Friday, May 28, 2010

Full --> Fuller

Writing a research paper is a learning experience. Going into the research paper I really didn’t know what I would write about. I found that the research part of the research paper is really where I figured out an angle to go from. I set out in a quest to find some good academic sources on imagination and what I found actually interested me. I came across a great philosophical article by Timothy M. Costelloe, titled "Hume’s Phenomenology of the Imagination." It went into immense discussion on the process of imagination. 
I learned about the imagistic powers, conceptual powers and productive powers of the imagination. I was most surprised by the concept of the productive power of imagination. To quote Costelloe “These ideas transcend experience and include those of space with nothing tangible or visible (a vacuum), time without change and succession, continued existence, substance and self-identity, and the immortal soul.”  This concept is deep. I was surprised to come across concepts so mind-bending in my research.
I made a realization that I can come across something like that anywhere. I reconnected with the idea of being surprised by deepness. I also realized that sometimes, communication can be a bit difficult. How can I get this idea across in a blog? Frustration.
This paper had some frustration other than communication. Bits of good and bad. My first review for revising this paper complimented me a lot, but didn’t offer much to help me improve. Another review was extremely helpful. Lots of comments, lots of criticism. So whoever gave me that one, THANK YOU! Others can do a great job of catches mistakes that you missed.
I feel that I should have learned more from this research paper, but I honestly feel that I have taken in so much information this semester that learning more in this research paper is a bit like putting gas into an already full tank. Overflow. My mind is full and I can put the pump on, but most of the gasoline is just spilling onto the floor and getting all over my shoes. 
But perhaps I am being a bit unfair.To say I learned little,would be a suggestion that my fellow classmate taught me little. That is not true. In fact reading other peoples papers did help me learn. I was amazed by what may fellow students wrote and am actually looking at their essays as a model of how I can improve my own.
So yes, I am fluctuating back an forth between attitudes within this post, but hey that’s how my mind goes. Mixed emotions. Glad I learned things but wish I learned more. I hope I’ve learned to not just think entirely about myself though. I hope that I have learned to appreciate others work and learn something from them. I hope that I have learned that there are other ideas and opinions out there than mine and that I can learn something from them. I hope that no matter how “full” I get, that I can always get fuller.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Oh boy... the research paper. Do we really have to talk about that? I fear that this blog may interfere greatly with my procrastination. At this point, I don’t have a lot of solid work done. I am actually still reading the Great Gatsby and that worries me a little bit. On the plus side I took a “writing research paper” workshop in the Learning center today. So I have completed the first step (somewhat) of getting organized.
I have read all the details and understand the assignment very well, as well as all the requirements. BUT, I don’t really have a good time schedule or goals laid out. AND this week is super busy.  I am working Weds - Saturday, and have school wed and thursday. So both those days I can’t work on the paper. I need to finish reading the Great Gatsby, and go from having 0 pages to having 5 by Sunday, with the only available time to do that being today (which I also have to take the two hour timed essay, since I can’t on Weds or Thursday), when I get off work Friday night or before work Saturday morning. And whatever is left I’ll have to work on Sunday after noon (so much for a day of rest right?). 
Did I mention, I haven’t started doing any research? In fact I really don’t know what to search for with the prompt I chose. I’m supposed to talk about how the girl’s in Reading Literature in Tehran reinvent themselves and discuss the illusions their society creates as well as the illusions they create and relate that to Gatsby “honesty of imagination.” Hmmm... where should I begin to search? Do I look up Iranian society? Scholarly literary analysis of Reading Lolita In Tehran and The Great Gatsby? Scientific or psychological articles about imagination or honesty? I just don’t know what direction to take there.
Not to mention, that all of this is going to require more reading... ah! Cue the violin music, as the S.S. Ben’s Research Paper sinks into the harbor. Hopeless! Hopeless! Hopeless! Hopeless! Okay, I may be getting a little over dramatic, but hey Jennifer said vent! And my form of venting is highly dramatic.
So here I find myself in this sticky situation, things look bleak, and I am wishing my research paper was done, well wishing this semester is over... but anyways, there must be a glimmer of hope or some silver lining in these thunderclouds. So let’s take a look at the glass half full! I gave my final speech in Public Speaking, so there are no more assignments in that class, doesn’t look like I have any home work in Art History either. AND, there are no Exploring Language questions or Reading Discussion questions to wrestle with this week... and I already finished my extra credit blog for English, AND I am finish this blog right now on a Tuesday! 
So even if it does come down to finishing this draft at the eleventh hour, at least this paper will be the only thing I have to worry about at the eleventh hour. Besides now that I’ve vented through this blog, I can start to fell the fog roll out of my mind and the little gears of inspiration slowly start to turn. This paper is again, possible.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dr. Roberts

Dr. Robert, your a new and better man,
He helps you to understand,
He does everything he can, Dr. Robert.

