The 40 Book Challenge

This year I have achieved my 40 book challenge by reading 64 books, however, I did not achieve my alternate goal: the 80 book challenge. My original goal for the year was to read 80 books, I thought about challenging myself since I already successfully completed the 40 book challenge in the previous year. This year, the genre that I read the most was surprisingly fantasy, since I didn’t read fantasy that much in the past. I seemed to have discovered many delightful fantasy books and series this year, and got caught off guard by reading too many. The genre that I read the least was Non-Fiction; no surprise there at all.

The 40 book challenge really pushed and encouraged me to read a great number of books from a variety of genres. This year, I read more fantasy books that I usually do, as well as Contemporary (Realistic Fiction) books. Also, I have seemed to read more Autobiography books than usual, and most of them I really enjoyed too- which rarely happens. From the 40 book challenge, I realised that I seem to prefer Autobiography books more than biographies; presumably because I prefer to read from the author’s point of view instead of someone else’s.

This year, I have discovered many gems along the way during the 40 book challenge. A book that I completely fell in love with was The Diviners by Libba Bray. Its a historical-crime fiction set in the 1920s with some paranormal elements in it. I consider it one of the most unique book I’ve read for the 40 book challenge, and one that I really enjoyed too. Its one of those books that has both terrific writing as well as an intriguing plot.

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Who is the culprit?

Recently, there has been a great population loss of the fishes in the Gray Bay Area, however, the reason to the deaths of these countless fishes are unknown and remains a mystery.

I believe several people are involved and are responsible for the fish die-off in the gray bay area. The first obvious culprit that I  believe is responsible for killing most of the fish, is Avery Wun. Recent autopsies of several dead fishes showed an unknown type of oil in their body, which likely caused their death. Further more research and testing concluded that the oil found inside the fishes were car oil, and Avery Wun’s statement is about driving cars and defending the fact that cars had nothing to do with the fishes dying-off, however, as you can see, all the evidence that has been gathered in the past few weeks have  obviously proved her wrong.

The second person I think that is responsible for this is Ken Unballe, the owner of the well known water slide in the Gray Bay Area. While car oil is responsible for most of the fish’s death, the cause for the deaths of the other fishes were from chlorine, which is obviously sourced from the water slide. In the beginning, when Mr. Unballe was a suspect of the situation, he was not honest with the test results from the area of the river where he dumps his excess water from the water slide. The chemical testing was done on the day when no water was being dumped from the water slide. However, biological testing that was done in the river proved that there had been chlorine in the river after all.

The third and fourth person I believe to be responsible for the fish die-off in the Gray Bay are are Elmo Skeeto and Sandy Trapp. However, these two people had minor involvement in the fish die-off. Sandy Trapp is the owner of a golf course in the Gray Bay Area. Ms. Trapp may not have been aware of this at first, but the heavy rains taking place in the area near the golf course has been severely affecting the sand there, causing sediment erosion into the rivers, which then causes algal bloom and brings too much oxygen into the water, which eventually causes the fishes to die. However, in Elmo Skeeto’s case, he is a mountain lion hunter, and by hunting mountain lions, the deer population increase. Therefore, majority of the grass on the ground will have been eaten by the deers, causing erosion in the soil, into the river; in result, causes the same thing that happened with Sandy Trapp’s golf course.

 

The Assassin (Free Write 7)

May 1701. Barbados Island. The Caribbeans

The streets in the town of Saint Michaels were empty as silence filled the air, as if every single person living in the area fled before anything unpleasant would happen, leaving everything in place. A wooden wagon with apples spilling over was parked in the middle of road, as well as a child’s play sword abandoned on the side of the path. However, that was not the case. It was simply how the people of Saint Michaels did things. Despite the eerie sensation filling the air, Booker’s Tavern was never more busy than they were tonight; the little tavern was packed with drunkards, families, laborers and plenty of odd settlers from overseas. The presence of the whole town was there. Folk music was being  played in the background by a group of men huddled in the corner of the small room, clutching onto their instruments and blowing ferociously into them to prevent the sound being drowned by the loud laughter and conversation everyone was having. Workers sat by the bar and continuously drunk liquor out of little cups until their whole face was exploding with bright pink which led to inconvenient lecturing from their wives. Everyone had company to keep their mouths busy, and the ones who didn’t found each other and eventually stirred a little conversation up- all except for one.

