August 1, 2008

Memoir Writing: Spark of Interest

Today is the last day of my one-week intensive writing workshop. Genre: Memoir. I like it a lot especially for its hybrid nature. It's weird (fated sense) how 'things' (of what I want to pursue) are clarified throughout my educational journey.

I had this general idea of what I wanted to pursue starting in

grade school (poetry, the use of words, playing with words, form, structure, creation...)

high school (writing as expression/art and teaching so greater possibility of livelihood- the practical/earthy Taurus in me)

College (English majors are not destined to be stuck as teachers [not that teaching is bad], but what I'm saying is that there are more options for English majors than what are often believed... so I stopped pursuing a certification for elementary ed. and decided to focus on art and other aspects of English, such as journalism, literature... I did everything in my power to avoid teaching)

Graduate School (Ironically enough, I became a teacher, well a graduate instructor... Chose to get an MA in Folklore (American Studies) instead of an MFA in Creative Writing... folklore is interdisciplinary (I can combined writing, art, culture, people [children's folk group], blurring the lines but it's okay... personally not feeling so confined by canons et al [I respect them nonetheless and learn from them, I need different types of teachers]... inspiration=people)

Summer 08 Graduate Seminar (8 am to 4:30 pm... I took Memoir Writing Workshop... the word 'Memoir' sort of encapsulates what I want to do in terms of my writing, starting with true experiences connected to/from people, molding it with creative fictional techniques in order to bring out the truth more, pass the surface/superficial, deeper meaning... using words to express and to create/shape/influence world)

Important Points about the form of Memoir:
-Literary- art before story, 'craft' used to bring out deeper truths
-Not confessional- not grating whines
-An aspect of life (more specific) not biography (general: birth to death)
-Lemons squeezed plus water and sugar = lemonades (bitter turns bittersweet)
-Questions (answer the 'so what'- to Discover, Question Authority to claim authority)
-Hybrid Form- Blend of Truth and Fiction
-It's true (not made up- however this could be tricky because of subjectivity and selectivity slippery Memory... differing truths: emotional, factual, historical, scientific etc.)

Here's the vague essay quiz I wrote for this class (because of time constraints--only an hour--I decided to be playful with the form, I used a hybrid of cohesive paragraphs and fragmented definitions... some metaphors...)

Title: Literary/Craft: Art before Story

The most important aspect of Memoir I learned this week dealt with the literary nature of this genre. Art takes precedence before the story (story is secondary). If you trace the origin of the word ‘art’ (its raw meaning), you’ll discover that it means close to the idea of ‘making’ / to make. Words, like artifice, artificial (not Natural, for example artificial intelligence), art (something made like a picture of the scenic mountains etc.) reveal some sort of manipulation (not in a sinister way, but taking charge in the shaping and molding). This manipulation uses fictional techniques, like scenes and summary, to illustrate the story and give form in order to grasp something as slippery as memory to get to deeper truths and a better understanding by musing through metaphor to express something inexpressible.

Scene- close-up, Slows down the pace, moment that reader and narrator experience together (greater connection), can include dialogues, very particular/specific moment, can have a sense of adult looking back through musings…

Summary- long-shot, overview, faster pace (covers more time in less words), reader is watching from afar, introduces, recaps, fills information/background, gives a sense of adult looking back, embedded quotes (usually repeated, almost like a slogan that could personalize characters)

Story- the experience, trying to make meaning of experience by putting it in form (linear: chronological, sequential, or lyrical: round-about, associative, relational), once in a form, it is more concrete compared to ‘recall from memory’ (tricky- perception/limited knowledge/ factors)…

Truth like perspective differs from person to person (each has unique way of seeing the world)… each is true, different truths: emotional/factual/scientific (gravity)- (example if you ask people to define happiness, each one of them will say something different. For example: money, family, love, etc., they have different priorities, it doesn’t mean that the person who values Family is happier compared to the one who values Money… it’s what they believe, it’s subjective, recursive/dialectical (moves back and forth, shifts, not static but DYNAMIC)

Musing- getting to/trying to understand, exploring, analyzing experience, answering the ‘so what’ question (deeper subject), thinking about the experience in a bigger context, trying to find the universal truth in a personal experience

Selecting/ using significant details that enhance experience, show through Metaphor to express the inexpressible/ juxtaposition of ideas/words which at first appear incongruent but reveals to create another idea/perspective.

All of these are applied in the readings throughout this week, such as Shumaker’s “Moving Water, Tucson”, Lott’s “Towards Humility”, David Sedaris’ Naked, McNair’s “Drink It” and many more. Shumaker’s piece took an ugly/traumatizing experience like witnessing death into sometime beautiful and poetic. She made the most of her experience (turning lemons into lemonades)…(Sorry, I’m not that specific, I ran out of time…if I had more time, I’d make better/stronger connection between term and application from these samples).

In the Memoir, truth becomes more apparent. One is able to understand the deeper meaning not just the surface and thus understand the self, its relations to life (multiple sides/complexity of the person). Memoir is like a performance (folklore sense) where a heightened sense of awareness/consciousness is achieved.

***

It's been an intensed week, waking up at at 6 or 6:30 so I could leave the house by 7:30 am (at the least) because it started at 8... sometimes, I won't be sleeping until 1 am (busy reading, writing critiques/own work, etc.)... Wednesday and Thursday, I was so tired, i had to crash at 11:30 pm and wake extra early to catch up in my work... my final portfolio is due next friday Aug. 8... the good thing is that the hours next week will be dedicated to writing my stuff and reading (non-assignments)... I can set up my schedule, more time to sleep...

After next friday (8/8)- I have to start focusing on 2010...

Despite of being sleep-deprived, one of the great things I got out of this intense seminar is inspiration (new ideas on what to explore/ what to write, a great intro to this genre, application of process, self-discovery and many more!)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:34 PM | Comments (2)

July 27, 2008

Memoir Review on the Night before Class Begins...

Chapter 2

The "so what?" is emphasized in the memoir genre (why should I care? why should others care?)... answering this question gives purpose and authority... writing the memoir shouldn't fulfill one's ego... stories should be written for the sake of the story not other ulterior motives (such as revenge, to get attention, etc.)...

Pick mentors carefully!

"It takes time to learn"-- there's a negative attitude from non-professional writers undermining the value of writing and writers... they often think that since WORDS are ubiquitous and used everyday (especially when speaking), everybody can write... everybody does have the potential to write, BUT not everybody will have the perseverance to write for a living... I'm starting to realize why writers are often called "word smiths" because writers shape and create using words like sculptors. Anybody with hands can pick up a hammer or something in order to start beating something to a pulp But not everybody can pick up that hammer or chisel and create a work of art like David.

Learning process- I liked how Barrington mentioned the difference between saying one's a writer and one's an apprentice writer. The former usually received a condescending response like, "Oh you're a writer, I'm a neuro-scientist. I've been planning to writer my biography ever since gradeschool.... Oh you're writing your memoir, I thought only famous people write their memoir? Who's going to recognize your name?"

Don't worry about publishers... write memoir first, then start searching...

Ideas- record dreams (in the past, I've had interesting and powerful dreams, but they're so scary [my heart racing]... that I purposefully did not record them because I wanted to forget about them), have a writing notebook, don't make excuses, just WRITE!, learn from others (read their memoirs)

Why should people/you care? Identification/connection: "Moments in my life might resonate with moments in theirs."

Chapter 3
Memoirs have forms (just because they're personal, it doesn't mean that they're easy to do)

Think structure and organization, similar to Fiction (form serves functions)... arrangements, selectivity (SIGNIFICANT details), clarity, audience friendly, high and low moments, a sense of completion/closing/middle/beginning... like a fragmented essay, like a personal-not-private narrative.... could have parallels... can be as straight-cut as recall and last paragraph analysis/musing... since it's a process learn when to ADAPT... no magic formula/ page length... differing perspective between child and adult... some sense of resolution...

Chapter 4
Truth: exact truth and emotional truth (other truths)- Memory "is not a record of the past but the evolving myth of understanding the psyche spins from its engagement with the world" (not historical facts) but if you're going to use historical facts, double-check and make sure you're citing the facts correctly.

Different perspective ROCKs! The way you recall events will be different from others BUT it doesn't mean it's not true (the difference is okay-- you're the expert of YOUR life)

Telling the truth is hard... it has consequences: Pain (of reliving sad moments), being ostracized, betraying other's trust (revealing family secrets), recognizing the past as something not "romanticized"... be responsible with your words

advantages- learning from others, speaking on behalf of the voiceless, enjoyable- seeingone's writing grow like one's own children...

HUMOR/irony can engage (tone/ voice's authority)... think imaginative recreation of the past... be transparent with your readers (let them know you're exploring instead of coming-off as a whiner or "know-it-all"... process/journey...

Memoir is a blend of truth and art. Not necessarily scientifically or historically true, but a true experience/moment nonetheless, and art, something "made", to make... to write to show "a" truth (factual/emotional etc.). Writing is NOT just self-expression; it also shapes culture: "Our words make the world."

Chapter 5
Memoir employing fiction writing techniques (also think cinema!) to highlight a truth:

Scene- close-up, immediate, an instance, slow down, SHOWs, dialogues (essence of what the person would say, doesn't have to be verbatim, But must stay truthful to the character's personality- select... only use plain attributes if speaker is not clear, avoid descriptive attribute (she mused, she snapped, etc.)--- look hard for the HEART of what actually happened...

Summary- long shot, great distance, covers a lot of time, can be enriching with details

Musing- can be clear-cut in the end, or interjected throughout, embedded--- whatever you prefer... Insights, speculations, questions, purpose, revelations, discoveries: "the essence of memoir is 'the track of a person's thoughts struggling to achieve some understanding of a problem.'"

Note your weakness and strengths in order to improve... YOu're the director!

Chapter 6
Moving around in time: There has to be a "now" (implicit/explicit) and a "then"... the now ANCHORS readers so readers can have a starting point... "now" clarifies for the reader your struggle/ your explorations etc.... shows "on-going" nature of inquiry/self explorations

Past- retrospective, not as limited as the present
present- immediacy, limited (in the sense of clear sentence constructions)

Practice both tense separately to master!

...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:59 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2008

Memoir Prep

On July 28, my one week intensive seminar class in Memoir writing will begin... my teacher emailed the class telling us to read Judith Barrington's book on memoirs called "Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art" ... so to prepare, I'll have to finish reading this by July 28 (pretty easy, only 176 pages), and I'll be blogging my notes, and...

I'll be reading supplementary memoirs:

David Sedaris's "Naked": I first heard of Sedaris when he came to SHU-- regretfully, I didn't attend his lecture, ironically enough missing his lecture made me want to read his works, I'm not sure which one I read first either "Me Talk Pretty..." or something about "denim/corduroy"

Mark Doty's "Firebird: A Memoir": I first heard of Doty last semester... he was supposed to visit USU but had to cancel due to health reasons... USU rescheduled him for this November so hopefully by november he'll be healthy and he could visit USU... my friend/colleague read his book called something like "Still Life with Oysters and Lemon"? for one of his class... it explored art and life and so during office hours, he'd discuss some of its aspects with me (for sure I put my two cents especially when it came to discussing art) ... eventually I read this book also ("Still Life...")

Ishmael Beah's "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier": Beah is USU's guest author for the summer so he'll be visiting USU and will give a talk... the freshmen are also reading this book... so I want to read his book before he gives his talk in August

John Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley": I started reading this book last Febuary- I'd read snippets of it before I slept- hopefully I'll finish this before class begins

Louis L'Amour's "Education of a Wandering Man": I accidentally discovered him in the Logan Library, I saw a display of his works and I got interested- he wrote mostly westerns but the title of his memoir caught my attention

I'm not going to finish all of these by the 28th, the important thing is exposure and enjoyment... the first three books explores childhood (which is good because I'm prepping also for my children's folklore class this fall- reading memoirs about childhood might give me ideas for my research) and the last two books talk about travels and journey (two of my favorite things to write about)

So far I'd read the intro and chapter 1 to Barrington's book

Intro

key words/phrases: Virginia Woolf, frankness/candidness, conversation, telling our story, risk, embelishment, truth and memory

some thoughts: I never heard of Virginia Woolf until Nicole Kidman portrayed her in the movie "the Hours". After this, I kept hearing about her especially from my English and/or feminist friends... they were singing praises about Woolf's work. Initially I found this annoying so I shunned Woolf's work and did everything in my power to avoid her books...just a couple of days ago, I gave in and borrowed "the Hours" in the library (this was all coincidence- I didn't know that Barrington was going to mention Woolf in the intro)...I watched the featurettes about Woolf's life and work and "Three Women" which sort of explained how the movie was structured, I watched these before the actual movie (I didn't have a chance to finish it because I was tired and had to sleep and the following day I had to return it in the library- next time)... Barrington noted Woolf's candidness especially when she wrote a prototype for today's literary memoir insinuating an incestuous relationship with her half brother (one of the other things she wrote about which interests me is her childhood memoir exploring her relationship with her mother- most likely I'll try to read this one also)...

Being frank and candid was initially scary... but I remember what I told my students when I explained to them their personal narrative assignment... we discussed the difference between "personal" and "private"- the subtle difference lies in the author's feeling of comfort: is she/he WILLING and comfortable enough to SHARE her/his experience? With this in mind, being frank wasn't so terrifying.

I like conversing and the idea of telling one's story (I feel lucky because the classes I'm taking seem to connect with each other. For example... In June, I took a seminar in Life Stories...I'm about to take Memoir class (telling an aspect of one's life), and in the fall, I'll be taking "Storytelling" [telling stories])... the idea about conversing is pretty dynamic because whenever you converse with people, in a way you are performing... you interact with them (read their gestures/facials and react to these), there is a tone or two in your voice, you pantomine, you do a lot of things (an idea just popped out: Is memoir writing the literary version of oral storytelling?).

I related when Barrington mentioned risk of offending others like parents and friends, etc. whenever I write about them in my blog, I usually use the ambiguous pronoun... this is something I need to explore more...

Embelishments, truth and memory all seem to contradict each other... a semester ago I would have believe it too... my mind changed and adapted to new information/enlightenment I got after finishing my seminar in June about Life Stories... one of the things I learned was that memory is like history, both are selective, we usually remember what is the most memorable, depending on the victor or writer/recorder... from a lifetime of memories, our brains usually select the most dramatic and meaningful... it's okay to be selective- it doesn't mean that it's the only truth, or it can't be true, it's our perception, our impression of our experience, how it affected us mentally/physically/spiritually/emotionally etc.

Chapter 1

Definition:
old concept- memoirS back then were closely associated with autobiography- broader, covering all aspects of a person's LiFe...tries to be factual, relies on facts/research... more than just memory

current concept- memoir, literary essay-like, focused, an aspect of a person's life (story from a life), such as Childhood, more in-depth...I like what Philip Lopate said about memoirs and other "informal or familiar essay" such as diatribe, moral philosophy, fantasy, etc. ... the author's voice (engaging, personality-galore, relax/conversational- the author's signature/fingerprint/identity) distinguishes this genre from others (it plays a CENTRAL role)... it's personal but uses fiction writing techniques (like the personal narrative I assigned my Eng. 1010 students)... an impression... author assumes role of narrator to help with distance even though he's still narrating about an aspect of his life

-person's thoughts/mental struggle is the plot/adventure (author both tells an amusing story and muses about it)
-narrator conversing intimately, like a columnist
-"Not everything in a memoir is factually accurate" (26)- this statement helps me understand Sedaris memoir more... some of the writing in "Naked" seem really out there and even if they are "out there" I still believe him. What Barrington said about the assertion of the author, which affects the reader, is starting to make sense. I believe what Sedaris is writing about because he believes in the story he's telling me. I find him reliable as a narrator (credible enough to tell me his experience). I TRUST him, his voice.

I like this quote "Self Revelation without analysis or understanding becomes merely an embarrassment to both reader and writer." I encountered this personally after I finished grading some of my students' personal narrative (in the Fall/Spring/Summer semester)... I always tell them to answer the "so-what" question in the end, i'd tell them that after they "recalled" an experience they needed to "assess" it also... I'd comment on their papers and ask them "so what?" (I know this sounds harsh...it was with good intention that I said this)... so what that "you didn't want to disappoint your parents?" so what that "you're living by yourself?"... another way I tried to approach this, "why is this memory/experience important to you?"... it's easy for me to ask these questions on other people's paper but when it comes to my own paper, I too struggle (I'm not the outsider seeing the essay objectively)... I'm the insider, writing, in the the midst of all the reliving/figuring out...I've learned though that what usually helps me is to see some kind of pattern (analyze the before and after, how the experience/memory affected me?, what changed? etc.)

tips for beginning a Memoir:
-find a focus/theme (not your whole life) - I'm thinking about childhood, Philippines, being a GI, my house
-be in a judgmental/questioning state of mind- working on this...
-read good memoirs for example- On-going with Sedaris, Doty, Beah, Steinbeck, L'Amour
-find your voice- I practice this all the time when I blog and in my journals...

I'm on my way...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:15 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2007

Books for Teaching Composition

As the summer is winding down, and my summer curriculum coming to its end, soon I'll start reading the books I have to use, as a Graduate Instructor (GI), to teach composition to Utah State University first year students. The books arrived a couple of weeks ago, but I've been holding them off... Don't worry I'll begin soon.

The first book I'll be reading is written by one of my instructor of GIship, named Brock Dethier. The book is called First Time Up: An Insider's Guide for New Composition Teachers. While reading this book, I'll be doing three things:
1. Summarize each chapter
2. Relate the materials to experiences
3. Discuss/write about new insights gained

The second book I have to read is the Instructor's Manual to the textbook The Curious Writer, I think I have to read the first three chapters before orientation week. After these two books, I'll perused through the textbook, and maybe start reading some of the essays, stories, and articles. I'll also try to acquaint myself with The New Century Pocket Guide for Writers.

Isn't it ironic that I dropped out of SHU's education program at the end of my sophomore year, in order to focus on English and Art, and now that I've graduated, I'm going to be a GI, who is going to teach composition to first year students?

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:35 PM | Comments (1)

Neruda's poems

I just finished reading Pablo Neruda's poetry called "Book of Questions" both in Spanish and English... some of the questions he asked are very imaginative and visually stimulating (awesome metaphors). Poetry made up of questions. Here are a few of the questions I found intriguing:

Where did the full moon leave its sack of flour tonight?
Why do tree conceal the splendor of their roots?
Is there anything in the world sadder than a train standing in the rain?
Does smoke talk with the clouds?
Why do leaves commit suicide when they feel yellow?
Why do clouds cry so much, growing happier and happier?
How many questions does a cat have?
Do tears not yet spilled wait in small lakes? Or are they invisible rivers that run toward sadness?
Do you know what the earth meditates upon in autumn?
Who sings in the deepest water in the abandoned lagoon?
Isn't it better never than late?
How many weeks are in a day and how many years in a month?
Why do all silkworms live so raggedly?
Who wakes up the sun when it falls asleep on its burning bed?
Was it where they lost me that I finally found myself?
What did the tree learn from the earth to be able to talk with the sky?
Does he who is always waiting suffer more than he who's never waited for anyone?
Perhaps heaven will be, for suicides, an invisible star?
Where is the child I was, still inside me or gone?
Why did we spend so much time growing up only to separate?
And what is the name of the month that falls between December and January?
Did spring never deceive you with kisses that didn't blossom?
Why did I return to the indifference of the limitless ocean?
How in salt's desert is it possible to blossom?
Do we learn kindness or the mask of kindness?
Is there a star more wide open than the word "poppy"?
In which window did I remain watching buried time?
If all rivers are sweet where does the sea get its salt?
And how do the roots know they must climb toward the light?
Is it true that autumn seems to wait for something to happen?

