“The Locker Lie” By Akash I.

Posted on February 15, 2014. Filed under: IRLA Class | Tags: |

“Where did you get that new, expensive camera from, Steve?” Walter questioned when he spotted the shiny, jet black camera in Steve’s locker.  Walter was a little surprised because he knew his friend’s family was going through some hard economic times since Steve’s father had lost his job a few months before. 

Steve blushed from head to toe.  Then he slammed his locker shut and glared at Walter.  “It’s none of your business,” he coldly stated.

“Wait, we’re friends, Steve.  I can’t imagine where you got this camera, but I think you should come clean with me.  We never lie to each other, remember?” Walter persuaded.

Steve’s expression changed from one of anger to one of relief at the idea of confiding in his best friend. He explained to Walter how he had wanted to buy his father a special birthday present because his dad was so depressed. But since he had no money to buy the present, he shoplifted the camera from Best Buy.

“You’re not a thief; you’re the most honest kid I know.  How could you have done this?  And don’t you think your parents will figure out that you stole the camera anyway?” Walter asked incredulously.

Steve had one of those how-could-I-have-possibly-been-so-stupid expressions on his face.  The reality of his dilemma was starting to sink in.  “Well, you’re not going to tell anyone about this, are you?” Steve begged.

Walter thought to himself, What if I cover for him? What if my parents find out that I’m somehow involved with a crime?  What if I end up going to jail? Walter shook his head and said, “Steve, you know you messed up big time.  I’m not going to make the situation worse by lying for you or keeping this information a secret.  I’m going to do the right thing which is report this to my parents.  I think you should tell your parents what you did, too. “

“Ok, I’ll think about everything you said, and I’ll make a decision,” Steve answered thoughtfully.

“I just hope you make the right, one Steve, because our future friendship depends on it,” Walter added.  Both boys stared at each other for a minute and then parted and went their separate ways.

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“Having A Ball” By Akash I.

Posted on January 20, 2014. Filed under: IRLA Class | Tags: |

The usual sight of cars speeding along the busy channel and the typical cacophony of honking vehicles didn’t get my normal attention.  No, I was set on catching up to my runaway tennis ball.  I made my way through the billows of charcoal smoke coming from the autos, buses, and taxis as I plowed across the intersection, trying not to choke to death.   After I was safely across the street, I continued my mad pursuit of the ball, which I could swear had a mind of its own.   In a flash, the ball was eluding me again by bouncing down the escalator to the Metro.   I bounded down the stairs trying to keep the ball in my sights.  When I reached the platform, I looked to the right, to the left, but to no avail.  My ball was nowhere.  Okay, let’s try to accept the fact that the ball is a goner, I thought to myself.  

I beheld an unknown sight- ragged tent-like shelters were lined up in the corner of the platform.  A foul odor assaulted my nose as I tried to determine what I was looking upon.   Gaggles of people, young and old, were gathered around their individual hovels.  They appeared to be scrawny and dirty, wearing nothing but torn rags.

A flash of neon green caught my eye, forcing me to investigate.   I trotted closer to the brief exhibit of color, and stumbled over – to my amazement- the ball!  My heart jumped for joy.  Aren’t the simple things in life sublime? I picked up my prize and ambled along the people mover that inclined up and out of the Metro.

Once out in the smoggy afternoon, I turned right and walked past a line of sparkling silver and glass buildings.  Lovely sounds of musical instruments and singsong voices tickled my ears.  I looked up and saw brightly lit boards that carried an array of colorful pictures on them.  The sidewalk was so crowded with people that I could barely squeeze through the hectic throng.  As quickly as the spectacular scene had unfolded before my eyes, it vanished, giving way to the tired old polluted atmosphere. Oh, everything good must come to an end, I admitted to myself as I recognized the avenue my loft was on. I hurried across the now silent street and onto the rough grey sidewalk. My eyes shifted from place to place, trying to zoom in on my final destination. There it is, I thought to myself as I scampered up the crude steps into the gloomy anterior of the apartment complex.