- The Beatles

    Tuesday, May 11th. The cafeteria at Antelope Valley College is packed. No, it is overflowing. I sit in anticipation with my laptop ready for not taking, and am very glad I came a half hour early to get good seating. I am sitting here because I will get extra credit for doing so, but as the moments leading up to Dr. Terrence Roberts speech progress, an energy in the room, something in the air sweeps me up away from my trivial purpose of extra credit to real purpose; I can learn something today.
    Dr. Robert takes the mic. He is calm cool collected and speaks with flawless grammar and diction. He is tall and his head is crowned with grey hairs of wisdom. I listen. I learn. My learning goes beyond a visceral knowledge of what happened when 9 black students tried to attend a white high school in Little Rock. Dr. Roberts didn't just inform me of these events, or fill in a few extra details, he increased my understanding of the situation and of the context in which it took place. He gave me a new perspective to look at the issues from.

    First he told me what it meant to be a young black boy in the segregated south. He told me of the trials he faced, the horrible inequality. He explained that we all come into this universe the same way, but that he somehow missed the memo that you should have white skin instead of black. As a young boy he had to figure out what the reasoning, what the rational justification for the walls of segregation could possible be. He questioned why the color of his skin determined his opportunities, where he could live, go to school, work or even eat. the only logical conclusion he could deduce is this "white people are stone crazy!"
    Then he went on to explain how he had to live by the rules of segregation in order to survive. He talked about how it really was a dangerous world of life or death for him. When he heard people say that he and the other students should be hanged, he believed that they were serious, because this is how things were. You could be killed. But even in the face of all this, of being forced to conform to these rules, of being beaten down and of the horrible harassment faced, he knew he couldn't follow the rules any longer. He had to go back to that school and fight on. He was there , not to represent any group of people, but simply to educate himself. He had to do this, because it was the right thing to do.

   He went on to discuss that United States had been legally and constitutionally segregated for 335 years and only legally non-segregated for 56. He explained that racism and segregation still exist today. He says they persist, because Americans after 335 years got good at segregation and overall the 335 outweigh the 56. Racism and segregation is still a part of the United States because through those 335 years it has been sown into the social fabric.

I could go on and on about what I learned. But I will suffice to say I was enlightened, by Dr, Roberts.

Stretched Thin

Oh man...
too much to do and too little time. (cliche I know, but true)

Being pulled in about 8,000 directions at the moment. School is definitely piling up right now. We're right at the end and it's just that last stretch that seems nearly impossible to complete. And then to add to it, gotta work. taking on 4 shifts this week. Man I'm going to be tired... but hey that's $.

Still looking for a local job... starting to get more and more worried about the wear and tear on my car due to the constant commuting.

Oh well, this blog began in a poetic-ish style, but dissolved into complaint. Ah...
things don't go the way you plan them it seems. They go what the opposite. My head's much to full. too full to let my sleep... to quote the good old Bob Dylan "I've got a head full of Ideas that are driving me insane!"

I've got at least 20 half-baked ideas fighting to get to the surface.
Rewrites for my tv show.
Songs for the concert scene in said tv show.
Becoming a real video-production business, acting "professional."
A "Hagar the Horrible" short film.
a combination of Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 short film.
My magnum opus: an epic sci-fiction movie about Time and the universe.
and more!

But sleep should be attempted, dreams should be had.
good night void

Friday, May 14, 2010


    My online style is diverse. My online style has range. My style is dynamic and adaptable. My style is not just a style it is styles. When I get online, there is not just one format to communicate in or medium to work through, so I must adapt and tailor fit my communication to each specific mode I come across.

     The first mode of online communication that I, and most of us, come across is email. Email requires a personal style. It’s sort of like writing a letter. But it can also requires us to be formal or business like, albeit still striving to sound personal. One such instance could be submitting a resume online via email. But for the most part, email is a way to stay in touch with friends and family so my emails reflect a very personal style in which I share my thoughts.