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:01 PM | Comments (2)

July 9, 2007

three books

Playing the Game by Frank and Stein, the streetsmart guide to graduate school, it's very tongue-and-cheek... you really need to have a sense of humor when you read this book or you'll get quickly offended... at times I did forget to have a sense of humor especially when they make it appear as if graduate school is politics or when it deemed the search and attainment of knowledge/expertise just fluff or bs... then I'd remember to laugh at myself... from this book, I'll remember the importance of planning, doing work early (even if it's painstakingly meticulous in the beginning but will save time later on), keeping in mind my objective and applying it to every class I take, making the most of grad school (my last hurrah before full time employment in the working world), and not stressing too much...

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde- now I understand the allusion in James Blunt's song "Tears and Rain"... of course the song pales in comparison to Wilde's novel... I seem to have the patience for descriptions/catalogues, the greek/roman allusions and the flower symbolisms... I noticed the excess flower metaphors, and while reading the footnotes, I learned that flower symbolism were used a lot in the Victorian period... it was a captivating read and at times fantastical especially some of the plot twist (sometimes the action is so quick and sudden that it seemed at first underdeveloped but in the end it justifies itself)... the novel makes me think about art and its creator (a little piece of the creator left in the art, art as an extension of the artist, his life/personality)... it's a fast read and mind-provoking... intellectual!

New Grub Street by George Gissing, once again another fast read, it was only 500+ pages but I didn't find it difficult to read at least 50 pages a day. Besides the literary issues discussed here, the story reminded me of a soap show but not so superficial. It's more profound and novel... the ending is subtle, but the sting lingers mentally... :)

I started Brave New World and so far it's disturbing...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:08 PM | Comments (1)

July 1, 2007

summer curriculum update

the more I use chopsticks whether in a Japanese or Vietnamese restaurant, the more I get used to it...

I'm getting used to the speed of the highway... sometimes it doesn't feel like I'm going 70... maybe because everybody else is going around 80 or 90... the way I measure speed by sight or the blur of the scene is relative...

I'm not going to finish my two boxes of summer readings... I have five books started at the side of my bed- one about: gradschool, poetry, fictional account of literary life (more on this later), the English language, and author's letters and other correspondences - and two graphic novels...

it's difficult getting in touch with my UT advisers- they don't have regular summer office hours plus they're busy either enjoying their summer or traveling for their own education... I did get the books I'm going to use for my composition classes... I ordered the other book I need so it's on its way hopefully...

for my Master's I have to be proficient in another language... so I started reviewing my Spanish... my friend's aunt is tutoring me twice a week en gratis... basically I'm just trying to refresh my mind so that when I start taking classes I don't have to begin in the most basic level... what I like about this session is the chance to hear Spanish spoken, I'm still trying to get to the point of being comfortable enough and courageous enough to speak it... the good news is that I understand most of the things said to me... I started watching the Spanish channel (cartoons, talk show, entertainment news, news, sports, telenovelas) I get the gist of what they're saying and if I don't focus and try to listen to what they're saying then all I hear are fast gibberish... I also borrowed some Spanish poems with English translation, and I'm working on Reading comprehension on the Elementary Low and High levels... I can't wait to get to the speaking part but I know that I have to have good vocabulary and grammar knowledge before I get there...

random google search- I saw the article I wrote last semester in the Setonian called "Students wander to foreign lands" in the website of the company I mentioned (CEA)...

I'm reading George Gissing's New Grub Street, it's about the literary life... I like it so far... it's discussing issues such as hack writing, the market, the vulgar, literary snobs, networking, pragmatism, money, patrons, literary circles, editors, reputation, fame, favorable connections, Literature as fine art, aspirations, starving artists, diplomacy, writing versus teaching, (wo)man of letters, journalism vs Literature... it reminded me a bit of Honore De Balzac's Pere Goriot... this novel is about 500+ pages long but I'm finding it fascinating and easy to get into (maybe because I'm a writer and the topics discussed are still current)...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:59 PM | Comments (2)

June 19, 2007

Wizard World: Philadelphia 2007

Wizard World Tour took place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from June 15-17, 2007. $25 for a day pass allows one entrance to comic, hobby, and toy vendors with celebrities and special guests from the comics universe.

There are many reasons to attend this convention/gathering especially if you're a comicsphile or aficionados looking for rare editions, to complete one's collections, to hear first hand of upcoming news and events, and many more.

I didn't just go to spend money that I don't have, I went to learn- the comics world is like a subgenre to my interests (this didn't mean that I didn't spend money- I still bought baubles and souvenirs such as magnets, and a mini-figurine).

I wish I went also on Friday instead of just Saturday. If I knew in advance that the session on the art and philosophy of graphique storytelling was going to take place, I would have gone (sigh).

I went on Saturday initially because Hayden Panettiere, the girl from NBC's "Heroes," was having a Q and A session... I also went to chill with my grade school buddies.

Hayden Panettiere: Q and A Session
I got a good seat because I arrived 40 minutes earlier and sat patiently (organized my new phone)... around 12:15, the crowd started filing in the room, and within seconds, it was filled... there's lots of cameras and professional photographers... it was a little insane because most of the people were very fanatical (I learned from my teenage years not to be too fanatical and star-struck because it will just lead to disappointments)...

this person in front of me got a bit pissed at me because my camera flash, momentarily blinded him (I was doing a test shot, and he turned around)... I apologized, but it was just creepy how easily irate he got...

then this woman photographer had the courage to ask me if the empty seat next to me was taken, of course I said no, so she sat next to me, her sandy face was a rockbed (offspring of the Thing)... she had one of those expensive looking cameras and she showed me her press pass, and she started telling me stories about the press earlier were waiting to get pics of Hayden... I was trying to figure her out, was she an obsessed fan or one of those crazy papparizzi? she showed me a dvd of Hayden's movie (Bring it One Part 2, which she recently bought for this event to get autographed), a picture of Hayden and his grandson after a play (in Maine?) and a picture she took of her, which was accepted by Us weekly magazine.

I asked her if she was a professional.. she said no, just a freelance, she didn't go to school for photography, just a hobby (she concluded that she should have gone to photography school)... she basically sends star photos to those celebrity magazines, and if she's lucky, they pick her photos and give her credit.. she was a little out spoken... she was trying to tell the guys in front of us to fix their posture in order to maximize her viewing (they just ignore her)... then she started complaining about the water bottle in the podium, she's arguing that the bottle will block her view of Hayden... I like her approach, she tried networking with Hayden's mother in order to get personal one-on-one time with Hayden

then Hayden just burst in and started walking in the center aisle... camera flashed, there were two really obnoxious photographers who were all up in her face taking pictures of her-- they weren't doing it quick either, they took their time to focus it and block the view...

I didn't ask any questions because I didn't do my research ahead of time... I didn't want to ask questions that could be found in the internet from her previous interview, so I jsut listened to other people's questions and her answers...

Hayden couldn't talk about the second season of "Heroes," which starts filming today. Conveniently, she hasn't read the scripts yet. She was definitely comfortable and in control of the crowd. She knew how to evade and still satisfy the crowd's curiosity. The crowd just need to ask a good question in order to get a good answer.

In an hour with Hayden, I learned that she's from New York, she's typecast as the blonde cheerleader, villians difficult ot sterotype, she's coming out with an album (she serenaded the crowd with "America"), music is more personal to her, acting is more like playing dress up, she likes mustard and ketchup on her hotdog, she likes to go out with guys with brown hair and brown t-shirt, she believes in higher education, charities, and voting for tomorrow's leaders, the acting business the thrill of working, saved a dog hit by a car, wants to have a love interest at the show... and many more.

She knew how to be generous, allowing some time afterwards for pictures to be taken... this was the time that I actually went and got her picture (somewhat semi decent- not one of my best), I was even pushed gently (not shoved) by the security guard to get away...

Walking around the convention with friends
After the Q and A session, i walked around with my friends... they knew what they wanted to get some special edition or a rare toy, I wanted to look at the art and get inexpensive things.. I enjoyed the artists' alley, where I met osme of the creators of the comics universe. I tlaked to the people, whose art fascinated me- in my case it was two people: one liked the simplicity and influence of Japanese art, and the other, the soft colors of pastel...

the day was fun... people in costumes were walking around, there were reenactments of jedi sword fights, little kids were running around with giant swords (fake of course, but the sight is just hilarious)...

besides the Q and A, there were also demonstrations, which unfortunately I missed, but next time I will attend them, especially sessions on "Wizard School" (get pointers on various art techniques like coloring, storytelling, setting, etc.)...

Wizard World was fun and magical!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:40 PM | Comments (2)

Tunneling

I finished my second book of the summer, it's called Tunneling by Beth Bosworth... The story is very imaginative... one of the words used in the book jacket-- magic realism... and at times I did get lost in the sense that I couldn't tell which reality the protagonist was in, in her wild imagination or mundane reality... there were clues but when I got so into the book, I'd missed them... the author did organize it by chapter.. for the most part the chapters were dedicated either to imaginative journeys and adventure of Rachel, or her real world reality of New Jersey...

I sort of got lost too, because the author/protagonist voice interrupts too much.. she's reflecting about the past, then she refers to the present... her adventures are as real as the present...

this book can be adapted well to the screen.. if I were the director, I would cast Abigail Breslin, the girl from Little Miss Sunshine, to play the lead role of Rachel Finch and with today's technology, the fantasy/ imaginiatvie adventures can be accomplished effortlessly...

if the reader doesn't know the allusions in this book, it's still pretty understable, and complete in itself... However I felt that it was more rewarding to understand the allusions especially to Shakespeare, Achebe, Wilde and others...

towards the end, it seemed like the barrier between the imagination and reality is blurred even more.. at first I was surprised by the end , but rereading the first chapter, I saw the hints (it's just weird because whenever I try to begin a book, I try not to guess what's going to happen, instead of paying attention to details, I want to experience the text and enter its world-- created by the author--)

Overall a good read, read/see for yourself and travel with Rachel and S-Man in their many adventures to save literature!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:40 PM | Comments (0)

June 4, 2007

summer reading list

I finally finished my first summer book, it's a fictional novel about killers and games... I'm glad I finished it, getting my summer reading started have been a slow process (but I'm getting there)...
over the semester, I have garnered two small boxes filled with books (during the semester I didn't have time to read them because of other reading obligations so I told myself that i was going to read them over the summer). It's nice that I have books picked out but in some ways it's also annoying... I go to my library and I see lots of books on display, and I just want to read them (but it's not fair for the books that waited patiently underneath my bed while collecting dust).

I'm trying to motivate myself and saying to myself "as soon as I finish the two small boxes of books then I can borrow the books from the library..."

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2007

Attention all Senior English Majors!!!

Hello all Senior English Majors...

we just had our Portfolio Review today, and I was just wondering how everybody did?
Was it nerve wrecking? surprising? etc. ect?

So far I've only talked to Jay and Puff...I'd like to hear from the rest of ya'll...

Great job everyone! :)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:14 AM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2007

one of the craziest production

The first production of the Setonian for this semester was pretty crazy.

Artlcles and reporters dropping off like flies. Macs not cooperating (files not exporting). New programs to learn, pictures to take (especially at night times). Late ads (unanswered). Socialite Divas. A fire alarm in the middle of production. The usual.

Creating headlines and captions were hilarious. Singing...

It was memorable (especially for the new Editor in Chief Val or "vaam") In spite of the craziness, everybody did a great job and everybody pulled it together as a team.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:44 AM | Comments (1)

January 8, 2007

2/3 of Graduate Application done!

I finally finished 2 out of 3 applications for Graduate schools. Indiana and Utah are due this January 15, and Oregon is due February 15. I'm going to work on the last one next week before I go back to SHU.

Tomorrow I'm going to mail Indiana and Utah. It's good to be done filling them and it's so relieving. I did everything I could possibly do, and I did them in a timely manner.

I'm glad I had a chance to do them over the break. I would be too distracted with research papers and other impending homework to focus on them during the semester.

Application form and fee- One is on its way, the other is done on-line, the last one is on Feb. 15.
Transcript- I've been consitent with my grades at SHU.
Letters of Recommendation- I handed these out before leaving SHU for the winter break.
Statement of Intent- I wrote a draft and revised it three times with the help of Dr. A. This helped me to focus and articulate my purpose for going to Grad school.
GRE- I've been preparing for this in tidbits since summer. I took it on the 20th of Dec. I met the minimum for the schools I'm applying for.
Letter of Interest for Graduate Instructorship- I wrote this and attached my resume.
Resume- Building it up with actual experience since forever.
Sample writings- Focused on what interested me, related to the Master Program I'm trying to get in.

Worst Case Scenario: Doesn't get in Grad school (wasted effort), then get a job with benefits, pay loans, save up, try again years from now (like many many years from now), still go for my goal (statement of intent) in a different way...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:19 PM | Comments (2)

December 20, 2006

My GRE experience

The big day has arrived, instead of going Christmas shopping, I've been occupied with final preparations for the GRE, which reached its culmination today!

Overall, it wasn't that bad. What helped me a lot was confidence in myself. I kept repeating to myself that I've done all the things I could have possibly done given the circumstances of preparing during one of the most insane semesters ever and time restrictions.

Prior to finally taking the "real" GRE test, I've taken 2.5 practice tests. On the first run, I was both on the 50% mark (on the verbal I got 15/30 and on the math 14/28). On the second test, I've tremendously improved on the verbal, I got 25/30. However, in the math section, I got worse. I received a 10 out of 28. On the last test, I decided to focus on the math (so I skipped the verbal). I didn't really improved, I got 9 out of 28.

So going in to take the test, I had an idea of my chances. If I were constant, I'd get almost higher than 75% in the verbal, and at least 50% on the math. I kept repeating to myself that maybe I'd be lucky, and I'd get similar questions I practiced on. It also helped knowing that a wrong answer doesn't take away from the correct answer and that some questions have a higher point than others (if I were lucky, I'd answer the difficult question more and get a higher grade). And of course, the book I read stressed eliminating as much wrong answers to increase my chances of getting a right answer and also to make educated guesses. I kept all of these in mind.

The night before I read one last time some basic formulas for areas of shapes etc. and I got a full 8 hours of sleep (very well rested), and the next day (today) I woke up before my alarm clock.

I arrived in the city at 10:45 a.m. I had brunch in starbucks (just a little treat). I ate a chicken sandwich, and I drank a tall white chocolate mocha (perfectly made with the right amount of syrup [not too sweet or bland] and the right hotness). I took my time and ate at least for an hour, and around noon I walked towards the Curtis Center at 7th and Walnut.

The test was in the first floor in a gray windowless office. I signed a confidentiality form, and I had to put all my stuff even my digital watch in a locker. The only thing I took with me to my "area" was myself, my id and ticket. They gave me scratch paper and pencils. In the end, I had to give back my scrap paper. Their procedure was tighter than airport security. Before entering to the testing room, they took a picture of me (which looked like stipling/dotted rendition of me). The session was videorecorded. They asked if I had any questions. I asked about the 10 minute break for a confirmation and before starting I went to the bathroom.

I messed up the beginning. I confused the background info with universities who'd receive the score. Instead of putting SHU, I put one of the universities I planned on applying.

I don't know if order of the section was randomly selected or not. I thought that the test began with the verbal and ended with the writing. I started with the writing- I didn't know if this was a blessing or a curse. I was thrown off guard (I didn't know if the lady did this on purpose or not because before I took the test, I asked her a question about the writing section).

My question wasn't difficult; it was just a matter of articulating my perspective. I wrote about being an English major. It took me a while to get started because I wanted a 'bangin' response. This didn't happen, however I fulfilled the requirement and gave my perspective (this was better than nothing). I think my strong points were giving examples. The second writing was about evaluating an argument. I don't think I fleshed out my points enough.

The verbal and math section just came in a flash. It felt like I was dazed, but I persevered and kept repeating to myself: educated guess, educated guess...wrong answer doesn't penalize...the next question can be an easy one- more points.. I finished around 3:30 p.m. but I ended up taking a sample test for an extra 37 minute. I actually left the test center around 4:15 p.m. I went to South Street to meet my friend and to start SHOPPING.

On my way, I started worrying about my scores, which were similar to what I got in the SAT's (around the 1100s). I was close to my estimation. In the verbal I got a little higher than the 75% mark (620/800), and I got a little higher than the 50% mark on the math (470/800). To end my worries, I called the universities I was applying to: Indiana, Oregon, and Utah (thank you different time zones).

All of them said that GRE's are equally weighted with other factors such as transcript, resume, letters of recommendation, application, etc. To lessen my worries, one them said that a person who didn't meet the GRE requirement was still accepted into the program because of his/her strong transcript, letters of recommendation etc.

With my 1090, I think I met the bare minimum. For example, Indiana told me that I needed to score at least one section higher than 600 (either verbal or math), and that I needed at least 4.5 score out of 6 in my writing. For Utah, I checked the website (an hour ago) and it stated that the GRE score needed to be above the 40% mark. I don't if this is combined or not (either combined or separate, my score is above the 40% mark). For Oregon, I still have to email a professor (they're currently on holiday break). Hopefully, their gre requirement is similar to Indiana and Utah.

The test is over and tomorrow more shopping, and after Christmas, resume the application process! :)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:26 PM | Comments (5)

December 15, 2006

Semester in review

This semester beats last semester in terms of difficulty. I was spoiled during the summer with Filipino food and Philippine scenery and adventure. I'm glad I was spoiled because the memories of summer became my inspiration and at the same time- my motivation, encouragement and strength provider. These memories helped me to face this semester's challenges.

I didn't approach this semester like one of those seniors who knew it all. However there was this aura in me becaue I knew that I am a senior: I have experience (3 years in college), I know the environment, I knew how to manage my time, I knew how to study and do a research paper.

I felt like everything was finally coming together. This semseter I started working in the writing center (key word "writing") plus I had my internship at the Office of Public Information, where I did press releases and more writing and photography (two of my other interests: words and images). To add to this, humanism seemed to be the theme this semester. After my internship I had Renaissance Art, this was then followed by Chaucer, and Graphic Design I. On Tuesday, I had Ballet, European Literature and on my "free time" I worked on my honors capstone project. Along with this I had responsibilities with Eye Contact, the Setonian, Student Ambassadors and Student Government (a bit of ISO). In the beginning they were all okay and of course they started to build up. Then I reached the point when every minute I had was dedicated to reading and writing papers. I learned a lot but I felt like my brain was going to explode.

My internship, I have a portfolio of my accomplishment. Here's a link to a reflection I did earlier this semester.

In my Renaissance Art class, I learned more details about Renaissance art compared to Western Art (Survey course). I learned about artists more in depth not like the survey course where it was almost like a preview. Except in a way it wasn't enough. I was reading the textbook and there were artists I haven't heard before except we didn't go over them in class. We talked about major artists, like Michelangelo and Leonardo but the unknown one remained unknown even if they were included in the textbook. I liked my research paper. I did mine on the relationship between biblical text and fresco images, and I felt like I had a good presentation- I didn't say "um" and I didn't have weird awkward silence (I didn't freeze). The timing was still a bit short and under the minimum, nonetheless I think I provided content.

Chaucer was a challenge. 13 weeks of hard work and progress was overshadowed by a 15 page research paper that was worth 50% of my grade. Basically with this system, it seemed that one could get away with not doing the "little" works that were important in understanding Chaucer. One could instead use that time to focus on the mid-semester test that was worth 25% and skip some classes to work on the 50% research paper. I wonder if perfect attendance counted for something. I did think that making participation optional was fair- I wasn't force to participate when I didn't have anything to say, and I didn't get deducted for it. One of the things I did learn in this class was to focus in getting the work done and to not overdo things because if I were to do then I'd missed out on other things. I also learned to be concise, straight to the point and have evidence to back up whatever I'm saying. From proofreading session on 3rd Maura with Valerie and Karissa, I learned about voice, style, flow, technique and more on analysis. It wasn't an easy class. My research paper was interesting; it was about dreams. I was also part of the Boethius group- I was the wheel of fortune dude and Val was Lady Fortune. I also played Boethius and Paul was Mr. Philosophy.

