Sunday, October 21, 2012

What 44% Looks Like

Here is the original text with all of the long ramblings and passive voice:

Passive Voice/Transitive Verbs
Abstract Subjects
Linking Verbs

During our class time I was introduced to many life narratives, articles, and documentaries, written and directed by Asian Americans, which described the experiences that different individuals had. Throughout all of them I noticed a trend: relocation. All of these people were relocated in one form or another, be it being forcefully uprooted, moved, adopted, detained or interned, exiled, or being put into slavery, their lives were changed because of this relocation. I would like to explore the effects this movement had on Asian Americans in regards to physical and emotional stresses, along with how they changed culturally and socially. Some of the most horrific experiences these Asian Americans went through were centered around their geographical movements, and they were changed as individuals by these occurrences.

Relocation happened for many reasons. Asian Americans have been forcefully moved and enslaved because of an invading entity, or detained and interned out of fear during wartime situations. They have been exiled back to their country of origin for mistakes that would have meant a slap on the wrist for a natural born citizen, and also adopted by U.S. families looking to fill the void in their lives and do their part to help the “less fortunate”. During all of these processes, different forms of stress occur -- physically and emotionally -- and although each narrative is different in regards to how these individuals dealt with their stress, it is none-the-less still there. The most prominent and easiest to recognize, is physical stress.

Physical stress can be a very powerful thing and can come from many different stimuli within one’s life. Being relocated for any reason puts physical stress on an individual. The majority of instances I read about involved Asian Americans being forced to pack up and leave their homes and everything they knew. Through this experience many of them were forced to work or become slaves, living under poor conditions and being worked literally to death. Chanrithy Him’s narrative, When Broken Glass Floats, highlights her time spent under the Khmer Rouge and how she underwent massive amounts of physical stress. Once the Khmer Rouge invaded Cambodia, her family was forced to leave their home and relocate to Phnom Penh, where their struggle to survive began and the slave labor was horrific and never ending. She lived off of rations, barely big enough to feed one or two people, which were supposed to feed her entire family, and worked from dawn to dusk, sometimes longer, every day. They did not have a vehicle for transportation and were required to walk everywhere -- without the comfort of a pair of shoes.

Here is my revision:

The narratives, articles, and documentaries I looked at during the semester, written and directed by Asian Americans, all shared a common theme: relocation. The narrators spoke of their relocation through forceful uprooting, moving, adoption, detainment or internment, exile, and slavery. I will explore the effects this movement had on Asian Americans in regards to physical and emotional stresses, along with how they changed culturally and socially.

Relocation happened for many reasons. Invading entities detained and interned Asian Americans, forcing them to become slaves. The United States also exiled these people for mistakes that a citizen would receive a slight punishment for, and families adopted children to fill the void in their lives and do their part to help the “less fortunate”. Physical and emotional stresses formed because of these processes. The most prominent and easiest to recognize being physical stress.

Being relocated for any reason puts physical stress on an individual. The Asian American’s captors forced families to leave their homes and become slaves—living under poor conditions and working themselves to death. Chanrithy Him’s narrative, When Broken Glass Floats, highlights her time spent under the Khmer Rouge and how she underwent massive amounts of physical stress. The Khmer Rouge invasion led her family to leave their home and relocate to Phnom Phen, where their slave labor began. Her family lived off of inadequate rations and worked from dawn to dusk every day. Their captors provided no transportation—her family relying on shoe-less feet for mobility.

The original is 437 words and the revised is 245. Reduced the content by 44%. Not bad for a first attempt! Haha.

If I missed highlighting anything in my first version, let me know! I kept finding more things to revise during my revision process. I'm not really sure if I like the shortened way better. I have a certain voice and style while writing, and it's hard for me to change that. Sometimes getting right to the point is a good thing, but this paper I wrote was more about getting a message across that would make an impact on the reader and really show them what these people went through during their narratives. The paper itself was about 12 pages long, so this is only a small taste of what was discussed and shared. Still, maybe I just like being long winded and pompous! =P

Friday, October 12, 2012

Genesis: Fact or Fiction? (My vote is for the latter choice.)

This is an excerpt from a response I had to write for Mythology class on the first and second sections of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Enjoy!

Active Voice
Passive Voice

I find it interesting that how the world was created according to Genesis could be related to the chronological order that the Earth could have been formed through evolution and the Big Bang; Of course, the leading differences being a) the existence of a higher being that created Earth and b) the time frame of how long ago this all happened.

