Monday, February 28, 2011

Beginnings of a project

This week in class, we are really buckling down on working on projects, as they are due on Friday. Today we are supposed to have our exigence and audience down, and some kind of sampling/beginning of what we are going to say in said project. We have been encouraged--nay, commanded almost--to be surprising and unorthodox and non academic. Gulp. Bear with me as I attempt to crack the mold of the years of academic training/writing that has been jammed down my throat.

Stop right here and savor this moment. You’ve done it—you’ve come this far. Diapers have been traded in for pull-ups (or maybe even underpants), the car seat for a booster, the crib for a “big kid” bed. The terrible twos are perhaps not so far behind you as you’d like, but you can look back at them and laugh now. And that’s the easiest part. Come down off your cloud now and admit it—it’s looking ahead that scares you silly and makes you clutch them to yourself, making them promise they’ll never, ever, ever grow up. Because you know all too well that it only gets harder from here. And looking around at the failing economy and the failings of our government and the unfailing inflation, being scared silly doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. You’re almost paralyzed at the thought that one day your precious, innocent child will one day have to face all of this—or worse—alone.
            Scared? I’d be surprised if you weren’t. Prepared? I’d be surprised if you thought so. Looking ahead at journey of guiding your little one—your soon to be not-so-little one—through the most important years of their lives is overwhelming.

Apologies for the brevity. Inspiration has been sporadic at best lately.

Paper update 3-6-2011: it has been completed and submitted to the professor. I am a little hesitant to post it here since it is almost seven pages long (including the mandatory analysis), but I will be sure to post the grade so all 20 of my loyal readers will know how the professor received it :-)

Final update 3-21-2011: These were returned to us today, and I was ecstatic to break out of my B+ slump with an A-. yay :-)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Class Assignment: Passage in a paratactical style

Assignment: Write a 200-word descriptive passage in a paratactical style.

I had just come home from school and it was dark outside. I walked down the driveway toward the house and the lights came on. There was a crack that I did not see and I tripped and stumbled onto the grass beside the concrete. The cat was sitting in front of the door. The garage smelled musty and was full of boxes and bicycles and coats and shoes lay scattered about leaving almost no surface clear. There was light coming from under the door and I could hear laughing and rattling dishes. I opened the door and set down my backpack beside the garbage can. My little sister ran to me and I gave her a hug. Bread was baking in the oven and my parents were playing cards and two sisters washed and dried the dishes, chattering and arguing faster than they scrubbed. The dog was at the door barking at the invisible intruder behind it. I picked up my baby brother, he laughed and I shuffled over to the couch and sat down and sighed happily. It was good to be home.

Monday, February 21, 2011

You Raise Me Up - Celtic Woman

Class Assignment: Passages in a verbal style

Assignment: Develop two 200-word passages in a verbal style; one for conjectural stasis, the other for the definitional.

Conjectural: My big toe glows a bright red, throbs with a gentle pulse, slowly oozes fluid. Sparks of pain scramble up my leg and take a passing stab at my knee. I swallow tears of pain; it wouldn't do to cry after biting back my initial yelp. Clutching my foot for a moment or two while hopping along, I decide it would be faster (although I'll probably regret the pain) to drop it and hobble back to my room. Tossing a fierce glare backwards at the offending bench, I limp a few more steps before I sink pathetically down on the grass lining the walkway and moan a couple times. So what if I'm fishing for some sympathy. I deserve it. Ripping off my flip flops and tossing them several feet away and resolving to take revenge on the genius who stuck a bench where I could so easily injure myself, I have just about reached the end of my rope. Then my bag chirps. I discover delightedly that I have received a text, and, typing furiously, strive to get back into the groove of my conversation - the one that had just been so rudely interrupted.

Definitional: Time to assess the damages. The first shock is past, I am firmly and comfortably settled beside the bustling walkway (and yes, plenty of people are staring); this toe needs some attention. Peering closer, I shudder to discover copious amounts of shredded skin that's lined with crunchy gravel, and those nasty little bits are gnawing at the raw pinkness underneath. I poke gingerly at a not-quite-so-pink spot and wince, squeak, and peer around to see if that got me any attention. Attempt one: failed. This is gonna hurt. Pulling out my water bottle and a tissue, I make the necessary preparations for my invasion of raw, pink, squeal-inducing territory, then dab cautiously at the wound's edge. Squeal two: successful. On a stubbed-toe scale of one to ten, this one is definitely a twelve. But I still have a war to win. I squirt more water onto the soggy tissue, close my eyes, and steel myself for the painfully inevitable. And then I take a swipe.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Curious Case of Leopold and Loeb

