Sunday, January 31, 2010
First of all, forgive me if I don’t remember all of the issues addressed by Obama during this speech (I am not that perfect). The first issue I will address is education. While it is true that the United States education has been on a downhill ride, it is too naïve to just say that education spending is the only the only thing that is bogging down the education system. In order to really change the education system, we should take another step back and see the entire system. Reforming things like Headstart, GED, Collegefirst, No Child Left Behind should all be addressed.
Second is alternative energies. Although it is a great idea to create green jobs and such, these innovations do not assume the current economic crisis. Obama called for a taxation on companies that use too much pollutants. He said that the biggest challenge is to keep companies within the US borders. I do not see how it make sense to be taxing companies for using the cheapest energy producing agent especially during bad economic times would somehow be synonymous to trying to convince them to stay within our borders.
Third is war. Obama is very stern about ending the war in the Middle-East. First problem with that claim is the obvious contradiction of sending 300000 more troops to Afghanistan. Another problem is that there is no way to tell whether or not the Middle East will be “stabilized” before Obama’s term is over. If it isn’t then would Obama still hold on to his position on this withdrawal issue?
Forth is healthcare. Now this is a big plan and a legislation that is probably one or two on Obama’s agenda. I think the first weakness in this speech is that Obama was not discussing politics with the politicians. He openly admits that universal healthcare is bad politics. Though I do not believe that a bill should be justified just based on its credibility with the politicians, it is (according to Mr. Glenn) important to know who your audiences are. Another problem with universal healthcare is its cost. Now, Obama said that the current health system is unsustainable, but he did not provide any alternative to it other than the universal healthcare. One could easily argue that reforming the healthcare system could easily solve the current problems without having to implement a universal system that also has the potential of sky-rocketing costs.
Finally I would address the economy. Yes the economy is bad. Yes, unemployment is really high. Yes we need reforms. Do we need Obama’s reform? Maybe. However, the thing that undermined this legislation is everything on top of it. Do you seriously think Obama would be able to get all of these bills passed before the midterm elections (which many say would be the death knell to his agenda), or even during his term? Chances are no. Even if everything here passes, it seems that most of the spending on other agenda items are just not consistent with any fiscal.
The author of this article seems to be really critical towards how the media and the government frame the issue of AIDS. She says that these anti-AIDS campaigns and commercials and ads are all over-exaggerated. She uses examples such as horrific imageries and emotional stories that are used by the government to try to “stem the spread of AIDS” (however, according to the author limit our choice to have sex).
A key part of the article that I think many people are missing is that in the beginning of the article the author indicated that sex is something that is natural and that people are going to do it anyway. She specifically uses herself as an example. Although she was scared of AIDS, she still had sex; hence, she went to test for HIV three times. With that said, the part that she states the statistics of the prominence of AIDS for herself is not to create an “us vs them” relationship or a “hierarchy” of who is better. Rather, she uses that statistic to back up the claim that she, of all people, should not be that worried about contacting AIDS. In that sense, the question is not whether or not this article uses xenophobic rhetoric, but whether or not it is justified for the government to use this scare tactic.
With that said, the real argument in this article is that the government should not be able to use these kinds of scare tactics to, in a sense, limit our freedoms and happiness. The author branches out into two scenarios. The first scenario assumes a world where this AIDS rhetoric does do its job and that it deters people from having sex. According to the author this is problematic, but it means that these advertisements and words of the government becomes what control our lives and not us. The second scenario is that the these tactics in fact do not deter people from having sex. In this instance, the author, argue, these tactics are just other ways of putting the public at a state of paranoia.
Speaking of the internet, I was introduced to the sneazing panda this weekend via youtube. A clip I could watch twenty times in a row and not get sick of it would definatley have to go to this one. I jumped I laughed so hard when I first witnessed this creature getting a sniffle in his nose. The full body thrust in HD youtube made my life complete. It might not have been in HD but if youtube created an HD channel, Ithink they would a. be almost as smart as me or b. be reading Senor Glenn's Ap Lang blog. Run away screaming the twighlight zone is closing in.
Thinking of youtube triggered me to think about acting which then lead to Thescon. I am seriously so thrilled about thescon. Best Valentine's day weekend by far. I am going to go all out for zombie prom. Not only that but I will also get to have four days full of acting acting acting. AWP is going to be there which I am ecstatic about because I, unfortunately, have not gotten to see them alot this year. Excitement, excitment.
The show is also the weekend after thescon which is half scary, half exhilerating. I am so thrilled to be performing but I am nervous we are unprepared. I have been tryign my hardest to bond the cast and stay on top of my responsibilities but it is hard none the less to not be nervous. Butterflies are a natural feeling for any performer to endure but should I be feeling it two weeks until show? I am not so sure.
This argument serves two purposes, to plant the fear of disease into us, and to keep students abstinant. However, when does the message get monotnous? When do people start realizing that maybe less is more and that we may be getting this message a little too often for our well being. The sensitive topic of AIDs has been exoplored in every aspect of media and in schools. Why is the idea that the subject is becoming to common to be effective? Honestly, it really is. Teenagers, adults and the elderly are not going to pause and think, "Hm, will I get AIDs?". They are either going to give in to their hormonal needs or they are not. Pushing the subject on society is not going to make it better.
Moreover, it is not Americans who should be worried about the small statstical chance of aquiring this disease, it is Afrians. Not African-Americans, the people who are currently residing on the continent of Africa. It is there that the overwhelming statistics of AIDs comes from. If you would like, I am sure SONY would be glad to be part of an awarness program that aired AIDs commercials on SONY televisions wheeled in by the loving Americans to teach Africans about their future. First off, it isn't a pleasent future when it can actually happen. The chances for an American to get AIDs are slim. Yes, it can happen, but not to the extent that they make it seem like.
