Monday, August 31, 2009

school daze

i am now officially an eighth grader! i get the honor of sitting in the very back of the bus (even though i don't see why that's so special)... we're the kings of the school! since we switch off days having periods 1, 2, 4, 6 (even days) and periods 1, 3, 5, 7 (odd days), i only met half of my teachers today. science with ms. bazizl, history with mr. wesley, spanish with senora sloan, and honors geometry with mrs. xourias. it all started off easy... no homework, no classwork, just the regular "get to know each other games," and going over the rules which was so very boring.

what i found strange was that in US history, with mr. wesley, we have to do a daily warm up... on grammar. yes grammar. it looked familiar from english class last year, but i mean, come on. it's history! then i heard that he grades 10% of our writing by grammar.

then came honors geometry. right when we got there, it was like, pull out the journals!!! and mrs. xourias just starts talking super fast, i am just sitting there scribbling like crazy; arm cramp!!

beatriz atsavapranee

Sunday, August 30, 2009

last of the lazy summer days

friday was the first time i touched my backpack since the last day of school. why? because school starts tomorrow. you see, i love school (except for the learning part). so, that's a problem. but i'm excited to be with my friends again. at my middle school, you only have classes with people on your team (there are 3 teams per grade). so on friday, i texted, emailed, imed, and called my friends to find out what team they were on... and surprisingly the majority of my friends are on my team! i'm just not so thrilled about the tests and homework. you'll be hearing from me tomorrow, about the first day of school!

click to enlarge!

i can relate to sally. i'm not the "going-to-school type" either.

beatriz atsavapranee

Friday, August 28, 2009

elany funtza booba

ella is developing this very interesting language called "ella language." very creative name, i know. she has made up three words with their definitions. the first word she came up with was:

n. a special word in ella language that means poop

but then, she thought about it...
ella- what if that is someones name? maybe we should change it to ello or something.
- but that's really close to ella
- ...ok, i guess we will keep it as elany
- you're just making up words!
ella- yeah, that's just how ella language goes. hmm... can i tell you another word in ella language? wait a sec... i'm a lil rusty, even though i talk to myself in ella language.

funtza adj. that means very cool and awesome. synonyms: ella

when ella read the blog above before i published this, she says, "i'm only rusty because i have to talk in normal language. my family thinks i'm unsocial, but really, i'm very social in ellaland when i'm speaking ella language."

by the way, i just sent this blog to my friend amanda while writing, and when my friend amanda called ella an elany... ella adds the word booba to her ella language dictionary in order to say "booba elany."

booba adj. giant, big, and enormous

beatriz atsavapranee

p.s. i have a feeling that ella only made up this "ella language" today

Monday, August 24, 2009

the many things you have yet to learn about ella

hey everyone!

the blog you are about to read is all and only about my very interesting 8-year-old sister, ella. here's what she has to say about being on my blog.

here is what ella is all about...

1. corkyland

i bet ella's cork collection can beat all the cork collections out there, and she would like to give a big thanks to our daddy for contributing all those corks (with a few corks worth of help from our grandpa). yesterday, during dinner, my dad gave ella another cork, so we decided to dump all the corks out of the bag and count them. strangely, the one day we decided to count them, there were exactly 300 corks. she's planning on making a raft out of them, sooner or later.

2. her favorite phrase

ella's favorite thing to say is "back off!!" it's not so much aggressive, as it is funny. the first time she ever said that, was when our whole family went swing dancing for the first time. first, we took the class before dancing. and ella explains her aggravation at someone trying to help her with her dancing. you should hear her explain it.

3. material girl

ella, i must say, is a complete fashionista. for those of you who know her, you already know this. i mean, seriously... look at that pose with the sunglasses! everything she is wearing in that pic, and almost everything in her closet, is from her favorite store: justice.

and today, when we were out at marshalls with my grandma and grandpa, she saw this jacket, and she made this face which you just have to see for yourself.

