Friday, November 18, 2011

Once Upon A Time

Ah convenience. The art of being as lazy as possible, or as Merriam-Webster.com says, "something conducive to comfort or ease." (Perhaps a little ironically, spelling convenience is not conducive for comfort or ease. It takes a little work until one can remember how it goes; however, writing about convenience in a blog post is a good way to learn how to spell it right the first time. Now I just need to write something that utilizes definitely often so I can get that one right the first time. I think I understand why the world of texting etc compressed it into 'def.') A year later, I return to my train of thought about how the world, as in people in general, loves convenience. The easier and more convenient something is the more popular it becomes. Watch commercials and notice one of the biggest things they push is convenience. Get a quote in five minutes. Online. So you don't have to move from your chair (assuming it's by the computer) and don't have to leave whatever you were doing for terribly long. Convenience stores are all about convenience. Here, look! All sorts of snacks and coffee and caffeine that you can get whilst getting gas. That's right. Whilst. Except nobody uses whilst except me. And my sister. Anyway, so many things cater to our convenience. And I love it. I love convenience. I really do. 'Tis nice.  But I do not deny the absolute negative effects our lovely conveniences give us. Flashback with me a few years. Disney-Pixar makes a movie called Wall-e. The humans in that movie are a prime example of what happens with too much convenience. We get fat and lazy (fitting the American stereotype might I add) and stop fighting for the things that are important to us. We stop caring and become jaded, riled only when someone comes and removes our sweet convenience. Curiously, some of the things we love most, entertainment from movies, TV, and books, are about the most inconvenient things. Those are the stories no one wants to hear. Perhaps we should emulate those heroes more. At least so far as dealing with inconvenience goes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

When You Lose the Queen

I love problems. Problems are so fun. I love all the problematic times with I'm sick with frustration because of some problem I'm having difficulties solving. I mean, who doesn't love problems?
Yeah, that's sarcasm. 'Problem' doesn't generally correlate with 'fun.' Sometimes I appreciate a challenging problem, especially in games, such as chess or other strategy games. But in life, the solution to the problem isn't as casual as you win or lose a game. Ofttimes solutions affect your life and relationships. 
Most of the time I follow someone else's lead when it comes to problem-solving, but this is usually because they are older and wiser as well as have had experience with those types of problems before. Not wanting to make a mistake, I followed them and their suggestions. I hate having to learn from my mistakes so I learn from others and try my hardest to avoid making any. Mistakes often involve light reprimands, gentle corrections, and/or getting in trouble. I really hate getting in trouble or being reprimanded. or messing up, though I know I will because I have, so I avoid those situations. I don't know what it says about my problem-solving skills, because I can certainly problem-solve. Generally I look at situations as if they are no big deal while some part of me screams the world will end if the problem is not resolved correctly. I deal with the difficulty and move on with my life. The world has yet to end. Some problems make me want to cry or hit something but given time and space eventually I can come back and approach the issue in a clearer way or at least a more rational manner.
(This has been a banal blog without even interesting wording or tone. My apologies. It's one of those days.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Technically, This is About Homework

