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Celeste Restepo
Jake Hagen
Selina Salazar
Elizabeth Balkian
Justin Maciel

Under the Supervision of:
Professor Marcelo

Five Eyes


Table of Contents
Contributors Page .pg 3
Arts Aura . pg 4
1. Celeste
a. Interviewing My Aunt....pg 6
b. The Most Important Person....pg 7
c. My Backyard..pg 9
d. Queen Victoria ......pg 10
e. Go Grease Lighting....pg 12
2. Jake
a. A Hearts Point of View.pg 15
b. Carpe Diem Heart...pg 17
c. A Day in the Rain.......pg 20
d. Worlds Safest Beach ....pg 21
e. Gatsby....pg 23
3. Selina
a. Is it Always Just A Dream..pg 26
b. Dreamcast: Getting to Know the Dream....pg 29
c. Someones Story....pg 31
d. The Road So Far ........pg 33
e. The Greatest Love Story the World has Ever
Known....pg 34
4. Elizabeth
a. Steve Jobs Failure.pg 37
b. This is Why Steve Jobs is an Influential
Personpg 38
c. CSUN Pond...pg 42
d. 1994 Earthquake......pg 43
e. The Real Meaning of Another Brick in the
Wall By Pink Floyd...pg 45

5. Justin
a. Interview of Wooden Box ...pg 48
b. The Physical Memory..pg 49
c. My Personal Space...pg 53
d. The Right Piece....pg 55
e. Life through the Age of Reproduction.pg 57
About the Authors ...pg 60
Work Cited Page...pg 65


Contributors Page

~ Celeste Restrepo is a freshman at California State University
Northridge. She is studying Biology in hopes of one day
becoming a surgeon.
~ Jake Hagen is a freshman at California State University
Northridge and is an aspiring chef, often found looking through
cookbooks in search for the latest and greatest recipes to try
~ Selina Salazar is a freshman at California State University
Northridge. She is pursuing a degree in visual arts and hopes to
be part of creating motion pictures.
~Elizabeth Balkian is a freshman at California State
University Northridge. She enjoys spending time with her
friends and family and also enjoys shopping.
~ Justin Maciel is a freshman at California State University
Northridge. He is currently majoring in Biotechnology.


Arts Aura
By: Celeste, Jake, Selina, Elizabeth, and Justin

Together we collaborated and compared John Bergers, Way
of Seeing Video to Walter Benjamins, Work of Art in the Age
of Mechanical Reproduction Essay. We referenced various
sources that affect art such as: a camera, the environment,
reproduction, our perspective and manipulation that alter the
way we see art.

Art can change through a variety of ways. The device,
such as a camera, can capture a digital copy of a physical
object in a blink of a second and change the perspective
completely. Environment sets the mood for how a piece of art
is supposed to influence the audience. Reproduction can
drastically change a piece of art by simply degrading
something that took hours to accomplish and perfect.
Perspective sets the mood and feeling of the art piece which is
greatly affected by the environment. Lastly, manipulation
distorts the originality and authenticity of an art piece.
With the invention of the camera, John Berger states in
the Ways of Seeing video that, it changes how we view
everything. The camera affects art in many ways, but also
most importantly, not only does the camera reproduce art in
many different sizes and mediums, it helps to make too many
replicas of the original masterpiece. The original work of art
that the artist put his or her time into then loses its quality and
its uniqueness due to the cameras abilities to reproduce. Walter
Benjamin talks about aura, historically speaking all works of
art had an aura but it has disappeared in modern art, because
of the fact that it has become reproducible. Benjamin is trying
to prove that no painting has authenticity. Berger proves a
point by stating that even though we see art through a computer
or a television we are seeing the original but we arent in front
of it. So it is technically not the original. Benjamin believes
that even the original is devalued because it is no longer
unique. Cameras do have an enormous impact on how we
depict art.
The Environment has a large impact on the audience as
well. Whatever is captured in a piece of art affects the audience
by how it is seen and who it is seen by. Benjamin goes on to
explain that the audience takes the position of the camera. This
is affected by the environment because all art pieces have a
backdrop either physically in the picture or where the picture is
displayed for the pleasure of the eyes. On the other hand, the
environment can confuse our perception of an art piece. For
instance, in Benjamins argument, he says that a jump from the
window can be shot in the studio as a jump from a scaffold. In
this way, the environment can easily be manipulated to change
our thought pattern. John Berger states that the human eye can
only be in one place at one time, making the environment an
important aspect because it sets the mood and "aura" felt while
viewing an art piece. To sum it up, Berger explains that
everything around the image is part of its meaning; everything
around it confirms and consolidates its meaning. If an art piece

is reproduced and placed in a different environment, the mood
and aura changes completely. An example would be like
placing an art piece in a darker room or in a brighter room.
Another aspect, reproduction, changes the authenticity of a
piece of art and its environment.
The essay by Walter Benjamin is supported by the BBC
episodes of Ways of Seeing, by John Berger because it goes
hand in hand in. They both state that reproduction has changed
peoples view on art and has even changed its meaning. The
first episode of Ways of Seeing, go on and explains how
manipulation of art can change the meaning of previous art
work. Paintings are an example of how an art piece can be
venerable to manipulation. The paintings are silent and still,
which make them easy for other artist to use for their own
purposes. They can be used to enhance their own statements
they are trying to create; or they add things to it to give it
another meaning and get people to change their views about the
art work indefinitely. An easy way how people can change
paintings is because they are silent they could add sound, or
movement which can alter the intended meaning that the
original artist had in mind. Another factor that plays on to how
venerable art is altered it that most of the pieces used, the
artists are now deceased, they dont really have a say to what is
happening to their work.

John Berger's video Way of Seeing and Walter
Benjamin's article, Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical
Reproduction talks about the perspective of a replicated
artwork versus the original. John Berger says, Perspective
makes the eye of the visible world. Such as, when we see an
original work of art we usually feel like, Wow this is
amazing! because it is the real thing. There are so many
replicas of artworks which make our eyes see it as fake. The
way we see art now isn't as amazing as we did before we had
technology to replicate. John Berger says how the human mind
is programmed to see things by habit and convention. That
means our brains see things the way it has always been, like we
expect to see the Mona Lisa painting a certain way. Most of us
have seen that painting through a picture, so we never felt any
emotional connection to it because we don't feel what the artist
felt during the time of painting it. Benjamin says replicating an
artwork is lacking its unique existence at the place where it
happens to be. Seeing the Mona Lisa painting isn't unique for
us because it's everywhere, but if it was never replicated we
would perceive the painting as something amazing done by the
legendary painter Leonardo da Vinci.
In The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical
Reproduction by Walter Benjamin he introduces the idea of
mechanical reproduction as a plausible threat to the
authenticity, aura, and original meaning of any artwork that has
been reproduced. Mostly focusing on the reproduction by
photography, and cinema he explains how increasing
availability through different types of media replace the need to
see the authentic creation, therefore destroying the original
meaning due to variation of perception dependent on different
factors. Examples of this are explained through religious
sculptures that were made ages ago that are now looked at as
historical content rather than religious ideals. In John Bergers
Ways of Seeing they demonstrate these as well using audio and
visual effects. They use music to add a dramatic effect to what
may seem as an ordinary painting. Also they zoom into a
portion of the painting to analyze that specific part rather than
the painting of a whole changing the meaning of the painting.
They physically depict how mechanical reproduction allows
the deformation of artwork.

Interviewing my Aunt
By: Celeste Restrepo

For my interview I chose to write about my aunt and the obstacles
that she has faced coming to the United States. She is a strong
willed woman and I couldnt have thought of anyone better to
write about for my interview.

For my interview I decided to
talk to my aunt. She has
always been a huge part in my
life and has helped me
become who I am today. I
interviewed my aunt on
Sunday in the kitchen, where
she spends most of her time. I thought it would be best to ask her
questions while she was doing her natural routine so I wouldnt
out her under any pressure. I first started writing my long-form
essay, but I really didnt know where to take the story of how my
aunt inspires me and why she decided to leave her family back in
Colombia to be mine. My aunt has managed to be a strong mother
figure for me even though she has had to overcome a lot. She got
sick while here and works with my dad at our family shop and her
job also affects her well-being.

Q: Why did you decide to move from Colombia to the United
A: I came here because your dad told me that he was expecting a
baby girl and he was going to need help raising her. So I gathered
up money and made preparations in Colombia to leave.

Q: How did you end up working at my dads work?
A: Your dad invited me to work for him. I automatically just liked
the iron and I already knew how to do it so I figured just stick to
what your best at right.

Q: Did I impact your life in anyway?
A; Yes you changed my life completely. I always wanted a girl
and you brought joy into my life. You were like the daughter I
never had and Im glad youre in my life.

Q: Is it true that you got sick while I was still young?
A: Yes I was diagnosed with lymphoma tic cancer in 1998. You
were 3 years old when this happened. It was a very sad day, I
thought I was going to die and I didnt know who would take care
of you.

Q: Doesnt the iron at work also cause you an illness?
A: The iron gave me a peripheral neuropathy in my hands, which
basically means that my central nervous system is messed up.
The signals that go to and from my brain dont work as well as
they should I get a sort of tingly feeling in my hands, like if they
fall asleep all the time.


The Most Important Person
By: Celeste Restrepo

The long form essay was one of my most difficult assignments
simply because I didnt know who to write about but Ive heard
write what you know. So I decided to write about my wonderful
aunt who has been the most influential person in my life.

Throughout life there are many people and things that
can be influential, whether it is in a good way or in a bad way.
In my life, the single most influential person would by far have
to be my aunt Dora. My aunt has been more than an aunt to me
since I was born, she has been the mother figure in my life and
she has always been there for me and my dad. My aunt came to
the states when she heard I was being born, and little did she
know, from that point on she was going to be my mom.
Nobody ever asked her to leave her family in Colombia to
contribute to her older brothers family and we are all very
thankful for that. Since then my aunt has been nothing but
sweet, caring and exactly what a mother should be like. My
aunt is influential in my life because of all the sacrifices she
has made for me and my dad, because of the great hardworking
woman she is and finally because of the great mom she has
been to me for almost nineteen years.

My aunt made many sacrifices when she decided to
leave her family and home in Colombia to come to California
and help my dad. Back home my aunt had one son who was
eighteen at the time she left and she also has three sisters who
were all very young at the time and an older brother who were
all very sad when she left. Even with all these people left
behind at home my aunt still decided to leave to be with me
and my dad when I was born. My aunt came to California to
help my dad not only with taking care of me but to also help
out with my dads tailor shop. Without my aunt being involved
with me and my dads lives I dont know where we would be
today. This has influenced my life because I know how many
sacrifices my aunt made in order to get me where I am today
and I now understand that in life I must make some important
and well thought out sacrifices in order to succeed and to be
happy and to be where I want to be later on in life.

My aunt works for our family business. About 30 years
ago my dad started his own tailor shop in Westwood. With my
aunt coming in from a different country she didnt really know
where to begin working, so my dad suggested that she could
work for him. Since she didnt really know anything about the
business yet my dad had to teach her the basics. How to hem
pants, alter dresses and iron the clothes. Those are the simplest
things, my aunt sort of got attached to ironing the clothes and
doing small repairs before handing the clothes over to the
customers. To this day she irons every day, and because of that
she has begun to lose feeling in her hands. The iron is pretty
heavy after a while, and since it radiates heat afterwards she
cant put her hands in the fridge or wash her hands for a while
because it could give her arthritis.

Ironing is the use of a hot tool to remove wrinkles from
clothes or fabric. The temperature of the iron at varies upon the
type of material of the clothing. It works by loosening the
bonds between polymer molecules in clothes. The first iron
was said to have been used in China. The electric iron was first
invented in 1882 by Henry W. Seeley. The iron weighed about
15 pounds and took a while to get hot. Since my dad and aunt
have worked in the tailoring business for so long they like to
use the heavy iron for the best results. The only problem is that

my aunts hands start to hurt her even more since the irons are
more old fashioned and weigh a lot.

Even with all those sacrifices made, my aunt is still the
sweetest most hardworking woman I know. My aunt works
long days taking the bus to and from Santa Monica but she still
manages to be best mom I could have ever asked for. She has
always protected me and taught me what is right from wrong
and she is more than welcoming to all my friends and my
boyfriend. The family business would have not been possible
without all my aunts help. She has never asked for any type of
thank you but she is just grateful to have been living with me
and my dad and to be able to see me grow up. My aunt has
shown me that family always comes first. She has also taught
me how to be a stronger woman for myself and to always look
out for myself and to be a hard worker so that I can be happy in
the future. I have learned to be responsible because of all the
responsibilities my aunt has as a sister, aunt, worker, daughter
and most importantly my mom. I have learned what it means to
be a family and what I want for my future because of my aunts
impact on my life.

Finally, the most important reason my aunt is the most
influential person in my life is because of course she is my
mom at the end of the day. My aunt has been a mom for almost
thirty-eight years and had eighteen years in Colombia to
practice becoming the best mom she could possibly be for me.
She has taught me what it means to be a mom and how
important it is for a girl growing up to have a mother figure.
Like I said before, I have no idea where I would be today
without my aunt. She was the one taking care of me all those
years while my dad was away at work and when she couldnt
take care of me herself she would make sure my grandma
would be there for me. She has never let me down and I hope
that she know how influential she is to me.
In conclusion, without the most influential person in my
life I have no idea where I would be today. I cannot thank her
enough for all that she has done for me and my dad all these
years. I hope that everyone can find someone that is influential
enough to motivate and teach them things in life like my aunt
has to me. I think that it is important and helpful to have
someone to look up to who is influential especially when
finding you in life.


My Backyard
By: Celeste Restrepo
Out of all the places to pick I chose to write about my backyard
for this assignment, its where all my best memories have taken
place from my birthday parties to prom pictures.
For my ethnography I
chose to talk about my
backyard. There has
always been some
comfort in the
backyard. The grass
always trimmed, the
birds chirping in the
trees. Being surrounded
by three red brick walls
privacy is not an issue. There is a glassy patio table with six
chairs dusty since no one has actually sat here in a while. Two
sheds in the back, which have a bunch of tools hidden, inside
and anything else my family doesnt want in the house. The
pool lies on the left side of the backyard eight feet deep
surrounded by concrete. A yellow slide sits on the side facing
the pool waiting for anyone to go down it.
Right now the pool is filled with leaves since no one as
gone swimming since summer. I touch the pool water to feel
the temperature and its still a little chilly. The sun shines
through the trees and glistens against the pool, with birds and
insects flying right above the pool to get refreshed on this hot
spring day. I stand above the pool starring at how it reflects the
sky. It looks like a mirror since there is no breeze at the
moment. By the pool is the tall yellow ladder I used to love
going down as a kid. Now days it looks washed out and has a
sort of bleached yellow look to it. I like it, it adds character.
I look over to my right and see one of the red brick
walls. That is the last thing the sun hits before setting in my
backyard. Above the wall is our neighbors tall tree. New and
bright green leaves grow on the tree, since spring is here. It
looks beautiful as the sun hits all the leaves and makes them
glossy. I still see some yellow and red leaves that have fallen
on the grass. I will probably rake those later. As I walk down a
bit more I see the little orange tree we just panted. Its meant to
stay dwarf size. New bright oranges are growing from the
branches of the tree. Hopefully they ripen enough to eat them
soon enough. The smell of oranges makes me want to peel it
and eat it then. I found comfort next to the tree so I lay there in
its little shaded area and began to hear everything around me.
Hearing dogs bark to each other off in the distance,
someone mowing their lawn a couple backyards over. A lot of
bird chirping going on and insects buzzing around. Makes me
wonder what all the chit chatter is about. It felt like a summer
day instead of spring. The hot sun hitting my legs and arms it
felt at least 80 degrees out. Yet the pool hadnt warmed up
enough to actually go into. Walking over to the patio table I sat
and started writing my ethnography the table a little too dusty
for my taste and apparently for my nose as well since I kept
sneezing and pollen was in the air.