Overall it would be wiser to advertise for boy's to keep it in their pants and girl's to close their legs then to advertise AIDs. Then, all at once you can prevent pregnancy, disease, heartache, and depression. Wow, I might go pitch that idea to Fox it seems like it could make me millions. The essay we read in class this week on AIDs just made me realize that Americans in general run off of extremes. Extreme diets, extreme weightloss, extreme prefection, extreme goals, and the list goes on and on. The one thing we, as Americans, are lacking is extreme happiness. Most of us strive for extreme happiness however, few of us actually land upon something worthwhile that will sustain our happiness. For now, I suppose people will keep taking risks, including the risk of AIDs, in their blind search of happiness.
This weekend was a busy weekend for my family and I. I barely was in my house all weekend. I was glad that I did not do anything Friday night though. Saturday, I spent a good part of the day helping out with the Jr. Gladiators wrestling tournament. I was there from 8:45 AM to 5:30 PM. It was so hectic. I had four different things that I needed to do all day. I was also a lifesaver for some people.
I got there and instead of being assigned to work the tables like I was originally supposed to, I was sent to be a runner. A runner is someone that walks around the tables and collects the bout sheets, for the brackets, and brings the sheets back to the control room. After they are back in the control room, they have to be entered into the computer. Lets just say I had to go up and down the bleachers a lot that day.
After a while, there were too many runners. I was then put on the task to tape up the updated brackets to the wall. There were three different places to tape them: two upstairs and one downstairs. I only made it so far when I was sent to mat one to help straighten things out for them. Mat one was having some major issues with the bout sheets and brackets. When I got there, I did the timer so Mr. Martin could fix the mess up. I stayed at the mat for the rest of the shift. By the end of the shift, we were all caught up and everything was running smoothly.
At 1:30 PM, there was a lunch break. I did not really get one because there was a presentation for the volunteers. We all had to split back up into our groups and head back down to the tables. This time, I was the one finishing the bout sheets and then updating the bracket manually. Things kept moving fairly fast the second shift. I was happy, but it was such a long day. I did get nine hours of credit for Beta club. I’m not even in the club, but because of Saturday, I am joining.
Today, I spent most of my day in a hair salon. I was there from noon to almost five. I cut, styled, dyed, highlighted and straightened my hair. It was a long day of nothingness. I hate the waiting that ensues when I go to the hair salon. I feel antsy. I also never know what to talk about with the hair stylist. I mean, I won’t tell my life story to someone I have never met. I could, but not if I go back there next time. I also hate staring at myself for hours in the mirror. I hate looking at myself in mirrors in general, especially when I sit behind the driver in a car. I liked the salon I went to today. Also, my hair turned out pretty cute, I guess…
The filming skills were atrocious. The acting was simply depressing. But the part that really irked me was that, at the core, they were all exactly the same. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is an excitingly creative and even a bit creepy but these videos simply did not do it justice. Charlotte Perkins Gillman did not write a simple and concrete story. The drift of her main character into insanity can be interpreted in many different ways, including the slightly more abstract ideas that the woman is actually in an insane asylum or that the “creeper” is simply a shadow or reflection of the woman upon the wall and windows of the room. None of these ideas were even approached by the videos. They had all translated the text so literally that it became tiresome after only a few videos. Each video depicted the woman in a room with yellow paper and surrounded by hooded creatures in black crawly dejectedly around the room or around the grounds of the estate. In the end of each video another girl literally leapt out from behind a fake yellow wall (it ranged from bed-sheets to tissue paper) and tied the woman up, leaving her on the floor. Each video was so similar to the last that it became possible to predict nearly everything, all the way down to what song would be used at the climax.
Yet what I discovered from this video watching went much deeper than the simple lack of film making skills or the predictable music choice. These videos revealed a true shortcoming of this generation. The ability to think outside of the lines and play with ideas that are not literally stamped in to the text is a greatly diminishing skill. In our class we were able to discuss multiple interpretations of the short story and present legitimate evidence for each interpretation. Children in school systems everywhere, no matter what grade or class level, should be encouraged to search for and present multiple ideas about the text so that this world does not become one where everything is restricted to its literal interpretation. Encouraged creativity will keep our world from becoming one of repetitive videos and un-open minds. The lesson of “The Yellow Wallpaper” was to me not one regarding sexism or insanity but one of creativity. Creativity that is so present in writing, but is being swiftly discarded by this generation. If we lose our creativity we lose ourselves, so hold tight to “The Yellow Wallpaper” and never, never let go.
It is Sunday night already, and I can’t believe how fast this weekend went, considering how slow this school week went. This week in AP Lang was somewhat uneventful. We did some readings, learned some allusions, and had a few laughs. We have talked about several issues that were brought up in our readings. One issue that stuck in my mind was the AIDS issue.
AIDS is a big issue, but now, there are not as many people concerned about it anymore. Back when AIDS first started popping up, everyone freaked out. MTV and other companies created campaigns to raise awareness. Now, MTV doesn’t have those commercials played as often. Also, people don’t care about the stereotypes anymore because they come to terms that anyone could get AIDS. My dad’s girlfriend told me that when she lived in Fort Myers, Florida, one in ten had AIDS. To me, that is a very scary thought. Plus, everyone worries about catching other STDS besides AIDS. We all have to be even more careful with our lives.
Meghan Daum writes about how she was tested for AIDS three times. How could she tell us that she did not worry about having AIDS, yet she gets tested like no other? Is it just me or is there a hint of hypocrisy involved? Daum claims that she has not had sex with a homosexual or a needle-using drug addict. Why would she be worried then? Apparently, she does not fall into the category of people that could possibly have aids. For all I know, she could be a hypochondriac.
Another set of stories that we read in class were the Carver stories. They were short, to the point, yet ambiguous at the end. The class read “Fat” and “After the Denim.” I actually liked the stories. What I did not like, however, were the questions we had to answer the next day. Even though I read, I still did not remember every detail in the stories, or the meanings of them. I liked “Fat” better than the other story. I felt bad about the guy, but then again, I did not really like him.
In “Fat,” I noticed that the use of quotations were nonexistent. I found that strange, and maybe that was some clever thing Carver thought of. I am not too sure. I liked the ending because it could lead to several different outcomes. When I read the story, I felt that when the main girl thought something was going to be “different” meant that she was going to get pregnant. It could also mean that she could get fat herself. I think she might have some serious self-esteem issues if she thinks by talking to a fat man would get her fat.
