Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Damon Heine: Top ten horror films,Part 2

On Monday I told you my bottom half of the best horror movies of all time. Now its time for the ones that I regard the highest on the list. So without further a do, the top 5 horror films of all time.

5. Rosemarys Baby(1968); Roman Polanski's subtle but chilling satanic horror flick.

4. Halloween(1978); Widely regarded as the movie that began the slasher craze of the 1980's, the debut of Micheal Myers is the start of the masked killer villain.

3. The Shining(1980); Adapted from the novel by Stephen King, director Stanley Kubrick brings the horror genre to a epic status in this menacing motion picture.

2. Frankenstein(1931); One of the best known horror stories ever to be told, it became the best known Universal monster movie of the 30's and 40's. Boris Karloff's performance as the monster is the main reason why the film is remembered today, even though he had no line of dialouge in the film.

And here it is, the one that tops them all. Drumroll please......

The Exorcist(1973); To this day it tops a lot of critics list's. Why? Because it is a movie that brings the horror genre out of being only B-grade movies and makes them worthy of oscar type contention. The film itself won a oscar for best screenplay, and remains a favorite with both christians and satanists alike. The devil is not seen, but has a great presence in the film through the possessed girl. A great achievement like this should never be overlooked, even though gory horror films have seen to overtaken the true scary films, that pray on what we fear inside.

You may agree or disagree with my list of the best films that scare us, but i'm just giving my opinion. If you have not seen a movie or maybe even any film on this list, I do urge you to rent it in the upcoming Halloween month,(even though Blockbuster is in a state of financial crisis right now, oh well, thats a post for another time.)

[Edited by Blog Editor 04 October 2010]

Monday, September 27, 2010

Damon Heine: 1st Post

This is the first time I've done this, so I'm going to address something that needs to be addressed.

My top ten horror films of all time:

10. Nosferatu(1922); the oldest movie on the list, but it laid the path for every single vampire(not counting the Twilight series) movie to be made.

9.Dawn of the Dead(1978); "Night of the Living dead" may steal all the thunder by being the first of its kind, but George A. Romero's follow up cemented the genre in popular culture. Speaking of which...

8. 28 days later(2002); the zombie genre is reinvented in a truly unnerving plague film set in future Great Britain.

7.The Texas Chainsaw Massacre(1974); forget the gory 2003 remake. This is what began the slasher genre. Even though not much blood is shown, the plot is weird and creepy enough to stay with you long after you first see it.

6.Poltergeist(1982); The same director from "Chainsaw massacre", Tobe Hooper, outdoes himself in an eerie supernatural thriller.

Tune in wednesday when I complete the countdown of my recommended horror films.

- Damon Heine

[Edited 28 September 2010 by Blog Editor]

Friday, September 24, 2010

N. Lawrence: Life Lessons

Sometimes, certain things are chosen for a reason, and that reason, can have good intentions.

Take homecoming for instance. There has usually been a king and queen elected from the senior class. Which makes sense to me because they are the oldest and are setting an example for the younger classes. This year Stagg decided to have a prince and princess elected from the sophomore class. I was disqualified, for reasons most student already know. However, I take this as a learning experience, I think that some sophomores are not at the maturity level needed for this type of election and school involvement.

It makes sense for the senior class, because if they don’t win, they graduate and say "it was a good experience" but sophomores, have two more years to go. Maybe as the years go by the candidates will be at peace with the decisions that were made, even if they didn’t win. But at this age, barely in our second year of high school, I think we are unable to control ourselves in this situation. It all seems like the biggest competition in the world to us, but really, it is just a sash and a crown. It really is just a 'in the moment' type of thing because by our junior year, we will barley talk about it.

Some during this election, didn’t show Stagg that the sophomore class can handle prince and princess. Which brings me back to the original fact that homecoming should be for king and queen, the senior class. That is how its been for a while, and how it should continue to stay. They are the role models for our school, the mature ones we should look up to. Instead of trying to play the same role as them when we are two grades behind, we should watch them, admire them, and learn from them so that when we get to our senior year, we can run for king or queen, and we will have that right mentality, and we will be able to handle ourselves in harsh situations without it getting out of hand.

It really shouldn’t be about getting even, it should be about keeping your head high, no matter what, and not paying attention to what other people say. I know I did not go into these elections with the right mentality. So after this experience, I am confident to say that I have learned a lot of life lessons and matured through this experience. Hopefull this can be a lesson learned for not only myself, but the student body as well.

[Edited 28 September 2010 by Blog Editor]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jera Machuca: Lets 'Cope

... How does one cope with a situation at hand? Sometimes I wonder if everyone is similar in the way that we all find a way to cope when something goes wrong. I also question to what degree we allow things to go before we go to our coping mechanisms. Are all coping mechanisms healthy? I may not have the answers to all these questions but, I can give you an insight on what I have gone through and how it feels.
... When I found out that I had cancer I tried to ignore it. I didn't think about it and it was hard to accept the fact that I had a disease. I went about as I would normally and avoided any conversation regarding how I felt about our new discovery. Ignoring the fact I had cancer was not very helpful but it held off the moment of reality for me.
... With our new discovery of cancer I dealt with it in silence. I would not talk to my family or or friends about my emotions. Even when the doctors or nurses came in I kept my silence and allowed my mother to talk to them. The silence just helped me think and process the fact that I had to change a couple of things in my life.
... Once my hair started to fall out I was devastated. It was hard to lose what I thought made me pretty. So at this time in order to cope I used humor. The humor covered up the hurt that I felt. I would just laugh it off and act like it didn't bother me. It made me feel better and it made me realize it wasn't my fault nor was it a big deal to have lost my hair.
... Prayer was another way that I dealt with my issues. Knowing that there was a higher power that was guiding me and helping me get through what was a tough situation helped ease my mind. This higher power helped me realize that it wasn't my fault and that I can go on living my life.
... I believe that he will guide me to the right path and keep me strong. Coping mechanisms are his way to keep us sane and to help us get through life.