Queen Victoria
By: Celeste Restrepo
Queen Victoria a ruling legend and the first monarch in history
to have her whole life recorded by the invention of the camera.
The article was just an opportunity to learn about greatness.

For my assignment over
spring break I went to
The J. Paul Getty
Museum and fell in love
with one of the
exhibitions called A
Royal Passion Queen
Victoria and
Photography. The picture
I chose was of Prince
Albert and Queen
Victoria photographed in
1854 by Roger Fenton.
As I walked around the Getty I saw many pieces of art and
sculptures that were breathtaking but none of them really got
my attention like this one did. Ive always been fascinated with
the elegance and grace the royals seem to have in pictures. The
exhibition on Queen Victoria and the Royal family was quite
interesting, because two years after Victoria became Queen
photography was introduced. Queen Victoria became the first
British monarch to have her life recorded by a camera.
During the 19
century is when the outbreak of
photography sort of began. When I discovered that Queen
Victoria was the first British monarch to have her entire life
recorded it made me realize that it was a big moment in
history. It sort of gives new art from to everything. Roger
Fenton did several of the paintings at the exhibition and it was
said that most of these pictures at that time were not available
to the public it was just for the family.
The museum always has several different works of arts
and sculptures coming in and out. To allow everyone who can
to be a part of the visual arts. It has European paintings and
sculptures, several photographers. Every several months it
allows for more artists to get there work shown and the
opportunity to gain more knowledge on paintings. When I went
I saw The Royal Passion: Queen Victoria and Photography
exhibition. This exhibition was to show portraits of the royal
family and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Being in the
environment of the Getty gave me a better chance to
understand all the paintings and what surrounded it. There were
only a few pictures of the Queen and the Prince. In being there
I read that Prince Albert had died and thats why several other
pictures of Queen Victoria were so sad and she always had a
picture or something to remember Albert by in the rest of her
pictures. I could also tell by the way the color of her dresses in
black that she was mourning, making this environment that I
was in allowed me to get a different essence of the paintings. If

I had seen them through a computer I never would have known
why the photographer did that or noticed that Prince Albert was
always remembered in pictures with Queen Victoria. The
people around me werent there because they were forced,
everyone there appreciated art and the environment of being
around adults gave me more off a mature perspective.
The painting that I chose was the main picture of
exhibition. It was surrounded by several other pictures and
photo albums of the royal family and Queen Victoria. So it all
made me feel as if I were walking through time. The whole
entire exhibition helped me capture the essence of the painting
I chose. The lighting in some rooms was a bit dim but it was
only to conserve the paintings. Seeing the painting in person
made me really take notice of the small details rather than
being over a computer screen. What I thought was interesting
was that the museum did not allow for photography yet its was
all over the pamphlets and online. Walking down the street I
saw the main picture on a light pole showing the exhibition. So
it was all a bit hypocritical if you ask me. All in all the
surrounding environment of the picture was beautiful, the
lighting I understood and all of the photographers who
photographed the royal family all had different perspectives
and camera angles so it was all very beautiful.
Seeing this picture had me a bit confused at first. I had
to keep coming back to it in order to realize the big picture. In
the photograph it seems as if Queen Victoria doesnt love
Prince Albert at all, but the rest of photographs show how
much she mourned over his death and in fact she truly did love
him. Fenton was the first war photographer which I found quite
interesting because I never would have known without a little
bit of research first. Looking at the picture I never would have
known that someone who was out on the battlefield taking
pictures of deceased people and the poverty of some countries.
From going to the Queen herself and photographing her and all
of its elegance. Now I begin to understand what John Berger
was trying to say, seeing a painting or picture through the
internet or seeing the replica of it somewhere else, is never the
same as seeing the original.


By: Celeste Restrepo
Ive watched Grease about a thousand times and never do I get
tired of it, the more I watch I actually end up liking it more. I
felt like the film was a perfect piece for my theory of art and

Reproduction in the art world is a bad thing. With the
invention of the camera we were able to see things, which were
not in front of us. In the video Berger has a few words from
Dziga Vertovs manifesto written in 1923 allowing us to
understand the point of view of a camera. Vertov sort of speaks
on the cameras behalf and says that it is a machine and shows
the world the only way it can see it. With the invention of the
camera it not only changes what we see but how we see it. A
camera reproduces paintings making them in any size, for any
purpose and anywhere. Films were also affected by mechanical
reproduction. I will be analyzing the film/ musical Grease and
how this film based on Bergers theory is affected by
mechanical reproduction because it takes away the pilgrimage
it becomes transmittable. The image travels to you and appears
on a screen in front of you instead of us traveling to see where
the film is being made.
Berger has many interesting claims with regards to
mechanical reproduction and how it affects film. What we see
in front of our television screen is still not the original merely a
copy of the original. In Bergers video Ways of Seeing, I agree
with his claims that works of art are losing their value and
originality because of mechanical reproduction. We used to
only be able to see magnificent pieces of art by going to the
museums but now the detail of the image is being reproduced
and can be seen in a million different places at the same time.
With that said, Berger uses an example of a painting
made my Leonardo DaVinci that America would have paid 2.5
million euros for. Berger then asks the question on everyones
mind Why is it so important to preserve this painting? not
because of the significance of the painting but because of its
market value that is what makes it original. Why else have
such high value for something that isnt original. Since the
invention of the camera art has become reproducible and
transmittable but that is why we put such high value on the
original because of its mystery and that it can never be made
again. Reproducing works of art not only makes them lose its
intended meaning it allows it have different meanings wherever

it is hung in a home. Berger believes that paintings have lost
and gained with the reproduction of art.
Since paintings and are so still and silent their
uniqueness are taken away because their meanings are no
longer attached to them. This allows there to be different
meanings and opinions that were never there before. The
easiest way to manipulate the original meaning of a painting is
through music. The camera can take any angle it would like
the viewer to see and make it seem like a completely different
painting with a different meaning, music along side it
manipulates what see and feel. When paintings are reproduced
they become information, but anything can have an impact on a
paintings such as what one sees before or after a painting.
Berger uses an example of the last work of art Van Gogh
painted before he killed himself. It was painting of a cornfield
and birds flying away, seeing the painting I never would have
guessed this but with Berger informing the audience and
playing sad music the image seems depressing now.
Reproductions of art can be used for any purpose; it can help us
relate to any of work of art. Everything around us is
manipulated art, commercials, film and television but without
taking a step back we will never realize how far it has gotten.
Grease is a very popular American musical made in
1978. It was based on Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs 1971
musical taking place in the 1950s following to high school
lovers. The film started John Travolta and Olivia Newton. The
film became the biggest grossing musical in history. It was a
huge success the film also decided to do a soundtrack album
and was the second best selling album of the year in the United
States. Randal Keliser directed it. The film starts off with
Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Sandy Olson (Olivia Newton)
on a beach, and the two looking happy and in love. Summer is
coming to an end and the lovers know that they have to get
back to reality, Sandy is returning to Australia and Danny is
going back to Rydell High School. The scene then transitions
to Danny back at Rydell with his group of friends the T- Birds
a group of Greasers, and The Pink Ladies. Sandys parents
decided not to go back to Australia and she then enrolls into
Rydell High School and meets Frenchy (Didi Conn). Danny
and Sandy not knowing that one another was in the same
school they tell there groups about a summer romance they had
not mentioning each others names of coarse. With Danny being
the cool leader of the group he emphasizes his story making it
seem more sexual unlike Sandy who makes it more romantic
but says the truth. This scene is the first musical part in the film
called Summer Lovin which Danny and Sandy sing about
their summer romance.
At the end of the song Rizzo a fellow Pink Lady asks
Sandy who this boy was, knowing Danny she decided to
arrange a little get together for the two lovers. Danny having a
cool bad boy rep had to act like he wasnt head over heels for
Sandy and then she gets mad and storms off. The rest of the
film is consisted of musical dance numbers that explain stories
of the two groups. Throughout the film Danny and Sandy
develop a relationship where they both try to impress each

other. The film ends with Danny and Sandy together and the
group graduating high school.
There are several different forms of how reproduction
can have an affect on our society, such as art, sculptures,
television and film. I realized that while watching Grease that
the whole movie was manipulated. Berger explains how music
is the most obvious form of manipulation when it comes to
reproduction. The movie follows two high school lovers and
there group of friends and the trouble they encounter with
trying to have a relationship and problems with certain people
within the groups. Every scene was manipulated to make me
feel a certain way; sad when the protagonist was sad or happy
when everyone was finally getting along. The meaning of
anything can be changed drastically when it comes to film or
The first musical number in Grease was about Danny
and Sandy and their summer romance, and with that scene I
understood their whole relationship. Danny was exaggerating
the sexual stuff like any boy and Sandy was simply pouring her
heart out like any girl. The music within the movie really helps
the viewers understand what is happening in the film. Music
has a very big impact on how we view film and art today;
because Grease was one of the most famous musicals it did set
a standard for todays movies. Now a day any film you see
does have music in it. Scary movies put suspenseful music to
make the audience feel scared, romance movies put cheesy
sappy songs to make people feel happy, and so on. Grease is
one of Americas classic movies to watch. Anyone can go
anywhere and find it so easily because of how reproduced the
film got. It came out on VHS, after that it came out on DVD
and then TV. The music from the movie became such a hit that
it is now played on the oldies radio stations. The film was such
a hit they turned into a Broadway show as well. Nowadays it is
not just a movie its a whole ensemble of movies that need
soundtracks now, they need books and shows. Reproduction is
everywhere not just in art but also in films in television.
In conclusion, reproduction has gotten so immense that
we dont even notice it anymore. Our society really shows the
effects of mechanical reproduction on the arts. John Bergers
theories prove just how much of an impact mechanical
reproduction has had on society. The movie/musical Grease is
a perfect example of how mechanical reproduction can affect a
major motion picture and manipulate it. If we are not careful,
reproduction of one of a kind works of art can cause paintings
and films to loose their original or intended meanings.


A Hearts Point of View
By: Jake Hagen

For this interview I decided to interview my grandmothers
heart pendant as if it could respond. It was much easier than
trying to contact my grandmother who passed away. This is
what the pendant would have said if it could speak.

This gift was
like no other
gift I had ever
given before
because I got it
back. Not
because the
person I gave it
to didn't want
it, but because
it had no other choice but to return home. This heart pendant
was small enough to fit in your pocket yet large enough to fill a
room of laughter and memories. It had no monetary value to
anyone but meant so much more than anything we ever could
have bought our grandmother. She wore it everywhere she
went and it got to see everything she got to see. So I ask the
heart pendant, on this dark and stormy evening, what was it
like to see the world through my grandmother's point of view?

(From the point-of-view of the heart pendant lying on my
grandmother's chest)

Q: Seeing that you always laid on my grandmother's chest, you
must have been smashed when she went in for a hug. Where
A: Yes, very much so! Another great thing about it was that
anytime someone walked through the door that excited her, her
heart started beating faster and faster, especially when she got
to see her grandchildren and I could feel her heart beat on my
back which was kind of cool.

Q: Having been everywhere my grandmother traveled, what
place did you enjoy the most when you both visited?
A: Um, I'd have to say Quartzsite. It's a town in Arizona where
they sell rocks, crystals, and minerals and your grandmother
would always bend over to look down at the rocks or crystals
that were laid out on display for purchase and I always get to
see them better when she got closer to the table.

Q: Did her smoking ever bug you? It was so close to you all the
time, it must have.
A: Not as much as you might think. It was just something she
did. Everyone has their own "thing" and that was hers.

Q: Is there anything you can tell me that she did in her free
time? Like when she was lonely or bored?
A: Well you know she liked those word search books. Every
time she struggled with a word she would grab me and spin me
back and forth from one side of her chain to the other until she
found the word.

Q: Would she go to sleep wearing you?
A: Some nights she did, she forgot. It happens, no worries.
Usually she would take me off and set me in her jewelery dish

or somewhere she would remember to put me back on when
the next morning came.

Q: Do you remember your first day with my grandmother?
A: I do, in fact it was one of my favorite days! You and your
brother finally found me in the cupboard and opened the dusty
box where I was living for some time. Then I got to be out in
the world and see every day from your grandmother's point of

Q: What about when she went out in public or visited her
family? What did she talk about?
A: Well, it depends on who you are talking about. She'd always
mention whats new with her and show me off to people who
admired me.

Q: I don't think I asked you this but that maybe be because I
already know the answer, but just in case the audience doesn't
know, can you explain what you are made of?
A: Sure. I am not larger than a quarter and made of small, red,
translucent beads all shaped into a heart with a hollow center
so I can hang on a chain.

Q: At any point were you ever scared that my grandmother
would leave you alone?
A: Not so much at the beginning, but towards the end I was. I
knew she wasn't doing so well and I was worried for her sake,
but i was also worried about myself and whether or not I
would get lost in all the chaos.

Q: One more question, would you ever wish to start over or
have me had given you to someone else in the first place?
A: Absolutely not! I loved your grandma and we spent so much
time together we were almost inseparable. We were almost like
befriends because we spent so much time together. I heard all
her stories and memories; your grandmother was a great lady
and she treated everyone with the utmost care and love that you
were very lucky to have her in your life and so was I.


Carpe Diem Heart
By: Jake Hagen
One year, either for
Mothers Day or her
Birthday, my brother
and I gave our
grandmother a heart
pendant much like the
one picture below.
Ever since then she
never took it off. This
is the story of the
Carpe Diem Heart.
Oh Jake, I almost forgot! my aunt said as she reached
into her pocket on her green plaid shirt. Do you remember
this? She had pulled out the heart pendant my brother and I
gave our grandmother several years ago. I took it from her,
held it tight in my hand and closed my eyes.

The heart supplies oxygen and blood to all parts of the
body, without it we would cease to exist. Anatomically, the
heart looks like a strawberry, protected by our ribs, lying in the
middle of our chest. Everywhere we go, we see images of
hearts though not anatomically correct but represent love. Love
is a powerful emotion that we all experience. The classic shape
of the crimson red or hot pink hoops that are seen everywhere
come February. For these purposes we will be referencing the
cartoonier version of the heart representing the emotion of love
and its attachment to our feelings.
The pendant was not larger than a quarter and was
completely made of miniature red, translucent beads. The right
hoop of the heart was a tiny bit larger than the left so the heart
always lay on an angle on my grandmothers chest. I forget
when we gave it to her but ever since then she never took it off.
It became a part of her and went with her wherever she went. I
knew once I got it back from my aunt that I would never see it
lie around my grandmothers neck ever again. Memories were
all what I had left to remember of my grandmother with the

Growing up I had trouble pronouncing names so I made
nicknames for everyone. I had two grandmas, one on my dads
side and the other on my moms. I was smart enough to know
that one wasnt better than the other, so I couldnt call one of
them grandma #1 and grandma #2, I had to come up with
something else. My grandma on my dad sides name was
Marlys and my grandpa was Marlyn. It was easier for me to
just call them by the first three letters of each of their names, so
I called them Grandma and Grandpa Mar Mar. That is probably
the earliest memory I have with them and ever since then
memories continued to be created.