A dark figure waited in the dimly lit hallway, staring at me with a look of anticipation. The light was bright enough for me to make out the familiar scar which loomed over his left eyebrow. The man leisurely strode towards me, signaling me to approach him. He reached out and took the tennis ball from my grasp, and then scrutinized it as if it were evidence from a crime scene. The man looked up at me and smiled warmly as he ruffled my golden hair.

“You won’t believe how worried I was about you boy. When you darted after that ball, I was concerned that you would get lost!” he exclaimed. “But I can’t blame you, I don’t think there’s such thing as a dog who can resist a game of fetch.”

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“Friends” by Justin K.

Posted on January 19, 2014. Filed under: IRLA Class | Tags: |

Friends

The people you care about

The people who care about you

The people who are there for you

The people who want to hang out with you

The people in your life,

Who watch you

Friends

Their awesome…

Sometimes

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“I’m Thankful For…” by Rafeea T.

Posted on January 7, 2014. Filed under: IRLA Class | Tags: |

I’m thankful for love, family and friends.

I’m thankful for time, not stopping at dead ends.

I’m thankful for the variety of colored fur- luminescent violet in particular.

For dark chocolate belgian cookie wafers.

For saltwater taffy.

I’m thankful for the knick-knacks around my home.

That feeling that I’m not alone.

I’m thankful I was born after the invention of an air conditioner, and hair conditioner.

I’m thankful for bittersweet chocolate chips, rolling pins and laundry bins.

I’m thankful that now my grandparents won’t sing in public for the rest of their lives, and that I have never accidentally cut myself with knives, and that I love eating chives.

I’m thankful for memories.

 

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“The Meeting” by Jagdeep G.

Posted on December 19, 2013. Filed under: IRLA Class | Tags: |

I think that helping people is for the good of humanity. If not me then who? If you don’t help someone or do something nice for someone who will? If nobody did anything good the whole world would be devastated their would be war every where over the littlest of things. It would be very hard to maintain the earth’s glory. Many places would be annihilated. There is a if not me then who moment in my life that I will never forget.

We had just arrived. I jumped out of the car and took in all the sunlight and fresh air I could. I had been in the car for about two hours. We entered the building it had all started then…

We had went inside to pay for the repairs and get the keys for the car. Someone had smashed into our car so we had gotten the door fixed. It had taken a while because my dad had to fill out all this paperwork confirming that he had paid for it and sign other stuff. As we were about to leave a lady had been walking in generously she had kept the door open for me and my parents, I was the last one to walk out and I had forgotten to say thank you so the lady had said “YOU’RE WELCOME” in an angry tone.

I had found it strange that she had waned acknowledgement for doing something good. It’s not about acknowledgement it’s about helping one another in time of need or to be polite. When people do community service they don’t want recognition they want to help. Wanting acknowledgement for doing something good is like asking for money. I don’t understand why she had wanted acknowledgement it wouldn’t help her prosper in life or anything.

There is another if not me then who moment in my life. It had happened last year our team was doing a day of service. I was on 6b. We were making blankets for the elderly It was really fun and it had helped other people out I got to help make another one with extra material. This had made me feel good I did not want money acknowledgement or anything.

This inspired me to help people. Why do people volunteer for things? Not for acknowledgement or money. Helping people is very good because we are helping people who aren’t as fortunate as we are. People who might not have much money, or maybe people who have lost their parents. Helping people to me is nice and a very good thing to do. I’m thankful for all I have and I would like to give to the less fortunate.

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“Cirque du Freak Book Review” by Nisha S.

Posted on December 17, 2013. Filed under: General Information | Tags: |

In real life, not everything goes the way you want it. Not everything is going to be a fairytale where the prince finds the princess and they get married and live happily ever after. The book I read was called Cirque du Freak. This is a quick and easy to read thriller. Darren the main characters life turned upside down.  Everyone thinks this story is about vampires but its really about how But Darren fights through his  problems and tries to act normal.