4. camerama

ever since ella got one of those polaroid cameras for christmas, we occasionally turn on the camera... and see 20 pictures of our cat, violet, in as many different poses as ella can force her into. usually she takes pictures (this is straight from the source) until "violet runs away, or [i] need to go to the bathroom." and she still uses that polaroid camera, that's in the picture, even though she could use the digital one. she likes that "it has a pretty frame kind of, and it's fun to pull out the picture." watch this completely candid video of ella fighting with her camera, as ella says, "in a totally not weird way." (turn your sound up all the way, and listen very closely at the end... it's the best part!)

5. "i'm feeling the yo-yo ma-ness!"

so ella likes cello. i'm not saying that she has ever touched a cello, other than in the shop, but she still likes cello. ella says "cause it's close to ello and ello is close to ella." she contemplated what instrument she wanted to play for a long time. she didn't want a "blowing" instrument, so she chose from strings. not only does she like cello, but she also likes yo-yo ma. a lot. we had one of his cd's, and she would listen to it over and over again. eventually, we had listened to all the songs way too many times so my mom offered to get her some new cd's. when she turns up the yo-yo ma music (very loudly, i must say) she always says "i'm feeling the yo-yo ma-ness!!!!"


a few
of ella's greatest moments, well at least the ones caught on camera:

1. the newest addidion to the jets

a while ago, we were watching the movie, "west side story." my mom and ella thought it would be fun to snap along with the jets, just to torment me. you see, i can not and never will be able to snap (or whistle). ella can do both, but she can't wink and i can! check out ella's amazing impersonation of the jets.

2. random cracking up

today, when we were at the chinese grocery store, on errands with my grandma and grandpa, ella randomly started to crack up.

i hope ella gave you some good laughs... :)

beatriz atsavapranee

Thursday, August 20, 2009

surfin california (vid)

this is a video of me surfing at surf camp in california with my awesome cousin allison! :) this was meant to be in my blog entry called, "surf and turf," but the video wasn't on the computer yet... so then i was going to put it in the blog called, "surfin usa (pix)," but the video still wasn't on the computer. so here it is! finally!

don't i just look so amazingly cool at the end? i know, i know.

beatriz atsavapranee

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

surfin usa (pix)

here are the pictures of me surfing that i promised in my last blog, "surf and turf." make sure to click on the pics to look at them close up. the faces i make in the last few are... well... you'll see. by the way, thanks uncle michael for taking these pictures!


steps to surfing:

1. be very concentrated as you get up onto the board

2. make a scared face as you attempt not to wipe out

3. stand...

4. celebrate!

surfing bloopers:

1. bea falls on her butt

2. bea is about to fall off the board (my face on this is golden...)

hope you like the pictures!

surf and turf


i am writing this exactly one week since my last blog! wow, i'm not blogging once a year anymore! *cheers in the background*!! summer's almost over *boos in the background*, but it has been an awesome summer! though there are still 2 and quarter more books that they are forcing me to read...

at the very beginning of the summer, i went on a road trip to ottawa, canada with my dance group! and, since i live in maryland, it took over 12 hours. now, whenever traveling takes less than 12 hours, it feels completely short to me. the hotel room had 2 queen beds and one pull out bed. sounds pretty spacey right? but no... we had to squish 7 people onto the beds. but on the plus side, we got a standing ovation at our performance! not bad, eh?

the first camp i went to was a gymnastics camp with my little sister, ella. we did some balancing poses for the parent show on the last day. ella was so good that they should’ve recruited her to a chinese acrobatic act! really should’ve.

the second camp was an outdoor rock climbing camp, on real mountains, which was awesome! it was an hour drive from my house, but there were buses that picked us up. so the whole time, we would sing bus songs! lalala! before the last day, we stayed over night to go camping... and i got over 10 spider bites. man, they take forever to go away.

then, i did an art camp with ella. we made so many things in one week. but, considering how much of a perfectionist i am... i'm surprised that i finished most of the projects! last year, when i went to the camp, i was still working on the first thing on the second to last day. things i made: color wheel (i had to draw long arcs by hand), paper mache penguin (a really fat penguin in the shape of a ball), fake fossils with leaf and shell imprints and a clay tile that i decorated to look like the beach... since it's summer!