Jake, why dont we give grandma mar mar this? My
brother asked as he found this small paper box that had a small
heart shaped object just lying on some soft cushion inside the
box. We found it in an old dresser where we kept our favorite
movies. Sure, but I dont know if she is really going to want
this, I said. I had already opened the box and saw the heart
there but then put it back in the drawer because I just didnt
think much of it. We decided to give it to her and we were so
glad we did because it meant so much to her.


Every birthday, holiday and celebration she would
always have something waiting for us. If it was our birthday
she would have a cake and ice cream waiting for us at her
house. Halloween, Valentines Day and Easter were all filled
with candy and small goodies. She would always go to so
much trouble to make someone elses day just a little bit better.
She really loved having all her loved ones together and enjoyed
all the good times we experienced at her house. Oh, and her
cookies! Sometimes they were homemade and others they were
store bought but who cares; a cookie is a cookie.

One thing that stuck with me and made me curious as
a kid and still does to this day, was how she treated her
chocolate chip cookies. We all know the stereotype as to
grandmothers and their famous chocolate chip cookies, but I
have never seen anyone do what she did with them. She would
refrigerate them! Can you believe it? I couldnt either but it
makes the cookie so much better I dont know how, it just
does. Usually you want them fresh out of the oven, when the
chocolate chips are melting and as you break apart that
deliciousness the chocolate stretches until gravity gets the best
of it and it drips. Next comes the gulp of milk and your belly is
happy. Nope, she liked them cold and thats how she served
them to us whenever we went over to her home. She would sit
by the bar window that opened up to the outdoors smoking a
cigarette and when we arrived she would go to her fridge and
pull out those cookies.

My grandmother also had this strange obsession with
cows. I never knew why she did but everything was cow
themed at her house. Im sure if she could she would have
bought a cow to have as a pet. She loved taking care of pets but
she always had too many, then again, at the same time I think it
gave her something to do every day because she was retired
and so was her husband.

Smoking had made my grandmothers health
deteriorate gradually but that couldnt stop her. She would
travel as much as she could as long as she had someone to
watch her pets and if she was up for the adventure. Every time
she got home she would always have pictures from her
disposable Kodak Camera of her and her adventures and in
every single picture you could see the heart pendant we had
given her around her neck. I dont recall her ever wearing any
other jewelry other than the necklace we gave her and some
small turquoise ear rings she picked up on one of her trips. We
started visiting less often and calling less frequently once my
parents got a divorce because it was harder to balance both
sides of the family. We would mainly send cards back and
forth, unless a holiday came up and she would make a surprise
visit to us or she would pick us up and take her to her house.
She started driving less and less and eventually only went out
of her house for doctor appointments and to go marketing.

There was one visit that I do remember quite clearly
and that was the time I cooked dinner for her and my grandpa. I
made a classic Italian dinner that consisted of: Stuffed Chicken
Parmesan, Salad and Garlic Bread and for dessert Lemon Bars.
It was great because it was as if I was giving a part of me to my
grandparents after not seeing them for so long. Thats why
these visits became so much more important because we didnt
know when the next visit would be.


She had been in and out of the hospital after that visit
and things werent looking too good after her third hospital
stay. We went to the hospital after such a long hiatus since our
last visit and noticed that our grandma probably would recover
after this visit. A few days later she was released home to be
with her husband for her final days. That next day she passed
peacefully surrounded by her loved ones. This funeral was my
first funeral and Im glad it wasnt the somber, dressed in
black type but rather a celebration of life. She had lived a long
and happy life and there was no reason for her to be alive and
struggle in a body that was just holding her back.

Fanny-pack around waste, my grandma was off to a
better place, now leaving a place filled with excitement and
thrills and embarking on a new adventure. She lived a Carpe-
diem themed life. She took every opportunity she had and went
for it. She would get in her camper and travel to New Mexico,
Nevada, Arizona or wherever sounded exciting with or without
her husband. I always enjoyed looking over pictures of her
recent trips and thinking, Wow, I hope I have this much
energy this late in life. She had the classic Granny look in
all her pictures: white curly hair, glasses, and that fanny pack!
If you looked close enough you could even see the heart
necklace she was wearing and that really made me realize how
much that small heart pendant we gave her so long ago still
meant so much to her.

Though regret did fill my mind when I thought about
my grandma, I know that she would never have wanted me to
ever associate that with her. The regret I feel is that I should
have visited, and called more often because now I cant know,
but dwelling on it isnt going to change anything. Learning
from our mistakes is what life is all about and if I could learn to
put more time aside for the more important things in life,
wouldnt that be the greatest thing ever learned, if anything at

My grandmother did not live a short, undeveloped life,
but rather a complete opposite. She found the man of her
dreams, had a great job, had kids, her kids had kids, and got to
retire to the joy of spending time with a new generation in such
a different world from when she grew up, grandchildren. A
woman of courage and strength is what my grandmother was
made of. Always there when you needed someone to be there
for you, but now what? Life continues for you but not for her,
not for such a wonderful human being? Why? Thats life. Life
is a constant struggle and once you think you are on top of
things it just falls down and must be rebuilt. Its about how
each life is lived out and whether as you take your final breath,
you are satisfied with what has happened and what has been
accomplished in this life.

Life is not about winning or losing, rather it is about
living. It is about how you spend your time with your loved
ones and how you build those relationships throughout life.
That little heart that was given has now returned to its home to
which it was given from in the beginning and will know be
passed on from generation to generation to follow. It was once
just a symbol of love and affection but now so much more than
that. A heart symbolizes the journey a person must take to feel
accomplished in life and realize that all the hard work that took
them to get that far all paid off.


A Day in the Rain
By: Jake Hagen
For my ethnography I chose a natural environment. My
brother and I often ride our bikes through this trail and the day
we went was right after a heavy rain storm and everything
seemed to come alive with the refreshing layer of fresh water
that had just landed moments ago. This is what I saw.
The rain had finally given us a
rest. After an entire morning of
non-stop rain, the clouds decided
to part ways and allow the sun to
peak through here and there. We
knew what this meant. We had
just enough time to get to the
canyon and enjoy a nice ride on
our bikes through the trail before
the rain picked up again for the
night. We filled out water bottles,
loaded the bikes in the car, and
headed towards the canyon. My
brother and I saw the dark clouds
above the mountains, knowing
that we only had a short time to
ride once we got there. As we
arrived we passed the only person there who had just packed
up and left. We had the trail all to ourselves.
The canyon was usually dry throughout the year with
maybe a half inch of water flowing through the streams, but
today was different. We stopped at our usual hangout in the
early parts of the trail. They had a swing that would take you
across the water. It was never a big deal because there wasnt
ever any threatening water to go through. When we arrived we
heard the rush of water and to our surprise the streams were
full! All the way up to the top.

The swing was nothing more than a sturdy rope
someone had swung around a tall branch. It had several knots
up and down the rope to help with the grip as you swung
across. Though it was not raining, water was still falling from
the high trees above, just pitter-pattering the dead leaves
below. It was an uneasy sound that appeared as if someone was
following us, but none the less it was just water so nothing to
worry about.

I lied down my bike and headed towards the swing. The
rope that had once been white was down wet and dirty. As I
was about to swing across, we heard a rustle in the bushes
behind us. I let go of the swing and turned around slowly. To
my surprise it was just a family of bunnies coming out to enjoy
the break from the rain and to see why we were being so loud.
There were three, all looking very similar to each other with
beige backing and a fluffy white tail. They had long ears that
moved every time we moved. My brother accidently stepped in
a hole that had been covered with leaves and scared them off.

It was starting to get dark and the clouds were coming
back. We knew we didnt have enough time to finish the trail,
but what a sight to see. A stream that is usually bone dry was,
in height, up to our knees. We got on our bikes and headed to
the car. The rain had just begun as we put the last bike in the


Worlds Safest Beach
By: Jake Hagen
I chose this as my mural because I have been going to
this beach since I was a little kid before this mural was ever
painted. Last time we went, it was an empty wall near the
parking lots and this time a mural had been painted there on
that same wall that had once been just another pass by spot
that caught our eye when we passed by it.

As I walked up and down the streets through the beach
town, Carpinteria, I noticed a bright and colorful painting on
what I had remembered was just a plain, boring, beige wall. As
I look for the artists signature I found out that this mural was
painted by John Wullbrandt just over two years ago and I then
realized how long it has been since I have been here last. It is
located in the heart of the town positioned on the side of a
restaurant visible to all traffic entering Carpinteria. I stopped
by the candy shop right next door to buy some of their
delicious chocolate covered coffee beans. On my way out I had
to take a closer look at this painting and this is what I saw. I
took off my sunglasses and was able to gaze at this scene ahead
of me with nothing in the way, except that car.
As I tore open the bag of the chocolate covered coffee
beans, I walked up to the mural and just stared at it. I dont
know how big it was but it was at least twice the height of me.
I was shocked it wasnt gated off or anything which allowed
me to get as close as I wanted to. It wasnt painted on canvas or
anything, but directly on the wall. It had the same texture as I
rubbed from the regular wall onto the mural itself. It was an
unsmooth surface, but was not sharp to the touch. It had
random indentations which added to its texture.

What first caught my eye were the words, Worlds
Safest Beach. As my eye moved up I noticed all the bright
colors within the typical day at the beach scene. Everything
looked very serene; the family sitting on their beach towel, the
waves rolling up on the shore, the umbrella and surfboard (both
essentials for any beach trip) and the life guard calmly looking
out upon the horizon. One thing that I realized as I looked at
this mural a bit longer is that the mountain ranges and the shore
line up with the outer picture too. This indicated that when it
was low tide the people would come out and enjoy a day in the
sun, but when they left, or the tide came back in, nature took
over. After all, it is natures home to begin with.


The outer picture represented the beauty of nature; the
birds flying above, the seal resting upon the moss covered
rocks, the dolphins jumping out of the water while the sand
pipers search for sand crabs on the ocean shore. Everything
seemed to work in unison with each other making the inference
that the people and nature make up what Carpinteria is most
notably known for, their self-proclaimed Worlds Safest
Beach. Wullbrandt did a great job at representing that in his

In reference to John Bergers Way of Seeing, seeing this
mural in person did affect the mood. Rather than seeing this in
the local newspaper or on a post card, I was able to feel the
entire aura and experience a perspective from seeing the
original art piece. Still standing there eating my coffee beans, I
realized that I was in walking distance of going to this beach
itself. I turned around and saw that shops were slowly opening
and the sun was just barely peeking through the clouds because
it was still the morning. The wind wisped itself around me
bringing a slight chill in the air along with the smells of the sea
and the sand with it.

Its authenticity finally captured me. I was lost in the
moment. I felt like I was the only one there on the streets of the
town, until the sound of a car stopped it for a moment, but once
it was gone I was back in that Trans state. I was fully
intoxicated by the smells and sounds that the mural had
enhanced for me. This was no reproduction, no substitute. This
was the real deal and I was able to experience it all through my
senses that had enhanced in those moments to take me on a
journey that Im sure John Wullbrandt was hoping to
accomplish with is piece. He did.


By: Jake Hagen

The reason I was enthused by this movie to begin with
was that two of my favorite music artists were going to be
featured in the soundtrack and thats all I cared about. Once I
saw the film I realized how important art was both musically
and visually in the film and also in the time era (1920s).

In Walter
Benjamins, The
Work of Art in the
Age of Mechanical
Reproduction, he
references that,
the unique
value of the
authentic work of
art has its basis in
ritual, the location
of its original use
value. By this,
Benjamin describes
the importance of
originality in art
and how the aura can never be recreated as if it were the first
time. Throughout his entire argument this seems to be the most
important part that he uses as a foundation for several of his
other arguments. While examining several films that portrayed
various art forms, I decided on The Great Gatsby. A large part
of that movie is the fight to try to go back and live in the past,
which Benjamin clearly states in his argument, is impossible.

This version, however was released last year and had
star studded cast including: Leonardo Dicaprio, Tobey
Maguire and Carey Mulligan but unfortunately flopped at the
box office and with critics or so Ive heard. There was probably
more anticipation for the soundtrack that included hits from:
Lana Del Rey, Florence Welch and Jay Z, that the movie may
have been over looked. In regards to what others said, I
enjoyed the film and saw it had much more to offer than just
the surface story. With the large influences of art both visually
and musically the story line enhanced the theory that
originality and authenticity cannot be recreated which is what
the main character, Gatsby, is struggling with in regards to his
feelings towards the girl throughout the film.

The period in which this movie takes place is in the
1920s, right before the Great Depression and World War II,
America had been thriving from the success from World War I
and therefore had been through so much development and
improvement during this time. Americans invested in the Stock
Market to increase their monetary value and it worked. The ban
on alcohol had been lifted and people ended up spending all
their money on alcohol and various luxuries. These luxuries
consumed their minds and their pocket books. This film
showed how much of a separation there was between the rich
and the poor and how lavishly the rich lived.

In the movie, Gatsby is a rich man with a huge
mansion, but is rarely seen. He is known for his parties but is
never seen attending them. This drew some concern to
everyone who invited themselves but eventually they got over
it, over taken by the beauty of his place and unlimited supply
of alcohol. No expense was spared in these ravish parties. In
reference to John Bergers, Way of Seeing, the environment

effects a persons judgment and judged by the parties at
Gatsbys, he was often seen as a mysterious man that seemed
to care only care about money.

Again, in reference to John Bergers, Way of
Seeing, perspective was another large aspect to the artistic
parties that took place at Gatsbys manor. As explained, the
human eye can only be at one place at one time and with
everything happening at once those parties can easily be
described as extremely overwhelming. My perspective would
definitely be influenced by this environment and I think that is
what the director tried to project through the various and quick
changes of the camera during those scenes. The cameras
ability to reproduce the authenticity of the scene allows the
audience to see only what the camera captures which makes it
difficult to experience the originality. This reproduction can
easily be seen as manipulation.

The easiest way to describe Aura is the mood that felt
throughout our experiences in our day to day lives. The Aura is
influenced from both the environment and perspective
throughout the film itself. It sets the tone for how the film is
supposed to be influential towards the audience. According to
Walter Benjamins The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical
Reproduction, if something is truly authentic, meaning it is the
original art piece, then the feeling when viewing it will be truly
authentic, having nothing to compare it to from what we have
already seen in our lives. In The Great Gatsby, the parties
helped to build the aura of Gatsby himself and his lifestyle. The
Aura helps tie us to the actors presence as well.

The physical appearances of the actors and actresses in
the film also contributed to the aura that the film gave off. The
men were dressed in their Sundays best with their hair combed
back perfectly and there suits tailored to fit them. The women
were dressed from head to toe in a wide range of luxurious
outfits. From expensive jewelry to elaborate dresses, this all
added to the artsy feel the movie portrayed in representing that
time in American history known as the Roaring 20s when
nothing was looked at as simple. Everyone dressed to impress
giving off that famous Aura of luxury and expenses.