Graphic Design I was cool. Originally I took this class so I could get familiar with Quarks and work on my honors capstone project. I did get familiar with Quarks and the Mac computer in general (someday when I have a job I'll buy a Mac). I also did some art work for my honors capstone project. There's so much you can do in a Mac and it's so fast that it's scary. My deal with computers is that they're so fast and efficient but stll data or whatever you make whether you save it in a portable i-drive every product not completely printed are abstract- they are digits and computation- they are codes. One of my fears- easily made, easily lost- in an instant. I understood the concept of Bezier points,(the Mac computer is not so scary anymore), I learned lay out, a bit of photoshop (digital collage), I made a book cover, a cd cover, an AIGA poster. In the future I'm interested in exploring adobe illustrator more. I learned layers and different brush strokes. From taking this class, I understood more about the printing press- this complimented well with Eye Contact and the Setonian- it united things, in Eye Contact and the Setonian behind the scene, we talked about layouts and fonts and more. This class helped me to connect the technical gaps. In spite of this knowledge, I don't want to be one of the people who put the book together. I want to be the one who writes the book and illustrates the pictures. Sr. Mary Kay said that at least this experience would give me an idea of what publishers could accomplish. If I were to communicate my ideas to publishers and designers, I would at least have an inkling of their jargon and maybe I could communicate with them more clearly and effectively.

Ballet was physical and very humanist especially with the focus on the body. Those little half bend of the knees and large bend of the knees all add up to pain! Just kidding, but they do add up to strengthening leg muscles. It was fun trying to press down your shoulders or holding your head up or balancing on one foot 'releve' (to rise). I learned several French phrases- chasse, pas de chat, pas de bouree, petit jete, tendu, en dedan, en dehour, frappe, coupe, demi plie, grand plie, and more. You know what's ironic, ballet dancers may look "delicate" but their dance is very "violent." TaMara said that in Ballet, there was a lot of "beatings" of the leg, "striking" of the foot and "cutting." I get to visualize bone structure and muscle when I took this class because in some exercises my teacher explained how the body was connected and how to properly utilize it for better flexibility so that one doesn't hurt one's self. This was a funny class too, when I was doing changement and the other one which means "to gather" in French, the comment I got was to land more in demi-plie position, to land with bent knees so the impact was soften. It was important to do this because if I didn't and I put a lot of pressure, my knees would pop out, fly, and poke somebody in the eye. Behind the gauze, tafetta and ethereality is harnesed energy with potential destruction.- I also did a little show called Snow Queen, I was Kai, I did a lot of partnering and miming. I learned about back stage (middle runner), I get to wear a custome. I worked with dancers who've been dancing for a long time. I get to see behind the scene- putting choreography together, practicing, hecticness. While I practiced with Nicole, I was reminded of Degas' Ballet painting- off composition, negative spaces- influence of Japanese prints.

European literature was one of the unique English classes I've had. we did a lot of relevant talking and discussion. we played characters and had dinner. we had presentations- Karissa and I worked together and for our presentation we played a game with the class: The Chutes and Ladders of Society. I wrote two essays, and I took two essay tests. There were plenty of snacks, water and coffee which helped a lot during the evenings and also set the atmosphere, it was a relaxed setting which made discussions more receptive- the friendliness invited people (my class) to talk with each other and have a discussion. We've come up with several interesting discussion discusing religion, terrorism, destiny, translations, and other major issues. We read at least 6 or 7 complete European novels translated in English. they were all deep stuff. My personal favorite was Thomas Mann's Death in Venice. I like the brevity of it and also its subtlety. I liked the translation of my version, it felt lyrical even though it was creepy at times.

I had fun writing my honors capstone reflection because it reminded me of the Philippines, and in my research and reflection about my experience I learned a bit about the nature of folklore. Good thing I did most of this in the first half of the semester because towards the end of the semester I was reading one of my sources for my reaserch paper everyday. It was insane. My last weeks were crazy. I remember coming back from Thanksgiving break putting together a presentation and after that finishing a research paper, and after I handed this reasearch paper on Monday, I resumed working on the other one that was due the following Tuesday- it was crazy, BUT I'm alive!!!! :)

Other accomplishments this semester- In Eye Contact, I beat my personal best for patron donation from $270 to $304 dollars, as a whole also beat record from $270 to $324- this semester was good for collecting I don't know about next semester, I might be too busy trying to train potential Eye Contact business manager to replace me. My stipling also made it in this semester's issue of Eye Contact. This art work is entitled "Metamorphosis of Tarzan"- it's inspired by the Philippines, it took me a while to do it (at least two months, an hour a day). It sort of served as a diversion and art therapy- something different from reading and writing- side note: I just discovered something during the crazy week full of readings and drafts, I reached a point when I couldn't focus anymore in the readings or discussion and at this point I was able to focus on making sketches of people. I also felt that we had a lot of art in this issue, usually it's less than the literature but this time it's almost equal. Eye Contact also won an award "First Place with Special Merit" in the American Scholastic Press Association for fall 2005 issue.

In the Setonian, I got promoted to Photo-editor. I was in charge of the pictures- handing out assignment, lots of organization, and it was my responsbility to get the pictures that weren't assigned or that were left over. I did alot of sport pictures- good thing most of them happened on campus because I didn't have a car, and getting rides to far away fields were a hassle. I started an artsy column on-line called Culture Vulture- I was able to write four articles for this column. Val, the former news editor and current editor in chief made a Michael Diezmos fan club on facebook- it was hilarious and encouraging. There's also a gallery of scribble drawings in the Eye Contact/Setonian office. The arts and entertainment center spread won the center spread contest, we got free Setonian t-shirt. To tie everything to the Renaissance theme, during the party I was given the Photo-editor award with the subtext "Renaissance Man." We said farewell to Amanda, editor in chief of the Setonian. She's graduating this Monday. We wished her luck and, we told her that we'll keep in touch through blogs, facebook, emails, and letter.

In the Writing Center, I learned that my writing habit was rigid and I needed to adjust according to the client. What helped a lot was being "general" because the specific things I say, for example "five paragraph essay" has connotations that are negative implying that a stranger has the same background as me thus limiting the choices of the client. I have to readjust my ways so that I don't alienate the client. So I'll work on this more next semester. The good thing is that I have potential and I can adapt to the situation (proven during write aid).

Student Government- things are winding down. We bought the class banner and because of this our class fund had been reduced greatly. We talked about class gift and raising more money for it, we also discussed graduation speaker- no controversial politicians, and of course we prepared for Christmas on the Hill and the senior tradition. It was a beautiful celebration, the music was great, there were a lot of seniors, and we sang and took lots of pictures, seniors helped plan the mass. It was a memorable night filled with candle procession, wassail, and reminiscing.

While all of these were happening I was preparing to take the GRE's. My first adviser Arnzen, who is currently on Sabbatical, kept motivating me to apply. Karissa shared her experience about grad school. So I studied some vocab- I didn't have to worry about reading various materials because all I did was read, and I wrote several essays so hopefully they were enough practice for writing. I am worried about the Math section so at present I'm reviewing math tactics which I hope I will remember this Wednesday, December 20, when I take the exam. I am excited to go to grad school. This semester might have felt like everything was coming together but in grad school I would focus on and be more specific about my interest. Before leaving SHU, I handed out the letter of recommendation form to my professors. I'm glad that the schools I'm applying to have deadlines either Jan. 15 or Feb 15. If they were due during finals week or the week before finals week (which most schools were), most likely I wouldn't be able to focus on them because I had the present matter to think about. So this winter break, I'm going to focus on my application and several non-academic stuff: to relax, have fun, recharge, and prepare for my last semester before I graduate in May.

Overall, it had been a long and mentally exhaustive semester.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:05 PM | Comments (2)

October 11, 2006

Office of Public Information Internship Reflection

Office Life: Part of a Bigger Network
-Clips
-Confidentiality

In the Field: Taking Pictures
-Photo Opportunity
-1st Photo Shoot

Media Lingo
-Vocabulary

Interviewing
-In person

Reflection
My internship is going well. I'm getting an insider's look of the workforce and seeing how my work is part of the bigger network. I'm getting field experience in taking pictures. I'm learning the how on writing press releases. I understand more about the lingo used in the Media field, and interviewing concepts I've learned from the Setonian are being reinforced.

One of my jobs is to organize the clips for the Board members. Seton Hill University's Office of Public Information (OPI) hires a clipping service company to go through all the newspapers locally and in the state of PA. From this company we receive newspaper clippings which pertain to SHU: SHU in the Headlines, SHU in the News, Faculty and Staff, Athletics, and Students. I sort these out accordingly and once in while I'll see the same story being covered by different newspapers. I'd read the lead and study how it would differ from the other. For the most part, they remain the same. The leads may differ in length: extra information added to the lead, which the other newspapers decide to omit or place it somewhere else in the article.

Organizing and keeping records of the clips reminded me of George Orwell's book 1984. I'm using this reference in a positive way. I'm learning that even a "small" liberal arts university, such as SHU, has a lot of records of information. I can just imagine how much information a larger university can have. The issue of confidentiality came up. I was reminded about privacy issues: respect them.

My boss, Becca, explained to me OPI's ethics about confidentiality. We in OPI do not put a spin on any story. We tell the press as much as possible, and we do a careful investigation of any situation. Becca told me that the press will find out no matter what so actually lying to the press will give a bad image to the university no matter what.

One of the great things about this internship is the pace, which constantly changes. I can be doing clips or writing press releases one day and the next go out in the public and take pictures. I've had three photo assignments so far. The first one was taking pictures of faculty with their dogs, and the second one was taking pictures of the Chemistry Club while they're cleaning the highway for Labor of Love.

The third one was doing the photo shoot for "Mazel". I enjoyed this one the most. The cast and crew sequestered a time for me to show up and take their pictures. I didn't have to worry about getting the names or writing which scenes I'm photographing because I had an assistant, who did this work for me. I was able to get as close to the actors as possible. I walked on stage and moved where the best lighting was. Everything was almost set up for me like a photo illustration. The only difference was that in Theater it was natural for actors to pose. It was in their nature to act; they were acting for the camera. Basically, they did scenes, and I walked around them taking pictures from angles. In some instances, the director guided me. This was also another awesome experience because I got the perspective of the director: how he framed a scene. When I took the pictures I didn't feel self-conscious or like I'm overstepping a boundary. The reason for this was that the cast and crew and I were collaborating. They wanted the publicity, and I was doing my job.

Writing press releases helps me to review the fundamentals of informing (answering the five W's and how). I'm also doing a lot of editing in the press release. The main editing I do is condensing to the main point (as bare as possible- not many details). In the beginning, I found this really difficult. I'm fighting off tendency (writer's habit) to make things flow. I'm still having trouble with this, but I've progressed. The press releases I'm writing now are to the point.

Being in the working environment, I hear Becca use Media lingo such as News Whole, layout, above the fold, cut line, free press coverage, and media advisory. It’s just amazing to experience these terms and see its application (rather than reading about it in books).

My recent assignment is doing a story on the Hawaiian marathon in which several SHU students participated in during the summer. I emailed them the questions, and they didn't respond. Meeting them in person (especially for students) is still the best way to interview people because they have to deal with it right away (no time to put it off).

I'm enjoying my internship, and I'm learning a lot.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:46 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2006

If I were to get an internship at Scholastic (Publishes Children's books)

I hope to accomplish many things- the main thing is to experience the publishing process first hand at Scholastic, I've read about it in my Publication Workshop, I would like to experience the "theories" applied to current projects- for example, going through the submissions- rejecting, accepting, copy-editing, how contracts are handled, interaction with author and editor, market team- packaging a book, publist's role, seeing a completion of a book all the way to its publication date-- organizing, how to promote and spread the word...-- Application versus theories, relationship between author and the Publishing company (all involved)

I have office skills- answer phone, file and organize data, take notes
Copy editing skills from the Setonian (interview skills)
Business and Layout input from Eye Contact
Public Speaking from all my classes (also from being Library aides and Gallery aides)
Critiquing skills from Poetry, Publication
Leadership skills from student government and activities mentioned above
Honors Program- independent project- "interdisciplinary"
Revisions, editing, structuring, persuasive/argument paper, research, talking, peacemaker, Starbucks taster

Hopefully pick up tutoring skills from Writing Center and other writing aspect or computer skills from the Communicator internship

I'm an English Major with Four minors (Art History, Literature, Fine Arts, and Journalism), very motivated, good attitude, works well with others, believes in the mantra that "will and determination" override "talent'--99% perspiration, 1% inspiration

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:54 AM | Comments (0)

I survived

this semester was the hardest, and I really liked it because it focused a lot in my field of study creative writing and English...

I accomplished several things....

I learned more about the publication world in my Publication Workshop-- for example- the likelihood of rejection (at least 20,000 times before you get accepted IF you're lucky), the importance of professionalism in formating, query letters, book and article proposals, personal value, critiquing (being constructive and how to take criticism), the writing life- the markets (lots of freelance possibilities, also lots of writing-related jobs such as being an editor, a book agent, publicist, art director)-- I have the sources and tools to look it up now...

In Twentieth Century Art II, I feel like I have a better understanding of "current" art movements beginning from Post world war II, art reflection of culture, also I learned (from mistake) how to be a better presenter-- talking to people and trusting my brain (because I've done the research)

In Musical Dance- similar to ART history, theater trends mirror society- also being comfortable with 'moving' and being in front of people-- this adds to a study in presenting one's self- not being so self-conscious

In History of Jazz-- the same as Musical dance about U.S. culture and geographic studies (more presenting and public speaking experience-- being creative in presentation- different sources such as video clips, and dance demonstration- my professor shared a lot of stories- this was inspiring and subconsciously I noted his effective storytelling skills (how he got story ideas from words or phrase or incident, how he build up to the climax and punchline, and of course denoument).

In the Writing of Fiction-- more on the writing aspect rather than the publication part-- so we focused on revision, story ideas, critiquing, tons of malt balls and chocolate incentives, fun exercises, several free/forced writing, reflecting in journals, reading short stories and leanring from it- in a nutshell learning to fight off the fear of writing by just start writing-- just write, if it's crap, just write, eventually something good will come out

In American Lit. II-- more revisions, more exposure to contemporary works (pluralization/democracy of literature), presentation skills (teaching the class- public speaking)-- lots of modern experimental plays and poems, short stories from different voices-- women, gays, immigrants-- approaching literature from a literal, inferential, and evaluative perspective- different literary criticism

to sum up-- lots of public speaking, and tons of writing (drafts and revisions) and more integration of past studies with contemporary culture (it's not so distant, easier to apply and relate), very related to my field of study filling the gap, answering the question of why I'm studying Englsih, in general it feels like everything is coming together....

I'm beat and exhausted, and I'm glad...I'm off to the Philippines for a well-deserved reward for the hardwork and also to do a fun project. Adios!

Happy Summer!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:45 AM | Comments (2)

February 11, 2006

Literature: Reviewing principals

In literature, it's nice to review the basics once in a while because there's so many movements out there that it's hard to process. It's like what Phil Rosteck said (he was talking about art in general), because there's so much information to process (globalization), people counterbalance this by turning inwards.

I'm an English major so people assume that I can speak proper english all the time, or that I know all the grammar rules. I'm an expert in everything-English. They forget that I'm in a process of learning everything about English, and that I just have an affinity for it (potential to master it). This assumption is also seen in classrooms and most English classes.

In my previous English classes, the professors assumed that since I'm an English major, then I'm likely to be exposed to many literature and I'm supposed to know how to write different types of critiques. College teachers have the right to assume this because their expectations are higher.

Currently I'm taking American Literature II and most of the students are not English majors. This is sort of refreshing because they're not jaded with 'everything-about-English' and they give a different perspective outside the 'English' bubble. The things we're doing and the pace we're going may appear 'elementary' but personally for me I feel like I'm understanding more especially about different types of literary criticism.

With this new understanding, I feel confident in analyzing the text more in-depth rather than slugging through it.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:09 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2006

Role of Women in Japanese Lit/poetry in General

While I was reading the introduction for the book I bought at the MET (The Thirty-six Immortal Women Poets), I learned something about Japanese women's role in developing Japanese lit/poetry...

The ironic thing I found was that the limitation/restriction placed on them (due to women's "lower" status) eventually led them to act as catalysts in this cultural production of lit/poetry unique to Japan. Japanese women poets kept alive the haiku/tanka tradition in love letters.

The one in power (the emperor) had set the standards especially in the arts. At a time when haiku/tanka was blossoming, a change in emperors occured. With this change came a change in taste/fashion. The new emperor liked Chinese society and its arts so much that he did everything in his power to imitate this society (even if it meant destroying everything "Japanese"). Aristocratic men had to learn how to read, write and speak Chinese.

A majority of the women even in the courts (aristocrats) didn't have to be educated in this way. This was probably one of the few phenomena were lack of education helped to advance an intellectual movement. Women continued to do what they knew how to do, which was speak/communicate in Japanese.

The way they corresponded with their male lovers was through haiku. Their lovers had no other choice but to respond the same way. It wasn't much of a hassle for them because the form was simple and concise. One of the reason for this type of correspondence was because men and women were required to live separately (even when they were married- marriage wasn't monogamous).

I also learned that since Japanese women didn't have a clear role to play in society unlike Japanese men (ruler/protector etc.) back then (probably besides for procreation). In another twist they had more freedom to express their "emotion."

Even though men had the "power," they (like women) still had to conform to the mores of their time. Emotions led to feelings and therefore suffering, which was a result from desire according to Buddhism. So men tried to stay away from this.

The advantage of being 2nd class citizen, one had the potential to go either or direction- up to the top, or down. Having androgynous/vague standing enabled Japanese women poets to write about mixed emotions (better than men).

Many things especially the characters of the person were revealed in these short haikus. According to the intro, the brush strokes of the calligraphy, the words used, the color and thickness of paper showed the virtues and traits of a person. Everything had its purpose (subtlety painted the picture).

One of the other things I liked was what the author said about showing emotions rather than telling: externalizing inner feeling using nature or directly stating emotional condition (becoming nature). What was mind boggling was what the author said. According to him the essence of poetry writing was to express deep feelings by connecting internal feelings to the external events and objects of the world (Andrew J. Pekarik 18). He continued, their aim was more often to qualify and complicate that feeling than to express it clearly and simply.

With this new information, I understood more clearly the novel I read last semester in World Literature called Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata. One of the editors wrote in its introduction that this novel was like a giant haiku.

The haikus that influenced and kept alive Japanese lit/poetry were records of Japanese courtship. Snow Country followed this archetypal form of courtship.

the man's courtship, the woman's resistance, the joy of meeting, the pain of waiting, the sorrow of parting, the woman's fear of rumor and abandonment, the man's protestation of good intentions, the woman's anger and resentment because of his neglect, and the final despair and sadness of both man and woman. (16)

If one were to read Kawabata's novel Snow Country, one would notice this outline (but if they were to rely only on this, they would miss the splendor of imagery in words- so I recommend others to read it even if it's difficult).

Which brings me to my last thought, which is a tangent compared to the points made above (but still goes along with image, role, subtlety etc.)---> clothing specifically (aristocratic) Japanese women's 12 layer coat robes/kimonos. The length, it's nuance of color, the folds, the weight- all of these contribute to the burden women carried and the complexity of male/female relationship.

***Old cliche: Appearance is not what it seems...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:25 PM | Comments (2)

January 18, 2006

Image of Man in Ads

How do the media envision/portray today's man? ...

Thesis: a drifter.

The Research

One day out of ennui, I decided to peruse through the December 2005 issue of Men's Journal, which happened to be lying around the living room. I couldn't but help take notice of recurring images in ads which were watches, cars, and alcohol.

What could these images reveal about the state of man today? Just for the sheer fun of it, I went back and counted to see the ratio. 36 out of 85 ads were either an ad for a watch, car or alcohol. In simpliest form, 3 out of 7 were about these objects (almost half of the total ads in one issue). The others were about accessories, fashion, technology etc with implications related to the images mentioned above.

There's an emphasis in today's society about 'drifting.' Technology facilitates this transaction into the "fast-paced life."

The target audience for this magazine are those who "live the adventurous life." The ads help to perpetuate the notion of always moving and never settling down.

