Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Evian Mountain

 A faux encyclopedia entry, written for a class.


Evian Mountain, the tallest snow-covered peak in the Picturesque Mountain Range, is home to the Aquafina Spring. This spring, which feeds into the Dasani River, contains only the cleanest, most natural water. This unique spring contains a naturally-created filter system which takes ordinary ground water and deposits it in the spring as pure and fresh. The rare fish that live in this water only consume impurities and excrete healthy minerals. Even the snow that runs into the spring is pure and clean. It is said that all who drink of the spring’s waters will feel healthier and more hydrated than if they’d stuck to plain tap water. Tourists are willing to pay exorbitant fees to hike up the mountain and taste the water for themselves.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dolling Post!

A little different from the writing. Sharing some dolls that I've made over the summer.
Dolling, for those who don't know, is an art that involves taking a base [a basically nude, bald, featureless drawing that someone else has made] and drawing clothing and hair on it. Some people, it's their lives. Others, they've never heard of it.
It's just something fun for me. And I want to share.

Anastasia. I like the dress, but not so much the tiara. Base from Xandorra

An acrobat girl. I like the way I did the outfit, but I'd never wear it. Base from Xandorra

Supposed to represent April Fool's Day, or Poisson d'Avril. The French traditional prank is to stick a fish on someone's back. Base from Xandorra

A girl planting a tree. I really like this one. Why can't I make dolls this good all the time. Base from Radiuhoh

I saved this as the wrong type of file, so the colors got compressed. Sad. But this was my first try with a tutu and I wanted to show her off. Base from Xandorra

 Bree, a faerie from Neopets. I don't play Neopets (often) anymore, but I love the design of the faeries. I simplified her design to make it a little easier on me. Base from Radiuhoh

 An entry to a burlesque-inspired contest. Base from Xandorra

 If the carpet from Aladdin was a person. Base from Xandorra

 The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. Base from Xandorra

A clown. She scares me, but I like the shading n this one. Base from Xandorra

The American flag! I don't know why, but I enjoy anthromorphizing objects. Base from Radiuhoh

 Fuhnah. Another Neopets faerie. Base from Radiuhoh

A Halloween girl. I love the background. I need to do more backgrounds. Base from Radiuhoh

A sun goddess. I don't know, I had fun with the sun part. Base from Xandorra

Jasmine! The best of the Disney princesses. Base from Xandorra

Another one that got messed up by saving it as the wrong file type. But I love the detail in the hair. Base from Xandorra

Goddess of the night. I seriously need to do more backgrounds. Base from Xandorra

The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Base from Xandorra

The green chick from Star Trek (2009). I've been told this green chick is somewhere in the original series but I haven't seen it. Base from Xandorra

And that's it. We return to writing soon.
But it's not like anyone was reading that in the first place.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In Favor of the Park

[This is a creative essay written for a class. I want to make it clear that this is just a way to describe the park, not an actual letter. I have no idea of the current state of the park.]

To the City of San Jose:

I know that this is a big city, and I know that you need more space for housing and roads. I don’t know if closing Shady Oaks Park has yet crossed your mind, but I am begging you: don’t do it. This park, tiny and insignificant as it is, means a lot to the residents of Santa Teresa neighborhood.

You don’t really maintain the park that well. The playground is broken; half of the place is covered in graffiti. But you have to realize that this neglected little park is the one bit of nature that any kid in this neighborhood has. There’s something magical in being allowed to ride your bike alone to the park for the first time, past busy streets and cracked sidewalks, through the bad part of suburbia to a little garden of Eden.

At first, every kid rushes to the playground. This, you’ve already changed. Where there once was a hot metal deathtrap with sand beneath, now stands a plastic play structure with a recycled rubber floor. To be honest, I liked the metal playground, or I might just be bitter that you closed the park for a full summer to rebuild it. Any kid now is going to appreciate not being burned by the metal slide. That is, if you keep this park open for the kids to play on this plastic structure for hours.

