That’s a wrap!

I’ve folded the paper, stuck tape on it, tied it up in a bow and stashed it away until Christmas.  Presents aren’t the only things being wrapped up at this time of year, however.  I am writing this last blog post in lieu of my Writing 110 class coming to a close very soon.

Since I have been writing from a very early age and have already been exposed to intense grammatical and writing study, I can’t say I learned an immense amount from this class, but one can always learn more.  I learned how to improve my narratives most.  I like to try to make my writing interesting, especially since I usually write boring research papers.  Starting with an amusing story, I find, catches readers more than stating boring facts.  The improvement of this skill has helped me with boring research writing and the occasional fun assignment (like the narrative paper).

I have and always will struggle with research papers.  Maybe it is because I perceive them as being so boring and tedious.  When writing one, I have to be so careful to have formal grammar, and am ever watchful of breaking plagiarism rules.  I don’t enjoy them unless I can put my own creative twist on them.  For my research paper I chose to answer whether stereotypes of the Irish were true depictions of those from Ireland.  It was more fun because it wasn’t your serious, typical research paper.  If I can find some small way to twist my projects to be more fun, I might not struggle as much with research papers.

Creativity is something I love, so narratives are something I greatly enjoy.  Boring research papers are my least favorite assignments.

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Writing writing everywhere, but not a word to read

Actually, I’ll probably be doing a lot of both, but the title sounded cool, and I finally know where the original version of the quote comes from  thanks to British Literature class.  Anyways, I am digressing before I even get started.  That is what I do when I write, though; I get so lost in writing because there are so many things to say and so many ways to say them.

Writing has and will always be a part of my life because I can find the best ways to express myself through this medium.  If I need to say something hard, my voice is usually the one to fail, and my fingers, making words, are able to come up with beautiful meaning.  I will always use the written word to benefit my every day life.  My instant messages to friends, journals, and birthday cards will always be worded eloquently, because I enjoy being able to express my true opinions and thoughts through words.

As far as professional writing careers go, I don’t think I would ever write professionally.  Writing will always be a part of me, and I love it, but I feel like I won’t take it up as a career.  Part of me says it is because I wouldn’t be good enough and don’t have enough imagination.  Another part of me says I’ll just get bored, and even though I love it, I don’t love it that much.  I’ll always be writing and trying to find the best ways to express my thought (hey, I might even keep up a blog for fun) but I think I shall stick to video work as a career path.  Unless, of course, I decide to write a film script, then I shall be proven totally wrong!

Sports and God

Dear Dave Deckard,

I have read your article on “Tim Tebow, Luke Babbitt, and the Expression of Faith in Sports”, and I tend to disagree with you on most counts.  Specifically, I see flaws with your concern that a sign to God during a game can have detrimental results.  Through your writing, I see a greater issue that has been troubling society.

You said that speaking of their faith during an interview, or when a question is posed to the players about it is fine, but when the game starts, they should keep it in their heart and mind instead.  Since, as you admitted, their intentions of the likes of Tebow and Babbitt are probably pure, why should they be required to keep silent for the “benefit” of others?  As Christians, we are not meant to hide our faith (as if in shame), but to be public, and this is the way that a few players decided to carry out their faith.  I don’t think they are saying, “God will help me win”, or “God is only on my side”, but rather, “God is here!”  and there is nothing wrong with that message.  It is wrong, so says society, because it offends people with different opinions about religion.  What is wrong in my opinion are the people trying to shut Christians up and shut Christianity down.  That is persecution at its finest, and not exactly following our roots of “freedom of religion”.  If a simple gesture proclaiming the opinion that God exists causes so much of an issue, I think it is society’s problem, not Tebow’s.  Christians, by law, can practice freedom of religion; Christians, by faith, should not be afraid to show their religion, therefore a simple act should not get everyone all riled up.  What should get people riled up is the fact that so many wish to take these players right to be able to express their religion, away.  We should be afraid of the silence, because when religions are silenced, they are no longer free.

Lastly, I’d like to point out the fact that you are censoring out most of the comments opposed to your opinion on your article page.  They raised some discussions, that, true, may have turned to arguments, but is the silence you caused really worth it?  Is taking away our right to speak, our right to show our religion, and our right to have a different opinion really worth trying to take away the conflict? All I see in your arguments is that you are afraid of the conflict that follows religion. I, for one, rather have conflict and my freedom, than peace and no rights.

