Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ethnic Dance Festival


            Last weekend, I had the opportunity of participating in the Ethnic Dance Festival in San Francisco. EDF is an annual 4 week festival that showcases the talents of the many cultures residing in the Bay Area. They feature dance groups with people of all ages from teenagers to retired citizens. It was an amazing experience to be able to dance on the same stage as so many talented people have before us.

            Auditions were held in March in which we performed our piece in front of a set of panelists that had learned about our culture and type of dance before watching us. I was surprised at the level of expertise that was shown and how real their interest about dance was. This was the first time I had auditioned with Sahiyar for an event and so none of us really knew what to expect. Compared to all our previous performances at CCF, the venue and staff were highly professional and it was a great experience. We were even given our own dressing room! It was a great experience to have and by the end of it, I had lots of fun and enjoyed performing in front of a different type of crowd. When we heard news of us being accepted into the festival I was really excited and looked forward to it.

           We got to perform our piece over 5 times during Weekend 4 of the festival. It started off with the tech rehearsal on Thursday. We were walking down the streets of San Francisco in all black and it surprised me that nobody even looked twice at us. It was really great to see what exactly a tech rehearsal was and meet all the people that were working behind the scenes to making our dance look amazing! We walked through each and every one of our formations and figured out our positions. This was something we never had the luxury to do. The lighting was adjusted so that our piece was put in the best light possible (pun intended). Even the equipment they used was all fancy.

           Friday was our dress rehearsal day. It was the only day we got to see the other acts as part of the audience so I was really excited! We also had to dress in full costume so everything would be practiced just as it would be like on the actual show days. Meeting the other dancers from other cultures was probably one of the highlights of the weekend. Everyone was kind and showed support and interest for one another. It was a wonderful environment and I loved meeting everyone. And of course, lets not forget usher... I met USHER! :) I found it really great that everyone got along very well despite their age differences and levels of professionalism.

           Saturday began with our first official show! The crowd was very supportive after we finished our performance and backstage, the other dancers showed encouragement as well. It was a welcoming atmosphere and fun to be a part of. However, One of my most favorite parts of the show was the final bow, which consisted of all the dancers of all cultures on the stage dancing to their hearts content to one rhythm. It was a free for all type of dance as we exited the theatre with our own dance moves and gathered outside in front of the busy streets of San Francisco. Eventually our mess of dances created a giant multicultural circle which circled around a dancer featured in the center. We were copying each others dance moves and just essentially "letting loose." It was so much fun to dance with other people without restriction.

           I have to say, my favorite performance would have to be from the Lily Cai Dance Company. The way the dancers moved around the stage was flawless. They jumped and leaped with long colored silk ribbons flowing behind them. The lighting affects also did wonders to their dance. It was gorgeous and by far one of the best dances in the show.

           Unfortunately, Sunday was our last show and I was disappointed that their weren't more. In the future, I hope there are many more experiences such as these. I really enjoyed our time at EDF and I left the place with more memories and better friendships. I want to thank my dance teachers Reena didi and Heena auntie for giving us this wonderful opportunity that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Without them there would be no dance, no fun, and no second family. We all love you and thanks for giving up your time and energy into Sahiyar. Definitely looking forward to all that's planned for next year!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

the Fault in our Stars

             Recently, I read a new book called the Fault in our Stars by John Green, a #1 New York Times bestseller, that was recommended to me by many people. I started reading the book with very high expectations from the amount of attention this book was getting along with the great reviews my friends and teachers were giving. The story is about a 16-year old girl named Hazel that is diagnosed with a terminal cancer. She meets a boy named Augustus in a cancer support group and they instantly become joined at the hip. They learn about love and sorrow throughout there journey together. They realize what friends really are and that some authors can be jerks. I really loved the storyline in general, but I honestly don't think it was as great as people made it out to be, even though I still thoroughly enjoyed the great read. I didn't really understand why the book An Imperial Affliction was such a huge part of the story. I did however like pretty much everything else from the TFIOS. The storyline flowed very well and the vocabulary used was advanced. Overall it was written very well and I congratulate Green on this bestseller of his. I'm looking forward to watching the motion picture coming out later this year. And if you do end up reading this book, if you haven't already, then be aware that tears might just slip out.

Spoiler: Hazel and Gus do not die in a tornado. There is no tornado. My friends are liars.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tech Trek ~ Part 2

*Go read Tech Trek ~ Part 1 before this one if you haven't already.*

              Classes throughout the week were the one of the most interesting diverse classes I've had. I really enjoyed listening about how Pixar movies are made by woman by the name of Danielle Feinberg. She is a long time Pixar employee who has worked on the lighting of many movies such as Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo. The lecture started out with explaining the philosophy of Pixar movies. The story itself is more important than the money made on it. According to her, that's what makes the movies so brilliant and entertaining. She demonstrated making and animated figure by using a software called maya. Coordinates in math turn out to be useful (who new) and are used to structure objects and people in movies. Turns out, a simple wavy line can turn into a 3-D vase.

