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April 2005 Archives

April 4, 2005

Technology in American Drama 1920-1950

Dr. Jerz wrote a book about technology in drama and in our EL:150 class we are reading a short section from it in order to better understand "Death of a Salesman," and its relationship to technology. It was actually very impressive. Don't mis-interpret that last sentence as an ass kissing or brown nosing. I knew that he was a professor for a reason but seeing all his work put together in the form of this novel was very interesting. I'm sure he is proud of it as well. Moving on...this book made a lot of good points about the incorporation of technology in plays and its influence on the characters and their storylines.

Technology, innovation and invention are all things related to change. They also can all play a large part in our everyday lives. War is something fueled by advancement, whether it be technological or socio-political (by taking on new territory or conquering countries). Miller refers only once to WWII. He does not even make it a direct reference which I found strange. Ideally you would think that someone writing during a time of war would write about the war. My mentality regarding the issue is that theoretically the writer would want to relate to the reader, and if the reader was experiencing issues of war then it would make sense to write about war to draw the audience in. Miller's approach was that it was best not to dwell on the war, so he didn't write extensively about it until long after it was over.

Willy Loman is a modern day tragic hero specifically because he struggles and eventually is driven to death after his long triumphant journey which he ended feeling unaccomplished and broken as a man. A tragic hero has the potential for greatness but is doomed to fail. He is trapped in a situation where he cannot win. He makes some sort of tragic flaw, and this causes his fall from greatness. Willy fits every one of these molds in a contemporary modern day setting.

Something that I found to be kind of ironic was that Willy valued many material things like the washer, and refrigerator though he always digressed from the present and wished for a simpler time (the 1930s). He put so much stock in his "domestic arsenal." Miller really addresses the issues of domestic consumerism and the American experience in this play. A particular cultural message about transportation stuck out in my mind as well. There is a certain nostalgia about cars, especially old ones. Everyone now loves these classic beauties just as everyone loved Biff's "stylish car." It's just another example of materialism. If people like these classic car, then doesn't that mean that the people that own them are also well liked?

General Thoughts:
*Happy is starved for attention from his entire family.
*Willy fails at most things in life; even trying to kill himself. (until the end)
*The only way for Willy to succeed in life was to welcome death. He killed himself in order to say that at least once he did accomplish something. He would now be remembered, even in death.
*Biff rejects the dreams of Willy athletically;smoking cigarettes/not very athletic.

April 7, 2005

I thought I would have been a D20...

Oh Chris, what have you gotten me into this time...


I am a d6

Take the quiz at dicepool.com

Lacrosse Game V.S Notre Dame

We won this game against Notre Dame of Ohio. The final score was 13-7. I had a hat trick. Yay for the team. Here are some pictures from the event.

e341.jpeg

April 8, 2005

Pick Up Ax

"Pick Up Ax" is a short play by Anthony Clarvoe that follows two friends (Keith and Brian) though their troublesome computer business experiences. It is really a very quick read but it may not appeal to those who are not 'hip to the culture' of Star Wars, Star Trek and Dungeons and Dragons. I am reminded of the comment that Dr.Jerz made to a student that was somewhat confused by these references. The student stated, "I have never seen Star Wars," and Jerz replied sincerely, "My heart bleeds for you right now."

PickUpAx.JPG

I was doing a little bit of original research about this play and I ran across some very valid points that were made in regard to the interaction between the characters and the audience.

"None of these characters has a life beyond the set. The audience learned nothing about their pasts and how they came to be where they are. They exist only in the moment and it is difficult to care about them; they have about as much humanity as the machines that they depend on for their livelihood and which give the only meaning to their lives."-Dudley Stone The only thing that we do know about Keith and Brian is that they are old friends that used to play DnD together.

April 11, 2005

The Diamond Age; Not A "SciFi" Fan?

diamond.JPGThe Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson is a science fiction book that I am reading for EL:150. I had a lot of experience with this genre last term in my Popular Fiction class with Dr.Wendland. I recall reading several short stories and liking them very much, as well as the novel Crossfire by Nancy Kress. The Diamond Age lends itself to many of the science fiction stereotypes. It deals with a lot of interesting or made up vocabulary, you have to often read passages over several times to comprehend them and no prior knowledge of any kind is needed to read this genre.