Optimistic Interpretation

The watch reminds man of his mortality (hinting at him to get going, to go on that 'adventure'). The car is the vehicle that will get him from point A to point B to all possible points (faster than using his own feet). The alcohol is a gateway, which transcends him from earth to the heavens.

Maybe the question is, What are they looking for?... perhaps there's hope. All the way at the end of the magazine, on it's back cover, a solitary ad for diamonds (the only one in this issue). The ad consists of pictures of wife, children, and family events.

They say diamonds are forever. Maybe they're looking for immortality through their children or maybe just a moment to sparkle/shine like diamonds in one of those constellations.

Pessimistic Interpretation

The paragraphs mentioned above are a bunch of crap. The reality is that the ads are not about men being drifters, it's really about the decadence of men- their greed and unfulfillable passion/desire.

The watch shows the power of man, to be able to capture time- to imprison/enslave the infinity/ to grasp the beyond within a circular trinket on their wrists. The cars are modern day horses that help them to conquer other lands/geography. These vehicles give them a chance to escape from responsibility, and they act like outer shells- keeping out all those emotional 'feminine' stuff (to be tough). Alcohol is man's invention to control perception- to weaken others so they could easily take advantage of/enslave them.

In short these images confirm men's urge to dominate. Diamonds are forever- they give these bands with glittering rocks to entrap women (proffering to them love eternal when in actuality an illusion of beauty is what they give). It's all about serving their ego. They realize that they're going to die, they might as well (at least) have somebody with the same genes as them. Part of him will live on. j/k ;)

Neutral interpretation

It's sort of sick how media (ads) play with our minds, our perception (subtly imbedding images in our minds). Or maybe they're just trying to maintain a universal concept, something innate in human nature. But if men (mankind) were to advance/progress, shouldn't they start questioning the impact of these images. If it's a bad thing, they should change their ways. If it's a good thing, then they should explain why in order to help others understand.

Conclusion: It's all up to you, don't be afraid to question things...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:42 PM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2006

Job Fair: Selling myself...I feel like a prostitute

I went to a job fair today. It started at 10 a.m. and lasted until 4 p.m. I arrived around 10:30 (I was going to pre-register on-line but the site was closed already) and waited in a long line to register (the line went through a serpentine maze almost like going to an attraction/show). Good thing I brought a book to read.

I looked professional (you could say that I dressed the part). I wore khakis, shirt and tie, with my brown shoes. My tie matched my pants and the geometric blues on it accented my blue shirt. One of the organizer commented that "everyone looked sharp."

Registration was easy. I handed them my resume and they stamped my hand with a red star. I was looking for a job (for when I graduate) in the writing and publication field. It was really rare. Most of the jobs available were for sales. The writing jobs available were corporate insider newsletters and medical news.

I also talked with these two newspaper company. Once again they were looking for sales/distribution. For a typical reporter job, they would only hire those with a five year experience in copy-editing in another smaller metropolitan newspaper.

***Typical quagmire for college graduates: how do you get 'experience' when companies are only hiring those with experience?

I did talk to a career counselor. She liked my resume. She gave me a minute advice on how to improve it. My internship and my capstone project (honors program) would really make it more 'impressive'. She reassured me by saying that experiences were not limited to paid jobs.

As I waited in line to talk to representatives from one booth to another, I heard prospective employees give their sales' pitch. At the beginning I didn't have one but by the time I gave my seventh resume I developed one.

I wondered how many of them would actually look at my resume. Later on I met up with my friend at starbucks and chilled there for two hours (to reflect about the event).

***It would be nice if they were to just look at the resume. Like an artist's work, let the resume speak for itself. It would save everyone time.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:41 PM | Comments (1)

Haiku, Tanka, Waka to tinka bouta

I didn't write these but I thought I'd share them to the community. They're thought provoking and 'simple.' If any of you would like to analyze them with me or if you want to talk about them (feel free to do so). If not, just have fun and enjoy reading them. The following wakas (Japanese poems) are from Kenneth Rexroth's translations entitled One Hundred Poems From the Japanese.

The mists rise over
The still pools at Asuka.
Memory does not
Pass away so easily.
-Akahito

Though the purity
Of the moonlight has silenced
Both nightingale and
Cricket, the cuckoo alone
Sings all the white night
-Anonymous

The purity of the moonlight,
Falling out of the immense sky,
Is so great that it freezes
The water touched by its rays.
-Anonymous

As I watch the moon
Shining on pain's myriad paths,
I know I am not
Alone involved in Autumn.
-Oe No Chisato

A strange old man
Stops me,
Looking out of my deep mirror.
-Hitomaro

I go out of the darkness
Onto a road of darkness
Lit only by the far off
Moon on the edge of the mountains.
-Izumi

Imperceptible
It withers in the world,
This flower-like human heart.
-Komachi

The white chrysanthemum
Is disguised by the first frost.
If I wanted to pick one
I could find it only by chance.
-Oshikochi No Mitsune

Someone passes,
And while I wonder
If it is he,
The midnight moon
Is covered with clouds.
-Lady Murasaki Shikibu

Involuntary,
I may live on
In the passing world,
Never forgetting
this midnight moon.
-The Emperor Sanjo

As I row over the plain
Of the sea and gaze
Into the distance, the waves
Merge with the bright sky.
-Fujiwara No Tadamichi

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:48 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2005

semester In Review

Blog 1
Blog 2
Blog 3
Blog 4

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:35 AM | Comments (0)

December 1, 2005

Blogging Portfolio #4: The Final One

Like what Katie Aikins said, this blogging portfolio was smaller in comparison to the others because the class instruction time focused on discussion and the book We the Media by Dan Gillmor. In the beginning of the semester there were plenty to comment about or blog about because we had multitudes of materials to read such as Elements of Journalism, AP Guide to News Writing, and various extra internet readings. To balance this paucity, I have many wildcard blog posts that aroused discussion, were in depth and had timely coverage. Overall this structure was a great balance between coverage of materials and going beyond books and other print materials with discussions.

In class we had presentations and discussions about We the Media (Chapters Intro-2, 3-5, 6-Epilogue [coverage]). They were all very interesting and refreshing. The presentations were also a great way for everyone to practice speaking publicly. Its' informal atmosphere took away pressure from students and it allowed them to be creative. We argued about the rise of internet, its credibility and most importantly the role of everyday citizens who wrote and reported the news in their own special way (rise of grassroots journalism). Chapter 12 in AP Guide to News Writing was helpful for the Feature article we wrote (for me, they were good reminders/review)- timeliness.

One of the most memorable labs I've had was the Choose-your-own-adventure. It was nerve-wracking and fun. Discussions also extended outside of classroom, primarily in the blogs. Jenna posted a question in the admissions blog (since almost everyone who's anyone are having their own blogs to have easy access and to put a 'face' to a group/company). She responded to a question I posted (Xenoblogging).

It was only appropriate for a citizen journalist such as myself to blog about random things, and these were my wild card posts. Often times they appeared to be "rants" but in their subtle context, these were issues that were considered newsworthy. My blog about the CRAFT club delineated team work that should be imitated. My Amtrak post dealt with business, consumers and society. My Kindertransport Review (In Depth) was a good article for Arts/Entertainment and Culture.

Of course learning and classroom times would not be effective if they were not applicable. One of the main lessons that was reinforced in me was communication. This concept was summed up in Gillmor's book. He emphasized the role of blogs as the main medium for grassroots journalism, conversations were beginning and this start helped to solve problems.

Overall, this news writing class had been a great supplement to my experience as a Setonian writer. They go hand-in-hand. News writing is the theory, and the Setonian is the practice.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:25 PM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2005

Chapter 12 of AP Guide to News writing

This chapter has a lot of basics such as difference between usage of 'that' and 'which,' avoiding the male-oriented words (to avoid biased attitude) etc.

What I really liked in this chapter was the affirmation the author made:

"The old superstition, based on a grammatical fallacy, that no sentence should end with a preposition is happily dying out. For that matter, most good writers down the ages have ignored it" (117).

In the past, whenever my friend would proof read my paper, this was the common mistake I've repeatedly made. When I fixed this problem, the new sentence I formed sound pretentious and wordy.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:35 PM | Comments (3)

November 28, 2005

Class Discussions (We the Media)

In discussing We the Media how internet (especially blogs) is quicker in dispersing information (to those who have net access). There are pros and cons to this conviniency.

Pros:
Update-ibility
Easy to get published
Conversations
Collaborators
Impressions (Citizen journalism)
Restriction
Your voice (freedom of speech)

Cons:
Deception
Easy to get published
Impressions
Restriction
Privacy invaded
Monopolies

from the list above, it is apparent that the benifits outweigh the possible harm (just like what Gillmor said). The alacrity it takes to pass information through the net is very convinient in our fast-paced era. But this quickness can lead to mistakes and can also deceive (especially in tools such as pasting and copying- very dangerous since context of story can be removed which would mislead- this is exemplified in an article I wrote a year ago about grey hound).

The net helps to start conversations which often lead to collaborative work. This participation nurtures normal ordinary citizens into becoming journalists (consumers becoming active producers). Often times, the impressions we give and write about are enough to convey a story, to tell news.

The freedom gained in blogs have consequences. Gillmor stresses the mantra: "Blog at your own risk!" He guarantees that as long as citizen journalists remain fair, true and accurate with their stories then they have nothing to lose. Sure, it's easier to get published but there are also laws to curb human's propensity to be "destructive."

Some of the consequences involve losing privacy to big companies tracking us down with cookies and monopolies. BUT nonetheless, blogs (the net) give us a voice, which reinforces our ability to "make, write, and read the news."

Conversations need to start somewhere. Gillmor hypothesize that blogs and the internet is the place to begin. The end of the book is just the beginning- to become citizen-journalists, is to make the news, we as the media.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:14 PM | Comments (0)

Setonian Experience parallels with News Writing Class

Katie Lambert asked in class today: how was news writing principles learned in class applied by Setonian writers in their articles?

Evans answered: "We're all masochist!"

My experience was not necessarily masochistic, and it can be summed up to the following phrase: "I lose a sense of time when I'm in a writing mode, trying to perfect a news article (whether feature or not), making sure the quote is well used, etc."

Personally, technically, this class would have been really helpful when I was starting out. The great thing was that I learned most of these technicalities (AP style) while I was writing, when I made the mistakes. In my case this was better because the new information was forever imbedded in my brain.

This semester, rather than learning the basics (which I feel that I've grasped), I learned how to refine the techniques I've learned in interviewing, writing features, reporting, writings and reading news.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:27 PM | Comments (0)

A reply to the question asked today

This semester one of the main things that I oculd take with me in my experience in News Writing was 'more trust' in the credibility of on-line sources. One such trustworthy source I've used was Wikipedia. For my British literature, I had to write a paper on Jonathan Swift. The books and references I've read closely matched the info in Wikipedia. They were mostly similar in content, but Wikipedia provided me some specifics. Wikipedia was also helpful in providing other information on concepts I didn't know (they had a link).

The main thing about It Ain't necessarily So was the multi-sided arguments that could be interpreted using statistics. Now I am wary (skeptical) about them in a sense that I do not immediately take them for "gospel truths." The numbers presented to me do not shock me as easily as before (I just hope that I didn't become apathetic or something).

The other readings we've read (AP Guide to News Writing, Elements of Journalism etc.) helped to affirm my beliefs in community and serving the people. It is possible for people to take actions in order to make the world a better place (grassroots journalism).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:17 PM | Comments (1)

November 16, 2005

AnyOnE cAn wrItE On-LInE

Today in Class, Ashlee and Jenna presented Chapters 3-5 of We the Media.

Ashlee brought up the point about information being an ocean, it deep and vast. She also pointed out that hacking is not just limited to ruining your computer (vandalism) but also tinkering with technology in order to improve (this is something new I've learned, because I've always associated hacking with mischief).

Jenna emphasized that blogs are more personal and for corporations it gives a 'personal' face to the company. Blogs are more impressionable compared to the flawless robotic wording of PR's.

During our discussions Evans inquired to the whole class the credibility of on-line journalism versus print journalism. J defended print journalism, he said that since more time went into print publication especially the editings, reporting and writing. Evans countered this by saying that on-line journalism is easier to correct if mistakes were to occur.

Chris U. added to the defense of J, by saying that on-line doesn't have many laws that would regulate it, and since financial responsibilty is not a big issue, on-line writers have nothing to lose per se.

Nancy blogged a quote that I also found interesting "Always make new mistakes" (Chp 4). The author also agreed that he likes this because other people are correcting his mistakes. In the case of on-line journalism, the mistakes could easily be fixed. The assumption that "your audience knows more than you" engenders this mantra. My question to this, is would this ability to correct mistakes faster make the journalist careless in reporting and writing the news?

In class I agreed with what Johanna said that on-line journalism would be trustworthy if there were editors in place to check the writing. They would act as filters in a way sifting news from muck.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:16 PM | Comments (1)

November 14, 2005

Grassroot journalism as opposed to Victorian English Gardens

We the Media (Intro., Ch. 1 and 2)

In the introduction on page XII the author wrote "Humans have always told each other stories , and each new era of progress has led to an expansion of storytelling."

This quote summarized the aspect of grass root journalism and participation of audience in contributing what is considered "news." This quote also reminded me of Salmon Rushdie's novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories (it's an awesome novel, it's hilarous and it's a metawriting/novel--> "it's a story about stories", you should read it). In this novel Haroun went to the sea of stories where he found evil-doers polluting the sea where stories originate (the source).

In today's class, Evan brought up a good point about discernment. He presented that a shift of power is occuring in the news/information exchange. The news is quicker and there's "greater span of what are considered as newsworthy." Discernment becomes an issue when the boundary between unbiased facts and opinions are destroyed. News in the sense becomes polluted, 'dirty.'

On the 'pros' of this situation, conversations are beginning and the concept of the lecture mode of one dominant voice who tells us what is considered 'news' as Mike explained are changing, giving us power and with great power comes responsibility (as Spiderman, as Dr. Jerz, and as others said). We as individuals shouldn't be apathetic but active in making this world a better place!

***Something new I learned in class today is about the liability of the 'hosting' (whoever hosts your website). They are subject to the laws of their land so they can do whatever to your website if it violates one of their laws.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2005

choose your own adventure class lab

Today's class was more stressful than the first impromptu on the spot news writing. Nonetheless, it was sort of fun...I really like the choose-your-adventure format because people have different choices, the acting was entertaining, and I find myself having a hard time trying to get into it but eventually I did...this exercise was difficult because I didn't have enough time to review my notes and to make sure that I completely understand the facts...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:02 PM | Comments (0)

November 9, 2005

3rd times a charm: Blogging Portfolio 3

After two months of being in school, I've finally adapted to the fast pace of college life once again. I actually had the time to develop my blog in a timely manner and I was able to blog about other things besides news writing.

I was very timely with my homework and readings, which showed a lot of coverage. I had to redo workbook exercises about writing crime stories. I followed the direction in the book (the book said write a story, they didn't specify that it was a news story-- in the previous exercises they did). I read the section in the AP Style book about 'Briefing the Media.' It talked about slander and rights. I read It ain't necessarily so (IANS) (Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10). It was about statistics, so it was repetitve and a bit dry. I thought that it was effective until it became too redundant (and also when Chris U. noted in class one day about the tactic the authors used to convince the audience. This tactic is when examples are used over and over again to instill/imbed to people's mind the point).

Because of good time management, I was able to blog more in depth. Ch 11 in AP Guide to News Writing, I learned many tips about writing good features. Ch 9 and 10 talked about colors and cliches (how to avoid them in features and or reporting). I did my informal presentation on Chapter 5 of IANS. The main focus of my presentation was about reading statistics from both sides.

This time around I was able to blog more about other things (xenoblogging). I blogged about the things I'm learning/covering in world literature. We watched Princess Mononoke, a very entertaining and culturally unique art work. One of the joys in reading about other cultures is traveling vicariously to exotic places. The world is bigger than your backyard. The issues we're covering reminded me of issues that Philippines and other countries in the east are facing (this acts as a check in my part, to keep things in perspective, see the big picture of life).

I used humour in other blog postings I did with the liberty I gained from good time management. These humorous pieces encouraged a lot of discussions with my classmates and teachers. I did a Morgan-spulock fry expirement, commented on 'ethnic' fast food restaurant in Greensburg, and citiqued an advertisement.

Most importantly, I had plenty of time for reflection: reflect on my academic life and career. I'm a Creative Writing [and for now a Literature (but may change]) Major with minors in Journalism, Art History and Fine Arts and in the Honors Program. By the end of this semester, I would finish my journalism and fine arts minors and if everything goes well I would finish my art history minor and the honors program by the end of fall 2006. I think I'm improving on my presentation, my recent presentaion in news writing class was successfull. Amanda (her lecture) exposed to me the application of journalism in the working world. The competitiveness of it was discouraging for me but the experience shared with other people, I found invaluable. I'm really looking forward to doing my honors capstone project this summer. It will be both a learning and fun experience. It's a great bargain, I get to see my family, go to the Philippines and do something in the creative writing field.

Overall, this blogging experience has been charming!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:56 AM | Comments (0)

November 7, 2005

World Literature: Third World countries

sometimes it's weird...today in class, Matt brought up the point about water (specifically taking showers), electricity (lack of, black/brown out), the road (dirt road, unpaved, traffic) and talked about India (part of its culture)...I don't think this is specifically unique to India, I think this is a commonality in third world countries...I see the same issues in the Philippines.

What's weird is that I'm not surprise by these facts because I grew up in it. A majority of the class were surprise to hear all of these. Sometimes I forget about the opportunities and privileges here in America (as clicheyie as it sounds but it's true).

I've been living in America for some time now that I've been westernized. In 2003, I visited my family in the Philippines for Christmas, I got my culture shock. I felt claustraphobic because of the traffic that lasted for 2 hours (when in reality if there were no cars on the road but yours, it's would only take half an hour), also the amount of people walking in the street at night trying to catch a ride in an overloaded bus...

In America, I here people complain about bus strikes or the inconvience of road being repaved, at least they can do these things (complain)...I'm not saying that the people in the Philippines are not complaining...we're just privileged here in America that at least our complaints eventually get heard...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:37 PM | Comments (1)

Amanda's lecture

from Amanda's lecture a few points she made remained in my head, they were:

-competitive nature of journalism
-being diligent (perseverance)
-frustration
-barriers (separation) between
* Emotions and objectivity
* Work and self (self examination to see bias)
-experience
* Each story is an experience for you to "jump" into someone else's life
* Big shift from writing fun features to obituaries

IF I were to become a professional journalist, I think I'll have problems with competition (I just always think that I'm "my worst enemy" and I'd like to keep it that way, not as complicated).

Perseverance I can deal with (I'm sort of use to always trying to prove people wrong or see other perspective).

Frustration- I think if one really like his or her work, this type of frustration would be a happy type.

Making barriers would be difficult. I sort of meshed my academics with my activities. Most of the things I do are related in one aspect or another to my major (the saying goes: "kill two birds with one stone).

I agree that each story is an experience that's why I like to talk to different people with different ethnic/cultural background. I get glimpses of their life. I would definitely have a hard time shifting from writing something light to 'dark' (deeper).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:05 PM | Comments (0)

Colors and Cliches is like Beauty and the Beast

Chapter 9 and 10 (AP guide to Newswriting) was about COLORS and cliche. This chapter explained how these concepts could make or destroy a story.

Colors are used to bring out the story. As the author said, "Color is a way of seeing a story." Reporters are able to do this by giving particular details. The example the author used is the viking. One's conception of viking will differ from another. I found this example very effective. In the past, I've assumed that "common" words such as viking or tree should be enough for the audience because they have the general picture. This was my assumption because images associated with certain words have been imbedded in my mind since I was a toddler.

I understand giving details if one were to talk about a specific viking or tree. I also understand the author's point that showing is better than telling (so bias is not present- the reader interprets).