             A woman came and spoke to us about the Night Sky. I learned more about our universe and what makes it so special. I learned the earth has and SPF of 250 and that the northern lights are the effect of the sun's rays affecting the magnetic sphere. Later in the week, we went star gazing out in an open field with large telescopes. Much of what I learned at the speech, I saw out there. I looked at the Moon's many craters and Saturn's icy rings. I saw Betelguese, the star that was the closest to Earth and the closest to exploding. It was beautiful looking at the stars.

            And as my brother has requested I shall talk about food. Yes, food. We had 3 meals a day and the Stanford campus turns out to have delicious food in their cafeteria. Although the meal timings were a bit weird (dinner started at 5:30) all of us made the most of what we had. Breakfast consisted of fruit, eggs, cereal, french toast, pancakes, pastries, and donuts. Lots and lots of donuts. Lunch was different everyday. It varied from Mexican fajitas to Thai curry and rice to even Indian food. Pasta was a constant at both lunch and dinner as well as pizza. Dinner also had many options and there was always a desert. Whether it was coconut creme pie or carrot cake, it was always there to feast on. Then there was the soda machine. We went absolutely nuts on it. With no one to supervise our eating habits, some of us had soda for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And lets not forget the ice cream machine. Oh, the ice cream machine. There was always a large line to get a large serving of that desert. Being inventive, I stuck vanilla ice cream into my root beer soda and made a root beer float. Now that was yummy. Now there's one more reason to go to Stanford for college. The food is good.

            There were a few more classes I had like Robotics and the Spaghetti Bridge challenge. It truly learned a lot that week and had so much fun. I made new friends, met new people, and got to meet people that had the same interests as I do. I will never forget this experience I had and what I learned.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tech Trek ~ Part 1

                I raced past my brother to the front door steps. As I clumsily reached in the mailbox, I found what I was looking for. A white envelope with words "Tech Trek." I opened it up hastily and read the first few words. I was accepted! After the long wait, the day finally arrived that I was anxiously waiting for. It was truly an amazing week. I experienced a few of my most life changing events all played out in a week. I got accepted into a camp called Tech Trek earlier in the school year. My science teacher introduced it to us by showing us a video of a previous camp. The camp I would be applying to would take place at Stanford for a week. It was sponsored by an organization called AAUW. The camp was meant to encourage girls at my age to be interested in the math and science fields. To apply into this camp, I had to write an essay describing how I thought math and science affected my daily life and then be interviewed. They only selected a couple of girls to be sponsored and be able to attend Tech Trek. I happened to be one of those girls thanks to the encouragement from my family and friends.

                 I was so excited the day I was going to Tech Trek, that I couldn't sleep most of the night. Which turned out to be a bad decision because I got very little sleep for the rest of the week. Sleeping at 12 talking and then waking up at 6:30 to another busy day is not a fun experience. By the time I got home a week later, I could barely keep myself from crashing onto my bed and sleeping like a bear. Hibernating until some force (mom) woke me up. But, it was all worth it. Going to this camp would have to be one of my biggest achievements. My family and I walked together to the area in front of our dorm building. Finally, I got to see all the girls that would become my friends for the next week. I met my dorm group which consisted of 12 girls and our dorm mom. I placed all my bags into my room which was small and had two beds, a desk, and a couple of closets/ drawers. My room mate walked in then with her mom. She had ginger hair and reminded me of one of my all tine favorite characters, Ginny Weasley. We learned so much about each other that week and we definitely bonded over our love of Harry Potter. The rest of my dorm group was filled with wonderful people that I became friends with over our week together.

                 The next morning started out with getting up at 6:30 for the first time in a month. It was definitely not welcomed. My first class of the day was going to be my core class, Marine Biology. Marine Biology was one of the four core classes that were offered. We introduced ourselves to each other and started what would be a wonderful week learning from depths of the ocean to invertebrates to marsh life. A definite highlight of the class would have to be dissecting a squid. It was white, a foot and a half long and had wavy tentacles. As much as I hated cutting open animals, I was fascinated by the many components it took to have a living squid. We even cut open the ink sack and used a stick to write our names with. Maybe now the door of becoming a doctor would open thanks to my newfound interest in biology. Also, when learning about invertebrates, we designed and created our own low tide animal that could retain the most water by using ordinary objects like foam, bottle caps, beads, and a hot glue gun. Well that was what I used, anyway. I made mine into what looked like a turtle and was voted ad top 3 most creative in the class. On another day, we took a small field trip into the Baylands Marsh nearby. We looked at the plants and animals living there with binoculars. I learned so much the entire week from my Marine Biology teacher and I was so glad I chose that course as my core class.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Music and Our Life

            Music today is thought of as useless sounds coming out of Ipods and listened to 24/7 by teenagers like me. Or so parents think. Apparently, it's distracting, time wasting, and addictive. It also causes children to sing loudly randomly, turn on the music radio, and fall into the hands of immense fangirling. Basically a nuisance. But, in reality, music is of high importance among teenagers. For the reasons of entertainment, discussion, or people to look up to.