I have yet to distinguish whether this is an example of hard or soft science fiction. I think one way for me to tell if this is a good novel in general is if it has the ability to interest those people that aren't reading for the science fiction aspect of the story and their attention can still be held. From what I have read on other peoples blogs, the general feeling is that this is the 'worst book ever written' or there is that very common saying of 'well I am not really into science fiction novels.' One reason that people tend to not like this novel is the fact that it includes a lot of description (perhaps too much.) This I can agree with, but I don't think that it ruins the rest of the story.

April 13, 2005

A Tribute to Lou and Moira...

Dear Lou & Moira,

I just wanted to say that I am all for gay rights and the celebration of diversity that I think our EL:150 class really understands. I follow your blog along with several others quite closely and it excites me to see that you both along with Evan and several others are so vocal in your beliefs about a very important issue. Then again I don't really know if "issue" is the right word for it. I mean it shouldn't be an issue at all, but unfortunately due to the small mindedness of some social groups it has become one. I support all types of relationships.

The way I see it, love is love and people should do what makes them happy. Seton Hill is a Catholic university, but I can say that there is a lot of diversity here and I don't just mean in regard to people's sexual orientation. I give support to anyone that has the pride to go out into a world full of adversity and show off their life like that. When I see it, I commend it. I think that college is also a time that people become exposed to things they have never been around before and this kind of culture shock can be a good thing. Well I think I have ranted on enough for now. I hope that all you are doing can make a difference in one person's life. Once again thanks for all the support you give to a very special community that is comprised of many special people.
doudou_tinky_winky_gd.jpgWell come on. I had to have this picture on here.

Foster's "How to Read" Sections 16 & 17

Sections 16-17 I thought that Foster's responses to sex in literature and in some movies/television was a very interesting commentary. There were many things that I never thought of before like the symbolism of sex in literature. It really isn't about perverted writers and literary critics reading too much into a seemingly simple act. When I read a book/short story that has a sex scene I know it is in there to either move the plot along, reveal the true nature of a character or simply because the character(s) wanted to DO IT!

There is definitely the idea that sex is an issue of morality firstly in many people's opinions. In most stories where a character gives into the temptation of sexual intercourse there is almost always a negative consequence that follows. This kind of goes along with the idea that in scary movies the virgin will always prevail but the slutty teenager will be killed within the first few scenes. The connotation between good/bad and sex is evident in many works of literature as well. I am reminded that most movies/screenplays were once novels or short stories so there is a direct link between the two mediums.

April 15, 2005

Foster's "How to Read" Sections 12-13,15,18

Foster's "How to Read" Sections 12-13,15,18

Section 12: Is That A Symbol?
This section of Foster's book discusses the possibility of anything being a symbol in a novel/short story. Apparently its good to go on first instinct when identifying these things because what you think is usually one interpretation of the symbol. I could say for instance that the fire hydrant in the story symbolizes the main characters stationary existence and anger. I get into color symbolism with that generalization but that doesn't mean I am wrong. One thing to watch out for is when people keep looking for symbols that don't exist. People expect them now-a-days in their literature and simply look for them when there may be none present. Also, people expect them to mean something prolific or "deep" but this is not always the case. Just like with the fire hydrant reference I was "reaching a bit" for a symbol. There is a very distinct difference between an allegory and a symbol which is something many people find confusing as well.

Section 13: It's All Political
I never knew A Christmas Carol had political undertow in it regarding the status of the poverty stricken people of the era. Sometimes I find that authors inadvertently put political messages in their works by simply writing about current things and situations going on at that time. Picking representative characters like Scrooge to show how society interacts with certain groups is another way of writing about socio-political commentary. He shows a type of person in a certain class and a whole other problem now becomes evident to the reader.

Section 15: Flights of Fancy

Section 18: If She Comes Up, It's Baptism

April 18, 2005

Is Utopia Obsolete?

