Nice Day in Vancouver: Library Research Trip

I’m finally blogging about our trip to the MacLeod’s bookstore and Vancouver Public Library Trip we had last Friday! It was a really fun experience and I am so glad that I got to go.

Initially, I mostly considered getting books and research done but as the trip approached and I still hadn’t done my intro post, I thought that it would be a great way to get some inspiration. I had tried several times and failed to make a satisfactory intro post, but after the trip I had a general idea of where I wanted to take my project. After considering all research related aspects of the trip, I realized it would be a great bonding experience for me and my fellow TALONS.

First of all, I was blown away by how large the library was. I had no idea where to start so Deon and I had to search the catalog to find a place to start. After that, we still couldn’t find our books so we had to ask someone for assistance. When we finally got our books, there was  hardly 20 minutes left so I had to thumb through my books really fast and jot down some notes. I had looked into Bateman before but I felt that looking into his books gave me a better sense of who he was.

image credits to Deon and her awesome phone

image credits to Deon and her awesome phone

For me, the theme of the trip would probably be, “pay attention to one’s immediate surroundings.” A lot of the time, we’re all very absorbed and wrapped up in the  world of social media, and that’s fine and all but we often don’t notice the things around us and take things for granted. This trip was really inspiring and actually a good amount of my speech is based off of the notes I took from the books I borrowed. I didn’t expect them to be so informative despite being mostly pictures.

I’m glad that we’re doing this project because it ties into my IEP goal about furthering my interest in art perfectly. In fact, there’s a quote by the German poet Goethe that sums this up:

“He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth”

In other words, if I was relying only on my very limited knowledge of the art world, I would be in a very sad state. However, through our eminent person study I am able to learn about Bateman and art throughout the ages. I didn’t really understand wildlife art at the beginning of the project and didn’t even know that it got a bad rap.

Anyway, I’ll wrap this post up with a few pictures that capture the trip perfectly.

image credits to aileen (she caught us)

image credits to Aileen (she caught us)

image credits to Deon and her Huawei phone

image credits to Deon and her Huawei phone

(seriously, Deon's camera is awesome)

(seriously, Deon’s camera is awesome)



ZIP Post #3-almost…

I’m sitting down in front of my computer again, typing as fast as possible. I’m trying to make this piece as descriptive as possible, so I’ve been going on thesaurus a lot… Don’t you hate it when the same word keeps appearing over and over? I’ve scrapped tons of stories, so I’m trying to make the best of what I have right now.

If it seems like I’m not doing much, it’s because I’m not saying much. To be honest, most days I’m just continuing with my writing so I really don’t have much to say. And that’s why my blog posts are so short. But good news! I finished a story, and now all that’s left is for it to get edited!

In the place of the story I finished, I’ve started a new one. I feel pretty good about the last one. I’ve never been good at ending my stories but this time I tried write a full-circle ending. I think the book Out of my Mind ended like that, and I really enjoyed that book, so it was fun to end my story like that.

Now I’m writing a story about a character with no emotions. It’s actually more difficult than I thought because I have a hard time relating to her. That’s because I have emotions, surprisingly enough. But the more I write, the less it makes sense. Would a character who is emotionless have any thoughts? Because a lot of the things we think about are our opinions. Perhaps the only thing that runs through her mind is remarks. “Oh the leaves are falling,” or “It’s snowing outside.”

I’m in the process of editing my stories, and I found out that I wrote basically an entire story in the wrong tense. So now I’m going through that and changing all the verbs.

GIF courtesy of

Anyway, I’m wrapping up the editing and when that’s all done and over with, I’ll write a few more stories. There are a few that I’m kind of iffy on and I’ll probably gloss over them during the speech. Others I feel pretty good about.

I’ve just made a few revisions to my rubric. Hard to believe that this project is almost over! Feels like just yesterday I sat down to write my first story. I’m wrapping up another story, so I’ll be editing that soon. It’s a bit sad that I started a lot of stories but didn’t get to finish them, but probably only about 5% of the original ideas make it to the final product.

Anyways, this is my last post, and I’m putting together some things for the presentation now. I guess I’ll just post this update for now.

amazing gif courtesy of

Introducing Robert Bateman

For those of you not in the know, Robert Bateman is a Canadian painter who paints incredibly lifelike scenes. He was born in southern Ontario, but now he lives in B.C., in the Gulf Islands. In fact, I went to Salt Spring Island before I knew about Bateman. I got to know about him a few years ago via a friend who is a talented artist.

image courtesy of

Bateman lived in semirural Ontario, and surprisingly a chickadee was what started him on his path as a birder when he was just eight years old. He had always thought that “a chickadee was more or less like a house sparrow, but this tiny bird’s white cheeks, black cap, and upside down gymnastics gave it away immediately- and the agile climber charmed the cold right out of the afternoon.” Pretty soon he would spend hours looking for birds in the tangled ravine behind his parent’s house, stalking his prey. It was terribly frustrating, however, because he had no decent bird book to rely on to help identify what he had seen. Salvation arrived on his twelfth birthday when his mother gave him Roger Tory Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds.