The author admonished against overusing cliches in Chapter 10. Cliches in news writing are spreading like wildfire. Rather than burning the midnight oil in pursuit of excellence, writers resort to cliches because they couldn't think of a better way to express whatever they're writing. Last but not least, it would be a dream come true for writers if they could figure out how to bypass this cul-de-sac. Some pinpointed the cause and attributed it to writer's block. I'm sure that once this problem have been solved or assuaged, who ever solved this, his or her book will be selling like hotcakes.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:16 AM | Comments (2)

November 4, 2005

Today's class

In today's class we finished the book, "it ain't necessarily so," and we tried to come up with some kind of conclusion...Jay said that 'business and ethics' was a paradox...I disagree, there is ethics involve in business, because business would not be successful if people relations were ignored and if people were treated like commodities...in a general sense I think ethics deals with relationship/views involving action/decisions made...successful business thrives when good relations are established between parties involved.

***on a funny note...I'm very conscious of the word "necessary." Every time I hear it, I automatically think of "it ain't necessarily so", I've been hypnotized!

Dr. Jerz knows his "pop" culture, I'm surprised with all the references he made this semester and the past: "Bring it On," Britney Spears, "Mean Girls", Lindsey Lohan and more etc...

In conclusion, a good journalist should consider ethics, transperancy, personal responsibilty and common sense, when reporting and writing news.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:09 PM | Comments (0)

"The more you learn, the more you understand that you don't understand vey much."

Chapter 10 and Conclusion

Authors' goal: To developed "a reasoned skepticism regarding the claims of the daily news...[to confront] the media with new questions and new standards before their assertions are allowed to pass the gates of acceptance" (175).

(187) "The larger lesson to be drawn here is the need to question our commonplace assumption that the news functions as a window on the world...News is not just what happens on a daily basis; it is also the reaffirming evidence that the world works today just as we always knew it should."

by the authors' claims, I think I'm a convert. The authors achieved their goal, when it comes to numbers and statistics in the news and headlines, I'm wary about them. Now I don't believe it right away, I question the numbers in a positive skeptical way (especially considering the context, the questions asked in polls/survey, the methodology done by the researchers etc.).

I think it's ironic that they used numbers of results and newspaper stories to support their claim. Sometimes I question their examples and their interpretations of them.

"In reality science is frequently far less conclusive than is claimed"
(177).


I'm glad that the authors mentioned this. They reminded us that science is not infallible. They make mistakes too (considering that humans are performing them).


"Everything is connected to everything..." (179)

This quote just reminded me of Lion King and the Circle of Life. Reminiscing about it made me laugh. Also it reminded me of the Great Chain of Beings (from Brit Lit).

I really find the following quote ironic and amusing: "The more you learn, the more you understand that you don't understand very much" (191).

The authors concluded that "despite [their] criticisms, journalists also ask the question that we need answered and tell the stories that we want to hear. Often they are our indispensible watchdogs (and indeed allies) as we strived to comprehend the operation of the complex and daunting world in which we live" (193).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:22 AM | Comments (0)

November 2, 2005

More on Chapter 6 and 7, plus Ch 8 and 9

"...the two versions of the survey show that if you ask a question elliptically, you get a different answer than ask it directly." (99)

Asking questions is tricky. Based on my experience sometimes I find it difficult to tell when to ask bluntly or 'circuituously.' Sometimes when I ask questions bluntly, I feel that people are taken aback by my directness. They may think that I'm rude or they may end up being confuse. Then I start adding modifications to clarify the question and right away they suspect me of ulterior motives or they'll look more confused. It's just difficult.

(108) "You need to know what the question is before you can interpret its answer."

This statement summarized everything about asking questions.

Ch 7: Risks

(116) "...stories seldom offer 'precise information about risks'...Drama, of course, is most compelling when there are heroes and villain...'risks tend to be perceived as more serious when there is someone to blame.'"

this page was interesting and I'd just like to note how drama can either add to the content or sentionalize the story. I think this is where journalists' creativity comes out.


Ch. 8 Reports versus Reality

(134) "Statistical information is inevitably one level removed from reality."

I agree with this, especially since questions asked to make the statistics are often not presented to readers. A gap is created. The questions, which acts as a bridge between reports and reality, are not accounted for.

Subjective self-reports versus objective reality

Ch. 9

Chapter 9 raises an important question: "Do researchers' motives- financial or ideological- invalidate or at least call into question their findings?" (148)

This question calls us, the news consumers, to have a healthy skepticism about researchers and their claims. I would imagine that researchers will be honest because if they weren't all their hard work would be futile. I would think that they would double-check their data before calling to their attention because their reputation and credibility could be ruined. A lot is at 'risk' and I think these researchers would consider those risks.

Motives are always considered. Just like the polls and the statistics, questions asked should be considered in order to understand the context (criteria for criticism). In the case of researchers, their methodoloy will show if their data are genuine or with motives.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:13 AM | Comments (0)

November 1, 2005

Statistics

I was reading an introduction of 18th century Brit.Lit in Norton's version and I came upon the person who developed statistics and economics. His name was Sir William Petty. I wonder if this is where the word 'petty' originated from.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:18 AM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2005

World Literature: Perspectives

I like culture and people, and in this class I vicariously travel in exotic places and learn about different aspects of people (their culture)...it's liberating because I'm not immurred with one view, one way of living...

In approximately 10 weeks, I've visited Africa, China and Japan...next week we're off to India...these countries and continent do not completely reflect the world but they are totally different from the 'Western' society that I'm constantly exposed to...perspectives show that there's more to life...

when I recognize that I'm being petty, I put myself in context of the world...I imagine that i'm this person studying in SHU in Western PA in the U.S. in north America, on the other side of the world the sun may be rising or setting...my relatives going on with their lives...politics are happening...people starving...people sleeping...people dying...babies being born...earth revolving around the sun...stars dying/exploding...etc. etc.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:50 PM | Comments (1)

October 30, 2005

Chapter 6 and 7 of It ain't necessarily so...

page 99: "newspaper stories generally ay much less attention to the wording and ordering of questions, which are likely to skew a poll's results much more dramatically."

I found this quite contrary to journalism's precision and emphasis on economy of words...but if this statement were true then it would be hypocritical and careless on journalism's part (journalism being irresponsible).

Chapter 7 (126): "Ironically encouraging consumers to believe that the government can ensure meat safety could well create added risk:...[people] may take fewer pains to handle food safely themselves, thus actually increasing the danger."

I agree with this. The government take on the responsibility and people stop being responsible and become lazy. The government rather than governing the people, they become the people in the sense and people become bestial 'consumers.'

(129): "People like to read about what's weird and unexplained."

This statement referred to the frog deformity case studies. I agree with it, and it made me think about the horror genre in books and movies. In books, I think it's still pretty scary because it's up to the reader to interpret it using his own fears and fantasy. In movies, acting should still be esteemed. Directors/writers shouldn't rely too much on special effects and gore to make it scary. the actors should be able to convey doubt, fear, paranoia etc.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:16 PM | Comments (2)

October 28, 2005

Eye Contact: Poetry Slam

Tonight's event was pretty successful, more than 10 people showed up, old SHU students (Carla), Alums, faculty and their family, and neighborhood students showed up...there were a lot of great poems and readings...DV8 was cool...they had awesome coffee and non-coffee drinks such as apple cider, chocolate etc....tres chique...as Dr. Arnzen said, "A celebration of words!"

I had fun listening to people (their voice intonation and story-telling techniques (very effective)) and also me reading other people's poems such as nora thompson, chris ulicne, blake, antoine de saint-exupery, and finally my own.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:40 PM | Comments (0)

Presentation Reflection

today I presented Chapter 5. It was abouts statistics, from the get-go, it was 'dry' (just think numbers). However, I did try to make it colorful with a metaphor, and I did a quick survey about colors. I think I might have spoken too fast and my transitional phrases might not have been smooth (my accent probably hindered some to focus) BUT I didn't say "um" and my heart didn't beat as fast. I said my conclusion but I failed to mention the article about statistics and public trust, which I thought was insightful (although the writer of it was a bit biased and I was pressed for time).

My goal was to present an example of some statistic and interpret it and in doing so, show the class how statistics doesn't necessarily contradict, have different angles and difference between raw numbers and percentage as a whole. I accoplished this I think (hope), but I fear that talking about numbers on Friday before the weekend (when everybody wants to go home, relax or party) might have been a 'blind spot' on my part. Maybe in general, this is how people feel when statistics are presented to them. I think my classmates were just so hungry that they just want to leave: two out of twenty eight congratulated me publicly, one out of twenty eight commented on my presentation, 100% including me was hungry-- all in all, it was jolly- on the brighter side-- it's the weekend! :)

***Statistics are not as "straight-forward" as they appear, they can get very ambiguious...it really depends on your perspective/interpretation.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:08 PM | Comments (2)

October 27, 2005

Chapter 5 (It ain't necessarily so): Informal Presentation

Statistic cartoon

Introduction: My name is Mike Diezmos and today I'm going to talk about Statistics specifically looking at both sides (or rather most sides).

Rainbow Metaphor

A bad interpretation/reading of statistics is like looking directly at the white light of the sun, it's blinding and bright.

A well-informed newsconsumer is like a prism when it comes to reading statistics, he or she can delineate the different hues. They can see the slant in given statistics.

Questions (Total 32)
***Please only raise your hands once [thanks]:)
How many of you like:
red?orange?yellow?green?blue?indigo?violet?black?white?rainbow?

Key Points from text ('it ain't necessarily so') and interpretations:
"Data don't necessarily contradict but rather they can be read at least in two ways." (cool or warm)

"Intrepretation can have different spins (angles)." (black and white)

"One has to be mindful of raw numbers and percentage of the whole and when each is used." [ex. 7/10=70% like this..., 2/7= there's a 28% drop in people who used to like...(more than a quarter)]

(Warm, cool, all/no colors, just these seven, etc.)

Examples:

Jobless claims up, durable goods orders dip

Statistical Blitz Helps Pin Down Mammography Benefits

Suggestions:

How to achieve public trust in official statistics
Two from the five actions needed, I agreed with:

*Independent interpretation: Written in plain English

*Educating the Users: for example enhancing Quantitative skills


Fun tid bits about Stats:

google search: statistics stories

the Onion stats stories

Comments?

Conclusion: Statistics are not as "straight-forward" as they appear, they can get very ambiguious. Is the glass half empty or half full?- it really depends on your perspective/interpretation.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2005

Defending Eye Contact

from what I learned from the book It ain't necessarily so "numbers don't speak for themselves"

Why should accepted submitters' works 'devalued' because they've been accepted again? The people who do this only see one side: the fact that these successful submitters "did it again." They often ignored the fact that it's blind judging, also people who judged them can't judge their own work, the judging which determines what pieces go to the top of the list for the editors to decide and finalize.

I find it disappointing and sad to hear people argued that the same people always get publish. Eye contact have been 'charged' with nepotism. If this were true, why would the editors (who supposedly just want to get publish) go to all this trouble of holding blind judging sessions which takes a lot of time in organizing, and after that sending out acceptance and rejection letters, advertising for submission, collecting submissions, finding patrons (knocking on doors to personally ask) etc. etc. Nowadays people could just go to barnes and nobles, pay the fine and and get published by barnes and nobles.

People who submitted took a chance, a risk of being accepted or rejected. These people have fortitude and I commend their courage because it is horrifying to get rejected (nobody wants to be rejected). I'm speaking from experience...in my freshman year (I was one of the art editor for eye contact then)I submitted to eye contact...it was a literature piece...it was rejected...but i tried again in sophomore year with poems I'd worked on in my poetry class for One semester and art from my Design class...I was elated to find out that they were accepted- the reason why they were accepted is that they matched with the theme and it scored enough points to be considered.

People can't really complain when they don't submit, or they don't take the time to go to the judging session or take the time to 'craft' and 'refine' their work...most people procrastinate and they think that just because they spent 24 straight hours working on their writing or art just before the deadline (which is the following day), they'll automatically get in...the people just want their work in, they don't put into consideration that the editors have to be mindful of the magazines objectives, eye contact isn't just a magazine, it's an award-winning art and literature magazine...

and just to prove this, recently two of the editors who submitted art and literature received an award on a national level for their works and these are two people's work out of 17 total in the tragedy issue. It doesn't matter how many times people submit whether they're editors or not, it's quality that we strived for (quality over quantity anytime)!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:08 AM | Comments (2)

October 25, 2005

It aint's necessarily so: Ch. 2 and Ch 3

in chapter 2, the author wrote: "findings will also get more attention if they fit the template that journalists use in making sense of the world" (52).

From this quote, I sense the need of affirmation. I don't know why we humans need to constantly reassert our existence. Just to reiterate the gist of the prologue, intro and chapter 1, the role of the "template" and social construction of what is "newsworthy," I sort of get the feeling of being "duped."

It's almost like back in ancient Greece with the Greeks: how they believed the gods were playing with their lives- What if Paranoia and the "Media" are the new gods? If you were to parallel both you'll see the similarities- the greeks used the gods to explain phenomenon, unexplainable stuff etc. (for example sun rise was attributed to Apollo/Phoebus pulling the sun using his golden chariot). In today's world, the News explains the trend or show facts or at least (supposedly) inform truthfully the public.

I don't know if the News group (organization) know the ratio of skeptical and attentive readers to ignorant mass of people relying on the News group to completely and honestly inform them.

I also wonder if the News group organization assumed that readers would automatically understand the context/operative definition stated by the "facts" or "numbers." Isn't it irresponsible on the News group organization's part to leave it to the audience to interpret something they don't completely know? Chapter 3 summarized this as underreporting (presenting a side to tell the story while 'de-emphasizing' the other).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:30 PM | Comments (1)

October 24, 2005

World Literature: Princess Mononoke

We watched Princess Mononoke, an anime by Hayao Miyazaki. I think this is the third time I've seen this. It's really great. I like the imagery and the vistas. the night scene with the night walker was cool. I like the green little forest spirit that rattled their heads.

The villians were multi-dimensional. They're not type-cast. They're very human. They make mistakes, they do wrong, but they repent, they start all over again, they're unpredictable.

The way women were portrayed in this movie was reminiscent of Amelia Lanyer's "Eve's Apology in Defense of Women."

There's a lot of symbolism in this movie (western and eastern thinking). I don't know if the movie presented a slant against either west or east because you can argue that foreign power destroyed the "forest" but at the same time a "foreigner" helped saved it. Could the blame be attributed to the locals? quite possibly, maybe perhaps it's traditions versus modernization, or inner versus outer conflict.

The animation in this movie rocks!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:01 PM | Comments (3)

SCARY! It ain't necessarily so: prologue, intro, Ch 1

I was talking to Chris U about the readings from this book and I agreed with him that it was a little "dry." I think what made it dry were the numbers (statistics) that were presented. As the authors explained at the prologue that numbers (scientific data) could paint or erase the picture of reality. I think that since using numbers as facts which are often dry, they tend to present to the public a nuetral and "unbiased" view. Because these numbers are considered unbiased, people do not refute them.

It's scary to think about "filters," "templates," and how news are "socially constructed." It makes me question further the truth of reality, and I ask these questions:

1. What is healthy/beneficial in fostering paranoia?
2. Are the true enemies of truth the reporters who present the angle of a story, or the 'institutions' (such as government, other authorities etc.) who release information with a slant?

I do take comfort in what the author said, "Simple awareness of the problem is important in itself" (34).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:34 AM | Comments (2)

October 21, 2005

Chapter 11: AP Guide to News Writing (Features)

I like this chapter a lot because it helped me to understand feature stories more.

What I liked about features is that "immediacy of the event is secondary...[and] descending news values are replaced by human interest, mood, atmosphere, emotion, irony and humor." It's informative and entertaining.

I liked what was written in this chapter: "[Features] illuminate events, offer perspective, explanation and interpretation, record trends and tell people about people...strong feature writing is simple, clear, orderly and free of labored mannerisms and tricks that call attention to the writing itself rather than the substance" (95).

From this chapter, I learned the importance of "particulars/details" as evidence of your 'lead' (what your feature is all about).

Chapter 11 (Features) revealed some points that I never considered such as going beyond "the reservation of the immediate subject" (100).

The tips on the same page by Hugh Mulligan are insightful. According to him, writing down emotions, observations and passing thoughts on how he felt as a witness (visually or hearing) helped with his feature articles. "I take notes on everything I hear and see and smell and think or moon about," he said.

On page 101, I definitely agree with this statement: "Creativity is not the product of freedom, but the product of the conflict between freedom and discipline."

A great example of this in the "real world" is the recent lack of response in this year's Eye Contact submissions. In the past, the editors have reported complaints from submitters that the themed issues (comedy, tragedy, truth, and consequence) restricted their creativity (yet we had huge response). This semester, we didn't have a set theme, "anything goes" (others argued that this was sort of the theme). To our surprise and disappointment, we didn't receive many submissions. We're not extending deadlines but individually we are approaching people to submit.

***Philosophical sidenote: I think it's just in the human will to resist, and if there's no challenge, then there's no meaning in life.

The tips on writing peer profiles on page 103 would have been helpful when I wrote my peer profile in the beginning of the year. Looking for characteristics, habits, traits, working methods, individual experiences, anecdotes and quotes relate to the success and integration of nit wit details with the bigger theme.

Also focusing on the subject not overlooking. "The value of steering people in interviews to subjects with which they have real affinity and thorough familiarity is often overlooked." I thought it was funny that the author called celebrities being interviewed "animated cliches" (104).

Closing quotes that summarzed feature writing: "Feature writers, like novelists, have many literary devices to engage readers emotionally, and that's their privilege...it does mean that feature writers, as honest reporters, recognize that life is multi-dimensional...[features] are free of mannerisms, verbal flourishes, stylistic tricks and literary tinsel...[they] demonstrate an unassailable truth: Good feature writing proceeds from good reporting" (105-106).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:47 PM | Comments (0)

Workbook exercises: "redo"

Robber on the loose

Black Derby Liquor Store in 2311 Ripley Way was robbed tonight at 7:12. Suspect eluded the police, who arrived on scene at 7:19 p.m.

According to Seve Bellinos the clerk on duty, the robber was about 6 feet tall and weighed 155 pounds. "He wore blue jeans and a dirty white T-shirt with a torn right sleeve," he said.

Because firearms were involved, Police Chief Antonio Grasso said a routine investigation of the incident would be made by the Police Internal Security Squad.

Responding to the triggered silent alarm, an officer who arrived at the scene shouted a warning and fired a shot at the fleeting suspect.

"The guy ran so fast he looked like a track star," said eye witness John Paul Reinicke.

Rape on Campus

Female student victim, 19, was raped on campus on her way back to her dorm.

The rapist according to the victim was a man 6 feet and 4 inches tall, 210 pounds, athletically built, with blond hair, blue eyes and a scar on the left side of his neck.

Suspect is on the loose.

The victim told police that she was threatened with a knife. Police said her description was similar to that given by two other victims of rapes in the campus area in the past six months.

Police Chief Grasso said he is forming a rape task force composed of police, rape crisis center officials and others to determine what can be done about the series of rapes.

College officials say they will install emergency telephone lines in outdoor areas around the campus and review street lighting in the area.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:12 PM | Comments (0)

Response from today's class lab

I sort of like the andreneline rush in trying to capture breaking news. I agree with Katie L. about the confusion in trying to list the names and their quotes. I thought it was really tricky of Jerz to juxtapose the revelation of the hostage's name "Sarah Johnson" with "Pharon Johnson's" confession (turning himself in) and crying reaction.

The five W's and how really helped me to sift through the jumbled facts, and gave me a structure to follow.

When I wrote my article in lab, I didn't know how to differentiate which Johnson said or did what. To solve this problem, everytime I mentioned the hostage, I used her full name instead.

Once I understood the gist of the newsworthy story, I was able to sequester relevant quotes and information from irrelevant ones. Today's class was 'riveting.'

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:57 PM | Comments (0)

Briefing on Media Law

This section in the AP style book was very detailed. It gave tons of information about cases and decisions (of some states) concerning libel, first amendment rights, privileges etc. They clearly made their point.