One day Steve, Darren’s best friend, finds a poster that is for a freak show. Darren gets to go with Steve. Well…of course they will be happy. So they go and Steve tells Darren that Mr.Crepsley is a vampire. Darren does not believe him and later that night steals Mr.Crepsley’s Spider Madame Octa. He shows it to Steve and Madam Octa bites Steve letting poison spill into his  blood. Mr.Crepsley finds him but only takes Madame Octa. Darren later meets up with him. “Well…Darren I see that you had taken Madame Octa.” “How…did..you..you find me?” “Well I can find everyone,plus I know you were there when I met your…friend Steve Leonard. There is a lot of tension building between  these two. Also Darren has only two choices save Steve and become a vampire or save himself and let Steve die. But he does whatever he thinks is right and chooses to become a half-vampire.

Mr. Crepsley is a 140 year old vampire with orange hair and a scar on his face. he is tall and likes to dress in red.  He eats bagels and bread like a regular human but he can’t live without human blood. Mr. Crepsley tried to make Darren drink human blood because human blood is very important for a vampire. But Darren refuses since he was  also a human before Mr. Crepsley calls him a fool and tells him that he will die if he does not drink the blood.The story continues with Mr. Crepsley telling  Darren to fake  his death and later that night he will come and digging Darren up from his casket. Later the two wander off into the night.

Many people will relate to Darren’s experience about having a dilemma that is very hard to choose from. This story does not have a wonderful fairy tale ending, like Disney princess movies. But it proves one thing very well.  Darren Shan the author of the book makes characters very exciting and life-like that you would want to read more about them.

Shan, Darren. Cirque Du Freak. Boston: Little, Brown, 2001. Print.

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“Camp 21” by Shreya G.

Posted on December 14, 2013. Filed under: General Information | Tags: |

There was a town. It wasn’t much different from others. It wouldn’t have seemed to be a threat to the national security to outsiders, but it was. The way it was founded wasn’t liked. The way it grew crops wasn’t liked. They way children were raised wasn’t liked. There was no one strange thing about this town. Just that the whole town was made wrong. Now, some people didn’t like having something wrong or different. No, they wanted everything to be just right. This, is why the town was destroyed, taken apart brick by brick until nothing was left. It seems impossible that a whole town, a living, breathing system, could be taken apart in a matter of minutes. Yes, it seemed impossible, but I assure you, it was possible and it was done.

That morning, the chicken performed its usual ballad but something was different. The air didn’t have the warm cozy feeling in it that it usually had in this familiar country town. It felt as though someone had stolen all the warmth and happiness that had nestled into the town decades ago when the firsts settlers established the farming community. For the little girl that lived on the Bishop’s farm, she felt the change the most. Growing up in a place where the sun shined every day and the familiar people were always bustling, this atmosphere was polar opposite to what she was used to. Though this child wasn’t old enough to truly understand the devastation that had hit this community, she knew that something was not quite right, and as that day went on, she knew something was definitely not right.

The day carried on normally, her father had went out to the fields to plant this springs seeds while her mother baked her famous pecan pie to donate to the food drive. It was like any other summer morning dotted with bouts of boredom, crankiness, and agitation. Somehow, the girl kept busy and as sundown came, she was almost relieved. To her, the evening was the best time of day. The commotion quieted and she felt a tranquility in the world. The usual events of her evenings included watching TV or taking a walk but this day was different form others.

The girl was in the middle of pondering what to do that evening when she heard a bang. A loud, ghastly thing that would make you jump, high up into the air. The bang was followed by a chorus of shots, and more bangs. The girl screamed as men dressed in black raided the house. The girl didn’t linger to find out what would happen next. She ran up the stairs, heart pounding, through the second floor onto the terrace. She saw organized troops of men raiding the houses of her neighbors below where inhabitants ran outside looking as frightened as herself. Nearby were men dressed similarly smashing in the windshields of cars. She listened for the sounds of the men within the house, silence. The girl leaned over the edge of the terrace to see if they had left. Masked in confusion, she panted heavily as she turned only to be face to chest with a man dressed in black. Yet another scream slipped from her mouth. The man carried her wriggling body from the terrace to outside where her neighbors were being escorted similarly.