Surprisingly, I can really relate to how Bateman must have felt. I cannot claim to be as avid a birder as he, but I remember several occasions where I was watching the birds in my backyard or looking for them in the front yard. Art and nature were his twin passions since his childhood, and I feel like this was particularly relevant to myself because I cannot remember a time when I was not into art. I don’t remember how or why I got into it, but I do remember all the messily done drawings I did ever since I was a child. Bateman began drawing and painting at an early age as well.

I was drawn to choosing Robert Bateman first by his art. At the beginning of it all, I don’t think I knew very much about him, just that he really liked wildlife and painting. His paintings are wonderful, incredibly lifelike and also relevant. I did a bit of research before I finalized my decision, and I thought that what he did was awesome. I remember learning about the rainforest, poaching, and many environmental issues and wishing that I could do something, that I could help in some way. So when I saw Bateman using his art to communicate these important messages I felt really impressed by his work.

Bateman also taught geography and art at the high school level until he realized that he could make a living from his painting. Although he was reluctant to give up his teaching, he knew that other people would be able to fill his shoes as a teacher whereas nobody could paint his paintings for him. I feel like this a viable career path, even for me, because I’ve always thought that being a teacher would be an interesting job. Besides, making a living from just your art is often terribly difficult, which is why I think being a teacher would also help.

However, I know that being famous is usually just a pipe dream. To be able to achieve eminence like Bateman’s would be no small feat. I feel like the only way to overcome this obstacle is to practice furiously and soak up all the information I can. Via this study, I may be able to gain some insight and develop my own style more.

I think the main barriers between Bateman and myself is gender and race. Bateman is a white male and I am an Asian female, so that means things are already unfairly in his favour rather than my own. But I have decided that where I cannot relate to Bateman, I will instead look to other female artists that are Asian to see if their experiences can help me out.

Through this study, I hope to learn how Bateman got to achieve such eminence and what impact he’s had overall on our world. I would also like to briefly look into different art styles of different time periods and how that might affect an artist’s career. I guess that ties into what I want to learn, which is finding my own style or finding the most suitable style for myself, since there are still many unexplored regions of art for me. It’s also linked to my IEP, in which I discussed my interest in art and perhaps furthering it. Overall, I hope to learn a lot about Bateman and myself through this study!



The Manhattan Project-Social Evolution

It’s World War II, and the Germans are formulating a plan to develop nuclear weapons to then use in combat. What do you do? Of course, you try and counter by making a nuclear weapon first!

image courtesy of

I will be describing the Manhattan Project as a wheel. More specifically, a SPEST wheel similar to the ones we discussed in class. It’s kinda cool how it works in virtually any configuration, and how it’s another great example of history repeating itself. It also works with lots of different historical events, and in fact I wasn’t even sure that it would work with the Manhattan Project in the first place. But I did some poking around, and found that the components were in fact present.

First, fellow physicists Leó Szilárd and Eugene Wigner draft the Einstein-Szilárd letter and convinced Einstein to sign it. Begrudgingly, he does despite his being a pacifist. He recognized the need to act out in this dire situation, and then the letter is delivered to the American president Franklin D. Roosevelt.

And then there’s the political aspect of the wheel. The political aspect comes into play after the letter os delivered to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The president’s unofficial advisor Alexander Sachs meets with the president to discuss this, and then Roosevelt responds. He has Lyman James Briggs, director of the National Bureau of Standards, organize the Advisory Committee on Uranium. Scientists concluded that Uranium-235 was necessary for further research, and this required enriched samples. This is a perfect segue into the next component of this particular wheel I am describing.

In February 1940, $6,000 was funded so that research could begin. This was rather limited funding, and this describes the economic section of the wheel. Of course, this did not cause turmoil within the country, but it would affect the development of the project.

And then there was somewhat of another social revolution, seeing as all the scientists panicked and were forced to put the pedal to the metal upon hearing that Germany just might be ahead of them. More and more people joined this project after the early development stage, and together made a collective effort to make nuclear weapons before the Germans can.

Lo and behold, the United States has done it. They are the only country that successfully developed nuclear weapons during the second World War, and the only country that has ever used them in combat.

