Friday, July 13, 2012

A Fun Friday The 13th?

 Today, I woke up just a bit earlier than my usual schedule, but it was worth it. I was able to get breakfast and a handful of snacks for the two hour bus ride to Hershey Park. Wait, did I just say Hershey Park? Yes, I did. It is the day that everyone has been waiting for and boy was it an awesome day. For the bus ride, I sat near my partners for the project, Kim and Michael, and we laid out our blueprints for the day. We were planning on trying to finish our research in thirty minutes, so that we can have the rest of the day to have fun.

Coolest Physics Project Ever
We arrived at Hershey Park at around 10:30AM. I was anxious to smell the air because Eli Lesser told me that the Hershey Factory right next to the park gave off a chocolaty aroma. Oh my god, that air did not disappoint, it gave me a huge craving for chocolate. But that craving was going to have to wait until the research was complete. We got into Hershey Park, got our GLX, and then head off to Sidewinder. I volunteered to wear the vest along with the GLX for the rides. As I sat down and strapped myself in the first ride, I noticed that I couldn’t see the buttons, so in a slight panic, I pushed what felt like the oval play button. Sidewinder was crazy fast with two loops and two trips back and forth in a boomerang type of action. We were to use the GLX to examine the acceleration of the ride, which we were later going to analyze and present. It turned out that our GLX timed out while we were waiting in line, so were unable to collect any data, but we did learn the best method of getting our data without any errors. We rode Sidewinder a couple more times with successful data and we even were able to get a video of the ride.
By the time we finished collecting data, we noticed that it has been over four hours since our last meal. We decide to use our meal pass at Subway, which turned out to be a bad idea. The Subway was very limited in breads, meats, and vegetables, but the worst part was that they didn’t serve their famous foot longs. We met up with Professor Bill to give back the equipment and discuss our data. I was really confused and astonished at Bill’s capabilities to see when the ride had a loop by just viewing the acceleration. We joined up with another group, but then ended up splitting up because some want to go on the water rides and others didn’t. I was for the dry rides, but would have gone to the water rides if it wasn’t in the seventies today. But we did decide on going to Chocolate World at 2:30PM. This gave us an hour and a half to go on as much rides as possible.
We eyeball one ride, Great Bear, which went across a good chunk of the park, found its line, and then waited. The wait was about half an hour, but completely worth it because we ended up getting front seats. The whole ride was filled with screams of joy, and I am basing this off the reason I was screaming. We wanted to go on another ride, but noticed that we only half an hour and didn’t want to wait in line. Neil recommended that we go Lightning runner because it is two cars that race against each other, so the line would be really small. The only downfall was that it was across the park and made out of wood. We got there in twenty minutes and to our luck, there was no line. Half of us went on Lightning and the other half went on Thunder, I was Team Thunder. While the ride was setting up, Michael and I kept giving the ride a bigger thrill by talking about how it’s made out of wood and today is Friday the 13th. The ride was safe, but I left upset because Team Lightning won. There was a couple minutes left, so we had a round two. I think that ride was rigged because Team Lightning won again.
Who Wouldn't Want To Go?
We got to Chocolate World at 3:00PM, the walk kill our timing. Either way, I got to put an end to my chocolate crave with dark chocolate cheese cake with chocolate syrup, chocolate whipped cream, whipped cream, and an old-fashioned Hershey’s Bar. It was getting really close to 3:30PM, meeting time, so we were only able to enjoy ourselves for a few minutes. But boy were those chocolaty minutes magical.
One Way To Beat The Crave
When we arrived back to Penn, it was already 6:10PM. We had to meet up with everyone in the quad so that we can leave to our movie. Today, I watched The Amazing Spiderman, along with almost everyone who watched Ted last Friday. It was a really relaxing way to end the day, especially after walking around Hershey Park, which I didn’t mind as I was doing it, but am now sad that it’s over. Tomorrow, we are going to Washington D.C. and I can’t wait for the adventure that will bring.