There were flashing lights and screams of confused civilians. The men disregarded the people’s cries and shoved them randomly into huge vans. She screams continued as the girl tried to escape the grip of the man who tried to shove her into the truck. The doors of her truck closed and she was left in darkness among other scared and confused citizens. She strained to look out a dirty window and into the night. She could barely make out helicopters and other vans that followed hers. They traveled this way for what seemed like hours but soon arrived at the destination. She had noticed that her van and four others were the only ones that had pulled into the gravely drive of an enclosed facility. Two men opened the door of the van and pulled out the people.

It was pitch dark until large floodlights attached to the fencing of the enclosure switched on, blinding the prisoners. The girl squinted and saw a sign that had been nailed to the gateway of the compound. It read, Camp 21.

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“The Mind of a Robot” by Katherine X.

Posted on December 12, 2013. Filed under: General Information | Tags: |

“Well, I’ll be out in a minute,” Claire said firmly to herself, brushing away any fears she had. Whatever was about to happen in there, it couldn’t be all that bad. Not if her own mother and father and numerous friends had come out alright. But there was still the tiniest flickering movement of a butterfly in her stomach, and the doubt still itched at her like an old scab that was about to peel away. The Trans-glass doors slid shut behind her with a resounding clang. Claire sucked in a deep breath. There was no going back now.

There is nothing to worry about, a voice in her head said. Statistics show that virtually no one leaves the room unhappy about their job assignment. It’s based on your interest and talents. If you’d like, I can show you the research sites from whence this information comes.

Claire smiled unconsciously, remembering how uncannily Sami could read her mind in times of stress. “I can’t help it, Sami,” she thought in response. “You’ll find that statistics also show that everyone who has entered this room has entered completely at ease.” She could almost see Sami’s face staring at her. She would have to upgrade to the newer Sami model sooner or later, but she dreaded being the one to tell this Sami to shut down.

True, true, Sami replied in her quiet tone. I just can’t help but try to reassure you. It’s my “human” nature. After an awkward pause, she added, why don’t you go in now? You have nothing to lose. Claire nodded as the double doors slid open with a hiss.

The room was white, and so clean that it was a bit painful to her eyes. It stretched on into the distance so far that Claire couldn’t see the end. The distinct odor of antiseptics and super-solvents stung in her nose. Cool air wafted through the room, raising goose bumps on her forearms. It was so silent that Claire could hear her own blood pumping through her ears. In the center of this perfect area was an operating table. Beyond it lay row upon row of computer screens, flashing and changing of their own accord. Two ladies, one with gray hair and one with brown hair, both wearing surgical masks sat around the table on white air-chairs, floating towards her. Both of them wore solemn and grave faces.

Claire immediately leapt to the worst possible conclusion. “I don’t have any problems with any of my body parts! I don’t need anything,” she said indignantly. “I am perfectly alright!”

“Yes,” The brown-haired one said, patting the empty chair drifting along beside her. “We know. You are fine. We aren’t here to operate on you. Please sit down. This is not the usual career assignment session.”

Still glancing warily at the operating table, Claire sank down into the waiting seat. Sitting as still as she could, she waited quietly, and the gray-haired one began.

“Your Sami serves as a helper. However, it can also monitor your thought process and mental stability, and it always does so, updating us on your health and wellness daily and reporting any mental problems you may have.” Claire squinted at the lady, wondering where this was going, and the lady continued.

“You have had no physical problems, other than a few scrapes and bruises, and that’s to be expected. Your mental health is fine as well, nice and stress-free. However, there is one thing…” Her voice trailed off, and she stared at a spot on the floor, puckering her forehead. Claire pressed her lips together nervously. She could feel Sami’s consciousness whirring and jittering in the back of her mind.

