October 31, 2005
Oh. the possibilities...
October 30, 2005
Hey so I'm seeing some really good ideas that you guys have been putting for your neovox articles and I just wanted to make sure everyone in the class knows that Cortland Writers' Association is accepting submissions until Nov 10th for our litmags. Please submit!!
A few weeks ago, I posted a link to an article that talked about how Google, in an attempt to scan library books to make them available online, is being sued for copyright infringement. For those of you who commented on that article, I thought you would find it interesting to know that there is an UPDATE on this story.
Google has made some modifications to their project. They are allowing any authors who do not want their work to be published online to opt out of this project. Also, Google is no longer going to reprint the books in their entirety or even in large portions. They are going to reprint three or so lines of a main part of the book so that the information can be easily found online. For example, if someone is searching for a specific piece of information and he types that information in a search engine, if that info is in a book that Google has scanned, a few lines pertaining to the desired info will show up. This will let the searcher know that this book is out there and that it has some of the information he is looking for. The article has more about the specifics.
Along with most of you who commented on this issue before, I agree that Google is in the "right" here. I mean, these books are in libraries, available for free check-out. Now that Google has made these latest modifications to please those who are protesting, it seems to me as if everyone should be happy. However, as the article suggests, Google still might not have a chance of winning the lawsuits and pulling this off. I'd like to think otherwise. Who wouldn't want this great addition of information added to the internet? I would think the authors would be happy. From my perspective, this is free advertisement for them. It definitely boosts their chances of having their books (that usually sit on a library shelf somewhere) get noticed.
October 27, 2005
Relating to "The Blogger that Loathed Me"
I find it quite interesting that people read blogs, much less lit blogs. The Almond essay said that people just read blogs in hopes of their own blogs being mentioned. It seems with all the blogs on the Internet and all the posting people do and the hopes of being mentioned elsewhere, people just want to have their existance justified. As if living in reality isn't enough, they want to have an online identity as well. Reality is small and most times people won't become world famous. But having a blog on the World-Wide Web, where anyone can view it, is more like you are know the world over. You are a person and you are real.
October 26, 2005
remote control people is a crazy concept!
I find the article that Nicole posted to be facinating. I would have never in my wildest dreams thought that people would ever be able to be controlled by a remote control. I remember as a kid talking to my friends about if I could have a remote that controls people I could make them stop, rewind, mute, etc. But I knew it was just my imagination. Now that could all very become true. At the rate that they're advancing in technology such as this, who knows what they will come up with. I do however feel that using electrical currents on the brain like this could be quite dangerous, but as they said in the article they have not yet seen negative health effects when it was tested.
Remotes can now control people
Is technology starting to go a little too far?
Remote controls for people
Important Dates to Remember
By: Deena Aglialoro
Days aren't all just numbers on a calendar. Some of those numerals are actually moments frozen in time that will either leave you breathless, or knock the wind out of you and leave you fuming.
Valentine's Day is commercialized- but so what?
Christmas is stressful with buying the right present for the right person, and dealing with returns of your own.
Whatever she did for your birthday, you have to out do for her's.
And as for anniversaries- do guys really remember the date without the constant "subtle" reminders?
I'll let you in on the secret- these are the only four holidays you really need to remember, and all the rest should just be honorably mentioned.
Valentine's Day is a holiday to honor of the elusive St. Valentine. He was martyred for attempting to bring justice against unfair rulers, which doesn't really send the heart-filled, chocolate covered strawberry message. Supposedly, Valentine fell in love with a young girl and allegedly wrote her a letters from prison, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. The Christian church had said that mid-February was seen as a "pure" time due to the beginning of spring coming and after many different traditions passed, in the 17th centuary people began handing out tokens of affection to friends and family, thus beginning the idea that flowers, chocolates and presents to express one's love are required on this 'special' day.
And let me tell you boys- girls eat this up as quickly as they scoff down the heart shaped chocolate. What better way to tell and show someone how much you care about them then to have one specific day of the year designed just for that? Because girls believe this is the time to let your feelings shine through- do NOT ignore this or it will be seen as a lack of caring. Even if you do the stereotypical things like dinner by candlelight or a nice box of chocolates at least you're doing something to show that you remembered the holiday, and remembered that it mattered to her.
Helpful hint #1: If you've been together for a while and you do genuinely care for her, the flower petals on the bed, sweet smelling candles, romantic music and a beautifully written card will say everything you need to.
Christmas is another time of year that you need to remember. Even though money always seems to be tight around this time since you're buying for family as well, she's been planning this for months and needs to know that the same amount of thought is going into this. Because we're in college and Christmas time is one of the few times we can go home to family, a surprise knock on the door is worth more than an expensive bracelet.
Helpful hint #2: If you have the option to be together for this holiday, take it. The effort you put into seeing each other means more than anything you could ever buy. But if you really can afford buying her that beautiful set of earrings she saw in the window of Zales, take the hint and go for it.
Birthdays are that one day a year that is just yours. No one else can celebrate on the same day as you unless, ironically, they were born that day too. This is the time to make her feel special for just being her.
And when it comes to anniversaries- this is make or break point of a relationship.
Birthdays are important because of it solely being about the other person, and for that,
you better remember the date, but an anniversary is about the two of you becoming one unit. If you don't remember that day, you might as well not even remember that you're dating someone. Whereas a birthday is something special for that person, an anniversary is something special the two of you can do together where the whole world is excluded.
Helpful hint #3: Run away together for a night or a weekend. Even if you're too busy to celebrate the day of your actual anniversary- take the time to get away together and realize why you're together. Just being together is so much more beneifical.
