Dead Wake Book Review

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This post is the second in a series of Summer book reviews publishing to 12 and Beyond in the coming months. The full collection can be accessed here.

Of all the variety of literature that I’d been exposed to in Freshman English (ranging from Shakespeare’s sonnets to the satire Animal Farm), I’d yet to read a true nonfiction book this year.

But naturally, I’d resent having to read through one structured like a textbook, so I sought out one that was more of, well, an experience. And I found exactly that in Erik Larson’s Dead Wake.

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Interpreting French Writing

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In French class, we’ve practiced countless interpretive techniques, involving interpersonal communications, spoken responses, interpreting audio, and of course, writing.

In my opinion, writing in French is the easiest of all of these, simply because you can create workarounds to words you don’t know and still be successful in expressing what you desire. When you are presented with a written piece and asked to interpret it (like we had to do for our final), though, it’s a whole other story.

You essentially have to work with what you are given, as there’s no getting around the way the text is written, and what the text consists of. Often, it won’t be written in a way that you’d be used to (especially if it’s a native text).

There are still several techniques that can be used though to get the most out of understanding a piece of writing and improving your comprehension as a whole.

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Geometry of Circles

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For me, in Geometry this year, of all topics, circles were the one that I seemed to grasp most. Something about them just made sense, perhaps that every concept involving circles seems to tie back to a central point (pun intended).

Thinking about a circle on a simple level, a circle is made up of 360 degrees (which made understanding arcs a piece of cake), its circumference is 2πr, the area is πr^2, and every other aspect essentially builds upon these ideas. Given these, you can determine the values of interior angles built into the circle, find areas of inscribed/circumscribed shapes, and solve for almost any related missing aspect. We’ll try and get into a few of these today.

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F. Seitz Concerto No. 2 (Mvt 3)

New In Tune LogoThis Summer, in furthering my experience in music, I am beginning private viola lessons with Liam’s (who has been taking lessons for a while now) teacher, previous to which I only held experience playing in my school’s string orchestra.

In fact, my first lesson is today, and leading up to it I’ve been preparing the first part of a piece out of a Suzuki book, the Seitz Concerto No.2 Mvt. 3. It’s not incredibly difficult, and seems to be around my level of playing, although there will be some challenging sections to come. Overall though, I’ve definitely taken a strong liking to the piece.

The piece begins with a bright, fluent introduction that carries the main melody of the piece. The slightly staccato notes intertwined with grace notes and legato strings flow perfectly and sound very pretty. This melody gradually becomes more sophisticated, but maintains its expressiveness and impression.

Listening to the second half of the piece, a stark contrast takes place with what initially appears to be an insane amount of sequential sixteenth notes. However, listening to the piece being played while following the sheet music, their structure makes sense, following a coherent pattern.

In all, it’s going to be a good introductory piece to learn and play, especially as it’s presence takes a step farther from a structured, limited learning piece while still exhibiting the benefit of such, and maintains itself as a true classical piece of merit.

My favorite rendition of the piece on YouTube as performed by a viola player, Brian Clement, can be viewed here. You can also access my entire collection of In Tune features through the In Tune category or through the In Tune playlist on my YouTube channel.

Thank you for reading!



Les Misérables Book Review: Fantine

Related imageThis post is the first in a series of biweekly ‘mini’ book reviews publishing this summer to 12 and Beyond. Further editions concerning Les Misérables will be published soon.

Les Miserables has taken me on an incredible journey over the past several months, involving the play, the music, the movie, and of course, the novel that inspired it all.

I began reading Les Miserables back in November after we began preparing to play in the orchestra pit for my school’s performance. Unfortunately, the copy I purchased was an abridged version- a mistake I quickly regretted. And so, while I had made it quite far through my original copy, I eventually purchased a new copy (at left)- unabridged, of course, and *just* slightly longer. Thus, making it through only the first volume of several found within the novel itself felt like reading through the entirety of the abridged version, and took just as long. Therefore, this book review is dedicated only to the first volume of the novel: Fantine. More will follow.

I would consider it all to be worth it, though- all of the “fluff” that consists of Hugo’s writing, often criticized as unnecessary. But for a novel like this, you don’t want just the facts- you want an intricate, beautifully written narrative, as it was intended. In all, Les Misérables is truly sensational.

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A Brief Take on Government Theology

Image result for government theology symbolic imageLiam, I must speak about you again.

