It has been a while since my last practice session because last time was the evaluation and in addition to that, I am behind on practice and blogging again… However, I just practiced some Lai, and this time I managed to play the pedale through the entire section. It was difficult to remember to press the pedal at the right times because the pedale is marked at the beginning of each measure, but the last note of each measure for the top part is tied to the first note of the next measure, so I need to coordinate the pedale with the left hand. Despite my messy pedal-pressing skills, I did remember (for the most part) to keep the weight of my foot at the heel, not on the pedal, just like I learned when I was five or six. The chords still need some work, but I have definitely improved since my early practice sessions. On a different note, after Googling the composer of Love Story, as I had momentarily forgotten somehow, I found out that Francis Lai is a French accordionist and film score composer, who is still alive today at a sprightly age of 84, and the song that I am working on is actually the theme from Love Story, an American romantic drama film from 1970.
Today I edited my Italian Meringue Buttercream video and I am still working on it finishing and uploading it. I feel like my viewers on YouTube should know how I make buttercream, being that I use it very often. I also need to upload my Orange Chocolate Cupcake video to YouTube and I will be uploading some sort of baking video this weekend. I have still been working on my right front leg split and once I get, I will move onto middle splits, straddles, and left leg front splits; which should be easier because I will be more flexible. Honestly, I feel as if splits and training flexibility have taken over what I am trying to do on the agile part about my project; that’s why I need my splits soon, so I can move on. This is really evident in my tricking, I can still do a front flip, but I haven’t worked on since October; which is really bad. I also haven’t been on the trampoline in over two weeks, which is even worse. Some future goals that I will work on or at least attempt are: croissants because I feel it’s important to work with puff pastry and make it on my own, cake because I want to make roses out of buttercream for it and I need to know how to make cake to be called a baker, my final video that will demonstrate skills I have developed and learned, some kind of bar with a shortbread crust, a mousse which could be inside the cake, brownies with chocolate ganache and buttercream, bread, and an ice cream that is Spring related. My agility goals have changed because reality always catches up to me after I realize I am over-extending myself: standing back tuck on ground but without combinations, an improved front tuck on ground, front layout on trampoline, developing combos on trampoline, front and middle splits or close to middle split because they are extremely difficult, a side aerial, and a front handspring. Various drills like handstands, donkey kicks, hurdles, tuck jumps, and splits have helped me a lot with my agility part, but the baking part is hard to say. Due to the limited amount of ingredients and time I have, I never really master making all of these desserts, so most of these I only make once. My undecided final goal for baking is going to probably be a cake or something like that. Some quick things that I can do in between all of these are some recipes my mom used to make when she was little with her mom. Things like popcorn balls with caramel, caramel apples, and stuff like that. I also want to get colorful, so next time I make a cupcake I am going to make a bi-color swirl frosting, in addition I will color sugar with food coloring and place the sugar in the cupcake and add pockets in the batter and fold it different food colorings. I also will make sugar glass for the second time, and color it by coloring the sugar first. Therefore, once this project ends I hope that I can continue on learning new skills, after all my frosting skills still need a lot of work, and I am eager to learn new skills with the balance of my mentors: my mom, and Wilton Cakes on YouTube.
I have reached yet another conclusion after today’s Twenty Time. I went into class without any plan, and I ended up creating a video that I am not particularly proud of. The videography was particularly poor as you cannot see the first half of my face for a large amount of the video, and I did not feel as passionate about what I was speaking about as I did during the last video. To avoid the recreation of the disappointment I experienced today, I created a plan in the time I had left after editing and uploading my video to YouTube. Next Day 7 is going to spent working with Elena on a YouTube video that will include her guitar skills and her voice. In addition, I hope that this video will have a lot more editing involved in it, making it more complex and more fun to make. I plan on using Elena’s love and skill for editing film (that I didn’t know existed before today) to my advantage. I am beginning to feel excited again!