Musically, the film was also influenced by artists with
their songs to signify a specific aura with a specific scene or
character. Several songs come up in the film that added to the
authenticity of the emotions and feelings of the aura the film
was portraying. For example, Lana Del Reys song Young
and Beautiful talks a lot about the past which is what the main
two characters are struggling with. Therefore, throughout the
song, she sings about whether the characters future together
will ever be the same as the past. Although this was the main
struggle throughout the entire film, to find a song to sum it all
up was needed and therefore it was written for the movie itself.
Whatever it may be the music plays a large part in expressing
subtle feeling while it plays through the action.

Although this story has been adapted several times, for
me this was my original. I did not read the book by F. Scott
Fitzgerald for which the movie was based on or see any
previous adaptations to this book. This is probably why the
movie flopped according to critics because they had all had a
previous idea to the storyline from either the book or another
adaptation. So, by seeing something that was not the original,
the movie became an easy target for those who in fact have

read the book and who have learned of the events that took
place during the 20s and 30s in American History. This
adaptation corrupted their Aura towards the storyline and
automatically acted like a reproduction.

In contrast to others who only saw the film, because I
had not read the book, this was my first time ever being
introduced to the story. I enjoyed the film because I had
nothing else to compare it to. It was my original and now if I
were to read the book I would most likely compare it to the
movie. For instance, if I were to read the book when they
mentioned Gatsby doing something I would automatically
imagine Leonardo Dicaprio playing the part because that is
who he played in the film. My Aura would be affected by the
film and the book would seem like an intrusion to the original
story I witnessed in the film.

Both Walter Benjamin and John Berger saw the
importance in originality and authenticity. They realized the
Aura is a major part in interpreting art and how it helps to relay
the mood and feelings towards the audience. Without it, the
audience would not be affected in the appropriate way the artist
is trying to portray it to be understood.

Through reproduction, the original source or piece is
distorted and is instantly changed forever depending on your
first experience. Due to the fact that I saw the recently made
movie first, before I read the book, my aura about the storyline
will forever be compared to the film. No matter if I ever watch
another remake or read the book, I will always compare it to
the film I watched because that is what opened me up and
allowed me to experience its originality in its aura.

According to what we have previously been exposed to
will affect our attitude towards art and how it influences us.
The first time will always be the first time and when we see
something that we can compare it to, that is caused by a
similarity in the authenticity and aura of art itself, any
reproduction would serve as an insult towards the original
source. This theory is simply. The audiences perspective is
based on what they have already experienced and to whatever
they have to compare it to.


Is it Always Just a Dream?
By Selina Salazar
This piece is personal to me. I chose to write about these
reoccurring dreams that I have of my sister always dying. In
writing this piece I was finally able to wrap my head around
why I was actually having these dreams. I wrote this in hopes
in sharing my story and letting readers know how I dealt with
such a violent dream
Drenched in cold sweat, I could feel my heart jumping in my
chest, I could feel it in my throat and in my head, and I
couldnt shake the feeling that something was terribly wrong. It
was the dream again, the one where my oldest sister, Maria
dies before my eyes. Different scenarios, but all ending the
same way, my sister dying in front of me and I cant do
anything about it. I wake up needing to call her and making
sure she is alright.
I have two sisters but I only dream about my oldest
dying. My little sister, Jacky rarely appears in any of my
dreams, most of my dreams revolve around Maria. It is always
her. In my sleep the images play so vividly that I cant tell if I
am dreaming. I wake up in cold sweat and crying, longing to
see my sister.
I havent lived with Maria for about three years now.
When she moved out it was very strange I felt like I lost my
other half because we were very close as children. We shared a
room and a bed and when she moved out I got my own room
and bed, but lost a sister. I get to see her in the weekends but it
is not enough compared to what I had with her before she left
home. I miss her and what used to be of our relationship.
In my latest dream she was in a car accident when she
was on her way back home for the weekend. In the dream I
could see it all happening, it was like watching a movie, always
switching from scene to scene. In my dream I had just got back
from school and had bought a bar of Worlds Most Famous
Chocolate from a small boy and his mother raising money for a
fundraiser. Earlier that day on a phone call with Maria, she had
just mentioned that she was craving chocolate. The dream then
switched and I was able to see Maria loading her weekend
cloths in her car, and was on the phone with our mother telling
her that she was on her way and to be expecting her in an hour
or so. At home my mother and I were getting dinner ready. We
were talking and laughing when we got a call on the house
phone, which was very strange for us to get calls from it. My


dad decided to answer it which was also strange because he
had never gotten up to answer the phone, not since when my
grandmother passed and he received the call. While on the
phone his grin from the previous joke I just told disappeared
instantly in to a thin line on his face. His eyes started to water
and he started to shake, and that is when he dropped the phone,
my mother rushed to pick it up and talked in to it. Her reaction
was the same although she was able to hang up and she just
stared in to the abyss. I was scared I could feel my heart racing
and I started to tremble. Finally my father mumbled Shes
gone. Shes gone. It wasnt heard to piece everything together
and I started to cry uncontrollably, and started to blabber in
between cries, She cant be, she just cant be because I just
bought her, her favorite chocolate and she hasnt had the
chance to eat it. I woke up yelling no and had hot tears were
running down my face.
The dream felt so real because it was a scenario in
which could have happened. What really made me believing
that it was real was buying the chocolate because that day I had
bought her some chocolate from the small school boy selling
them for a dollar. When I woke up crying I was confused if
what I had dreamt was just my brain making sense of what had
happen the day before, or all just a dream. I just had to call her
and see if she was okay.
Whenever I call early in the morning or in the middle of
the night Maria is already used to it and knows why I am
calling. Hello? she sheepishly answers.
Maria is that really you?
Yeah its me. Whats wrong? Is everything okay? Did
you have a dream where I died, again? she asks with concern
but in a playful manner, Is it like the time where Lord
Voldemort decapitates me or the time I had the accident? She
already knows, and she is always comforting and reinsuring me
that she is alright and not in danger or dead or an imposter. I
usually just stay quiet and cry of how foolish I was but she just
asks questions about it and switches it to make it seem like a
silly dream and helps me go back to sleep.
Once Maria moved out was when I started to have the
dreams more frequently, before it was once in a blue moon and
not as threatening. I was able to just vaguely remember what it
was about but now it is more of a lucid, and more vivid, which
make them much more intense. After the dreams I always ask
myself: What if it did happen? What would I do, would I react
the same way that I did in the dream? These are some of the
questions the dreams leave behind along with, why these types
of dreams?
After so long of having these types of dreams it seemed
appropriate for me to finally get some answers. In The
Psychology of Dreams by Paul R. Robbins, he states that long
ago in early civilizations people perceived dreams as having
meaning to them, they were not just random ideas in some
ones head. A meaning of the dream could be interpreted and
served as messages from a god. It is human nature to want to
find meaning to things especially vivid images we create on
our minds that seem to not make much sense in the first place.
We interpret dream to what we have knowledge of our own
lives and symbolism that we have created. Dreams are one of
the few ways we have used to see into our unconscious and
interpret it, to understand what is beneath the surface of our
consciousness. Some people have stated that upon waking from
an intense dream, holding on to the feeling we felt once we
woke up could help us better interpret our dreams.

Edgar Cayce, a twentieth century psychic and Medical
Clairvoyant, states that dreams are one of the few ways that we
get to see a glimpse of our unconscious mind. Dreams can just
be as simple as to trying to organize the events of the day into
our memories or it can be your mind foreshadowing events.
Many people believe that dreams can be a way of interpreting
the future. It might not be spot on but they hint on clues and
symbols that can be associated with future events. Cayce
suggested that dreams open out unconscious to poke around to
help find solutions to our problems. For example if someone is
struggling +++with a change in their lives and doesnt know
how to make the transition, a dream can hold the key in to
finding out how.
The most famous psychologist that is associated with
dream interpretations is Sigmund Freud. He focused on the
more latent interpretation of dreams that help the dreamer see
what he truly wants. Freud believes that the unconscious
expresses itself in a symbolic language: id, ego, and super ego.
He suggests that when we are dreaming we express id, which is
centered on primal impulses, pleasure and desires. He also
suggest that when we cannot remember our dreams, it is
because our superego is preventing us to remember our desires.
Superego is associated with enforcing the moral code we have
grown to know, it is like censoring the id. Although Freud was
mostly preoccupied with the sexual content of dreams, he
believed that everything in our dreams had an association with
According to How to Interpret Your Own Dreams by
Tom Chetwynd, dreams are part of the evolution of the human
being because they are things that we try to use to fill in holes
in our life. They tell us about what we need in our lives or what
we desire in order to be complete. The book suggest that my
dreams are associated with aggression against my sister,
because I always see her dying in my dreams dying it means
that I want her out of the way. But it also says that it can mean
that subconsciously I am picturing her death in a way to see
how I would react to the day that she is to be absent in my life
and makes me appreciate her even more when I wake up.
Chetwynd also gives an explanation why I only have dreams of
Maria and not Jacky. Because of how frequent Maria appears
in my dreams usually suggests my continued love for her. The
fact that Jacky does not appear in my dreams as often,
Chetwynd suggests that I am trying to deny the existence of her
in order to keep my anxiety under control. If she does appear in
a dream I might have wish that she hadnt because it pains me.
I had the chance to sit down with Maria and asker some
questions about her thoughts about the dream. I explained to
her my findings and we agree on some or the interpretations
but we do not agree with most. When Maria first heard of my
dreams she thought that I hated her because I had these dreams,
but soon after she saw the way that it was affecting me, she
reached out to help me get through them. I also explained my
dream to Jacky, she didnt take it very well. She thinks that I
do not love her because of what the dreams suggest but that is
not the case. I love them both and I just hope they know that by
know, but because of the dreams I feel that it can cause a bit of
a misunderstanding.
Regardless, these reoccurring dreams has brought the
relationship that I have with my big sister closer. Although
now I can see how my dreams may relate to my relationship
with my sisters but it does not change the fact that I love them
to death. Although with what some interpretations of my
dreams may be, I dont believe them to be the absolute truth.

Dreamcast: Getting to Know the Dream
By Selina Salazar
I interview my older sister Maria in order to get a better
understanding of what she thought about my dreams of her as
well as getting a good grasp of what I thought about them. We
were able to interpret the dream in which it made sense with
what was reality not just what a book said it was.

Maria knew most of the things that happen in my
dreams but it is the first time that I just sit down with her and
talk about the dream. It was always her trying to comfort me
whenever we would bring up the dreams, but now I actually
had a sit down and talk to her about what she thinks about
Q: Okay so my first question is, does it disturb you that I have
dreams like these? Dreams in where you are always dying?
A: Yes, because I feel like you hate me, thats why you want
me dead. I sometimes try to remember if I had gotten you super
mad the day before so that there could be an explanation to
why you have me die in your dreams. But after seeing that
these dreams scared you I started to worry. I started to think
differently about them and I felt that I had to tell you that I
wasnt going to die and to comfort you.
Q: Are you surprised when I first called you and told you about
my dreams?
A: No, when you do call I hope you are just calling to see how
I am and that you just miss me. I try not to think of the worst,
but I can tell by the way you hesitate and the way you sound
that you need my help.
Q: Do you take these dreams seriously?
A: Yes, because I know they are serious and they have a deeper
meaning. They are serious because they have effected you.
Q: Are you interested in trying to find a meaning/symbolisms
that these dreams have to offer?
A: Yeah of course I want to know why you have these dreams
and what they can possibly mean.


Q: What are your interpretations of the dream? As in what do
you think it means?
A: I feel that the dreams are telling you that you have the need
to protect me. And when I die in the dreams I think you feel
that you havent done enough for me.
I shared with her some of the research I had done in
order to find a meaning .What I found from my research is that
the dreams are associated with aggression, she was shocked to
know that it means that I want her out of the way. But I had to
explain to her that it can also mean that subconsciously I am
picturing her death in a way to see how I would react if it did
happen. I also mentioned that I only had dreams about her and
not about our little sister, Jacky and I went on to explain it too.
The fact that Jacky does not appear in my dreams as often,
suggests that I am trying to deny the existence of her in order
to keep my anxiety under control. We were both shocked
because it does not make sense, I have a good relationship with
both of my sisters.
Q: Do these explanations make sense? Do you think they could
be accurate?
A: It does explain a lot. The dream you had of me when Lord
Voldemort killed me explains that you could have been mad at
me before you fell asleep and you just finished watching Harry
Potter. But the most recent dream you had, about me having a
car accident might just mean that you miss me. It can be true to
an extent.
Q: What are your thoughts about the explanations about Jacky
not appearing in my dreams?
A: I think that it can be in a part true because you have an
annoying relationship with Jacky. You guys annoy each other
until you guys are always upset with each other. It makes
sense, you have told me that I am 99.99% annoying but you
still love me, but I think that Jacky to you is 104% annoying to
you but you still love her.
Q: Do you think that the dreams have brought us closer or
further apart in our relationship?
A: Closer, dont you think? Sometimes I feel that I should
reassure you and make my presence to you known. Like if I
dont go over a weekend and you have one of those dreams I
feel that I should be there.
Q: How do you feel about me writing about this?
A: Nothing really, if you though this was important for you to
write out then I welcome it. If it was just you picking this
because it was interesting to write about or because you though
it might have brought you closure then yeah write all you want.
Q: One last question, have you ever had a dream in the same
content as mine? As in have you ever dreamt of my death or
anybody elses?
A: No, not really.
Hopefully sitting down and actually talking about the
dreams with my sister can help me understand and move on
from these dreams.


Someones Story
By Selina Salazar
Out of all the museums in Los Angeles I had to pick this one.
The Museum of Tolerance is a museum that tells the story of
individuals that went through the Holocaust rather than just
focusing on it as a whole. I chose to go there in particular
because I want to learn to listen to everyones story and let
them know that everyones story is valid.

I went to the Museum of Tolerance, and saw the
Holocaust Exhibit. I was told about what to expect, they told
me that it hits you in the emotional level in which you cry and
fell empathy for the people who suffered in the hands of the
concentration camps and the injustice of the time of World War
II. I went with a friend, Jose, in which I thought would be best
so that I could get distracted and be able to see and pay
attention than tour. We were quiet most of the time other than
gasps that came from the crowd to hear of the cruelty that
people are capable of. We were in a group, which was mostly
made up of preteens.
As part of the exhibit, you had to get a small I.D card
that had a picture of somebody, in which you would insert the
card and get the individuals story. I got a card of a little boy
named, Carlo DAngeli and got most of his story. He was born
in Italy and I got an insight of his life before the Holocaust. In
his picture he looked happy and full of life. He was no more
than five years old when his family went into hiding because
Mussolini became dictator of Italy and mad many anti-Jewish
laws. I felt like he was mine, like a little brother, which made
the whole experience personal and impactful.
I was in the dark and cold rooms most of the time. They
had little scenes that had screens educating people of the
injustices that were the result of war. The tour started with the
beginning; how life was to the people before Hitler came into
power. People were in poverty but were happy. They also told
the crowd on how Hitler became powerful, and his hated of the
Jews. Everyone blamed the Jews for their poverty and
misfortune. The tour went into detail of how people were being
tricked into going to concentration camps which then came
their death.