  1. God created the heavens and the Earth can interpret into the initial Big Bang that formed the universe. Darkness was upon the face of the deep, meaning Earth was still in the process of forming, and as a very young planet within our new solar system could not yet sustain life.
  2. God said let there be light, creating the day and night. The sun had been formed, causing the gravitational pull of the planets surrounding it, and combined with the formation of Earth and its own rotation, day and night would occur on our planet.
  3. Dividing the waters from the waters. Earth settled into orbit at a range that permitted the formation of atmosphere, water and air separating.
  4. The creation of land, sea, and vegetation. Within the process of atmosphere being formed, water would not only remain on the surface of the planet but also enter the atmosphere, creating our clouds, weather, etc. Combined with the freezing process at the poles of the planet, due to the infrequent and lack of direct sunlight and warmth from the sun, land would start to appear. Vegetation formed.
  5. The formation of stars. New stars form and old stars “die”. Thus is how the universe functions. While our own solar system was forming, others were also in the process. Our galaxy is a young one that is still in the process of formation.
  6. Creatures start to form in the water and air. Well, organisms have to start somewhere. Not a goo that suddenly some creature crawled out of, but water would logically suffice to create a compound organism capable of adapting to life both in the air and on land.
  7. Creatures are formed on the land. Following the trend stated previously, evolution would dictate creatures spreading from water to land as environments changed and needs could only be met through means not available within the current atmosphere, aquatic and limiting.
  8. Lastly, there is the creation of man. Chronologically, this still follows the trend of evolution. The main belief being that we descended from apes through many stages, but ultimately we arrived as men in the world after other beasts were formed.
I'm not exactly sure what to write for my commenter this week. It's been an excessively long week and my brain is shot. I'm going to go back to destroying The Book Thief and see how that works out for me. (Don't worry, I'm not really destroying it. Just drawing all over it and painting on the pages. Ha.)

Friday, October 5, 2012

What is Faith? (Baby, don't smite me. Don't smite me, no more.)

Here's a little something I had to write up for my Mythology class this semester: The take-home portion of my midterm! Hooray!


Being an Atheist, I often dismiss the fact that faith can be a real and powerful thing to individuals. My “lack of faith” tends to render me blind to the complexities of beliefs and how important they can be to an individual’s life. During the course thus far, I have come to realize that faith in a creator, or creators, is an important and everyday aspect to the lives and cultures of the characters and people in our texts—both the civilizations of the time, and the authors who wrote down their most important words. These belief systems provided them with many answers, helpful, familiar, and important, to bring understanding to the world around them and a sense of unity as a community or group (something that can still be seen within our society today), and, through the fashioning of intricate stories, passed on knowledge from one generation to the next as a source of education about both their faith and their world.

The idea of faith seemed to rule the lives of these people and cultures to an extent that, when they sought out knowledge to answer the unknown, they looked toward their belief systems for an explanation. This supernatural search for an answer can be found most prominently within the texts that we read earlier on in the semester—the Native American creation myths and genesis. Focusing on the answer to a question that describes the origins of not only people but the world itself, could be labeled the most popular unknown both to ancient civilizations and current day religious types and scientists. Each story has a common element: a creator. Be it a god, goddess, supernatural being or creature, or even a seemingly scientific event, each group depended (and still depends) heavily on their belief systems or faith to answer this question.

To begin with the most well-known version of creation, our own Christian views, we are presented with a singular God that “created the heaven and the earth”—night and day, earth, water and sky, plants, creatures of the sea, air and land, and lastly humans (Genesis 1). The Shakti creation myth we read is a good compliment to the Christian view through the use of a single being creating everything, but they choose a woman instead of as “man”. Their creator is “she who holds the Universe in her womb, / source of all creative energies, / Maha Devi who conceives / and bears and nourishes / all that exists” (Shakti 487). Each of these stories also has a strong sense of a reward system. Obeying or pleasing these beings brings about good fortune to the worshipers, which could provide success in both life and death, and help create a strong set of rules and/or morals for the community.

(Skipping ahead a bit so you don't have to read a novel...)

What all of these creation stories have in common is the deep rooted dependence on their faith. They used familiar and comfortable ideas to explain the unknown and help bring order to chaos, their community being the source of inspiration for the familiar. These stories gave them something to bind them together as a community, and provided a way to pass this knowledge on to future generations. The same still holds true today. Personally, my lack of faith is defined by my beliefs. I do not believe in a God, but I do believe in other things such as science and karma.

