Friday, February 14, 2020

Week 5 Story: Team Rocket finally captures Pikachu

Author's note: This idea took hours upon hours of me wracking my brain for an idea. I wanted to rewrite a story from the Ramanya because I enjoyed reading it and it was fresh on my mind. One of my favorite parts of the Ramanya was the story of the golden deer where Ravana finally is able to capture and take Sita away with him. I decided for another retelling of a story to change the characters to those from Pokemon and more specifically the anime/tv show that I grew up watching. I am pretty familiar with those characters because like many others I watched every episode when they aired on Saturday mornings and I felt like they could fit this story with their motives.

It is a beautiful sunny day in the Kanto region. The sun is shinning there is not a cloud in the sky. Pidgeys fly gleefully through the air as Team Rocket's Jessie, James and Meowth try to device a plan to finally steal Ash Ketchum's Pikachu.

"How are we gonna get past that twerp kid and finally get that Pikachu?" asked James,

Meowth quickly responds, "Beats me! I'm all out of ideas. I think we should just give up."

"Aha! I've got it!" exclaims Jessie "If we can lure the kid away from Pikachu long enough we can take him. Without his trainer to protect him We'll get him for sure! I'll disguise myself to look like a Mr. Mime. Ash doesn't have a Mr. Mime yet and will be so focused on capturing it that hopefully he will leave Pikachu alone and ripe for the picking for us to swoop in!" shouted an excited Jessie.

"It is just crazy enough to work!" blurted out James.

Meowth interjects saying, "Lets get started!"

While all this is going on Ash Ketchum along with his beloved Pikachu and best friend Brock are walking through the forests unsuspecting of what is to come.

"Ash I know you want to catch them all, but finding some Pokemon in the wild is about as likely as winning the lottery." Brock explains to Ash

"Pika Pika Pi!" shouts Pikachu.

"That's right Pikachu you tell him! Just because the odds are low doesn't mean we shouldn't try!" Ash says in agreement.

Jessie dressed up to look like a Mr. Mime peaks out from the bushes to try to get into Ash's peripheral vision.

"Is that a Mr. Mime?!?!" Ash yells out in excitement.

Brock elatedly responds, "It sure is! Ash I guess you were right! Mr. Mime being encountered in this part of Kanto is like being struck by lightning! You better catch that one, you might never get another chance!"

"I've got him!" Jessie thinks to herself as she runs away in her disguise to try and lure Ash away.

"You get back here so I can catch you!" Ash yells as he chases the Mr. Mime into the dense forest.

From the top of a hill that oversees the forest and all this is occurring, Meowth and James watch things unfold through a pair of binoculars.

"We got rid of the kid, now what do we do about the friend so we can nab the Pikachu?" questions Meowth.

James responds, "Meowth this is your time to shine, go into the forest in the direction of where Jessie and the kid ran. Once you get there do your best impression of the kid yelling for help. The friend will get worried about him and leave the Pikachu to help find the kid."

"Got it!" Meowth says as he sprints towards his position.

"Help! I need help!" Meowth yelled in the Brock and Pikachu's direction in a spot on Ash impression.

Pikachu's ears perk up as he shouts "Pi Pika Pi!" to get Brock's attention.

"Pikachu don't worry, Ash is fine. If I know him he is probably overrating to nothing. He definitely has everything under control. He isn't in any danger." Brock says to try and calm down Pikachu.

Pikachu passionately belts out, "Pika Pi!" to try and persuade Brock to go after Ash.

"Fine have it your way! If you are really that worried I'll go after him. Just stay safe right here Pikachu. I'll be back with Ash as fast as I can." Brock says as he sprints into the dense forest to find Ash.

"We've got Pikachu right where we want him. Finally, the time to strike is now!" James excitedly thinks to himself as he runs down the hill towards Pikachu.

"I've got you now Pikachu! Your trainers are no where to be found. You are coming with me." James said as he approached the Pikachu.

"Pika Pika!" Pikachu screamed loudly at James. Pikachu let off sparks from its cheeks in anticipation of using it's thunderbolt attack to fend off James.

"I am not going anywhere near that thing and getting electrocuted. How can I capture that rat some other way?" James thought to himself

"I've got it. Go Victreebel!" James shouted as he unleashed his Victreebel onto the grass between him and the angry Pikachu.

"Victreebell open wide and capture that Pikachu in your mouth!" James commanded to his Pokemon.