In the last part of the tour we were put in to a replica of
a gas chamber in which it was very cold. Just walking in to the
room you got chills and felt scared. The guide told us that
feeling that way was normal because we are human beings. She
sat us down and started playing episode that went on to depth
of some of the peoples stories we got in the beginning. Joses
little girls story came on, in which got both of us in tears. She
was one of the many children that got picked out of school and
taken to a camp. But in her desk she left a note to God, in
which she was asking him to safe her parents, so that she can
see them again someday, ad thanking him for being the perfect
being. Her story was the saddest of all.
The aura of the museum was very authentic because it
was one of a kind experience. I have seen and hear of some
stories of the Holocaust. I have seen picture and movies that
have tried to give storied of the people that suffered in the
hands of the Nazis. And they are very good and impactful
storied but are nothing like the experience I had at the Museum
of Tolerance.
There I also meet a survivor, Dorothy Greenstein, in
which she told us her story. Seeing her and hearing her story, it
gave me hope that even though things are in there worst,
people dont lose hope and try and try again.
Born, in Poland in 1930 she was around eight years old
when the war broke out. Her real name was Devorah
Kirszenbaum, she was the youngest of nine children. Her father
was a rabbi and well respected in the Jewish neighborhood they
lived in. When the war happened there were laws that took
rights away from the Jews. They also had to turn in some of
their possessions that they had such as their radios, fur and
leather. Her father was optimistic about everything, he soothed
her and her siblings telling them that the German soldiers
where there to help them, not hurt them. After a couple of
moths the family was relocated to the ghettos, in which they
were being starved. When she turned ten her father took her out
back and told her that she was the only one that could save the
family. She was to take some money and sneak out of the
ghettos and buy food for the family once a week. It was easy
for her because she was light skinned with blue eyes and blond
hair, she looked polish, and no one questioned her. She did that
for about two year up until the family had to be relocated. In
which they did not know at the time that they would be sent to
a concentration camp. None the less her father encouraged her
and her other three sisters to flee and go into hiding. Out of the
four sisters only two survived because they didnt give up
hope. She survived because she was fluent in Polish she
manages to change her identity, in which she became Zofia
Leszczynska. She is now 83 years old and goes by the name
Dorothy Greenstein and she goes to different places sharing her
In the end of it all we were able to see if our person
survived. A month of hiding Carlo, his parents and his baby
brother, Missimo, were discovered by members of the Fascist
Militia and the German SS and were deported to Auschwitz
Concentration Camp. He was in the train with about 400 other
Jews, once their arrival in November 14, 1943 he and his
family were sent to the gas chamber, where they were
murdered. Two weeks from his death he would have turned
five years old. His story among others opened my eyes to the
real story of the Holocaust. It opened my eyes in being tolerant
to those people with different view and those who are different
than ours. As well it taught me that if I see or notice an
injustice happening not to turn my head but see in what way I
am capable to help stop it.

My 2001
Acura MDX
The Road So Far
By Selina Salazar
I spend too much time in my car. I know everything about it, so
I chose to do an ethnography about it.

My father bought me a car for when it was time for me
to go to college. It is a 2001 Acura MDX model, its not my
ideal but I have grown to like it. I have to constantly put air in
the wheels and power steering fluid, but other than that it runs
pretty well. My car is a weird cool grey color and that makes it
unique. I have grown to love my car, because I spend most of
my time in it getting to school. When writing my ethnography I
thought that I should do it in the point of view of the car itself.
This is my second home. My pervious guardian took
care of me for about 12 years, and I always took them to
school. I was born in 2001 and I was built to have so much
luxury but I seem to have lost it over the years. I have been
broken and nobody seemed to care to fix me up so they just
chose to give me away. I dont have much to offer to my new
guardian because I am old and broken, but she seems to not
care and still treats me as a baby.
When I was first put under her care my past guardians
polished my leather seats which made me give off an
intoxicating smell that made them bring down the windows of
how awful it smelled. I was a bit embarrassed that I smelled
that bad but, it wasnt until my new guardian gave me a
penguin pin that I wear that made the smell go away and I now
smell of berries. My guardian has given me a small necklace
that hangs on my rear view mirror that has the feature of
Mickey Mouse and Mini Mouse. I have been decorated with
Star War stickers on my steering wheel. Her sister has given
me a small blue furby that I like to show off on my dash board.
I really like all the gifts she has given me because I feel that I
am important to her and her family.
My guardian bathes me every so often and that is when
I feel special and new again. I am able to look as young as my
fellow brothers and sister when I am nice and washed. But
right now I havent been washed or cleaned. There is grass on
the carpet along with wrappers and spare paper. On the outside
I have so much dirt that I have wash me written on my back,
I do hope I get to bath sometime soon. But my guardian seems
to be really busy all the time, I am always taking her and her
sister to school.


The Greatest Love Story the World has Ever
By Selina Salazar
John Burgers idea of manipulation gave me a clear view of
how in Rome and Juliet is basically the base to many love
stories we know of today. Most of all the romantic love stories
that we know of have ties in to the original by Shakespeare
Everyone knows the play by William Shakespeare, The
Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet;
cross star lovers that cannot bear
the thought of losing one
another so they choose death to
be together forever. The tragedy
has been redone, and retold so
many time that it has changed
the meaning and the way we
have interpret the story. There
are many remakes that are well
done but dont really focused on
any other themes presented other
than the romance. In the video
episodes by John Berger, Ways
of Seeing he states that the
reproduction of art can be manipulated to change the way
viewer see the piece of art. One of the first adaptation of
Romeo and Juliet is West Side Story, its basically the same
story but has been altered to address social issues in the early
1960s. West Side Story addresses racial superiority in the plot.
It also touches into gender superiority along with gang
The movie West Side Story has taken the story line of
the star crossed lover and manipulated it to tell the story of
gang rivalry in the streets of New York. The story has been
changed and is focusing mostly on the rivalry rather than the
love story to make a point. The manipulation of the story has
made ties in with the view of John Berger and his episodes of
Ways of Seeing. John Berger expands on the ideas of Walter
Benjamin, from his philosophical essay, Work of Art in the
Age of Mechanical Reproduction, in which he states how
reproduction can effect works of art. Reproduction of any piece
of art can take away authenticity of the piece, as well as to
where, when you saw the art is a part of it. I believe that the
reproduction in this case has not taken away the aura but has
improved it; it has modernized it. Using Benjamins and
Bergers ideas I will be analyzing how the story between
Romeo and Juliet has been retold over and over again, but
mostly focusing of the manipulation of the story to create West
Side Story.
Although The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet was meant
to be a tragedy of two young preteens that become victims to
the feuds of their families, itt also gives the allusion of
forbidden love. The story is based upon something ugly, but
something beautiful can come out of it. There is a war between
the Montagues and the Capulets, they just hate each other.
Love the opposite of hate was the thing to stop the hostility
between the families but also killed their children. People have
interpreted the story to be a romance rather than the tragedy.
The unique thing about the play itself that many dont know
about (because they have only seen reproductions of the story)
is that Shakespeare intended it to be a tragedy yet incorporated
comedy to lighten the mood. The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
was the first of its kind, no one had heard of some of the main

themes the plot consists of. The tragedy caused controversy on
the concept of love at first sight and the impulse of suicide out
of love which cause it to appeal to the masses and transcend
though history.
The story has been left to interpretations and
modifications to interpret by the views of the times. When
Romeo + Juliet appeared on screen in 1996, staring Leonardo
DiCaprio, it was modified to appeal to the masses, the plot was
modernized to a present time of Verona, yet it kept the original
dialogue. The new story had their own interpretations of how
love was for two teenagers at the time and what seemed to be
appropriate at the time too. Therefore focusing on the love
story between the teens and adding more action scenes it was
able to attract a lot of juvenal audiences. The production
distorted the meaning of the original meaning by, focusing on
the audience of young people but muting it so that the older
generation didnt just think of it as a teenage movie. The
original play seems to mostly focus on the older audience yet
in this movie they were able to appeal to a younger audience as
well as the older ones too.
Another modification of the star crossed lover was seen
in the childrens film Gnomeo and Juliet that appeared in
theaters 2011. The producers changed the plot completely in
order to appeal to the young viewers, they had simplified it
completely to educate the younger audiences. They had taken
the story line and butchered it completely to make it
modernized in humor and for children to understand and
become interested in the original story. They have taken away
the tragedy and changed it, maybe it will be worth it, for the
audience to get interested in the work by Shakespeare.
It seem that the tragedy has been moving throughout
time and being modified for different audiences, which also
seem to be getting younger. The fact that they are making the
story for younger crowds, removing adult themes that seem to
be too inappropriate for the younger audiences, such as suicide,
sex, and violence. That being said, the authenticity is
diminishing because it is being butchered away and only the
small scraps are being used. The rest that have been left out can
eventually be forgotten all together rather than seen as an
important part to the original plot. It is really hard to go from
seeing one of the reproductions to the original because it is not
the same, you feel that the reproduction has more authenticity
than the original. Which makes it really hard to take any of the
originals themes seriously, because you already created an
idea of what it is really about.
Inspired by Shakespeares play it had a more modern
twist. Instead of the feud between families it is based upon a
teenage gangs of New York the Jets and the Sharks. The young
protagonist, Tony, of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, the
sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. West Side Story
has many similarities to the play by Shakespeare yet it has been
redone to address some social issues. Dance and music have
also been incorporated to indulge a new audience.
West Side Story is somewhat a better version of the
reproductions that have been done of Romeo and Juliet because
it has a better understanding of the tragedy juxtaposed to the
romanticized version in Romeo + Juliet. The movie addressed
the real issues that was going on at the time. In the 60s there
was a larger wave of Hispanic immigrants coming to America.
These people would migrate to areas that were low social
economical communities that they shared with the same social
status American, social tensions and gang violence rose. It

might not be a direct result from the movie but there is some
connection someone can deduct from watching the movie and
history. The movie raised awareness of racial superiority
between immigrants and the true Americans. The Americans
in the film felt that they were being robbed of their territory
and had to do something about it even if it meant to take a life.
In the other hand it showed how the immigrants desperate need
to assimilate to the American culture in order to not get
prosecuted. Although they were willing to fight back the
privileged in order to feel like there was some justice done. In
the original plot of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare did not
address what was the specific feud the families had in which it
left for audiences the conflict up to interpretations.
West Side Story also has some connection to the Zoot
Suit Riots of the 1940s because it show how the authorities
didnt care that they were youth they saw them as juvenile
delinquents up to no good. The movie did imply that they
authority figures were racist and would side with the Jets rather
than the Sharks. The director might have used these connection
of history and of the play to tell his tale. He picked what he felt
was essential to tell his story that was different and special in
its own way.

In conclusion West Side Story was a better
representation to the reproductions of The Tragedy of Romeo
and Juliet. Over the year the story has been altered to attract the
masses and show a lighter version of the tragedy. They have
deluded the story by just focusing of the romance rather than
anything else. Stories has been manipulated and only choose to
show their audience what was important, which undergoes
Bergers statement that artiest will take something and use it to
their advantage. Although there have been many reproductions
that dont do justice to the original story, there are a few like
West Side Story that change it with a purpose in mind.


Steve Jobss Failure
By: Elizabeth Balkian
I wrote about Steve Jobs because he changed technology
forever. Without him I wouldnt have an ipad, ipod and a

Steve Jobs is one of the founders of Apple. He and his
partner, Wozniak, founded Apple in 1976 when Steve was just
21 years old. Steve Jobs has invented most of their products.
He was fired when he was 30 years old from his own company.
Although he seems like a lucky, smart, successful man, he still
experienced failures. But, in the end he left a huge legacy on
this world. This is his narrative of when he was fired from
I started Apple in my parent's garage with co founder
Steve Wozniak. Our role model was the electronic company
Hewlett Packard. It was a very small electronics company.
That's what I wanted to do. I like to work with a small group of
talented and smart people. I'm best at creating the new
innovative products. The best product I created was the
Macintosh computer. I created it in the beginnings of Apple
and it just started a new wave of computers. I was very happy
in the early days of Macintosh. When I hired John Cully to be
the CEO, I realized it had been my mistake. I didn't think of
myself to be the type of person to run things, I just wanted to
create. He felt Apple did not need me. That the company would
be better if I'm not there. He made a big public statement
saying that there is no future for me in Apple or any future
business enterprise. I was very surprised. It was like one of my
wildest imaginations, being fired from a company that I started,
but he was the CEO I respected his decision. I did become very
depressed. I worked for Apple for 9 years with really great
people. Getting fired made me learn a lot. However his
decision did not make me want to give up. I was the one that
made a garage business turn into a billion dollar company.


This is why Steve Jobs is an Influential Person
By: Elizabeth Balkian
I wrote about Steve Jobs because he changed technology
forever. Without him I wouldnt have an ipad, ipod and a

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't
matter to me. Going to bed at night saying
we've done something wonderful, that's what
matters to me. -Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs changed computers, phones, laptops and
music players forever. Those devices will never be the same
because of him. He made technology so advanced using his
intellectuality and his creativity. He invented many of Apple's
products as well as created the animation company, Pixar,
which won 20 Academy Awards and generated over 7 billion
dollars. He impacted mine and everybody's life by making
technology better and easier to use.
There were plenty of MP3 players before the iPod, but
Steve Jobs invented an iPod with one button so that a two-year-
old could use it. The reason why every product at Apple syncs
in so perfectly together is not a coincidence. Steve made sure
that iTunes works with your iPod, that email addresses are
harmonized between the mail on your apple Mac and with your
iPhone. He also made sure that when you plug in your camera
into your Mac Book, iPhoto will automatically launch and sync
your photos. These werent five products in Steves mind, they
were one product. That only happened because there was one
man with a vision of the whole, who got people to do it his

Steve Jobs has impacted my life by making things
easier. For example, he made computers small enough to fit in
a bag. Remember how 10 years ago a computer was like a
giant cube, because of him they are small and portable. That is
good for me because it saves a lot of space on my desk and I
could do homework pretty much anywhere with wifi. When I
was really young if I wanted to listen to music I had to go out
and buy CDs and carry around a big CD player , but now I
have a small, easy to use iPod that carries thousands of songs.
Steve Jobs also decided to make our phones play music, so
now iPods aren't even necessary because one iPhone can also
be used as a music player.

Steve Jobs was born on, February 24, 1955 in San
Francisco, California. His biological father was Syrian,
Abdulfattah John Jandali and his mother was American, Joanne
Carole Schieble and both of his parents were University of
Wisconsin graduate students. When Steve was born, Joanne's
parents didn't let her keep him because the father of her baby
was another ethnicity, so Steve Jobs was put for adoption the
moment he was born. Steve never wanted to meet his
biological father, but met him in the 1980s.

He was adopted by Paul Reinhold Jobs and Clara Jobs
who was an Armenian American. Schieble signed papers with
Steve's adoptive parents as an agreement to make sure he goes
to college. His adoptive parent's named him Steven Paul Jobs.
In a biography, Steve said that his adoptive parents were my
parents 1000%.