Post Script: Well, I apparently love appositives. Haha. I'm not surprised. They seem to have a little more creative give when I'm writing. Perhaps a little more creative freedom. Anyway, let me know if I've gotten anything wrong! It's a lot harder for me to spot these things when I'm not writing the sentences right then and there.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Atheism and Boners in Church

I am currently working on the first chapter of a Young Adult Novel for Engl 325, so the following is my attempt at progress toward its completion. BE WARNED: Adult language and sexual innuendos are prominent in this excerpt.

No, consciousness.


Head throbbing. Liquid.

Blood? Sweat? It is hot.
Or am I cold?
I don’t know.


Stay awake!
Scream for help. Yell, shout, do SOMETHING!






                It’s Sunday. My favorite day of the week. The day my mother dresses me in her idea of my Sunday best and escorts me through the threshold of a building that should burn me alive—SAVING GRACE CHURCH. I don’t believe in God anymore. It was swell when I was a child, but the swelling’s gone down. Now when she drags me toward the pulpit, I can feel the laser beams emanating from the eyes of Jesus Christ himself, blaring down on the top of my head in an attempt to ensure the safety of my immortal—and eternally damned—soul.
                My obvious lack of belief in something imaginary scares the shit out of my mother, ALTHOUGH she’d never use that sort of derogatory smut to define fecal matter herself. She’d be more likely to just give me that look (Yeah. Exactly.) and tell me that all good people go to church so God can tell us what to do with our lives. I mean, who wouldn't want to have some imaginary “whatever” planning out every aspect of your life?
                As we make our way through the lobby filled with other sheep, I see her, THAT BEAUTIFUL GODDESS MEGHAN LARSON, and think of how much hotter she’d be if she didn't have the mental disability of believing in God. Seriously. WHEN YOU’RE GRACED WITH LONG LEGS, A PERFECT SMILE, AND A MAGNIFICENT ASS, IT’S HARD TO UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO FUCK UP YOUR LIFE BY BELIEVING IN A STORY WRITTEN BY A BUNCH OF DRUNKEN HIPPIES. We pass her and the smell is intoxicating: FRESH STRAWBERRIES MIXED WITH A HINT OF RAINFALL. It has become the only thing I look forward to during the week. I am invisible to her the other six days, but Sunday she always makes it a point to smile at me as my senses overload causing the half chub in my pants to become hard to hide. God damn khakis.
                Standing next to her is Jason (A COMPLETE AND TOTAL DOUCHE) WHO manages to help confirm my theory that all worshipers of Christ are bat-shit crazy. He’s the kind of person that is born again around adults and the son of Satan when he thinks no one’s looking, WHOSE breath and eyes should be a dead giveaway, but his parents always seem to look the other way—turn the other cheek, if you really want to be a jack ass about it. Ha.

(This next sentence is more of an afterthought for a paragraph or two later.)
The rest of the service becomes a blur, AS it is invaded by the scent of freshness tinted with citrus.

Dear Commenter,
The sentence that starts out "Standing next to her is Jason" is giving me a bit of trouble. I can't decide whether I should put a comma after the parenthetical or leave it as is. What do you think? Otherwise, comment on whatever you want! =)

Friday, September 21, 2012

FANBOYS...Not just for female pop groups anymore.

Once again I am faced with the question of what I have learned, BUT I would rather speak about what I've attempted to learn. I am still struggling with parts of sentences, but I feel that my knowledge has grown. BECAUSE Barbara highlighted the verbs within the sentences we had created on Tuesday, everything seems a little clearer for me now. It is easier for me to recognize a linking verb now because I finally understand that what comes after it is directly related to describing the subject. ALTHOUGH intransitive verbs have always come a little more easily for me, given they have the capability to complete the sentence without the use of an object or clause, I didn't know their actual name. I guess that's something else I've been attempting to learn this week--keeping track of all the vocabulary associated with the parts of a sentence. Some things I still have trouble remembering on a regular basis are adverbs (those scare me), particles, prepositions, and prepositional phrases. I hope to one day successfully have those down and to never ever EVER forget them!

I lied. I do want to talk about what I've learned. Haha.

I had never really thought about what young children go through while learning to write, OR the impact one person (their teacher) could have on their progress. Since we started reading the article on Dora, I've thought a lot about what Dora must have been feeling herself. What could possibly be working its way through the mind of a 5-7 year old as they move from one stage to the next in the writing process? How receptive are they to verbal and visual tools and cues given to them during this transitioning period? Does anyone ever really stop improving their writing? These questions kept popping into my mind while reading, causing me to think about the learning process from the other side. I don't remember my own learning process, BUT just thinking outside of the box could help me understand what future students are going through. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've learned that thinking outside of the box can be a great thing when your goal in life is to teach others.