The Amazing Lisa Jo Epstein

This was going to be the last day that we worked with Lisa Jo Epstein. The class actually got more interesting then what it was before , because as she said, it is a process and it builds up. What you get out of the sessions are what you make of it. When I walked in the classroom the weirdness that I experienced the past few days vanished because I was finally realizing the significance.This is one of the reasons that its always good to try new things because you never will know if you like it until you try it.

We began class with a set of Gamesercises. This one I didn't quiet understand as we were told to make a sound and a movement to a person in a line, and however they interpreted it they would make a sound and a movement to another individual in the same line. I didn't understand what the actual point to this was , but I believe it was somewhere around how actions speak louder than words and can be interpreted by many different people differently.  After that was all done, we jumped into the skits we came up with for our respected topic.

This was were the actual TO( Theater of the oppressed) came into play. Basically when people are not treated equally or are going against something in which they are oppressed , these skits are used to mock the situation so that people can jump into the equation and can somewhat experience what the oppressed feel. Also people offer solution to the problems, which are very helpful  in issues that involve circumstances like bullying, stress, or even peer pressure. I have taken so much from these past three days, and hope that this could be one of the things that I can bring back to the society were I live so that people can hear others voices without them having to actually say a word but rather through the actions that they take.


The last day of workshops with Lisa Jo Epstein was full of forum theater and reflection of the past three days.  As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, I am very happy to say that I have grown to love and truly appreciate the work of The Theatre of the Oppressed.  Now that the third day of her time with us is over, I can't help but wish that we actually had another week to go further into the techniques she has taught us because I now understand the meaning and power of each exercise she led us through.

Cameron and Iris, Theater Exercise
The Theatre of the the Oppressed has such a powerful resonance in the communities it reaches because the methods teach people that change can only be created from within.  In other words, I need to achieve my own freedom and work through my personal problems rather than focusing on changing the people in power.  While those people seem to be the ideal target, as they are the ones running the corrupt organizations, I have begun to understand that if the oppressed beat their oppressions from within their own direct lives, the result can create a domino effect that liberates everyone.  I think the idea that we need to focus more on the oppressed than the oppressor seems non-progressive to some people, but it makes sense now because I think it is easier to change yourself than to change other people.  From these workshops I now think we need to pay more attention to ourselves before we go out and fight against huge corporations.  However, I do agree that this would be a long process that people may be skeptical about, like I was when Lisa first joined us in class.  Hopefully though, by bringing this idea and some techniques back to my community I can make some sort of change in the minds of my peers and community members back home.

Now that it is the weekend, I am very excited to go to Washington D.C tomorrow!  I have been there a couple of times, but it will definitely be a different experience with my new friends.  I have a feeling that I will constantly thinking about how I can apply the observation skills I've learned in class to the environments I am in tomorrow.  Especially since I am in the Social Justice academy, I think that traveling to different cities like New York and D.C provide an excellent opportunity for me to practice honing my new skills outside of the classroom.  I feel that I am much more aware of my surroundings, my actions, and those of the people around me now, but going to D.C will allow me to see how well I pay attention to these things in a different environment.  Hopefully I am as conscious of my surroundings in D.C as I am, and continue to be, in the classroom everyday because I need to be able to carry on my learnings when I return home to the East Bay.

Goodbye T.O.

Three days of working on Theater of the Oppressed with Lisa Jo made me realize how important it was to step out of my comfort zone. I always tend to interpret something whether it is an object or an idea of some sort, and just end it there. I can't remember ever trying to imagine seeing it from somebody else's point of view, a new perspective. In the past three days we interpreted scenes, phrases, sounds, sculptures, and body movements, and it was so fascinating to hear how everybody had something different to say. We were all looking in the same direction, at the same thing, yet everybody took something different away from it. I loved hearing what my classmates had to say.

I'm horrible when it comes to expressing myself. I just can never find the right way to do it, so I never do. The wonderful thing about working with Lisa Jo was that 98% of the workshops we did involved absolutely no words, and she made sure you didn't utter a single word. At first, it was a bit uncomfortable for me to have to shape my body to mimic a certain emotion, but after a few workshops I found it to be liberating. It felt great to be able to use my body to express how I was feeling. I didn't have to worry about pairing the right words to say how I was feeling, or worry about anybody judging me. That's the great thing about this class, there is no judgment. Two weeks have gone by and we are all so close to one another. I really cannot imagine saying goodbye to any of them.