This story, “Fat,” kind of lead into “The Yellow Wallpaper” because it brings of the thought that maybe the girl has something wrong in her mind. The narrator, Jane, is believed to have a mental disorder. The story goes on how being in peace made Jane’s mental state worse.
The first thing I saw was a long table with more than fifteen slow cookers. They all had a small label in front of them with the food’s name written on it. The other helpers were doing their own works, so it took the student volunteers a while to figure out what to do. My first job was organizing the brownies. It sounds simple but it requires a lot of thinking to place three different kinds of brownies with three different shapes into one plate. There were caramel brownies, white chocolate brownies, and double fudge brownies, and they were not the best thing to smell in the morning with your empty stomach. Washing the dishes was my second job. There were so many pot lids stacked on the desk that two people had to help drying the dishes. It would have helped me speed up a lot if the sink was an actual sink that I don’t have to crunch down to reach the bottom.
When it became the rush time where big muscular coaches and several student volunteers came to eat lunch, I felt the proud feeling of a mom when she watches her kids eat the food she prepared. Even though I didn’t actually prepare it, the hard work I have done to decorate and organize the foods that were spread all over the place seemed to be paying off. When it was nearly time to go, I went to ask if I could stay a little longer since I worked only for three hours. I decided to stay an hour longer and help them clean up and fill up the water containers. After all the work was done and the place seemed to be settled down, I got the hours signed and left with a proud feeling. So this Saturday, I was at the wrestling tournament; it is just that I didn’t watch any wrestling games but I was there to watch the coaches eat.
“Dialogue in the Dark” is the brain-child of a German scientist ( I believe ) that worked extensively with blind or seeing impaired individuals. He set out to create an experience that would allow seeing individuals to briefly step in to a world without sight in order to create a greater respect and understanding for members of the world society who function with either severely impaired or non-existent vision.
I had planned to attend this event last Friday but was checked out of school with a high fever and thus was unable to go. But I feel as though it would be a moving and possibly life-changing experience for members of this class, including myself. Visitors are immersed in complete darkness and placed in groups no larger than eight. Each person is given a cane, identical to those carried by the blind, and each group follows a leader who is either blind or has severe seeing disabilities. Each group is led through a street scene, a grocery store scene, a boat scene, and a café scene. Entirely without light. The “museum” is plunged into complete darkness and visitors must rely on their other senses and their group guide to lead them through the multiple rooms and perfectly recreated experiences. In the final room, the café scene, visitors are able to purchase and consume a drink, still in total darkness, and find a seat in the café and discuss with their guides what it is like to go through life without the gift of sight.
The exhibit has toured the world and is quickly becoming known as one of the most interesting and educational experience available. The reviews are off of the charts and I have spoken to people who have attended and they have nothing but positive things to say about it. I believe that it is truly and unique and fascinating exhibit and each of us should take advantage of it before it continues its tour and leaves Atlanta. I understand that it may be impossible to attend as a class, but I do believe that it would fit snugly in with our recent topics for discussion and open up a whole new level of understanding to each of us as individuals. Whether or not we have a field trip it would be a wonderful experience for each and every one of us to attend “Dialogue in the Dark”. Do not forget, it is currently in Atlantic Station and will be leaving Atlanta in March.
Insanity. Eh, figures that we would eventually get to this topic. I don’t really know if I have any good opinions on the issue but then again I am sure some people would love to argue that I don’t have any good opinions on anything. I think that were all a little bit insane. I think that no matter how brilliant or normal someone is they’re still totally whacked out. It’s not hard to understand insanity, one just has to choose to.
For example insanity is easily spotted given that one knows what to look for: if a person is totally normal, does what they’re told, never really complains, and lives in society’s cookie cutter world they’re insane; if someone goes out in public dressed as a gypsy dawning a makeshift afro they’re insane; if someone questions the world we live in not accepting of the way things are and finding it fun to break a couple of rules now then they’re insane; and if someone is a complete psychopath and gets their kicks and giggles from torturing and murdering people they’re one hundred percent insane. I can’t imagine that I’ve left out a single stereotype of all the people in the world; while many people may not match up with exactly one of those descriptions their probably not far from it.
While I haven’t had exactly the same experience as the woman from “The Yellow Wallpaper” I have on occasion found myself easily distracted by intricate designs placed on celling and walls. I’ve also found that I can have an emotional attachment to an inanimate objects. The strangest trait I have though is that I can willingly admit that I talk to myself. I have full on conversations and on occasion make up a monologue or two as a form of catharsis. While each of these things on there own don’t make me certifiable; together I am sure one could make an outstanding case.
This weekend I learned that the yiddish world mashugana means crazy. Whether that’s a coincidence or fate is totally up to the individual to decide. All I know is that I can’t seem to get the word out of my head now, another piece of evidence that I am certifiable is my likliness to become obsessed with something. As I’m writing this I am wondering if what I am implying makes any sense. If being crazy is the norm doesn’t that make being the norm crazy which is the norm which in turn is crazy, SEE! There’s no end. This world is a never ending circle of mushugana. The rules and orders that we live by are rules and orders put in place by other crazy people. The we live in a world where the blind lead the blind.
My opinions maybe offensive but there’s enough evidence to support the idea that I am eccentric and if my memory serves I was once an old woman who was told that, “...no one holds an eccentric responsible...”
I wrote this entry the way I did for a reason. Sometimes the craziness of life naturally flows without force, which is the idea I got from “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The reason I wrote this explanation is because I liked that Charlotte Gillman explain why she wrote her little piece of insanity and I thought maybe everyone in the world should do that too.
This is the first year that I wasn’t with my sister on her birthday and to make up for it we spent the weekend with our Aunt Bec. For her birthday we did cupcake arts and crafts, had a hot tub party, and watched some really sucky movies. It wasn’t anything totally extravagant, that not the kind of girl my sister is, but it was definitely a lot of fun. We watched Bright Star, the movie about John Keats, and it was absolutely one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It was so slow I literally talked with a friend on the phone for an hour of the movie and when I returned hadn’t missed anything. We also watched two of the Bourne Movies though which totally made up for it, Matt Damon is so B.A!