I found Chapter 7, which was about defamation of the dead, absurd. I would think that once a person died, it was over for him or her, for his or her problems to continue seemed petty (depending of course on the individual state's decisions).

Libel/slander. Defamation. Injury. Ruined reputation. All of these can be paralled to Hotspur's life in Shakespeare's 1 Henry IV.

Hotspur was short-tempered. He engendered valour and honor. Honor for him was all about reputation. He died defending his reputation (honor) because he felt that King Henry IV had caused dishonor to him and his family. In his last battle with Prince Hal, Hotspur believed that one of them had to go. This was similar with libel claims, it was the plaintiff who needed to prove to the legal system of being defamed...(lost my train of thought)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

Why Journalism is benificial to Creative Writing: A response to the Online Readings of Oct. 19

Journalism is helpful to Creative Writing because it establishes writers with fundamentals essential in story telling. It provides the structure. Through its precise and compact form, journalism clarifies such as in crime reporting.

Dave Krajicek summarized the traits important to all writers not only the crime reporters: execptional initiative, determination, an eye for accuracy and detail, a knack for sourcing, and the ability to tell a story (interpersonal skills developed).

This interaction between writer/reporter and interviewee/community aids in forming the story (sort of what Amanda Cochran commented about interviews writing the story).

Comments unrelated: Katie Lambert commented last Wednesday in class about the intrigue of seeing fatalities and how it was almost okay because we as viewers were not directly involved. Linda Heath concluded that this was a psychological response of bystanders to assert one's own security.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2005

fairy tale homework

I thought this homework was unique. I never thought of fairy tales as subjects for crime reporting, but now it makes sense. I thought that this exercise was a great example to view a story from several angles.

For example, the fairy tale I chose was Snow White. The articles I chose dealt with attempted murder, healthy food, and facts about poison. Reflecting back, I noticed how other angles could make it more interesting such as teen marriages, child abuse, dysfunctional families etc.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2005

Editorial: Reflection on Kindertransport

When I was five, my mother left to work in the United States of America (U.S.A). I remember waking up late and finding out that my father had already brought her to the airport. Without thinking, I ran outside hoping that the car was still there. I searched the house. They were gone. My mother left me.

My experience was not as traumatic as it could have been. My mother found a job in the U.S.A, and my father and her thought it was in the family's best interest for her to go. Just imagine a child leaving his or her parents to travel alone to a foreign country or parents sending away their children in order to save them, while knowing the risk of losing them forever.

Seton Hill University's (SHU) theater will be performing Diane Samuel's play Kindertransport in Reeves theater from November 11 to November 19 (for showtimes contact: 724- 830- 1417).

In 1938 the Nazi pogrom known as Kristallnacht, in which outward violence toward the Jews were first seen in public, spurred the Jews to take aggressive actions in safeguarding their children.

With adamant lobbying to the government, the Jews living in England persuaded Parliament to take action. Between 1938 and 1939, nearly 10,000 unaccompanied children ranging from ages 4 to 16 emigrated to Britain. Their passports were altered. Boys and girls were renamed Jacobs and Sarahs.

Wilda Kaylor coordinator of the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education commiserated with the hardships of both children and the parents. "It's difficult for the children to get used to new family and being on their own...it's a huge sacrifice for the parents," she said. "It takes a lot of trust in this situation."

Samuels examined the cost of survival and the trauma experienced by Eva Schlesinger, representing children in Kindertransport. In the author's note of the hard copy version of the play, Samuels said, "The rerunning of what happened many years ago is not there to explain how things are now, but is a part of the inner life of the present."

The tone [of Kindertranport] according to senior Sarah Rosenberg was very serious. "[The play] examines the life of Eva in relations with her foster mother and birth mother," she said. "The play gives hope."

"Eva is a composite of survivor stories," said Kaylor.

Through newsletter, conferences, speakers etc, the Kindertransport Association (KTA) with its sister organizations RoK in the United Kingdom and Israel are recovering the Kindertransport story.

Educating the public about this part of the Holocaust history, Samuels, KTA, and others are keeping the stories alive for the next generation.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:35 AM | Comments (0)

Blog Portfolio 2: Second chance to improve

Reflection:
This time around since the last blog portfolio, I've kept up with my readings, bloggings, and assignments.

Reading Elements of Journalism, I found it easier to respond at the conclusion of each chapters (6, 7, 8, 9, and 10). Responsibility/being responsible summarized this book. Journalism is the embodiment of citizenship. Journalism has great power and as Peter Parker (Spiderman) said, "With great power comes responsibilty." So if Spiderman can do it, so can we!

Chapters 5 to 7 in AP: Guide to News Writing delineated the voice of the journalist in "journalese," his personal conscience and the attributive verbs he employed. It would be nice if the author also listed alternative/creative attributive verbs with its connotations for journalists to use.

After outlining one of the truths of the objective and unbiased goal of journalism, these texts finally affirmed the role that ethics and morality (biases) played in the personality of the journalist. The editorials were more direct and personal. In George F Will's article, I noticed how 2 out of 3 traits of persuasive writing were incorporated. I applied these techniques in my own editorial: reflection on kindertransport. A good editorial is like a Morgan Spurlock lecture: informative, persuasive, and entertaining.

Not only did I do my work in a 'timely' manner but I interacted with the community more. My interaction was not related to 'EL 227' per se but nonetheless it encompassed two main dogmas of journalism "connecting with people" and "creating community." I have participated in T.V. nights and other group activities. I shared my experiences about art and researching topics. I reflected on the process of background research in the homecoming article. I networked with people with the same interest as me. I asked the community to share their inputs, and I spurred a discussion about pop culture and Chaucer.

Overall I have been productive and well prepared for this blog portfolio in comparison with the first one.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:42 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2005

table conversations

Johanna and I were discussing that much of the materials in elements of journalism is common sense (unless of course you're one of those people who doesn't have ethics or a sense of moral responsibility).

I forgot which section it was, but the authors mentioned how the history of news/journalism began in the taverns (a public forum). It had an informal atmosphere but very informative. The people of that time didn't just go to get drunk, but they were also receiving information. In one sense they were getting 'drunk' with information.

Which brings me to the most interesting points I've not in chapter 10 of Elements of Journalism:

1. Journalists have an obligation to personal conscience

In spite of journalism's objective and "unbiased" stand, the individual not only is loyal to his or her citizens but also to himself or herself (once again moral/personal responsibilities).

2. Basic elements [of journalism] - calling attention to inequities in the system, connecting people, creating community (184).

This summarized the whole book and my own personal philosophy about journalism. 2 out of the 3 mentioned about I personally practice. The first one about "calling attention to inequities in the system" --> often times I deemed this "controversial." I think one of my weakness as a journalist is my dearth of skepticism. You can say I'm not as skeptical as I should be. I just like to believe in the good of people.

"Connecting people" and "creating community" are really my focus. I'm going to work in being more critical/analytical about the institutions (gov., school administration, other authorities, etc) and their system of being.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:36 PM | Comments (2)

October 11, 2005

Chapter 9 elements of journalism

2/3 of this chapter, I found boring. They talked about market researches, and finding formulas that would attract audience either by the "naked" strategy or "good guitar-playing skills." There are so many variables in human life that for market researchers to simplify this would leave out other possibilities.

Near the end of the chapter, I thought to myself, rather than focus on "numbers" why not focus on the "people." and guess what, after I turned to the next page, people not numbers were finally mentioned...remembering journalism's first loyalty to its citizens not their money and "connecting with the community."

Chapter 9 not only illustrated the disproportion between numbers and people, but the chapter itself is disproportionate, as I mentioned above, 2/3 atleast talked about numbers, the last 4 pages finally pointed out people as subjects not objects.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:34 PM | Comments (1)

editorials (Oct 11 issue of the trib-review)

Between George F. Will's "Earth's quaky design" and Robert Novak's "House GOP somersault", I was compelled to read Will's editorial over Novak's. I think the reason for this is that Novak's article had a lot of back story that I wasn't familiar with...

as I was reading Will's article, I noticed that he employed two out of the three characteristics found in editorial writing. He used persuasion and information.

The general structure of his editorial consisted of general, specific, technicality, general with application of technicality, specific with the effects of technicality, and lastly three examples of the results through out time.

The first general statement he mentioned dealt with the world (mentioning Pakistan and Asia). His specific is the United States. Why they should care and how do they fit within this context.

For the technicality, he provided us with general background of how tectonic plates functioned. He used this information and applied it to the world and the United States (specifically San Francisco).

Why should we care? because, not only would the earthquake devastate its point of destruction, but it could also affect neighboring locals not exactly the point of target. The earthquake could take place in Japan, and Los Angelos can still be affected by this even though it's thousands of miles apart from Japan.

As a result, religious fanaticism became rampant causing mayhem. Through his use of scientific information Will tries to persuade us that this potential geological disaster will not only destroy homes but also cause disorder.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:38 PM | Comments (0)

dramatic lines of the week

from shakespeare sonnet #73

"In me thou seest the glowing of such fire
that on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
as the deathbed whereon it must expire,
consumed with that which it was nourished by."

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:14 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2005

Elements of Journalism 6 to 8

These chapters were very controversial and since i'm a product of infotainment I found them- oh look a shiny a button...

Chapter 8 was about engagement and relevence. The line that I found most amusing was on page 155, it said, "Hairdressers have more continuing education than journalist."

This sentence was written in a context that journalism education wasn't esteemed. It's ironic because you would think otherwise. You'd think the reverse (since hairdressers just cut hair). I found out that hairdressers and barbers are well-informed.

When you think about it, their environment (the shop or the saloon) is similaar to taverns of colonial America (as mentioned in these chapters). News writing is a mix of storytelling (and gossiping to a sense). "Journalism is storytelling with a purpose." Barbers and hairdressere are perfect sources because they come in contact with all sorts of class who have different view points. Their shops or saloons depending on their local, are like the Globe or the Rose of Shakespeare's time, where all classes mingled.

This line also reminded of the times when I was in a barbershop and I would hear the conversations going between the client and the barber and the topics they would talk about would range from world politics to favorite place to travel to health.

Sometimes I don't feel like engaging with them because their conversation seem superficial. It's like they only know the surface of the story not the details found when one reaches in more depth.

Chapter 7 discusses journalism as a public forum

"Journalism must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise..."

This is almost contradictory to news. If one were criticze another, the other is liable to get sued or something worse. and if one was to compromise, it's almost admitting defeat. this extreme promotes the Argument culture.

Most of the news reported about politics are shouting matches unless of course, war compels the parties to unite.

"Journalism" is not really a public forum, it's more like an elitist forum for those who can read and afford the newspaper. The elitists get better news becaue their sources is not limited to one medium.

Chapter 6: Monitor Power and Offer voice to the voiceless

my question is how can you monitor power when that power is part of the news organization?

the other thing that I'd like to point out about this chapter is "examining the unseen corners of society." This can have a reverse effect (similar to reverse discrimination). Sometimes journalists look for new things to inform the public that they miss what is in front of them.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:47 PM | Comments (2)

I really like Chapter 7 said I

this chapter on the pitfalls of attributive verbs and loaded word is really helpful. It's not only beneficial to journalist but to people who write English paper.

base on my personal experience, thinking of attibutive verbs is onerous for me when I 'm writing the first draft. I find it easier to just write "said" for the time being and after finishing the draft, i'd go back to the circled "said" and try to understand the context and find a word that would fit that context.

this chapter will be one of sources I will refer to especially when I have some sort of "brain fart" (attribute goes to Katie L and her expression) for the right words.

on a contemplative/philosophical mood, I'm starting to perceive how words can be abstract. Words are like empty jars and whatever you put in them (their connotation) will be determined according to their purpose...

I also noted-- it would be helpful if Chapter 7 gave us good attributes as well (with explanation of their connotation) even though the emphasis was on the omni-neutral word 'said.'

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

Chapter 6 Tones

It almost seems absurd, that this chapter is warning journalist to check themselves. The part about treating death not so lightly or in a humorous state is common sense to a majority of the cultures whether eastern or western.

I guess it's a self-check. It's ironic that a journalist who's so bent in on getting the facts, not misquoting any of his sources, trying to view the story from all types of angle, fail to scrutinize himself, his actions.

I'm learning in my readings how media people can manipulate the news , the story being told. An example of this was given in class today when Dr. Jerz, mentioned Michael Moore. Moore cited his source to the new york times. The audience assumed that the New York times wrote an article on this thus their facts were verified. But what the audience fail to recognize is that Moore's info was from a letter to an editor. The letters received were pure opinions (another person's unverified facts).

which reminded me again of something that happened in world literature class today, Dr. Wendland mentioned how in Haiku, the unsaid could also be as important as the said, or maybe more important or how silence could convey more (some sort of silent communication, an intuitional trade off)...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

Ch 5: i can't believe the computer logged me off

I was writing about journalese and the computer logged off (argh)...

well I was saying how unprepared and sort of prepared I was for the surprise quiz on the AP guide to newswritng ch 5 to 7. all I can say is that I'm grateful for my attentive ears.

Throughout the semester Jerz had stressed the role of bias and the difference between bias and biased. I was able to use this context and apply it to journalese. My educated guess proved me right sort of.

After finally reading it journalese reminded me of my writing of poetry class with Dr. Arnzen. I noticed a parallel between journalese and the "no's of poetry" which were sentimentalism, cliches, careless choices of words, telling rather than showing etc.

I just realize that journalese the proper terminology for "flowery expressions."

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:43 PM | Comments (0)

looking back on homecoming

the background research really helped me...

When I was assigned the sing and ring concert, the first thing I did for the background research was the five W's and the how.

Then I started thinking about people who I knew were involved in SHU chorus. Coincidentally that day after class, I bumped into the people I intended to talk with. They further gave me sources to approach.

When I got to the lunch table, I started asking my friends question about what they would be most likely like to learn if they were in a choir concert. Johanna mentioned about difficulty of music, music preparation etc. Katie even commented how I should focus on my lunch before homework.

I think it was Ami who suggested that I talked with Pr. Huls (he was only the choir director). She mentioned how he's very up to date with emails. I don't like emails for interview because I feel they're impersonal, BUT I like their conviniency. I went ahead and emailed Prof. Huls and to my great surprise he emailed me back on that same day, I was really glad and appreciative.

I guessed I asked enough questions for him to give me great quotes and a very informative summary of the history of sing and ring.

When I attended the concert on Sunday, I was prepared. I was still hesitant about talking to the greater public but as the numbers wane my confidence wax and I got around to asking people. Even though I wasn't the one singing and "performing" I felt ready for the singers, Bring on the music!

***extra note on the emails: for the Oct 13 issue of The Setonians I emailed two sources questions to support my article, they didn't get back to me right away but nonetheless they responded thus my faith in email correspondence have been restored, ALLlelujah!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:39 PM | Comments (0)

Research paper reflection

for my world literature class, we had groups with designated countries to be expertise with. my group consisted of Karissa, Neha, Johanna and Katie and our country was Japan...

in our assignment, besides leading the class in discussions and having a cultural presentations of our country, we also did a one page paper of our participation in class and a 3 to 5 page paper critical response to one of the stories we had selected.

I was unsure about the 3 to 5 page critical paper. I asked around a little too late I guessed. I treated the critical paper as if it was a research paper.

I took out all these books in the library (I think at least 27 books) and I had a week to do this. Of course I caved in. I was stuck I had a writer's block. I finally asked around and my classmates responded that the critical response paper was a close reading (more interpretive while using the text for support and clues).

In the end I ended doing half research and half interpretive. I was reading a book called a Profile of a Nation: Japan, the summary of the country's aesthetics and religion gave me an idea, and I started to see connections.

the research part that I did dealt with understanding the Zen tradition of Japan and I related this to the connections I saw.

I was so tempted just to give a bunch of block quotes, because I feared that I would butcher the interpretation...

reflecting on the presentation, i see how I could have delivered my part better...I didn't want to write out my presentation and just read from that, I wanted to maintain eye-contact, but I just freeze up and start to mumble and to stutter...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:22 PM | Comments (0)

October 7, 2005

Funny Morgan

Morgan Spurlock's lecture was hilarious. He was even more humorous in person. He answered the question (that Dr. Jerz admonished us not to ask-- too late for me) I wrote in my background research: "Have you recently been to McDonald's?" He gave a "hyperbolic" NO! When I got his picture and autograph I asked him about Starbucks (yummy delicious over-priced caramel frappucino). He mentioned how he had a segment talking about starbucks in a new movie he's producing. It's about globalization and this caricature Reverand Billy. I can't wait to see that. Could the night get even more absurd, the answer is yes... Dr Jerz got his cheeseburger autographed. It was a fun night!
Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:48 PM | Comments (0)

Active SHU students

SHU students raise money for Katrina relief fund

De Chantal and Farrell residence assistants (RA), class of 2007, and Seton Hill University's athletics organized a 'Buy-a-guy' auction and dance to raise money for Sr. Alicia Costa's Sisters of the Holy Family down in New Orleans.

"My sisters are all over Lousiana and Texas," said Costa, recapping to students the ordeal that her order went through because of Katrina. She stood on Cecillian stage on Friday night September 23, thanking the students in advance and reminding them of the event's objective. "I appreciate what you are doing for us," she said.

The male athletic students who volunteered to be auctioned ambled in to the song called "Boys" by singer Britney Spears.

RA Melissa Whiteman explained the rules to the crowd consisted predominantly of females. "No guys can buy guys and bidding started at five dollars," she said.

The volunteers were individually introduced before the auction began. Freshman Richie Bishop received the highest bid of the night - $105.

Junior Vanessa Vintinner said, "I thought it [the auction] was good, we raised a lot of money."

At the end of the night, the females, who bid the most money, received a carnation from their escorts and a date to the dance that followed after the auction. $1164 were collected in total from door fees, auction and faculty and staff donations.

Kathy Faijt adviser for the class of 2007 was impressed with the leadership shown by all participants.

White agreed, "It was great to see a lot of people support the cause."

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:33 AM | Comments (0)

Morgan Spurlock Lecture

Laughing with Morgan Spurlock

Morgan Spurlock performed for Seton Hill University's (SHU) students, faculty and the Greensburg community on Thursday October 6 in Cecilian Hall for SHU's 2005 Lecture Series.

The purpose of the lecture series according to Daniel Bernstein professor of Hospitality Management was not just to entertain but also to educate the students, faculty and community.

Professor of Communication and Education Frank Klapak introduced Spurlock. "Who is Morgan Spurlock?....He is an intellectual jackass who stimulate us to think about corporate America," he said.

Spurlock produced, directed and starred in Super Size Me, a documentary studying the effects of a 30-day "McDonald's Only" diet.

"I was intrigued at someone who'd go to such great lengths to make a point about serious issues in our country," said Mary Ross Cox member of the lecture committee.

Throughtout the night, Spurlock used a humorous tone to convey his message. To some, his language usage was offensive.

"I was highly insulted by his language," said June K Campbell class of 1952. "I was going to buy his book at the end but I changed my mind, I won't give him a penny," she said.

Others did not mind Spurlock's language. "The language didn't bother me. I took it with a sense of humor and in the spirit of the evening," said Wilda Kaylor coordinator of the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education.

According to Campbell a Catholic College such as Seton Hill should not have speakers like him [Spurlock].

Graduate student Jen Palmer disagreed, "This is a liberal and open-minded school, his language was very real."

In between comments about his movie, he parodied people in his life.

"It [the lecture] was very funny," said Palmer. "I'm glad that they brought him here [SHU]," she said.

"It's great that you don't have to beat people over the head with graphs and figures to make a point," said Kaylor.

Class of 1998 Judi Fuchs said, "I'm happy about the facts he talked about." She said, "His message of fighting for your belief was inspiring."

Spurlock stressed about personal responsibility and being conscientious consumers. "You can do anything...find the one thing you believe in the most and fight for it," he said.

Shirley Ovitsky class 0f 1950 agreed, "You're never to old to learn."

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:28 AM | Comments (3)

September 28, 2005

a question?

what are some of the characteristics that "western audience" share?
(Define what is considered western) What are some "western" ideas/ideology?

