Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Reading Notes: Ramayana, Part A

It’s evident that men plays an important role in the story. For example, Dasharatha who had three wives but no children, wanted sons to inherit his throne. I would like to change the gender roles so that instead of the king making the choices, it’s the queens. I haven’t thought out how a gender change would affect the story but, I would like to see the change.

When Rama and Sita met, I really appreciated how they were meant to be soul mates because they had ties to a god and goddess. I thought the romance between them was beautiful and would like to keep that part. The part I enjoyed the most was when Rama bent and broke the Bow of Shiva because it further established how godlike and impressive Rama is. I really enjoyed this being a hero story.

As of right now, there isn’t much I want to change except for the execution of the story. The word choice and grammar made the story difficult to understand at some parts. Therefore, I would definitely retell the story so that it’s easy to understand. One more thing that I would change is the part where Dasharatha listens to his wife Kaikeyi. I did not enjoy how Kaikeyi was forcing Dasharatha to banish his beloved son, Rama, or else she would kill herself. Being the wife of a king, I would expect her to have more dignity. While that whole scenario was taking place, I also wanted to know what the other wives were thinking. I wanted to know what their thoughts were because if was one of the other wives, I would be upset. If I were to retell this story, I would definitely include the perspectives of the other wives which brings me to my next point. The whole story was very narrative. I never knew what Rama, Dasharatha, or Lakshmana were thinking about. I wanted to know how they felt in certain parts of the story. Plus, the story rarely talks about the fourth brother, Shatrughna.

“Ramayana Online: Public Domain Edition,” M. Dutt, R, et. al., Web Source

Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana
Source: Ancient History

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Feedback Thoughts

Why Rejection Hurts So Much - And What to do About It

The two important facts I learned from this article were not be self-critical and to look at the positives. Rejection hurts, but it hurts even more because we criticize ourselves. I know that this is one my biggest faults. When things don’t go the way I intend them to, I always blame myself and I take them personally. I was never good at receiving feedback. I remember playing a solo in the 7th grade for a competition where I received a ranking and feedback from the judges. Despite my teacher’s efforts of getting me to read them, I never read their comments. I know I messed up on my playing so I didn’t want to read what they had to say. Now in college where rejection is even more prominent, it still hurts. Although it’s difficult, when I’m rejected a position that I applied for, I still ask for feedback. It’s important to be better than how you were yesterday. In addition to be being critical of ourselves, the little voices in our head become louder. These voices bring negativity that we don’t need especially in time of rejection. Therefore, it’s important to be able to silence them. I know for me it’s difficult to do so especially at night. 
The Pain of Social Rejection 
Source: APA

In addition, the first article explains that our brains are wired so that we feel real emotional pain when rejected. I would always be upset for a while after being rejected while my friend would be upset for a little bit and then be over it. Now I know that’s okay to be upset over rejection; it’s normal. The catch is to not be caught up in the feelings after a while. We have to move on and keep moving forward. Being rejected is a staple feature of life; there’s no way around it. Therefore, we can either let it bring us down, or we can. 

When I was in high school, I used to be on the swim team. I remember not being picked for the dream relay team because of this girl in my class. It was simply because I wasn’t fast enough and that was all the feedback I needed. Everyday, I tried my best to get better and in the next season, I was that relay. Receiving feedback and rejection not only teaches us how to be better, it can also show that  our time will come eventually. 

Topic Brainstorm

Sati and Shiva
I’m interested in this topic particularly because of what happens to Sati. Her father, Daksha, insults her for marrying Shiva which makes Sati feel terrible. Sati ends up killing herself, hoping that when she is reborn, she has a better father. In my story, I would keep the part about Sati but make everything else modern. My goal is to make this story relatable to young adults who has a parental figure similar to Daksha. I have no previous knowledge of this story but I have seen the name Shiva before. 

The Birth of Hanuman 
What interested me about this story was this random woman, Ahalya, had two Gods make love to her in the form of her husband. The fact that at both times, she didn’t know it was a God which I think is hilarious. She ends up having two kids from the Gods. What I would potentially change is instead of having two kids from two different Gods, I’d change is to that Ahalya has twins. In the original story, one baby is potentially from the storm god, while the other is from the sun god. I would make it so that one baby is associated with night and darkness while the other is associated with day and sunlight. I have no prior knowledge of this story.