The Southland neovox article/ profile/ show review
The South Rises
The Southland: Influence of Geography shows strength
CD Review by Aaron Fallon
If you're a fan of such great groups like The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie or even The Postal Service, you may want to check out the debut CD from the band The Southland, “Influence of Geography”. The title in itself is amusing, because once you listen to it; you easily can hear the influences of those other bands, and a few others as well.
The band was born out of the friendship/ roommate collaboration in 2002 from lead singer Jed Tucker Whedon and lead guitarist Nick Gusikoff. They initially made songs together as Christmas gifts for friends. It paid off, leading to the other members to join in and create a strong, original sound of their own, while blending in their own influences to create the melodic sounds and strong lyrics you hear on “influence of Geography”. You can hear some of their own influences, like Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Jane's addiction, in their music. However they manage to pull it off without completely ripping them off, they still have their own original sound. I wish most debuts could say the same.
One of the strongest songs on the record is “305”, about arguing with someone you love. “Silence only explains/ everything you're trying not to say/ I'll leave this city and escape/ even if it stops my heart someday.” Combining that chorus with great guitar riffs and percussion and you have the makings of an excellent song. There's also the song “Miles”, which sounds like a Death Cab or Postal Service song. Whedon's cherub-esque vocals over the tranquil techno beat with sad, almost haunting background vocals that are reminiscent of older Peter Gabriel songs. “Who knew you'd have things so heavy/ there's barely a bright side to see/ I say I'll come to rescue/ with perfect timing.” There are numerous examples of how well Whedon and Gusikoff's collaborative writing pays off on “Influence”, and with an article so short, it will not do The Southland nearly enough justice.
In a nutshell: Pick Up This CD! It's one of those albums you can listen to when you are thinking of sour times, sorting out pass failures and mistakes that we all make in our relationships, or just working on homework. You can also see them live in Ithaca on Wednesday November 16th. For details on that show check out www.thehaunt.com.
Note: I will be following this up with a show review and I am trying to contact the band's PR person to possibly interview them for a band profile as well.
NeoVox Article #2
Ever since I could remember, NASCAR racing has been a part of my life. My dad loves sitting on the couch watching (and sometimes napping through) the races, his lucky socks on with his favorite driver’s number on them, hoping he wins. Some think NASCAR racing is for rednecks and they’re pleasantly surprised when I tell them I am a fan of the sport. But as soon as they hear the word “sport” they become defensive. “NASCAR is not a sport!” they’d say. "They’re driving around in circles, how hard can it be?” I personally don’t care either way whether it’s a sport or not. But it makes me wonder: Is it a sport? And what are the elements involved in order for something to become a sport?
In order to resolve this long-running debate, deep investigation was needed. I looked on the Internet and discovered a nifty website called www.sportnonsport.com that gave a scoring system to determine whether an activity is just that or if it could possibly be considered a sport. By using this scoring system, I can then put to rest all of my (and maybe some other people’s) fears.
The scoring system is very simple. Four criteria are used to determine what an activity is: physical exertion, skill, rules, and competition. If something has all four of these criteria, they can then move on to the scoring phase. When all the subscores are added up and the final score is over 75 points, the activity can be considered a sport. A score between 50 and 74 is a recreation activity (like a contest or a game), between 25 and 49 is a leisure activity and anything below 24 is a hobby.
Each criteria has several subcategories that are assigned scores which then determine whether something is a sport or not. Physical exertion has the following subcategories measuring it: conditioning, endurance or “toll”, lifespan, injury, and who or what. Skill is established by practice, body type, athlete, equipment mastery and equipment involvement/participation. Rules are basically how the winner is determined. Competition is based on physical contact, offense/defense, interaction, environment and head-to-head. (A complete breakdown of what each subcategory means can be found at http://sportnonsport.com/sport2.htm.)
Each criteria has 30 maximum amount of points to be earned, except rules which is only 10 points. Going through the extended version of the subcategories, I will try to give an unbiased score of NASCAR racing to see if it is actually a sport.
Physical: For conditioning I give a 0/6. If someone knows how to drive a stick shift, he/she can drive in NASCAR. There is not physical preparation required. For toll I give a 3/6. It depends on the race day and whether or not the driver crashed into a wall. Lifespan: 3/6. The older a driver gets, the harder it is for him/her to take the physical toll. Injury: 6/6. The slightest move can send them crashing into the wall and potentially kill them. Who or what would get a 1 out of 6 because it’s not the driver doing the majority of the work, it’s the car. For Physical I give NASCAR racing a 13.
Second criteria is skill. For practice I give a 4/6. Not much practice is needed to drive the car, but to drive at those speeds does take quite a lot. Athlete gets a 2/6. There is no strength or agility involved, but endurance is a big one. Not being able to stand high temperatures for a long period of time means you canot race cars. Body type receives a 0 out of 6. No one has to train their body in order to race, as long as they are fit for driving. Equipment mastery gets a 2 out of 6. Nearly everyone of legal age knows how to drive a car, NASCAR racing just adds a few extras. For equipment contribution I give a 2 out of 6. The car does most of the work and can go at high speeds with any type of driver. Overall skill has 10 points.
Rules would get a 10 out of 10. It is totally up to the drivers to determine who wins a race, it is not determined by judges or someone outside of racing completely.
Competition has 5 subcategories. For physical contact I give a 4 out of 6. If the driver’s car comes in contact with another car, and the first driver is knocked unconscious, that driver cannot continue with the rest of the race and the outcome is thus affected. Offense/defense receives a 6/6. Not only do drivers need to have a plan to win, but they need to be ready to defend themselves against other drivers. Interaction also get a 6 out of 6 from me. One driver’s actions directly affects another’s. For environment I give another 6/6. The drivers are surrounded by others who want to win as well, so everyone is everyone’s enemy and the environment is more aggressive. The last factor is head-to-head. I give this a 6 out of 6. Everyone is driving at the same time, not separately. Competition gets a 28 out of 30.