This has been a very exciting week because my new zoom lens came in for my camera!! The lens is so cool and it takes amazing pictures. It was fascinating to see how far the lens could zoom into things. I am going to try and upload pictures of the moon using my zoom lens. I took some test shots of it the other day and it kind of came out horribly. The lens didn’t really focus on the moon and the picture just turned out really blurry. I am going to try over the weekend to figure out how to focus and take better pictures with the lens. I am really interested in focusing on the moon and taking pictures that show lots of detail. My dad agreed to help me learn when to use the zoom lens and when to use my normal lens. On a different note, I have recently been taking lots of pictures of pretty much everything. I don’t know why, but recently I have been obsessed with taking pictures all of time. The pictures are looking really good and I can see myself improving. I am really excited to shoot with my new lens and continue to take more pictures.
Since my last blog post I have finally been able to find the time to practice guitar, and I’ve made some good progress. First, I learned more about strumming patterns and how to properly move your right hand while playing.
I also spent a lot of time learning 4 new chords: G7, C7, B7 and F Maj7. I really like the bluesy sound they all have. The G7, C7 and F Maj7 chords were pretty easy to get the hang of because the finger placement is almost the same as the C chord. The B7 chord is a little harder, since it has completely new fingering, but it’s certainly not as hard as C and G were to learn. After learning these chords I was finally able to play through the song “Take Me To Church,” which I have been wanting to play for a while!
Next I learned an alternative way to play the A chord. The fingering for the original way I was taught has three fingers all squished onto the same fret. This is pretty easy to play for people who have smaller hands, like me, but people with larger hands benefit more from this new method, which is playing A as a bar chord. Although I will probably stick to the way I was first taught, it was still interesting to learn how to play my first bar chord.
During this twenty time period I also talked with Sarah Farrin, and we are hoping to be able to do a song together next Day 7 for her YouTube channel!
The next lesson I will do introduces a new method on how to make my chord changes smoother, which should be very helpful.
Soooo I’m finally starting my sculpture thingy! I met with Mrs. G-B and she’s super pumped about the project and is more than willing to help me acquire materials and gave me some good ideas. So the sculpture will be of the female gender symbol and made with wood. Inside of the circular part of the symbol will be a photograph of a face with each feature from a different girl at DA. This is to put a face to the symbol while also emphasize the diversity among the women at DA. I will burn (a technique that works with wood) the adjectives that I collect from my survey into the wood of the symbol. Today I spent the twenty time period drawing out the outline of the sculpture on a HUGE piece of paper (it about as tall as me). From there I measured the length and width of the bottom part of the structure (the cross part of the symbol) and the diameter of the circle at the top of the structure. Mrs. G-B will kindly take these dimensions and get the wood for me. I will start carving the shape of the structure next week and will start burning in the adjectives after I get some responses back from the survey.
This week, I fulfilled by new guidelines for my twenty time project. I made two (technically three) things and learned about their origin and culture of that place. First, I made puff puffs. They are little semi-sweet doughnut balls from Nigeria. In big cities in Nigeria, women sell these doughnuts at their booths on the street. They make them fresh for each customer and drop them into the oil in a specific way:
The dough is made out of yeast, flour, water, sugar, and salt. I let it rise for an hour, but when I came back to check on it, it had not changed much. I heated up a small pot full of oil and then out a small amount of dough in to test the temperature. Here comes the interesting part. I used a spoon to drop the dough into the oil put it would almost always stretch out and turn into a log shape rather than a sphere. Then I realized why the street vendors made them the way they did. If you don’t drop them into the pot while they are already in perfect circles, they will change shape. I did not attempt to do it the traditional way because it makes a bigger splash, and I did not want to risk it. Instead I focused hard on trying to push the dough off of the spoon in different ways to find the desired result. The larger ones were lighter on the outside but too doughy and undercooked on the inside and the small ones were too dark and still too doughy on the inside. I will change the batter recipe next time and use less flour so I get lighter puff puffs.