It's funny how when you're trying really hard to write a good research paper and you have quiet and peace and coffee how you can't. And then the harder you try the less you get. It's like your brain demands that you do something else, or write something else. Well, unfortunately for both me and my brain I have to write that research paper whether I can think of how to or not. So this is one of those times when you absolutely cannot of think of what to write but supposedly if you just write something than your brain juices will start flowing with ideas etc. Hence why I am writing my blog instead of my paper. I might as well be productive somehow.
Anyway, long introductory rant over, I shall now attend the topic. What horribly blatant writing. Alright, so homework. (This is something of a free write for me, so bear with me. Eventually I'll start making sense and have coherent thoughts) I personally hate homework. One example of why is, it is the reason I'm in my current predicament. Though possibly research papers fall under the category of projects. It's a little fuzzy. Another reason I hate homework is that when you get it, you get it good. Or at least I do. Every class assigns as much homework as tit can possibly think of and then give it all the same due date. Don't you just love when that happens? Then you get to sit at your desk or other place of study for hours and stare at paper until you're cross-eyed and bald (from pulling out your hair in frustration). But I'm exaggerating just a touch. I have yet to go cross-eyed or bald from homework, but that's because I do homework spastically, jumping from subject to subject. What can I say, I have a short attention span? Sometimes.
Unfortunately for homework, I'm not done yet. (This is slightly ironic I think, because I am cursing homework in a homework assignment.) You see, there is yet another reason that homework is the bane of my existence. (Well, that's not strictly true. Math is the bane of my existence. Math and cheese, but psh.) Homework assignments are usually extremely boring. I mean really really boring. I wouldn't mind them half as much if they weren't so irritatingly boring. I understand the idea behind it, but come on! I thought learning was supposed to fun. Why do you think so many students hate school? It's boring. Learning has been magically turned into this soul-drained husk of the banal and irksome. At least that's why I didn't like high school particularly much. 
Where was I? Right. Why do I do homework. Most definitely because I have to but also because I want to because I do not let myself get bad grades. Or average ones.
I think I would hate the no homework/project thing, because an oral defense sounds evil. And I thought final exams were nasty. Also, some students who are prone to procrastination (cough, cough, me, cough, ahem.) might not study or whatever throughout the semester/trimester, or at least it will be a struggle for them to do so when there are books to be read.
And I think that I'm ready to go beat my research paper into the ground. I'm afraid I'm not terribly good at informative only writing because one, it bores me, and two, I can't stand boring other people with my writing and if I'm bored so are my poor readers. So this is good practice for me (maybe?) but....I fear for my grade. This paper might just destroy me. With that in mind, I'm going to kick some paper butt because I can. And I have to.
Tal!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Plastic Butter Knives are Useless

My senior year of high school we worked with this irritating book called Riverside Reader. It was a book about writing. But pieces of writing, such as definition, persuasion, compare and contrast, etc. Each week we had to read a chapter and then write a half page to one page paper on that subject. It looked like a most irritating and evil type of assignment, but turned out to be almost fun. The hardest part about it was picking an interesting topic. It was both valuable and instructive because it taught me things I needed to know about writing and different types of writing and it was valuable because I remember all the different ones. I learned how to turn banal assignments into interesting and fun things which is a very useful skill to have. Basically it's the whole spoonful of sugar thing coming on. It taught me intellectually because it taught me about the different types of writing, as I have said. It changed me emotionally because, as I earlier stated, I learned how to enjoy otherwise boring things. Spiritually, I don't think it changed me much. Or if it did I have yet to notice. It may be that later in life I will come across something and realize I was changed spiritually by this.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I've Got a Topic, Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey!

I feel I should mention that this is a very difficult paper for me to write and that this blog is due on two different dates, tomorrow and Monday. I'm going to do it now because that's safer and I don't read minds very well.
So there I am, listening to Eenie Meanie by Jim Noir on Pandora because that's a beautiful thing and I realize, that oh snap, I can't write my blog without knowing my topic. This sounds like a disaster, but you see, I did know my topic. All three of them. They just didn't like me and wouldn't let me pin them down. But my fourth topic is really derived from them all. In a way, they all merged together to become my topic. Without them, I never would have come to my topic.
So now that I know my topic and we are friends (it's facebook official) I can figure out how I want to go about persuading others that my topic and I are correct. And it seems to me that the best way to do that is through deduction. I can set up the premise that people who do work that they love are happier and support that with evidence such as research studies and testimonials. I can also probably pull on the motivational appeal string, too. It helps that people generally accept this premise as true to begin with.
Then I can set up the premise that people who do work they love are more successful. I can use Dr. Morris as a source there, I think, because I believe it was she who told us about the study done with 200 hundred people who wanted to be millionaires. Not as a source, as a testimonial of a research study.
And then ought to have one more premise for my sanity because our paper is supposed to be like six pages long at the minimum.
These premises will lead to the conclusion that if these are true than people who attend college and major in that which they love will be happier and more successful.
Now that I think about it, I can also use induction. Heck, I can probably use cost-benefit whatnot too, if I think for a little while. (Sneaky, sneaky, Professor, helping us do our outlines through our blogs. I approve.)
However, though I can use all three, I feel that deduction will be most useful to be but I have an idea that the other two might find their way into my paper just to be supportive.
And that's all I have for you. It is now four songs later and this blog is at a close. Akaetal teh zinthra anur. (It means good-bye and good night, if you were wondering.) Tal!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Oh College, What Am I to Assume About You?