In the end, when all the scores are added up, NASCAR racing gets a 61, which is a recreational activity. While it does not qualify as a sport it is still pretty close. I suppose NASCAR racing isn’t actually a sport, not in the way rugby or football is. But it is still extremely competitive and has a lot of elements to it. I’m not going to stop watching, and other fans shouldn’t either. It doesn’t matter that it’s not a sport, it’s still enjoyable.
What Is a Sport And What Is Not
Neovox Article 2
Here's my short story, "The Meeting." Excuse the spacing--when I copied my story onto this post the spacing got all messed up.
“Beth?” I called from the bottom of the stairs. “Dad is ready for our suitcases.”
“Okay, but come in here first. I have something to show you.”
I raced up the steps. Ever since I entered seventh grade that year Beth started treating me less like a little sister and more like a best friend. She’d tell me juicy secrets about gossip she heard in the halls at school, and sometimes she’d even let me read her journal.
“Ta da,” Beth said as she handed me a large portrait drawing. “What do you think?”
“It’s great! It looks like you, but it’s a guy!”
“That’s what I think my real dad looks like.” Beth paused. “Well, kind of,” she added, lowering her head. “I think I’m going to give it to him when I meet him, you know as a little gift.”
“Amber? Beth? Come on girls. We’ve got a long ride ahead of us,” Dad yelled.
I thought Dad and Mom would be upset when Beth first told them she wanted to meet her real parents, but they weren’t. “It’s only natural to be curious,” Dad said “and at sixteen, Beth is old enough to make this decision.” Mom added that it was important for us to try to understand Beth’s feelings about her adoption, even if it meant traveling to see her biological parents.
Dad and Mom knew little about the parents they had met briefly fifteen years ago when they signed legal documents at the courthouse, so it took them a while to try to locate them. They never found Beth’s mom, and they called around for days before they could finally contact her dad. He had moved back to his hometown in Arkansas.
Beth was at a friend’s house; it was late, and I was supposed to be sleeping when they called him, but I wasn’t. And, because my room was right beside Dad and Mom’s, I lay in bed with my ear pressed against the wall and heard his voice, clearly, over the speaker phone.
The phone rang three times, and then a deep, raspy voice answered, “Hello?”
“Hi. My name is David King, and I am looking for Bill Wood,” Dad said in his friendly phone voice.
“Yeah. He’s here,” the voice continued in a slow, dragging tone.
There was some shuffling, and then the voice cackled, “Son, phone’s for you.”
A few seconds passed, and then Bill picked up the phone. “Hello?” His voice was similar to the first voice, apparently his father’s, but more slurred.
Dad repeated, “Hi. This is David King, Beth’s adoptive—”
“I know ya’,” Bill cut in. “Everything all right?”
“Yes. Everything is just fine. My wife and I were just calling to see where you relocated and umm to see if, well to see if you had ever thought much about visiting Beth.” I could hear the nervousness in Dad’s voice. He usually wasn’t nervous.
“Oh, I think about ‘er sometimes,” he said slowly, as if he was thinking about her then.
“Well, Beth has mentioned wanting to see you—”
“I wouldn’t mind. Be kinda nice to see how she turned out and all.”
“Okay. We’re still living in Indiana, so I thought that—”
“I’ll tell ya’, I can’t make it there anytime soon. Things have been kinda tight lately and—”
“Oh, no. We were planning to make the trip down there. We’d bring Beth to see you.”
Everyone was silent. I wondered what Mom was doing. Was she just listening? I pressed my ear closer against the wall, hoping they hadn’t turned off the speaker phone.
Finally, Bill replied, “That’d be nice. I reckon you could bring ‘er by my place. Now, the place ain’t nice,” he said slurring even more. But it’s my own.”
“Okay,” Dad said slowly and almost rudely. What is your schedule for this summer?”
“Oh, I piddle around here and there durin’ the day and am here at Momma’s for dinner in the evenin’s. Nothin’ special.” His words ran together, sounding as if he had just woken up.
“Well, my wife and I are going to talk this over, and we’ll call you back when we find a good date.”
“Okay,” he said slowly.
“It was good talking to you.”
I couldn’t hear anything for a few minutes. Then, Mom’s crying broke the silence.
“He was drunk,” she said angrily, raising her voice the way she does when Dad upsets her.
“I know, honey. I know.”
“We can’t let her see him like that,” she raised her voice even louder. “Can you imagine how hurt Beth would be if she saw him? He doesn’t even have a job, and at 40-something he still bums off his parents!”
“Shhh. You’re going to wake up Amber.” I jerked my ear from the wall when Dad said my name, but they kept talking, so I waited a few seconds then quietly pressed my face against the wall again.
“Well, what he does with his life is his business, but I am not hurting Beth by putting her in a situation where she has to see her father that way,” she said firmly.
“We won’t go. It’s that simple,” Dad said softly. I pressed my ear harder against the wall to hear him better. “I think that it is best to explain to Beth that now is not a good time to see her Dad. Okay?”
Mom must have nodded because Dad replied, “Good. Now, let’s get some sleep tonight, and we’ll talk to Beth tomorrow.”
I fell asleep wondering whether I should tell Beth what I had heard.
The next evening at dinner, Dad told Beth he had some news.
“Beth, your Mom and I talked to your biological father last night—
“Yeah!? Does he want to see me!?
“Well, yes, but Mom and I don’t think it’s such a good idea for you to visit him right now.”
“WHAT?” Beth screamed. “THAT’S STUPID.”
“Beth, stop it,” Dad said firmly. We don’t mind that you want to see your dad, but now is not a good time.
Beth jumped up, threw her napkin, and stormed to her room, locking the door behind her.
Mom followed Beth upstairs and begged her to come out so they could talk things over. Beth ignored her until Mom finally gave up for the evening.