One last thing I learned this week that more or less left me giggling is that acronyms can be hilarious. FANBOYS and AAAWWUBBIS is probably one of the funniest things I've come across this semester in any of my classes, AND I'm reading both Beowolf and The Iliad. There's comic gold in both of those works. I don't expect to remember the words associated with AAAWWUBBIS, BUT I will always remember that it creates a subordinate clause (and then giggle at how funny it sounds).

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Drawing the Short Straw

Once again, there are a couple things that have been learned this past week, even though I, MYSELF, was not present for half of our class-week. Completely separate from things learned in class, I realize once again that:

I believe that meme is befitting of how I felt for the majority of the week (and some of the week before).

Moving on, I've also come to realize that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing when it comes to parts of a sentence. BETWEEN YOU AND ME, it's something that, if I managed to learn the parts in the past, I don't remember now. During class on Thursday I couldn't even get through the first page of the newspaper when we were set free to work on our own. That's just sad. Seriously.

I'm hoping to improve my knowledge and be able to distinguish the different parts of a sentence some day. It's something that I will need to focus on and work toward over the next few years as I come closer to becoming a teacher. I want to be able to recognize where students are going wrong and explain to them why. That's very important: being able to explain why. It's easy to point out mistakes to someone, especially mistakes in their writing, but it's often hard to tell them why it's wrong. It's hard to be able to tell them how to fix it and why that way is correct while the other one is wrong. I want to have that knowledge so I can have a stockpile of ways to explain things to future students. Only saying something is wrong doesn't help them.

I'll admit that it's hard to come up with new things to say that weren't said in my blog last week. That being the case, I'm going to leave you with an excerpt from something I had read for my English 370 class that still seeps into my mind. I don't find it beautiful for it's mood, but rather it's ownership.

"Full of grief, I make this poem about myself, my own fate. I have the right to say what miseries I have endured since I grew up, new or old--never greater than now. Endlessly I have suffered the wretchedness of exile." -The Wife's Lament

Friday, September 7, 2012

Handy-Capable: What I've Learned and Possibly Un-Learned

Learning has always been something that I’ve enjoyed, so it’s not far-fetched to say that I’ve gained a significant amount of knowledge within the short 3 weeks we’ve been in class. I’ll admit that some of it has been a refresher of concepts and ideas that I’ve already come in contact with, but there are still things that I’ve picked up.

Most recently, I’ve discovered that if the subject is right I enjoy academic reading. Our article on Dora is something that I’ve enjoyed picking apart as I’ve gone through it. ITS CONTENTS HAVE GRASPED MY MIND IN A WAY THAT I HAVEN’T EXPERIENCED PREVIOUSLY WHILE READING A NON-FICTIONAL TEXT. Usually I find myself dozing off while reading text book type literature because it just couldn’t hold my interest. I’m glad to have learned that grammar actually captures my attention and causes me to want to read more.


I’VE COME TO REALIZE THAT MY OWN INTERPRETATION OF TEXT AND HOW IT SHOULD BE PUNCTUATED CAN BE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THAN YOURS. Thanks to Cordeiro, I can feel better about the freedom I have with my writing because “effective punctuation, like effective writing, is the result of good judgment, not of one’s ability to follow so-called rules of good punctuation or writing” (111-112). AS A STUDENT, I’VE ALWAYS BEEN FAIRLY LIBERAL WITH MY PUNCTUATION, USUALLY GOING BY GUT INSTINCT FOR PLACEMENT INSTEAD OF WHERE A RULE DICTATES I SHOULD PLACE A COMMA OR PERIOD; AS A TEACHER, I WILL BE ABLE TO ALLOW MY STUDENTS THE SAME PRIVILEGE. They’ll be able to explore and develop their own knowledge and writing style, and feel good about their progress knowing they’re allowed to make mistakes or take creative liberties.

I am hopeful that I will continue to build knowledge in this class, developing a solid approach to handling grammatical situations with my future students, and learn more about the process of development in writing. I also hope that eventually it won’t take me hours on end to figure out a way to incorporate our patterns of the week. Writers block certainly set in this time. Haha.

COMMENTER: What are your thoughts on punctuation? Do you usually try to follow the rules or your instincts? Do you typically like a lot of punctuation or as little as possible? Are you scared of lengthy sentences with multiple clauses? Feel free to answer any, all, or none of these. Just figured I’d give you a good topic to comment about. =)