Ganesha’s Home Life
As I stated in my previous blogs, I’ve always been interested in learning more about Ganesha. In this story, the author explains how Ganesha came to be. His mother, Parvati, was taking a bath and she became bored. The dirt from her started to clump together and she decided to form her son, Ganesha. What I might change about this story is the reason why Ganesha was guarding the door. I might make it so that Parvati was trying on a new dress. I’d also make it so that Parvati was an extremely beautiful women and that the smell of her attracted peeping toms. So as she was trying on a dress, she made Ganesha guard the door from anyone who was trying to look. 

My Own Idea: Karma
In my story, karma would be a more evident and powerful force than it actually is. In real life, there’s a saying that what comes around, goes around. However, at times we never see the justice that should be done on others. In my story, society would be regulated by karma just how real life is regulated by rules and laws. People would be too scared or reluctant to do anything bad to others because karma will get them. I’m trying to create a perfect world where people do the right thing or else they receive bad karma. 

12 Rules of Karma
Source: Org

Monday, January 20, 2020

Reading Notes: Week 2, Anthology

Initially, I wanted to just focus on the plot, but after reading the stories, I also focused in one character. 

The Foolish, Timid Rabbit by Ellen C. Babbitt
For this story, what stuck with me was the lion. When all the animals were running, it was the lion who was the voice of reason and courage. It was his roar that silenced the all the others. The rest of the animals feared him since he was at the top of the food chain. None of the others animals thought to check out where the rabbit slept. In other words, no one else thought for themselves and just followed the crowd. Furthermore, I didn’t expect the story to end so quick; I thought there would be more to the story. For example, I thought that none of the animals would believe the rabbit so quickly. I might change that part of the plot. 

The Turtle and the Geese by Ellen C. Babbitt
The unique feature that I took from this was the sad ending. After reading the brief summary, I was waiting to see why the turtle was foolish. By focusing on the plot, the ending hit me hard because it was so unexpected and an unhappy ending. Using an unexpected ending or maybe an unhappy ending would be a tool I could use to make my story unique and memorable. Similar to the previous one, this story also had a lesson to be learned. I’m not entirely confident that I can explain it correctly so I’ll leave it at that. 

In both of these stories, I would like to include an important lesson behind my plot.

The Feared Lion
Source: Sacred

Week 2 Reading Overview

After looking at both options, I decided that I will read the Public Domain Option for the Ramayana. While both options looked good, the second one had a small summarization of the section. It’s great to have a summarization because I know what to expect. Also, even though each part has several sections, the sections look manageable to read which makes me excited to read. 

The two comic books that I’m interested in reading are Ganesha and Sherpanakha. In the Ganesha story, it explains why Ganesha has an elephant head. Plus the story is really interesting because Ganesha was able to fight off Shiva, Brahma and other gods! Shiva is known as the the Destroyer so being able to prevent her from entering Parvati’s door is extremely impressive. I’ve seen Ganesha several times on the internet so I would love to learn about him. For Sherpanakha, I’m interested in it because it’s about a demoness named Lakshmana who falls in love with Rama. Lakshmana ends up consoling with her sisters and overall her brother which is the ten-headed demon king, Ravana. I don’t know why but I enjoy reading about demons and other entities related. 

The first video that immediately caught my eye was the Symbols of Divinity. Learning about symbols and their meanings is cool and interesting. There was a symbol that I’ve seen throughout my life but never knew what it was called. The symbol is called the OM and it represents the sound that began all things. Another symbol that I saw was the lotus. According to the video, the lotus is associated with creation and wealth; I didn’t know that. I always heard that the lotus stood for strength. The flower must push through mud and water before it blossoms. The next video that caught my attention was the Indian and Greek Mythological Parallels. In my Favorite Storybook post, I think I said that I enjoy Greek mythology. This video helps me make connections and realize that despite the culture, the similar stories can be told throughout the world. For example, Yama and Hades are both gods of death that allow souls to pass to the underworld. Plus, in both Indian and Greek mythology, there is a river that allows souls to reach the underworld. It’s crazy that for both mythologies to have similar aspects.
Ganesha, God of New Beginnings
Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, January 19, 2020


One of the extra credit assignments that I’m interested in is the Famous Last Words. I greatly enjoy writing about my day using a diary format so I know I’m going to have fun doing that assignment. Also, it’s rare for a professor to be interested in the student’s life. I greatly appreciate that the professor wants us to write about our week. I’ve always been a big believer in the power of writing. Regardless of the reason, writing gives a person the ability of expression. 

