Sunday, June 1, 2014

Masterpiece Reflection

Daniel Alvarez
Expos Comp & Writing
1 June 2014
Masterpiece Reflection
 A desk, book, a pen, a paper and a teacher standing in front of the class lecturing you on the lesson of the day. That is exactly what a traditional classroom looks like. Everything in today's society seems to evolve yet our classrooms maintain the same "old school" techniques. Pun intended. Luckily this class was a breath of fresh air. No books were handed out, and we had control of our class. It is called Open Source Learning. It's the evolution of our education. We learned new techniques, new ways to learn. Utilizing the internet and the rest of today's technology to expand our knowledge in today’s learning field.
     Opnsl is very independent. The class becomes less structured which in turn, can cause the students to feel a bit too much freedom. This is why it’s important for the teacher to trust his students. As well as the students earn their trust. Once the trust is built it is all smooth sailing.
     Throughout the year we were taught about expository writing and composition, but the great thing about opnsl is that we are not limited to that. We learned about life beyond the structured classroom, life beyond high school. Since day one we were lead up to the point of our masterpiece project. We were about to take the class into our own hands in order to teach about our interests and passion. Becoming a master at your topic takes time and work which is what helps you learn just how interested or in some cases, uninterested, you actually are.
     From day one I knew I wanted my project to be on cooking. I love it. It’s my greatest passion. The funny thing about presenting was the fact that I didn't get nervous at all speaking in front of the class because it was my field of knowledge. Normal classes force students to present on things that have no interest to them, incorporating their interests into that would greatly improve the outcomes. Presenting was exciting and rewarding. Being able to share my passion with others and imprinting the highlights of cooking on their minds was a great and satisfying feeling. This was by far the best way I have learned; teaching others about cooking taught me even more about it. Not only did I realize how much I know about it, I also realized that even after all the deep research and studying I am still eager to get out there and learn more about it.

     I think the unifying fact about our presentations is that we all learned more about ourselves then we did before. Whether we rediscovered our love for our masterpiece or found out that it wasn’t the route we wanted to take, we all learned something. Not forgetting to mention we all tested the limits of our work, seeing just how much we could challenge ourselves. In my opinion it paid off too, all the work opened up our eyes to realize that the future really isn't too far away. This class taught me so much about myself as well as the real world. Opnsl is definitely the most effective learning I had because to learn to teach and teach to learn.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Today was a long day. After writing the Should vs Must essay I had planned on coming home and working on my response essay. After I had gotten home I got a text from my mom telling me that my grandma was rushed to the ER because she had two blood clots, one in each lung. I got home not to long ago and sat down to write my response when I realized that the response that I was doing felt like I was writing about something that I really didn't care about. I intended to write about one of the options but it just wasn't feeling right. So this is me, writing about something that I do feel is worth writing about.

These past few months have been a challenge for my family. We found out my grandma has stage 4 lung cancer which had spread all over her body. Since then we have been on a never ending rollercoaster ride. Just two months ago my grandma was walking around, going to family birthday dinners and now she is confined to her bed and battles daily with aches and pains. The first month was probably the hardest because it was an adjustment. We hadn't ever gone through something like this before. She had been placed on tons of meds because one of the cancer masses was pushing so hard on her back that it fractured a disc.She started her chemo and of course she felt sick but we all assumed it was just part of the process. After she stopped eating and was vomiting continuously we all started to worry. She lost 17 pounds within a week and the doctor said if she continued to lose weight that he'd have to stop the chemo.

While all this was happening I would try to visit my grandma after school at least 3 or 4 times a week, asking friends to drop me off at her house or the hospital, where ever she was at the time. It was crazy seeing the shift of the dynamics at my grandparents house. My grandparents have been married for 50 years and they are as traditional as it gets, she does the house work while he goes to work and relaxes when he came home. Seeing my grandpa learn to wash clothes, cook his own food, and cater to my grandma was a change. He does whatever he can to make her happy or smile. Their love for each other is incredible and proves that love conquers all. As a week or two went by my grandma stopped going out to the living room and would remain in bed all day, my grandpa went out and bought her a brand new tv so she would be able to watch tv in HD.

The hardest thing about this battle is that their are good days and bad days. Dont get me wrong, im thankful for the good days, but at some point the good days give you hope only to be followed by the eerie reminder of the cancer inside her. Last week had been going good, she even considered going out to dinner for my grandpas 75th birthday. ( it was a big deal because she doesnt like going out in public because of the affects chemo had on her body) So yesterday when my grandpa birthday came along she had been having a bad day. Her breathing seemed short and she seemed to struggle. We brought my grandpa a steak dinner and he ate it in the kitchen while she was asleep in her bed. It was heartbreaking to see him eat alone. We sang happy birthday, ate cake yet the fact that my grandma wasn't truly there was in the back front of everyone's minds.

So today she was scheduled for an appointment to see how the chemo had been working. After her scan her doctor sent her to the ER. They found two clots in her lungs. One is blocking 2/3 of her artery making it hard to breathe. She was put into the critical care unit and was put on blood thinners in order to help dissolve the blood. All you can do at the hospital is wait. Waiting is hell. You are left wondering of the outcome, and hoping for the best. She was tired all day and seemed weak but I continued to remain hopeful. Visiting hours were over so we came home. Going home when a loved one is in the hospital isn't great. You're still "waiting" your just not confined to the visiting area. About an hour ago we were told that she had to be taken off the blood thinners because she was passing blood. Back to square one, waiting.

