Monday, December 2, 2013

Reflection on Lord of the Flies

The end of Lord of the Flies was incredibly ironic. Seriously, Jack's big thing was that he would rather hunt than take care of the fire, and then in the process of hunting he set the entire freaking island on fire. Way to go, Jack. The fire even got the attention of the Navy, who then came and rescued the boys. Something else interesting was how Ralph didn't know what he looked like anymore. "He saw two littluns and, not having any idea of his own appearance, wondered why they screamed and ran" (Golding 189). His own appearance was so battered and bloody that he was practically wearing a mask of his own sort. He may think that it was different from Jack's, but really it wasn't. Another interesting thing that Ralph did was he found the Lord of the Flies, the resident devil, the fodder for the imaginary beast. Ralph had the same reaction to it as Simon, the fateful prophet. "The skull regarded Ralph like one who knows all the answers and won't tell" (Golding 190). Ralph may not have started talking with the head like Simon, but he did understand that there was something about it that was out of the ordinary, something bigger than him and more learned. When Jack starts the fire, it is Ralph that he is hunting. Ralph is so weak at this point that it is a mystery why Jack wants to kill him; it's not as though he can carry on being chief with nothing and no one to be chief of. But Jack attempts to smoke Ralph out like a pig, kill him the same way he killed the others. Simon died in a hunting dance, Piggy died by a spear and his name was already "pig". Ralph will be found and killed like a pig too, in a chase that can end with nothing but his death. "Hide was better than a tree because you had the chance of breaking the line if you were discovered...He [Ralph] wondered if a pig would agree, and grimaced at nothing" (Golding 202). Ralph knows how bad his situation is, and he even starts thinking like the prey he feels he is. But eventually he makes it to the beach, and there is a naval officer waiting there. And everything that had happened just melts away. "A semicircle of little boys, their bodies streaked with colored clay, sharp sticks in their hands, were standing on the beach making no noise at all. 'Fun and games,' said the officer" (Golding 206). They have been transformed by this clean-cut thing from their past, all smooth and shiny, while they were becoming rough around the edges, dirty, bad. They thought, on the island, that they were so important, but they were still just the little boys from their old life. And so they leave, and they cry, not for leaving the island but how it changed them.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lord of the Flies Symbolism

Everything in this book is a symbol.
But I suppose I cannot just leave my post like that.
I will name several and elaborate on them, but I cannot promise that they will be even sort of connected in any way, shape, or form.

Let's begin with the island. When they had first arrived, the island seemed peaceful, a place of refuge, but also very scary, since they felt they were not meant to be there. Then, as time went on, the island began to feel more like a home, as Ralph says. However, Ralph in particular still feels that the island is still trying to get rid of them, but is maybe biding its time. He describes it as a leviathan, which even when disregarding the connotations from Supernatural is still not usually going to be a good thing. He could have described the island as a peaceful giant, or a sleeping one, but he used the word "leviathan". So Ralph still thinks the island is out to get them. As for the other boys, it is not often that the story is told from their point of view, but one can assume that they feel the same way.

Next up for analysis is Ralph, since he was just mentioned. Ralph has also seen a bit of change, though he hasn't really changed all that much. He is less of the fair prince now than he was, since everyone used to look up to him. Now people sort of still look up to him, but he has fallen in a way, since he wants so badly to be like the adults, with his haircuts and soap and obsessing over his fingernails, and the other boys are starting to forget about their old life and settle in. Their lives are referred to as past and present. They are living on an island and they will probably all eat each other. But Ralph still wants to go back to England, which he still refers to as home, despite the fact that the island is also home. I don't know. I did say it probably wouldn't make sense.

Finally, we have Simon. Nope, there is nothing connecting this with the last paragraph. Simon is just my favorite. He's all adorable and helpful and British and I just really like him. He definitely represents religion, which we saw at its most obvious when Ralph pushes Simon away and returns to his own personal hell. Basically saying that it is absolutely certain that Simon is religion, because when you push religion away, you will go to a hell designed specifically for your punishment purposes. Simon also frequently sneaks away to meditate in his little room...with a rug in the center that is hit by a perfect beam of sunlight...and candles all around to make it all smell good like incense...yeah. So Simon most definitely represents a Christ figure or a Buddha figure. He is religion. Also, all the boys rejecting Simon as a person symbolizes their own gradual descent away from society and religion. They starting chanting about killing pigs, for goodness sake. They have definitely rejected religion, both literally and symbolically.