Meghan’s favorite part was the cupcake arts and crafts though, which totally makes sense because Meghan loves food and pretty much loves anything that pertains to food as a side-effect of her obsession. The cupcakes were actually okay but I’d have to say that decorating them was the most fun. I can definitely rule out all artistic careers from my future now because if there was any hope before I’ve given it up after last nights decorating events; while I thought even someone like me could draw a heart on a cupcake I learned quickly that I was wrong. I have a new found respect for all food decorators now, it’s a very hard job.
Over the weekend I remembered how easy it is to forget how important people are to you when you don’t see them everyday. There was a moment this weekend where I was getting ready to go somewhere and as I was entering my room and getting my stuff, my sister popped up from the bed where she’d been hiding under the covers. At first I was completely terrified but when the shock had worn off I realized that it was one of the best moments of the entire weekend because it was a total sister moment. While it’s hard for people without siblings, and even some with, to understand how easy it is to hate and love someone at the same time I am constantly aware that my relationship with my sister is centered entirely around our desire to annoy and care for the other. I forget sometimes that she’s growing up and that she’s not my “little” sister anymore. It’s weird because were only two years apart but growing up I guess I always just felt like she was a baby and couldn’t really comprehend anything but as I talk and watch her now I realize that she can comprehend and understand things that sometimes even I can’t.
There is nothing normal about my sister, she’s the weirdest person I know and I mean that in the most loving way. If it weren’t for her insanity I would be totally normal in the most average meaning of the word.
After wandering through the classical works of DaVinci and other traditional artists, I found myself in the strange world of modern art. These certain pieces of art are very unconventional and at most times very confusing. With some, you could not tell what the artist was trying to communicate. With others, it was hard to be convinced that the piece in question was actually real art.
At some of these pieces, I found myself confused and slightly angry. I wondered how an all black canvas with a yellow line through it could even be considered as art. The museum lost some credibility, I think, with these pieces. There was absolutely no talent what so ever in creating these so called works of art. A blind two year old could do the same thing pretty much. I really did not understand how such a prominent art museum could let that waste of supplies hang on its walls.
Moving on from that kind of modern art, I found myself in the halls of the sculptures. These combinations of cement, marble, metal and other, less conventional materials held my fascination for the longest time. Finding different angles on the work lead to impossible new creations and views for a single piece. The way you can find new shapes and unintended visions within the delicately formed twists and turns entertained me for quite a long time.
When I finally pulled myself from the sculptures I found myself in a strange place. The walls were covered in paintings and other such art works but I couldn’t determine which category it would fall under. It was in this hall that I found all of the impressionistic artists. This was probably my absolute favorite hall. These artists were a pleasant mix of strangeness and extreme talent. I found the most interesting works in this hall. From far away a scene would be portrayed beautifully, but when you approached to take a closer look, one would find the painting consisted of messy dots and squiggles.
After spending many hours looking through the winding halls, it was time to brave the icy winds and rain to make it back to the car. On the whole trip back home, I had a lot of fun debating the different pieces and discussing favorites. The weekend was greatly improved by the trip to view the different kinds of art. I’m very sure I’ll be back again soon.
This week was brutal. Monday was a typical Monday—a drawn out reality check. Tuesday was especially terrible. First off, my basketball team had practice at six in the morning. Moreover, the practice was hard! It is hard to roll out of bed, get to school, and then run sprints. Not an ideal start to a day. When the practice came to a close, the rest of the day simply glided by—most likely because I was half asleep throughout the remainder of the day. In fact, I almost fell asleep in U.S. History. I have never actually fallen asleep in a class before. As my head was bobbing up and down trying to stay awake, my U.S. History teacher told me that it was impossible for me to sleep in class. Apparently, I’m “too respectful to fall asleep in class.” She had a point. For some reason, I feel terribly guilty for even trying to sleep in class.
Wednesday followed with a game at Flowery Branch. The day went quickly in anxiety for the game. The coach at Flowery Branch was the old coach at Chattahoochee when my brother played. I always looked up to him as a coach, as he has the reputation of being one of, if not the best basketball coach in Georgia. I knew we had a challenge in front of us. The game was a nail-biter. The team was expected to spank us back to Johns Creek, but we only lost by about six points. Their team relies on their big man, Ishmael. He supposedly is going to Miami on scholarship for basketball. I was very impressed with his ability. He dunked on both of our big men who are not exactly small (6’8” and 6’7”). We play the team again this Tuesday.
Thursday was another never-ending day. I don’t even remember what exactly happened on Thursday. School then practice—story of my life. Practice Thursday and Friday revolved around beating the emerging rival high school, Lambert. They beat us on our court in overtime first semester, and we were not going to let that happen again. We watched some of the film Friday night and were shocked at how we gave up an eight point lead in the fourth quarter. Defensive breakdowns killed us.
Saturday was a different story. We started off the game on fire and exerted our dominance from the get-go. The game was intense from start to our overtime victory. It was a huge win for the Gladiators, as everyone stepped up and played well. We took the win on the court in revenge for the one they stole on ours.
Now it is Sunday, the day for pre-week planning, church, and homework. It’s funny how 99% of my weekend homework is from AP Lang. I’m not complaining. I like to vent on a blog once in a while. It’s like my own personal diary—except anyone can read it. I don’t know if people actually read these blogs. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write something really controversial then see if anyone comments. We’ll see what this week has in store to write about next Sunday.
A few weeks ago we watched a film excerpt about a man who was a quadriplegic and wanted to die. Exciting. I know that this was quite a while ago, but I never got the chance to write about the issue as much as I would have liked to.