To be blunt, this situation is crap. It seems like every time we hope for good news we get bad news. Remaining positive throughout this whole situation hasn't been easy by any means but I do my best to keep a smile on my face for my mom and family members that aren't in good spirits. I guess what keeps me going is that I look at my grandmas life and its inspiring. She found true love, started a family that has expanded and grown, and she grew old with her husband. She has lived a great life and I can see it in her eyes that she loved her life and is content with it. Her strength give me hope, its keeps me going in hope that other people will see me still smiling and realize that even though things get rough it doesn't mean we need to stop being happy. Coping with the fact that she wont be here much longer is hard, but I want her to see me happy during this time. I want her last moment with me to be a positive experience not me being sad and negative.

I know this was way off topic, and its not much of a response. But I felt like it was more worth writing than a response on an article that I cant relate to at the moment. In this moment this is what matter to me. Writing this didn't seem like homework because it something that I am passionate about, something that I care about. I guess you can say this entry was my "Hack This Course" moment.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is there an expert in the house?!

Successful people in my field is something that I look up to. While we are going through this senior masterpiece project I want to keep an "expert" in my field as motivation and an example to follow. What does an expert in culinary arts look like? I think that to be an expert in the culinary arts you must have made a name for yourself. You need to have done something or developed a style that is your style. Most experts would probably have to have a well paying job and should either be a sous, head or executive chef. I dont necessarily think that they need to have their own restaurant but i do think that they should be cooking at a restaurant with good reviews.

Monday, March 10, 2014

10 questions

  1. What is you're biggest piece of advice for me?
  2. If you could change one thing that you did what would it be, and  why?
  3. What do I need to do to reach your level?
  4. What kept you determined?
  5. Some people say culinary school is a waster, what is your opinion?
  6. What traits do you look for when hiring?
  7. How do you manage your time?
  8. What are your favorite things about you job?
  9. What are your least favorite?
  10. How can I improve my plan?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fiction Analysis: Hunger Games

1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read according to the elements of plot you've learned in past courses (exposition, inciting incident, etc.).  Explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose (based on your well-informed interpretation of same).
The story begins on the day of the reaping. Katiniss' sister is chosen to be district 12's tribute but instead of her going Katniss volunteers as tribute in order to take her place. She gets sent to the capitol where they test her skills and they have the opening ceremonies. Once the gammes begin Katniss must fight to be the last man standing, until they say two people may win if they are from the same tribute. Both people from district 12 win and become as the "star-crossed lovers" The capitol sees Katniss as someone who is defiant and she has to do damage control when she gets back home.

2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid cliches.
I think that the theme of the novel is that good people get put into bad situations, but we all need to make the best of every situation. Every person has what it takes to survive anything that they are put up against, they just need to have the power and will to go up against it.

3. Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).
The authors tone seems ominous right of the bat. When I was reading the story I felt like I could feel the darkness of the situation just by the ay she wrote.

"I never want to have kids," I say.
"I might. If  I didnt live here," says Gale.
"But you do," I say, irritarted.

"Everythings still and quiet. Then, almost eerily, the mockingjays take up my song"

"For a moment I sit there watching tears drip down on her face. Rue's cannon fires.I lean forward and press my lips against her temple. Slowly, as if not to wake her up, I lay her head back on the ground and release her hand."

1. Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization.  Why does the author use both approaches, and to what end (i.e., what is your lasting impression of the character as a result)?
Two examples of indirect characterization are when Primm and Katniss are talking and Primm says that Katniss look beautiful and she replies with "and nothing like myself" this showed us that Katniss feels like she is trapped and constrained into being something that shes not. Another example is how we find out that Katniss is very motherly and nurturing. We find this out by her interactions with both Primm and Rue.
Two examplse of direct characterization are when they describe they physical features of both Gale and Katniss in the begining of the book. 
2. Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character?  How?  Example(s)?
3. Is the protagonist static or dynamic?  Flat or round?  Explain.
I think that Katniss is very static, she doesn't change all too much. The situations she is put in change, but she never changes as a person and always stays true to herself. She is also very round and seems to be fully developed in the story.

4. After reading the book did you come away feeling like you'd met a person or read a character?  Analyze one textual example that illustrates your reaction. 
Yes. After reading the book you feel like you know Katniss. The author did such a good job at the characterizing her. You feel for her, everything she went through want fair and at the end of the book you come away hoping she is safe.

New Blog

So first off I just started my food blog on tumblr. Please go check it out. I hope to update it pretty often so keep checking back at it. Im open to suggestions about it! please leave me any suggestions that you have about it. heres the link:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Resource and 5 Vocab words

My next resource is a blog that has been very succesful. the reason I chose it as a resource is because it has been around for awhile and has become very succesful. I remember when I was younger I would go on a website called stumble upon which would take you to randomn websites based on your interests, hobbies, etc.. Now that I want to start my own blog it would be perfect for me to use as a reference/example.


1.htmlHypertext Markup Language, a standardized system for tagging text files to achieve font, color, graphic, and hyperlink effects on World Wide Web pages.

2.froth: a mass of small bubbles in liquid caused by agitation, fermentation, etc.; foam.

3.emulsion:a fine dispersion of minute droplets of one liquid in another in which it is not soluble or miscible.

4. Dredge:sprinkle (food) with a powdered substance, typically flour or sugar.

5. Starch:an odorless tasteless white substance occurring widely in plant tissue and obtained chiefly from cereals and potatoes. It is a polysaccharide that functions as a carbohydrate store and is an important constituent of the human diet