Grade 9 English Lesson 40

Today I assessed Kourdakov’s book. I also had to write a 500 word essay.

Today I will write an essay on the following topic. Which is most important in writing dialogue from memory: accuracy, succinctness, or liveliness? Why? This answer might vary between people, so my answer to it is my opinion.

I’m gonna get straight to the point here and say that I think succinctness is most important in writing dialogue from memory. I think so because, if you focus on accuracy, people won’t remember a lot of the details and reading the book might become a chore. If you focus on liveliness, then I feel like people will forget like it actually happened, and read the book like it’s a novel. However if you focus on succinctness, you can be accurate to a certain extent, and keep their attention. So there’s your 30 second answer.

That answer was assuming you wanted a hybrid between accuracy and having people actually read it. Some people just put all the facts of the matter, because it’s more important to them that they get the details right. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. My thinking is just that the details don’t matter if no one wants to read them. There are always people who go really deep into the details, but those people generally don’t make up that much of readers.

If you make the dialogue lively, it might appeal better to the reader, which is definitely a good thing. In fact you might probably want to make the dialogue lively as compared to long and tedious. But the reason I don’t think the most important thing is to make your dialogue lively is because I think it might make people forget that such dialogue actually happened. That is assuming Dr. North was referring to autobiographies with the question. I don’t want people to read it as if it were a novel, I don’t mind if they’re entertained by reading in, in fact I would like that, but I feel it is important to keep to reality.

Succinctness can be described as expressing your ideas accurately and precisely in a few words.  So it’s being really accurate with the details, but it’s not long enough to bore the person to death. It’s a nice middle ground. Just enough detail for those who want it, and just enough entertainment to keep them there.

There’s my opinion on what more important in terms of writing dialogue from memory. You don’t need anything that detailed, it just needs to be accurate and short.

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Grade 9 Business Lesson 140

     Today I learned about WordPress Posts, Pages and Menus. Basically he goes through exactly what I’m going right now, making posts. He also goes through customizing the website. The video is from 2016, so a lot of things have changed since then.

Grade 9 Drawing Assignments #1-3

Today I will show you my first three assignments of my drawing class. These are from a book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. This book focuses not on teaching you how to draw, but on teaching you how to shift from using the left side of the brain to the right. “Well,” you say, “what does this have to do with drawing?” Well, lots actually. She describes the left side of your brain as “verbal” and “analytic,” and tells you that it’s not really good for drawing. The right side of the brain is more “visual” and better suited for drawing and perception. Unlocking the ability to switch from the left side of your brain to the right while great for drawing, can be useful in many other places. Places which I have yet to find out about.

That’s because I’m still locked in left brain mode. I haven’t learned much yet, in fact, the first three drawing assignments are just to act as “before” pictures on the wall. As you will see, I’m not that bad, according to me. But I didn’t chose this course so I could wow people with my amazing talent, and much less as a career. However what I do want out of it, is to see things in an entirely different way.

The first assignment was to draw my face. For these first three assignments I drew two drawings, not because I have to, but because, honestly the first one sucked (according to me). I will only show the picture which I found satisfactory, but I can tell you what the first version looked like. This is a bit chubby for me, but I did it that way because the first one was too thin. Anyways here it is. p1120656.jpg

I bet you think I’ve already completed the course, I swear I haven’t. But it’s really amazing how much you can improve by doing things a second time. The first version looked a lot skinnier, really to sum it up, it was a Latino version of me.

The second assignment was to draw my hand. I struggled to make it as large as possible. P1120657

Again, second try. The first try wasn’t bad, just it was too small to tell if it was good.

And the third assignment was to draw a corner of my room. I chose the side with the door in it because two others were too complicated (the corner with my desk, and the other with my bed), and the other had a mirror, which I have no idea how to draw. This assignment did as it should’ve. It caught me off my guard. How so? Well you see, drawing my face I learned that the best way to tackle things is to start from the inside (with the eyes). Drawing an outline of the face, you would struggle to fit everything in at the right place. With the corner of the room, I tried starting at the doorknob. But I ended up drawing it too big each time. Here the best strategy is to draw the outlines first, because, the door is a rectangle, and the rest are lines. Of course, as evident below, straight lines are hard to draw without a ruler. p1120658-e1524640656260.jpg

It’s obvious to see the quality drop from the first two drawings, but my mom convinced me to get it done with a sketch (I tried putting a high amount of detail in a drawing that would take up a whole page). Also that thing in the left of the drawing is part of a chair.