            If you look at the statistics, music is a huge part of a teenagers life. It is shown by the New York Times, that teens listen to an average of 2.5 hours of music each day. Some studies have even shown they can have the earplugs stuck in their ears for up to 3-4 hours. That time can go buy quickly by hearing a couple of songs on the radio in the car, or a few on iTunes while on the computer while typing an essay, or searching new songs. The most popular ways of getting to music are iTunes, youtube, music apps, and the radio.

           Music, in my opinion has more pros than cons . Music and artists are inspirations for teenagers all over the world. They are on the front cover of popular magazines, they make lots of money, and are therefore successful, most of the time. The lyrics itself in a song can be very meaningful and convey a powerful message. But unfortunately, sometimes, lyrics and the artist can also convey bad messages. Some songs revolve around drugs and other bad influences. The singers themselves can also be performing drugs and teenagers who want to be just like them may do the same. The music they listen to, often makes them who they are. Also, teenagers who want to produce music, express themselves through the music they make. The write music based on their feelings and experiences. It can also be a way of relaxing and escaping reality for a short while.

            Music is like an outlet to people, not only teenagers. The tough teenage years just require a need to let out more steam than other age groups. Music provides a whole new world, where anything is possible and bridges the gaps of our cultural world.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wild Roses


           So I recently read a very good book that I stumbled upon called Wild Roses by Deb Calleti. The plot was very interesting and the characters intrigued me. Read the summary I wrote and tell me what you think!

           17 year old Cassie lives with her mother and step-father. After her mother and father divorced, her mother soon re-married a renowned violinist by the name of Dino Cavalli. Dino is a true genius when it comes to playing and composing and is very dedicated to this form of art. As the day of his important concert approaches, Dino stops taking his pills, as he claims they stop him from composing. Although already on the brink of genius into insanity, Dino everyday becomes more paranoid, disturbed, and suspicious. Cassie dealt not only with a problematic step-father, but also with her longing father, stalker of a friend, and unreachable crush Ian, a student of Dino's. Follow Cassie on her roller coaster life as she realizes the true depths of love and genius.

           I enjoyed reading this book very much because of it's great plot, characters, and emotions. Cassie, Ian, Dino were only some of the important characters that had their strong feelings showed throughout the story. Cassie was a supportive family member and friend, but also realized it was her life and she could make her own decisions. Ian was determined to achieve his spot in a prestigious college for music. Dino showed although he had hardships in his life, he could accomplish great things. And the book was very well written, which wouldn't let me put it down and start something else. So in my opinion, I think this book is definitely worth the read!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Are Advertisements Really Worth It?

          "Nationwide is on your side." An ever popular jingle stuck in peoples heads. Everywhere you look you see advertisements. Whether it's by drinking orange juice for breakfast and looking at the carton or seeing some Got Milk? ad watching the annual Super Bowl, we spot them daily during our lives. But do they really affect consumers as a whole? Do silly commercials really make you want to get up from your couch on a lazy day and buy Colgate toothpaste? Or make you remember that brand when buying your next t.v? In my opinion, sometimes yes and sometimes no. It depends on the type of advertisement.

          Printing media such as newspapers and fliers used to be popular and used a lot and is also cheaper, however the Internet is more often used nowadays. Billboards can be seen throughout the city with bright colors and flashy lights trying to catch the consumers eye. Radio advertising using adds such as Sleep Train are aired in between songs or interviews. Celebrity advertisement is also used massively as the audience would be persuaded to buy a product based on other celebrities "choices." Televised commercials are seen all the time between t.v. serials and episodes. Whether for Burger King or that vacuum cleaner no one wants. There are billions of types advertising techniques used from the ones listed above or to even coffee cup advertising.

           I think the least effective means of advertisement are billboards on the freeway. I don't think it's worth the amount of money (tens of thousands of dollars) paid for the add to be there. You may simply dismiss them without a second thought or just don't see them at all. And in the dark, at, night, without light shining on them, they would appear to be useless. But also, the most effective way of getting to an audience would be social media or online advertisement. Social media carries information about some brand or restaurant from friend to friend. Either by Twitter or Instagram social media really takes things far. Just a simple friend, for example, posting a photo of her wearing TOMS could make her friends want a pair too. Or a famous actor declaring his love for, say, Taco Bell, could encourage fans worldwide to eat there. So all together, I think advertisements, for the most part, make a huge difference in what the world wants.