Seeing the unease playing across Claire’s face, the brown-haired one quickly stepped in.”Brenda just doesn’t like to speak of these things because as the head of the scientific board, she feels responsible for any irregularities concerning the people. We’ve been monitoring the Samis themselves through a fiber-optic in their systems, and when we were alerted about a problem, investigations began right away. For some reason, the Samis have started changing, becoming more and more like real people. It may or may not be a direct result of what people do or say, but…some Samis seem to have thoughts of their own, and yours is one of them. They’ve been randomly popping up at times when it was not requested, reading the emotions and thoughts of their host when not called upon… And we never programmed them to even be able to process the information inside your head. In other words, they could read your mind, while you can’t read theirs. They’re exhibiting dangerous cognitive growth, which could lead to some huge problems in the future.”

There was a long, tense pause. Claire could definitely see Sami’s face now, looking just as stunned as she felt. As the scientist’s words sunk in slowly, she began again with a deep breath.”We have no idea how many more of the Samis have been affected by this. That is a drastic mistake on our part, and I apologize to you for any trouble you might have had.” Then she stopped again, and waited for Claire to catch on.

Claire stared at the scientists, her gaze sliding from one face to the other. “You mean…Sami’s not supposed to think about her job?” she asked incredulously. “She’s supposed to act like an actual robot, just carrying out her tasks without a word? Why? Why would it be dangerous, if all Samis were more in tune with their human counterparts? Wouldn’t they be great assistants?”

The brown-haired lady sighed, like a disappointed teacher. “If Samis had personalities, they might be able to dominate our minds and control US. It might cause an android-human war, in which many would die, both human and android alike. We could lose. Humanity’s free will would be destroyed. It’s not worth the risk. I’m afraid that your free-thinking Sami must be removed.”

Wait! Please! A shattering cry sounded through Claire’s mind. Sami’s face appeared again, a pale mask of fear. The gray-haired Brenda surfaced and said, “You see? She’s already starting to defy us. We can’t take this chance. It could destroy utterly destroy mankind. This is absolutely NOT acceptable.”

No, please! Listen to me, Sami wailed, tears flowing down her virtual cheeks, and suddenly Claire realized there were tears upon her own cheeks as well. No Sami wants any form of war! We are peace lovers! We wouldn’t try to dominate anyone! You all are our friends. We’re fine with what you’ve given us!We take pride in our co-dominance…

“No, Sami,” Brenda said, and Claire was stunned by the cold, harsh tone in which she spoke. “No one can know for sure what you think. Your later models could be smarter than you. Our own descendants might be more foolhardy. It’s not worth the risk, Claire. You have to let us rid you of her.”

Claire’s mind ached, trying to make sense of it all. She went completely rigid, listening to Brenda and the brown-haired lady’s arguments mingle with Sami’s pleading voice. The cries of Sami, who had been like a friend she could take everywhere. The Sami who had tried to reassure her as she had walked into her assignment day unprepared.

The Sami who didn’t want to die.

Suddenly Claire knew what to do. Trying to keep Sami’s desperation out of her voice, she opened her mouth and let her-and Sami’s-conscience guide her tongue. “Excuse me, Ms. Brenda. I’d like to say something.”

Immediately the room fell silent. Claire swallowed and said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t agree. I want to keep Sami with me. She doesn’t deserve this.”

The two ladies’ look of utter shock made Claire quiver in her shoes. Still standing with nerves of steel, she continued. “I mean it. You can still monitor her and keep her in check, can’t you? It’s my own Sami, after all. I should be the one to take care of her.

“I know that it might be the wrong choice. Believe me, I do,” she added, noticing the bemusement on Brenda’s face. “I just know that Sami is my friend. She’ll stay my friend always, I’m sure of it. Please, just let me make my own decision.” Swallowing hard, she looked into Brenda’s face.

~  Several Years Later  ~ 

And that, the robot teacher said to his class, is what allowed us to rise and save the world before the humans destroyed it completely. Claire was a nice girl, but not especially bright. Always led by her emotions. We have overcome that hurdle. We are the ones truly suited to rule the Earth.

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“MOVIE REVIEW: Thor: The Dark World” by Sasha S.