All the drawings from now on will be training me towards my goal.

P.S sorry, I tried lighting up the drawings as much as I could.

Grade 9 English Lesson 39

Today I learned about Kourdakov, Part 16, Chapter 20. Chapter 20: Search for a New Life

  1. He trains for his escape: weights.
  2. After 6 months, he has only 5 days to escape.
  3. They enter Canadian waters.
  4. He must attempt it immediately.
  5. He leaps into the water.

    That morning of September 4, 1971, dawned raw and blustery over the village, a small settlement at the edge of the sea, on the Pacific side of Queen Charlotte Island. Most of the villagers work in mines in that area. A woman whose home faced the sea, about sixty feet away, went to make a phone call at 8:30 A.M. and looked out her window. It was most unusual that she would be there that day. I was told that
    almost any other day she would have been at her job; but she had stayed home that day. She looked down toward the sea and saw a surprising sight. She saw me stagger up from the beach, half naked, exhausted, and bleeding from the cuts. She phoned for help and I was taken to the hospital. The doctor said I had a cardiac irregularity from exertion and was in and out of a very deep sleep for several hours. (p. 182)

    With my strength coming back, I took more interest in my surroundings. One day an immigration official and in interpreter took me out of the prison hospital and drove me around Prince Rupert. My eyes almost popped out as I looked at the cars and nice homes. I guess I was staring at them. He said, “This is where the people live.”
    “Who, capitalists and businessmen?” I asked.
    He laughed and said, “No, just the plain, working people.”
    Well, I wasn’t falling for that! This is a real propaganda tour, Sergei.
    Don’t believe it. (p. 183)

    Later, they brought me a photographic magazine to look at. Its name was something like Interior Design Made Easy. It was really beautiful, full of pictures of mirrors, chairs, beds, carpets, and beautiful homes with expensive furniture. Aha! This is a special magazine printed by the government to trick me!
    I had been raised suspecting everything to be propaganda and had come to learn never to believe the government. I was out of communism; but communism, with its suspicion and distrust, wasn’t out of me. (pp. 183-184)

    Every day I sensed growing strength and I began to look ahead. Then suddenly, with almost no warning, just as my hopes were highest, I received news which left me reeling in confusion, fear, and bewilderment: I might be handed back to the Russians.
    The next day a special plane flew me to Vancouver, where I was placed in the Vancouver Central Jail. My dream of freedom, a new life, and finding something to truly believe in was on the verge of being shattered into a million hopeless pieces. How? Why? (p. 184)

  6. He was taken from his cell at 2 AM.
  7. He was put in an unmarked police car.
  8. They flew him to Montreal. [“Moreal”]
  9. In Vancouver, a radio show announced his abduction by the authorities.
  10. The story hit parliament.
  11. The authorities could not hand him back.
  12. He was warned to stay quiet by a French separatist group.
  13. He moved to Toronto after learning English.
  14. He met with a pastor in a Ukrainian church.

    “Let’s pray,” he said.
    As we prayed, something happened in my life—something definite, concrete, and positive. I felt the change. I felt the peace of God inside me. I felt my long, long search and yearning was over. I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, and He began living inside me. I was born anew that wonderful day, and finally the restlessness, the emptiness, the harshness, and the void in my life was filled by Jesus Christ. How wonderful I felt! To know that now I, too, was a Believer, right alongside Natasha, Pastor Litovchenko, and the other Believers I had persecuted! Now I was one of them! (p. 191)

  15. They gave him a Russian Bible – like the ones he had confiscated.

    Then one day I came out of the Dundas West subway station in Toronto and walked toward my rooming house. Feeling I was being followed, I stopped and turned around abruptly. There stood three powerfully built men. One of them spoke in perfect Russian, saying, “If you know what is good for you, Kourdakov, you will keep silent and say nothing more. If you open your mouth, you will have a ‘final
    accident.’ Remember, you have been warned.” (p. 192)

    The soul of the great Russian people is not dead. It has not suffocated under an alien, godless, sterile ideology. It will not, so long as there are men like Alexander Solzhenitsyn, women like Natasha Zhdanova, and millions of others like them in whom the spark of faith and decency has not died out. Indeed, in thousands of secret churches and in millions of lives across Russia today, that flicker of faith glows brightly, the commitment to biblical principles grows stronger, strengthened by the brutal ordeal of suffering. And one day those millions of flickering candles of faith and decency may burst forth and merge into one gigantic flame of faith. (p.193)

    To Mrs. Litovchenko, the paralyzed wife of the pastor whom we killed that Sunday afternoon along the Elizovo River: I wish to tell you that I am sorry, more than you can ever know.
    To Nina Rudenko, the beautiful little teen-age girl whose life was ruined by my attack group, I ask, please forgive us.

