Tag Archives: Westtown

La La Land-Appreciating its Simplicity | Cynthia Ruan

I decided to write about La La Land by Damien Chazelle this week. It is a L.A. love story between a jazz musician, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring young actress, Mia (Emma Stone). The brilliant, Oscar-winning (YAY) Chazelle delivered the story in the form of a musical. It’s very nostalgic; Chazelle pays tribute to many classic ninetieth musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, but the story itself is modern and Chazelle definitely made it into his own style.

I have to say that I’m truly surprised by how much I’m in love with this film. I’m not a fan of musicals and am pretty cynical when it comes to romantic dramas, especially ones like this where everything is just so over-the-top romanticized. So it may seem like besides Ryan Gosling’s beautiful face, there shouldn’t be any reason for me to like this film at all. But in the midst of all the dancing and singing and floating in the planetarium, La La Land really touched me, evidenced by my crying hysterically for the both times I watched it in the theater and the many times on my laptop.mv5bzduynzuymwmtyjc2zc00yjixlthlodktyjrmzmizmzllotqxl2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjawmdu5mtu-_v1_sy1000_sx1000_al_

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Progress – Will

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This past week was a mixture of editing and writing new content, so I thought I’d share some of the new content here. This is an excerpt taken from a scene where my narrator is conferencing with the other lieutenants of his group and the group’s leaders. For my narrator, this is an especially stressful time as some of the warriors he’s responsible for are missing.

“If there are no other problems with this plan,” Bazgal looked around the room, “We’ll move forward. Shane, you go back to Johnson as fast as you can and tell him we need him here with all of the Scouts immediately. Thank you for bringing back Thane.”

“Of course,” Shane said, before strapping on a light pack and hurrying out of the tent.

“Aside from that, we need to be prepared for the worst. Fara, how long would it take us to pack up camp?”

“Couple of hours at most, if everyone was told about it now.”

“Good, I think we need to be prepared to move as fast as possible out of here.”

“Hold on a minute,” I said. “We can’t just, just… run away now! How will my warriors know where we are? Even more so now that the Scouts are returning soon. They’ll be completely alone!”

“He does have a point, Bazgal,” Said Sharpe, nodding in my direction. “If they’re still alive we need to be here when they return. Besides, it might be a little dangerous to move Thane now. It could kill him”

“That’s right,” said Junger. “He’s in far too bad of a position to risk that now. The risks are far greater than the rewards here.”

“Alright, so we’re staying,” conceded Bazgal. “Can we all agree that we will not stay any longer than two to three days?”

All of the heads around the table nodded except for mine. I said, “I agree as long as I can take out a search party early morning tomorrow if my warriors aren’t back.”

Sharpe and Bazgal looked to each other for a long moment and both shook their head. Bazgal turned to me and said, “No, we can’t risk it. We’re specifically calling the Scout’s Vanguard back so that we can have a reinforced position. We’re not going to lose some of our strength now.”

“WHAT? YOU HAVE–”

“One more word, Carter, and you’re done as our lieutenant. Do. Not. Test. Me.”

I was fuming. Did they not care about the lives of my warriors? Time and again during this meeting, I had been treated as a fool for wanting to save their lives. Was I really the fool? Truly? Perhaps, but it was them who were heartless. Their brothers and sisters, my warriors, were out there, and I was fighting for them in here. And I was the fool. But I knew that Bazgal was serious. Her threat carried weight. If I offered another word of protest, I didn’t doubt that I’d be demoted into irrelevance.

I nodded to Bazgal and said, “I’m sorry. Please, continue.”

“Right, well, Fara, I need you and your builder working hard to build a defensive perimeter. We hopefully won’t need it at all, and even if we do, we won’t need it for long, but it’s better to have it now. Could you get that done?”

“It’s as good as finished,” said Fara and strode out of the tent.

“Alfred, Junger, and Gormly, return to your to your brothers and sisters and make sure no one ventures outside the perimeter. All necessary supplies are to be pulled from the Cache. And Junger, see that Thane lives.”

The three men stated their compliance and walked from the tent.

“Carter, we want all of the warriors on perimeter watch. If someone must go beyond the perimeter, they will do so only under the guard of a handful of your warriors and they must not go more than a half mile out. Help Fara set up the perimeter if need be as well. Understand?”

“Got it,” I said, and turned to make my exit.

“Don’t leave,” Said Sharpe. “We’re not done with you yet.”

I sighed and turned back to face the Alphas, ready for what was to follow.

 

I hope you enjoyed that excerpt and I just started a new book: A Star Called Henry. If I can learn from the authors lyrical and poetic brilliance, I might stand a chance of improving my writing.

A New Path – Tom

It is a new semester, and my independent is taking a very new direction. I wrapped up my game theory course, and now I am moving onto implicit bias. Like Alyssa said, implicit bias is changes in how people act based on subconscious factors. It is often in the headlines these days due to how it affects many different aspects of our society, be it college admissions or racial profiling. Continue reading

Knocking at a Closed Gate…-Sophie

Over this Thanksgiving vacation, I was able to find some time to work on my short writing. Although this writing is not a condensed historical account that covers every aspect of the communist society in China, it unfolds a unique perspective on viewing the history. Given the free time I had during break, I finished most of the writing. In this upcoming weekend, I plan to wrap up this short story, enrich its content and polish its language. As soon as this writing is finished, I will quickly start my study on Eastern European literature because I want to finish reading one more book for my project before this semester ends. In this blog post, I would like to share more about my writing process and talk about the challenges I have met.

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Last Research-Ria

Rather than complete a film on my research this semester, I am rather, going to complete a large annotated bibliography with all of my research. The annotations will include what helped me and also what information I found to be most intriguing and crucial. This semester I am glad I changed my focus. I think I was able to gain a better understanding of the conflict of India/Pakistan by hearing two perspectives rather than just plain fact. While I needed facts in my research, the bias gave me new angles that were much more personal. Much of the information I received from reading about the Partition I found to be similar to Israel/ Palestine. There are continuing wars and fights breaking out even years after the conflict first began. Towards the end of the semester I researched more regarding Kashmir. Kashmir, currently belongs to India but it majority Muslim. Pakistan and India have fought over Kashmir’s independence for years and there are ongoing battles and protests. In the news recently there has been violence and even schools were shut down. Both countries have not come to an agreement on where Kashmir should stand: as a part of Pakistan or India.  Continue reading

Coffee Plantations

My favorite thing about going back to India is visiting my family who live in Madikeri. The reason it is one of my favorite places is because I can spend my time at our family’s coffee plantation. Our estate has been in our family for many generations and each child in the Mahendra family gets a plot of land in time.

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