[Edited 28 September 2010 by Blog Editor]

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Seyma Tap: My Quest Towards Multilingualism

The language barrier is a powerful obstacle that prevents us from being able to interact with those around us. And because of it, I'm not able to speak to my parents and neighbors without using a mixture of English and Khmer.

Most people assume that I'm already fluent in two languages when in reality, I can't even communicate with my parents fluently. My speaking is so poor that several years ago, my parents signed me up for a program that we nicknamed "Cambodian School" which I had to attend every weekday. I stayed in it for about 4-5 years, but then dropped out in 2006.

My speaking didn't improve at all! The only benefit that I got out of it was learning how to read and write Khmer which I'm gradually forgetting. I am grateful that I know how to read and write a language that's not English, but what is the point of it if I'm not even able to understand it? I do plan on learning the language all over again in the future, but right now, that's not my biggest interest.

Since I was at least able to improve some of my knowledge of the Khmer language from this program, it made me think: Hmm, maybe I can learn other languages too!

You see, ever since I began listening to Asian music (the first being Japanese), I became more and more interested in Asian languages. My experience in Cambodian School told me that if I'm able to learn how to read and write Khmer, then I can learn Japanese and other languages too. This inspired me to create one of my most important goals: To become fluent in at least 2 Asian languages.

The reason why I want to learn languages that are Asian is not because I'm ethnocentric, but because the more interested I am, the more motivated I will be and since I'm very interested, I know that I will have enough motivation and perserverence to pursue and not give up on this goal.

Although Khmer is an Asian language, I wasn't interested in learning about it which lead to me dropping out and learning barely anything. But it's a different story when it comes to my interest in Japanese. Most of my friends are aware of my obsession with its culture and language. I occasionally watch Japanese TV shows/movies just so that I could gain more knowledge of its culture and memorize common words and phrases, but I knew I wasn't getting anywhere.

So on June of this year, I decided to take a step forward and finally started my self-teaching lessons. But I quickly stumbled upon my first obstacle: a lack of sources. Most people would rely on books and videos to teach them about what they want to learn, but unfortunately, I do not possess neither. So I turned to my savior, the Internet, and after just one Google search, I came upon my solution: My Japanese Coach. My Japanese Coach is a video game for the Nintendo DS that teaches you everything you need to know about the Japanese language, from the alphabets to the complex writing system of Kanji.

There are four different ways to write in Japanese: Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji, and Romaji. Hiragana is used to write general words, Katakana is used to write foreign words and names, Kanji is a (very complicated) writing system based on Chinese characters, and Romaji is Japanese written using the Roman alphabet. I have mastered Hiragana and can read it with ease. I managed to memorize Katakana, but I'm occassionally forgetting some characters here and there. Learning how to conjugate verbs and memorizing Kanji is my biggest struggle yet.

I recently became discouraged due to my struggles and have taken a 'break' from my lessons, but being the stubborn person that I am, I am not giving up anytime soon!

After five days of playing this game, I managed learn over 200 different words/phrases (though I'm rapidly forgetting them), how to write a simple sentence (which I need to improve), and memorize both alphabets which is a total of 132 different characters, which in my opinion, is impressive! To think that I was already able to read in write Japanese in less than a week amazes me and proves to me that I may learn the language faster than I ever thought possible.

I am aware of the fact that I can't learn the whole language in a year, but I will continue to pursue my goal and I hope that in a maximum of 2 years, I will be able to speak the Japanese language fluently which will make me one step closer to my ultimate goal.

Monday, September 20, 2010

H. Faith: When ferris wheels attack!

Do you see how fast this ride is going? Oh, well. It was still one of the funnest rides at the 2010 Grape Festival in Lodi.

See how fun, soft, slow, and soothing the ferris wheel below looks? The ferris wheel we went on was nothing like this one. It was a threat to humanity. I don't even know how they could call it a ferris wheel, let alone have it in the same event as this NORMAL ferris wheel. It was the scariest thing ever!
So here's what happened:
On Saturday, September 18th, I went to the Grape Festival with my good friend Sophia and her family. Of course, as all teens do, we went off by ourselves. As a result, we ended up going on the "ferris wheel from hell," as Sophia put it.

We decided to go on the ferris wheels before everything else, but when we got into a line for this second one , we were unpleasantly surprised. We thought it just went a little too fast, which is why it had a cage on the front. Hmmm...I guess this is one of the more secure rides, I remember thinking while we were waiting to get on.

As soon as me and Sophia sat down in it..."VOOSH!" The cart turned sideways and me and Sophia screamed bloody murder! It started moving faster than we could scream that we wanted to get off. The whole time, we were trapped: crushing each other, standing upside down in the cage while it tossed us around, and feeling a bit closterphobic too I might add.

Oh, it was funny, but also painful. We were pinned against each other's sides for almost the entire ride.You'd think you'd have to be there to understand the pain, but some of our outbursts might give you an idea: "Why did we get on this ride?" "We're such idiots!" "Keep the wheel!!!"

As Sophia tried turning the wheel, I was laughing at her frightened face. We kept on yelling like a bunch of crazy kids until the twirl of terror ended. Walking away from the ride, we stumbled over every little blade of grass.

Glaring at the ride, we were curious as to how we didn't see it coming. Even trying to explain it to our friend, Sarah during lunch was out of the question. One word about it gave us both the chills.

Never go on the crazy ferris wheel at the Grape Festival! All of the other rides were amazing, though!