Steve grew up in Mountain View, California. His
mother, Clara worked as an accountant and his father, Paul was
a Coast Guard Veteran and machinist. When Steve was a
young boy he and his father would work on electronics in their
garage. He would learn how to take apart and put back together
electronic parts which eventually became Steve's hobby. In
elementary school, he was a prankster. His fourth grade teacher
needed to bribe him to study. Steve did study and tested really
good in school that the administers wanted to skip him 5th
grade and go straight to high school. His parent's didn't want
him to skip too many years of school, so he just skipped 5th
grade and went straight to middle school.
In 1971 Steve enrolled at Homestead High school. That is
where he met his future business partner, Steve Wozniak.
Wozniak said in a 2007 ABC News interview that the reason
they became good friends was because:
"We both loved electronics and the way we used to
hook up digital chips," Wozniak said. "Very few people,
especially back then had any idea what chips were, how they
worked and what they could do. I had designed many
computers so I was way ahead of him in electronics and
computer design, but we still had common interests. We both
had pretty much sort of an independent attitude about things in
the world."

After graduating high school Steve attended Reed
Collage located in Portland, Oregon. He dropped out second
semester. According to Time magazine, it was because it put
too much of a strain on his parents' finances, Reed is a very
expensive private school. In 1974, Steve worked as a video
game designer with the company, Atari, but he quit that job
after a few months.
In 1976, Steve and his high school friend Wozniak
started Apple Computer. They started that company in the
family garage. They got the money to start Apple by Steve
selling his Volkswagen bus and Wozniak selling his scientific


Steve Jobs told Walter Isaacson of 60 minutes that they
named their company Apple because he was "on one of my
fruitarian diets" and had just come back from an apple farm,
and thought the name sounded "fun, spirited and not

Writing in his 2006 book, iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon,
Apples co-founder Steve Wozniak explains it this way:

"It was a couple of weeks later when we came up with a
name for the partnership. I remember I was driving Steve Jobs
back from the airport along Highway 85. Steve was coming
back from a visit to Oregon to a place he called an apple
orchard. It was actually some kind of commune. Steve
suggested a name Apple Computer. The first comment out of
my mouth was, What about Apple Records? This was (and
still is) the Beatles-owned record label. We both tried to come
up with technical-sounding names that were better, but we
couldnt think of any good ones. Apple was so much better,
better than any other name we could think of.

Steve Jobs hired John Scully of Pepsi-Cola to be the
president of Apple. Apple became so successful. It earned
$774,000 in its first year. Within three years it earned $139
million. By 1980 it had a market value of 1.2 billion dollars.

The apple company started to lose money because
costumers weren't liking the new designs and resulted in many
In 1984, Apple released the Macintosh, marketing the
computer as a piece of a counter culture lifestyle: romantic,
youthful, creative. But despite positive sales and performance
superior to IBM's PCs, the Macintosh was still not IBM
compatible. PC's were dominating Apple. John Scully thought
it was Steve's fault for ruining apple and fired him. John Scully
explains the situation like this:

"Steve went into a deep depression," As a result, "Steve
came to me and he said, 'I want to drop the price of the
Macintosh and I want to move the advertising, shift a large
portion of it away from the Apple 2 over to the Mac."

I responded, "Steve, it's not going to make any
difference. The reason the Mac is not selling has nothing to do
with the price or with the advertising. If you do that, we risk
throwing the company into a loss." And he just totally
disagreed with me. Well, I'm gonna go to the board."Steve
said, I don't believe you'll do it. And I said, Watch me.

As I mentioned earlier, Steve Jobs did not want to meet
his biological father but, ended up meeting him by accident.
Steve said in an interview for, CBS 60 minutes, he met his
biological mother and father in the 1980s. Here is what Steve
Jobs said in the interview:


"When I was looking for my biological mother,
obviously I was looking for my biological father at the same
time. I learned a little bit about him, and I didn't like what I
learned. It turns out he managed or owned a restaurant, and I
was in the restaurant once or twice, and I remember meeting
the owner, who was from Syria. I shook his hand, and he shook

Steve also met a woman named, Mona, who was his
biological parent's second child that they decided to keep. As
the interview for, CBS 60 Minutes continued the host, Mr.
Isaacson said: "Mona goes to the coffee shop, meets this guy,
Mr. Jandali who's running it, who says among other things
when she asks, how sorry he is. Then he said that he had had
another child. Mona said: 'What happened to him?'
Jundali replied: 'Oh, I don't know, we'll never hear from him
again'. Steve Jobs remembered as a child that when his
neighbor found out that he was adopted."She said: 'So does that
mean your real parents didn't want you?'

Steve said, Lightning bolts went off in my head, I
remember running into the house, I think I was like crying,
asking my parents. And they sat me down and they said: 'No,
you don't understand. We specifically picked you out.'" Then
Steve added: "From then on, I realized that I was not just
abandoned. I was chosen. I was special".

Steve went on to change the world. On February 3,
1986, Steve Jobs bought an animation company from George
Lucas for $10 million. It was named, Pixar Animation Studios.
Steve invested $50 million of his own money into the
company. You may know Pixar as the producers of very
popular animated movies like The Incredibles, Finding
Nemo and Toy Story. Pixar Films made a net worth of $4
billion dollars. In 1997, Steve jobs went back to being Apple's
CEO. As years went by Steve created the iPhone, Macbook air
and iPod. Later Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 billion dollars
and made Steve Jobs as a board member of Disney.

Steve jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in
2003. That did not stop him from working to change
technology reinventing new products. In 2008, iTunes became
the second biggest music retailer in America-second only to
Wal-Mart. Half of Apple's current revenue comes from iTunes
and iPod sales, with 200 million iPods sold and six billion
songs downloaded. For these reasons, Apple has been ranked
No. 1 on Fortune magazine's list of "America's Most Admired
Companies," as well as No. 1 among Fortune 500 companies
for returns to shareholders. Steve jobs died on October 5,
2011 in Palo Alto, California after battling eight years of
pancreatic cancer.

He has been influential in my life because technology is
a big part of it. Since I'm in college, many of my homework
assignments require a computer and even some of my tests are
online. Steve Jobs has also been influential in every other
students lives and also he created jobs for thousands of people.


By: Elizabeth Balkian
I wrote about the CSUN pond because I think it is a really cool
place at CSUN.

At the far end of California State University Northridge
is a secluded area. It's never usually crowded or noisy. It's just
the place to relax and enjoy nature. It's so quiet that there is a
person sleeping on a bench that is placed near the pond. There
are ducks swimming and walking. Trees are everywhere with
oranges on them. There is also fallen oranges all over the floor.
The CSUN pond is a nice little area of CSUN. The pond is big
and round with stone detailing at the edges. One time I saw
many young children there feeding the ducks. When it is very
sunny out you can see the ducks are standing under the shade
of a tree. If you go there you will see a small dispenser of duck
food is located right next to the pond.

One time when I was walking by the pond with a
friend, we decided to get some duck food from the dispenser
and feed the ducks. I decide I'm going to hold out the food in
my hand to try to feed one duck. Almost every duck is just
quietly minding their own business, so I slowly get near this
one duck that is just all by itself. Then all of a sudden the other
20 ducks just fly as fast as possible to grab the food from my
hand. I get a little scared and I just throw the food on the
ground. This peaceful area just turns into craziness. It was like
a war zone of hungry ducks fighting to get food. They are
shouting and hitting each other. The peaceful energy of this
pond completely changes and it turns violent. My friend and I
grab some more food from the dispenser because we felt bad
for some of the ducks that got completely crushed by the
overly aggressive ducks. I did not expect the ducks to just start
attacking each other when I was trying to feed one duck. None
of the ducks look hungry since they don't come up to you and
beg for food like a dog does. Anyways if I ever decide to feed
the ducks again I'm probably going to just get the food from
the dispenser and place the food on the floor, instead of trying
to feed only one duck.

Overall, this place is a really cool part of California
State University Northridge. It's like a small park with a pond
of ducks. If I ever just want to relax and be by nature than the
CSUN pond is a really great place. Or, if I'm hungry for a
snack then I can get an orange from the trees that are
everywhere. This place is also nice because it reminds me of a

1994 Earthquake
By Elizabeth Balkian
I wrote about the1994 Earthquake Sculpture Garden because I
really like how CSUN made an artwork out of a tragic event. I
think it a great dedication to the people that went through the

The dot in the middle represents the earthquakes epicenter
There was a huge earthquake in Northridge, California
in 1994. The Northridge earthquake caused so much damage to
property that even to this day the damage is still seen. You can
see the sidewalks are uneven and the streets are damaged. The
shaking done by the 1994 Northridge earthquake was so strong
it was even felt in San Diego and Las Vegas. Right in front of
the Valley Performing Arts Center there is an artwork
dedicated to it.
I went with my brother to California State University
Northridge to see the artwork. He came with me because I
don't know where it is so I needed him to show me. We went
during spring break so, there were no students around. The
campus was calm and quiet. Just the sound of the cars driving
on Nordoff blvd was being heard. The aura of the art was like a
time capsule. I felt like I went back in time. I never
experienced the earthquake, but the aura of the artwork made
me feel the earthquake was very life changing to the people
that did experience it.

I wanted to see this artwork because my Professor
recommended to see it during class. I never knew that Cal State
Northridge had created an artwork dedicated to the earthquake.
I also wanted to see it because I have heard so much about the
earthquake, but never really knew anything about it so I
thought I would take this opportunity to also research about the
1994 Northridge earthquake.

Fox News reported the causes of the earthquake in an
article. The earthquake lasted 10 seconds. It killed 57 people
and caused people to die of heart attacks which put the death
toll at 72 people. 9,000 people got injured. It destroyed or
damaged 82,000 commercial and residential buildings
including many apartment complexes that had ground floor
parking. It cracked 200 steel frame buildings. It also caused
seven freeway bridges to collapse and 212 freeway bridges to
get damaged.

There is a place on the stone in the garden that says the
name of this earthquake artwork is called "Lauretta
Wasserstein Sculpture Garden".
The writing on the plack also says
that Lauretta worked at CSUN,
lived in the San Fernando Valley
and this garden was dedicated to
her by her friends and family.

The designing team of this garden
is Majorie Berkson Sievers, Artist
Paul Lewis, Landscape architect
Greg George and Courtland Paul
Phillip diGiacomo.

On CSUN's website about the garden it says that,
CSUN Vice Provost Philip Handler, who helped with bringing
the project to completion, called the garden "a place for peace,
and solace and a bringing together of art and nature in a
positive spirit born literally out of the rubble of the

Handler added, "The garden is supposed to be a place
for campus people and members of the community to come and
sit and marvel at the wonders of art and nature working
together, and to know that something positive and creative
came out of catastrophe."

From afar you wouldn't know that this is an artwork
because it just looks like a place with stones and lots of bushes.
But if you get close to it, you will notice this sculpture garden
features many different pieces from the earthquake damage. It
has a set of broken stairs, a broken rail and the walkway is
bumpy and uneven showing that the earthquake caused damage
to the roads and sidewalks. The garden really depicts the
damage and chaos of the earthquake. It's messy and has
broken items throughout.

I guess according to Walter Benjamin war can be an art.
The earthquake killed people and caused huge damage to a
city, but the creators of this garden found that there was still art
based on the tragedy that resulted from the 1994 earthquake.
To me, if this sculpture garden filled with broken stairs,
crooked walkway, and bushes is considered an art then
everything around us can be art, it's just the matter of the story
behind it. I passed by this garden so many times and never
knew there was a strong meaning to it. The garden alone isn't
really spectacular to me, but the story behind it is what makes
it special. Without knowing the story, you probably won't feel
the aura.


The Real Meaning of Another Brick in the
Wall By Pink Floyd
By: Elizabeth Balkian
I wrote about the song Another Brick in the Wall because I
love that song, but I never knew the real meaning of it. I
always thought it was about hating school, but I learned it is
much deeper than that.

The majority of the world believes Another Brick in
the Wall by Pink Floyd is about students rebelling against the
school system. In Walter Benjamin's essay, The Work of Art
in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, states that when you
reproduce an art then the original isn't as special and the
meaning of the original is ruined which also ruins the arts aura.
Music is an art because the musicians use their creativity and
emotions just like an artist does when he makes a painting.
There have been so many covers of Pink Floyd's Another
Brick in the Wall that it has caused the true meaning of the
song to be ignored. Alice Cooper covers this song on stage
right after he sings his own song Schools Out. That makes
people think Another Brick in the Wall is really about
students rebelling against teachers. I am going to analyze the
true meaning of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" and
how the reproductions of this song ruined the deep meaning it
had originally.

Pink Floyd is a very popular rock band from London
England. The band was formed in 1965 and it's original
members were Nick Mason, Syd Barrett, Richard Wright and
Roger Waters. In 1967 David Gilmour joined as their fifth
member. A year later Syd Barrett left the band due to mental
health problems. After he left, Roger Waters became the
primary lyric writer. The most successful single Pink Floyd
wrote was released in 1979 called, Another Brick In the Wall
Part 2. It sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. Rolling
Stones magazine put the song in its list of 500 greatest songs of
all time as number 375. The album that song was placed in was
called The Wall. In an interview with Roger Waters, he
explains where the concept of The Wall was inspired from:

Well, the idea for "The Wall' came from ten years of
touring, rock shows, I think, particularly the last few years in
'75 and in '77 we were playing to very large audiences, some of
whom were our old audience who'd come to see us play, but
most of whom were only there for the beer, in big stadiums,
and, er, consequently it became rather an alienating experience
doing the shows. I became very conscious of a wall between us

and our audience and so this record started out as being an
expression of those feelings. During one of the concerts in
1977 a fan was invited on stage and the fan spat on Roger's
face. That caused Roger to feel distanced from his fans and
build a wall. According to the band, the "wall" is the self-
isolating barrier we build over the course of our lives, and the
"bricks in the wall" are the people and events that turn us
inward and away from others. Pink Floyd created a movie
called The Wall released in 1982 which features the
character, Pink who is a troubled rock star that is going through
events that make up the story of the song Another Brick in the

Roger Water's father left to go fight in World War II
and was killed when Roger was only five months old. So Roger
never got to have any memories of his father, he just has
photos of him. That put a brick in his wall. Which is one of the
reasons it caused Roger to shut him self off from the world and
isolate himself.

In Part One of the song, Roger Water's voice is so
intense when he sings those lyrics. I feel he is upset with his
dad for leaving him and his mom to go to war. He never got to
know his father and grew up without him. That caused Roger
to build a brick in his wall. He had to forget about that part of
him that really wanted to have his dad in his life.

If you just listen to the song you won't feel the aura of
sadness. In the movie, The Wall Part 1 of Another Brick In
the Wall you will see the sadness of those lyrics. It shows a
young boy,(Pink) and a women in church. The women is Pink's
mother who is crying at the loss of her husband and Pink is
playing with his toy airplane at church. After church his mother
drops him off at the park and he sees an older man that
resembles the father figure that is not in his life. Pink goes up
to him, grabs his hand and asks him to put him on the ride the
other kids are on at the park. He thinks this man is his real dad.
So he follows the man and his son around the park and doesn't
understand why the man is ignoring him and only paying
attention to his son. Pink grabs the man's hand but, he pushes
him away. The little boy grabs his hand again and the man tells
him to go away. Then Pink walks away and sits on a swing that
he needs someone to push him on it. He looks over at the man
swinging his son on the swing and he feels very alone.