There we have it. Three random symbols plucked from the book and analyzed.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pressure Point - 1

This requires a bit of explanation. My idea here is that these people are part of a total immersion program to prepare them for the Navy. They go under for days at a time, always while they are asleep, so they never know when the program is happening or when it's real life, so that their reactions are genuine and they can feel what it's truly like but nobody gets hurt while they're still learning. This does take place within the simulation, though as you will see they do not know that. 
My head is reeling. I still cannot believe that this morning, after two days on the simple computer-game type simulators, they're already sending us on a real mission. They did warn us that sometimes their orders may seem erratic, but the whole point of me being here is that I need time to get used to all of this, to face my fears. I was fine for the first few hours, though the sinking feeling in my stomach would not leave. Probably because we actually were sinking. An announcement was made moments ago, saying we were approaching our final depth, and that was when it all came crashing down on my mind with the force of a tsunami.
I can hardly tell what's happening around me. I don't know what to focus on, the fact that I am trapped inside a cramped living space with the one person in the world that makes my head spin or the fact that said cramped space is thousands of miles underwater and though we should be getting crushed like a soda can we are alive, a feat nobody has bothered to explain to me beyond vague hand gestures and overcomplicated theorems that they clearly don't understand either beyond the fact that we are still breathing.
Well, some of us are.
I feel a hand on my shoulder. "Maya, are you okay?" I hear him say. The only one I could possible care about seeing me like this. I try to pull myself together. My hands are unconsciously clenching the tangle of pipes in front of me in a fruitless effort to steady myself. I close my eyes and take deep breaths.
"I'm fine," I finally say. He gives me another concerned look as alarms start to blare. He swears and runs off as orders start to come, expertly weaving between the machinery. I sigh and push my hair back.
Why do I have to act so stupid around him? I'm supposed to be a professional, I tell myself. Then I shake my head. Professionals don't have conversations with themselves. Orders are still blasting out of the speakers, and I have to wait for them to loop before I know what's going on and where I need to go.
All the orders coming through at once confuse me for a moment before I get ahold of my senses. I had had my little episode in the transmissions room, so I could hear everything at once, combined with varied responses from the respective frequencies.
"Pulse rate...signal steady."
"Radar tracking systems manned."
"QB, contact, echo ranging. Long scale. Still searching."
I sift through these reports to find my instructions. As soon as I hear all of the reports I am off and running, perhaps with a little less skill than he had. I hit my knee on several prominent pipes on my way and hiss with pain every time, but I keep moving.
At last, I reach my tracking system and slip on my comms unit. I catch the end of an order, and call, "Repeat."
"All compartments, control testing."
My station partner immediately responds. All of the pukes (aka the newbies like me) were paired with someone who had been a part of the training program for at least a year. "Battery forward, aye." Then he slips his comms unit off. I pretend to be intent on the control panel in front of me, but he taps me on the shoulder and I have no choice but to look at him. My breath, as well as any thought, is immediately swept away as his oceanic eyes meet mine, his stormy with concern. "Maya, what happened back there?"
I sigh and look back to the buttons and levers, hoping to distract myself with my work as I formulate a response. "Jordan, I..." I duck my head. I can't pretend to be preoccupied anymore. "I'm afraid of drowning. My biggest fear in the entire world is being trapped underwater and drowning."

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Nightmare of History

“’History,’ said Joyce’s Daedalus, ‘is a nightmare from which I am trying to wake.’ But we do not awake. Though we constantly make a heroic attempt to rise to a level ethically superior to nature, our own nature, again and again we suffer a fall – brought low by some outburst of madness because of the limiting defects inherent in our species” 
This quote is really sad. It says that even though people want to be able to wake up, to break free, to have free will essentially, they cannot because they as humans are flawed and no matter how hard they try they cannot do that. It is a bit like saying “anything is possible” and then having a friend say “give me wings now” because, given years of genetic engineering, it may one day be possible to give humans wings but when given a time limit there is a limited set of things you can accomplish. “Again and again we suffer a fall” is very poignant because, again, people may try to see history as a guide of what to do and what not to do, but the fact remains that we will continue to repeat ourselves and even with new ideas and new innovations we will continue to repeat history and make the same mistakes because that is simply human nature. Human nature is simultaneously holding us back and pushing us forwards; forcing us to race ahead while shackling our ankles. And in reality, whenever we attempt to use our nature to our advantage, our wings will ultimately melt and force us to the ground. We can dream, and we can hope, but we will never actually achieve. And that is the saddest thing about this quote.