The kid enjoying this playground gets tired, and goes to the one drinking fountain in the park for some water. This one fountain is always broken, but the little water it does put out is cold and sweet. I do have to let you know that the location of the fountain is very odd. It’s right in the middle of a large span of concrete, and the local skateboarding kids love to glide around the obstacle course of cracks.

So this kid runs away from the skateboarders, onto the large field of grass. No one really uses this field, it’s overgrown with weeds and there are bees hidden in patches of clover. This just means that this kid is free to run around, until her little legs are tired, and then collapse in the sweet smelling grass and just lie there for a moment, soaking in the California sun. You can’t think of taking this away.

The kid might get burned by the sun, and run over to the oaks of Shady Oaks Park—a small grove that has so much shade it can get chilly in the middle of summer. There are picnic benches and barbecue pits here. Families have picnics here quite often, as it’s a nice little area that’s close to home.

The kid leaves the comfort of the shade and goes to the run-down exercise course. This, you really could get rid of it. Kids swarm over it with absolutely no supervision, and they can get seriously hurt here. I know it was once intended for adults to improve their balance and strength, but a kid just sees an arrangement of bars to hang off of and poles to balance on. In the sixteen years I spent going to this park, I never saw anyone actually exercise on the exercise course. I did, however, see two broken bones and countless scraped knees from my friends falling off of the three-foot high balance bar. Change this part, if you must change something, but this ruin from the 80s should not mean you sacrifice the whole park.

A little ways away from the exercise course is the absolute gem of the park, the one thing that no kid could find somewhere else: the bouncy tree. That’s what my friends and I called it. Just off the trail that surrounds the park is a tree that grew sideways, so the trunk is perpendicular to the ground. It’s strong enough to hold the weight of four or five kids, and when these kids climb on, the tree will literally bounce. It’s already an amazing thing for a kid to see a tree that grows sideways, and this one is better in that it’s a ride, too! This tree is the hidden treasure of Shady Oaks Park, and the thing that could not be replaced if you tear the park down.

This park is also one of the entrances to the Coyote Creek bike trail. I know you wouldn’t tear down this trail; it’s one of the major features of San Jose. What kid doesn’t love spending all day riding to Morgan Hill, passing through various parks and the model plane airport? But this entrance from this park is particularly important. It’s close to two of the major landmarks on the trail: the five-foot deep dip in the trail that’s so fun to ride down, and the short trail down to the creek. A kid can walk down to Coyote Creek and wade through the cold water, experiencing the beauty of nature while being only five minutes from home. I’m not sure if this is still there, but a bit away from the shore once had bushes of wild blackberries hanging over the water. It was untouched by most animals, so a little kid’s hands could reach through the thorny bramble and collect a sweet edible prize.

And all right, so there are wild animals along that trail. Cougars live in the mountains. I know that seems like a bad thing, like the cougars will attack innocent young children. But really, you have to realize that to the kids in the area, wild animals like that are awesome. It’s a way to get close to the dangerous part of nature while still having the option to run back to the safety of home. So instead of expanding suburbia to get rid of these animals, you should let them stay. Children don’t need to grow up in perfect sterile environments, what they need is to experience the world. Try teaching them how to deal with cougars instead—a few simple placards along the trail would be more than what they have now.

So please, San Jose, do not tear down this park. It is worth far more to the residents than new houses would be. I know this is a big city and a tiny park is often overlooked in the big picture, but it is important. It needs to be preserved.

After all, what good would more houses be if there were no park for the kids to play in?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


[This is one of my favorite poems, and I wanted to try expanding the story behind it. The poem is by Lewis Carroll and can be found in Alice Through the Looking-Glass.]

‘Twas brillig and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

It was a hot day, a humid, brillig day. The kind of day where sweat swiffled down your back when you stepped outdoors.