Is Uptopia Obsolete? By: Katherine Hayles

"Is Utopia Obsolete" is an article that focuses mainly on The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson and the idea of a hybrid utopian society. Hayles, the author, talks about the theory or a mutopia which is defined as a a hybrid offspring utopia and a reality too complex to fit into the utopian formula. Hayles somewhat talks about the Victorian point of view/life stlye and how it translates into The Diamond Age. There is this theme of protecting children, like Nell, and preserving their innosence. Children during Victorian times were to be seen and not heard just as children during the "D-Age" were to be raised and then become immediate adults. (little adults)

In class we talked about how "D-Age" is a modern day Victorian tale like something Charles Dickens would have written. I thought it was very interesting that Nell remained unaffected by her abuses and she continued to see her brother even after what he has done. Her brother gave her the primer and that was his one redeeming quality. Our class discusion took an interesting turn when Jerz compared a weblog to a seed like in the book. There was a distinction between the feed and the see. The feed being a means of sending nano-particles to build someone up and the seed being an alternate source for a similar process. (think of a flower emerging) Weblogs are in a way like a network of seeds because they are all independent power sources/informational sources. A very good point was also made about whether "D-Age" was a humanitarian story or one for or against science?

April 21, 2005

Status Of My Blog,..."Fuzzy"

I feel as if I am neglecting my little blog these days. I just don't know what I am going to do. I don't post unless I have a good thing to say. Currently I am feeling as follows:

tvpic.bmp

It's all a bit fuzzy and I am trying to get better reception as we speak.

April 22, 2005

Random Poem #1

"Co-Pilot"
By: Leslie Rodriguez

Co-Pilot...I can't get you out of my head; my co-pilot.
Seems like everything brings you to my mind these days.
Why can't I rise up out of this haze?
Co-pilot, can't we finally go our separate ways?

We always tried to go in the same direction,
But this left me empty and staring at your pale complexion.
Clearly we differ in love, life and relationships,
All we ever had was a few clever quips.

It's funny how it felt so right,
So magical again,
From the way you had me feeling,
I'd sware you were a ten.

Despite what everyone would say about your cold demeanor,
I stood up for you and assured them "She really is much sweeter."
Looking back I see it now all too clear,
All you ever wanted to do was sit back and chug a beer.

Party, party until you drop,
For it will be your end.
Look where it has lead our friendship,
To a state we simply cannot mend.

You never were who I thought thoughout the whole ordeal,
Not my co-pilot at all, I can't trust you at the wheel.

For Bert

April 23, 2005

Random Poem #2

"Untitled"
By: Leslie Rodriguez

Can you answer me one question?
A riddle if you will,
Why are we not together?
It doesn't fit the bill.

Have I pushed you far away?
Or pulled you in too close?
Your moods change from day to day,
I really wouldn't boast...

It's sick this hold over me,
The one you know is there.
Playing with my heart and soul,
And I know you just don't care.

Some thoughts on the past...

The Explanation:
Well I found one of my old journals the other day that was from last year and it had a lot of really good poems and thoughts in it. I was like "damn" I had some quality rage and emotion going at this particular time in my life. I wanted to share some of these works on my blog. So enjoy them because I'm pretty sure most people can relate to most of my philosophies about love, life and loss that will be expressed. It's good to just get it all out again and clear my mind. PS; This weekend is going to be full of blogging. (hopefully some academic catch up as well)

"Love is Strange...The Heart"

The heart works in a very mysterious way. And my opening question is; who was the one that made the heart the "organ of love" anyway? Did some guys heart begin to race one day when he was in love or saw a cute girl and then he was like "this will be the symbol for all emotion." I find this theory to be somewhat palpable in that the heart may fasten in pace to signify an attraction or arousal, but it does not make descisions for us. How many times have you met someone and had no emotional stirring towards them what so ever? Yet later on you find yourself more and more drawn to them than you could have ever imagined? How many times had intellectual stimuli outweighed sexual stimuli/attraction?

