April 2008 Archives

A Life or Death Matter

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"Susie: There just isn't a good treatment for what you  have yet, for advanced ovarian.  I'm sorry.  They should have explained this --

Vivian: I knew

Susie: You did...  What you have to think about is your 'code status.'  What you want them to do if your heart stops


Vivian: Let it stop... Just let it stop" (Edson, 67-68)

I don't really know what to think of the play as a whole...  I kind of liked it, but then parts I didn't.  I just don't know.

But the quote...  I personally cannot imagine having to decide if I want someone to try to keep me alive or if I just want to let my heart stop beating.  I suppose that when you're battling terminal cancer, you know that the cancer is going to beat you and I guess you'd just get to the point where the pain is so intense you don't want to imagine having to spend another minute in that torture.  But your decision is going to affect everyone else you know.  It's just such an incredibly difficult decision that someone has to make, but Vivian was just very concise about it.  She said she didn't want to complicate matters and from what I know about her from the play, she doesn't like to complicate anything, so I guess it would make sense that she was very straightforward about it.  But it's interesting that during this exchange between Susie and Vivian, you don't really see any emotion from Vivian.  I would expect at least some emotion if you're deciding to be a DNR or not.  But that's not who Vivian is.

Hamilton Teaches Me About Shakespeare

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"To aid modern readers in seeing such contrasts, editors space prose passages as in novels: they extend the lines all the way to the right margins and capitalize words only at the beginning of sentences, not of lines.  In contrast, the indicate that a speech is in verse by capitalizing the word at the beginning of each line and by leaving a wide right margin,in keeping with the format for poetry.  Editors also indent blank verse lines that are shared between two or more speakers and number them as one line, to show that the dialogue reflects a close meeting of the characters' minds," (Hamilton 238).

Let's get this straight: I am not a Shakespeare fan.  I am not a Shakespeare expert, nor do I pretend to be one.  When I'm assigned a Shakespeare play, I struggle through it and I attempt to understand it just enough to get by and I pray that this unit will go by quickly.  So when I see things like that in the books, I'm just assuming that Shakespeare himself wrote it like that.  I didn't know that that was the work of an editor.  Of course, I also didn't really care enough that to find out if that's how Shakespeare would have wanted it printed or what, but the point it, I had no idea that it was formatted like that to make reading it easier.

...Although for me, I don't think anything is going to make Shakespeare easier...

GREAT book.

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Holy. Crap.  I really was not expecting this book to be as good as I thought it was.  I went into this assignment dreading the amount of reading we would have to do, but I ended up loving it and I sped through this novel much quicker than I thought.  Good choice, Dr. Jerz.  I approve. :)

I couldn't choose just one quote this time:

"'We train our commanders the way we do because that's what it takes -- they have to think in certain ways, they can't be distracted by a lot of things, so we isolate them.  You.  Keep you separate.  And it works.  But it's so easy, when you never meet people, when you never know the Earth itself, when you live with metal walls keeping out the cold of space, it's easy to forget why Earth is worth saving.  Why the world of people might be worth the price you pay'," (Card, 267).

Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to be reminded of why they're doing something hard - something outside of themselves.  Ender wasn't fighting for just his life up at Battle School and breaking himself down just for some kind of masochistic pleasure.  He was struggling for the entire human race.  To know, at least subconsciously, that the entire fate of the human race rests on your shoulders -- the shoulders of a child -- has to be an overwhelmingly heavy burden to carry.  But it's probably like when soldiers come back from leave and are able to spend even a little time with their loved ones -- they are reminded of why they're risking their life fighting a war.  People put their lives on the line all the time for our freedom.  I hope a time doesn't come when we're forced to send little children out to save the entire human race.

"'So what do we do now?' asked Alai.  'The bugger war's over, and so's the war down there on Earth, and even the war here.  What do we do now?'

'We're kids,' said Petra.  'They'll probably make us go to school.  It's a law.  You have to go to school till you're seventeen.'

They all laughed at that.  Laughed until tears streamed down their faces,"
(Card, 335).

I thought this was just a very important quote to kind of end the main part of the story.  In the end, these soldiers aren't even old enough to have graduated high school yet.  They're younger than even my sister, who's 17.  These kids just saved the entire human race, but yet they would still have to go back to school and try to lead a "normal" life.  hah.  How would anyone expect these kids -- especially Ender -- to ever be "normal" again? 

Children Armies

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“‘I know, you’ve been here a year, you think these people are normal.  Well, they’re not.  We’re not.  I look in the library, I call up books on my desk.  Old ones, because they won’t let us have anything new, but I’ve got a pretty good idea what children are, and we’re not children.  Children can lose sometimes and nobody cares.  Children aren’t in armies, they aren’t commanders, they don’t rule over forty other kids, it’s more than anybody can take and not get a little crazy’” (Card, 118).