A tall, slender figure wearing a deep crimson cloak sat alone along the bar, sipping rum and was quietly being aware of her surroundings. No one could quite make out her facial features since the hood of the cloak was pulled up and was partially covering her face- and no one really cared. Everyone was too busy drinking and amusing themselves with foolish jokes to notice an outcast. Her thin, delicate fingers were wrapped around a wooden mug, and as she was about to take another sip of her rum, a short, groggy, beak-bearded man stumbled across the room – along four others following behind – and slumped nonchalantly onto the stool next to her on the bar, eyeing her with an unusual look of hunger. No doubt a drunk, she thought. She tried to avoid meeting his eyes by turning her head slightly towards the other way, but it was no use- his voice was as irritating as his hideous looking face.

“What’s a lovely lookin’ lady like yer’ doing all alone in a place like dis’ place on such a wonderful night?” He asked, with amusement in his voice.

Her voice, quiet but distinct, replied, “I feel like keeping to myself tonight, if you don’t mind.”

He smirked, obviously irritated by her tone of not wanting to talk to him.

“Everyone’s here’ to have a little fun! It certainly cannot be that you’re the only one here with no intention of spending the night wisely!”

“I said, I feel like keeping to myself tonight.” she retorted quietly.

“Is that so?” He asked conspicuously, raising an eyebrow. As he said those words, three other men moved in closer towards her. She was surrounded.

“If only we could take a bettar’ look at that face,” he said slowly, licking his severely cracked upper lip. The others chuckled and nodded in agreement. One of her hand was still clutching onto her hood defensively while the other one was reaching far down into her cloak, blocked from the others’ view. As he was bending over closer to pull down the hood, she shoved him off the stool forcefully, and he landed achingly on his back. Every single sound in the tavern was ceased. This received the attention of everyone. Grunting, he tried pulling himself  up, but before he could do so, she stood up from her seat, walked over to his limp body, raised her foot and placed it firmly on his chest. This got her an unbearable cry of spasm from him. Then, she did something no one thought she would dare to do in such a place like this. She reached behind her cloak and pulled out a sword in which she used to point down at his neck, and as she was doing so, her hood casually flew back, revealing her face. Mahogany locks spilling over her shoulders. Gasps filled the tavern. She looked like a champion that have just claimed her prize.

“My name is Lara Evangeline Bouvegard,” she stated daringly through her gritted teeth. More gasps. She was now aware that everyone was watching them. Petrified, the others surrounding her started to back up.

“In my lifetime, I have knelt and served  under wealthy men and kings. I have murdered and killed under orders, I have beheaded unfaithful workers, and I have made grown men weep at my feet and beg for their lives. In the name of his highness King William Henry the Third,  you will kneel to me.” His whole body was quivering out of fear, and his breath was unsteady. He tried getting up again but her foot continued to hold him down.

“Oh, and not to forget, one more thing,” she whispered quietly, leaning her head closer to his face and urged her sword deeper into his skin, just enough to make him feel the pain.

“If you dare try to lay your filthy hands on me again, I assure you, I will not be content to show mercy. Are we clear?” She couldn’t tell if he was nodding or not, since his whole body was ridiculously fidgeting and the difference couldn’t be made out. As she recoiled her sword, she heard the front door of the tavern  swing open and then closed again. No one came in, that meant someone must have ran out. She sprinted towards the door and pushed it open, bringing herself outside while the others were helping the man up and recovering from his shock. The day was still dark, and there was no one to be seen outside. Coward, she thought. It was just the moon and the silence out on the abandoned roads that night. She knew it was better not to return inside, so she pulled her hood back up, returned her sword to the scabbard hidden behind her cloak and dashed off into the night.

Image @ flickr by ivonadenovic

Mi Colegio

Book Creator Project

My best success in my book creator (MI COLEGIO) project was writing a variety of interesting sentences for each page that captures the reader’s attention about my life, and I was also proud of  the whole book generally. I put a lot of effort and time into making it to make it successful. A challenge I had to overcome while making this project was designing and laying out each of my pages. I took a long time to think how I wanted it to look like, and I overcame that challenge by getting some more ideas from picture books and magazines.

I have learned more on how to use the Book Creator app on the iPad, and I might use this app in the future for my other subjects. I wasn’t very proud of some of my sentences cause a few of my sentences were quite boring, so I will definitely rewrite my sentences if I could. Also, for some of my pages, I felt that my design was a little sloppy, unclean, and ugly, so in the future, I would definitely put more thought and effort into that part if I could redo this project.

Cover
(Note: Do not click directly. Right-Click on image, and “open in new tab/window”)

Swimming Unit

                                                                                                Time Trialstable

Since March, most of my time trial results increased, instead of decreasing, meaning I was more slower than I was before. The strokes that I did decrease on were 50 F/S and breaststroke. I think I increased on Butterfly and Backstroke is because before, I didn’t exactly properly learn how to do the strokes, and do the stroke to my desire, so its faster, but after having a couple of classes learning how to do the strokes, I increased my time because I am ‘relearning’ how to do it and ‘unlearning’ my old way of performing the stroke.