The lyrics in Part 2 are towards every person and
everything that did not let Roger be the person he is. The
people that made him feel restricted in life. That is where the
analogy of teacher student in the song came from. Teachers
don't let students misbehave and be themselves. He is saying
that authority figures are the peoples' bricks in the walls. The
deep meaning of the song is that the teacher actually represents
the government and the students are the people. The
government doesn't let people do what they want and the
government wants to control everyone.


The film of The Wall Another Brick in the wall Part
2 became the music video. I think Pink Floyd released Part 2
as a music video because it was the most popular part of the
song. The character Pink in the film for part two is in class
daydreaming about students marching together and wearing
masks. The students all look like clones wearing the same
creepy masks. The students are marching blindly and they fall
into a meat grinder. Toward the end Pink is dreaming about the
students burning down the school and destroying their chairs
and desks. I think this means that eventually people get really
tired of being controlled by the government which results in
war, strikes, and other violent events. Pink wakes up from his
daydream when a teacher smacks his hand.

When listening to Part 2 of "Another Brick in the Wall"
in the car you probably just feel its about rebelling against the
school system. When watching the video you will see that the
clones of students and the teacher shouting represent the true
meaning which is about the government controlling the people.

The lyrics of Part 3 are intense. Pink is telling himself
that he is able to live without all the things that he has always
wanted in his life like, love from his father. He is saying taking
medication won't help, but will make him feel worse. He has
had a hard life and built this wall that no one else can hurt him.
In the 90 minute movie The Wall the character Pink
encountered his father dying in the war, his mother being
overprotective, having a hard school life, his wife cheating on
him, and the road manager has to put him on drugs so he can
perform well. Pink gets tired of feeling so weak and breaks
down his wall so he can feel free. In Part 3 of "Another Brick
in the Wall" video it shows the flashbacks Pink is having. All
the events in his life that caused him to build a wall. He is
tearing down that wall.

You probably never knew this song has a really deep
meaning to it. With all the reproductions of this song it ruined
the true meaning of it. I agree when Walter Benjamin said,
When the age of mechanical reproduction separated art from
its bass cult, the semblance of its autonomy disappeared
forever. He is saying that ever since we started to replicate art
the deep meaning was lost and people just looked at the surface
of the art. When Alice Cooper sings this song with Schools
Out people will look at the surface of Another Brick in the
Wall which is about children not wanting to go to school, get
an education and not let themselves be bossed by teachers.
People don't look into the deep meaning of it. Also since Part 2
was the most popular it makes people not care about Part 1 and
3 which causes the story of the song to be ruined.

Watching the film, "The Wall" has an aura of sadness
which is what "Another brick in the Wall" is. Its the wall that
people build when they go through bad events in life. When
you just listen to the song without watching the film you won't
feel the aura of sadness. You will probably feel like Yeah I
hated school! or just get happy because the song has a nice


Interview of Wooden Box
By Justin Maciel
I wrote this piece in order to gain and share a better
understanding of an item that has significant importance to

When I was a bit
younger my grandfather
and I spent a lot of time
together. He was the
closest thing to a father
figure I had throughout
my childhood. In 2002,
when I was about 7, he
passed away from illness caused by diabetes. When I grew to
the age of 16 my mother presented me with a box. A box my
grandfather left behind for me. It was maple wood cigar box,
with a single chamber lock, and gold trimmings.

I went home one weekend to talk to my mother a little
more about the box that was left behind for me. What I found
out was very interesting. My grandfather wasnt much of a
smoker, let alone smoked cigars. He was given the box by my
grandmother on his fiftieth birthday. Majority of the time my
grandfather would use the box for other things such as storing
things, putting in on display, and well using it for his cigars.
Originally there were two keys two the box one owned by my
grandpa and the other by my grandmother, however she had
last her key. My mom shared her opinion on why he left me
such a thing. He wanted to leave you with something you
could physically remember him by. That wouldnt make sense
to me until I grew older.
Facts Found:
In hopes of finding more information on my newly
owned box I did some research on my own. These are some of
the interesting facts I learned about cigar boxes:

Do to the United States Revenue Act of 1864 cigar
packaging into boxes was made a legal requirement. Majority
of cigar boxes are made of Standard Nailed Wood which is a
design that has six pieces of wood nailed to each other. In 1870
a law was passed allowing the use of tin a legal material for the
creation of boxes. During the late 1800s and early 1900s cigar
box art or tramp art, was very popular, with artist making
pieces such as furniture and frames out of cigar boxes.


The Physical Memory
By Justin Maciel
I wrote this in dedication to my grandfather. He has always
been an inspiring figure in my life and now I was able the share
the bond I had with him literally.
I remember coming
back from school, it
was a bright but
scorching Friday,
and I could see the
sweat stains from
my backpack straps
start to form. I saw my mothers red Jeep Cherokee parked in
our drive way, which was always the sign that she was home,
so I rushed towards my front door. As I walked in I could see
my grandpas old cigar box sitting on the dining room table.
Finally your home! I have something Ive been wanting to
give you. she said as she walked towards the dusty box. I
followed her towards the dining room and she asked Do
remember this? Isnt that the box grandma gave grandpa? I
replied. It was. But I know he wanted you to have. So now its
the box I am giving to you. Given to my grandpa by his wife
and then passed on to me by my mother. This was one of the
best things Id ever receive.
Many people look at a box and presumably think of the
contents inside of it. The outside is usually ignored unless there
is some significant feature on its exterior. Looking at what
holds the content rather than the content itself is just as
important. Its almost like a first impression, you meet a person
but only their exterior it takes time to really understand who
they are inside. Even though this box had the simplicity of any
ordinary cigar box, it took me time to understand the relation
between what was inside and out.

The old cigar box, made of stained maple wood, with
two golden handles that rested on its side, reminds me instantly
of when my grandfather use to carry it. He would never use the
handles causing them to make a high pitch jingle every time
they collided with the wooden wall that supported them. I
thought it was an interesting piece of work not having ever
seen it up close before. The top has a diamond trimming
embedded in it that draws the eye straight to the key whole.
Once opened there is a gold and black thermometer surrounded
by two filters that allows you to keep your cigars at a safe
temperature while keeping the smell inside the box. There was
also a thin wooden tray inside that had incisions made to place
more cigars that covered the inside of the box. There was a slot
to insert a cigar butt cutter and a handle you could slide side to
side to prevent cigars from shaking inside the box. The box
itself was a beautiful work of craftsmanship. Upon receiving
the box I had no clue what to do with this giant hallow piece of

I am the youngest in my family, or what everybody
calls the baby of the house. I was given the title by my
grandfather who at this point had given just about everybody in

my family a nickname. My mother was called Rose short for
Rosalie, my middle brother Jeremy was called Henry after
his father, and my oldest brother Jon short for Jonathan. My
grandfathers name was Ernesto but we called him Ernie. He
was a businessman always dressed in his grey or black fancy
suits topped with a round hat. He sold cars for a living, not just
for a specific company, but for a lot filled with an array of
different cars from Mustangs to the Chevell SS. He had been
working at a dealership called Trust Auto Sales for about 15
years. Due to his years of experience he was an amazing story
teller. This is the reason why my brothers and I would love
listening to him talk. He would also do a lot of extracurricular
activities with us. We would go eat, go play at a park, go
fishing, and just about anything that would get us out of the

Sadly my grandmother passed away before I was born
in 1992 due to the severity of her breast cancer, but my
grandpa would always speak of her. He told us about their 17
year anniversary at which my grandma gave him the box. He
would always laugh thinking it was a funny gift considering
that he didnt smoke, but she did. Despite losing the love of his
life I could still remember the calmness in his eyes and
soothing smile he tried to hide every time he opened the cigar
box. He would occasionally wipe it down, and reorganize
everything inside it. Even though I watched him clean it year
by year I never really knew what was inside it. I just saw a lot
of papers and little nick-nacks he decided to keep. Some of
them metal and some of them paper. One of the things I
remember most was always seeing stamps. He would always
show different types of stamps. He had an array of stamps from
10 cent stamps to stamps that dated back to the 1990s.

My grandfather was later diagnosed with type 2
diabetes, and although he was a great salesman he was also a
sugar fanatic. After his diagnosis my mom became the anti-
sugar captain. Anytime she saw Ernie with sugar or anything
sugar related into the trash itd go. He used to sneak apple pie
by telling my mom he was taking me out to eat. We would go
to McDonalds and he would order at least a couple apple pies
as he watched me have fun in the play pen. I knew whenever I
could smell the sweet aroma of warm cinnamon and apples, my
grandfather was near. However all those pies he had eaten had
finally caught up to him. He began to accumulate low blood
pressure that led to bad circulation is his leg. Due to that reason
he later had his left leg amputated. After his amputation our
physical relationship came to a halt. Because of his removed
limb we would hardly go out, or do any of the memorable
things we used to. However, emotionally we were still the best
of buds. We would always talk and I could never get tired of
his stories.

Later on July 10, 2002 my grandfather passed away at
75. It was one of the hardest things for me to deal with as a
child. At two in the morning the ambulance came to pick him
up and I could hear everyone frantically saying all types of
things. He was the father figure I had in my life and was the
person I aspired to be.

When I first opened the box what I found was pretty
interesting. I found letters that my grandma and grandpa had
sent each other, pins from clubs he was involved in, two
Hotwheels dated at 1995, more stamps and a bunch of little
nick-nacks, photos of our family, and the butt of the only cigar
my grandfather had ever smoked. It was pretty cool looking at
all these little memories my grandmother and grandfather
shared, but what was more emotionally striking to me was my
grandfather had made sure he kept them. As I grew older I
would occasionally look through the box, but mostly saw it as
just the memorable love my grandparents shared.

In their letters they would talk about how much they
loved and cared for each other. Some would even go back to
when they had just started dating and wanted to meet each
others family. It was heartwarming to see how my heritage
began and how these two individuals would talk to each other.
My grandmother was always more emotional than my
grandfather. He would always try to keep his masculinity up
and be careful with how he expressed his emotions. However
some letters didnt make sense talking about how they missed
each other and were so far about.

One day I asked my mom what the stamps on the back
were for. She had told me they were stamps from my
grandmother when my grandfather would travel with his
family. She explained that my grandfather used to love
traveling and went to places like Spain, Italy, Costa Rica, and
Mexico. However my grandma was the complete opposite and
despised traveling. That explained a lot to me such as why in
the letters they talk about missing each other, and speak of
normal daily activities. This just fueled my fire to curiosity so I
decided to look up information on the box itself.

According to the EHow and Stringtickers website here
are some facts on the cigar box:
Do to the United States Revenue Act of 1864 cigar packaging
into boxes was made a legal requirement. Majority of cigar
boxes are made of Standard Nailed Wood which is a design
that has six pieces of wood nailed to each other.In 1870 a law
was passed allowing the use of tin a legal material for the
creation of boxes. During the late 1800s and early 1900s cigar
box art or tramp art, was very popular, with artist making
pieces such as furniture and frames out of cigar boxes. During
the Great Depression the cigar box was also made into a
musical instrument relatively the same as the guitar.
The cigar box has a lot of history in American culture but it is
used in many different ways. The use of just a box could vary
depending on the creative mind that owns it. I now understand
a little but more on how just important a box can be.

The box I now own is not just any ordinary box. It is
the physical memorabilia of my family. Every item inside and
outsider physically represents a moment that my grandfather
sought as important to him. Although I may have never met my
grandmother, I can still gather these pieces and get a little taste
of who she is.

My Personal Space
By: Justin Maciel
I wrote this piece in order to share a little of who I am. Being
able to describe a setting and giving it significance was
something I learned to do here.

This is my new
home, this is where I
study, sleep, and eat.
The two bedroom, one
kitchen, one bathroom
apartment with a
balcony is where I now
call home. The
transition from having
roommates that were
once family to now
those that were strangers was a big transition. Having to move
to the on campus dorms was one of the biggest things I had
ever encountered. This is the space where I am free to think,
feel, and do as I please. It is my domain along with the three
other which I share it with. The slightly tan kitchen tile with
white streaks in it matches that of the restroom. The eggshell
white refrigerator is filled with random amounts of food that
seem to eventually disappear as time progresses. Food is shared
along with other utilities. The sink, filled with different
collections of dishware and silverware that somehow seem to
eventually come together as a collection their own. The white
stove top thats usually stained with grease and other foods
matches the white microwave, but both are in contrast with the
black toaster. There are two blenders, each sit on the white
countertop, one is larger than the other. This small kitchen
where I usually relieve my stress, cooking is a hobby not a
The dark blue and aqua green carpet runs along the
entire apartment. In the living room there is matching furniture.
The matching set of furniture, two large couches and one
single, fabricated with a thick material covered in a blue and
greenish circular pattern that matches the colors of the walls
and carpet. Two maple wood stands are placed neatly, each on
an opposite side of the room, both occupied. One stands
foundation for an elegant white lamp, whereas the other
supports a black 46 flat screen television that our newest
roommate just purchased. Parallel to entrance there is a large
maple wood table that stands over four greyish plastic chairs.
On the far end of the wall the white blinds are open letting light
in through the large glass doors that separate the living room
from the balcony. On the Balcony there is a small black grill
adjacent to a Cannondale Sr500 series road bike. This is the
living. This is where my thoughts come together majority of
time being academic and some being social. This is where most
of my mandatory tasks are done.
The short white hallway with two closet rooms on its
side leads to two rooms. One of which is mine and my
roommates. This room is furnished with a large closet with

enough space for two and two twin size beds. All furniture has
a tan wooden finish and is paired two for each person, one
table and drawer for each. My table is the home to my black
touchscreen desktop, school supplies, and a large transparent
water filter. Whereas on the opposite side of the room a large
50 inch television stand adjacent to a black Xbox One and a
Sony surround system. On the white wall that lays next to my
bed I have decorated with numerous amounts of artwork. A
large canvas painting given to me as a birthday give hangs on
the wall next to pieces of artworks by different graffiti artist
such a Revok and Cope. There also hangs a large black,
yellow, and red beer pong poster purchased at the market on
the campus of UCLA. On the shelves that hover above my
dorm there are is the lockbox my grandfather left to me before
passing away. On top of that the certificates I received during
working at Cedar Sinai Hospital and above that is a black film
camera bought for a photography class in high school. This is
my bedroom, my most personal space that represents me.
Every piece of work, or item has a specific meaning and serves
as purpose of inspiration. This is where I compose myself and
partake in everyday activities. This is my throne and this is
why this is now called home.


The Right Piece
By: Justin Maciel
This piece was written to show how what most may find as a
decorative piece can have a larger meaning. Thinking more
critically can have its rewards.