I think that it’s just pathetic that someone had to actually go and look up what children are and what they’re supposed to do and not do.  But then I sit and remember where they are and what they’re being trained to do and I remember that they’re being trained for battle - to fight a demon that may or may not exist.  At this point, I’m not even sure the buggers exist anymore.  These “children” are being transformed into soldiers to fight and kill; they’re not playing ball or pretending to kill things, as children are wont to do.  They’re being trained to actually go out and there and kill, and it’s despicable.  I understand wanting to protect civilization and the human race, but do people really have to train children to do it for them?

Two Parts.

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"Onomatopoeia... has two meanings.  its most common definition is using a word or phrase that seems to imitate the sound it denotes; for example bang, creak, murmur, ding-dong, or plop.  As with consonance and assonance, that effect cannot come from the sound of the word alone: its meaning is involved as well...  In a broader sense, onomatopoeia means using words in such a way that they seem to exemplify what they denote, not just in terms of sound but also of such qualities as pacing, force, touch, movement, or duration as well" (Hamilton, 221).

In school, when I was taught about onomatopoeias, I was always taught just the first part of this definition.  I really only knew that an onomatopoeia was used to connote actual sounds like bang or pop.  I didn't realize that they could also be used to describe qualities like pacing or other movements.  I don't know if it's just easier for teachers to tell students that this incredibly long word is used to make noises in your writing than it is to have to explain to them the other part of the definition, but I definitely think that students should be taught both parts of the definition, not just the easier part.  That way, they don't have to wait until they're almost done with their freshman year in college to realize that there's two parts to an onomatopoeia.


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For an assignment in Dr. Jerz's class, we had to make up a word.  My word is Pseudo-hyperscription.

Definition: The action of faking extreme writing.

Tony, stuck taking an in-class essay, was too busy with his pseudo-hyperscription to realize that the teacher had called for them to stop writing.

Also.  I Googled my word and, lo and behold, it doesn't exist.

(and yes, you can tell from that picture that I sadly go to TMZ.com and follow the lives of the celebrities that the paparazzi stalk...  It's an addiction I'm slowly working on)

Humans are Just Tools

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I have to say, I really do like this book so far - and I was genuinely surprised because I don't normally like science fiction.  That said, onto the quote:

"'It isn't the world at stake, Ender.  Just us.  Just humankind...  Human beings are free except when humanity needs them.  Maybe humanity needs you.  To do something.  I think humanity needs me -- to find out what you're good for.  We might both do despicable things, Ender, but if humankind survives, then we were good tools.'

'Is that all?  Just tools?'

'Individual human beings are all tools, that the others use to help us all survive'" 
(Card, Ender's Game, pg 37).

To think that humans are just tools in the grand scheme of living and surviving is kind of weird for me to think about.  I don't know if I like the idea that really my only purpose could be to be a tool to help humanity as a whole survive -- but I guess as a woman, that's kind of automatically my purpose.  I have to make sure to pass on my genes and family history to the next generation.  I mean, of course I need some help to do that, but basically, the future of the human race lies on the shoulders of women and the fact that they we can conceive and we must have children to ensure the vitality of the human race.

Introducing the Conclusion

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"At the very least, you ought to rewrite your title and introduction to match your conclusion"  (Short Research Papers).

I know that personally, when I'm writing a research paper -- short or long -- my introduction and conclusion are the hardest parts for me to write.  When I was in high school, when we wrote our gigantic junior research paper, my teacher told us not to freak out about the introduction and to skip it, then write it last, after you've finished the rest of the paper, including the conclusion.  As long as you know what your thesis is, the rest of your paper should be a easy(ish) to write.  And the benefit when you've written the introduction last, you already know for sure what the rest of the paper is about, so it's easy to make the introduction match the body of the paper.  And I always try to make my title something creative instead of just "Stem-Cell Research" or whatever the topic is, so by writing the entire paper first, I might be able to pull something from my writing to be a creative title.

Research papers, for me, aren't that hard.  I just first have to figure out what the heck I'm going to write about...  Oy.

A Balancing Act

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"Most writers strive for variety in their use of syntax; for example, striking effects can be created from varying long, complex sentences with short, simple ones" (Hamilton 191)

I know for a fact that I don't want to read 200 pages full of four-line long sentences.  Not only does it make annotating and highlighting sentences more annoying, long sentences make it annoying to just read it.  And then, if a paragraph is written with just short simple, 4- or 5-word sentences, it makes me feel like the author has dumbed down his/her writing for the reader.  I definitely feel that there should be a good balance between complex and simple sentences.  I try to balance them when I write papers, blogs, and stories, but I do admit that sometimes I just don't know when to shut up and put a period in and it turns into one super-gigantic-long run-on sentence that drives the reader crazy like I'm sure this sentence is driving you crazy right now.