     Another mode of communication we commonly bump up against is the social networking aspect. This can divided into a few different things within itself: messages, comments, status updates and instant messaging. Messages are essentially email within the context of a social networking site, so my style reflects that of an email. Comments are quite different than messages, where as messages are private between sender and receiver, comments are public. I go for a quick and humorous style in my comments that everyone can enjoy, not just the intended receiver because comments due to their public nature have an audience. I keep comments short sweet and to the point. Status updates much like comments are public and should be audience centered. In fact status updates are wholly audience centered because there is no specific intended receiver. Status updates function more like a news broadcast just out there for everyone to see. My style of sharing my status with others is that I limit myself to either humorous remarks, or things that are actually newsworthy. Nobody (but your narcissistic self) cares what type of cereal you had for breakfast. Finally that leaves us with instant message. Instant messaging is all about short little messages. My style is like sending a text message, trying to condense information into fewer words. Although unlike the complete back and forth ping-pong style communication we call texting, instant messaging is more conversational. My style of instant messaging is a conversational style, I simply write what I would have said in a verbal conversation (plus smiley faces for emphasis).

     That brings us to a third style of online communication, which is one of my favorites, public relations. I use the language of advertising and public relations to promote my business throughout various avenues online. This involves social networking, web design, email and blogging. I use an official sounding tone to give my business presence online in social networking sites. I use the same language to give out information on my website. I shamelessly self-promote through tweets and status updates that keep people involved in what’s going on with my business. I use email to send newsletters that are informative and entertaining. I use blogging to give a more detailed behind the scenes and personal look into what’s going on, which brings me to the final mode of online communication I’d like to discuss.
   Blogging, you must be familiar with it. You’re doing it right now. My style for blogging is a personal stlye. I love to embrace narratives and metaphorical language to bring my thoughts to life. I treat my blogs often as a sort of journal or diary for my thoughts on various subjects. The blog is one place where I am more likely to embrace stream of consciousness writing and worry less about structure. When the creative juices just flow like that, that’s my favorite style.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Subjective Nature

In 1909, The National Board of Censorship controls the film industry. They censor topics such as prostitution, childbirth and masturbation. In the 1930’s, the film studios hold to a production code to ensure proper content. This self enforced censorship included several tenets such as “evil can’t go unpunished,” ‘no profanity,” “limited scenes of passion,” and “no inter-racial romance.” Filmmakers such as Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock pushed the envelope and challenged the boundaries of what was allowed. Orson Welles’ film “A Touch of evil” broke nearly all the rules, it was violent, the Sheriff (played by Welles) was actually the bad guy, and the lead character was a Mexican detective (played by Charles Heston) married to a white American woman. The production company actually chose to re-edit the film to take out all the bad stuff while Welles was in Europe working on another project. He wrote a long letter explaining how the film should have been properly cut and from that letter the film was reconstructed in 1998. Alfred Hitchcock was infamous for pushing his movies to include dirty things just as he is famous for having cameos in his films. He got in the most trouble with his famous movie “Psycho.” The shower murder scene was extremely provocative because of the violence and nudity (albeit cleverly barely hidden). The film was rejected by the production code, and the studio told Hitchcock to make changes. So he waited a couple months and sent the film back, unchanged. They believed he had made the changes and thanked him for doing so and the movie made it to the theaters intact.

The government once again got involved with the film industry in 1939 when the US Department of Justice tried to break-down vertical integration. This meant that studios could not book a whole block of films together because they would mix a few good films with a bunch of worthless ones and that the studios could not own theaters. The Government struck down unjustly in 1947 when the Un-American Activities committee black listed 100’s of people in Hollywood because they were considered t be communist sympathizers. In 1968 the production code is terminated and is replaced by the current MPAA rating system. The MPAA rating system is a voluntary system that filmmakers comply to. The system is determined by group of families who oversee reviewing and rating the films. This systems works because it does not censor any content or topics, but rather acts a a warning label for viewers. A viewer can know what to expect in a G, PG, PG-13 or R rated feature. It also works because anyone that wants to make money of their films understands that people want to know what something is rated, and if the filmmaker understands his target audience the films content and rating will fit the needs of that audience.

The current system of MPAA rating looks to be the best solution. It is done without government intervention, or any cost to tax-payers. The rating system warns customers of explicit content. The only problems have to with the actual standards used to rate a film. Often filmmakers will include just enough bad language or just one brief shot of nudity to get the R rating for their feature. A movie like this doesn’t really seem to be the same R rating as a movie that has constant cursing and nudity. The problem there isn’t necessarily the rating system though, but rather the subjective nature of people’s tastes and attitudes towards sexual content, graphic violence and foul language.