Louis did not enjoy this sort of day. He had extra work on these days—he had all his normal tasks, plus he had to watch the borogove gardens. Creatures like the mome raths and the squintles and once in a while even a renk would try to creep into the shade of the leaves to take shelter from the sun. Of course, once there, they would smell how mimsy the large fruits were and would devour the crop if Louis didn’t frighten them away first.

Today, Louis’s father sat outdoors with him to watch the gardens. He was an ancient man, gnarled and bent, but he still had a gentle heart and a frillicious wit. His eyes were not sharp enough to always see the creatures, but he was good company for Louis. The old man sat in the cool wabe, and toves would gimble past him, keeping him company as he kept Louis company.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

As Louis trimmed the branches of a feffer tree, a crilitant shriek was heard in the distance.

“Jabberwock’s caught a robfin,” the old man remarked.

“There’s no Jabberwock, Father,” Louis replied, clipping another branch. “And that was the sound of a darnel.”

“It was a robfin,” the old man insisted. “The Jabberwock does not hunt darnels.”

Louis gave a dismissing nod as he continued his work.

“Have I told you the story of the Jabberwock?” the man asked his son.

“Many times, Father,” Louis replied, vexed by his father’s insistence that this creature was real.

“I saw it once,” the man mused, “Big and sclimely. It had these claws, you see, that extended three feet from its arms. Its teeth were sharp and it smiled like old Chester does when he catches a bird.”

Old Chester, the cat, was not around at the moment. He often disappeared, and neither Louis nor his father knew just where he went.

“The Jabberwock is a dangerous creature, my son,” the old man warned. “If it’s got a robfin so near, it may be coming to the garden next. You must promise me we will go inside to safety if it is here.”

“We will,” Louis promised. “We will go to the house if so much as a Jubjub bird is here.”

“Oh, the Jubjub bird!” the father cried. “He will not be here. He was only a worry when you were a child, for children are his favorite dish.”

Louis shook his head, subtly, so his father would not see. Now the old man was repeating ghost stories designed only to frighten a small child. None of what he said was true.

“Or a Bandersnatch!” the father warned. “One of those may come here. They do love the taste of a good borogove.”

“Father, Bandersnatches are small and harmless,” Louis said.

“They are frumious and dangerous!” the man cried. “Louis, take me inside. I hear the Jabberwock coming closer.”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Longtime the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

Louis helped the old man walk into the house. Then he said, “I must stay out here to watch the gardens. Brillig day like this, they need constant care.”

“No, Louis!” the man replied. “The Jabberwock will be here! Stay with me, my boy!”

A thought suddenly dawned on Louis. “Then I will slay the creature for you, Father. The Jabberwock will be dead and I may return to tending the gardens.”

The old man’s mouth turned up into a grappish grin. “My boy! My brave boy! Take my sword and slay the beast!”

The old man’s sword was displayed in the front of the house, a souvenir from his time in the Great Battle. It was a truly vorpal sword, and had slain many in its time. But Louis did not think about its past, just grabbed it on his way out the door.

He headed past the garden and into the woods. He was sure there was no Jabberwock, but he would kill a mome rath to get blood on the sword and appease his father.

Louis saw a shady area beneath a Tumtum tree, and so leaned against the trunk of the tree. It was cool there, a good rest from the brillig heat. If he sat down, he might have just fallen asleep.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame
Came wiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

Louis had drifted into that fantastical place between waking and dreaming. He imagined he was a knight and an inventor, and he was talking to a little girl. But just as the little girl went away, Louis heard a mighty burble and awoke.

Something was coming closer, tearing down the tulgy trees in its path. It seemed like a giant sclimely lizard, something that Louis could not face on his own—but if this was the Jabberwock, he had no choice.

It wiffled closer, and when Louis saw its eyes, he knew this creature was indeed the Jabberwock. Its eyes were embers, dancing with a flame that refused to die.