I had too much fun looking for words...

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 I loved this assignment.  It was easy for me, especially since I'm already familiar with Urban Dictionary [dot] com (I even get a word of the day in my email!

Mac Daddy

"Mac Daddy" or Mack Daddy, is a term used to describe a man with an unusual power over women, and is derived from the French and later Louisiana Creole patois term "maqereau", which means "pimp". Adding "daddy" makes it mean "top pimp". The '70's black-exploitation movie "The Mack", a dramatization of the life of a street pimp, furthered the popularity of the term in urban America. This use of "mac" is quite different from the Scottish/Gaelic term "mac" (son of) used to address an unknown man."

From a blog calling Barack Obama a mac daddy:
Obama is a mac daddy. Obama pimps white women and black women. He got started - you didn't notice him until he brought out those big chested white women with their tight t-shirts and their short pants! That's what a pimp does!

I chose this because I had heard of Mac Daddy before, but just kind of assossiated it with rappers or whatever.  But it completely amused me when I stumbled across this blog entry talking about Obama being a Mac Daddy.  Obama is definitely my Mac Daddy, haha, whatever that means.

"Saddlebags is a word to describe the bulging areas of fat on the upper outer thighs of ladies, in a way that resembles saddle bags being carries on a horse"

On Workouts for Women [dot] com, someone asks how to get rid of saddlebags:
Fat (also know as cellulite) that collects in the thigh, butt and hip area is referred to as saddlebags. So how do you get rid of saddlebags?

I chose this because I saw the word and recognized it from hearing about it before, but didn't realize that it could represent my own body.  I don't know if I like having my body compared to something you would throw on a horse (or a motorcycle as I saw when I Googled Saddlebags)

"A command directed towards a child so he/she will cover her ears while an adult curses."
(FYI, if you follow the main link, entry #3 in "earmuffs" is vulgar, but then again, half the site is...  So fair warning)

From someone talking about golf:
Make sure you have earmuffs available if you don’t like to hear swearing. Otherwise, enjoy the comedic value of a fellow golfer’s poor bunker play.

I think anytime we're by little kids we always try to watch our language -- I know that when I'm by my friend's 5-year old nephew, I was constantly yelling at my friend for not watching his language.  But sometimes, you've just got to swear so I love earmuffs.  It brought back good memories of being a kid and having people yell "Earmuffs!" and then shoving my hands over my ears.

Rad Scale
"The rad scale short for radicle scale is a scale made up by Richelle Dafoe, to confirm how rad or cool people are. the rad scale is a rating out of 10. 10 being the radest and 0 being the queerest Michael Brock"

In a comment on some girl's MySpace:
yeah heath ledger was 10 and 3 quarters on the rad scale...but what has he got to show for it?

A couple of years ago, my sister was constantly saying "Rad", and it bugged the living daylights out of me.  I love the idea of judging people's radness.  I think I'm going to go around and judge people radness.  I totally get an 11.  Okay, maybe not...

Learning Something New Everyday

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What I like about Hamilton is that it tells me the actual name for devices I may be using in my own writing that I didn't know I was doing.  While I find Hamilton to be completely mind-numbingly boring, I will admit that it's teaching me things that I can use in my writing and in my classroom.  For instance, something I've learned tonight:

"Parenthetical observation, a brief interruption during which the character or the narrator reflects on a minor point that seizes his attention" (Hamilton 172).

I know I've used this device in my own writing, where the character speaking kind of randomly goes off on a tangent almost but then comes back to his or her original idea.  However, I had absolutely no idea what it was called -- or honestly, that it was even a device with a name.  I thought that was just something you could add to dialog or a story to let the reader know more of what a character might be thinking.  I know I use it to make the characters seem more realistic, since they can have more than one thought going on at the same time.

It's nice to know Hamilton can actually teach me something.

Hatred: A Poem

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My attempt at blank-verse poetry.

Poetry is in now way my forte.
Stumbling, stuttering over the words.
But at least this has given me a break.
No rhyming, no problems, nothing to solve,
Just letting everyone know my loathing
For this "art" that I'm being forced to write.
My eyes are bulging, my head is balding,
I've reserved my spot in the asylum
Will anyone please keep me company?
Surely I'm not alone in my hatred.

For hating poetry, I'm pretty pleased with this. :)

A Continued History of Blogging

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When I first began this blogging experience for Intro to Lit Study, I thought it would be the biggest waste of my time -- surely, I thought, this was a torture device created to eat up my already tight time schedule.  However, through being forced to blog and reading other people's blogs I find that I am able to gain insight into what I may have missed in a reading, or be amused by some people's rants, or enjoy a view different from mine.  This second portfolio is a summary of my blogging experience since mid-February.