However, there is always something to be said for defying the mundane and reaching higher. Another part of human nature, besides failure apparently, is the thirst for success, for competition, for being able to prove oneself against the hardships of the world. And if humans can continue to do that, maybe they can eventually break free of the nightmare of history. Maybe working together, they can wake up. Unfortunately, that is mostly wishful thinking, because a side effect of competing is making enemies. It is unavoidable. Some may say that it doesn’t have to be that way, but look around. At every single sporting event, there are the winners and the losers. In every aspect of life, there are people that others love to hate and hate to love and every shade of feeling in between. But, essentially, since humans remain the same over the millennia, it stands to reason that the stories about them would repeat themselves as well as the traits that survive.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Not-So-Modest Proposal, Among Other Things

Is satire effective in exposing social ills? Most definitely. In actually affecting society and making things change, however, it is likely that most people feel fairly apathetic towards satire. They think it's funny, they feel offended. But does it actually make them change? No. Not really. In A Modest Proposal, nothing is more clear than the fact that Jonathan Swift has a problem with the suppression of the Irish, the elitism of the British, and Americans in general. He does a very good job of telling everyone in a very roundabout way what is wrong with society, who the targets are, and how he feels about all of it. Other people in our society today do this as well. People like John Stewart, John Oliver, and Stephen Colbert all have television shows where they do exactly the same thing as Jonathan Swift. They expose social ills in an attempt to jar us into action and do something about what is wrong with out society.

One of the things both modern satirists and ye olde satirists prove is how separate the social classes are. Jonathan Swift literally suggest that the aristocratic Brits wear clothing made of the lower classes in Ireland. "...the skin of [the infants] which artificially dressed will make admirable gloves for ladies and summer boots for fine gentlemen" (Swift 4). The idea in of itself is atrocious, but it shows how the upper class regards the lower class as animals in a way, such that they will skin the children and use their skin the way they use cow and pig hides. Many modern satirists use this idea as well, though they are not so graphic about it. In the British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, the snobby, stereotypical main character is constantly trying to climb the social ladder and become one of the upper class despite being working class. Something she repeats is "It's my sister Daisy. She's not the one with the Mercedes, sauna, and room for a pony" (Keeping Up Appearances). This woman is constantly trying to prove that she is one of the upper class, revealing how most think of the working class people; not good enough. It exposes an ill that many are ill-prepared to deal with, because they see social classes as simply a part of their society. It isn't something they can do much about, as classes depend on jobs, and if everyone is in one class there will still be levels of that class. All this to say that society may recognize the problem here, but they will not do anything about it because they don't feel they can.

Now, even the best of satirists slips out of character sometimes, whether it be because of something they feel strongly about or the people they are targeting are just so blind to what is wrong with them. Jonathan Swift slips for just one paragraph, saying "I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children" (Swift 4). He uses scathing wit here to say that the landlords have already "devoured" the parents, or that they are being used up as much as they can be before being thrown out like so many chicken bones. The entire passage up until this point has been in the character of favoring the upper class while revealing that they care very little about the lower class, and this passage was incredibly opposite of that original point of view. In a piece that aired on The Daily Show, one of the people being interviewed is just so uncomprehending of how he is doing exactly what he is ridiculing. (Daily Show). He is blaming them and pointing at the camera, literally pointing the finger of blame in their direction for...pointing fingers. Sometimes, even when people are being satirized, they cannot see it. The audience might, but the fact that slipping out of character to point something out that the target doesn't even see just proves that though the audience may recognize the social problem the targets certainly will not, and as the targets are in the best position to do something about their own problem nothing will be solved.