It has been incredibly fascinating and gratifying expanding my knowledge of government theology (which began at just American Theology) alongside you.

This year, I’ve really tried to view the world with an open mind. Theology wasn’t really something I had thought about beyond the US’s democracy, apart from what I’d briefly heard from the media. But there’s a lifetime of history behind the rising and falling of different methodologies and ideals, many of which were particularly compelling.

As I began to discover the different ways that others have aspired to influence the way society runs, there were countless aspects that I really liked (among those that I didn’t) and doing so really allowed me to compare the aspects of our society and further realize that, as great as the United States is, we don’t live in a perfect world.

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Talking In Tense 2: The Imparfait | French Connection

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Every single proper sentence (that is, includes a verb) that you say in French is spoken in one of several tense, and that makes learning each tense of utmost importance. Back in February, I covered the Passé Composé (past tense) and the future tense in this edition. In French recently, we learned a third one.

I consider the Imparfait (or imperfect) tense to be a variation of the past tense, so it’s important to differentiate the two. The Passé Composé speaks to a precise event, like going to the grocery store last Tuesday. The Imparfait can be best explained using childhood events. These were events that took place in the past, but repeated themselves over time (think of them like habits). For example, when I was younger, I loved playing with Legos. While each individual time I played legos can be defined using the passé composé, the act of playing Legos over a general amount of time can be used with the imparfait.

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Mozart’s Requiem | In Tune

New In Tune LogoMozart’s Requiem is, by far, the most beautiful piece of classical music I’ve experienced, and without a doubt, my absolute favorite.

Recently, Liam and I had the opportunity to watch it performed live at a church memorial performance, and I was sincerely moved. The aspect of viewing a live performance enhances the music in ways a digital recording could never get across.

The composition itself is one of a kind. It really defines what music can be and magnifies my admiring perception of the art of musicians.

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It All Adds Up: Goals For The Future

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Welcome to the 50th edition of It All Adds Up, 12 and Beyond’s dedicated math series.

Over the past three years, It All Adds Up has been ever-changing, yet has remained at the heart of my mission here at 12 and Beyond. After all, the origins of 12 and Beyond find their roots in education.

In all this time, I’ve shared mini-lessons related to countless aspects of both Algebra and Geometry, and I have full intent to continue to do so. But as time passes, and I continue experimenting and improving these lessons, I’ve begun to plan out the near future of It All Adds Up.

The focus of It All Adds Up will always be to provide my readers with useful mathematic skills related to content I’m learning in school. And next year, I’ll be taking Algebra II, opening up many new opportunities for discovery.

As I bring my year of geometry to a close, reflecting upon my lessons, there are some really great things that we’ve accomplished, but also many ways in which I can improve. For one, most of my previous lessons have been very by-the-book unit lessons. For a high-schooler who can’t release posts every day, it became really difficult to give a comprehensive understanding of geometry as I remained focused on more specific topics as opposed to the bigger picture.

In the future, my lessons are going to be significantly more concept based. I’m not a math teacher. I’m a high school student. And the great thing about blogging about my education is that I begin to understand the topics I write about better. But by just feeding you the definitions and theorems found from each individual unit, there is little greater understanding apart from further review that results. Each of you has your own education to attend to- and the individual details of each unit are best fit for that.

By focusing on the broader picture, It All Adds Up can be significantly more beneficial both for me and for your understanding as a reader. It All Adds Up will continue to keep its core mission at heart, but will be presented in a new, fresh way.

I’ll be providing more details about the new year of It All Adds Up later this Summer before the school year begins. For now, It All Adds Up will continue as it has been and will wrap up Geometry over the next four editions that will release in July and August once 12 and Beyond returns in late June.

Thank you so much for your support over the past 50 editions, and I look forward to the bright future of It All Adds Up.



In Tune | The Rock of Ages Broadway Soundtrack

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By the time I was born, the 80s were far gone, and today, they seem lightyears away. But they really were a defining decade, complete with their music, culture, and questionable fashion choices. I recently had a chance to get a taste of that when my younger sister’s middle school put on the play, Rock of Ages, this past April, modeled off of the Broadway play (not the movie- don’t worry.) I have to say, I really got into it, having seen all five or so shows.

Even now, I still find myself ‘rocking out’ to some of the music from the play, and it reminds me of the times when my mom and I would set up 80’s radio stations and she would be able to name literally every song that came on as I stood in awe of the stark contrast in music taste.

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