 This video demonstrates me performing the butterfly stroke in May.

Mi Rutina de los Sábado

In Spanish class, we were assigned to create a video that demonstrates our Saturday routine- showing what we do on Saturdays. We had some requirements in this project which were including audio/voice, image/video clips, and subtitles that goes along with the video. I decided to do a video with my voice in the background (along with a little background music).

Enjoy!

The Pig’s Digestive System

Salina Kuo

Kristy Lam

Jackie Luu

Su Min Kim

Grade 7 Science

Mr. Johnston

Which Organism Has the Most Efficient Digestive System?

 

Definition for Efficient: How quickly (Speed) it can extract nutrients from the food (Nutrients) and put it to use without undergoing several processes for a long period of time (how easily). We think that is the definition of efficient because when you say efficient we think of quick yet proper. Quick as in quickly to digest and proper as in properly digest the food without any problems.

 

The pig has the most efficient digestive system compared to the digestive system of cows and humans. Pigs can digest their food quicker and have the nutrients in them extracted faster than the other two organisms. It takes pigs a really short amount of time compared to other animals to digest their food and gain the nutrients, they have an incredibly tough digestive system and they can just eat about anything the would like. 

 

Pigs can digest their food in about four hours, however it takes about 1 to 3 days for a cow to digest their food, humans on the other hand, takes about 36 to 48 hours to digest their food. Not only that, but they can also efficiently extract nutrients within a short amount of time because their digestion process only takes about 4 hours. Also, pigs “are more efficient at converting feed into protein than are cattle” (Eurekalert).

 

A misconception with the cow’s digestive system is that many people are led to believe that it has 4 stomachs. Instead, it has four digestive compartments within their stomach which is only helpful for grass, plants and other food part of their diet because their digestive track is not made to consume meat and other food like pigs and humans do. Unlike cows, Pigs have a more tougher digestive system which allows them to handle more types of food (including meat). 

On the other hand, the gastric acid that can be found in the pigs stomach helps them to chemically break down different varieties of food effectively unlike humans and cows which can only consume certain types of food that their digestive tract is capable of handling. The acid found inside the human’s stomach is weaker than the pigs’ which limits the types of food humans can consume. In other words, pigs can eat just about anything that ranges between fruits to trash without harming the digestive system.

In conclusion, with our supporting reasons above, we believe that pigs have the most efficient digestive system compared to cows and humans. We think pigs have the most efficient digestive system because they can digest their food faster than the other organisms, and their system is more capable of handling different types of food that the others can’t eat.

 

Far More than Treasure (Free Write 6)

Image by TommyClicks @ Flickr

I was kneeling on the beach. My fingers dug deeper into the sand. My nails were brimming with grit, but it didn’t matter because I hardly felt it. My brother- Ian, who was a few meters away from me, was digging even more ferociously than I was.  Gold. JewelsTreasure. What could it be? The old man’s was voice kept ringing in my ears. See for yourself he had said. See for yourself. 

My family and I are in the Caribbeans for the summer to let the steam off from the suburbans. Simply moments ago, an old man convincingly claiming to be the ex-pirate, Jack Sparrow had said that there was something valuable, something important  in a chest buried on this island, but he couldn’t recall what was inside- I don’t blame the poor old fellow for not remembering, considering his age. Like any other curious-minded simpleton, me and my brother went off looking for this mysteriously buried chest simply to kill time on this incredulously boring island. Yes, I know- it’s absolutely absurd doing so because this chest could be anywhere on this island. We started from the most obvious location of where any chest, really, could have been buried- the beach.

“Ian, find anything?” I hollered at him, lifting my shoulders to wipe away the heavy sweat pooling across my forehead. The Caribbean sun sure is rewarding, I thought to myself sarcastically.

“Naw, jus’ dirt and sand and dirt all over again!” Frustrated, Ian collapsed onto his back and started murmuring to himself. As for me, I kept digging with my bare hands. I knew that there was at least something down there. The old man’s word sent chills down my spine.

“Treasure treasure treasure,” Ian sighed, “that man was probably way too old to know what it meant. Kids like us should have been allowed to relax, stay back at home, flop onto the couch and play video games, you know what I mean? I mean like, can’t believe mom talked dad into bringing us here. Jude? Jude, you listening man?”Nope, I wasn’t. Because right then, that’s when I felt it. The solid object that my fingers . And that was when I knew. I found it.

“God Jude, what are you pondering at?” It took Ian all he had to stand back up and drag himself all the way towards me.

“Ian, I think I found something.” Kneeling, I looked up at him and gave him a goofy smile. He crouched next to me and ran his fingers across the surface of the red rectangle that was barely visible on the sand. Our eyes met. We both smiled.