Louis held up his sword in front of him. He would slay this creature, for his father. Despite only a moment ago he thought it not to exist, it was now here and he could no longer doubt it.

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

The creature burbled at Louis and lunged towards him. He swung the sword and felt its harsh clang against the scales, heard the horrible screeching of the metal.

The Jabberwock whipped its tail at Louis, the large spikes rushing through the trees right at him. He held up the sword to block the sharp spikes, and managed to slice through the tip of one.

The Jabberwock roared. It swung its tail at Louis again, and only managed to lose the tip of another spike.

Louis gripped the hilt of the sword tightly, his confidence growing. He could hurt this creature, so maybe he could kill it.

The Jabberwock lunged and tried to catch Louis in its jaws. The sword caught the edge of its mouth, cutting through the scales and leaking silvery blood. Louis stabbed again and again at that same spot, until the Jabberwock reared back in pain.

Louis swung the sword against the Jabberwock’s long neck. It sliced through the scales with ease, cutting deep into the creature’s flesh.

The Jabberwock tried to retreat, but Louis swung again and again, each time feeling more confidence as the blade went snick-snick-snick against the scales and the flesh.

The Jabberwock died with surprising quiet. Louis’s arms were covered in its silvery blood by the time it gave up and slumped onto the ground. He only continued to behead the creature, until the sword reached the bone. He pressed hard, and with a great snicker-snack, the neck broke. The Jabberwock had been slain.

When he was done, Louis dragged the head away from the body. It was difficult, as the head was as large as himself. He considered what to do with the rest of the creature—could Jabberwock meat be eaten? Did it perhaps give one some power?—and he decided to ask his father. For now, he would only return with the head.

He galumphed home slowly, dragging the head with him. He left it outside his house, and, tired and bloody, went inside to greet his father.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

“My boy!” the old man cried on seeing his son again. “Is the Jabberwock slain?”

“Yes, Father,” Louis said. “Its head rests outside.”

The old man slowly tobbled outside. “Callay! It’s more terrifying than I imagined!”

“Its body lies in the woods,” Louis told his father as he followed the old man outside. “It’s far too heavy for me to bring back alone, and I did not know if there was a use for it.”

The old man chortled. “Of course, of course, my beamish boy. If this is the head, the body must be migantic! And I don’t know if we can use it. No Jabberwock has ever been slain.”

“Father,” Louis asked slowly, “Have all of your stories of the Jabberwock been true?”

The man smiled. “You doubted me, didn’t you? Yes, of course they’ve all been mostly true. But now no one need fear the Jabberwock any longer. Oh, frabjous day!”

Louis laughed to himself, and helped his father walk inside. “Yes, Father, the Jabberwock is slain. Everyone is safe now.”

“My boy is a hero,” the old man said with a proud smile.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


[this is not true. Just want to make that clear, because my class thought it was. This was intended to make you think. did it?]

If I could change one thing about my past, I would never have been baptized.

It’s cruel, when you think about it. The priest dunks a crying baby into some water that probably has pee in it from all the other babies—but it’s okay! It’s “holy”. Not that the kid knows that, poor thing. All she knows is some weird guy just tried to drown her. She’s too young to know that God supposedly accepts her now.

And He didn’t before.

Sometimes baptism is thought to be an expression of mercy to children and newborns…
We are not baptized, dunked, made into cookie-cutter Christians and God is happy.
Baptism is not the healing of a disease

I went to Sunday School like a good little Catholic kid. I went to Mass every time I was told to. I learned about the sacraments, and I learned if I didn’t fulfill them all, God would never let me into Heaven.

But He still loved me.

It didn’t make sense. None of it made sense. One time I asked my teacher to explain the Holy Trinity—how is God supposed to be three separate beings and yet one at the same time?

“God does not want us to understand Him.”

Bullshit, lady. You just don’t know.

the Father is God,
the Son is God,
and the Holy Spirit is God,
and yet there are not three Gods
but one God.
Athanasian Creed

My life changed when I spent a summer bored. My only source of entertainment was the public library, and I read anything I could.