Satirists are supposed to be apolitical. They need to be able to show the problems with society in a way that exposes everything, not just what they support. Jonathan Swift does an excellent job of this, and he shows that there is something seriously wrong with the British upper class for eating babies, the Irish for being willing to give up their babies for money, and the Americans for suggesting the whole thing in the first place. "I have been assured by a very knowing American...that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food..."(Swift 3). Then there's "...the maintenance of a hundred thousand children, from two years old and upward, cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a-piece per annum, the nation's stock will thereby be increased fifty thousand pounds per annum, besides the profit  of a new dish introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the kingdom who have any refinement in taste" (Swift 6). These quotes both just show that not only are Americans well informed in the eating of infants (or having a very large gap in the social classes like the United Kingdom) but also that the Irish being willing to sell their children will increase their stock and that that gentlemen with refined taste will have more food (note the verbal irony). John Oliver discusses gun control with the Australian government, who were successful in passing a gun control law, and the American government, who stubbornly believe that if we can't fully solve the problem then we should do nothing at all. "People are the know, after spending this amount of time with you, Philip, I'm starting to believe that" (Daily Show). He spent much of the video telling the Australians that their law got people's political careers killed, and then agrees with the government official that didn't like the gun control law that people are most definitely the problem, meaning that both sides of the issue have problems from the opposite side's perspective. The Americans cared more about their political careers than the good of the country, therefore not successfully passing a law, and the Australians lost several good politicians because they did pass that law that didn't stop all gun violence in the entire country. Everyone has problems, and satire exposes those. But does anyone use satire to better themselves? The fact that America still has no gun control despite this clip airing says otherwise.

In short, satire can expose ills in society, be it through verbal irony, scathing wit, or just seeing Americans being total idiots in ways that everyone can recognize as having done at one point or another in their lives. But do people really take satire that seriously? Evidence points to know. Even though many people see the videos, read A Modest Proposal, all of the ills in society that are either not pointed out or have been pointed out many times remain. They recognize that there is a problem, yes, but they do not do much about it. Despite being told blatantly what is wrong with them, people either don't take it seriously or choose to be apathetic. Yes, it's funny. But satire is so layered, so deep in so many ways that the people being satirized cannot see, that it is up to those who can see what is wrong with them to do something. And, unfortunately, nobody does.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jonathan Swiffer Sweeper

This is the title because this is the first thing that came to mind not only when I saw his name but also when I saw his hair. Like holy moly. That is some hair.

Anyway, Jonathan Swift was born on November 30th, 1667 (the best month, seeing as it also contains my birthday and Ender's Game) and very sadly grew up without a father. He was a very sickly child, and when he was young he was handed off to his uncle (late father's brother). Swift went to one of the top schools in Ireland at the time and grew up to be a clergyman and satirist, which to me seems like an unlikely combination. He wrote many books, perhaps the most famous being Gulliver's Travels. Oh, who am I kidding. I hadn't ever even heard of the other ones. That't pretty much his whole life right there.

Next up - a quote about Swift from someone else. Okay. This was really hard because although this guy had a lot of quotes there are not many that I could find that were about him. This is pretty much all I could find, though I quite like it nonetheless.
“Jonathan Swift made a soul for the gentlemen of this city by hating his neighbor as himself.” ~W.B. Yeats
This is very nice and I think it definitely describes a satirist quite well, thought it also makes me feel like it's something out of the Bible, which is fitting considering Swift was also a clergyman. Hating his neighbor as himself is the mark of a true satirist; being able to see something in himself and his neighbor and remarking upon it in the hope of bringing change that he perhaps has already implemented.

Finally, a quote from Jonathan Swift. Ah, yes. Much better. I chose the one that is not the most popular, but rather one that I enjoyed a bit more.
"One enemy can do more hurt than ten friends can do good." ~Jonathan Swift

This is not a very satirical quote, but this one speaks to me on a personal level. For me, the enemy is school. I am struggling this year for one of the first times ever and no matter what my friends tell me I still feel like I'm sinking. I know, I know, not the time for a personal rant, but oh well. I just never have time to do anything I want to anymore and I am always swamped with homework and I am falling behind and my grades are slipping...
Jonathan Swift. Fabulous hair. Incredibly sarcastic.
The end.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hitsong to Save the World

This is the video I picked for satire. It is about two people in a futuristic society where making hit songs is banned. On a shallow level, this is about saving a music-impoverished country by making a new hit song. One that appeals to everyone, with a "chorus that's just woa-oa-oa so everyone can sing along" and "a dance that anyone can do". They use every trick in the book that makes a formulaic, catchy hit song featuring a powerful female vocalist, and that's all they're out to do. They succeed and they save the country, even taking out the stereotypical dictator while they're at it. It is really quite ridiculous that they take everything, even say that they need a dubstep break, and they still make a song that would be considered good on the radio. They poke fun at how every song nowadays sounds the same, but we enjoy them nonetheless. "So throw your mainstream hands in the air", 'cause you'll be singing it whether you mean to or not.