O Christmas Tree

I am the type of person one might call pugnacious, too passionate, or even a hater.  Why?  Because I happen to hold a different opinion from the norm.  It does not seem tolerant of other viewpoints, but, if you care to read further, I will show you how my opinion makes sense.

I do not agree with professor Mock’s opinion that Christmas decorations proclaiming the true meaning of Christmas should not be displayed on government buildings.  First, Christmas is an entirely christian holiday, just like Hanukkah is uniquely Jewish.  In 336 AD is when the first Christmas was celebrated in order to commemorate Christ’s birth (Graves).  Ever since then, this holiday, which is specifically Christian in nature, has been celebrated year after year on December 25th.  There are other holidays we could be celebrating around this time like Hanukkah and Kwanza, but the very fact that we are celebrating Christmas should make us want to give dueful recognition to the origin of this holiday.

We are not pushing our religion on others by wanting to celebrate Christmas with Christ.  Christ was already there, and it is our modern society that wants to take Him out of His own holiday.  God is, in fact, being taken out of everything public.  I believe it is well known how controversial the mention of His very name in schools is.  If the first amendment  says we have freedom of religion, yet society tries to ban the very mention of certain religion, something isn’t right.  The first amendment is: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” (Amendment 1).  By taking God out of public schools, we break our freedom of speech and religion laws.  While trying to be tolerant of all religions, we only succeed in oppressing Christianity in this way.

Christians are also oppressed when Christ is taken out of Christmas.  If the public decides to celebrate our Christian holiday above all of the other holidays that are around this time of year, they should not complain of the origin of the holiday being manifested in public nativity scenes.  Perhaps you think I “hate” other religions because I disagree, but I only ask for the recognition and the freedom that is both reasonable and lawful.

Graves, Dan, MSL. “The 1st Recorded Celebration of Christmas.” Christianity.com. N.p., June 2007. Web. 03 Nov. 2014. <http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/301-600/the-1st-recorded-celebration-of-christmas-11629658.html&gt;.

“The Constitution of the United States,” Amendment 1

The Frost King – Helen Keller’s Mistake

A whimsical story about Jack Frost, Santa Clause, Fairies, and colorful autumn leaves is sent by a hopeful little girl, wishing them it to be published.  It is published, and there is a moment of happiness until it is discovered that there is a story just like it already in existence.  Suddenly, a little blind, deaf girl, merely eleven is interrogated and accused  of plagiarism.  The stories I read say she was acquitted by merely one vote; she was one vote away from being a literary criminal.  I don’t think it was fair to put so much pressure on an eleven year old, especially one as unique as Helen Keller.

One of the websites I used to learn more about the case is this one: http://helenkeller.yottadot.org/frost_king.htm .  At the bottom of the page, both stories are printed.  It is obvious that the two stories are the same.  This is obvious plagiarism, right?  Maybe so, because she is passing off someone else’s story as her own, but the way the case was handled was not right.

Just as it is obvious that these stories are the same, so it should also be obvious (as pointed out in this website http://bolesblogs.com/2014/01/27/the-frost-king-defending-helen-keller-and-other-non-superhuman-deaf-blind/) that Helen Keller probably had no idea what she was doing.  Even if she remembered reading the story, did this child of merely eleven have a firm grasp on what plagiarism is?  She most likely did not.  This was the mistake of a child, and should have been treated as such.  Luckily, she was acquitted, but this incident must have haunted her until she died.

We’re All Going to Die!

For some strange reason, when trying to recall a subject where statistics lied, I remembered this particular news story:

http://www.ktvu.com/videos/news/special-report-keeping-cell-phone-in-bra-may-lead/vhPF8/

The story starts out telling us of women using their bras as a convenient place to keep their cell phones.  It show us two cases where it seemed the cell phone caused breast cancer; all of the sudden doctors and others they interview are convinced cell phones are giving us cancer.