I read philosophy a lot. I learned that not everyone believes in God. No, scratch that, I knew that.

I learned that those who don’t believe in God aren’t always bad people.

My parents told me to take what I was reading “with a grain of salt”. They told me those who haven’t seen THE WAY OF OUR LORD can seem very intelligent but their eyes have never been opened to the truth.

A common objection to atheism -- one stated by many scholars and laymen, theists and nontheists -- is that it is impossible to prove the nonexistence of God.
Indeed, there are actually two ways to prove the nonexistence of something. One way is to prove that it cannot exist because it leads to contradictions
The other way to prove the nonexistence of something is… The basic idea is that some objects are said to be detectable in some way.

I remember when a Planned Parenthood opened up downtown. My school organized us to go to a protest—with parental permission, but what good Catholic parent doesn’t want their kid to hate abortion?

They made us, twelve and thirteen years old, hold up signs displaying dead babies and slogans proclaiming all girls getting abortions were going to Hell.

One of the pregnant girls was no older than me. She was crying.


I had to go to confession after school. I still don’t know why what I said was wrong.

daily presence at the clinic to provide information about Planned Parenthood and raise public awareness
show the community that this is not right

I never stopped believing in God. Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not an atheist. I never was an atheist. I don’t know what I am.

When I graduated high school, we had one final Mass. I dutifully stepped up to take communion and I refused the Host.

No, that’s not true. I refused a stupid little cracker and some grape juice. (they couldn’t trust us to have wine) There is no way that tiny piece of processed wheat actually became flesh, or the juice became blood as real as if I’d pricked my finger.

How could they punish me for this? I’d already graduated. I didn’t care.

Some of my friends, the ones who swore they would forever be my friends, stopped talking to me after that day. Maybe college just drifted us apart.

But it was probably because I told Father Donovan that the church is a lie.

As we receive Christ's Body and Blood,
we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God!

It’s amazing how many people don’t understand me.

You don’t belong to any church? So you’re an atheist, right?

Wait, you believe in God but you don’t go to church? You should really try harder to find one you like.

Agnostic deist is the term I found on Wikipedia. It really means one who acknowledges that the truth about higher beings cannot be truly known, as well as one who still believes that there is a God out there. But whenever anyone gives me that clueless look and asks what I mean?

“I believe in God. I don’t believe in religion.”

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:5-6

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Definition (a precise description of a word or thing by its properties)

[Wrote this one for writing class. again. did not really expect the reaction to this--I wrote it to be in a sort of soap opera world, everyone else saw it in the real world.]

(a precise description of a word or thing by its properties)

meet•ing, mē’ting, n. A coming together

He was going to a party when he saw her.

The door to her dorm was open, and she was studying. Listening to the radio and idly singing along. He liked her voice.

He came back later, half-drunk, and her door was closed. He knocked.

She answered, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with ‘I failed the Turing test’ and sweatpants. She looked half asleep.

He asked for her number. She was too tired to be astonished that someone liked her and he was too drunk to say much more. He got the number.

date, dāte, v.t. dat•ed, dat•ing, Informal. To have a meeting, or regular meetings, with a person of the opposite sex

She went to parties with him.

She was horribly out of place. She refused to drink, wore unisex T-shirts and baggy jeans. When she tried to do something with her hair, a ponytail.

He tried to make her have fun. He danced with her. He got drunk as she watched and laughed.

She didn’t like the parties, but she stayed for him.

love, lǝv, n. A strong or passionate affection for a person of the opposite sex

He soon learned that she was a whiny clingy drunk.

He brought her back to her room. He cleared the textbook, notebook, Merriam-Webster off her bed.

Kissed her forehead, told her he had to leave. She cried. She claimed she needed him.

He didn’t want to leave. He didn’t.