Can one’s life be stripped of dignity? In the movie The Sea Inside, Ramon Sampedro fights for his life not for its salvage, but for its end. Sampedro was an active young adult who suffered a tragic injury that left him a quadriplegic. After the injury, Sampedro found no further purpose in his life. Yet, at this point in time euthanasia was not a legal option. Sampedro claimed that his life was pointless, and that all of his dignity was lost. This is where I struggle. Does your dignity reside in your physical capability? Granted, I have no idea of what it is like to be in Sampedro’s position. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live as a quadriplegic and Sampedro lived like that for over twenty years. I can’t fathom, however, how you can lose all hope for your life. Live for your mind, not your body. As the class watched the film, I kept trying to put myself in his position. If I was stuck in a chair or bed my entire life, would I want to die, too? Yes. He lost his body from the neck down. But he still had his mind. That is the most powerful thing we have. Is there no way to live a life of dignity with your mind? Once again, I have no idea what it is like to be in his position. I am speaking from a completely biased and naïve standpoint. I simply don’t understand how you can have nothing to live for simply because you are immobile. Live for family, friends, loved ones. You control your dignity—your legs don’t.
I respect Sampedro, and I truly do sympathize with his condition. Although my perspective may be completely off-base, I struggle with his decision to end his life. Life is a gift and a privilege. Sampedro decided to return the greatest gift one can receive. He believed in his heart of hearts that his life had no point. I beg to differ. His life, the basis of this film, had an impact on all who watched it. His life had a tremendous impact, positive or negative, on everyone who witnessed it.
Indeed, The Sea Inside is a not-so-subtle polemic on the subject of one’s moral right to die. Ramón, for example, mentions how humiliating and degrading it is to be living in his condition, but his colleagues never venture into those dark and private corners of his existence — the lack of personal control and dignity, the yearning for sex and physical adventure, and the very terror of immobility — to show us why his struggle is so crucial to him. The movie, instead, relies on dialogue scattered with moral and religious conversation. But these are just words, after all, batted back and forth between characters, never managing the emotional resonance that a more sensitive, imaginative approach could’ve yielded.
The readings this week in AP Lang were actually quite interesting and enlightening. The readings on sex and homosexuals taught me some things I had never though about before and probably would have never thought to think about. It would have never occurred to me that if a guy has AIDS then he probably, more than likely, has been with other men-that’s weird. I also never thought about how homosexuals are more attentive to they way people act, dress, relate than heterosexuals because they want to fit in so much and want to feel a part of the world, just fit in somewhere. I think a lot, if not most, people think homosexuality is something people choose, but it’s not. It’s something that is just a part of people and they can’t control it, it’s who they are, and you can’t ignore who you really are. The quizzes on this story though was quite frustrating because I actually read the whole thing and yet I still got a failing grade-great I might as well not read because when I think I’ve got it I apparently don’t.
The Carver stories were a tad bit annoying because they left the reader asking questions. They didn’t answer anything and in “Fat” the reader was left asking what the point of the story even was. In “After the Denim” the purpose was a little more apparent but you had to put some thought into it. At the end I kinda felt sorry for the characters in “After the Denim” because he didn’t want his wife to have the problems and the reader can tell he really cares about her.
I think if there is one thing that I learned from AP Lang this week it would be to look more on the inside of people and not to just judge them from the outside. AIDS victims, homosexuals, an older couple, and fat people, they all have feelings and lives that we don’t know about. We can’t judge when we don’t know the whole story because we never know what a person is going through and how they could be really struggling and maybe all they need is someone to be there for them and just accept them for who they are. Everyone wants to feel like they are accepted and that when times get difficult or they need someone to talk to, they have someone there for them. People try to change themselves to match other people’s criteria of what they think looks good or is attractive because they want others to approve of them. No one likes being the out cast, and no one likes being a friend to the out cast because they don’t want others thinking they’re an outcast too. If we all just embraced ourselves for who we truly are then I think we would all be happier and stop chasing after things that will never make us truly content and happy. The world needs love and acceptance.
You don’t really realize how much money you spend during an average week until you don’t have any money and you are not able to do the things you once did-or you have to get your friends to pay for you. And getting your friends to pay for you sucks and having to order off the dollar menu just isn’t quite as exciting. I am broke. I probably am in the possession of 20 dollars as of right now and my car is quite low on gas- and yes, I have to pay for my own gas and I drive a gas guzzler. I love Starbucks, buying new clothes, going out to eat with my boyfriend, going to the movies with my friends, or just renting a movie at blockbuster, and all of these things have one thing in common-they all cost money. The movie theater is ridiculous- 9 dollars for a ticket? You’ve got to be kidding me. There goes one –fourth of my monthly allowance on a two hour movie when my car takes 50 dollars to fill up. So to confirm what you’re thinking-no I don’t go to the movies that often, unless my parents take pity and offer to pay for it. Starbucks is also extremely over priced but completely addicting. I go there probably about 4 times a week. I don’t always get something there though because that’s expensive and sometimes I have gift cards. I go there so often, yes because peppermint mocha frappchino are absolutely amazing, but also because Starbucks is really the only place I can think of where you can go with one of your friends and the two of you can just talk and relax without being interrupted by waiters and what not. I also love just people watching, I know it’s weird, but I just like watching people and to see what they do and how they interact. But Starbucks is overpriced, and I need to get over my addiction.
I need to make some money, but my parents don’t really want me getting a job right now because they want me focusing on getting good grades and the SAT. I’ll probably get one after Spring Break and before all of the college kids come home and take all of the jobs. That’s what happened last year, I got a little bit of a late start and all of the jobs were gone, so I was broke all summer. First semester I got by because I had a good bit of babysitting and dog sitting jobs, they keep me afloat in the money area, but I haven’t had many jobs lately. I’m gonna have to think of something because I miss going out to eat and hanging out at Starbucks. Maybe I should ask for a raise in allowance since I have to pay for gas, but I don’t know really know if that’s gonna work, but I guess I could always try. Even 50 dollars sounds better than 40.
