Saturday, September 22, 2012

Witnessing Space Shuttle Endeavor's Final Flight

Yesterday, if you haven't already seen in the news, was the day that the space shuttle, the Endeavour flew over California. This was one of the last space shuttles to ever go to the moon. It was flying from the Edwards Air Force Base to LAX, and would later be located permanently in the California Science Center in LA. NASA's space shuttles were all built in California, so it's nice that one will be stationed here permanently for the public to see.

A lot of kids from my school crowded outside their classrooms because their teachers let them wait for this historic event: Endeavour would come flying over our school on top of a plane. We waited inside for the space shuttle to come because our substitute for Spanish told us that he was following the twitter feed and that it is still in Malibu. Every once in a while one of the kids in my class or from the classroom below would shout "THERE IT IS!!" and then everyone would rush to the window just to find out it was a false alarm.

Our sub said that we would be able to tell when the Space Shuttle showed up because we would hear a bunch of little kids screaming and shouting. While we were in class one of my classmates yelled "IT'S HERE" so our sub said "Let's go!" and everyone started to rush out the door until we found out it was another false alarm. Our sub said that another false alarm and he would send the students to the Dean's Office, because for one thing, this would NOT look like a normal airplane and we should look for a really low flying airplane (NASA would be flying it especially low for everyone to see) with a GIANT space shuttle on top.

While he was explaining to us that there was, in fact, 15 minutes to go until the Endeavour would fly overhead, we heard a bunch of excited screams from below and he exclaimed to us "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!" and we all rushed out of the classroom in a massive heap. At first we couldn't see anything. We saw a bunch of kids crowded on the bridge looking up. It was beautiful weather yesterday, and the sky was so clear, but there was no plane in sight.

Then we spotted it. It was spectacular. It flew right above us. There was, in fact, a giant space shuttle strapped to the top of the plane. It was an amazing moment. It seemed as if time stopped. All of the screams had subsided, while everyone looked in awe and wonder at the amazing sight. You must realize that to calm a giant group of kids that just had a long break was quite a miracle. On top of that, as soon as the Endeavor flew over, all of the kids pulled their phones out of their pockets (which were NOT allowed) to take pictures, but the teachers either allowed it for this occasion, or were too awestruck themselves to notice. A few jets flew after it, and then it was gone as fast as it had come.

Interesting thing was that this event was covered by social media. My teacher followed Endeavour's flight path through twitter, and thousands of articles about when it would fly and where to spot it was all over the news. Plus, if you happened to miss it, you would be able to watch it online or on TV. One of our favorite authors, Lisa Yee was invited by NASA to witness Endeavor's take off from Edwards Air Force Base. She took a spectacular video of the take off from 500 feet away!

I am really glad that I got to witness this historical event live during school. Some people were taking math tests and did not get to see it, or their teachers did not let them out. My mom, dad, and sister did not get to see it either.

Frankly, I did not even know that there was going to be a space shuttle flying over California yesterday, but then again it isn't something you'd expect everyday.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Experience . . . The Teenage Driver!

I'm learning to drive.  That's right, folks, I just got my permit and had 8 hours behind the wheels lesson with Melrose Driving School Instructor Lorena. My mom takes me out to drive every once in a while so I can earn the required 60 hours on the road experience before I take my driving test at the California  DMV-- and boy, is she scared.  She practically clings to the armrest for dear life, and from the passenger side, her foot air pumps furiously on imaginary breaks.  Mom once made the mistake of inviting dad and sis to join us during one of my practice drives.  He ended up blowing up at me and refusing to speak to mom for half a day (presumably because mom allowed him to be in the backseat), and sis declared that she "wasn't prepared to leave her life in my hands" that day.

My favorite comic strip about teenagers: "Zits" by Scott and Borgman

So maybe I'm not exactly a fantastic driver yet, but I discovered that there may be bonafide explanations for this. I read an artical called Teenage Brains in National Geographic about how teenage brains function.  (And we all know that National Geographic is a real authority on stuff like this.) The article lists two main reasons as to why we teens do the seemingly (and sometimes actually) stupid, stupid things we do -- you know, texting while driving, DUI (not me, but teens in general), speeding, etc.  The first: our brains are half-baked!  Of course kiddie noggins don't just poof into adult minds, but evidence of brain maturation can actually be physically seen using brain scans.  My brain is still developing, and while I have more self-control than 6-year-old does, I'm still a bit more impulsive than my parents are.  That means it's harder for me to resist the temptation of checking my text messages while driving. . . Wait. That maybe due to my ADHD.