Victreebel leaped towards the Pikachu and devoured the Pikachu in his mouth. The Pikachu was unable to move. James takes his Victreebel back to the Team Rocket air balloon. Jessie, James and Meowth all high five in extreme joy as they finally have done it. They finally captured Pikachu.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Reading Notes: The Ramayana, Part C

  • Rama shoots an arrow out his bow that pierces through 7 ancient trees that reach the heavens and the arrows travels through the 7 worlds, 7 seas, all things in the 7s and then the arrow returned to his quiver.
  • Sita dropped pieces of her jewelry as Ravana carried her away to try and show which way she was going to Rama if he hopefully found the jewelry.
  • Whenever Vali is confronted he gains half his opponents strength.
  • Vali and Hanuman are brothers. 
  • Hanuman needs Rama to kill Vali so that Hanuman can become king and command his peoples army to aid Rama in defeating Ravana and getting Sita back.
  • Vali and Hanuman are monkeys from the monkey kingdom.
  • Ramas arrow went through Vali's chest, "like a needle passing through a fruit."
  • "It is my primary duty to help the weak and destroy evil wherever I see it. Whether known or unknown , I help thos who seek my help."-Rama
  • Vali and Rama have a long talk and Vali changes his mind about Rama before he finally dies.
  • Rana grew seemingly depressed about Sita during the rainy season.
  • Hanuman is sent out to see if he can find the location of Sita. Rama says to look at her feet and toenails to make sure that it is in fact her.
  • Sampathi is the older brother of Jatayu.
  • Hanuman stops Sita from ending her life to tell her that Rama is on the way to save her.
  • Sita gives Hanuman a single piece of her jewelry to give to Rama to prove that she is still alive.
  • Hanuman was caught by Ravana's brother, but was released instead of being killed because it was improper to kill a messenger.
  • Hanuman had his tail set on fire by Ravana and Hanuman ran all over Ravanna's city capital of burnt it all down until he was content before he left to return to Rama.
  • There are a ton of unwritten and understood rules.
  • Ravana does not believe that Rama is Vishnu incarnate in human form.
  • Vibiashana wants to aid Rama and his army in the fight against his brother Ravana.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Reading Notes: The Ramayana, Part B

  • Great quote from Rama, "A word given is like an arrow, it goes forward. You cannot recall it midway. . . "
  • People were truly and visually upset about Rama leaving and no longer being king.
  • Rama's father (the previous king) died in shock after hearing that Rama actually did leave into the forest. 
  • This was the first time the country would be without a king
  • Bharatha was unaware of his brothers exiling after him mother made the plan to make Bharatha the next king over Rama.
  • Kaikeyi did not seem sad at all over the kings death.
  • once Kaikaeyi tells Bharatha the truth of the deal the king made with her and Rama's exhile, Bharatha becomes upset calls his mother a snake and says that she killed his father/the king. Said that she deserved to die for what she did.
  • Bharatha refused to be king and wanted to get an army to go out with him to try and retrieve Rama to get him back as king.
  • Rama wanted to honor his father's wish of a 14 year exile and refused to come back and become king until that time had passed.
  • The gods worried that if Rama returned and became king at that time when Bharatha was begging him that Rama would be unable to complete his destiny.
  • Kamavalli, extremely beautiful girl and brother of Ravanna.
  • Kamavalli says she is not evil like her brother or the rest of her family and wants to be different from them.
  • Kamavalli offered to marry Rama and he rejected her.
  • Kamavalli was actually Soorpanaka still Ravanna's sister, but a vastly different appearance than her disguise.
  • Soorpanaka had her nose, ears and breasts chopped off by Lakshmana.
  • Soorpanaka returned to her family and said that Rama and her brother had caused her appearance change.
  • Soorpanaka got her brother Kara to go and try to kill Rama, but Rama killed him instead.
  • Soorpanaka goes to Ravana and says what happened to her and blames Rama. 
  • Ravanna asked what provoked Rama to do this to her and she says that she was trying to bring Sita to be Ravanna's wife and starts describing how great and beautiful that Sita is.
  • Ravanna becomes obsessed with the idea of Sita.
  • Ravanna starts making plans to steal/take Sita from Rama.
  • Ravanna tells Mareecha to lure Sita away in the form of a golden deer and that he will do the rest.
  • Ravanna's plan works as it lures both Rama and Lakshmana away from Rita.
  • Ravanna picks up the ground under Rita and takes her away.
  • Ravanna kills Jatayu.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Feedback Strategies