The reason why I'm asking is because Dr. Wendland from my World Literature class gave a teaser this Monday about Adeline Yen Mah's memoir "Falling Leaves." He told us to think about the advantages and disadvantages of a western audience in regards to "eastern context."

Thanks! Anything will help! :)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 5:23 PM | Comments (2)

September 26, 2005

Book spoiler: The Man from a Peddler's Family

In Lu Wenfu's short story "the Man from a Peddler's Family," there was an ironic twist at the end. Throughout the story, the peddler have been criticized for being a capitalist. Capitalism was frowned upon because it promoted Western values of "self-interest" (aka greed/selfishness). The peddler defended his position saying that he was serving the people because the government was not doing their job. He was finally reformed at the end. He became a factory worker because it was so much easier. According to him, he was "still" serving the people. His rationalization that factory work was easier for "him" illustrated how he was more concern of his own welfare rather than the community's. The Communist government's (the "officials" that ran it) main concern of maintaining power showed a paradox in their way of diffirentiating capitalism from communism.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:37 PM | Comments (0)

Blog Portfolio 1 (EL 227: News Writing)

Unfortunately, I hadn't have the luxury of blogging more frequently than I would prefer because I'm been running around like a headless chicken trying to assimilate back to the school environment.

So right now, I'm having a difficult time balancing academics with extra-curricular fun. But I'm getting there, and I'm finally getting a feel of how each of my classes are like.

Now that that's out, I think I and other Setonians in this class should get extra-credit for participating in the Setonian (it's application of newswritng theories). Don't get me wrong, I like what I'm doing in the Setonian or else I wouldn't put as much effort in it. But it could get hectic for me and my fellow Setonians.

Most of my blog entries so far have been about application and reinforcement of journalism fundamentals:

Essentials of Journalism: While reading Chapters 3-5 of The Elements of Journalism, I was enraged with the hypocracy of journalists who obfusticate rather than enlighten the public. I noted the dangers of being impartial for objectivity's sake (being detach from the community thus not being loyal to them in revealing the truth).

Associated Press: The AP Guide to News Writing is like the Canterbury tales of journalism in a sense that details are used to show rather than to tell the hierarchy in journalism: those who speak journalese, who write bad and confusing leads, who are clear and enlightening etc. etc. The details showed the importance of keeping deadline and having transperancy.

Covering the News: From this spot news assignment, I realized that I've a good mastery of the five W's and 'how' of news writing, now I'm practicing fluidity and clarity in my news article. Chris Ulicne clarified for me the difference between details and wordiness.

Reporter's Survival Notebook: The Reporter's Notebook is very useful and valuable for new student journalists. It would have helped me a lot when I was a freshman. But I have no regrets because I prefer learning from experience (through practice, the knowledge has been impressed in my brain).

Capturing news with a Camera: My knowledge in photography has increased ever since I took a Black and White photograpy class. From now on, starting this semester, I'm going to apply all the concepts I learned this past summer in my photography. Pictures enhance the news and it can capture so much emotions. Sometimes it could convey the news better than words. I didn't get a chance to comment a lot on other people's blogs, but I did comment on Ulicne's Photo Illustration. I was going to make a link to my article on black and white photography but it's not in the online Setonian (yet?).

Editing : I felt productive when finally, I was doing the correcting rather than being corrected. Patience paid off. I remember sitting across Setonian editors while they explained to me the corrections they made in my articles (Before and now).

Final copy, different views: The Setonian Online and print version is more exhaustive in comparison with The Communicator. In comparing the coverage of SHU's football games in both publications, the hard copy of the Setonian was like a "story" rather than an "announcement." Both served its function, the Setonian being the voice of the students (being loyal to its citizen) and the Communicator as SHU's PR newsletter.

Reflecting on my journalism journey so far, I'm glad that my "path" was not as "rigid" (for example, taking news writing class first before becoming part of the Setonian or limiting myself to just the area of writing but actually getting involved in other aspects of the "newspaper world" such as copy-editing, taking pictures, distributing, reporting etc.). My experience in the Setonian made the theories I'm learning/reviewing in News Writing clearer/accessible (tangible rather than abstract).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:45 PM | Comments (1)

The Reporter's Notebook (Mark Levin)

This book is useful...I wish I had it when I was a freshman...

I think every first year Setonians should get this book...Most of the things I've learned in my Setonian experience are nicely summarized in this 100 page book.

The book is quite elementary -- but it's clear and it gives a great foundation for students who are starting out in journalism.

I found especially helpful the sections on "finding stories" and "top 10 punctuation tips:"

a. In trying to find stories I never thought of watching the news and localizing it to the school. I was made aware how "unconsciously" I've been following tip numbers 7 and 9 (on page 12 of The Reporter's Notebook) all along.

b. the top 10 punctuation tips is a good reference so that I don't have to memorize and store it in my brain (it's too meticulous).

I thought the tips for the photographers are really good. but I think it's a bit outdated. Most schools are presently using digital cameras. This is convinient but for some newbies that do not have the fundamental knowledge of photography, digital camera is a loss. Because of the automatic nature of the Digital camera, I feel that some photographers are not able to understand the dynamics of light.

The principal of taking pictures is the same for a manual camera and a digital camera. From reading the tips, 4 out of 10 tips I learned from photography class: angles of interest, avoid distracting backgrounds, taking a lot of photos, and bracketing.

Bracketing is something more distinguishable in manual cameras because one sees the results. In digital camera, it's usually automatic unless one puts it in manual mode (if it has one). This is why I think the tips are a bit obselete (when applied to digital camera) but a photographer who had experience with manual and understood light, composition and other principals, the tips in page 29 are priceless.

The new thing I learned is taking a picture of a subject against a reflective surface. The tip advised me to shoot at a 45-degree angle to eliminate flash back.

The Reporter's Notebook: Writing Tools for Student Journalists is a great book. It is not intimidating, but one has to be careful not to read it "wrongly." If context of its simplicity is taken wronly, the book can appear to be condescending.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2005

AP guide to News Writing

I definitely get a sense that the style of this book is for those people who don't have that much time (especially journalists who are conscious of deadlines). Rather than using numerous pages and chapters to explain concepts, the author (Rene J. Cappon) uses examples to "show" rather than tell.

Sometimes when I would read it fast, I would miss the introductory sentence. I would find myself reading the example and wondering how would the example pertain to the chapter.

Sometimes I feel like there's so many examples that are the same, and I just want to skip over them and see the one sentence explanation at the end of the section.

The writing is informal. This is nice because I feel like I'm actually conversing with the author in person. This is sometimes bad because the author switches speaking mode from common English to "journalese."

I love the humor because it adds the personal touch.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:05 AM | Comments (2)

September 24, 2005

Spot News : Setonian vs. Communicator

The Setonian coverage of the football games versus the communicator's is more informative. The communicator had the advantages of fast "updates" and early releases but the Setonian have content...

In spite of the communicator 's great colored pictures and it's lay-out, I found the short blurb on SHU's first home game confusing. It mentioned the home game and its result. Then it made a reference to the old game and then it went back to home game.

The last sentence of the first paragraph made the whole thing confusing. It stated "As the team played their first game on the road (they lost ...against Urbana), Saturday's game ...was overwhelmingly positive." It was redundant. I had a double take because the first two sentence already said what the last sentence said.

"As the team played..." this phrase made it sound like it's more recent than the home game.

"Overwhelming" is more opinionated therefore biased.

The Setonian's converage is more personal. You get to know more about the team (the players' thoughts, the coach's expectations etc) and not just the results (scores). You get more background and people interest.

Valerie's article is great. It's informative, had enough details and quotes to make her news article more like a story that flows.

From her article, I can learn to apply in my own articles how detail is used to introduce the quotes (so the overall effect would be a balance of writing composition).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2005

tribune-review (sept 20 issue)

as i perused this issue, they had better images that complimented the articles and captured the essence of the headlines. these pictures encouraged me to read further...

the picture of Eli Marc in the front page running really captured the joy of freedom. this frozen moment in time was reinforced by the lines of the brick buildin, of the windows, the sidewalk and the yellow line of the road that converged to the left away from the man. they reminded me of "speed" lines. It's a static picture that moves, your eyes are forced to travel right where the man is heading. the rigidity of the lines which was reminiscent of jail bars contrasted with the implied arch created by Marc's pulled back elbow and raised leg (opposite of arm). Great composition.

page A2 and A3 were also great. I saw and read a little blurb about the Philippine's president Arroyo.

I loved the irony in Dragan Vasiljkovic's picture. He was photographed holding a cute baby mammal (either dog or cat) and the caption under his image stated "wanted for war crimes." Most likely there's more to this guy or it could be deception used by editor or layout manager who juxtaposed the caption and the image together. It's very effective. I liked the contrast between the two characters: Dragan's white hair, sharp nose, and wrinkled face set against the cute baby animal's black color, round-buttoned nose, and soft and fluffy fur. If one were to twist the image around, one could imagine that the "pup" is scrap-meat to the vulture-esque Vasiljkovic. The composition also follows the rule of thirds with Dragan's head cover 2/3 of the image.

I found the upside-down picture of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder hilarious. His expression (hanging upside down, piercing blue eyes) and the pun of the headline "Candidates fall short." It's refreshing and funny.

With these examples of images, I agree with my classmate who mentioned in class about the exploitation of image by journalists. It completes the news "package."

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:22 AM | Comments (1)

September 21, 2005

Not captain planet but more like Captain AP...

In the "elements" of journalism by Kovach and Rosenstiel, there were several things I could relate with (share my concerns about journalism) in chapters 3 to 5...

they are:

Solution-oriented journalism (p 67)
"the station will attempt to find or spotlight solutions, not just focus on problems..."

this is the type of journalsim I'd like to get involve in. In the past the reason why I'm so skeptic about news in general is because they always focus on disasters and violence (the "newsworthy ones"), and problem-solving news were often overlooked. I'm not saying that news should be impartial or sugarcoated because if they were, they would betray their primary audience: "the citizens." I'm just saying that too much horrible things will just ruin people's hopes and perspectives.

Confusion

as a setonian journalist sometimes i find myself confuse especially when writing news article (that's why I like writing opinion columns because they are based more on my perspective (there's no way I can misquote myself (I'm my only source)...what i did find affirming was on page 106, "personal perspective colors journalism."

Objectivity versus impartiality
i found this a hard concept to grasp because it's stating that in order to show objectivity, i have to be impartial (not taking sides)but being impartial doesn't mean being detach to the community...because in the end it is the citizens of the community who I should be loyal to...

journalism like any type of writing of some sort is very complex...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:32 PM | Comments (2)

September 19, 2005

Spotlighting an event

For the spot news exercise I decided to do mine on SHU's first home game. For this project, I wasn't worried about interviewing people. But from interviewing people I learned to be mindful about everything and not just the game.

I was focusing so much on the game itself and in doing so, I limited myself. In this limitation, I learned about my strengths as well as my weaknesses.

I'm people-oriented and for me to write about the technicalities of a game that I don't know much about is a total waste of time; not only for me but also for the busy reader.

As a result of focusing so much on the game when my angle was on the community, I ended up missing some details that were more important to my article.

I definitely need to work on getting more details. Sometimes it's hard for me to distinguish between details and wordiness

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:09 PM | Comments (2)

September 7, 2005

the other side

today in newswriting, we peer edited the profiles we wrote yesterday. my article did not have as much "noticeable" mistakes. It felt nice to be on the other side- one checking for AP style rather than one being corrected for AP mistakes. I'm grateful for all those times one of the Setonian editors explained to me my mistakes. Seeing some of the first year students' works made me realize how concise I am now in comparison with me as a freshman.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:57 PM | Comments (3)

April 7, 2005

Luck?

I'm just lucky....

I'm fortunate to know early in my college career that English is the major that's right for me...the reason why i like it because it's so well rounded and it gives you so much options when it comes to picking a career in the future....also it give you so much space to pick several minors that overlap with each other or another major that is competely different from English...everythings just takes a bit of planning and preparation...most people assume that English majors will automatically become teachers....most people don't know that there are options out there...most people are lazy and they're afraid to think out of the box because they want to be comfortable or they don't do their research because they're too lazy...while others assume that english majors are just pie-in-the-sky thinkers, and all they do is write or talk about literature or write about talking literature...some people jump to conclusions that they don't like english because it's boring and they have the audicity to say it in your face but while others defend their propensity for english, the other party will say "that's you" (really?) but if others insult their major, they think you're crazy or something...some people will ask me, what can you do with a degree in english...prior to actually exploring and researching my field, I answered "i'll become a teacher" now I boldly say work in a publishing company, publish and illustrate my children's book (prospective caldecott winner), work for Disney, work for the newspaper, for an advertising company, become a tutor, be a lawyer, a lyricist, a playwright and tons more...when people are miserable, they like to see other people miserable with them, when they're hopeless, they want to make others hopeless, ..if they suck, they want others to be as sucky as them...i'm going to be realistic and not be like one of those depressed danny's or suicidal sally's,...life is what you make of it...so you can be miserable or happy even if it is so-called "predestined"........you make it...just like all the man made problems out there are artificial os is your state of mind even if God "programmed you" you push the buttons...i'm going to be happy and make the most of my time on earth and if people abhor this, too bad, live your own life, don't control mine!*

*This is just an exercise of ranting so no one should take offense to this, thank you, please don't forget to purchase a kwiupee doll!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

March 1, 2005

the link in the setonian was broken but now it's fixed but here's the unedited version anyway...

Time, is of the Essence?

The day was Thursday, February 3rd, and I just woke up from my 20 minute power nap. I went to meet Pr. Dardery at 2 o’clock p.m. in Lowe Dining Hall to interview him.
At exactly 1:59 p.m., I arrived in my destination, and I situated myself at the table right across from the entrance. At 2 o’clock, I looked around to see if Pr. Dardery had already arrived. I thought that maybe he was sitting down at a different table. I looked at my watch, and at 2:05 p.m., there was still no sign of him.
I started to become paranoid. What if he thought the interview was at Friday at 2 p.m. instead. To calm myself down, I ate a piece of peach pie. I devoured the delicious pie in less than 3 minutes.
I decided to look for Pr. Dardery. I thought that maybe he went to his office in St. Joes’ or in his classroom in 4th Admin. My searching was futile, and downcast, I returned to the Dining Hall. At 2:30 p.m., I had to face the fact that he might not show up.
At 2:33 p.m., I packed my stuff and got a cup of water before leaving. Coincidentally, I found Pr. Dardery getting a drink also. He approached me and apologized for being late. The traffic was terrible.
Finally at 2:40 p.m., my interview with Pr. Dardery started (See Interview with Egyptian Professor). He mentioned how demanding life in America was in comparison to life in Egypt. Egypt was more ‘relaxing.’ I asked what he meant by this. He spoke about the concept of time, “Watches should not control people, but rather, people should control their watches.”
I commented on this “rushing attitude” he had implied, and he retorted, “People here seem to live in order to work rather than to work in order to live, and in being so concern with time, they easily lose sight of the essence of life, which is human relations.”
45 minutes had passed and at 3:15 p.m. the interview had ended. Later that night at 9 p.m., I went to a Eye Contact Club meeting. At 10 o’clock I watched E.R. with my friends. At 11:34 p.m. I talked to my friend in Philadelphia. The following Saturday afternoon I called my parents, and on Sunday night at 11:56 p.m., I finished writing this article. Time is relative. Don’t get caught up in it!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:46 PM | Comments (1)

January 19, 2005

New York

Cold, biting wind pushing
Persuading "Turn Around!"
He turns around and
glances parts of the Manhattan Skyline
Dark clouds outlined by the Sun
He yells "Yellow Taxi!"
"To the MET!"

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:17 PM | Comments (3)

January 4, 2005

What's in Mexico? (Book Teasers)

I recently finished two books. Both from different genres and are published in different times: On the Road by Jack Kerouac in 1955 and Life of Pi by Yann Martel in 2001. What I am about to do is nothing new, perhaps an offense or a criminal act against the Literary Police but I'm bored so I guess I'll just have to bend the literary law in my favor. I'm going to associate the two novels together.

The idea is not as farfetched as one may think. Both protagonists end up in Mexico, but how and why (this is up to the audience to find out so read!)

I was sort of lost while I was reading "On the Road". I felt that the author failed to connect, his transitions were not smooth. Keruoac did not build up to the climax, and his novel is fragmentary. In spite of these minor complaints of mine, Kerouac succeeded in conveying his point. His aptly titled and scattered prose depicted well the disillusioned life of post-WWII generation of the Beats, and the Beats' "aimless" wandering in search of "IT". What is this IT? Perhaps a search for life's meaning or Truth...maybe.

"Life of Pi" is very funny. The protagonist Piscine Patel is in a very dire situation. In his predicament, he fights off hopelessness with sarcasm and humour. This is more contemporary in the style of writing, and the story "flows" better. In the end, Piscine finds TRUTH.

Both protagonists traverse thousands of miles to undergo some sort of transformation or "something". For Sal Paradise's friend Dean Moriarty (On the Road), he went across the country from New York to California and back several times, married two women from each coast, and had children; yet he continued to move, and never actually settled down. He got to Mexico to obtain a divorce in the hopes of establishing a foundation. Piscine's world turned topsy turvy when everything he knew about life was destroyed. He drifted across the Pacific Ocean for 227 days to land in Mexico where he began to "reconstruct" his new world.

So why Mexico? Maybe it was the water. Maybe "Cortez" found the fountain of youth there after all. Maybe it was a Metaphor...maybe.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 9, 2004

Fromage

Cheese

Hair tossed carelessly
On the side, head cradled back
Dreamy eyes, Sss-mile!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

July 7, 2004

Verdant Visage of 'Verano"

Warmth of skin 'aglow'
Gentle kisses of Zephyr
Wisps of Dandies're sowned

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:22 PM | Comments (0)

July 3, 2004

Another Haiku

Warm breezes, empty streets
Walking, blushing moon giggling
Wondering: "How Nice!"

French Version:

Warm breezes, empty streets
Walking, blushing moon giggling
Wonders: "C'est Sympa!"

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:00 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2004

I finished a book

I finally finished Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead

At first I didn't understand why the book was called The Fountainhead so I looked up the meaning of the word. Dictionary.com stated that fountainhead is the source/beginning of something, almost like an "originator". Now it all made sense, the two opposing ideas I recognized earlier : the practical versus the ideal. Howard Roark, the protagonist embodied the ideal while, Ellsworth Toohey, represented the 'practical' per se. The other main characters: Dominique Francon, Peter Keating, and Gail Wynand, were the characters 'in between'; they were the products of the ideal mixed with the practical.

This book is about the ego and one's integrity 'versus' collectivism, herd mentality/cliques (the power of one versus power of the multitudes (media)).

Sadly I can relate to Peter Keating but not totally. But while Howard is the fountainhead, Ellsworth tried to manipulate the people around him into suppressing Howard's creativity...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:24 PM | Comments (2)

June 24, 2004

Haiku inspired from meis 'amies'

I finally finished a book that's not related to any subject...

"My life's like a blur"
Getting high on life or myrrh
Aback life's a slur

Bare feet on Glass
Blind man turning, missed the edge
Beware of the path

Glittered specks on rouge
Prestige of ephemeric
Navel string to whims

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:13 PM | Comments (1)

May 22, 2004

Haiku in the Haze

Summer is here, time for more haikus, (Wahooo!)

Brotherly love I

Intersection, pause
Angle up, a dome amongst
Shimmering steel, blue

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:30 PM | Comments (0)

May 9, 2004

Last Night in Town

Greensburg, 11:45 p.m.---Have you ever watched the movie 28 Days Later ? Did you ever wake to find everybody you know not around? Well don't you worry, there isn't any virus unleashed recently. Michael Diezmos, first year student turning sophomore next fall was still in Havey 101 because he had to wait for his parents to pick him up. Similar to the guy in the movie who woke up and found everyone gone, Diezmos spent the past couple of days. He said: "It's weird the campus was so quiet, it felt like it was abandoned a long time ago!" So anyway, He missed dinner so he went downtown in search of sustenance.