The next morning, Beth refused to come out of her room and go to school. When I knocked on her door, she screamed, “YOU STAY AWAY TOO.” I wanted to tell her that Dad and Mom weren’t being mean; they just didn’t want to see her get hurt. Dad banged on Beth’s door and told her that if she didn’t come out, he was going to climb through the window. “ONLY IF I CAN SEE MY DAD,” she screamed.
“We’ll talk about it,” he said.
Beth came out and joined us for breakfast.
“Why can’t I see him?” she asked staring at her egg omelet.
“Beth, what do you think your dad is like?” Mom asked, calmly.
“Like me. Tall. Dark. Athletic.”
“Well, maybe he is, but Beth your Dad is also a lot different than you.
“How is he different?” Beth asked turning her eyes back toward her omelet.”
“He lives differently than we do, Beth,” Dad said slowly and sternly. “He’s doesn’t work, so he doesn’t have much. Not that we are better, but he just lives a different lifestyle, one that you aren’t familiar with. And, Beth, he drinks, more than he should.”
Beth stared at her omelet. She didn’t seem surprised. “So. I don’t care. I still want to see him.”
Dad said he would think about it and let her know tomorrow.
That evening, I knocked on Beth’s door and asked if I could come in. “I guess,” she said, smiling a little.
We talked about our homework for awhile, and then I asked her if she was upset about what Dad and Mom said about her real dad. “No,” she said. “He is who he is.” I was happy that she finally seemed to understand that he wasn’t who she pictured him to be. But, then she said, “I wonder if he has any horses. I love horses.” It was as if she knew the truth about him, but was trying to create her dream dad, one that looked and acted like her and loved everything she loved. I sighed and went back downstairs.
Four weeks later, after many more family discussions and a few more phone calls to Beth’s Dad, we were on our way to Arkansas.
‘Fifty-three’ I counted loudly, trying to drown out Beth’s loud singing as we passed another red car on the interstate. Beth hadn’t stopped talking since we left the house hours ago. “I bet he’s funny, handsome with black hair and loves sports,” she kept exclaiming. I couldn’t understand why she was so excited about meeting some guy who hadn’t seen her or even called her in fifteen years. Wasn’t our dad good enough? Beth had always talked about how great our dad was and how she loved being Daddy’s girl, until the last few weeks when all she could talk about was her “real dad.” The more she talked, the angrier I got. I acted like I couldn’t hear her during our stop for brunch when she asked me if I was as excited as she was. The rest of the way I pretended to read a book.
“We’re almost there,” Dad finally announced, slurping his last bit of coffee.
Beth stared straight ahead holding her drawing. Her bubbly excitement had turned into silence when we passed the big, green “Welcome to Arkansas” sign about an hour ago.
“Now, Beth, just be yourself. There’s no need to be nervous,” Mom said, reaching over the seat to pat Beth’s leg. Ever since Mom went back to college last year to finish the Psychology degree she started eighteen years ago before she married Dad, she was always trying to encourage us to be calm and stay true to our feelings and personalities.
As we turned off the highway, I shielded the sunlight to read the faded black letters, “Wood Lane.” The lane was a car-width worn down path in the middle of a grassy field.
“I believe this is the address,” Dad said, slowing the car.
I craned my neck around Dad’s shoulder. “This is his house?” I uttered.
“Amber, sit down,” Mom demanded, as she stared out the window.
The place looked like a trailer, but only half the size. Grey splintered boards hid behind yellowed peeling paint. Plastic and duct tape covered one small window to the left of the door. The porch was a stack of cement blocks.
Dad slowly unfastened his seatbelt, while Beth glared out the window. Loud barking broke the silence.
Led by three large dogs, a tall, thin man with black, wiry hair staggered onto the porch. His t-shirt, once red now faded to an almost pink, hung loosely around his dirty, torn jeans. He placed his whiskey bottle on the porch behind his left leg.
Dad and Mom exchanged glances.
“Go on. He’s waiting for you,” Mom said, shrugging her shoulders.
Dad made his way toward the man. They shook hands and talked a few minutes before Dad waved his hand for us to get out of the car. Beth slid her drawing underneath the seat.
I scooted close to Dad as we climbed onto the cement blocks, and Beth shuffled behind Mom. I gasped as the dirty mutts rushed to sniff my feet.
“Go on. Get yoselfs on outta here,” the man said, kicking the enormous grayish black dog.
“Beth, this is Bill, your Dad,” Dad said, clearing his throat.
“It’s okay. You can give him a hug,” Mom whispered.
Beth slowly inched toward Bill, her head down and arms half extended. He nervously reached out and gave her a short pat on the back. Beth gradually crept back behind Mom.
Bill’s eyes were round and small just like Beth’s. His hair was the same black shade. He was ugly, though. The few teeth he had were brown and rotten, and his face was wooly with black and gray whiskers. He looked older. A lot older than Dad.
He stared at Beth. “Ya’ look a bit like me,” he uttered softly.
Beth forced a smile, looking away.
“Beth’s in tenth grade. She makes the honor roll every year,” Dad said.
Bill shifted his weight from one foot to the other, still watching Beth.
“She plays basketball, too. Coach made her team captain this year.”
Beth’s arms were crossed as she stared across the grassy field. You could see the disappointment in her face. She could no longer imagine and hope that her dad was the perfect dad who was handsome, who looked and acted like her, and who loved everything she loved. She finally had to accept that he was different from her, very different.
“Sure is hot out here,” Dad mumbled.
Silence. Bill stared at Beth, and Beth stared across the field.
Several minutes passed with Dad talking about Beth’s interests and habits, hoping that Bill would laugh or chime in. Bill only stared at Beth as Dad talked about Beth’s passion for animals and how she loved to help him out with the pigs and horses on their farm. He remained silent, still staring, when Dad asked him the names of his dogs.