Another reason cited by the article is that teens are also more inclined to engage in thrill-seeking and risk-taking behavior.  So basically, we are willing to put more at risk for a temporary reward than adults are.  Maybe I brake a little too suddenly at a stop sign, or I don't really break much at all on a turn -- because I like the thrill of waiting to see how far I can push it before applying the brakes? Hmm. That's a stretch.

Whatever it is, teen drivers need to learn to control their tendencies. It is serious business to earn the privilege of driving. Too many teens get into accidents while driving, injuring not just themselves but innocent people too.  When I see a teen in a Driver's Ed vehicle, even I steer clear of it knowing that if the teenage driver in there is anything like me, danger lurks.  It may take me longer than other teens to master the responsibility of driving, but I am determined to practice and practice until I can be a safe driver.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Celebrating 10,000 Page Views with Fan Art of "K-On" Anime

Recently, I've been watching this really cute anime series called K-On on YouTube

I decided to do some fan art of a shot from the anime. (1) I did the line art of an image on Adobe Photoshop,  modified the background somewhat, (2) colored the drawing using Photoshop, and (3) Did an overlay TV effect to make the drawing too like a TV image.

The art work is also posted on my Deviant Art Site here. Took me a few days.

Here it is to celebrate reaching 10,000 page views on our blog and to thank our followers.

Line Art

Colored Artwork

TV Effect


Friday, September 7, 2012

Towel Animals, Food and Fun on a Cruise

Just before school started, we went on a cruise for the first time to celebrate our grandparent's 50th Anniversary. We went on the Carnival cruise for 4 days to Mexico, with a stop on Catalina Island.  I thought I would get sea sick because I usually get really motion sick on anything that moves, but I didn't this time. I had also expected something similar to The Suite Life on Deck but I realized that the TV show only featured like 3 areas of the ship.

The Carnival Inspiration had about 12 levels. Scattered throughout the levels of the ship were mini golf courses, arcades, sushi bars, a LOT of places where you can eat, a spa/fitness area, a theater, waterslides, casinos, and so much more. You could never get bored on that ship.

Also, surprisingly, the food on the ship was very good. For lunch and breakfast they had different kinds of foods that you could get from different stations in a buffet style. On top of that, if you got hungry in between meals than you could go get pizza, sushi, hot dogs or whatever else they were serving any time of day. Dinner is more fancy. You have to dress up somewhat nicely and you get to choose from a variety of options of appetizers, main course, and dessert. They had everything, ranging from lobster tails, steak, sushi, fish, indian food, to fried chicken, pot roast, and other good stuff. The desserts were amazing too. We especially liked this one grand marnier souffle...

We went to the spa and fitness a few times, because apparently, you gain 1-2 pounds every day when you're on these kinds of cruises! Once, we even ran out of the sauna in our bathing suits to the window to see a school of dolphins swimming alongside the boat. It was really cool. My grandparents really made the most out of the experience. Since they've been on cruises before, they knew what to expect. They would get two appetizers, 5 meals a day, or something like that (even though my grandpa is supposed to be on a healthy diet for health reasons). We soon caught on to the cruising ways.

Our room had a "window" but when we drew back the curtains all we can see was a plastic wall. This is because we had an interior cabin. Our 6 year old nephew would always brag to us about his family's room with a window, so we told him that we had a special window and that we could see mermaids out of it!  I don't think he believed us. The crew also made towel animals for us every night.

On Catalina Island, we stopped in Avalon. We spent the day kayaking, mini golfing, and touring the island in a mini golf cart. It was a beautiful day there. I love Catalina because the water is so much bluer than where we live.

The next day, in Ensenada, Mexico, we went with a tour to check out different places in the area. Ensenada is not the most beautiful part of Mexico, but we had fun horseback riding, walking through an area with a bunch of cool shops, and we ate great churros and amazing fish tacos in the street.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience a lot more than I thought I would. I really thought I would get sea sick but I could hardly feel a thing!  This was a successful first cruise.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Recent Artwork

Okay! It's time to post some of my artwork! I've been drawing a lot lately and getting a LOT better at coloring digitally on photoshop! I'm proud. :) For a e-card I did for mom's birthday, click here:

A Deviant Art follower commissioned me to draw the 10th Dr. Who.

This is sort of when I got good at coloring!

Another Study.

Was planning on making a few pikachu stickers for a friend.

My deviantart account is: