Some Sacrifices Are Worth It

If there was a dire emergency and my family was clearly in danger’s way, I would do whatever I could to ensure their safety, even if it meant putting myself in danger. If there was only enough ice cream for one person left in the box, I would give it to my brother. Some sacrifices are easy to make when you truly love the person or people you are making them for. Even though the sacrifices you make for your loved ones may not always benefit yourself, you still make them because you would rather have the short end of the stick than your loved ones.

That is exactly how I think Ma Joad felt when she told everyone to pack up their things from the Weedpatch government camp and move to a less accommodating housing area in order for the family to get work.  Although she was the one to make the family move, I think leaving the government camp really pained Ma. This camp was the first place since their journey west that was like some sort of home to Ma; It was the only thing that hasn’t disappointed her in California. Despite the luxuries that the camp offered, Ma knew they had to leave to find work elsewhere. As much as it pained her to do so, she forced the family to move out because it was for their own good.

For the love of a family member, sacrifices are made all the time, just like in the Disney classic, Little Mermaid. King Triton sacrifices his power as ruler in order to save his beloved daughter, Ariel from being harmed by the evil Ursula. He is willing to give up being king of the ocean in order for his daughter to survive. A huge a heavily weighted sacrifice, but I’m sure it wasn’t a very hard decision.

Walt-Disney-Books-Ursula-King-Triton-walt-disney-characters-34296593-2936-2357Some sacrifices are worth it because you are doing it for those you love. For your love and compassion for the person overrides your fear. I think that is one of the most beautiful things about society. You could be faced with you difficult choices, but when you chose to sacrifice for those you love, you are demonstrating true love.



The Emperor’s New Standardized Testing

Just recently, I, along with many of my other classmates, have found out that a new testing system will be implemented into our school sometime in the near future and that the class of 2015 gets to be the district’s guinea pigs. As it will come into effect sometime in the near future, another test might quite possibly be added to the rigor of the dreaded, test-filled junior year. Experiencing this first-hand, all I can say to those taking it in future is “Good Luck.” Because honestly, they are going to need it. Throughout this entire week, the junior class has been split up into two separate testing groups and forced to take this tedious and from what I’ve heard, very pointless and difficult test. This new form of testing is supposedly designed to make students smarter or more aware of what their learning? In all seriousness, I have no idea what is going on and that’s what really irks me. It’s not the fact that we have to take the test that upsets me, but the fact that it was sort of just thrown upon us without our consent and that we weren’t really formally informed about what we’re supposed to be doing. I mean why not make high school (which is hard enough as it is) even harder? Well I mean, if the district or whoever came up with this idea wants to implement it into the schools, then it’s going to get implemented. No student reps, no student opinion, no student involvement in the decision, just a decision made by a higher power that we have no control over. But I guess that’s just how the world works. Unless…

To switch gears a bit, I just want to point out that this scenario parallels that of one of my favorite Disney movies, The Emperor’s New Groove, in which we follow the story of the selfish ruler of the Incan Empire, Emperor Kuzco. At the very beginning of the movie, we learn that Kuzco is planning to build a large extravagant summer home called Kuzcotopia. (which isn’t at all conceited) However, in order to do so, there’s one little caveat. He wants to build said mansion on the site of a village, home to hundreds of poor families and farmers barely scraping by. And guess what? Kuzco doesn’t take into account the villager’s opinions on the matter. It’s all about what he wants. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?


Well, I’m not going to go into the whole story in detail, but basically, it takes him getting turned into a llama and several near death experiences alongside the village leader, Pacha, for him to realize how self-absorbed and egocentric he is and for him to finally listen to what the villagers have to say.

Now as interesting as it sounds to start turning people into llamas, I believe that through the trial and error of these tests and future discrepancies, it’s possible that the students’ voices will be heard. If it takes more than that, which it quite possibly will, standing up to whomever is executing this standardized testing, is something I would possibly consider. For any situation, whether it involves the district or Emperor Kuzco, I strongly believe that it’s important to take into account every possible opinion. Even if that means asking the little people. But until then…

llama crying kuzco


The Little Kid in You

It sucks growing up doesn’t it?  Being an adult, you suddenly have all of these responsibilities to carry out.  Whatever happened to nap times, the play-doh-infested cubbies, the lunchbox trading tables, music class every week, and essentially the state of being worry-free?   In the process of maturation, many adults forget about their old pastimes as they trash all of their figurines and toys in exchange for a job with a salary.



Why is that?  It’s not like they get their memory wiped out MIB style or because they’re forced to forget everything they once loved, but it’s because that’s what society requires them to do.  The word nostalgia originates from the very idea that something, like childhood, is a past that we have not seen or experienced in such a long time that it gives a sense of pleasure and sentiment.  Why not appreciate and fuse our childhood into the way we live everyday?  Now, I don’t advocate for adults to be immature and to try and live like a kid once more, but what I do believe is that people shouldn’t forget of what it was like being young and to live life with a dose of playfulness and optimism.


 Through all of the hardships and toils the Joad family face in The Grapes of Wrath, the youngest members of the caravan family, Ruthie and Winfield, manage to stay positive and to look at the bright aspects of moving from Oklahoma all the way to California.  Never once, do we see the little Joads complain or mope, but instead they dream and hope for a better life in the new, foreign land.  The kids have yet to experience many things in life, but they accept changes with open arms and just go with the flow.


Never forget the little kid that you used to be.  Never forget the dreams that you once had and don’t take everything too seriously and enjoy the moments you have as if you were young again.




– Nick

A Whole New World…

A new fantastic point of view. Who doesn’t want to experience the rush, the thrill, of entering a new atmosphere, a new world? There’s nothing better then to get a fresh new perspective on the way you live your life. However, unlike Aladdin, who is completely open minded to the idea of “A Whole New World”, we have had some skeptics, particularly in the 1920s and 30s.

Back to a time where, swing dancing was the new dance craze instead of twerking, the economy was without a doubt, just like Aladdin. It was poor, it was hopeless, and it seemed like there was nothing that could be done to correct it. In John Steinbeck’s account of the Great Depression in the 1930s, in his book, The Grapes of Wrath, the Joads are mentioned to be out of work and barely scraping by. Hand in hand, these lowly farmers and Aladdin would make great friends, I’m sure of it. They would be able to talk about the foods they were able to scrounge up on a daily basis just to stay alive and about how bad they seemed to have it.

#16 Departure of the JoadsAladdinDisney

But wait, what’s this? Deep within the Cave of Wonders, it seems as if Aladdin was able to come across the idea of endless opportunity to become successful in the form of a genie! Well good for him! And wait, the farmers have discovered a new magical place in the west that is supposed to cure all economic problems called California? Wow! In no way, shape, or form, do I see any future conflicts arising! I’m sure they’ll get what they want, no problem!

And that is exactly how both parties felt when they encountered their respective savior. Aladdin with his genie and the Joads with the lingering idea of California. Opportunity seems to be close within their reach, but unfortunately, the process is long and enduring with no breaks as it usually is. Along the way, people will be skeptical if something seems to good to be true, which is personified in the characters of Al (in GOW) and for a short time, Jasmine.


But, that’s not to say that with hard work and dedication you can’t reach your goal of obtaining this “Whole New World” because it actually is possible. You just have to want it, more than Aladdin wanted to pursue true love and more than the Joads wanted to pursue a more economically stable life. With no one to tell you no, or where to go, or say you’re only dreaming. A Whole New World.



Take Another Look

People say ignorance is bliss, but I think that the more that you know, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Whether you’re buying a cheap jalopy from a sketchy salesman, or realizing for the first time in forever that love is an open door, it’s always best to have some sort of background check. In the current book that I am reading, The Grapes of Wrath, it always seems as if all that’s good and all that is ever meant to be, is simply just a lie. Deceit can be found in the tiniest of corners, peering its ugly head out every once in a while. For example, the used car dealership in Chapter Seven is a prime example of the reoccurring theme of lying and deceit. The car salesman, like most in real life, stopped at nothing to get his cars sold; even if that meant he had to sabotage the car to make it look good. Money is the only thing this vicious animal tends to feed off of and without he wouldn’t last long. The lies and deceit are his methods of attacking his prey.