“I suppose we should get going,” Dad finally surrendered.
“Do you want to hug him goodbye?” Mom whispered. Beth didn’t budge.
“It was good to see you,” Dad said shaking Bill’s hand. “Thanks for letting us stop by,” Dad continued as he looked toward Beth.
Arms crossed, Beth stepped in front of Bill. “Goodbye,” she mumbled towards the ground. Bill stared, smiling softly. A few seconds passed before he extended an arm and patted her back.
Beth raced down the cement blocks and climbed into the car. Bill, still staring at Beth, mechanically lifted his hand as if to say goodbye. He remained frozen as we drove down the long, grassy path.
“Beth, you feel okay?” Mom said as we turned off the path and onto the highway.
Beth glared out the window, ignoring Mom’s question.
“Listen, honey. I know your dad, Bill, didn’t umm say a lot, but he was happy to see you,” Mom said. “Don’t you remember us telling you about how he wanted to see you and how you’d grown? Maybe he’s a shy person. Or, maybe he was just nervous. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to say when so many thoughts are racing through your mind.”
I reached over and grabbed Beth’s hand. I felt so guilty for ignoring her earlier.
“Beth, would you like to see your dad again tomorrow?” Dad interrupted. “We could see if maybe he’d like to go out for dinner and…”
“NO!” Beth shouted, pulling her hand away from mine and shifting more toward the window. “JUST SHUT UP! ALL OF YOU!”
The radio and occasional, random conversation from Mom filled the silence for the two hundred miles before our short stop at an Arby’s drive thru and then for the hundred miles to the Ramada Inn.
Later, in the hotel bed that night, Beth snuggled close to me. “He was everything I knew he would be,” she cried.
Neovox Article 2
Really rough around the edges...about 500 words too long..maybe I'm on to something, maybe not..you tell me.
Big Ross finally reached my hospital bed. I could make out his bear voice as he talked to the nurses over the hum of machines which fed me, wrapped in crinkly pink plastic. The dark instruments flickered and stretched upwards with dime-diameter plastic tubing. I was this strong little sapling being fed nutrition from iron roots, my blood was oil, my heart churned diesel. And when Big Ross squeezed my hand twice (which meant stay with me), I had to look into his big blue eyes and smile. Even though the blood was climbing the gaps between my teeth I had to laugh. There under the yellow buzz of fluorescence with his quarterback hand in mine, I could almost feel the envy pushing through his knuckles and the grace in his big belly. Come on brother, stay with me.
I finally had my midtwenties crisis, hours ago (at twenty-three).
It came on suddenly with a drip trickle on my ribs, the sweat from my armpits. Everything got one hundred degrees and the last thing I remember was blacking out at the copy machine. First came acute tunnel vision, like at a college huff party (less visual) and then beady little stars appeared in my peripheral. From the carpet I was lifeless with a tie and my office looked so much more interesting. I was your modern day post-grad white collared Jesus.
A midtwenties crisis starts slowly in your belly. Y’know, the feeling that everyone from elementary school is successful and satisfied except you. For two weeks leading up to the big breakdown I was consuming a lot of Latte, up to six cups a day from a little artsy coffee shop on Bourbon (where everyone writes haikus on laptops and talks to me about obscure films, while I NOD).
For two weeks I had this ache in my sternum and I couldn’t quite place it, I craved nicotine but I never touched cigarettes and after work I always ended up slumped over at a dim bar like Frankie’s or Ducci’s.
My best friends and I used to pick fights at bars, now I spilled my nostalgic guts to barroom strangers. All of my best friends were getting successful and I always said, “I’d rather die doing something I love then live doing something I hate”, so on a Monday afternoon in my cramped cubicle I felt the big breakdown churning and bubbling. It came up like bad coffee.
I experienced the tunnel vision of panic and the sinking feeling like a never ending Sunday night.
My lower back began to sweat and I started to hate everyone. I fell into it like a fever.
Somewhere, I remember Big Ross saying:
“Rough night last night?”
He laughs and smacks my back with his burly hands.
My disassemblable workstation feels so cramped. I steady my payless shoes in the office carpet. Steady.
I grit my teeth because I am a child of the eighties and I feel very alone at this point. I had never been in love, and I had a stinging feeling that the only worthy moments of my life were memories.
“The Now” was my plaqued graduation certificate accenting my cheap furniture.
Falling, I am Kevin McLaughlin and I really need a drink.
At twenty-three I was only alive with a condensing pitcher of golden booze in a smoky pub.
From Fridays dusk until 4am Saturday morning I was a ghost at Decatech.
Plus, being a barroom hero was a perks only affair. I met bikers, authors, struggling musicians, ex-bullies, high school wrestlers (turned addicts), suicidal housewives, gay husbands with kids, and every time we’d chat I’d feel like less of a mess.
We all had the same questions and no one had the answers: what now? I put it in my fucking chips, I played my hand, I went to school and I got my degree and I’m more lost and desperate then I ever was.
We are still afflicted with a malignant angst that grips us when we see the success of others. We continue to drown in alcohol like underpass junkies because it is the only way to express the injustice we feel.
Together in this dark bar we will lose ourselves.
Our baggage will melt with every sip. It will melt with every shot that you take and our problems will bleed into a ball of healing energy that will connect us as we dance and sing. This healing blue light is not Decatech, it is not my job or your addiction, your child support or your abortion or your bulimia. It is absolutely not my alarm clock or Sunday nights or your overdoses. This blue light of strength is me stumbling over to you, blonde stranger (with the disorder) and we can dance and sing in this crescendo of perfection. And I know you will hold up my hair for me if need be, and I will balance you, dear, on your high heels as you vomit into the trash.