Being able to quickly identify which entry goes to which homework assignment is important -- and useful as I found while doing this portfolio.  These entries all include links that go back to the course webpage and the homework assignment.

These blogs were posted 24-hours or more earlier than their due date.

These blogs all have comments from other people, and one where I replied to a comment left by another person.

This part of the semester, I've really tried to delve deeper into the readings and write longer, more thoughtful blog entries than just a quick response the reading.  These are a few examples.

For our homework, in addition to reading and blogging, we also have to comment on other classmates' blogs.  I will admit -- I have been slacking lately in writing comments, which is something I'm going to really try to fix for the ending portion of the semester.

Also, something else I found interesting, as pointed out to me by Dr. Jerz.  Some random person out there in "the real world" found my blog "Agreeing With Lemire: Too Good To Be True?" and talked about it on their blog.  I found it kind of creepy, but at the same time, it was extremely interesting that something I wrote sparked interest in some random person's mind.

My Other Entries:

Emails and Texts and IMs -- Oh My!

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"'I blame all the emails and text messages,' people say, when you talk about the decline in punctuation standards...  'I write quite differently in emails,' people say, with a look of inspired and happy puzzlement -- a look formerly associated only with starry-eyed returnees from alien abduction.  'Yes, I write quite differently in emails, especially in the punctuation.  I feel it's OK to use dashes all the time, and exclamation marks.  And those dot, dot, dot things!'" (Truss 179)

Oy vey.  Internet punctuation. Surely that's an oxymoron, right?  It's cringe-worthy how horribly people write on the internet, where they feel they can let go of those strict grammar rules we were all supposed to have been taught in school.  The strict confines of capitalization and punctuation just float away into nothingness for most of us.  Personally, I am excluded from that list.  It bothers me when I forget to capitalize or use the incorrect punctuation.  But that's just me.

However, I do (I will admit) write emails differently than I write mostly everything else.  When I write quick emails to my parents or friends, I try to at least use the correct punctuation, but don't normally bother with capitalizing.  And then it's always a struggle for me to try to write properly when I'm trying to email one of my teachers or a company and I'm trying not to look like a complete idiot.  And I always try twice as hard when I'm writing an email to one of my English teachers, because I feel like they judge me twice as hard because I don't use correct spelling or grammar.
"I suppose the only rule is: only use an exclamation mark when you are absolutely sure you require such a big effect... 'an excessive use of exclamation marks is a certain indication of an unpractised writer or of one who wants to add a spurious dash of sensation to something unsensational'" (Truss 138-139).

I know I personally only use an exclamation point when I'm writing dialog and a character is either extremely surprised or extremely angry (and sometimes a character is a little of both.)  I don't go throwing around exclamation points in my papers, as it would be extremely out of place to throw in one at the end of sentence like "There is foreshadowing in 'A Good Man is Hard to Find'!"  The reader would be taken aback and I would assume they would be thinking "Alright! I get the point.  There's foreshadowing in the story. You don't have to yell at me", which I know is what I associate exclamation points with.  H.W. Fowler (the quote within the quote) is right: you should never use too many exclamation points.

Except, you know, when you're making fun of other people using too many exclamation points, which I have been known to do out in cyberworld.

Attack of the Killer Semicolons

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"The main reason people use [the semicolon], however, is that they know you can't use it wrongly -- which, for a punctuation mark, is an uncommon virtue" (Truss 122).

Wait. I'm confused.

In my English classes in high school (where I was taught some grammar), I was taught that there are only certain places to use a semicolon, so that would lead me to believe that you can in fact use it incorrectly.  Why would someone say that you can't use it wrongly?  Sooner or later people are going to just throw in semicolons randomly because they are under the assumption that they can do no wrong with them.  I'm going to get papers in my classes that are filled with misused semicolons and I'm going to end up bald from pulling out my hair. 

Maybe it's time to set everyone right? Maybe?

Practice Makes Perfect... Right?

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" 'The use of commas cannot be learned by rule.'  Such was the opinion of the great Sir Ernest Gowers; and I have to say I find that a comfort, coming from the grand old by himself.  However, rules certainly exist for the comma" (Truss 82)

I have to say, I do somewhat agree with the quote in a quote.  While it's good to know the rules of when to properly use a comma and when to not use a comma, I find that the best way to learn how to do use something or do something is to just go out there and do it.  The only way you're going to learn to use a comma is to actually write things that use commas, like a list.  You can never practice something enough, right?  That's why we had to write that sonnet, so we can practice.  The same goes with commas (and the rest of grammar as well).

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