Many things were wrong with this report.  First, as stated in the article 5 Ways Statistics Are Used to Lie to You Every Day they found a correlation between cell phones in bras and breast cancer.  This does not necessarily equal causation.  It could be that some people see a pattern that really isn’t there.  It might be just a coincidence.  There were only two examples shown in the video, and two examples are not enough to warrant sending the entire population into a frenzy.

The speakers in the video said they would probably need more evidence to confirm their findings, and indeed they do.  The video is a little dated, however, because when I tried to find it again I kept seeing articles that were telling the world the opposite story.  Cell phones do not cause cancer.  Nothing is found as of yet to back up their claims, no matter how eloquently portrayed they are in the video.  It may have sounded believable and official to their audience, with official looking people, testimonies, and it being broadcast on the news, but without real proof, it was merely speculation.

Beautiful Coincidence

It sounded like a scene from one of those sappy romantic movies from the 90’s.  The boy and girl grow up on the same street in Ireland.  Too poor for lessons, they used to peek in through to see people play old Irish tunes.  She taught herself  how to play the accordion, and could play any song just by hearing it once. Alas, the girl moves away to the United States to find better opportunities.  A few years go by, and she adjusts to her new life in the busy downtown New York.  One day, the doors open on her morning trolly ride to reveal a familiar face.  The driver is her old neighbor from Ireland.  Reunited, they resume life together, and eventually marry.  They have a beautiful child named Loretta who grows up, marries, and has a child of her own named Jacqueline.  Jackie, as she is called now is also grown, also married, and also happened to have a child who just happened to be me!

I’ve never met her, but the stories my Nana (my mother’s mom) tells about my great Grandmother are so fascinating that I wish I had.   Since it is impossible to meet my happy, accordion playing Irish brogue accented relative in this life, though, I’d love to find out more about her.  Someday, when I am rich and successful, I will go to Ireland and walk the farms where she used to live, explore the parts of New York that she made home, and ride a trolly car, just like in the stories, making my family history feel more alive.

How Not to Get Your Dream Job

A good resume can put you on track for a successful interview and can help you get hired for your dream job.  There are some things, however, that you should never, ever do if you want to even think about stepping foot in your dream job’s building.  Here is a hilarious collection of mistakes, blunders, misspellings, and writings from the resumes of people who really should have reconsidered before they sent their resumes in.

http://resumehell.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-11-19T09:29:00-08:00

I present to you a site which you can scroll endlessly and laugh at the stupidity of others and make yourself feel a bit better.  No, “collecting happy meal toys” is not something to advertise about yourself on a resume.  If you want to scroll through endless posts of people writing things such as, “Career break in 1999 to renovate my horse”, this site is for you.

http://www.careerbuilder.ca/ca/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?id=pr7&sd=4%2F25%2F2007&ed=12%2F31%2F2007&cbRecursionCnt=1&cbsid=d3cb4634118a4773af0f63ad77b22cd1-248330015-JL-5&ns_siteid=ns_us_g_resume_blunders

A few words you can learn from this site: you should not include nude pictures of yourself or say you work well nude.  Bingo is not an acceptable hobby to advertise.  Though writing your resume as a play seems creative, it is, in fact, not professional.  Being professional is key to writing a good resume.

http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?id=pr366&sd=4%2F25%2F2007&ed=12%2F31%2F2007

This is the same website, but expressing different points of hilarity.  There are some things that are just not professional.  “Professional” is not printing your resume on teddy bear paper, nor is it attaching a letter from your mother, nor is it stating that your sister won a strawberry eating contest.

http://resumepower.com/resume-bloopers.html

Though not quite as ridiculous as the other websites, this site posts more common resume mistakes, such as spelling. They can be pretty devastating on their own, though.  “Revolved” is not the same word as “resolved”, and gives quite a different meaning to a sentence with that word.  This site also reminds us that it also helps to know the meaning of words; it helps to know that “tanked” is not a positive word.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/jobs_articles/resume-bloopers/2012/09/12/e6f2c2e2-fd04-11e1-a31e-804fccb658f9_story.html

This last article pokes a bit of fun at someone who mentions that he has skills in “attention to detail” twice.  The irony definitely made me laugh, as probably the person who read the resume originally did.  This article is helpful, though, because it reminds us that in the midst of making fun of these people who make crazy resume mistakes, that everyone makes mistakes.  Sometimes it is ok to laugh, but other times you need to try to help people who need to improve their resumes. Or you need to be reminded that no one is perfect, and everyone has probably made that same mistake you made time and time again.  With a little work, though, most anyone can polish up their resume to the point that they can actually achieve their dream profession.