Alright, so I always believed that college was where you went to get an education to a get a good job which I didn't want. I never wanted a job. Still don't. I hate the idea of doing nothing but work for the rest of my life. There's no joy in that and no satisfaction. Call me whatever you like, but I don't think money is a good tradeoff for working. That's just me though. Going back to college, ha ha, it never once crossed my mind not to go until this summer right before I left. College was just something that I was going to do, and I never really saw another option. Both my parents have gone to college and so did my sister, but my brother didn’t. He started his own business. So it wasn’t like I saw college as inevitable because my entire family went. It was just where you went next. That and people look at you funny if you tell them you aren’t going to college. It’s stupid, but what are you going to do? I assumed that I would go through four years of college, graduate with my degree, and if I worked hard and had some luck, I’d graudate sum cum laude. After college I’d enter the stupid workforce and proceed to be miserable for the rest of my life. Don’t worry. I don’t hold that belief anymore. Unless of course, I can’t enter into the job I want. Then yes. I will be miserable. But moving past that, I think that I will know if my assumptions that college is where you go to get a degree to get a job are true when I encounter something to prove them. For example, I thought that I would go to college and have to work hard and diligently in order to keep my idea of a good grade, an A or better. Thus far, this has proven true. I’ve had to be both diligent and hard working to turn in the best quality work I am capable of. I assumed that procrastination would be my downfall in college. That is a constant battle but I think that one is a fact. As I encounter things, they will change or affirm my assumptions, but I never really thought of my assumptions before and found out that I didn’t really have that many.
So let us then do some more assumptions (this sounds like a recipe for disaster does it not?) and assume I can graduate college with a Bachelor’s degree. Yay! Congratulations! You did it! Huzzah! Then the party’s over, not that anyone throws a party for the harder of graduations but who’s complaining, and I get to reflect on whether or not my pile of debt was worth my shiny piece of paper. Well, I don’t know. I could do complicated little equations and calculate how much it would’ve cost me to have already been in the workplace and compare them to what I spent at college, but I strongly abhor math so no. I don’t think I will. Or I could enter into the workplace and see how I, with my newfound collegic knowledge, can stand in the world of work. I can look at what I learned and how useful I find those learnings. I can just speak from my gut or heart or someplace like that and say yes, this was useful or no this was not. Despite the fact that my career doesn’t require a degree, I think that I will be glad I went to college and that it was generally worth the enormous mound of debt.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor?

