing a video with her would work well. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have any time over the next month because she is busy with driver’s ed, but I’m sure we’ll work something out relatively soon.
The song I chose was Let it Go by James Bay, and I recorded it relatively quickly. I cut the song short because I honestly don’t know it very well, which allowed me to finish it in around fifteen minutes. The vine I posted also took a short amount of time, and I went into the classroom to edit with around twenty minutes left in class. It didn’t take me long to edit and post the video, leaving me with a lot of time to contemplate how I feel about where this project is going, and I have come to a few conclusions. First, continuing voice lessons is probably a good idea to continue my improvement. Second, I have started to enjoy singing less and less, and I’m not entirely sure what to do about it. I have also found that I am becoming less and less invested in my YouTube channel every day. As of now, I don’t know what to do with these new found conclusions, but I certainly have my thinking cap on.
During the Snow Day weekend I made two dishes for my family. I figured that I would look up some easy recipes that I could make with ingredients I had in the house. The first dish I made was turkey meatloaf. It was actually the first time I was not cooking for twenty time. I was just hungry and bored. My family does not eat red meat, hence the turkey, and we had some ground turkey in the fridge, so I went for it. I looked up a basic recipe on allrecipes.com and changed it to accommodate my needs (with limited food resources). As I started to add the ingredients (salt, pepper, Italian breadcrumbs, an egg) I realized I did not have onions or Worcestershire sauce which as in integral part of the seasoning. Feeling confident in my estimating skills, I looked up the ingredients in Worcestershire sauce and added the amount of seasoning that “looked right” for the amount of turkey I was using. I added a bit of chili powder, onion powder, fresh garlic, and ground clove. I omitted the fish sauce, apple cider vinegar, honey, and molasses partly because I didn’t have all of these ingredients and (this type of recipe needs all four to be balanced) and partially because I did not want there to be too many spices in my meatloaf, which already had spices in addition to the ones included in the store-bought Italian breadcrumbs. Then I mixed everything together, put it into a greased loaf pan, put it in the oven on 350 and hoped for the best. I waited 30 minutes then I checked the temperature and put ketchup on top. After that I checked the temperature every few minutes until it reached 160. I tried it and it was (dare I say) even better than my grandmother’s meatloaf. It was flavorful and not dry at all, which is hard to accomplish with a lean meat like turkey. I was very pleased and my parents really liked it. We even ate all of the leftovers before the weekend ended!
On Monday when the road conditions were better, I asked to go to the grocery store to get flour, yeast, marinara, and mozzarella for my dish. Can you guess what it was?….You guessed it! It was pizza. I had been craving pizza all weekend but without means of safe transportation I couldn’t get it delivered. So I thought,”Hey, what if you make it yourself? You do have twenty time this week anyway…” I used Bobby Flay’s (culinary wizard) dough recipe which was surprisingly easy. Just put bread flour, yeast, olive oil, and water in a mixer fitted with a dough hook and then knead and let it set out on the counter for an hour. Easy enough. What I did not realize was how much dough the recipe made. When I first pulled it out of the mixer it weighed about a pound. After resting it had doubled in size! (After I made this pizza with half of that dough, it increased by a third overnight!) I rolled it out, added fancy store-bought marinara, mozzarella, spinach and then seasoned the crust. For the crust I added minced fresh garlic and grated parmesan cheese. I put in in the oven for 15 minutes on 450 and lo and behold, a glorious cheese pizza! It had bubbles, crispy crust (including the bottom) golden browned cheese and fragrant garlic. It tasted as good as it smelled. Thick crust with amazing flavors. Definitely a win!
As the twenty time rolled around today I decided it best to get my act together and finally finish the survey I’ve been working on creating. I’m creating it on Survey Monkey. I was having trouble defining what type of questions I was going to ask, but with the helpful help of Ms. Wittman, I narrowed them down and finished the survey…or at least the first rough draft.
So as far as brainstorming on the visual embodiment of my results goes, I have an idea:
With clay or another material, I am going to sculpt the female gender symbol; on the clay, I will carve in the adjectives and phrases that I collect from surveying the women of DA into the clay female symbol; somehow, I want to take photographs of a bunch of girls from DA’s faces and use a different person feature to make up one, big, diverse face that represents the girls of DA.
But obviously, I’m still brainstorming. I’m also going to go talk to Mr. Haynes or Mrs. G-B about it.
During the next season of my trainings, I hope to make more videos of my trainings and also maybe some of me too. At the end of this season, I will make another video and compare the two to see how much Allison and Catherine have improved. We will start training next week on Monday and will go for the rest of January and February every other week. We are still unsure about how the schedule in March will work. Also, I will now be training two other girls about the same age as Allison and Catherine: Kate and her sister (I do not know what her name is yet). Adding two more girls means that I will be able to do more drills that require more people. I will look at Kate, her sister, Allison, and Catherine to see if my teaching has worked on Allison and Catherine. If it has, then Allison and Catherine should have better form than Kate and her sister. This will be another good opportunity to see how good my teaching is and after I see then I will make sure Kate and her sister learn the correct forms (if in fact my teaching helped Allison and Catherine).
Last Wednesday, I met with Ms. Mattox during Lunch.
We reviewed the personal pronouns and the verb “to be”. She would give me singular form and I would have to give the plural or she would give the personal pronoun and I would have to give the conjugated form of the verb “to be”.
Next she gave me some adjectives to work with. We started with “happy” (masc. – “content”/”contents”, fem. – “contente”/”contentes”). She would give me some practice sentences like, “We are happy.” (“Nous sommes contentes.”) and “He/She is happy.” (“Il/Elle est content/contente.”). Then we worked with the adjective “blonde” (masc. – “blond”/”blonds”, fem. – “blonde”/”blondes”). We also practiced some sentences like, “She is blonde.” (“Elle est blonde.”) and “You are blonde.” (“Tu es blonde.”).
She later continued to teach me how to say “not” (“ne…pa”). Ms. Mattox gave me some practice sentences with “not” and “content(s), contente(s)”/”blond(s), blonde(s)”. Sentences included, “He is not happy.” (“Il ne es pa content.”) and “You all are not blonde.” (“Vous ne ett pa blonds.”).
I hope that at our next meeting, I will learn more nouns, adjectives, verbs, and pronouns.