In 1924, two young men named Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold kidnapped and murdered a 14-year-old acquaintance in an attempt to commit "the perfect crime." While the prosecutor demanded the death penalty for the two boys, their lawyer instead got them both to plead guilty and, in a twelve-hour defense, managed to nab life in prison for them instead. How? In the excerpt we were required to read for my philosophy class, he tells of the privileged but restrictive life of Dickie Loeb and the unfortunate circumstances (a demanding nurse, reading forbidden detective novels on the sly; in essence a ruined childhood) that led to the heinous crime he had committed. Doesn't sound too convincing when I say it, does it? However, at the end of his twelve-hour discourse, Darrow had managed to get both the judge and many in the audience in tears, securing the penalty he wanted for the young men. Carefully crafted rhetoric which drew on poetry, the Bible, and an appeal to listeners to recall their own childhoods (to name a few things), was the reason Leopold and Loeb escaped the death penalty. Never underestimate the power of the spoken word.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Class Assignment: Bumper Stickers

Assignment: Find a large parking lot. Copy down the bumper stickers (vanity plates count too) that you see on the vehicles parked there ~ each of these commonplaces makes an argument and implies an ideologic. Try to figure out the arguments and ideologics that underlie bumper stickers you have seen.

I found a LOT of bumper stickers. Here are a select and [hopefully] varied few.

REDCOAT (vanity plate): This one is definitely making a political statement. Exactly what it is, I'm not entirely sure. Just a proud Brit? We should never have split with the British empire in the first place? All for big government? All of the above?

AΩ : Or in other words [English], Sigma Alpha Omega. Did you know there was a Christian sorority? Neither did I, until I looked these characters up. The first mind picture this conjures up for me is a cross between a Bible thumper and a  party girl. hahaha yeahhh... no. Their slogan is "One in Christ through unity in sisterhood," and after looking up the chapter at NCState I was only slightly more reconciled to the whole idea. Which is... to get together a group of girls from all kinds of Christian backgrounds who (after paying an arm and a leg) do fun things and service projects while still holding true to their biblical values. I'm guessing this person just really, really wanted somewhere to belong, had the money to blow and was therefore willing to pay $210/semester to get together with a group of likeminded girls (and do things that likeminded girls would probably do anyway) under an official title. Draw your own conclusions, but it looks kinda fishy to me.

Fire District #13: Probably the most straightforward (and I know I'm stereotyping here, but that's kinda the point :-P) one here. Firefighter ~ patriotic. Service-oriented. In shape.  Probably conservative. Cute (*winkwink*). Courageous. Selfless. 

Don't Litter ~ Spay and Neuter: Obviously against overpopulation, although they'd probably argue it's only in the case of animals. Pet owner/lover. Probably a member of PETA and/or ASPCA. Liberal.

(Please, feel free to disagree with and voice your disagreement on any or all of these, or just throw in your two cents. I'd love to hear some more sides.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Just a thought

My uncle is visiting for a couple days while accomplishing some things he needed to do. He's a really neat guy, and while I was listening to him talk on the phone this morning I realized something... rhetoric has a lot to do with what you say and how to say it, but it's also crucial to know when to say it, why you say it, and who you're saying it to. Words are a powerful tool, and as Uncle Ben {Spiderman} would say, "With great power comes great responsibility." Next time you go to open your mouth, think about that.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Class Assignment: Confirmation & Refutation

Assignment: Select a debatable question from history and write a confirmation and refutation on the question. Matters of fact are not suitable for this exercise since they need not be confirmed, nor can they be refuted.

Question: Was the Civil War fought over slavery?
Assertion to be confirmed: Slavery was a factor in the Civil War, but was not its main cause.

Certainty: Slavery had already been in place for a long time before the Civil War started; the war actually began soon after states started seceding from the Union.
Possibility: It is a possibility that President Lincoln would have allowed slavery to stay in place had that been the way to keep the Union together.
Convenience: Tariffs imposed by the North were not enough of an issue to get everyone excited. Slavery was an easy thing to invoke to get people involved, since the South was dependent on slave labor for its economic well being.

Uncertainty: It has never been clear why the South wanted to secede from the Union, but it's logical to think it was slavery. After all, the southern states did depend on it and tempers were starting to rise over it at that time.
Impossibility: The North was wrong and overstepping its boundaries to impose itself on the South; it was impossible for the South not to react in some way.
Inconvenience: The imposition of taxes and opposition of slavery was decidedly inconvenient for the South, and an obvious reason it would want to rebel.