Stupid or Progress?

This article is actually quite familiar to me.  In a different writing class at a different college, we were assigned to read this article and write a research paper on the subject.  Apparently there is a trend with writing classes and this subject.

Anyways, I still stand by what I said a few years ago on this subject.  Google isn’t the thing that is making us stupid.  The web is changing us, but different isn’t always bad.  The article even mentioned the irony of Socrates complaining about the written word because we would lose our great power of memory.  In his time, people were able to recite from memory stories that would be hundreds of pages long in print.  True, we have lost that ability, but we have gained more universal sharing of information and ideas.  The web may lesson our attention span, but where would we be today without it?  You wouldn’t be able to see this blog post unless I showed you my thoughts in writing in person.  I might not have even been able to find “Is Google Making Us Stupid” because I would have to obtain a paper copy.  And can you imagine registering for this class if we all had to stand in line instead of just taking a few clicks on mygfu.com?  The web has brought great convenience to the world, and has helped to spread knowledge even further than books could.  I love books, and I love the nostalgia of sitting and reading Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice for hours, but it doesn’t mean there are no benefits to the new web.  Humans adapt, and this is the next stage of humanity.

It was rather ironic, though, that Carr is complaining how we have no patience to read long web articles and he decides to write a long web article on the fact.

Ring By Spring – As Explained to Aliens of the Custom

Dear intergalactic reader,
You might have heard of this strange game called “Ring by Spring”. It is found in small gatherings of humans aged around 18 through 22 (and sometimes older) brought together for the common purpose of learning. The places which they gather to enhance their knowledge of the world are called colleges or universities. They are instructed in groups called “classes” by an expert in the specialty of these classes who is usually older and wiser. The particular group of universities for which the “Ring by Spring” custom is common is in those universities which value the higher presence of God, morals, and a great deal of smiling and waving ones arms around while announcing in song one’s praises to this God. These particular kinds of universities are denoted by the word “Christian.”
Now, to explain the game found in these Christian Universities. The main purpose of these universities is to gain knowledge, which I mentioned before. This knowledge is gained so that one can go out of these small gathering of people in 4 years or so and be able to find “employment”. That is, the rest of the world trades such skills learned in the University for the all powerful paper object called “money”. Ironically, it usually takes a great amount of this money to get into these universities in the first place. Some people in these universities, however, forgo the original purpose of attending such universities, and instead complete these 4 years with not the accomplishment of being able to be employed, but a circular metal object on their left hand.
This is the sign that tells others that they have won the game “Ring by Spring.” Instead of intending to finish their years at the university for gainful employment, some of the females simply intend to attend the university to play this undercover game of “Ring by Spring”. They pretend to be just like all the other humans and even pick an undercover form of study to “major” in such as nursing, engineering, psychology, and art (though, that major doesn’t usually merit much money in the world anyways). Their mission is to attract the male kind in acts called “flirting”. Usually they try to show off how well they can prepare food, such as sandwiches, how much they can passionately worship God, and their general good nature. Once she has found a male who is sufficiently interested in her, they generally depart separately from their friends to eat food, look at moving pictures, or other such activities known as a “date”. During this time, she must play extra well for one false move and the entire game may be over and the male she chose may never help her win; this is known as a “break up”.
If she plays the game well, at the end of the four year period the male makes himself shorter than the girl by putting his knee to the floor and hands her a circular object. This ritual is usually done before springtime as the name implies. Receiving this “ring” (as it is called) before the end of the 4 years means she has won the game. This end result can be achieved any time during these years, but the more efficient she is about obtaining it sooner, the prouder the recipient is, pleased with a game well played.
After the time in the university, those with the rings are joined together with their male partner and create miniature versions of themselves. Generally, then, the male continues his mission in earning money in the world while the female stays at home with the miniature people, helping to prepare the next generation to go to college to either earn money or play “Ring by Spring”.