The two articles I read were Five Reasons to Stop Saying "Good Job!" and The Trouble with "Amazing": Giving Praise that Matters. The biggest message I received from these pieces were that when it comes to feedback we all need to be better. I can definitely relate to this idea and am a big believer in verbal affirmation/encouragement. I had a teacher last semester who was great, but one of his few flaws was his word choice when giving feedback. Whether the work I was doing was potentially worthy of an A, B, or C the only comments on my work would be is that it was "good". This was incredibly frustrating.  It is not only important to give feedback in order for others to improve, but also it needs to be helpful feedback. Be specific when giving constructive criticism. "I liked the word choice you used in the paper and your transitions were extremely smooth."  That is so much better and more informative than just, "yeah, that's good". If teachers, coaches, bosses and others in authoritative and leading roles are willing to buy in to this philosophy and give helpful feedback it will pay dividends in future improvement.  

Friday, January 31, 2020

Week 2 Story, The Sly Swanna and the Krabby

This story is takes inspiration from the Buddhist Jataka collection and in the ancient book of stories known as The Panchatantra. Here is a link to learn more about the Panchatantra tradition. The source material of this story comes fromThe Giant Crab, and Other Tales from Old India by W. H. D. Rouse. I decided to change the characters to various Pokemon that look similar. I played a ton of Pokemon growing up and I thought it would be a neat twist to a fun story.


Magikarp: Image Source Link

Once upon a time a number of magikarp lived in a little pool. It was all very well while there was rain, but when summer came, and it began to be very hot, the water dried up and got lower and lower.

Now not far away there was a beautiful lake, always fresh and cool, for it lay under the shadow of great trees, and it was covered all over with waterlilies. And a swanna lived on this lake.

The swanna used to eat magikarp, when she could catch any, and one day, coming to the little pool, he saw all the fish gasping in it and thought of a neat trick.

“Dear magikarp,” said the swanna, “I am so sorry to see you cooped up in this hole. I know a beautiful lake close by, deep and fresh and cool, and if you like I will carry you there.”

The magikarp did not know what to make of this, because never since the world began had a swanna done a good turn to a magikarp. It was absurd to suppose that a swanna would help magikarp, as to think that a meowth would be kind to a ratatta.

So they said to the swanna, “We don’t believe you; what you want is to eat us.”

This was what the Swanna wanted, but she did not say so. “No!” said she; “I’m not so cruel! I have eaten a magikarp now and then” — she saw it was of no use denying that, because they knew she had — “but I have plenty of other food, and it hurts me to see you here. In this hot water you will all be boiled fish before long!”

“That’s true enough,” said the magikarp; “the water is hot.”

They persuaded an old magikarp with one eye to go and see. The swanna took the one-eyed magikarp in her beak and put him in the lake, and when the magikarp had seen that what the swanna said was true, the swanna carried the magikarp back to tell the others.

Swanna: Image Source Link

The old magikarp praised the lake. “It’s ever so big,” he said, “and deep and cool, just as the swanna said, and there are trees overshadowing it, and waterlilies are growing in the mud.” And he rolled up his one eye at the thought of it.

Then all the magikarp were eager to go. Every magikarp was anxious to remain no longer in the pool. They all begged the swanna to take them to this beautiful lake.

“One at a time!” said the swanna. “I have only one beak!” And she smiled to herself, for that beak was made to eat magikarp, not to carry them.

However, it was decided that as the one-eyed magikarp had trusted himself in the swanna's beak before he knew what the truth was, he certainly deserved to go first.

So the swanna took the one-eyed magikarp in his beak, and carried him over to the lake. But this time he did not drop the magikarp in; he laid him in the cleft of a tree, and pecked his one eye out with his beak; then he killed him, and ate him up, and dropped his bones at the foot of the tree.

Swanna came back for another. “Now then, who’s next?” asked the swanna. “Old One-eye is swimming happy as a king!” He picked up another magikarp, and served him like the first.

This continued for a few days until the pool was empty. The sly swanna had eaten every single one of the magikarp! She stood on the bank, peering into every hole, to see if there were any fish left. There was one, surely! No, it was a krabby. Never mind, she thought; all’s fish that comes to my net!

Krabby: Image Source Link

So he invited the kraby to come with him to the lake.

“How are you going to carry me?” asked the krabby.