Another week has gone by and thats one week closer to spring break. As of now, that's pretty much the only thing I've been looking forward to. That and soccer season too, which is good because once high school soccer starts the season is going to fly by and then after the seaason's over, spring break is practically here. Tryouts are all this week from 5:15 to 7 everyday. I hate that time because it's like by the time i get home from school I have an hour to chill and then I have to turn around and go right back to school. But I was thinking, and I have decided that I might go to work straight after school each day this week and then I could go straight from there to soccer tryouts. I would be able to get about an hour of work in each day. With the system I get paid by I figure I could prolly make around $100 for the week. I need to start taking like half of every paycheck I get and save it to put towards spring break, but it is actually very hard for me to do that because I usually just end up cashing my check at the bank and then I have so much cash that I just end up spending it all because I think "well if I have it, why not spend it?"
My car has been acting up lately which is really starting to annoy me. It all started last week when it would struggle to start and then wouldn't stay idling. My dad took it into the shop for me this week and they couldn't identify the problem immediately but when they finally did and fixed it, the mechanic told my dad that my battery was weak and that I was probably going to need a new one soon. So now, everytime I go to start my car I pray that my battery has enough juice to crank up because I can definitely tell it's getting weaker and weaker everytime I try it. I wish I could have just got a new car so I wouldnt have to deal with this crap, but I geuss it's whatever (better than not having a car at all). Well I can't really think of much to write about now; I don't know why but my mind is kind of blank. I just looked out of the window and it's actually a really nice day out which is a bit surprising because lately it seems as if the trend is bad-weather weekends. I want it to get warm again. The sun is out but it is like 35 degrees out which kind of defeats the purpose of the sunny sky.
I was just looking at the soccer schedule and were supposed to play like 16 games plus playoffs if we make it, or excuse me, when we make it. Coach Bowler would have definitely corrected me on that one.
As the years progressed, I came to realize the lack of empathy everyone had, or at least no one showed it. The best example I can give is when the realities of war were beginning to be discussed. We would talk about the deaths of millions of people and the suffering of others, but no one really seemed to care. To my peers, these wars were all in the past, but to me, these wars were all in the present. I would constantly imagine just how terrible it would be to be fighting in one of these wars just watching your combatants fall literally around you to their demise leaving you no time to mourn their death as you fight for your life. To be fair, I never exactly exhibited any feelings of empathy towards the millions, so hopefully my peers were also remaining quiet.
Now in high school, there is almost a complete lack of empathy. For example, I hear all the time from my friends that are driving that old people should just not have their license and that old people drive to slow, they’re all senile, and they all should just hurry up and die. In my opinion, all of these things are terrible things to say. For some reason or another, whenever another person or group of people is brought up, I instantly imagine what it would be like to the other. I imagine all the terrible things about being old: dying soon, health problems, memory problems, mobility problems, their wife or husband may no longer be alive, their children may never call them, they may be lonely, they may be scared of dying lonely, and for some reason I generally see old people as more pacifists, peaceful, honest, nice. Naturally, I feel that it is just terrible to wish all the aforementioned things upon old people. This is probably not the best example, but my point is from my experience people forget to walk a mile in another person’s shoes. I just wish more people would imagine what it would be like to be the lonely kid at recess.
Despite what initial excitement I felt reading the title of the essay before reading the story dissipated into thin air as I began reading Daum’s unconventional essay. I did enjoy reading seeing that she strongly discerns the presses advocating safe-sex and all the propaganda they jam into the youth’s throats, but her reasoning was a little strange. For example, Daum disagrees with people trying to scare the masses in having un-safe sex, without a condom, because of the anxiety that is felt the days after. Despite her knowledge of how virtually no one of her demographic area will contract a sexually transmitted disease, Daum worries constantly about whether or not she has contracted one since her last experience in un-safe sex. To make matters worse, the blames all of her anxiety on the government and the press’s propaganda, because she reasons that everyone has been scared into having un-safe sex when in actuality having un-safe sex or safe sex or sex poses no threat.
This is where I believe Daum is beginning to exaggerate some. Personally, I don’t think it is reasonable to assume that the majority of sexually active people are worrying about whether or not they have contracted a STD every day and night. From my experience, whenever we were shown a picture in sexual education of the horrific symptoms of goneria or the gross illustrations of herpes, many of my peers would share their disgusted looks while others would let out an “Ewwww”, but no one was really moved by the whole endeavor. We simply brushed the imagery off and carried on with our lives never questioning the possibility of having sex before marriage. Daum also adds the whole bit about how in a magazine there were displayed people of all races and colors united and the title was something about AIDs. The magazine obviously implied that the depicted people had contracted the deadly disease, but there was no actual proof. Surprisingly, Daum calls the agency to discover that these are actually all just paid actors who have never contracted the virus. I will admit that this is an interesting example of propaganda, but the true effectiveness is lacking. Honestly, when I am in my doctor’s office counting the hours and I decide to pick up a magazine and the title flashes “AIDs: The Silent Killer” and there are depicted a man and woman of every race known to man holding hands and singing “kumbaya, my lord”, I will probably let out an ironic laugh and begin to flip through the pages in search for a crossword.
As our class continued its Body Unit this past week, we read a couple new interesting pieces. Two that particularly caught my attention were Safe-Sex Lies by Daum and What are Homosexuals for? by Sullivan. We read Sullivan's piece first and it gave me a new point of view for the life of a common homosexual. Sullivan mentioned that when that certain point in life came when all his heterosexual friends were going to weddings and what not, he was solely recieving invitations to funerals, most from homosexual friends that contracted the AIDS virus. He made a good point about why most homosexuals excel in career areas such as art, theatre, and drama. Because they struggle as kids to fit in and be like other people, homosexuals have to be much more attentive to ascethics. It is this particular skill, Sullivans mentions, that allows them to excel in such areas. I also found Sullivans point about homosexuals joining the military and boy scouts to be very interesting. He states that homosexuals often times have poor relations with their biological families and because of this, they search for a more societal family of brothers in which they can form similar family-like relationships. Our pop-quiz we had on this reading, even though it was very difficult, allowed me to understand what Sullivan what trying to say in his piece.