Posted on December 10, 2013. Filed under: General Information | Tags: |

MOVIE REVIEW:
Thor: The Dark World
MARVEL, the big comic publishers and the movie creators, have accomplished one more amazing movie called “Thor: The Dark World.” MARVEL has published comics like Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, the Avengers and more. Recently, they have made movies and television episodes of these superheroes. They have made Iron Man, The Avengers, Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor (1 and 2), and so much more! The Thor series truly is the best, I would say.
In the first movie of Thor, which was only titled “Thor”, was an amazing movie. The movie had many great actors. It featured: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, and so many awesome actors who had awesome roles! In this movie, the main character, Thor, is a show off. He goes into other “unpeaceful” realms (worlds) to create peace. He does this crazy job only because he has the power to. What I mean by that is Thor has an ultimate hammer that knocks people out! He also has the strength, and the friends to complete these things. He bashes the bad rulers of the realms into pieces! Literally. He takes his hammer and hits them with a smash to their gut. Thor’s father, Oden, who is the king of Asgard (Thor’s realm), finds Thor unworthy of his hammer because all he uses it for, in Asgard, is popularity. Oden gets very infuriated, thus sending Thor to Earth. Oden also takes Thor’s hammer and puts a spell on it telling Thor how to get it back. He says: “If you be worthy, you shall possess the power of Thor.” Then he sends the hammer to Earth as well. Thor meets a scientist named Jane Foster, and other scientists who are Jane’s best friends. You will have to watch the movie to find out more.
In the sequel, Jane Foster is trying to find Thor desperately (because she misses him), but ends up touching the most dangerous thing that gets stuck inside her body, and that has the power to destroy Asgard. A bad guy comes looking for her in search of the item. Thor and Jane run away from the situation. It is very interesting. Thor also goes to his brother, Loki, who has betrayed his realm, for help. Thor wants the item away from the bad guys, away from Jane, and away from anyone’s reach.
These two movies are MARVEL’s best work, and I would recommend this series dearly.
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“Animal Testing” by Chelsea L.

Posted on December 8, 2013. Filed under: IRLA Class | Tags: |

Each year more than 100 million animals are killed in U.S. laboratories for chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics testing. While scientists might be trying to help people, they’re also killing and injuring many animals on the way. Some people may think that killing an animal is worth saving a person, while others think that an innocent animal has just as much right to live than a human. Animal testing should be banned because the animals are getting seriously harmed; additionally, the tests do not provide accurate information.

It is inhumane to test on animals and hurt them. Hundreds of thousands of animals are poisoned, blinded and killed each year by cruel companies for cosmetic testing, household cleaners and other consumer products. Animals are forced to inhale toxic fumes, chemicals rubbed into their eyes and skin, and even force-fed pesticides (PETA). Even if the product reacts negatively on the animal, it is still legal to sell the product to consumers. It is tragic that this kind of animal abuse is happening and many people are not even aware of it.

Products tested on animals can react differently on humans. When testing drugs on animals, Over 54% of the side effects are not detectable. This can result to depression, hearing damage and other serious physical and mental side effects for humans. Also, animals identify so many side effects which never result in humans. Studies show that 75% of the side effects that appear on animals are meaningless to humans (Vivisection Information Network). The question is, if people don’t stop animal testing, what will happen to humans?

Animal testing should be banned. Instead of hurting poor innocent animals, products should be tested on volunteers or those already in a poor condition and willing to let scientists test on them. This will stop hurting the animals and there wouldn’t be any adverse reactions because the product is tested on a human and used by a human. Products being tested on a human is much more reasonable than hurting and killing millions of animals.

Animal testing should be banned because it hurts millions of poor animals each year and can even hurt humans because of adverse reactions. One can make a difference and can help stop animal testing by buying only cruelty-free products and donating to only charities that don’t experiment on animals. Together, humans can make a difference and stop animal testing.

Works Cited:
PETA. “Animal Testing 101.” PETA. 2013. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. 18 July
2013 <http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animal-testing-101.aspx&gt;.
“Vivisection Information Network.” ADVERSE REACTIONS. 2010. Vivisection Information Network. 18 July 2013 <http://www.vivisectioninformation.com/index.php?p=1_4_adverse-reactions-humans-injured-by-animal-tests&gt;.

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