It's the end of the school year, you might be wondering why Michael Diezmos is still in the Hill. Good Question! What started out as a good year, ended with a BANG!

The first semester was filled with roommates quagmire and beginning of new friendships, while the second was full of term papers and The Bug "Huggers".

Nonetheless, the year ended with new insights gained and friendships established firmly.

On his last day, Diezmos applied what he learned in the honors seminar. He went straight to Greensburg downtown and experience a little bit about the world outside SHU campus and as Director of the Honors program Dr. Atherton once said to see the pace of the town itself.

After walking around Main Street hazard yet forward and behind the Courthouse while passing DV8 Cafe, he went to Rialto Bar and Cafe. He ordered a Sprite and a Cheeseburger with onion lettuce and tomatoes.

He went back to SHU after that. On his way back, he only had one thing to say: "The beautiful drive up to the campus is definitely This Way Up!"

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:10 AM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2004

W;t

"Brevity of Soul..."

I forgot where this was said in the movie/or in the book, but I think it was whenVivian was talking to her Professor (it was a flashback). First, before I watched the movie, I read the summary in the back of the book. After reading it I found it depressing even though it said that it was going to have humor and "wit". I questioned how Margaret Edson was going to do this.
Then I watched the movie, and I liked how the narrator was talking directly to me (and the audience). I thought it was in this style to make it adapt to the movie theaters, but when I read the book, I found out that it was the same way. I think the conversation style used by Edson made the story more powerful. It's almost like a personal intimate conversation between you and Vivian, and she's sharing her experience to you only.
Karissa brought out a good point about Vivian's former student, I too questioned her relationship with him. I sort of see a parallel between him and Vivian. Vivian even supported this in the book, when she said how ironic both her and him preferred academics over people, as she realized there's more to life than scholarly work.
As I commented inAmanda's blog, the most poignant scene was when Vivian's nurse answered her question about the meaning of the word soporific, and the nurse said something like I don't know but it'll make you sleepy.
Now it made sense why in EL150, we had to read John Donne's poem, the movie/book did a great job emphazising "Death coma though shalt die!" (Not sure if its a period or an exclamation point).
Another interseting factoid that caught my attention was when, in the Flashback, Vivian's students trying to figure out John Donne.
Also, the Nurse, always stressed the fact that she never took a course in poetry class and since she didn't, she thought that she didn't know anything about poetry; when in fact it seems that she was the kindest and most humane to Vivian in comparison to most of the robotic staff and doctors in the hospital. Her outlook of life is so simple not like Donne's 'complexe metaphysical poetry', and it seems that she still knows more about life in general.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:33 PM | Comments (3)

It's elementary my dear...

Research Papers, that's all I have to say...

My adventure for researching my topic for EL 150 has been very interesting and long. My first blob of a thesis was about Nell from the Diamond Age and Nell Trent from Dicken's The Old Curiosity Shop. It was hard to find info on this one because this was the least famous work of Charles Dickens. I ended up changing my thesis and incorporating my art philosophy background instead and apply Plato and Aristotle in the Arts and societies of The Diamond Age as seen through Nell's experience with the Primer, the Ractives (especially pornographic ones, reflective of the deplorable towns in which it it located in), the Drummers Society, and Dramatis Personae. As of right now, I've located all of my sources, read through them, and took notes on them. Today I'm going to start writing and analyzing. For me doing research papers are so draining. After reading it, trying to comprehend it, absorbing the information and then making it applicable...it almost feels like this is the only thing in my life, I get suck into it due to a black hole effect...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:44 AM | Comments (2)

Deep Impact

How my English major affected my other courses...

My English major has been very helpful to me. It helped me explore the different types of writing out there (Journalism, Creative Writing, Plays, Literature etc.). It also helped me to develop a better organizational skill and also in researching papers. It is helping me to look at things from different perspectives/ helping me to be more critical and analytical. It is helping me to communicate more clearly. It is definitely helpful in my writing.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:05 AM | Comments (3)

April 16, 2004

The Diamond Age

I finally finished The Diamond AGe, but I was a bit disappointed at the ending...

The reason why I feel disappointed at the Ending of The Daimond Age is because I felt that it was curt and so sudden. There would be passages of many pages about Nell's friend's story and the conclusion is not even as elaborated as these. I mean one could infer what is going to happen base on Nell's adventure but it would still be nice to have a closing. Maybe there's a sequal coming (Bum, bum bum,,,,).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:06 AM | Comments (4)

March 25, 2004

Deviant Death

At first, when I read the poem "Death be not proud, though some have called thee" by John Donne, I thought it was very hackneyed because it seemed that Death is the number #1 subject in people's mind. The vernacular that Donne used was also an obstacle. After reading it several times, I got the main idea of it, and I rephrased it on my own terms so I could understand it better (hopefully i did not butcher his work). I also did a little research on his life in the internet, and I found out that he had a strict Catholic 'upbringing' and he was related to Sir Thomas Moore through his mother's side. He grew up in a very anti-catholic environment, and he saw many people he loved died and passed away. The travails he had experienced made him question his faith...

...Maybe his doubt of God's love for him inspired him to write this or maybe it's through his faith in God that helped him cope with death.
I like this poem. I like how he argued against the power of daeth, and how he personified death as a slave to "Chance, kings and desperate men".There is a notion that death means the end of our existence. Donne's poem is actually more optimistic and he stressed the fact that death could never destroy our spirits maybe our body but not our soul "wee wake eternally, and death shall be no more..."
I also like his comparison of Death with sleeping/resting. In sleep, our unconscious mind travels to a far off place were death can't touch us, where death "thou shalt die."

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:53 PM | Comments (1)

March 23, 2004

Literary Criticism

I actually liked doing this, I felt like a detective trying to piece the puzzle together to get a good picture. The assignment we had on Literary Criticism was hard to do even if it was only a page per each Literary Criticism, reasons:
-Switching from one mode of criticizising/analyzing to another
-Different sources search

Advantages:
By looking at a literature/text from different angles gives a fuller picture of the work.

Well here's an example from my own Literary Criticism. Read on and comment, I'd like to hear from you...

Psychological
The character of Willie Loman throughout the course of the play dealt with a crisis, in which his identity and role as a man was nebulous. By regressing to monumental events in his life, he tried to figure out and make sense of his life.
One of Erikson’s psychosocial stages, Identity versus Role Confusion showcased the development of a human being from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. In this stage of development, the person tried to make sense of his or her past, of his or her identity and of his or her relationship to the world. This activity functioned as a guide to the persons, helping him or her find a sense of commitment and direction in the world (Notes from Kail).
From the beginning to the end, Willie lived both in the realm of the past and the present. His family witnessed this; Happy told Biff that: “[Willie] talk[ed] to himself (Miller 21)”. Willie’s self-talk (termed by Vygotsky as private speech) demonstrated his incapability to regulate his behavior and thinking. This showed that he was not as rational as a normal adult, but rather, he was as irrational as a child. He was at the point of denial (Falsifying reality, Marcks). Because of the distorted reality he had perceived, the past and present events in his life were hard to distinguish from the other in his mind. Oftentimes his past and present life would intertwined, warping him back to the past, where he conversed with a person in that realm, when in reality, he was really in his kitchen talking to his neighbor. Such conversations took place on page forty-six, between him and Ben (Figure of the past) and him and Charley (Figure of the present).
By reverting to the past, Willie Loman tried to capture the essence of his brother’s success in the hopes of “imbuing [his sons] with the same spirit of triumph” (Miller 52). In achieving this, he aspired to make amends for his failure as a father, set things right for his sons, and to live harmoniously in the world.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:35 PM | Comments (0)

March 4, 2004

A Setonian Experience

UP in the sky, "it's a bird , it's a plane" no it's a news event!

I'm actually now an official staff member of the Setonian Newspaper. I've written three articles, and I believe that I'm getting used to being objective rather than subjective.
One of the mantras that pushes me to keep writing for the Setonian is "It's a learning process" (Setonian Editor Amy Slade once said to me). I believe in this because often times "people" unrealistically expect that since one is in college then one is supposed to be in one's peak game.
Through my own experience, I am proving that theories could be learned through practice.
I am also a photographer for the Setonian, and I enjoy doing that. Journalism is like an adventure: trying to schedule the pictures, going on location (hopefully establishing my "beat"), talking to sources (locating them, hunting them down) and actually writing the articles.
Journalism is like a paradoxical experience for me. For me being objective, I do not use as much creative/subjective imput (Tantamounting to less headaches) but at the same time, my imputs are lucid and understandable and it makes sense. In a way I am not thinking, too much, but rather I have a narrow focus. Finding a focus makes things so much easier. One could get in the machinal mode of just doing.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:10 PM | Comments (2)

March 2, 2004

Reflecting on the Diamond Age

"But diamonds are a girl's best friend.
A kiss may be grand but it won't pay the rental
On your humble flat, or help you feed your -meow- pussycat.

Men grow cold as girls grow old
And we all lose our charms in the end.
But square-cut or pear-shaped
These rocks don't lose their shape
Diamonds are a girl's best friend..."
Really???

I read the first hundred pages of The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, and at first I found it a little bit confusing. The plot jumps from one character to another but as I got near the 100th page, the mini stories seem to intertwine together to become more cohesive. I am not that familiar with this style but I found out that it kept me very interested in reading the book. I found it also rewarding to put the pieces of the puzzle together (being a detective is fun). Two questions rose up in my mind while I was reading: What is the significance of the 'ractive' book? and Why is education a privilege for the wealthy in the Diamond Age?
"Square-cut or pear-shaped, these rocks (Diamond) don't lose their shape..."In the Diamond Age, where life is innured, the embodiment of values and vices are contained in each society whether it is in the society of Confucian ideals or adamant 'neo-victorians'; Each on its own right, with its own standards, inside its own "magic circle", living in the confines of its own Truth, blissfully ignorant of others' true nature.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:45 AM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2004

Mosaic

He who is great painted the firmament
Yellow and blue pinkish mauve undertones
Ever changing pigments of Proportion
Divin'd glowing inspir'd with stroked-brush
By God his wonder stipple the starry-night
Pure moon of Dane accents His marked-might.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:17 PM | Comments (5)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

E.T. eat your heart our!

Quoi de neus E.T.?

Alien
The stars twinkled in the distant black sky. A beam of light streaked through the dark. BOOM! Thunder followed. CRASH! Flash of light.
I walked through the grey narrow hallway. The school’s power was out, but the generator provided ample lighting. The flickering got on my nerves. “So this is my new school”. The principal in a charcoal suit accompanied me to my classroom.
“Sorry about the inconvenience, it’s been a while since we had storms like the ones last night,” the principal said in an attempt to make conversation with me and to break the awkwardness of silence.
Aside from the clicking of her heels and the vague murmurs and laughter of student behind closed doors, not a single thing was heard except maybe the shuffling of my own two feet.
“Here we are!” as she knocked at the door decorated with hearts. “Hello Mrs. Applebie and students, I’d like you all to meet, Elian, he’s your new classmate!”
“Hi Elian, I’m Mrs. Applebie; welcome to kindergarten!”
“Hi El-e-ean!” the class roared.
“So tell us about yourself,” Mrs. Applebie kindly requested.
I stood there silent for a while and looked around cautiously at the twenty sets of eyes alight with wonder. A girl with gleaming eyes looked as if she was about to grin, and a boy was falling asleep. I managed to squeak: “My name is Elian Bonaparte and I’m from Montmarte Sacre-Coeur, France.”
The girls by the dollhouse started to giggle and the boys by the sandbox started whispering in the back. Some tried to suppress their laughter.
“Now friends settle down, we know that Elian has an accent, he is still our friend, don’t forget our manners.”
“What’s an accent?” “Kane! Did you forget your manners at home? Did you forget rule #8, if someone is speaking…what do we do friends?”
“Listen!” the class roared.
“That’s right friends, now Kane, apologize to our new friend.”
He looked at me momentarily, his bulging eyes flared up with a vengeance. His gaze turned towards the floor as he managed to stutter: “So-so-so-rrry El-e-ean.”
The class snickered.
“Now class, behave…Elian go sit in row 5, in seat number 4.”
Coincidentally, I sat on the empty seat diagonally to the left of Kane’s seat.
“My name is El-e-ean, and I’m from Montablabla, France, ‘Kane whispered to me in a feigned high-pitched voice’, Wait until recess.”
“Recess? What’s special about recess? … I don’t sound like that. Do I? Throughout the thirty-minute story-time, which seemed like hours, all I heard was the first sentence of what Mrs. Applebie said. The rest were the long monotonous sound of “Wongck, wongck, wongck” coming out of her mouth.
“What time is recess? Where is it going to be? How long is it going to last? What am I going to do?” Questions like these circulated around my head. I had a plan A, a plan B, and a plan C. If plan A did not work, then I’d go to plan A subset little A before proceeding to plan B.
Ring! Ring! Ring!
“Ok friends, it’s time for recess; Put your coats on; Get your snack, and line up by the red tape on the floor.”
As I was putting on my coat, Kane bumped into me. He apologized in a smug and unctuous way.
It was freezing outside. The parking lot was huge. The teachers stayed near the door and kept watch.
“Let’s play tag!” Kane yelled.
“Yeah!” the class roared.
Everybody else called: “Not it”, except for me.
“El-e-ean is it!” Kane confirmed.
They scattered to safety away from me; Kane was the only one in close proximity to me. He flaunted his red coat like a matador. He did not look fast so I started chasing him. With arms stretched out, I was inches away from tagging him. Out of nowhere, he picked up speed. Out of breath I stopped. He turned around and slowed down, the smirk on his face seemed to be intended for me. I decided to chase someone else, but Kane was not going to give up; he shadowed right behind me.
“What! I’m too fast for Frenchie!” Kane instigated.
“Slowpoke Frenchie, slowpoke Frechie!” the class roared.
I quickly turned around and tagged Kane. I was so excited that I was jumping for joy.
“You’re it! You’re it!” I pointed at Kane.
His complexion suddenly turned ruddy, almost matching his coat. He came running after me in full-speed shoving me to the ground. My bum slammed to the pin-like concrete, and my hands broke my fall, scraping the ground.
“What now El-e-ean? Or should I say illegal alien. It’s people like you that takes away my pop’s job. Because of you, he’s at home, jobless, and drunk. Go back to France!”
I was speechless. “I’m just a student…How can I ever take away your father’s job? …I’m a kid just like you and everybody else…Go back to France?” The next thing I knew, Kane was on top of me, slapping, punching and scratching me. His breath ascending into the sky, and tears were rolling down his cheeks. I could not move; I was stunned. I heard the chanting of the class. Blood gushed out of my nose; I could taste its brackish aftertaste on my cracked lips. I heard the thunderous sound of bell, frenetically rung by Mrs. Applebie. She broke through the throng of gray pants and plaid skirts as I blacked out.
I woke up in a white room. I had an icepack on my eyes, and my nose had stopped bleeding. Across from the bed, there was a mirror, and I saw my reflection. The black bruise on my face elongated my puffed out almond-shaped eyes, and my swollen scratched-up cheeks had an olive-green hue. “I am different.” The bright lights outside were enough to convince me to crashed back to bed and doze off into another galaxy.

The End!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:59 AM | Comments (1)

February 6, 2004

Alien

hello all,
basically one of the things I need feedback on is introducing the characters and the conflict, this would help me get started, thanks! If there's anything else feel free to comment on anything in a constructive manner!

>The star twinkled in the distant black sky. A beam of light strieked
>through the dark. BOOM! Thunder followed. CRASHED! Flash of light.
>
>Elian was jerkily awoken by the sudden halt of the car. With bewildering eyes, he scanned the car. His mother, a little flustered, looked straight ahead, both her hands gripped the steering wheel.
>
>"Sorry about that. What's the matter Hun?"
>
>"Oh, nothing," Elian recited, as he bit his lips. He started fiddling with
>his necklace. He found it futile to explain this recurring dream to his
>mother.
>
>"Are you excited that you're going to your new school?"
>
>Irritated, Elian mumbled, "No!"
>
>"Cheer up, it would be fun, it's like a whole new universe to explore,
>besides you'll meet new people and make new friends."
>
>He shrugged. "Whatever!" He turned his head, a vista of green meshed into
>straight lines.
>
>His mother braked around the curve near entrance X of the school.
>
>"I'll see you later!" his mother bouyantly shouted at him as he disappeared
>into a throng of grays and plaits.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:57 PM | Comments (3)

February 1, 2004

Flash Fiction

I like it, it's like what Dr. Arnzen said, it's similar to Haiku.

Paris

Moving bus stopped. Through the gray tint of the window, a vista of Eiffel's legacy seen. Snapped! Still moment..."Huh?" Ascending the skeletal leaden turret. Cloudy sky. Sinuous Seine rolling. Micromachine cars zigzagging. Diving pennies and 'parachuting' soldiers. Moving dots. Triumphant Arc, a speck ahead. "Where's the Eiffel Tower?"

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:20 PM | Comments (1)

January 26, 2004

Is Bobbing only for girls?

Is the style of your haircut a statement?, if so what kind of "bob" are you going to get the next time you're in the saloon or barbershop?

I found the story "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" very interesting. Please excuse the blatancy of my thoughts, but I'm going to try my best to write academically and thoughtfully about it. At first I thought it was going to be one of those Women stories (from EL250) as Paul defined it , but it wasn't. I thought Marjorie was an independnt woman, who was bitter because her heart had been broken so many times. She was inured by this and she became a 'playa' just like the guys, and she's wreaking revenge by breaking other people's heart and toying with the 'fellas'. I think she's a foil of Bernice. Bernice was portrayed as conservative, dull and righteous while Marjorie was 'modern', vivacious and 'cheap but fun'( Warren is a jerk and it's a good thing that Marjorie have him "whipped").

When Bernice followed the advice of Marjorie, I thought that Bernice was going to have a complete 'volte face' of character and value, almost similar to what happen to Brittany Murphy's character 'Tai' in the movie Clueless or the character of Vylette from the movie Jawbreakers. She didn't, but her character developed and matured in the end.

Marjorie is one of the characters you'd love to hate but at the same time feels sorry and pity for. It's ironic how she viewed women as "inane females, [who are] weak, whining, cowardly mass of affectations!" Inside she's probably not as tough as she tried to 'project'. I think she tricked her cousin into getting the haircut because Warren wasn't giving her the attention he used to give her. She appears shallow, and it looks like she's relying on her 'sex-appeal' to get the affections she craved.

My friend said that this story was about women's self-determination and self-liberation, it reminded me of the "Myth of the Bra-Burnings of the 60s" or when Brandi Chastain, the soccer player took off her shirt. or when Christina Aguilera "went black." I asked the question: Why would someone do something "radical" to liberate one's self? The Little Prince suggested:"To go against the norm/standards of a particular society (in Bernice's case the Patriarchal one)."
What do you think?

I loved the ending, it reminded me of Jan (from the Brady Bunch Movie) when she fantasies about cutting Marsha's hair. In a way it's the same but really different. Revenge is sweet.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:45 PM | Comments (5)

January 19, 2004

Intro to Blogging 101

I am finally introduced to blogging. I think it will be exciting, it might be a little hard because I have to think twice and censor what I am going to to be saying...

I am finally introduced to blogging. I think it will be exciting, it might be a little hard because I have to think twice and censor what I am going to to be saying. I also have to remember that this is not a journal. One of the fun things with journal is reading past entries written ten years ago and being able to laugh at the "incidents" that happened.
Julie's presentation on blogging was informative. I hope I remember them all.
The Yellow Wallpaper I read last week was different. It was not as predictable as I thought it was going to be. I noticed in the beginning that the narrator was a little nutz. My friend said the narrator was depressed, I did noticed how the narrator expressed her state of depression, she was still crazy. I thought she was one of those people who was a perfectionist that was why she was nettled by the yellow wallpaper that did not suit her taste. The ending confused me, I did not know if she committed suicide or not.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:42 AM | Comments (2)