I cant deny it, there
were many pieces of work that
stood out to me as I searched
for the right one. My
community is filled with many
beautiful art murals by various
artists. However, I
remembered there used to be a
huge shoe store in front of my
old high school that would always feature the best artists out
there. Excitedly I went to check it out, but to my dismay the
wall had been buffered out and was merely in the beginning
stages of a new piece being created. I had to sit and think about
another local mural hotspot. Then it hit me. This mural is no
more than a couple blocks away from house and is one the
most well known in the community. The huge two story mural
I chose is Life is Beautiful by Thierry Guetta. The mural is a
huge black and white painting of the phrase Life is Beautiful,
in-between famous idols Einstein and Gandhi, both holding
signs with their own message. The mural was put up a few
years ago during 2011 to hype Thierry Guettas art show in the
area. The art show was to be one of the biggest for the
upcoming graffiti artist and was gaining a lot of attention.
The work at first is a bit hard to understand, the phrase
Life is Beautiful, and then the two standing idols with signs
of their own message. Einstein holding a sign that says, Love
is the Answer, and Gandhi holding a sign that states, Where
there is Love there is Life. Although the three phrases do take
on a meaning of their own I believe the mural represents
something bigger. All the phrases come together as almost
positive advice, advice that brings nothing but inspiration and
happiness. All three come together to show that life itself is
beautiful. To think analytically about this piece, it is by modern
street artist Thierry or by his street name Mr. Brainwash. Not
only was this mural made to spread the word of his new art
show, but to also give a little taste of where he is coming from
also. In addition being placed on one of the busiest streets in
the neighborhood was a strategic move by the artist. From my
knowledge I know that he was exposed to many different types
of works in many different places all over the world. This is
how he sees art, in life, which he simply finds beautiful.
The aura of this mural is immediate and direct. As you
walk down the busy street, hear the amount of traffic passing,
and people walking through in order to carry on with their
everyday lives you begin to see things in a different light. The
trees that intersect the two pathways of the street add a bit of
nature to the piece as well. In an urban community greenery is
always appreciated and the message brought by this mural only

emphasizes that. After looking for a while, the message Life is
Beautiful, tends to stick around. The smallest of things begin
to look more positive and the thoughts in your head seem to
clear. You begin to admire the amount of work put into the
mural along with the amount of life in your surroundings

The art piece itself is open to many different types of
opinion, but almost without say anybody can agree that the
message here is to provide almost a sense of positivity. The
community has taken in this piece of work as almost a sight of
inspiration and a local hot spot. The mural has been up for a
couple of years and I dont suppose it getting removed any
time soon. The location of the mural being put on a busy street
allows different types of audiences to view the artists message.
The mural is not just a mural but also a part of the community.


Life through the Age of Reproduction
By: Justin Maciel
I wrote about this piece in order to critically think about how
the work of Benjamin could be proven and/or disproven. The
idea of how works can be stripped of original meaning was
intersting to me.
While there are many
different ideas
explaining what many
theorist believe are
means of art and
reproduction none
have done so as
Walter Benjamin; for
this reason the piece I
will be referring to is
Benjamins Work of
Art in the Age of
Reproduction. One major idea Benjamin stresses most is the
destruction of a works original use value and aura through the
means of photographic and film reproduction. He makes the
argument that any copy of an original piece of artwork lacks in
certain elements of authenticity. Through the means of
reproduction, different lenses are created by the audience
depending on the various factors that may affect their view of
the work. I will be analyzing Thierra Guettas Life is
Beautiful and giving an analysis of this mural based on
Benjamins work; therefore, I assert that reproduction allows
audiences to experience a variety of understandings of works
ultimately changing its original use value.
According to the documentary Exit Through the Gift
Shop Thierry Guetta was once a simple French clothing
storeowner who later came to the United States to become one
of arts biggest speakers. Through his habit of filmmaking he
was able to steer the course of his career from businessman to
street artist. After visiting his cousin Invader, a foreign street
artist that uses Space Invader characters in his work, he
received his first exposure to modern street art. Through this
event he was able to gain firsthand experience on the creation
and installation of street art. Once returning to the United
States, he spent time with the famous Shepard Fairey, a street
artist born out of South Carolina best known for his slogan
Obey. Shepard then showed him the techniques and skills he
would later need to grow his graffiti career along with vital
connections. The most important of these connections being
Bansky who is an artist famous for not only his work but his
anonymity as well. Through the teachings of some the best
street artist such as Bansky and Fairey, Mr. Brainwash was
After being exposed and inspired by his filming
experience, Thierry Guetta decided to create his own artwork.
Originally created to endorse his art show, the large black and
white mural Life is Beautiful was put November 2011 and

stands as a landmark on Highland and Santa Monica. Einsteins
quote Life is Beautiful is in white bold text next to the wheat
paste portrait of Einstein holding a sign that says, Love is the
Answer. Einstein stands over a pug with a pink heart stenciled
over its chest. In addition to Einstein, Gandhi is also
incorporated into this mural. Gandhi is also holding a sign that
says Where There Is Love There Is Life. The murals stands
approximately two stories tall and is painted on an all-black
background on the Gay & Lesbian Center.

Throughout Walter Benjamins work he brings up the
argument that the means of reproduction whether it may be
film or photography of a piece of work destroys its aura and
original use value. By allowing different means of reproduction
the original meaning of the artwork is deteriorated by the
amount of changing factors. To further his argument and
support his idea he uses the example of an ancient statue of
Venus, and how from its original meaning was later given one
of the complete opposite. Benjamin states, An ancient statue
of Venus, for example, stood in a different traditional context
with the Greeks, who made it an object of veneration, than with
the clerics of the Middle Ages, who viewed it as an ominous
idol. Do to the means of reproduction the statue of Venus was
given a new meaning and understanding. As shown the Greeks
associated the statue with feelings of great respect whereas the
clerics associated it with that of unpleasantness. In addition this
allows a new lens to be created that ultimately encourages the
deterioration of this works original use value and aura.

In addition Benjamin also brings up another interesting
point between exhibition and cult value which are the two
plains in which art is looked at. Cult value is the value that the
work is originally intended for. Whereas exhibition value is the
value in which art is exhibited or shown in different light.
Benjamin further explains this argument with another example
using a high priest and statue. The sacred statue of God is only
permitted to be seen by the high priest and no other preserving
its cult value or original intended use. This is done to reduce
the amount of emancipation not allowing the cult value to be
drowned out by the exhibition value. By limiting the amount
of people that have access to the sacred statue, this prohibits
the exhibition of the work. Therefor by prohibiting exhibition
the amount of reproduction, or alternate understandings is
drastically reduced.

The mural Life is Beautiful is open to a variety of
different skepticism. The placement of the mural in a very
public setting, on a busy main street, allows the exhibition
value to drown out the cult value. In consequence many people
have access to this work and create many different
reproductions, and lenses or understandings different from the
original. Although there is the use of two iconic persons,
Einstein and Gandhi that add meaning to the work, they are
usually overlooked. However one piece of the work seems to
stand out most. The phrase Life is Beautiful. The bold white
phrase seems to be under the most speculation and has been
affected most by the means of reproduction.

The original meaning of the phrase Life is Beautiful
was simple, Thierrys original meaning behind it was positivity
as explained in his video Mr. Brainwash: Life is Beautiful
Philosophy. However the phrase then took on a commercial
value, one to advertise his art show. The mural was placed in a
public setting in order to gain popularity, which it did.
However through this process the artwork obtained different
meanings rather than its original being positivity. The phrase
Life is Beautiful has now taken association with the modern
graffiti art world. Due to the reproduction of this phrase in
many artists works, it has become a popular graffiti statement.
In addition to the original meaning of the work being
drowned out by the amount of exhibition its been exposed to,
the aura has also been deteriorated by reproduction as well.
This piece has been reproduced in numerous amounts of ways
from clothing to simple art posters. As said before the phrase
Life is Beautiful has taken association to the graffiti art
world and is now being used a means of profit. Clothing has
also adopted the phrase as a fashion statement to some extent,
and has the phrase being printed on different pieces of clothing.
In addition it is photographed, and reprinted onto posters or
canvas to be sold and displayed as the buyer pleases. With the
amount of reproduction being committed to this piece the work
begins to lose its aura and original meaning. Since the art is
easily accessible the aura and authenticity of the work is
removed and is replaced with the different lenses created by the
reproduction and exhibition of the work.

The use of exhibition and reproduction on Life is
Beautiful has allowed different lenses in which its viewed to
be created. Public exhibition of Life is Beautiful has allowed
different audiences to associate it with different meanings
depending on the context in which its viewed. In addition the
overall reproduction of the work has deteriorated its aura and
authenticity by allowing its audience to view it out of its
original context. Just as the statue of Venus, this mural had an
original meaning that was later to be changed by its audience. I
believe that Benjamins arguments are strongly exemplified
through this mural and can be with any publicly or reproduced
piece of work.


Celeste Restrepo

I write to not forget what is happening in my head. To be able to
express myself through words instead of having my words vanish
into thin air. For a sense of relief so no ones knows my deepest
darkest secrets beside myself. Writing is my way of escaping all my
horrible thoughts that Ive ever had or my happiest thoughts that I
did not want to share. Not because I dont want to tell my friends and
family but because when I write I feel no judgment. Except the way I
judge myself. Papers, essays, and articles are not my strong suit I
dont even know where to begin probably because there is so much
pressure on what I am going to write about. I know thats the point in
school for you to learn exactly how to write and the structure of
Thats what scares me the most I dont like knowing if I did
it wrong or not I just want to be proud of the work I did. My writing
style is more free versed I guess you can say, I dont like feeling
confined in what I do. Writing should be a way to express yourself
not a death sentence. I have discovered that my writing grows as I
grow. The more I know the better it is for my writing, so all the
experiences that I have gone through or know about make me a
better writer overall.


Jake Hagen

Writing is important to everyone whether we realize it
or not. It is used to collect our thoughts and organize them on
paper. By physically seeing our own thoughts on paper we are
better able to recognize how our brain works and how we can
transfer our thoughts to words.
I write to express myself. Writing helps me to put my
words out there in the real world physically on paper rather
than crowding my mind with words and ideas. In a way writing
is more authentic because it requires revising and rewriting in
order to get your best argument out there. This authenticity
cannot be expressed verbally because anything can be said
without really thinking about it first.
My writing seems to constantly change back and forth.
One day I will make an outline of each paragraph and what I
want to put in each before I write, but other times I will just
write and edit at the end. When I make an outline, it takes less
time to edit because each paragraph is separated into what I
want in each paragraph and already organized. When I just
begin to write however, I feel that my writing gets better as I
go on rather than having a specific idea for each paragraph and
sticking to that idea only. The beginning of my essay may be
weaker when I just start writing randomly, but then as my
essay length increases so does my development in my thoughts
and words.
Writing is a way of understanding. However what we
understand depicts what we write and how we interpret it. If I
dont understand what I am writing about, how am I supposed
to write a well thought out paper? For research essays I have to
look up the history behind the prompt in order for me to fully
understand what I am writing about and to gather information
so I have something to write about.
As a writer myself, quiet time is needed to fully dive
into my thoughts and understand what I want to say. The
environment where I write actually influences my writing
habits as well. I need a clean quiet work place to do my very
best work. When I am in a messy and loud environment, my
writing often seems jumbled up.
Writing is used every day of our lives whether we
realize it or not. It is how we communicate with one another
and now with technology advancing as fast as it is we are
writing more and more using social media and texting to
instantly send one another quick, short, essay-like phrases. This
is why I find writing so important because it is being so
apparent in our day to day lives.


Selina Salazar
I write because I have a voice, and I want someone to
listen to what I have to say. I write because I want to be able to
understand what others are trying to say, not just listen. Writing
is powerful, it is a way we are able to express ourselves. It is a
form of art that people can understand without much trouble. I
write because I have too many things to say, sometimes I dont
find the words to put on paper but I do find a way to share my
voice. Many forget how important writing is, it makes up for
those who refuse to listen. Other risk their lives just to be able
to read and write, so I try not to take my freedom to write for
granted, because writing is essential.
Before coming to a university they made writing a
competition, if you were not good then it was not valid. They
took my ability as having no value to them, in which I did not
even bother putting much effort in my writing. And now I am
here, perusing a high degree and trying to master this
significant tool to understand the world a little better. Writing
was forced on to me where I used to write to get a point across,
any point, it wasnt until recent where I learned to get my point
across. No one took my view seriously until now. I have
learned that I am important and what I write is a part of me. As
a whole we need to show people that their story can be heard
even if it is a short one, because writing is crucial.
I might not be the best in expressing myself, but I try
while others dont. And that is a problem. I am the lazy writer
where I dont feel like going back to see if I made myself clear
because I am clear to myself. But that has to stop! I need to be
clear with myself and to other because then how will people
ever understand me? I dont want to be heard I want people to
pay attention because writing is influential.

Elizabeth Balkian

I write because it is my way to express myself without
talking. Writing is important to me because sometimes I dont
want to say something out loud, so Ill write it down instead.
My writing style is the way I talk. My writing is as though I
am having a conversation with the reader. What I discovered
about my writing process is, I am the type that brainstorms first
then I begin to write. Its just like I always think before I
speak, I think before I write.
I write to relate or to reach out to a reader. I write an essay to
get my point across as effectively as possible. I cant talk to
someone for hours about one topic because theyll probably get
bored. So I write an essay to get things off my mind about a
topic and to persuade readers about a topic. I write to get
readers to see my point of view.
I write to make the reader laugh. I used to take a
creative writing class and I would always write comic strips in
that class. My teacher told me that I was one of the funniest
people hes ever met. Some people in class were shocked
because Im usually a shy and quiet student. I like to write to
show who I really am and what I think about inside. I cant say
a joke out of the blue because others may find it rude or
offensive, so I will keep it inside and write it down.
Writing is important for people to teach, to explain, to
persuade, to describe, to vent, to argue, to make peace, to show
creativity, to show intelligence, to show who you really are or
to hide who you really are. Just like how a guitarist sings
through his/her riffs, a writer talks though his/her writing.

Justin Maciel

The reasons why I write vary
depending on the circumstance in
which I do. How I determine the
subject and reasoning of my writing
depends on how I begin my thought
process, which is then determined
by the context at hand. Writing is
both systematic and unsystemic.
There may be situations where you
must simply express all thoughts on
a piece of paper in order to pull out
key ideas that you may find criticall
to one of your papers. On the other
hand there may be situations where you must be very specific
and critical with your ideas and the acumulation of to many
ideas may become troublesome. The key point to being a
succesful writier is to be critical to your audience. I must
always think about the topic of my paper and think how I can
make it critical to my audience before I write. In addition, I
must also think of other factors that come into role such as
genre, if I need evidence, the rhetoric triangle, and etc. Think
of writing as a puzzle, little compenants such as grammer,
wording, evidence, and genre are the pieces to it. These small
pieces may be hard at first to fit, but in the long run make the
larger picture, your work. Although I do make writing sound a
little systematic it is far from that.
I have learned many different tactics to finding what to
write about and how to go about it. The diverse amount of
ideas I have written about have also enabled me to write
more effeciantly. What I mean is not every paper written
should be the same, there are different kinds such as
argumentative, narative, and anylysis. These are only but a
few that I have encoutered. Each type of essay is completley
different in its own way, but are also the same. An example
would be writing an argumentative paper, this would be to
pursuade your audience of an argument you are trying to
make. However narrative has nothing to do with argument,
instead you are trying to pursuade your audaince of a story
you have created. Although these genres do depend on
different aproaches the core concepts are almost the same.
This why it is important to be exposed to different types of
I write for the reasons above. Being able to tie
together ideas despite their differences allows you to think
outside the box. You enable yourself to look through lenses
you couldnt if you havent been exposed to different ideas.
The exposure I received through writing about different
critical topics lets me critically think about any idea.


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