Now, this whole thing may seem a little strange. Okay, it's a lot strange. But it is very interesting and although it is hard to find a deeper meaning, I do have one. The deeper meaning behind this strange video is that we, as a society, are too reliant on music to take our mind off of things. To us, music saves the world and music should run a country. Now, I am a big fan of music, but I do not think that we should put Katy Perry or Eminem in charge of the government. This video also shows how we tend to put music first and ignore the real issues. That may not always be exactly true with everyone, but if you ask a teenager whether they would rather listen to new music, even if it is mainstream and isn't something they typically listen to or talk about politics, most would pick the music. Speaking as a teen, I think that more of us should start paying attention to things in the news rather than whose new music video just came out, which is what this video is saying on a deeper level is what we don't do but maybe should. This video is a witty way of asking us that, yes, it will be stuck in your head all day, but what were you doing listening to it in the first place? Wasn't there a better way you could have been spending your time? It's ironic, retribution that you will be humming the song for the rest of the day.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hero's Journey Posters

So, my group's Hero's Journey poster was about Will Turner. And dang, he looks good in that absolutely fantastic hat. But fangirling aside, we thought that aside from looking nice on a wall, his story fit the Hero's Journey template quite nicely. Will Turner follows all the archetypal steps, albeit a little out of order (i.e. receiving the call to adventure after meeting his mentor, and refusing the call almost before it even happened). He was a very good hero, and despite the fact that Captain Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swan could also be argued as the main heroes of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, Will Turner just seemed to fit everything better. And did I mention the hat? Our theme was directly derived from the movie, including a quote, and the treasure map idea came from one used later in the series. The kraken is also featured on our map, and he has a role in the second movie of the franchise. Basically, we drew on everything the series had to offer, even though our poster only spanned the course of events of one movie (the best one, in my opinion).
Being a bit biased, I liked our poster the best. But there are many more that were very good. The Life of Pi poster was very good. I liked the tiger stripes in particular, and despite having analyzed the book in depth in 8th grade, I never quite realized just how well Pi followed the hero's journey. The Nightmare Before Christmas poster was also excellent. It was clear that a lot of thought went into the design, and the paintings were absolutely amazing. I had watched the movie the night before seeing the poster, and the poster helped me grasp the concepts much better than when I had just watched it on its own. But my second favorite poster was the one for The Hobbit. This may have been in part because, again, apart from our own, this was my favorite of the movies that were used as posters. But I really liked that they put Sting on there, and I absolutely loved how they used the ring as the "o" in Bilbo's name. I wish there had been more about Smaug, since he is pretty fabulous himself, but there isn't much of him in the first movie, which was the one chosen seeing as the next installment hasn't come out yet. 
But anyway. He's a dragon. And dragons are cool.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My iPod is Psychic

So when I'm bored, or having a lot of feelings, or just trying to avoid my responsibilities (*cough* homework *cough*) I listen to music. And my music choice is incredibly diverse. Mainly because my mom has this tendency to hear something on the radio and then buy it because she really likes it. Which is fantastic, but on occasion something pops up that I have never heard before but fits my situation perfectly.
In conclusion, my iPod is psychic.
But actually. Just last week when we were writing about the beginning of that Joseph Campbell packet, it started playing "Round and Round" by Imagine Dragons. The lyrics of that song helped inspire my post about the phoenix and how everything is a cycle, like the hero's journey or a phoenix.
And then there are times like today when I'm trying to think of something to write, my music is on, and a scream sound effect that I downloaded for a thing I made with my friends plays. Which, although it sort of sums up how I feel about trying to come up with something random to write about, was extremely startling.
I give up. I have nothing more to say. I wish I could be deeper and write about what I actually think rather than trying to make my everyday happenstances funny. It is most definitely not working.
So, have a picture of a "psychic". Maybe next week there will be something worthwhile up here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Heroes and Monsters

“Whether you call someone a hero or a monster is all relative to where the focus of your consciousness may be.”
Joseph Campbell goes on to compare this with a German soldier and an American sent to kill him. Depending on which you view as the “good guys”, they are the ones in the right. Being American, I see the American as the one in the right for killing a German soldier. But, if you think about it, as Joseph Campbell and his interviewer did, this German soldier is as much of a hero as the American. He is fighting for what he believes as a worthy cause, and even if he was forced into his position he still fought and died a hero’s death. The same goes for the American. He may have been forced into his line as well, and he may not have wanted to kill someone, and to him that is a despicable deed, painting him as the “bad guy”.