 To be perfectly frank, I think my essay is absolutely rubbish and should be mutilated and destroyed.
Now that I have that out of the way, I'll be a bit more specific.
My paper isn't absolute rubbish. It's mostly rubbish. There are parts of it that are bearable, maybe even decent. My title is not half bad, but not exactly up to my usual standard I think. At one point I go on a mini-'rant' about the purpose of entertainment and fantasy, but I thought that part was well done and it got to my point logically. I also think that my explanation/description of Peter Parker and Wolverine was readable. It pleased me. Also, I was able to use obfuscated which is officially my favorite word next to farrago. I mean come on, obfuscated. How fun is that?
I did like my topic, and might have enjoyed writing this paper (though I really abhor research), and I certainly know a lot more about it now than I did. However, I didn't really include any personal experiences. On the other hand, they really wouldn't have fit. This isn't to say there wasn't room, but rather that they just wouldn't have fit with the style. And, I did include my personal experiences. I just didn't say they were mine. My whole spiel about entertainment and fantasy is all my experiences and observations. I love fantasy, and I think that's clear. But including personal anecdotes or tales of reading comics would really just ruin the tone and jerk the reader out of the paper, the last thing we want to happen. But perhaps I am completely and utterly wrong. I have been before. Many times. But then again, I could be right. Talk about wishy-washy.
But that does not distract from the problems. I was not clear in my presentation of ideas. I rambled, often without remorse. I jumped between my three to four points without mercy and repeated myself more than is forgivable. My ending was the work of a two year old and my organization the idea of an oyster. My verbiage was unfitting for the paper as a whole and I included much that was unnecessary. To make matters worse, I did not know my thesis. I could not pin it down. (Don't worry though; I found it Monday. Sneaky little devil was hiding in a back corner of my brain by the trash can.) And yet, I insisted on writing a meandering, circumventing carnage of mixed thoughts and gravel. It was sheer agony to read and full of even more useless information than usual. In fact, it had some information in it that wasn't even pertinent to the topic.
I was vague, general, and imprecise. I broke up paragraphs that probably didn't need to be broken up. I used phrases like, "had to be" which is not only untrue, but argumentative. Against my own point! I did not have terribly specific examples, and was repeatedly reminded of the wispy threads that supported my points.
Which of these is that greatest sin? That I do not know. At a guess, I would say not really knowing my thesis, my vague, general air, and my incessant repetition of the same three, kind of four, ideas.
So here's the question. How do I fix this?
The first thought is to just throw it all out, and in a way that is true. But we'll do this properly. I shall go through, and mercilessly analyze it until I find the parts that are good and fitting and I shall carefully lay them out in a manner that follows coherent thoughts. I shall introduce my thesis earlier and I shall introduce it properly. I shall remember what my thesis is and write with that in mind. I will have an interesting beginning that fits the paper. Mayhap I will even write the beginning I originally planned. I will be less vague and be more assertive. I use my sources wisely and I will not, absolutely not repeat myself unless utterly necessary for clarity or added emphasis.
And that is what I shall do with my dilapidated paper. With some luck, it will be better. Paper, ye have been warned.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lost Beauty

Amazingly enough, plagiarism stinks like the odious remains of pickled squid liver. That is, to plagiarize stinks like pickled squid liver remains. To be plagiarized, I can only guess at. You see, I stole someone's work. Granted, it was under the direction of the teacher, but I stole someone's work. And it was awful. I didn't want to take it to begin with, and when I took it I didn't want to put my name on it, especially not to claim it as my own. The person who I'd stolen from had worked hard; he'd written a song for pete's sake!
And then, not only were we supposed to steal from someone else and claim it for ourselves, we were going to be graded on that stolen work, which seemed pretty risky, even if you discount the fact it was sanctioned theft. Putting your grade in someone else's hands seemed like stupidity in its most developed form. The entire time I just wanted to give it back and turn in mine. I kept saying how I'd rather be graded on my work, even though I considered my work inferior to the work I'd stolen. He'd written a song! With chords and everything. That takes time and effort and skill. I wrote a short story. It may have taken time and effort and skill, but of a whole different set and is a lot less impressive, let me tell you.
I was so relieved when we found out that we'd be graded on what we did, not the stolen work. There was some grateful praying going on, for sure.
So I know that plagiarizing is the epitome of idiocy and I couldn't do it because it is wrong and it feels wrongs. I don't know how it feels to be plagiarized because I wasn't. Oddly enough, or perhaps not so oddly, I was disappointed that I hadn't been plagiarized, like my work wasn't worth stealing. Good, because it won't be stolen, but bad because darn, I feel like a failure. (Ok, not quite that extreme, but it was getting close.)
Plagiarism manages to break all five of the Core Values into little pieces with one act. When plagiarizing, you no longer strive for excellence; you'd rather someone else did the work. You don't take responsibility; if you put off your assignment and plagiarize so it will get done, you weren't very responsible. You weren't very responsible at all to plagiarize. You have no integrity; you take from others what isn't yours. There's no integrity there. How can you show generosity to others if you aren't willing to take the best you have and share it? You don't give the assignment, and the teacher, your time and consideration and focus. Plagiarizers can't be servant leaders. A servant leader is trustworthy, and listens and learns; he doesn't mislead others and he serves. He doesn't demand others to serve him. Taking someone's work is demanding that someone to serve you.
I have a large responsibility to uphold these Values. Not only me, but all the students. If we can't abide to the Values, to what are probably our own personal values if under a different name, then we can't expect others to do the same. They will crumble. The things that make this university a beautiful place to learn is the honesty and integrity at the heart of it. If students don't strive to protect and defend such values by practicing them, then that beauty will be lost.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Difficulty of Writing About Comics (They Talk Back)