And at that culmination of glory, the bar will cave-in on itself. The jukebox will break the silence with our song while my tie flies behind me like a cape. I will slur some romantic things into your gaudy earrings, your nails will dig into the back of my shirt and for those short few hours we will be alive.
Where did that go? And where did that come from? What happened to being twelve and riding bikes? (I am the tragic figure, falling in slow-motion.) The sleep overs? (About to be sprawled out on Decatechs new carpet like a Warhol Christ.) The public pool high-dive? (A splash of my super-latte comes crumbling down with me, spreading along from my fingertips and collecting like blood.) The high school cliques? (This looks like a target market murder scene, as I collapse dramatically.) What happened to life? (The CSI will desecrate my death pose with a wheel of white receipt tape and seal off my corpse and outline my modern day Jesus figure with fast-food grease.) I am the millennia martyr.
Ah yes, I always wanted to be the hero of sorority girls and the working class.
If my collapse in Decatech is the elephant, then mind-numbing jobs are the china-shops.
As I feel my legs give out and my chest cave in and the room plummet, I’m thinking: I want girls to swoon. Maybe a snapshot of my Banana Republic corpse sprawled eagle, blown up at print to fit a throw blanket or ceiling poster, available to buy and mount in frat houses everywhere. I want my comatose body to be the God of struggling, confused young people of…everywhere.
Maybe next net year will see altered work conditions, more ventilation. More windows? Maybe.
I listen to the beeping machines pumping fluids.
I look up into Ross’s big blue eyes and think: healing light.
I remember the sex in the bathroom stall with the Oxycontin housewife.
I remember her nails digging into my back and the clinging of glasses.
Her apartment smelled of mothballs and knock-off perfume and I could still taste the bitterness.
“All men want is sex”, she announced as she stirred my drink. My laughter echoed through her dingy apartment. I was half naked and buzzing.
She asked me how it felt to know her husband would be home in five minutes, how it felt to know I would be the one to send him back to jail and how it felt to be drugged and still have all of my limbs (which she implied, I would soon lose). I stared at my drink that she had kindly fixed me, smiling because I didn’t know what else to do. Even though it stung my throat and made my eyes tear, I drank to melt this new baggage, looking for that light. There was no jukebox, just the rumble of a Harley pulling up in the street five floors below us and a beautiful opera tune humming from huge speakers throughout the room. She danced like a spirit, stumbling in her heels. Her blonde hair was pin straight, and I couldn’t help but wonder if she remembered me holding it back as she dry heaved at the bar.
I stared at the floating ice cubes and I was twelve again, trembling on the high dive. I was twelve guiding my bike through suburbia with my best friends, sneaking out in the early morning when the grass was still wet and dark.
“I have to go”, I said curtly and placed down my drink on the provided coaster.
“So soon? But the party’s just begun.”
“Yes, well you met me at a really awkward moment in my life.”
“and I’m using you.”
And with that oddness I grabbed my khakis, with tears rolling down my cheeks, and ran through the white washed hallways to the elevator. As the doors converged I caught a glimpse of the husband biker I had shared many a drink with, we had spilled our baggage together on more than one Friday night.
Big Ross squeezed my hand twice and I awoke.
With my eyes still shut I whispered, “Resurrected - I’ve been resurrected.
I’ve been dragging my feet through life, looking for answers -
when the answers were right in front of my face.”
An azure tear from his oceanic eyes falls on my cheek.
I open my eyes and he’s gone. I lay in an empty room with floor to ceiling green tiles. I look down at a gaping hole in my chest with plastic tubing sprouting like wildflowers. Next to me are cold metal instruments covered with my muscle and bone. I look over to my life support and it’s still packed up in its pink plastic. They never even had to turn it on.
It took four doctors and a security guard to hold Ross back as I was hauled away to intensive care.
They would later tell him that gamma butyrolactone was the prime chemical used to poison and sedate me the night before (a household floor stripper mixed with draino) and it took nine hours before my body turned these chemicals into the fatal combination of Gamma hydroxy butyrate (or Gamma hydroxybutyric acid). My temperature had risen so high at work that my body ceased to function. I was pronounced dead at 11:17 AM, the exact moment I hit the carpet at Decatech.
Yellow lights pass me overhead, and I can still taste the bitter pitcher beer, I can feel the embrace of strangers all looking for answers in the wrong places. I can see the healing light that we all tried so hard to see but that was all bullshit. Every second of everyday, we always had the healing light within us. We didn’t need booze or a dreary bar to see it, but we thought we did. Depression had clouded our minds to make us act this way, and our depression was just our reluctance to live in a society that we believed was backwards. And even if it was, so what? I wish success for my elementary school friends, I want to see them in the after life with their shiny Corvette’s driving down a motionless superhighway. I am post-mortem and all I want to do is float down, grab these post-grad tragic figures by their slumping shoulders, and show them that they have an entire life to live within them.
Big Ross ended up quitting his flag football team on the weekends to educate other lost twenty-somethings who all dragged their feet through life. He took an old photo of me in my college years, doing a perfectly vertical kegstand, and had it blown up to poster dimensions. He handed out fliers and soon college girls talked about me and how I would have been in bed.
In a dark enough bar, when the jukebox gets tired, you’ll hear my name whispered like legend.
At a wild enough fraternity bash, you will hear the drunken cries outside, the ritual chant penetrating the night sky: “McLaughlin, McLaughlin!”
Sometimes when she’s all alone, the blonde dances in her heels to opera and thinks of me.
And on walls of dorms and frat houses the world over, in between John Belushi and the Kiss, is me: Kevin McLaughlin. I’m the new age college James Dean. I’m a campus legend because I died for the man, died in an office as a slave to the grind. But I want young people to remember me as someone who could have made the right choices, but opted not to. I want to be the reason you pursue your dreams. Forget about money, do what you love to do. Be happy and poor, because there is so much more to life than worrying about what other people think.