One of the assignments that I’m wary of is the reading only because I’m not a fast reader and I get distracted easily. Even though I have difficulties focusing, I am excited to do my best and read amazing stories. Another core assignment that I’m interested in are the blog comments where we comment on other people’s blogs. I had a similar set up for my intro to religious studies class where participation was required. We had to either talk in class or write about our opinion through canvas. I rarely ever commented or spoke because I’ve always been conserved when it came to voicing my opinion. However, in this class, I’m excited to see how creative the other students are and giving them helpful feedback!

The No Pomegranate Lady!
Source: Pomegranates
P.S. She doesn’t have anything against the fruit! She has a good reason behind her no pomegranate rampage so go ahead and read her explanation. 

The Technological World

Indian Epics is my first online class so I’m still trying to get used to all the tools that are involved. A prominent characteristic of this class is the usage of blogs. Most classes that I’ve had aren’t set up where I can voice my own opinion. Since the class requires me to write stories about the other stories, I would like to develop my writing skills. My grammar skills aren’t the best so I am hoping to become a better writer. Also, since I’ve created a blog, I would also like to become more creative in my web design. I’ve seen amazing blogs so I’m hoping that I can create a beautiful blog.  

Time Strategies

The two advice articles I read were Eat The Frogs First Thing in the Morning (And Other Better Work Habits) and How to Build a Realistic Study Plan That You’ll Actually Stick To.
After reading the first article, it reiterated a hard pill to swallow. The advice was to first finish the one task that you are most reluctant to do. Get the task done first thing in the day so you won’t have to worry about it later. Plus, doing the foreboding task gives you motivation and energy for later tasks. The writer is absolutely right even if I have a difficult time following his advice. My biggest challenge for a while is being focused and consistent. I’m scheduled to take the MCAT this March and the preparation requires studying everyday for four hours (for me that is). Before classes began, I took an hour to plan everything from when I wake up, go to the gym, eat, go to class and finally, to when I study. I found that when I had a schedule for my workouts it helped me get my exercise out of the way.

For the second article, the other advice I took from it was to be honest with myself. I tend to get optimistic and think that I can read a whole chapter from my Biochemistry book in two hours. I need to be more honest with myself and give myself enough time to study. Also, when I schedule my plan I have to include not only the reading portion, but as well as going over questions and testing myself. Reading these articles reminded me of what I need to do and I just hope I stick to their advice.

Frogs & Plan

Eat the Frog! 
Source: Kapua

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Growth Mindset

This afternoon, I learned about the workings of Carol Dweck. When it comes to America’s education system, I do believe that we as a leading country can definitely do better. While I agree with some of her points there are some that I don’t. She claims that learning material shouldn’t be easy and that it means we aren’t learning as much as we should. From this point, I instantly thought of when I was learning my times tables. Maybe there are different factors contributing because I was in elementary school and her research is focused on the transition from 6th to 7th grade. Anyways, I remember looking at how much I needed to know and thinking it was difficult. My teacher made us answer as many multiplication problems on a sheet of paper in one minute. What I had difficulties with was having to quickly remember what 9 times 8 is or 12 times 9 is. However, when I practiced my tables consistently, quickly remembering became easy. I don’t agree that if the material isn’t difficult that doesn’t mean we’re not learning as much. Another way to look at it is that the person mastered that concept.