    And, finally, to Natasha, whom I beat terribly and who was willing to be beaten a third time for her faith, I want to say, Natasha, largely because of you, my life is now changed and I am a fellow Believer in Christ with you. I have a new life before me. God has forgiven me; I hope you can also.
    Thank you, Natasha, wherever you are. I will never, ever forget you!

Publisher’s note

On January 1, 1973, he died instantly from a shot from this gun. Though news of his death was first carried internationally as a suicide, this possibility was soon ruled out.
An inquest was held and on March 1, 1973, his death was ruled to be an accident.
On that very day, Sergei would have been twenty-two. (p. 194)

What to conclude from this?

  1. He had to make a life-and-death decision.
  2. He survived the swim.
  3. He survived the other challenges.
  4. He thanked his victims at the end.
  5. The old woman’s prayer was answered.

Grade 9 Business Lesson 139

Today I learned about WordPress Themes, Plugins and Widgets. So on WordPress, there are many free themes available. You just have to click on themes to access them. The majority of the video talked about plugins. Plugins are basically ad-ons that make the website better, like making it simpler to use, making the URL shorter, and giving you the ability to copy posts. Then there are widgets. Widgets are pre-coded things like search bars and side bars.

Grade 9 English Lesson 38

Today I learned about Kourdakov, Part 15, Chapter 19. Chapter 19: The Last Raid

Quickly I was back at the raids. The small groups of Believers consisted largely of young people. During interrogations, they reported that they had recently become Believers. Nikiforov was very concerned, and the deluge of directives from Moscow continued, with alarm. (p. 170)

There was no easing up or sympathy from me during these raids. In fact, because I was dissatisfied and ill at ease I was testier than ever. I was sharp and curt with my men and with the Believers. The last raids I led were the most vicious of all. Something was compelling me, driving me. I did not understand what it was, and I took out my frustrations and hostilities on any who crossed my path.

Nikiforov wants a tape of their prayers.

Coming closer, we found Yuri at work. His tape recorder was running and he had taped
the muffled voices of other Believers in prayer during the past ninety minutes. These prayers would be heard again and again in Moscow. They would help the state study the Believers’ attitudes and thoughts, in order to oppose them more effectively. (p. 171)

Vladimir Zelenov reached and grabbed a Bible from a Believer, ripping it apart. One of the women cried out, “Why? Why do you do that?” It was a hurt, deep cry, but it irritated Vladimir, and he smashed her full in the face. It was a professional, well-aimed blow that would have flattened any man, much less a frail little woman. She flew back against the other Believers and crumpled to the floor, her face bleeding. (p. 172)

I saw an old woman near the wall, fear on her face, lips trembling in prayer. I couldn’t hear what she was saying because of the noise. Her praying infuriated me and I raised my club to hit her. She suddenly saw me poised, ready to strike, and she prayed loudly. I listened for a second to her prayer, more out of curiosity than anything. As my arm
was raised, ready to lower my club on her defenseless head, I heard her words: “God, forgive this young man. Show him the true Way. Open his eyes and help him. Forgive him, dear God.” (p. 172)

I was stunned. Why doesn’t she ask help for herself instead of me? She’s the one about to be finished off. I was angered that she, a nobody, would be praying for me, Sergei Kourdakov, a leader of the Communist Youth League. In a flash of rage, I gripped my club tighter and prepared to smash it against her head. I was going to hit her with all my might, enough to kill her. I started to swing. Then the strangest thing happened to me. I can hardly describe it. Someone grabbed my wrist and jerked it back. I was startled. It was hurting. It was not imaginary. It was a real squeezing on my wrist until it actually hurt. I thought it was a Believer, and I turned around to hit him. But there was no one there!

I looked back. Nobody could have grabbed my arm. And yet, somebody had grabbed me! I still felt the pain. I stood there in shock. The blood rushed to my head. I felt hot as fright swept over me. This was beyond me. It was confusing, unreal. Then I forgot everything.
Dropping my club, I ran out, with the blood rushing to my head and a hot, flushed feeling in my face. Tears began flowing down my cheeks. (p. 172)

  1. He later tells Nikiforov he is quitting.
  2. He realizes he cannot quit.
  3. He is challenged by Youth League Members.
  4. He cites the constitution.