Today is Friday which means it was mandatory movie night! I was so disappointed with the movie I watched last week, so I was hoping this week's movie would not disappoint. I watched Spiderman, you can never go wrong with a Spiderman movie. It was a great movie and such an improvement from last week! If you haven't seen it yet, I really recommend you go watch it now!

Tomorrow there is a mandatory trip to Washington D.C., and I am so excited! Our last trip turned out to be so much fun, so I'm hoping this trip won't be any different. I guess we'll see how it goes, goodnight!

Defying Gravity

Today was the long-awaited trip to Hershey Park. I looked forward to this all week, because I love rollercoasters, but not everyone was quite so keen to whip through the air at high speeds. Jessica, our fellow group member and friend, loves rollercoasters but is always nervous about falling out. Bill reassured all of us yesterday about the safety of coasters. He jokingly told us that the real thrill ride was the bus ride to Hershey, as we don't have seatbelts and aren't bolted to the road, while on a rollercoaster you're in a harness, your car is secured to the track, and you ought to have enough force to stay on the track on those upside down loops anyways. I'm not sure whether or not his words of wisdom worked, but I thought that he was pretty hilarious.

Thankfully, there were no thrills involved going nor returning from Hershey. The two-hour bus ride was quiet, which is to be expected when you ask 40 teenagers to wake up to go somewhere at 8 AM. However, the energy picked up considerably as we approached the park. The class split up into our ride groups, collected our GLX’s, and headed off towards our rides of choice.

My group chose a wooden rollercoaster called Wildcat. We lucked out because there weren’t any lines for our ride, so we were able to collect all of our data fairly quickly and return our equipment. There was one scary moment when we couldn't figure out how to download one of our data sets onto our flashdrive, but luckily Craig came along and rescued us. We haven’t analyzed our data yet, but I’m very excited to examine the changes in acceleration and altitude later.

We rode four different rides: Fahrenheit, Sooper Dooper Looper, Great Bear, and The Claw. Fahrenheit is famous for its 97˚ drop, and we were really looking forward to trying it. As we stared straight up into the sky on the ascent, I realized that this was a little bit like being in a rocket, like Dr. Thomas was describing a few days ago. I realize that this like comparing a cherry tomato to an heirloom variety, but it was still exciting to make references from physics class to things going on in real life. Sooper Dooper Looper was much tamer than Fahrenheit, except for the part in the middle that gave the ride its name–an almost perfectly circular loop, causing greater amounts of acceleration than the typical teardrop shaped loops. Great Bear was one of those roller coasters where the seats attach from the top and your legs swing free. As we twisted and flew through the sky, I reflected that physics at UPenn is the best class ever. Where else would I get the opportunity to go to an amusement park, not just for fun but to learn?

Jessica and Clara relax after a long day of standing in lines and screaming on rollercoasters
Along with our day passes, we each received a meal coupon. After studious consideration of the different options available, my group decided to go to Decades. My lunch was much better than I was expecting, and we had wisely decided to wait until we were done with rides to eat so that we wouldn’t get sick to our stomachs. Once we were done, we hurried back to the meeting point so that we would make it back to UPenn in time to go to the movies. Everyone made it back on time, which was apparently the first time this had happened in the fifteen years that Bill has been taking kids there.

Going to Hershey Park was an awesome experience. I’ve never been to such a big amusement park with so many roller coasters and other rides; I read somewhere that there were 25 kiddie rides alone! The lines, although long, weren’t as bad as I was expecting and the rides were all worth the wait. Physics obviously lends itself well to making life-to-classroom connections, and it doesn’t get much more exciting than using an amusement park to study motion.

Rollercoaster Mania

I woke up at 7:17 and rushed to the bathroom. Luckily I only ran into one person in the bathroom this morning. I went to Mclleland to grab some fruit for breakfast and a few snacks for our trip today. At 8:00 the whole physics group met outside of the front gate. I sat next to Jessica on the way to and from Hershey Park. We spent the time talking and getting to know one another as well as our surrounding classmates.