On the other hand, I did agree with her point that children should be praised for their efforts and processes. With the other praise, the student becomes fixated on getting all A’s. When she started talking about how other students end up feeling dumb because their fixed mindset, it resonated with me. I don’t want to think that all I care about is having all A’s but unfortunately I think that’s the case.  I whole heartedly agree that we should praise children differently now but after going through middle and high school, and now college, it’s inapplicable. Even though it’s not fair, there are many things that depend on scores. There are standardized tests like the PSAT and the ACT which heavily effect the student’s chances of being accepted and receiving a good scholarship. Being a premed student, my GPA is everything. To even get an interview, I must have a certain GPA and MCAT score. Besides the importance of scores, being praised for effort is also important especially for someone who is trying their hardest yet isn’t doing how they want to. In efforts of self-care, we all must be easy on ourselves.

 I see myself having a fixed mindset and would like to have a growth mindset.

A Parent’s Guide to a Growth Mindset

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Introduction of a Slim Thick Anime Fanatic (Revised)

Hi Everyone!

Update: I revised my intro because after looking back at it in the later weeks, I felt like I went too deep in my persona analysis. Also, I don’t think I did a very good job of telling you all about myself.

My name is April Lopez. I’m half Filipino and half Puerto Rican. I was born in Lawton, OK but was raised in Junction City, KS. I’m currently in my third year of college, majoring in Biochemistry. I’m currently dating another Filipino guy who lives in Edmond; he pushes me all the time in the gym so shoutout to Charles! An important detail is that I’m running for Miss Asian OU 2020! I can provide a link in future blogs for anyone that’s interested.

My hobbies include staying fit and watching anime. Right now, my personal best for squatting is 155 pounds which I never thought I could do considering where I started. For my 21st birthday, my dad bought me my very first belt so now I’m always pumped to do squats! The picture below shows my first time using the belt and it felt amazing.

Me Squatting at Sarkey’s
Source: April Lopez

To dive a little deeper into my history, I always felt weak so one day, I decided to change that. Initially, I went on a fitness journey to look good. I wanted to have a butt as soon as I could. I always felt bad when I couldn’t go to the gym. After going through this journey for some time, I’ve learned to accept the state that I’m in currently and to be consistent. Since I was young, my dad has been one of my biggest inspirations when it came to health and fitness. My dad used to be a body builder back in the day so I ask him for help when I need it. When I was starting out in the weight lifting room, my dad showed me helpful exercises and proper form so I owe it all to him. There’s something about being able to lift weights that’s empowering.

Interestingly, I started playing the cello in the sixth grade by joining the school orchestra. My initial interest for the cello and orchestra deepened into a lifetime passion so I continued playing up until college. During my sophomore year, I joined OU’s Civic Orchestra where I met such talented musicians. I do have to say that joining the civic was extremely intimidating at first. The music was beautiful yet difficult. When we sight read, I had zero clue how to play any of it yet, many of the other players were doing a fantastic job at sight reading (sight reading is my weakness). I love playing so much that I decided to continue with my Piano II class this semester.

My First Civic Concert 
Source: April Lopez

The last aspect that I should address is my love of anime. I’ve been watching anime since I was in elementary school. Seeing anime blow up on social media makes me happy yet a little defensive just because it wasn’t it “cool”  back then. I remember when my classmates thought it was weird when I brought manga to school too. Twitter wants to say that people who liked anime before were bullied because they did the famous “Naruto run” but to be honest, I never did. Do I want a cookie? Yes, I would love a cookie, thanks. Besides, I think people thought I was weird because of my vampire obsession. You can bet that I was obsessed with Vampire Knight! *cringe* 

Anyway, some of my favorite older animes are Cowboy Bebop, Inuyasha, Death Note, and the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Some newer anime that I’ve watched and actually enjoyed are Demon Slayer and My Hero Academia which are super mainstream; both of them are extremely good so I understand why they’re mainstream. To be completely honest, My Hero Academia was the first anime to make me ugly cry; it was the fight scene between All Might and All For One. Seeing All Might be pushed into his weaker state yet still fight completely broke my heart. While I watched the episode, I was sitting in the Union as waterfalls was streamed from my eyes. 

Alright guys, that’s it! I hope this updated intro gave you a better understanding of who I am as a person. 