The brain attracts "you" initially and later even the not so fortunate looking guy/girl becomes hot in their own way. It freaks me out how we can have so many different things going on in our heads at once. For instance, the three out of four biggest loves in our lives will likely be based on mental attractions when it comes down to it. Rather than drawing on affection, some people find that the most satisfaction can be derived from those who can match wits with their partners.

"Untitled 2"
It hurts to think what we have shared,
Love grew between us no matter how we faired.
During school we shared a million laughs,
But I guess that is all in the past.

"Lost"
Here I am again striving to keep control
You've gone off the deep end of an emotional cliff
If I didn't know any better I'd say someone pushed you
It was likely the one that you trusted most...
Not I...but another that you invested too much time and effort in
Our friendship was real for me...apparently solely me
You know nothing more than use and abuse coupled together
Therefore you are left lost and friendless once more.

April 29, 2005

Oral Presentation

Original Idea/Thesis:
At the start of writing this term paper my original topic dealt with stress in relationship to technological advances and pressures from society. I proposed that this stress could be both physical and mental. I had planned to write about "Death of a Salesman" and "Pick Up Ax". After meeting with Dr.Jerz I realized that was not a very logical topic because it dealt more with health and assumptions than fact. I can't diagnose the characters of the plays with certain stress related disorders and that was where the problem was. I then changed my topic.

Title: Gender Roles in Literature: A Modern Day Game of HOUSE?

Current Thesis:
In the plays “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller and “Pick Up Ax” by Anthony Clarvoe gender roles of men and women are greatly influenced by culture and society.

Other Possible Thesis Statements:
1.The gender roles of men and women in literature simply ascribe to the conventions of the time period in which the text was written.
2.There are more gender roles for men to fill than women as evident in the plays "Death of a Salesman" and "Pick Up Ax."

Conclusion Paragraph:
While “Death of a Salesman” was written in the 1948 and “Pick Up Ax” not that long ago in 1992 there is still a great deal of similarity between the roles of men in both plays where as women’s roles have changed more significantly. The gender roles of the play's actors mirror those of a conventional society.

Primary Source Quote:
This quote comes from "Death of a Salesman" and shows what type of man Willy thinks he should be based on the history and success of a past salesman.

"his name was Dave Singleman. And he was eighty-four years old and he'd drummed merchandise in thrity-one states. at the age of eighty-four he still made a living. And when I saw that I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want. 'Cause what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at age eighty-four,into twenty or thirty different cities, pick up a phone, and be remembered by so many different people?' Do you know?"(Act II, pg60-61)

Secondary Source Quote:
This quotation refers to a chart that I came across that clearly defined the past and present gender roles of women and men. The particular quote I am using comes from a famed Harvard sociologist that developed a model of the nuclear family in 1955.

"The feminine role is an expressive one, whereas the masculine role, is instrumental. Expressive activities of the woman fulfill 'internal' functions, for example to strengthen the ties between members of the family. The man, on the other hand, performed the 'external' functions of a family, such as providing monetary support."

-Talcott Parsons (Harvard sociologist)

This quote supports the role of Willy and Linda in "Death of a Salesman." He as the worker/provider and her as the twine holding the family together.

Opposing Argument:
Still looking...

Special Activity: (be warned its weird)
Top Ten Things Shakespeare Would Say If He Were Alive Today
10. "Now that I've had 400 years to think about it, tights are kind of fruity."
9. "What's Gore talking about? I invented the internet."
8. "I got ideas for three new plays just by watching Jerry Springer."
7. "Even I think 'Saving Private Ryan' is a much better movie than 'Shakespeare In Love.'"
6. "I'm gonna go hang out at Barnes & Noble and pick up chicks in the theater section."
5. "'Cats'? Good Lord, is that still playing?"
4. "What's something good that rhymes with 'Hooters'?"
3. "I just got a 'Welcome Back Kotter' lunch box on e-bay."
2. "The guys in high school English were right -- I'm gay."
1. "Oh why is thy number one never funny?"

Shakespeare Joke Page

About April 2005

This page contains all entries posted to Roamer's Zone in April 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2005 is the previous archive.

May 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.