Next, we read Daum's piece that mainly focused on how AIDS prevention programs and awareness programs are failing to cause change in the behavior of "low risk" groups of people, Daum being part of this group. She stated that her attitude towards sex has changed, however the behavior of most people remains unchanged. AIDS awareness programs just try to scare people so bad that it makes them think twice about having sex and if they are truely practicing safe sex. I thought that Daum had a lot of good points in her essay, however there were times when she sounded almost like a rebellious teenager who was just trying to advocate free love and sex.
I read an article recently about how Obama and Biden passed a bill that approved $8 billion in grants to allow for construction of new high speed electric trains that would intertwine with our current infrastructure. The point of passing this was to hopefully reduce unemployment, however realistically it would be difficult to dent that percentage with this type of project, and to become more eco-friendly by avoiding the use of diesel and gasoline powered trains. Some trains would reach speeds in excess of 150 mph, however most would average around 80-90 mph. The main routes that were talked about were connecting Los Angelos with San Francisco and Tampa with Orlando. I think that would be really cool to have a bunch of trains that ran cross continental to allow for a new, more efficient way of travel. In the future people could be using these trains to travel mid-distance trips to avoid burning fuel from flying. Not only a green idea, but it also is a step towards modernizing our country's transit system.
Also, there was another reading assignment called After the Denim. There are two characters in the story James and Edith. James is Edith’s husband and they are an elderly couple. They go play bingo at the community center every once in a while just to get out of the house and perhaps socialize with other groups. Usually, the people that go play bingo with Edith and James tend to be older couples. However, there is one younger couple dressed up in jeans and wearing fancy earrings. They do not pay for their bingo card and it turns out that the card that the young couple did not pay for ends up being the winning card. James Parker is really mad about this situation and remembers how he used to be like that in his younger days. He then pretends like he is young again at the end of the story, which I really think that he envies the younger couple. The theme of this story in my opinion is you will truly understand what is right from wrong when you become of age and after your denim stage; meaning that you will do the right thing as you get older and older.
The last reading that we had to read was also from the Carver stories and it was called Fat. It is about an extremely large man that refers to himself in the first person plural and I think that adds emphasis to the meaning of the story because people are always judging the fat man by his outside appearance. The characters of this story continue to call the fat man fatty and completely disregard his personality. The only person that gives him a chance is the waiter who is really nice to the fat man. He turns out to be a polite gentleman and treat the waiter with a lot of respect. The meaning of this story is not to judge a book by its cover. What is on the inside is significantly more important than what is on the outside.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
31 January 2010
Other Entry (Entry 2)
I really don’t understand people sometimes. I am not going to name any names, but there is a certain person that seems to hate success. He has the perfect chance to jumpstart his business and life into something respectable and amazing, but he won’t do it. Why won’t he do it? Because he will not, for the life of him, change what he does. It is either his way or the highway. Unfortunately, life changes and, in order to keep up with life, he, and everyone else, has to change too. A lot of times, change is for the better.
For instance, the game of fencing is constantly morphing as newer people get to higher levels of fencing. In order to be a fencing expert, you have to not only know how to complete certain moves; you have to also know how to adapt your fencing game in order to effectively fence another person. If you can adapt well, you can even get away with knowing fewer moves.
That being said, the ability to adapt is key to success. This certain person will not change his ways for anything. I really do not understand it. Not only does he not agree with any new idea, he gets angry at the presence of something new. At first, I thought that maybe his behavior could be due to the inability to leave his comfort zone. After a while of thinking, I finally came to the correct conclusion: he is just too egotistical to let anything around him become better than him even if he can benefit through the other person’s success.
Egotism is a dangerous thing; it allows a person to become so satisfied with her/himself that she/he loses the desire, and therefore ability, to critique and change minor issues. The problem with this is that, as I have stated before, things change. People change. The world changes. That person changes. Adapting leads to successes and success leads to egotism. The transitive property tells you that, as a result, adapting leads to egotism. It is interesting, then, that egotism leads to the inability to adapt.
How can a successful person avoid egotism? The answer is simple: while staying out of the realm of pessimism, never allow yourself to become completely satisfied with yourself. Always strive to fix the small things, after the big things, which can make you a better person. Also, change, as long as it is not something blatantly bad, is usually a good thing. The more you learn the more you can give.
An important point to consider is also that successes have expiration dates. For instance, if someone wins the Olympics, they cannot just solely rely on their Olympic medal to attract advertising attention forever. Sooner or later, the athlete will have to win something else, donate to something, or do some scouting for advertising opportunities. Like one-hit-wonders, Olympic medal winners could probably live off of the success created at the time of the win, but minimal new success will come unless actions take place. Actions create change, which in turn creates success.
31 January 2010
Class Entry (Entry 1)
Sexism in "The Yellow Wallpaper"
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman sent me into a world of seemingly endless strands of ideas. One of the most recurring thought was provoked by our class discussion of this short story. In class, we discussed how feelings of nervous depression seemed to be common enough, mostly in women, to make a new word for craziness that involved the root word hustera, meaning uterus. This new word was hysteria, and the wife in Gilman’s story seemed to suffer from this new disorder.
It is important to note that I do not think the wife suffers from any other thing than hysteria solely because of the history of the word. We discussed in class that women, because they were not expected or allowed to do much work, often became hysterical. Hysteria, therefore, should be defined as a frenzied mental state brought upon by sexism. In the story, her husband puts down the wife’s opinions and suggestions. How could his lowly wife ever prove her husband, the educated man that he is, wrong?
Keeping all of this in mind, my recurring thought was that the real root of the wife’s insanity was not idleness, but sexism. While the idleness in the wife’s life ultimately leads to her insanity, the source of the idleness is the husband’s sexism. If the husband would have listened to the wife when she said she wanted to leave, or even have company, the wife may have not gone insane. The wife even mentions several times in “The Yellow Wallpaper” that she is fine when her husband is around; the times the wife is alone or ignored are the times she starts seeing moving shadows.
The husband’s egotism and stubbornness clearly caused the wife’s psychological breakdown. Since the man’s ignorance caused the downfall of an innocent woman, could this work of literature be considered feminist? I think so.