Good and bad are incredibly subjective. I have found, oftentimes, that in reading a book I am drawn more to the antagonists and their reasoning than the protagonist, with their often over-told and just plain boring, formulaic storyline. The antagonist undergoes incredible character development, forced into their way of thinking by some earth-shattering catalyst for them that flips the universe upside-down and makes them either hold on or slip and float into the abyss, going insane. As they go further and further into what the protagonist considers insanity, the antagonist is usually doing as much as they can to retain any semblance of humanity, and they are a tortured soul fleeing the remains of their life in search of something that may help them become, in their mind, better.
Well, at least that’s what happens if the book is any good.
But the point of good and evil fighting remains, and in many stories you wind up cheering for the serial killer, or the pirates, because you know their side and you agree with them, you think they’re correct in what they’re doing, and even if what they do is morally wrong, well, you understand that they had to. And then the navy, or the government, or the saviors are the ones persecuting you for doing what you must in order to survive, to not let the voices in your head, your past, come to the forefront of everything and swallow you whole.

In reality, you are both just doing your jobs.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Reborn from the Ashes

Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We only have to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel inwards, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world. ~Joseph Campbell ~
This quote reminds me of a phoenix. Phoenixes grow old, burst into flames, and die. Then they come out of the ashes reborn. What Joseph Campbell is saying here is similar to the idea of a phoenix. In the thought of killing another, we slay ourselves. By traveling outward, we travel in. And in death, there is rebirth. The phoenix is also used as a symbol of hope, of being able to make it through your hardest struggle, the fire, and becoming reborn, a better, stronger person. In that hardest moment, when we feel that we are alone in our misery, the whole world understands. Everyone has a misery they need to overcome. The labyrinth is well known because everyone has been through it, come in touch with themselves, and the heroes' stories are simply the best known. Even the best of us, the heroes of the real life story, had to make it through the labyrinth, find themselves, slay themselves, and make it back out better than they were before.

We may think we are alone but we are all going in the same circles. Life and death, strife and success, in and out. When we think we are going crazy, there is always someone else out there who understands, who can help us out of the maze.

Monday, September 2, 2013

This Is No Game

My interests...well, my favourite movie of all time is The Princess Bride. A movie that I am very excited for in the future is Ender's Game. So I have a future favourite movie. That's not weird...
Anyway, it promises to be very good. The cast is excellent and star-studded, with Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin, and Asa Butterfield.
This is the trailer for the movie. In the trailer, there are a lot of interesting things from the book. The trailer begins with a large amount of exposition that was found out in bits and pieces throughout the story. This is helpful because it enhances your ability to understand what is happening even if you've never read the book. Then there are a bunch of shots of various landscapes. One is clearly on Earth, but the next one is likely from Eros, which is the command center for the war (which is exactly how I imagined it when reading). Then there's some stuff with ships, which is part of a battle. There's also the first glance at a Battle Room, with two people stepping up to a huge circular gate. This is very important in the book, but then there are more ships and that makes me sad because I want to see more. Then we see Ender for the first time, which is also very important. The text is really interesting, because it implies that Ender is both a new threat and a new hero. That is a theme repeated throughout the book, and it's really interesting to see in the trailer. There's also a scene of Ender instructing his friends on what to do, and they destroy something in a new way, prompting Major Anderson to be in awe, I assume. There are more bits and pieces from the book, and then we see Ender in front of something that says GATE B. It also says "This is no game". It sort of gives away the twist ending, but it works with the trailer. The end is my favorite part. Ender shouts "NOW!" and then fires something at a planet, but we don't get to see what happens because the title explodes out. It is a very good trailer for what I hope will be a fantastic movie. 

The best experience of my life was this past year at Shwayder Camp. Shwayder is a Jewish camp up on Mount Evans, above Idaho Springs. Every year that I've been in Colorado (I moved here in late 2009) I have spent two weeks up in the mountains at this camp. I have made so many friends that feel like family there, and it allows me to get closer to the friends I already have. Unfortunately, last summer was my last year I could go as a camper. But it was the best year I have ever had. Everyone was so nice, and we all actually got along. There were no cliques, there was no boy drama, and it really felt like we were fifteen sisters for those weeks. I will never forget anyone there and at the end of the session, I was given a necklace. I have yet to take it off for anything I didn't have to. But everyone there was so wonderful and they really changed me. It is impossible to try to describe those two weeks in words, but there are a lot of pictures. Here are the two cabins that were the Daleds (going into 9th or 10th grade).