i also did a music camp that i love. it was my 3rd year there. i was in the advanced orchestra, which was actually sort of sad because they sounded worse than the regular orchestra. a really cool part about the camp was the "spirit days." one day was crazy hair day, and so i decided to go full out. i bet you're wondering how i got my hair to be like that. i actually put a bottle in it. yes, it hurt... a lot. i came into orchestra rehearsal a few minutes late, walking behind everyone. right then, the conductor called my name for attendance. everyone turned around and were totally surprised (since mostly no one else did anything at all for spirit day. lame, i know). for lunch, we sit outside in front of a giant window where people walk by. and since the camp was at a music school, there were a bunch of tours. and every time the people would walk by, everyone would gawk at me and point.

i am part of the dance company culture shock dc... and the youth programs are mini shock (for ages 8-11) and future shock (for ages 12-17). for the auditions, they taught us a dance. the music was incredible... (by lloyd). and after we knew the dance, they would play the song over and over again until it was our turn to audition. and, i danced it full out every single time they played the music. i was sore. everywhere. but i made it in! :)


we went to california to visit my uncle michael, aunt rosie, and cousins allie and adam. they live close to the beach, so we went to the beach a lot. it was surprising that one day, my dad actually agreed to let me and ella bury him in the sand. ella found out how hard it is to cover his feet with sand.

my cousin allie and i did a surf camp together in the mornings for one week. i thought i would be an epic fail, but i wasn’t that bad! from the parking lot, there was a super long hike to the beach where we were surfing (the word super is dedicated to uncle michael, allie, and adam). my scariest surfing near death experience: i let the surf board sit on the water, and when a wave came, the board shoots upward vertical to the water. i look up, and the spikes of the surfboard are coming straight at my face!! eeks!! luckily, i have super fast reflexes (not really) and shielded myself... safe!

we went to disneyland, where the churros are delicioso! we got there 15 minutes after opening a.k.a 8:15 am, and left after the fireworks at 9:30. wow, over 12 hours at the happiest place on earth! we went on a lot of rides. as you can see, to the right, we love the classic rides, like dumbo! my cousin allison and my sister ella are sitting in the front dumbo, and me and my cousin adam are sitting in the back dumbo. i also went on a bunch of new rides that i wasn't brave enough to go on before like: haunted mansion, indiana jones, and pirates of the caribbean. i ended up liking all of them! my aunt rosie is awesome to go on rides with, because she can tell you the scary parts before they happen!

i saw lots of family on my mom's mom and dad's side. got to meet, no, not elvis presley's daughter, but my 2 and a half year old second cousin! lisa marie! after i introduced the game of ring around the rosie to her... she was a bit obsessed. after every time we did it she would pop up from the ground and say "i want more!" and we had to do it again, and again, and again. and whenever we tried to play a different game, she would just hold our hands.

while my mom's side of the family was visiting my grandma's house in california, we all decided to take a walk to caltech which was very close. at first we were all walking together, but there were so many fountains... which my cousins, my sister and i liked walking and playing in. we got distracted, and eventually we didn't see them anymore. while we were walking, i saw a really ironic sign, and took a picture of it. "absoulutely NO STAPLES OR TAPE use push pins only." but they taped that sign on. i thought it was hilarious.

we went to the park, and there was this one thing that kept us amused for a long time. it's more fun than it seems! first, one pair would rock side to side, while the other would rock front and back. then we would switch. then we would rotate who got each seat. that was probably the thing we spent the most time on at the park. you should try it sometime.