The street signs and street lamps were so cute!
We finally arrived at Hershey Park at approximately 10:30! We had to wait a while to get situated so we didn't actually get to head off to our rides until 11:45. As I mentioned in a previous blog, my group had to analyze the ride Wildcat. I was kind of bummed that we got stuck with what seemed like a boring ride but I was so wrong. There was virtually no line both of the times we went to ride Wildcat. For the first run, I wore the vest provided by Pasco that held the GLX data logging device and altimeter. While walking through the park I got a few concerned looks because the vest and equipment looked pretty scary. Clara wore the vest the second run and we got equally satisfying data. Not that collecting data for our physics class wasn't fun, but the next part was the highlight of the day. It was time to go ride as many coasters as we could before meeting with the group at 3:30 to go back to campus.

Clara, Mariko, Jessica, and I rode Fahrenheit next because we were told there was absolutely no line. When we got there, there was a line but it was totally worth it. I looked up rides in the park the previous night and Fahrenheit was at the top of my "to ride" list. This ride rises 121 feet nearly perpendicular to the ground then drops back down again at a 97 degree angle. The actual rising part was more scary than the fall. The ride was super fun and I would have rode it again if we had more time. After Fahrenheit we went to return our data logging equipment to the home area so we could have fun without worrying about possibly ruining expensive equipment. I can't remember in what order we rode the rides but in  our remaining time we rode Superdooperlooper, Great Bear, and a ride very similar to Fireball that is at a  lot of fairs.

The outing to Hershey Park was super fun and so exciting. Throughout the whole day my group kept expressing their excitement through cheerful screams, laughter, and big smiles. Though we didn't want to, we had to be back at campus by 6:00 PM so we boarded the buses and endured another long bus ride. We arrived on campus just in time. We were now going to the movies to see the new Spiderman! The movie was great, in my eyes. Jacob, the person I sat next to, seemed to think that I was very easily fooled by the good action because the plot was horrible, according to him. Our row shared candy and popcorn as we watched the action-packed film.

Putting on my super cool data logging device.
Today was such an amazing day. From screaming my lungs off to sitting on the edge of my chair in the movie theater, it was all great. Tomorrow I have to wake up early again because we're headed to Washington D.C.
Over and out!

The Sweetest Place On Earth

Awesome. That is the only word that can accurately describe today.  After an early morning wake-up, I met the rest of the Physics class in the quad at 8 AM.  We boarded the bus and took off on our 2 hour trip to Hershey Park.  As we moved out of the city, the scenery transitioned to infrequent houses and corn fields.  I enjoyed the break from Philly's tall buildings and it was a nice time to relax with my fellow classmates.  

My group: Mariko, Alysa, and Jessica
Entering the park went smoothly, no lost students, no hold-ups, and only one broken foot, but that happened a few days ago.  We got our GLX data loggers accompanied with fashionable vests and fanny packs.  My group rushed off to Wildcat, hoping to log our data quickly and get on to the other roller coasters.   We lucked out, even though today is Friday the 13th, and our ride had no line.  We rode it twice and hopefully our data turns out to be helpful in our ride analysis.  I had a great time riding wildcat, it is wooden and rocky, but very fast and exciting.  

We then dashed off to Fahrenheit, a thrilling roller coaster with a 97 degree drop.  It was definitely worth the wait in line.  After dropping off our equipment, we ran around the park and road a few more rides.  We finished our day with lunch on the boardwalk.  We received lunch tickets at the gate, so my chicken strips, side salad, and souvenir cup were completely free.   All too soon, our time was up and we were heading back to the bus to make our trip home.  

We arrived at the quad just in time for our movie, Spider Man for the second time. We didn't have time for dinner, so I ate a lot of popcorn and candied pretzels I bought at Hershey Park.  When we got back home, we could hear the booming of a dance party and were immediately filled with excitement. However, we quickly learned the party was for a separate program, and we were not invited.  Luckily, I met some other people who were disappointed about the dance, and we hung out in the lounge playing pool and getting to know each other. It was the perfect ending to a great day.