We started to use our hands to dig the chest out. Cool sand spilled between our fingers as we scoop them up aside. There were two black handles on each side. Each of us took one side and then lifted it up onto high grounds. Surprisingly, it was pretty light.

“So this is it,” I said, almost as a whisper. I was almost certain that I was dreaming. What a realistic dream it was.

“The honors are yours, since you found it. Go ahead, open it,” Ian nodded towards me. I was actually nervous. I didn’t know why. I was suppose to be excited, but I had a queasy feeling in my stomach. What if there isn’t anything inside? What if inside lies remains of someone’s body? What if, this is some sort of prank or a trap even? What if we did all this for nothing? I pushed all my questions away, and looked down at the chest. I felt a bit silly, really, because the chest looked exactly like the ones we’ve seen in pirate movies and cartoons- except it wasn’t locked. But the real question was, what’s inside? ‘

I took a deep breath, crouched down, undid the lock flap, and slowly pushed it back with my trembling hands.

“What the-” I heard Ian muttered.

Of all the things that could have been inside, it had to be a stupid oval-shaped stone. One that was carefully placed in the center.

“Oh. my. god.” Ian uttered disappointingly, his hands roughly going through his hair. He started walking away when I called out after him,

“Wait! There’s something else!” The stone was polished before for sure, however, one part that I missed earlier was the words that were engraved onto it. It had said,

A S G A R D

on it.

Ian grunted, “Urgh, what now?”

“Look,” I said, picking up the stone and showing it to him.

“A..s..g..a..r..d,” he read, “isn’t this the place from one of the Norse myths? Like the one about Thor and stuff?”

“Yea, I think so,” I replied, turning the stone over in my hand to feel its weight- but there was something else written on the back. This time, it wasn’t in English.

þ é t t r 

“What does it say?” Ian asked.

“Not sure,” I started examining it more closely when Ian snatched the it right out from my hand.

“This is all rubbish. Someone put this here to mess with us- or anyone else that might have found it. Yeah, some kinda prank,” he spat. He lifted the stone over his head and tossed it out into the sea. It was gone. I didn’t argue. He was right. I sat back down onto the sand and stared absently at waves washing ashore. It was getting late; indigo spilled across the cloudless sky and the moon was barely visible up there. I was thinking about going back to the resort when all of a sudden, a coil of lightning struck down into the sea. I jumped to my feet Instantaneously,  not even bothering to brush the sand off my pants. Ian was caught off guard by this too. I stared closely, and odd enough, the waves were moving in an irregular pattern- as a matter of fact, it was moving in a circular pattern. I knew instantly what it was- a whirlpool. But- those never form near the shores. Ian noticed it too.

“Oh chirst, run Jude!” he started running towards the opposite direction of the beach- as well did I. But as we started to run, we noticed that the sand was being sucked into the direction of the whirlpool- the whole beach was! It was out of control. We couldn’t keep our balance, so we fell and also started slipping into the direction of the whirlpool. Petrified, I closed my eyes, wishing all this nonsense would go away. But it didn’t. And we were slipping faster.

The word that was on the other side of the stone - þ é t t r - had been a word in Old Norse. It had meant Water Activation.

***

I fluttered my eyes open, and found Ian bending over me, calling my name over and over again. Water dripped from his hair onto my face, and then I realized- I was wet too. And then reality suddenly hit me- the treasure chest, the stone, the whirlpool. It had all been real. I started to sit up and found myself coughing up water; Ian was slapping my back continuously to make sure it had gone out- as if that would help. We were in a cave with torches lighted along the wall, but there wasn’t a single entrance to be sighted.

“Thank god, I thought I had lost you,” Ian sighed in relief.

“What happened?” I asked.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” he started ranting on and on about a ‘multi-colored’ portal tube that had brought us here and a bunch of other nonsense that I didn’t catch, because my main attention was set on a miserable figure that was sitting against the the cave a few meters away from where we were. He was wearing some kind of ancient emerald green suit, and he had long wavy hair that came up to his shoulders which were covering his face.

“Who’s that?” I asked, pointing to the figure.

“Him? I tried calling out to him while you were knocked out, but he wouldn’t answer. You reckon he might be dead?” Instead of answering, I pulled myself up to my feet and slowly, carefully, walked over to him. Oh, believe me, I was definitely terrified on the inside, but there was something familiar about this man that struck me.

“Who are you?” I asked in a loud and bold voice- or at least, I tried sounding bold. Through his hair, I could see a smile creeping over his face. That totally freaked me out. Slowly, and quietly, he answered:

“I am Loki…of Asgard…And I am burdened….with glorious purpose.”