If any of you guys would like to have a conversation about anime, please hit my line.
If any of you guys would like some advice regarding the gym and fitness, please knock on my door.
If any of you guys would like to know more about my pageant, please leave a comment! (I will post links to in my recent blogs)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Storybook Favorites

The Women of Hercules
This storybook contains the perspective of different women that have encountered the mighty demigod, Hercules. Overall, this storybook is about Greek mythology and it’s a topic that I’ve had a long history with. I absolutely love learning about Greek mythology and I wish there were more movies about it. More specifically, I was aware of Hercules but primarily from the Disney movie, Hercules. The story is formatted as a conversation and the setting is a talk show. Three women, Alcmene, Deianira, and Hippolyta were all featured on the show where they gave their side of the story from their encounter with Hercules. While the writer did add some changes the actual story, I actually  did not know about their individual stories. I had no idea that Alcmene was the mother of Hercules or that Hippolyta was the Queen of the Amazons. In fact, I have never heard of these names before today. I enjoyed reading the dialogue and the content was indeed interesting. The writer did a great job of being creative and keeping the reader’s attention. I also enjoyed the format and the color scheme of this writer’s blog.

Legendary Creatures Speak Up
From the name, the reader can get a basic understanding of what this storybook is about. In addition to being a fan of Greek mythology, I am also a long-time fan of cryptozoology. This story book consists of perspectives from four mythological creatures: Bigfoot, Mothman, dragons, and mermaids. Similar to the previous storybook, Legendary Creatures Speak Up also takes place on a show and the creatures give their encounters. When I first clicked on the storybook, I first read the “Human Encounters Convention” article and thought it clever and funny because we always hear the human side and never the creature side of the story. The convention definitely caught my attention and gave consideration to how the creatures must feel. In regards to the format of his blog, the writer could’ve done more with the page layout. When I think of cryptozoology, I think of mystery and the unknown.

I clicked on this story to read mainly because of the word inferno. It reminded me of the book Dante’s Inferno and I wanted to see if it was. Truth behold it was! When I first read the introduction, I was a bit confused about the setting – was it on a show or what. The storybook follows the set up the book following a different character rather than Virgil. I greatly enjoy reading about Hell and what it could possibly be. The three rings of Hell that this book contained was Lust, Wrath, and Treachery. What I thought was interesting was that the writer used past and modern people such as Hitler and Hugh Hefner. The writer even used fictional characters such as Quagmire from Family Guy and the Incredible Hulk which really surprised me. What I appreciated about this storybook was this writer removed the seriousness of Hell unlike the first book.

Ninth Circle of Treachery, Wikipedia

Monday, January 13, 2020

Favorite Places

Greetings Everyone
Today, I will be sharing with you some places that are special to me.
Looking at these pictures remind me of old memories that I truly cherish.

1. My first image takes place in Kapalong Davao Del Norte, Philippines. What’s cool is that I’ve been to this very place when I visited my family. I vividly remember sitting in the middle of this plaza eating tokoyaki with my cousins. I don’t visit my relatives there that often so any moment i have with them is extremely special to me. 

Photo taken from Albert Siladan (Feb 2019)
Source: Blog

2. My next image also takes place in Philippines but instead its Tagum City. I wanted to upload a picture of my family’s house but since I don’t have one I used this picture instead. a unique characteristic of my family’s house is that its surrounded by a cement wall and has a red gate in the front. Surrounding the house are tall green palm trees just like what’s depicted in the picture. Visiting my family at their house has always been my favorite place to go to because I have many relatives; it’s never lonely. Growing up as an only child I didn’t have a sibling to play with so being surrounded by kids my age was so much fun. Being in the Philippines is vastly different from the United States so my cousins taught me their ways. I haven’t seen them in seven years so once I graduate, I plan to give them a visit. However, I know it’s going to be difficult to depart from them again. 

Image of neighborhood in Tagum City, Philippines
Source: Wikipedia

Kay’s Cooking

I’ve recently been watching a YouTube commentary/Twitch streamer feature a unique chef - Kay’s Cooking. She creates tasty meals with mayonnaise and her specialty is minced meat coated in raw egg. Find her on YouTube and give her a like! She’s trying her hardest.