Later in the week I made pizza. It turned out okay but none of my pizza doughs since the first one have risen as high as that one. After I ate some pizza, I wondered what I was going to do with the other half of the dough. I did not want to make another pizza, my parents are going vegan so they wouldn’t eat it, and I didn’t know any recipes that included pizza dough. Or did I…? A lightbulb went off and I realized that garlic knots are probably made out of pizza dough. I google a recipe and used the one from Emeril Lagasse. First, I sautéed minced garlic in butter until the garlic browned and the butter completely melted. I set it aside and kept it warm. I preheated the oven to 375 degrees on the bread setting. I then rolled out the leftover pizza dough, brushed it with oil, and cut them into 1 and a half inch wide strips. I tied them into knots and sprinkled them with salt. I placed them 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put them in the oven for 20 minutes. While those were baking, I chopped up about 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley. I put the shaved romano and parmesan cheese, parsley, and warm garlic butter into a large bowl. When the knots finished, I tossed them in the sauce, making sure they were all evenly coated. I tried one and I had to have a moment of silence for how good it was. The butter, romano and parmesan cheese, parsley, and garlic were dancing in my mouth like some Italian wedding party. A perfect food marriage. I will be eating a lot of bread in the future.
Yesterday, I met with Ms. Mattox. We continued to talk about my project more and looked back at old documents. I found my proposal and realized that I didn’t fully read the comments Mrs. Wittman had given to me, some of which were actually points that we touched based on during our meeting.
She asked me if I had set up a DuoLingo account and suggested I try and find another, maybe, conversational website/videos, etc. I now understood what Mrs. Wittman meant when she said I should use websites.
So, I set up a DuoLingo account and have decided that during the Twenty-Time periods I will now work with DuoLingo. If I have time during class, only then will I write my blog post and/or do other work.
I will go to her or my dad if I have a question or need help about something. I will also use the books that Mr. Schroedter has offered to buy for me, as supplementary practice. I might also use the books that Elena lent me if I have time or really need to, for even more practice.
I started working with DuoLingo yesterday, after I met with her during the long, one hour Tutorial. I trained for 15-20 minutes in the remaining time.
Today, I finished through Basics 2 and will be learning Phrases next.
For my next twenty time, I will be making vegetable noodle soup. This dish is from Iran/Persia. There are many ingredients in this recipe because I will be making the broth, the noodles, and preparing the vegetables for the soup. This recipe takes one hour and thirty five minutes to prepare. I was originally going to make roasted pears with basil ice cream from Iran, but as I was looking through the recipe, I realized that there were many ingredients that I would not be able to get. My most recent recipe that I made was Yalanchi, from Iraq. The dish was rice stuffed tomatoes. My filming experience was a little worse than normal because I forgot to film some important steps in the cooking process. Hopefully this won’t affect the video very much, because the dish turned out very well. The combination of sweetness from the pine nuts and cinnamon contrasted to the freshness of the tomato and onions was very good.
For my 12th twenty time of the year, I finally received my Jon Scheyer interview questions! I was really excited to see what he had to say about my interview questions and after reading them I’ve gained even more knowledge about the sport of basketball. I learned what coaches look for when recruiting top players, some of these things are they must be a great student and strive to get be the best one they can possibly be, what type of feel do they have for the game (meaning the type of player they are, scorer, passer, attacker), and how hard they play the game. Something interesting that Jon said during this question is that how hard you play is in fact a skill, I was shocked by this, because in my opinion I always thought it was a mental aspect in a players mind. Also I learned that going to highly ranked high school basketball tournaments is a great way to get recognized by coaches. Furthermore, Jon also stated in his interview that the way he got recruited was by being a fantastic student in school, he was a very successful high school basketball player, and lastly he has always had a good character or personality that was attractive to coaches. I’m very glad and thankful to Jon for answering these questions, because I am now one step closer to my final product.