Archive for May, 2009


Our friends Gracie and Nicholas had just arrived at our doorstep. “Time for cherry picking,” I shouted. My sister and I slapped on our shoes and hopped on their car.

We played a couple games on the long trip to the cherry farms. But when we finally got there, we were exhausted. Gracie, Nicholas, their parents, Emily, my Grandparents, my Parents, and I trudged toward the giant grove of trees.

Our group grabbed buckets and started picking cherries. They were big, red, and overall delicious, and we ate tons upon tons upon tons of the berry-licious fruit. When we were chock-full of cherries, we picked a little more to take home, or if you call a little 6 pounds.

We went to a nectarine farm, but I’m sorry to say that it was terrible. Most weren’t ripe, and ones that were had bugs. So we got ice cream instead. I chomped down a Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich, and the others had popsicles. It was a very fun way to end our trip.


UCB commencement

Ughhh, I thought. When are we going to find parking in a completely crowded lot?! There is no parking! We are going to be the very last when the line comes!
There I was, exasperated already, sitting in a car with my dad and sister, following my mom’s car, looping in a filled lot, on the day of my mom’s commencement. Honestly, I almost thought we would be going on and on and on forever…
…until finally mom found a space, and parked. She hurriedly got out, and my Grandparents wandered around while we also found an empty space. Of course, she had to get out fast, for nobody would want to be late for their own commencement! So, with her hexagonal professor cap and her marvelous flowing robe, she walked away.
We parked, met up with the Grandparents, grabbed our jackets, and hurried to the Greek Theatre.
We came upon a crowded flower stand with a ring of people around it. We popped in and gazed upon the plethora of roses, petunias, sunflowers, vetch, and other wonderful plants. There were also many assortments of Hawaiian leis, in multiple colors. So we fished out our wallets and produced money enough for a bouquet of roses and a pink and yellow lei.
It was then when we finally realized how long the line entering the Greek had gotten. It stretched down multiple flights of stairs, and then curled around the side of the building. We ran to the end, sighing a breath of relief as we found the line to be going quite quickly.
The Greek looked just like a miniature version of the Colosseum, and, of course, a Greek Theatre. But I had never seen a Greek Theater full. A giant horde of people were crowded in, and we finally found a spot much in the back.

The Greek Theatre

The Stage of the Greek Theatre

Slowly, the Bachelor Degrees marched in, with large neon yellow signs stating their department, such as “CIVIL & ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING” or “BIOENGINEERING”.
After the BS’s were the Masters as they approached in the same manner. Their caps were square, not like my mom’s hexagonal cap. When they were done (they took much longer than the Bachelors) the PhDs began walking on to the stage.
We cheered loudly as I frantically searched for my mom with no avail. Dad looked too, but we found nothing until I found her with the video camera zoomed in. Suddenly, a speaker came up to the podium and announced the singing of the national anthem.
More speakers came, and when they finished the Hooding of the new PhDs began.
Basically, Hooding is when the chair member of your department calls your name, and you get presented with a ‘hood’ from your adviser, an embellishment to the robe. I noticed furthermore that advisers had octagonal caps, and understood that the higher your level, the more sides to your cap. Hmmm… I wondered if anyone had a decagonal cap. Maybe, maybe not.
When mom came up, we jumped on to our feet, and cheered loudly, the people next to us, the parents of another PhD grad, cheered with us as well. In return, we cheered for them.
Then, it got boring. The professor kept calling our names, the grads kept coming up, and then the masters proceeded in the same way. But really, when all you’re listening to is a monotonous voice calling out names of people you don’t know, it gets tedious.
Suddenly, mom appeared behind us and I happily left the Greek towards the reception at another lab, where everybody from then on called her Dr. Mai.

Doctor Mai

Dr. Mai


Melanie Bryant and Her Great Book

“A marvelous speaker is coming today,” Mrs. Schultz, my 6th grade teacher said. “She is Melanie Bryant, a wonderful new author of one book, ‘The Prophecy Keepers’. She is in the library right now, waiting for us. So let’s go!”

As the class marched over to the library, I was thinking. How was this Melanie Bryant? What was her book like? Questions formed in my mind, ready to be asked. Just then we reached the entrance to the library.

Our class and other classes filed quietly into the library, and I saw the author. My first impression was a quiet, nice lady in her late 20’s, and though some say first impressions are incorrect, this was perfectly right.

Welcomed us, and immediately started talking about the book. “This book is the Prophecy Keepers,” she said, “It is the first of a series of five. Only this one is published, though.” She went on to say that she had written almost all of the other four books, and when they will be published.

What I was really interested in was the process of publishing. She said that is was terribly depressing, and very time-consuming. She would send out a letter, talking about the book, to about ten publishers at a time. Almost every time, a ten letters would come back, politely refusing the book, and listing why it wasn’t accepted. When she received this, she would revise, edit, write a new note, and send it to another set of ten publishers.

Occasionally, she would receive a reply saying that yes, they wanted to read the manuscript after reading the letter. But after sending the manuscript, most of those replied no. But finally, after a couple months, she sent her forty-fifth letter, and got her book accepted.

“It was a very small publishing company,” she explained, “but it spent a lot of time and money getting the word out that ‘The Prophecy Keepers’ was getting published.” And after another many months of revising, it was in Barnes & Nobles everywhere.

I was amazed and impressed at the ability to talk. Once she started, she never hesitated or stopped, just kept going. She answered questions clearly, and was very persuasive at wanting us to read her book. When she was finally done talking, a wave of students came to her, holding money in their hands, wanting to buy the book. Another wave came, holding out their hands or post-its or whatnot, asking for her to sign them. Obviously, she had gained a lot of respect and popularity among the group.

The class went back excited, and very talkative. Everyone was talking about how great Melanie was and how they must read her book. It was a great thing for me, my class, my teacher, my school, and Melanie for her to inspire us at our school.

The Prophecy Keepers

The Prophecy Keepers, Front Cover

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Dawn of the Lizard warrior movie

Check it out!

I’m making a movie/slide show about Dawn of the Lizard Warrior. This link will bring you to the preview only because I haven’t gotten the chance to make the movie yet but I am doing so now.

Turn up the volume! There’s sound keldawnpreview

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