How to approach my essay. How should I approach it? Probably from the side, so I don't startle it, but then again, a head-on confrontation might be the best way to wrestle with this beast. Or perhaps using a soothing, quiet tone and approaching in a non-offensive manner...or not.

I could sit down with my topic, make it a cup of tea, and then discuss with it the stereotypes surrounding it. I could dig deep into the idiosyncrasies of my topic that cause people to make assumptions about it and then challenge them. I could force people to look at it in a new way, not necessarily change their minds, but to just look at it differently. And I would then be laughed at by my topic. It is not to say that there are no stereotypes surrounding my topic, it's just that that may not be the right way of looking at it. It may not be. It very well could be. My topic is laughing at me and telling me to get on with it.

Alright, then, let's try option number two. I could talk to my topic about how it is made, the processes that bring it to life. That is a very interesting focus point I think. I could delve into the intricacies and labor that beget such a thing. After all, there is the brain that first thinks of it, and then the ones who write it and the ones who draw it and those who bring it all together and...my topic laughs again. Now it's calling me names.

So I'll try a third way. I'll find a comparison and a contrast between different aspects of my topic and...don't look at me like that, topic, I was kidding. No, the third way is to find the heart of my topic. And then bring that heart into the light. I'll try to discover why this is the heart of my topic and why this heart is so important, not just to my topic, but to humanity. And I'll wriggle in a little bit of history, perhaps a little compare and contrast, not to focus on those aspects, but to properly define and explain the heart of my topic. What is it about comics, superhero comics to be specific, Marvel superhero comics to be further specific, that have caused them to last through turbulent culture changes and to be a part of most people's lives. That is of course unless you live under a rock, which as Geico points out, is quite possible. How often do kids pretend to be Spider-man, or Wolverine, or Iron Man? Adults remember Captain America and the Hulk fondly. Why is this? That's what I'll find out, or try to. The heart of comic books.

Take that, topic. You're not the only one with ideas.

You see, it is not comic books that are loved and metaphorically devoured by people, but the stories and the characters, two things that are found across the world, and across centuries. The difference is the presentation of the stories and characters.

I don't think the reader will be very interested in stereotypes of superhero comics, or even the process. People know how it's done, even if only vaguely. No one likes being retold that which they already know, even if they're wrong. But a subtle mixing of elements into a paper of semi-discovery, even un-discovery, is perhaps a little more interesting. It's a story of sorts, and there are very few people who don't like stories.

Are you happy with that, topic? That's what I thought. And look! I have something that almost resembles a thesis.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Weather Theater

One just has to love the weather. It is the most random thing in the world, and yet makes the most sense. Today for instance, it was bright and sunny and wonderful and then suddenly....it rained. On one car. The rain then spread to cover the whole street and some minutes later the whole area, but that one car was the first to notice.