She didn’t know until she woke up beside him.

lie, lī, v.i., lied, ly•ing. To express what is false or convey a false impression

She hated that he partied so much. She wanted a night in.

She went to bed early. He could stay with her and have fun later.

He never told her what he was doing, but she knew. Waking up to an empty bed.

She never told him that she knew.

Hiding it was easier.

other, ǝth’ǝr, a. Different or distinct from the ones mentioned or implied

There was no other.

He wasn’t her type. She was pretty but that wasn’t enough for him.

They could change. They wouldn’t change.

It was easier if she had just accused him of cheating.

fight, fīt, v.i.. To resist or oppose

She brought up the problem at a party. Hoping they could quietly go their separate ways.

He was drunk. She hadn’t counted on that. He shouted at her.

He hit her.

She left.

She refused to speak to him after that. He was sorry and he told her. Not expecting her to accept the apology.

sad, sad, a., sad•der, sad•dest. Grieving

He missed her.

She wasn’t right for him.

Had to move on.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Highlights for First-Time Visitors

[A poem made almost entirely from quotes from an old Fodor's Travel Guide about NYC.]
A panning shot of Rockefeller Center
clearly says “New York”.
A capital of the communications industry.
supporting the world
Six pools surrounding
flowerbeds filled.
Great gold-leaf statue
Prometheus! fire-stealing hero
sprawled on his ledge.
an enormous live Christmas tree.
            And ice skating for the family
            an idyllic perspective on the city.

Often called
Crossroads of the World.
Times Square
actually triangle.
December 31, 1908
200 pound ball lowered by hand
starting a tradition
mobbed with revelers
crowds of people
pandemonium ensues.
Huge electric signs
bigger and brighter
distinctive nighttime glitter.
            Large shops and billboards
            with all the entertainment you can see.

United Nations Headquarters occupies
lushly landscaped riverside tract.
Line of flagpoles
especially pleasant rose garden
imaginatively diverse artwork.
Picnicking is strictly forbidden.
Jacket required for men.
Children under 5
not permitted.
            The flags are a symbol of countries coming together
            after they manage to get through the security

New York’s number one
tourist attraction
The Met.
Botticelli Vermeer Rembrandt
Vast and impressive.
Tiffany stained glass windows
Sullivan cast iron staircases
Federal marble façade.
Classical paintings
Roman wall paintings extracted from lava
of Mount Vesuvius
Egyptian treasures
Asian galleries
arms and armor.
Only a portion exhibited
more than can be seen in one visit.
            Children experiencing culture and history
            imagining sleeping in old royal beds.

Most valuable real estate
set aside as a park
Central Park.
Large enough to get lost in
escape from rumble of traffic
watch an earthworm
tumble through the soil.
Swampy neighborhood to
this playground of lush lawns
Strawberry Fields
Bethesda Fountain
Belvedere Castle
Only tourists ride in the horse-drawn carriages.
            Forget the bustling city just outside
            and imagine a fairytale world.

American Museum of Natural History
collection of more than 36 million artifacts.
Blue whale
Star of India sapphire.
Wondrously detailed dioramas
of animal habitat groups
dinosaur skeletons
films on a giant screen
rock-music Laser Shows.
protecting its fossilized baby
from a fossil.
            A world of animals unimaginable
            stuffed and shown so they can be imagined now.

Enduring symbol of America
Statue of Liberty.
Liberty Island
great silvery harbor.
225 tons
151 feet
from feet to torch.
Elevator to the top of the pedestal
exhibits of history.
Strong of heart and limb
Can climb to the crown.
            The crown’s closed now.
            Fire safety hazard.

New York’s two tallest buildings
World Trade Center.
Observation deck
a quarter of a mile into the sky
view extends miles
Seven building complex
adjacent hotel
50,000 people.
A million cubic yards
of rock and soil excavated.
            One of the biggest landmarks
Taken from us in less than a minute.

the best trips start with fodor’s