From the very beginning, this type of nervousness that the wife is diagnosed with is something that, historically, primarily strikes females. The silly men in the wife’s life also cause the nervousness, and eventual craziness, the wife experiences. When the wife clearly says that the so-called treatment is not working, the husband becomes even more insistent that the treatment not only works, but works even better than ever. The husband could not pull his head out of his male chauvinist cloud long enough to see that his patient, his own wife, was suffering and needed more help than he was giving. He destroyed his wife to maintain his ego.
Gilman claims, in the reasons for writing her short story, that she really just wanted to stop the treatment of nervous depression with idleness. Although that may really have been her motivation for writing the story, I feel that another main reason for the story was to highlight the results of such extreme sexism. Because of the time period in which “The Yellow Wallpaper” was written, a time period in which sexism was viewed as common, Gilman might not have even been aware that she was writing to unveil sexism. The sexism, however, caused the reason for writing and, therefore, becomes a reason of its own.
The Carver Stories were pretty interesting but I enjoyed them mostly because they were short and easy to read. “Fat” was a little disturbing because of the very detailed descriptions of the man’s “long, think, creamy fingers” and how he was the fattest man the waitress had ever seen. The story made me feel really bad for the fat man. Like, I really wish that they had had at least made a name for him instead of just labeling him as the extremely fat man. That is so degrading and I really felt as if the waitress was just being polite to the man because she felt bad for him. Her kindness towards him seemed really fake to me because the way she describes him to her friend Rita was in a tone of disgust and horror. But I almost feel bi-polar to this story because at the same time, I definitely understand the waitress’s feeling towards the fat man. I’m not going to lie, it would definitely be hard for me to watch a single man eat 5 baskets of bread and butter and not feel a little bit disgusted and uncomfortable. This story definitely appealed to the audience’s sense of smell, taste, sight, and sound. For me though, the appeal to sound was the most disturbing. The way the author described how the fat man made puffing sounds every so often…umm EW? That really just pushed me over the edge and made me very squeamish for some reason. Even though I was not physically hearing the puffing sounds and the man was obviously a fictional character—I think?—I still was a little creeped out by the whole thing. Is it bad that I feel awkward around fat people? Like, for some reason I feel the need to be particularly nice to them, but if I was that fat I would get so fed up with people just being nice to me because they feel sorry for me. I really hate it when people feel sorry for me. It actually makes me feel even worse when people are overly nice to me when I’m having a bad day. Like, I don’t want your hugs or your sympathy, just leave me alone! That must be the feelings that the fat man has toward the waitress. I mean after all the man is just like any other customer that could walk into her restaurant, why should she be overly nice to him? He isn’t the president of the United States, He’s just fat.
For the most part, the readings from this week were good. None of them were super memorable but I don’t recall any of them being awful. In her essay “Safe Sex Lives”, Meghan Daum basically says that people can go out and have sex with whoever they want because there is not a high risk of catching a sexually transmitted disease. She talks about how the media makes it seem like there is a good chance you will catch HIV or AIDS if you have sex but Daum says it is hard to take the necessary actions to protect ourselves because we don’t completely know all of the risk factors. It is pretty obvious to me that sex education in school and all of the anti-sex advertisements out there are not working. Whether it is on television or in the real world, teen pregnancy is everywhere. From The Secret Life of the American Teenager to the new Lifetime movie The Pregnancy Pact and MTVs 16 and Pregnant, we see young girls having sex and ultimately, having a baby without realizing the consequences that come from these actions. The last thing on kid’s minds when they have sex is catching a STD or getting pregnant. Even with all of the advertisements out there against sex, kids will be kids and do whatever the heck they want to do because that is the society we live in and there is nothing anyone can do to change it. Well I have almost reached the end of my entry. I still have to go do my second draft for my paper which I’m not really looking forward to considering I don’t really remember what my paper is about or any of the sources I used so I better go refresh my memory of that. In the words of Holden Caulfield, sleep tight ya morons!
Ugh! Ok, so this is the story. It all started off as a normal Saturday evening, my parents were going on a date to the movies, my brother was at a friend’s house, and my sister was babysitting. Normal right? So one of my friends who I had been hanging out with earlier that day called me up to see if I wanted to go to the mall, so like any 17 year old girl, I responded with a “YES!!!!!”. I had wanted to spend one of my gift cards I had received for Christmas for awhile and this was the perfect time to blow it all in one place. So my friend Mckenzie picked me up and we made our way down to the mall. The weather was pretty icky and depressing but quickly overlooked when we arrived at our destination. We went to one of my favorite stores, H&M, and within minutes my hands were full of cute clothes to try on. After narrowing down my mound of clothes to a few choice items I made my purchase and we were off to the next cute but affordable clothing store. As I was discussing the latest atrocious fashion trends with Mckenzie, I noticed that my phone was ringing and it was my Dad on the other line—this can’t be good—and I answered anxiously. Well, apparently it was snowing outside and from the tone of his voice one would have thought there was a severe blizzard headed for Johns Creek. He told me that if I wasn’t on my way home within the next few minutes I might not be able to drive home because the roads might freeze over. So, I reported the orders to Mckenzie and we booked our way out of the mall only to discover there was not ten feet of snow outside, there was not ice on the roads, oh and it wasn’t even snowing! But, apparently it was snowing earlier and could start again at any time, so I was still ordered to come home at once. Cool Dad, cool. Thank you for taking away my Saturday night because of snow that does not exist. Awesome.
So track started this week and I guess I’m pretty excited about it. The track team is pretty small and there are a lot of underclassmen so the season should be interesting. From what I have seen, there is a lot of potential out there. The track coaches this year are much more strict and intense than what I had last year so this week has been tough. The good thing is that these coaches are a lot better than the coaches that I had at Northview and they are going to push everyone to be their very best. My events are the shot put and discus. These are two events that people don’t really think about when they think of track, but they are two of the hardest events. Being a good thrower requires strength, power, speed, balance, and technique. I have been throwing since seventh grade and I have improved every year. I placed 3rd in Fulton County in the shot put in seventh grade and 1st in eighth grade. I hold the school record for girl’s shot put and discus at Northview and I really look forward to improving even more this year.