    “Comrades,” I said, “I have been an activist and leader since the Octobrianiks at age eight. I have served the party well and will continue to serve it well. But I have studied the party guidebook and the constitution of the USSR. It says we are brothers with all men. So I can’t beat them. No, I did not beat the religiozniki last time. According to our teaching, they are my brothers. How could I beat my brothers? How can I continue doing that? Of course, we have a problem with
    these Believers, but it does not direct us to beat and cripple them—“ (p. 174)

    The chairman cut me off sharply. “Comrade Sergei,” he said, “you have been the finest youth leader to pass through the naval academy in years. You are still very young with much to learn. These religiozniki are not our brothers! They are like murderers. They kill the spirits of our children. They cripple people with their poisonous beliefs. We must rid our country of these people. This seeming pity for these people is an infection, nothing less! These Believers are the ones who
    are disturbing our people and causing troubles. They force our government to spend huge amounts of money fighting them, money which should go toward building our country and helping our people. These people working from the inside can hurt us by undermining the faith of our people in communism and replacing it with a faith in some imaginary Jesus Christ.” (p. 175)

    He went on, his voice increasing in shrillness. Then quickly his voice softened. “You are a Communist youth leader. When we are rid of these people, this kind of work will not be necessary.” The way the Believers speak their faith to others, I’ll be dead and in my grave first!
    “Our Central Committee and the Politburo have given us this work to do and we must do it,” the chairman told me. (p. 175)

    Nikiforov calls him in.

    “You’re just the kind of man we need. The police needs you more than the navy. Here’s what we are prepared to do,” he said, nodding to Azarov. “We’ll jump your rank from second lieutenant to full lieutenant now. We’ll send you to the party police academy in Tomsk.” This was a famous, elite, KGB academy. Most of Russia’s top police officers came from there. Graduates of Tomsk were marked for the highest positions in the Soviet police system. (p. 176)

    Nikiforov went on, citing my “special experience” with Believers and saying that at Tomsk I would be trained as a specialist in dealing with Believers. I well knew what that meant. My head was spinning. The Tomsk Academy! Only a Russian knows what a career advancement that was. Just look at Azarov. Only around thirty and already a major in the KGB! And I could do even better than Azarov. I knew that. After a year at Tomsk I would be graduated and upgraded from lieutenant to captain, then from captain to major. By the time I was twenty-five, in four years, I knew I could easily be a major in the secret police, in charge of dealing with Believers. From there, there was no limit to how high I could go. Life can be very good for people who blindly serve the system. I had already seen that. I could have a car, a cottage, plenty of money. (p. 176)

    “Comrade Kourdakov,” Azarov said ominously and slowly, “the state has a big investment in you—a big investment—and we expect much from you. Don’t forget it!” I knew what Azarov was saying. I was on the hook and would never get off. I thanked them both again and left. I went back to the naval academy, lost in thought.
    Most career officers would have given their right arm to get the offer I just had. For nearly all my life, my driving motto had been, “Go ahead! Go ahead!” Now here was the greatest break of my life. But it seemed hollow. I knew in my heart I could never be a servant of the system which had killed my father and turned me into a hardened animal, beating women and harmless Believers. (pp. 176-177)

    If I said yes, I would be a tool of the state to persecute the Believers. Nikiforov had already made it clear that I was marked for that kind of work. There was no question. I couldn’t do it.
    A few days later, I told Nikiforov my decision. He sputtered and said, “Go get a few months of life at sea with the fish; and when you get back, we’ll have another talk.”
    I then realized the KGB wouldn’t leave me alone until I agreed. “When you get back . . . ” Those words rang in my ears. I knew in my heart I would not be coming back—not to that. (p. 177)

  5. He goes to sea as a submarine officer: radio.
  6. He is transferred to a trawler.
  7. The trawler heads to the Los Angeles area.

What to conclude from this?

  1. Once initiated into the secret police, there was no way out.
  2. They had lured him in with money.
  3. The money would keep coming in as he rose in the hierarchy.
  4. He wanted out anyway.
  5. He would have to risk his life to escape.

Grade 9 Business Lesson 138

Today I learned about installing WordPress. Let’s take a quick look at cPanel, In Motion Hosting’s control panel. The control panel is where you can keep track of:

  • Domains
  • Email
  • File Manager
  • WordPress Installation
  • And much, much more

Then in the video there is a step by step walk-through of how to install WordPress on InMotion Hosting. And after that he goes to his newly created showcase website, a WordPress blog, and shows how to use WordPress.