Rough, rough rough draft of article 2
This article doesn't seem as good as my first one in my opinion, but recently my Race & Gender Stereotypes teacher seems to think her class is the only one I take. This is rough now but maybe with a dozen eyes on it tomorrow might clean it up. Yes?
On October 15th Pamela Vitale was found beaten to death by her husband Daniel Horowitz. What makes this a slightly out of the ordinary murder is that a cross was carved into her back. The crime scene and the wounds on the victim indicate that this was not a premeditated attack yet why the cross? One answer is that the assailant was a “goth” and a “Satanist” on the grounds that classmates claimed that the young murderer, Scott Dyleski, wore black and painted his nails and read books on Satan. Please excuse me while I sputter for moment.
Let’s start with all the inconsistencies that result from labeling this kid a “goth”, shall we? Students at Dyleski’s high school told officers and reporters that he wore a long trench coat, black clothes, dyed black hair and painted black nails. Ok, the fashion sense does point at the gothic sub-culture. But that’s not what a goth is. There is no real definition of what a goth person is. The media sees a person dressed in all black and sinister make-up and labels that person as goth. For the most part they’re entirely forgetting about all the other kinds of stereotypes that are out there: punks, ravers, metal heads. All these people can dress in black and wear sinister make-up but are not necessarily goth.
So, what is goth? Historically, goth is a late 1970’s (in the U.K.) and early 1980’s (in the U.S.) creation brought about from the punk subculture. It started in the form of music such as Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy, and I’m going to include in there Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, but that’s debatable since Stevie is seen as goth but her band is not. (Like the whole ideal of goth Stevie Nicks is a matter of each person’s personal and informed opinion). These bands had a darker look and a harder sound than traditional bands and the new punk bands. This new fashion style did include black clothing, black nail polish, hair dyed black and heavy black make-up. However, the gothic sub-culture is in no way limited to music and fashion alone. It has its influences in art and literature and the media. (A good example of a piece before it’s time: the 1919 silent German film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. However, I can’t explain the ending to you. I still haven’t figured it out myself, but let me know if you do).
What irks me the most about this case in particular and the goth misconception is an article that Foxnews.com hosted on its site with the headline: “Teen Held in Vitale Murder Reportedly Satanist”. It goes on to report that Dyleski once drew a pentagram on the ground at school in front of class mates and danced around it. Other students stated that he told people the book he was carrying around was about Satan. The article goes on with quotes from other students calling him goth because of the book’s topic and because of his sense of fashion. Does anyone else feel the urge to roll up a newspaper and beat Foxnews.com over the head with it and tell them they’ve been bad?
Why do people associate Satanism with the goth subculture anyway? One reason is because part of the fashion is to wear jewelry such as the pentagram which can be associated with the Devil. (Just so we’re all clear the inverted pentagram, just like the inverted cross, is the symbol of the Devil. Also, the cross that was reported to have been carved into Pamela Vitale’s back was not reported to be inverted). Also, the same music is associated with Satanic cults as with the Goths. And Each subculture has the same social group of people in it: white, young, middle or upper-class, average or above average intelligence.
However, while more people in a Satanic cult are anti-religious Goths are, for the most part, open to all religions, learning and barrowing from the various sorts. Goths are open to culture and learning and other people’s opinions while Satanic people tend to be close minded. Also, Satanic cultists tend to be aggressive and violent while more Goths are very passive and patient.
Satanism and being in a Satanic cult are two different things as well. While Christianity is essentially working your way from the outside into the inside, as in being a good neighbor and devout Christian first and working on yourself second, Satanism is the opposite. Satanism is working on the inside first, as in you and your image of yourself, before working on the outside, as in how your neighbors perceive you. In Satanism it is about you before it is about others. And this is what’s entirely different from being in a Satanic cult.
Being in a Satanic cult involves using different and large assortments of drugs. It’s assumed the motive for Vitale’s death was that drug paraphernalia for growing marijuana was thought to have been accidentally delivered there instead of to Dyleski’s. This might have caused confrontation between the two that lead to the murder. Also, Dyleski’s book on Satan is an indication that he was probably heavily into learning about the occult and Satanism. The symbol of the cross carved into Pamela Vitale’s back could have been a representative symbol for the teen’s devotion to the Devil, but that has yet to be determined. However, many people in Satanic cults do leave symbols like crosses and pentagrams at crime scenes. People in Satanic cults are profiled as having been involved in sexual acts such as bestiality and incest as well as taken part in powerful drugs and cannibalism. Their childhood is characterized as middle and upper-class, high intelligence, over or under achieving, having a history of family abuse (sexual or other), and rebelliousness. From the news reports and the crime committed Dyleski’s behavior synchs up with much of the Satanic symptoms, but it has yet to be determined if he is or is not a part of a Satanic cult, or trying to start one or mimic one. Nor should it be said that he is guilty since there has yet to be a trail. However, many news articles are already taking the assumption that he is since the evidence of the crime points a clear finger at him, such as scratches and wounds on his body that would match those Vitale would make in defense and a blood footprint.
Even though the definition and the meaning of goth differs from person to person, I find it inexcusable when people label anything violent and Satanic as goth. For me, personally, a goth person is not a teenager who buys overpriced fishnet at Hot Topic and listens to Good Charlotte. I can tell you everything a goth is not, but I can’t clearly define what it goth is. Scott Dyleski, a lone teenager who beat a woman to death in her home with a piece of crown molding and carved a cross into her back over marijuana growing supplies is NOT a goth because he happened to prefer clothes of the darker end of the color spectrum and read books on Satan. This is a mentally unstable boy who needs some serious psychological attention, nothing more.