Now thankfully this particular process has not occurred again, however, we do know of one country that has continually been testing nuclear weapons. That’s right, the Hermit Kingdom, North Korea.

image courtesy of

And of course, even in the modern day context, many of these things do happen on a smaller scale. For example, working under a time constraint or a race against time can help speed up the process significantly though your work may not be of the best quality. Even wanting famous names to help support your cause as Szilard did. Overall, I think that though we are a very intelligent species, we are always doing the same things over and over again and it’s interesting if not sad.

This was one of my main sources:

ZIP post #2-a continuation

So I thought about how I am always scared and think, “it’s impossible,” even before I start and decided to write a story based on that thought. A line I just have to use is, “You’re giving up even before you try?” I guess the whole story will be about trying your best and succeeding due to your efforts. That’s pretty cheesy, but it’s how a lot of people at the top get to where they are now. I also finished a very, very short story last night after I posted my first ZIP-related blog post. I guess it’s a start!

GIF courtesy of

To those of you who think that Romeo and Juliet is incredibly romantic: it’s probably not as romantic as you think! First of all, Juliet is thirteen going on fourteen, and it’s generally accepted that Romeo is older that Romeo is older than her. Secondly, the reason why Romeo was at the Capulets’ party was so he could catch a glimpse of the fair Rosaline. Juliet happened to be there, and he fell in love with her looks. From this we can deduce that Romeo is a pretty shallow guy. In fact, when Benvolio said that the beautiful girls at the party would make Rosaline look like a crow among swans, Romeo declares that Rosaline is the most beautiful girl since the world started. And then the second he spots Juliet he begins a monologue about how beautiful she is. This got me thinking. What if, by some tragic incident, Juliet was horribly disfigured? What do you think would happen between the two?

Anyway, I’ve started on a few more stories. It’s quite the task to juggle all of these at the same time. I’m not really good with ending my stories, because I either get over attached to my characters or I’m not sure where would give the reader the best closure. As an avid lover of books I can assure you that I hate cliffhangers and ambiguous endings.

Recently I learned about stock characters. A good example is Helena and Hermia, two characters from a Midsummer Night’s Dream. The two characters are so similar that they are often interchangeable, causing mass confusion. It seems really hard to use characters like this in stories, but it would be a really fun challenge to take on.

I’m continuing my writing. Nothing else particularly interesting has happened, but I’ve been thinking about going to the library and getting a few books for inspiration.

GIF courtesy of

The Unknown Story of the Unknown Plant

Once there was an unknown plant deep, deep in the forest. It was but a small bud and no one knew of it but one girl. She walked deep into the forest, and watered the small seedling. The plant grew voraciously, feeding off of the other plant’s nutrients and absorbing all the sunshine in the glade. Soon it was the tallest flower in the whole forest, towering over all the malnourished plants, a perennial giant.

When spring came around, the flower blossomed wonderfully. Everyone came to see it, and praised it for its wonderful, lush green leaves and beautiful blooming flowers. The plant brought happiness to those who saw it, and many botanists came and snapped pictures, admiring this wondrous plant. On their way out, they stepped on all the other plants in the glade.

After a great many experiments, botanists found that another type of plant would thrive best in the glade and sprinkled more seeds into the earth. These new seedlings were treated with the utmost care; scientists from around the globe came to water them and examine their growth. Of course, every time they visited they would always enthuse about the wonderful plant that only kept climbing higher. Its waxy green leaves were almost touching the sky, and the air was infused with a sweet scent. The other plants in the glade were all but forgotten.

All at once, the small sprouts burst out of the ground, blooming even bigger, brighter and better than the first plant. They burst forth, bringing with them the sweetest fragrance. The delicate buds unfurled and spread their powder pink hues across the forest. From all four corners of the globe, scientists came and viewed the flowers with great admiration, appreciating the beauty and uniqueness of each individual plant. The first plant was now the shortest of the lot, and a few botanists shook their heads in disappointment. It was not worthy of their scrutinizing eyes anymore.

This species was invasive, taking down and destroying the other plants in the glade, including the formerly beautiful flower. It began to show signs of damage, slowly withering and crumbling away. Now, the new species took the nutrients of all the shrubs, flowers and trees around them and slowly, the forest that was so full of life before, was dying.

Quivering, the plants of the forests were gradually ebbing away, and there was a vast expanse of the invasive new plant. On and on, there was row upon row of uniform pinkish blossoms. Still, the botanists turned a blind eye and cultivated the plant, allowing it to flourish. The plants thrived under their care, growing higher and higher. Where was the unknown plant, first of their kind? Hidden underneath all the foliage, it was there trying to penetrate through the impossibly thorny barrier the other plants had created.

One day, an unknown woman wandered through this field, and she walked for hours through the endless rows until she suddenly uncovered the unknown plant. The woman was amazed by what she saw.

The unknown flower was still alive despite all the complications.