In the Heart of the Sea

This book combines my two favorite reading subjects: impossible  survival, and the sea.

In the Heart of the Sea details the incredible true story of 20 Nantucket whalers in 1821.  Nathaniel Philbrick brilliantly marries careful research, psychology, and biology with a heart-wrenching account of human suffering and strength to create a novel of resounding intensity.

The crew of the Essex was sunk in the Pacific by a bull Sperm Whale.  A whale, described by First Mate Owen Chase, as having a very human concern for its slain brethren.  Chase described the attack as deliberately vindictive, a prospect that was beyond terrifying to the whalers.

They drifted on the open Pacific, living on 1.5 ounces of hardtack and half a pint of water  a day for 96 days.  Exposed to sun, raging storms, wind, and rain, sores covered their entire bodies and they lost two-thirds of their body weight.  They resorted to cannibalism, forced to eat their dead shipmates and even came to once drawing lots, shooting a crew member and devouring his corpse.

The story is one of leadership, despair, resilience, ingenuity, and sacrifice.  It is an account of personal strength and a testament to the human spirit.  Do not miss this book!

In 2014, a film adaptation will be released starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, and Ben Wishaw (so…Thor, Scarecrow and Q).

I CAN’T WAAAAIIT!

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Bright Room, harsh lights

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Sitting in the darkened room.

Plastic flashing, sounds pulsating.

The light, when on, is harsh and unnatural.

A man, tall and large, lives within these confines.

Quick to anger, slow to reason, his intelligence is low.

A role he is given to shape minds and stuff them of knowledge.

Knowledge he said, scoff I said.

If you cannot think on your own,

how can you teach others to do the same?

The Apple Pie that could?

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One day the woman made a pie. Not just any pie but an apple pie. The pie was quite happy how his life had turned out. Although he had not yet been baked he was filled with the most delicious apples in all the land.His crust was made from the finest dough.

The woman walked out of the room forgetting the pie had not been baked. He screamed, “bake me!”  No one seemed to care. What to do? he thought. He knew what must be done.  He dragged himself closer and closer to the edge of the counter wishing to slide into the oven.

The pie, halfway off the counter, hesitated, wondering if he should go over the edge. He thought he could make it so he jumped and completely missed the oven.  Instead, falling top-down onto the kitchen the floor. The woman, hearing the sound, screamed, “the pie is ruined!” She grabbed the pie.

The pie thought himself safe. She opened the trash and that’s when the pie realized he was finished. The lid shut on the pie.  He now would live in despair for the remainder of his life. The pie was the apple pie that could not.

The failed hunter

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Running through the grassy plain

While hungry one is in constant pain.

Sun shines providing a beautiful sheen.

The beast’s body coiled like a spring.

Claws have no need to be shown.

The prey lets out a fearful groan.

Chase begins, it moves quite fast.

Will the beast’s hunger always last?

Straight dash for a thousand feet.

Will the prey and death ever meet?

One false turn and the beast slips.

The prey escapes, it’s time to quit.

Hungry but in a dry safe place.

The chase will begin another day.

Doolittle Veterans

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History time. Monday, November 11th is Veteran’s Day. Veteran’s Day is a day that celebrates those who have served in the armed forces. A famous group of veterans are the surviving members of Doolittle’s Raid.

Doolittle’s Raid was a US military operation that occurred after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. Lt. Colonel Doolittle proposed a risky plan of flying B-25s over the Japanese capital, Tokyo. Doolittle was told that once over Japan the B-25s would become low on fuel, furthermore there was no safe place to land. On April 18th 1942 Doolittle, along with an all-volunteer group of pilots, dropped bombs upon Tokyo. Some of Doolittle’s men were shot down then captured by Japanese forces, others crashed in the Pacific, most would bail out of their aircraft over China and survive.

Doolittle and his men would become American heroes; Doolittle himself would be given the Medal of Honor and promoted to Brigadier General. Today there are only four surviving members of Doolittle’s Raid. This year the surviving members held the last commemoration of the raid.

Bubba Gump.

Speaking of restaurants in the United States, “The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company” stands out as one of my favorite. I love it not only because I am a seafood lover, but also is because of the interesting background. The “Bubba Gump Shrimp Company” is a seafood restaurant chain inspired by the 1994 film, also my favorite movie – “Forrest Gump.”

The first Bubba Gump restaurantt opened in 1996 in Monterey, California by Viacom Consumer Products. The Bubba Gump restaurant is named after the film’s characters Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue. In the film, Bubba suggested the shrimping business and ultimately Forrest pursued the idea after Bubba’s death in the Vietnam War.

The restaurants are fairly popular throughout the nation. And by September 2010, thirty-two Bubba Gump restaurants operate worldwide. I am not sure about people’s motivations of going to Bubba Gump, but as for me, I mistakenly thought that the restaurant was the real one in the movie.

The menu at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is primarily associated with shrimp dishes, but also offers a variety of other seafood. One main focus of the culinary style is Southern and Cajun cuisine, as the main characters in the film came from Alabama.

The atmosphere in the restaurant was really thematic – full of the quotes and posters from the movie. The waiters also ask questions about the movie.

I enjoy the restaurants with certain themes. They provide the customers various feelings and experiences besides just eating their meals. Such restaurants can always easily build profound impressions and make people want to return. This is actually a great strategy!

Trash & Fashion.

Recently I did a story on our school’s first Trash Fashion Show and I gained some new knowledge about creating beauty.

What is the definition of beauty? In my opinion, beauty does not mean a gorgeous appearance, but it’s more about the internal significance. Just like Trash Fashion, which most people would refer to the costumes that are just simply made of trash.

However, trash fashion is much more than that.

It takes time and endeavor. Since I have the same art class with my friend Sophia, I was lucky enough to actually watch the complete process of her making the plastic wedding dress. She started from collecting and reorganizing the materials – plenty of white  plastic bags. First of all, she created the long train by sewing knots. It turned out to be a “web” eventually. Then she made the body dress, in which she built several layers to make the dress fluffy.

It took her about two months to complete the whole bridal gown. According to Sophia, the most difficult part was to glue the bags together and the materials were so soft that she had to be really careful not to tear them off.

Finally the big day came. I did not expect to be her model, but because of the absence of Ellen, who was supposed to the model, I had to wear the dress instead. I was totally astonished when I put on the huge dress.

We walked on the deck of the pool. It drove everyone’s attention and I felt extremely proud of my designer. It seemed like a real fashion show to me and people were taking pictures, asking questions. For a moment I thought i was dreaming.

Just like Sophia said, “Trash Fashion does not mean everything will look trashy, it’s more about fashion. Within such simple materials, we can still make beautiful pieces.”

Yes, I think she’s right. Trash Fashion combines two “opposite” concepts together and builds something beyond the normal beauty.

On the other hand, trash fashion also helps to increase people’s environmental awareness. Fashion may be fabulous, but the way our clothes are made is incredibly wasteful. The small things we waste from daily uses can be saved instead of being thrown away.

It was my first time seeing and wearing such gorgeous fashionable clothes made out of “trash,” and It was also the time that I realized trash fashion can be beautiful as well.