Paralleling this to a more modern take, the recent movie, Frozen was full of lies and deceit throughout. I love this movie more than anything right now and if you’ve seen the movie then you know what I’m talking about but *SPOILER ALERT* if you haven’t. As close as you look at it, you’ll notice that Hans is exactly like this deceitful car saleman in the book! Both men only think of themselves and do things that will only benefit their futures. They are able to make you feel comfortable, like you’re a long lost friend in order to develop an emotional attachment. Not much is known about who they are or where they come from but their motive becomes very clear. They are willing to crush someones hopes and dreams to better themselves. (Anna’s of falling in love and the consumers’ desire to travel west in a running car) And last but certainly not least, they are fast-talking smooth operators who can sway the opinions of anyone they encounter. I mean who saw that ending coming anyway! Overall, these two have the moral compass of the devil. The consumers deserved better. Anna deserved better. So before you decide to do anything drastic like buy a car or marry a man you just met, take another look, because what you might think you see could be something completely different that what you expected. Don’t let the idea of promise or hope blind you no matter how great it might seem at first, because you never know when what seems like the perfect guy will try to kill you and your sister.


P.S. I mean Hans and Anna sang a song together for crying out loud!!! Why does he have to be the bad guy? There gotta be a rule somewhere saying that if you harmonize together as well as they did, you’re not allowed to be evil. (Sorry I’m still a little angry at the fact that that happened)



Your Journey Will Be Worth It


Life is like a journey. You have to work towards your dreams and aspirations. You have to persevere, no matter who tough it gets. There will be bumps along the way, but once you reach what you that goal, all your hard work pays off because quite frankly, you have made it. You have completed yet another journey in your life.

I think that is what kept Tom Joad, from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, going. After being released on parole from prison, Tom embarks on this journey to find his way home. It’s a tough and long voyage- filled with hitch- hiking and strange conversations with a pastor he used to know- but nothing stops him as he strives to get home to his family. Things don’t go according to plan when he finally arrives home, to find his house empty and broken down. A familiar local tells Tom and the pastor, Jim Casey, about how his family had moved to his Uncle John’s house- which was eight miles away- because they had been chased off their land by money hungry banks. Now if you think that another eight miles will stop Tom from reuniting with his parents, than you are dead wrong. He spends the next day continuing his journey home until he finally saw the “house, a square box, unpainted and bare, and the barn, low-roofed, and huddled” from afar. The looks on his parents faces was the moment his hard work to get home paid off, I’m sure.

As I read through the chapters of Tom’s expedition and reunion, I couldn’t help but think about Finding Nemo and how the moment that Nemo’s father found him was probably a lot like Tom’s reunion with his family: emotional and filled with joy. It didn’t matter that he had to encounter sharks, or that he almost died in the process the only thing that matters was the Nemo was back in his arms. Of course this example may be a bit cheesy, but think about it.

How many times in your life has your end result justified what you had to go through? My guess would be many times. Giving up may seem like such a good option at times, but trust me, if you keep trying and work through your battles, you will make it and your journey will be worth it.

You don’t even have to be working towards something, but merely working to survive and make it through. Living another day is an accomplishment to me. I guarantee you that your journey will be worth it because you are worth it.


DIY: Almost at the end

With only two weeks before this project is due, my group and I have been working hard on our documentary. We completed two more filming days at Downtown Disney before concluding our period of filming. I was really proud of Brandon, because he conducted an interview on the last day of filming. Even though it was his first and his only interview of the project, I’m happy he got the chance to do it and gain a new experience.

In total, we must have approached about 100 people and asked to interview them. The interviewing process has taken up so much time, and so much effort. We received numerous rejections, but after several months of filming, we finally accumulated 20-30 good interviews. Now it is time to edit.

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For the past two weeks or so, I’ve been spending time before school, during lunch, and after school editing the interviews. It’s taking a long time because there is a lot of footage to sort through. I also need to try and correct the audio because while we were filming, there was often a lot of background noises and music, which somewhat drowned out the interviews. It is long, tedious work, but I’m moving along.

photo 1

Last week, Jessie and I also finished writing the voice-over that we plan to use at the beginning of the video. On Friday, I recorded Brandon reading the voice-over. This weekend, we are planning to record Brandon playing piano to use as the background music for our video. We’re running out of time, and my group is a bit frantic at this point, trying to finish up as best we can. However, I’m proud that our project is actually making progress and starting to form, even if it is a bit chaotic at the moment.

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– Karen