“In my beak!” replied the swanna.

“You might drop me,” said the krabby.

“I promise I won’t drop you!” said the swanna.

The krabby had more sense than all the magikarp put together, and he did not believe in the swanna’s friendship at all. So he pretended to hesitate, and he said, "I’ll tell you what. I can hold on tighter with my claws than you can with your beak. I’ll come, but you must let me hold on to your neck with my claws. Then I shall feel safe.”

The swanna was so hungry that, without stopping to think, he agreed, and then the krabby got tight hold of his neck with his claws, and the swanna carried him towards the lake.

But after a while the krabby saw that he was being carried somewhere else, indeed to that tree where the swanna used to eat the magikarp.

“Swanna,” said he, “aren’t you going to put me in the lake?”

“Swanna, indeed!” said the Swanna; “Was I born to carry krabbys? No! Just look at that heap of bones under the tree! Those are the bones of the magikarp that used to live in your pool. I ate them, and I’m going to eat you!”

“Are you, though!” said the krabby, and gave the swanna’s neck a little nip.

Then the swanna saw what a fool he had been to let a krabby put a claw round his neck. He knew that the krabby could kill him.

“Dear krabby!” said she, with tears streaming from her eyes; “forgive me! I won’t kill you, only let me go!”

“Just put me in the lake, then,” said the krabby.

The swanna stepped down to the lakeside and laid the krabby down. And the krabby, as soon as he felt safe, nipped off the swanna’s head as if it had been cut with a knife

The sly swanna was killed and caught by his own trick. And the krabby lived happily in the beautiful lake for the rest of his life.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Reading Notes: The Ramayana, Part A

  • Ayodhya is the capital of the country of Kosala.
  • Kosala, beautiful large country which had a very large river running through it.
  • Ayodhya contained many fountains, palaces, mansions and squares.(Imagine the giant city from Tangled) 
  • King Dasaratha was a great king who ruled fairly over the country, but sadly was childless.
  • Ravana gained powers through prayer and was out to destroy worlds and enslave other gods.
  • Vishnu promised to incarnate as Dasaratha's son and defeat Ravana as he could only be defeated by a human.
  • After a sacrificial ceremony was performed, Dasaratha's wives gave birth to his children after proper time.
  • Viswamithra convinces Dasaratha to allow his son Rama to go with him to Sidhasrama.
  • Viswamithra has a great analogy about how if a seed sprouts too close too its parent tree that it will have its growth stunted compared to an overprotective parent.
  • Lakshana also accompanied his brother Rama to protect Viswamithra.
  • Rama begins his destiny to destroy evil after he kills Thataka with an arrow to the throat.
  • Because Vishnu was incarnated currently as Rama, Mahabali seized earth and heaven.
  • All the gods affected by Mahabali appeared to Vishnu and begged him to regain their kingdoms.
  • Vishnu took birth as brahmin dwarf in response to their appeals.
  • Vishnu disguised as a dwarf came to Mahabali and tricked him into giving him a gift of land. Mahabali saw that he was a dwarf and granted Vishnu's request of as much land as he could cover in three strides. After the oath was agreed to the dwarf transformed into a giant and took one step that covered the entire span of earth, the second step covered all of heaven and the third step was right on top of Mahabali's head which sent him to the underworld which disposed of him.
  • Thataka kills demons with arrows while Rama protects the sacrificial fire and those who are praying near it.
  • Ahayla was to be turned into a piece of granite until Rama passes by her.
  • Ahayla was later restored to her earlier form my Rama.
  • Rama catches the eye and heart of Sita.
  • Rama was also infatuated by Sita and could not stop thinking about her.
  • Anyone who was able to lift, bend and string Shiva's bow was deemed fit to marry Sita.
  • Rama was not only strong enough/able to bend and string the bow he also broke it when he fired an arrow out of it.
  • Rama was then deemed worthy of marrying Sita.
  • Rama and Sita were then married in a huge event.
  • Dasathra realises that at his age that his reign as king needs to end and that he needs a successor. He names Rama as the next king.
  • Kaikeyi reminds Dasathra about the promise that he made to her. Dasathra must now tell Rama that he will no longer be the king and that his brother Bharatha will be king.
  • Rama is commanded to leave the kingdom and live in the forests for the next 14 years.
  • Everyone in the kingdom mourned the loss of Rama into exile.
Bibliography: Narayan's Ramayana by R.K. Ramayana