we also went to adventure plex in california. they had an outdoor climbing wall. you could just climb up, or you could climb up on one color. each color was a different difficulty. and so i was doing fine (as you can see in the picture to the right) until the guy out there asked me to try the hardest trail. it was so hard, there was barely anything to hold on to! and the fact that i'm short doesn't help much either. i stood there just trying to get up just a little bit. there wasn't anyone belaying us, it was a thing that let you down every time that you let go. so i would go up a little bit, then fall. go up a little bit, then fall. over and over again. i kept trying, and he was so nice, he added handholds to make it easier. and eventually he belayed me so i wouldn't have to go down every single time. i made it!!!! (after an hour of trying, but lets not think about that part).

if you read my "curled by cousins" blog 2 years ago, you would know that my first cousin once removed, kevin, who's now in london, could curl ella when she weighed 35 pounds. now, she is 50 pounds and he can still curl her!

school starts in less than 2 weeks *tear*, need to finish the work they gave us... it's bad to be behind on homework before school even starts. i better get to it.

check back later, i'll try to add some pics of me surfing!

beatriz atsavapranee

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

i don't think the banana really helps

ever wonder what an all-county orchestra audition in montgomery county, maryland is like? well you're in luck. i looked for this information on the web last fall for my violin audition and found nada! zip! zilch! so insider information right here to help my fellow stringers.

what you play for the auditions: they assign you 3 excerpts a few months ahead of time that are posted on the maryland music educators association website. last year the excerpts for violin were, the reformation symphony, which is technically difficult, an exercise from the 2nd wolfhart book, and a largo piece which included a lot of shifting but needed a lot of character. they say you need to buy the books, but nobody checked if we had the books at the auditions. just a money saving tip for you.
you also have to prepare scales. they want you to practice up to 3 sharps and up to 3 flats with arpeggios, but they only choose one for you to play.
then, there's a sight reading portion. there is a few lines of sightreading that you have to play, which isn't technically difficult, but has some tricky rhythms and a simple shift to 3rd position.

the process: the all county auditions are blind, so go ahead and wear your ratty sweats. but with nice shoes (since you are behind a screen which shows your feet). you'll be given a time window to be at the audition, but you should get there 30-45 min earlier so you can be higher up in the queue for audition order. after you sign in, you go into a big room where 40-50 people are practicing. you have to practice at the same time as them. they have a big screen where they project the audition numbers of who is going next. they project the numbers in groups and by instruments. when they project your number on the screen, you go up to the front of the room where someone leads you and the others to the audition rooms. there are 3 different rooms. when you get to the rooms there are people lined up outside each of the rooms waiting to go in and audition. one of the rooms is sight reading and scales. one is the 2 shorter excerpts and one is the long excerpt. posted outside of the excerpt audition rooms are the sheet music marked with brackets showing what they would like you to play. you can choose which room you want to go into first. when you get into the audition room, you don't speak at all and the judge doesn't speak at all. you only whisper with the judge's helper when you get into the room who will give you cues to play etc. in the excerpt rooms, they already have the music there, but you can use your own music since it has your markings on it.

some advice:in the practice room, you might hear people who play better than you, but you should try not to listen to them because it will psych you out. for example, i heard someone playing one song faster than i had practiced it. and i thought, i'm playing it too slow. in my audition, i ended up speeding up, and messing up. while you aren't playing, you might want to listen to music through headphones... it worked for michael phelps!

during the sightreading portion, give yourself 20-30 seconds to look through the music. don't feel rushed, it doesn't affect your score. spending those seconds will pay off.

during the scales, don't play too fast or too slow. play them at a walking pace. the judges have listened to a lot of scales before yours, so playing them painfully slow won't help.

don't be too nervous...have you ever heard that eating a banana makes you less nervous? well, it sort of does, but it doesn't get rid of the nerves at all. don't be too nervous because, while at the auditions, my mom calculated the chances of getting in. there were about 70 people auditioning for violin, and there were about 35-40 people who made it in. the chances of you getting into the orchestra is more than half! just practice and don't be nervous!

all state orchestra auditions
the all state audition process is very similar to all county, and there are the same excerpts and requirements. the only thing is that it is harder to get into (ex: i made it into all county and not all state), and they are not blind! so dress nice!

please post comments if you have any extra helpful tips or questions! good luck with your audition!


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