October 25, 2005
Neovox Article Numba 2
I've gone through four or five different ideas, getting severe writer's block after about 2 paragraphs each. I think I finally got something halway decent. This is still a very rough version that needs to get cleaned up, but the more criticism I can get from you all, the more I appreciate it.
The Spider is my Idol
Because it is both a creature of purpose
And a creature of indifference.
The spider creates beauty.
When his home glistens in the afternoon sun,
It creates a design and lighting
Unmatchable by human hands.
And it does not care.
Function will always outweigh aesthetics
And that design will not change as long as the spider catches flies.
The spider creates anarchy
By having a web in an area of high traffic.
And every person who walks into it
Screams and shouts
And flails about
And curses out
The spider who built it.
And still it doesn’t care.
The web has an important purpose
And that location will not change as long as the spider catches flies.
The spider creates a better place
Every time he eats a fly.
And we should thank it for removing these pests
Who spread disease
And buzz around
Serving no purpose but pissing us off.
But the spider doesn’t care.
Eating is his main purpose
And that diet will not change as long as the spider catches flies.
The spider creates hostility
By simply existing.
People hate spiders for being tiny
And having many legs
And eating things that we don’t eat
And looking all different and gross.
But the spider doesn’t care.
How it looks and what it does,
That’s what makes it a spider
And it will die before it changes itself to make others happy.
Jon Udell on O'Reilly
Jon Udell is a leading web expert. Check out his articles on O'Reilly, an important technical publisher. In particular, you should read his posts on "The Heavy Metal Umlaut," "The New Freshmen Comp" and "Screencasting Strategies."
Udell argues for the importance of incorporating skills in video and sound recording as part of the basic literacy of college education (i.e. Freshman Comp.). His primary interest is in this practice of "screencasting" (his term), which is the practice of integrating simple videos into the web.
While you're at it, check out this screencast.
October 24, 2005
This a short story about how quickly your life can change and how quickly you must accept and adapt.
Change is the Only Constant
His feet rested on the layers of dead leaves that were plastered to the ground by the cold rain that had lasted for days. The girl’s back was to him as he approached. The sound of his footsteps against the wet ground touched her ears and she turned her blue eyes around to look at his cheeks that were turning red against the bitter feel of the wind. When he saw the reflection of the sun glistening in the moisture in her eyes he began to wonder whether her emotions were driving those tears there or if the sting of the cool wind had summoned them.
She seemed very uncomfortable as the edge of her lips formed an awkward smile. The way she crossed her arms and slightly turned away began to make him uncomfortable. He leaned down to make direct eye contact with her and asked why she had asked him to meet her. His back seemed to quiver as a set of chills ran down both sides of his spine. The hesitation in her response made it too clear that something was wrong.
Cold needles shot from his shoulder blades down into the small of his back as she explained to him she was leaving. His mouth ran dry and he tried to suppress his shock by reacting with a calm answer, but what could he say? In moments like this, he would rely on his heart to supply the words that he needed, but now it was too busy trying to squeeze blood into his veins through the vice grip the news had put on it. He could only ask why.
The girl he had spent the past few months befriending was now walking out on him. As the wind whipped around the hair on their heads, he realized why this loss meant so much to him. He cared for her in a way that would make it hard for him to go a day without being able to see her. The hand at his side began to rise toward her, but he quickly wrapped his cold fingertips inside a fist and brought it back down to rest against his hip.
He couldn’t tell her how he felt. It would be selfish to attempt to make her stay because of the way he felt. Never before had he felt awkward around her, but at this moment neither of them were speaking. His tongue remained still for fear he might let the truth slip right off the end of it if he opened his mouth.
That day was the first day the sun had shone in three days. As a passing cloud glided past the sun, light began to shine down on their faces. Her eyes glowed beneath the brilliant rays and he cursed the weather for radiating her beauty at such a time.
A week passed and she walked with him to the elevator. The semester had ended and she was ready to move on to a new college. The tiled floor of the hallway was usually filled with squeaky sneakers walking back and forth from room to room. At this moment, their silent sneakers were the only ones that walked the hallway. Only slight mutterings from inside various rooms could be heard, because for some reason the hall was quiet this particular afternoon. With a lack of surrounding distractions, he could only let his mind roll back and forth over the fact that he could no longer share his day with her. As the lonely idea overwhelmed him he felt as though he barely knew this place anymore. He had come to know it so well over the months, but at this point he felt at such a distance from everything. Even from the back of her hand that grazed the back of his every so often as they strode down the hall.
The two steel pieces of the elevator door knocked into each other as it clumsily slid open. She stepped onto the dusty square floor inside the steel walls. She blew him a kiss goodbye and he watched as the doors slowly slid back into place. He watched her eyes as he held his hand in the air waving. The door shut completely and he could hear the machinery come to life inside as it took her to the bottom floor and out of his life.
He turned to walk back to his room down the lonely, quiet hallway. The florescent lights overhead hummed as lightly as ever, but for the moment the sound seemed to echo off the inside of his mind. He fell into the chair at his desk and pulled out a piece of paper. Usually he would reach for a pen, but in this case he felt that the ink of a pen was too permanent. He picked up the yellow wood from a drawer and held it in his fingers before bringing the graphite tip down to the paper.
He began to scratch back and forth obsessively on the paper, taking a minute to finish one piece of a letter. The words he had written down on the paper didn’t seem complete until he took one last stroke across the paper to underline the five dark, thick words he had embedded on the jagged piece of paper.
Taking the paper in both hands he held it up to the light of his desk lamp and read the words aloud.
CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT.
Satisfied with the messy lettering, he found a tack and pinned it up beneath a picture of himself and the girl he had just watched walk out on his life. In the picture, their heads touched as she arched her neck to lean on him. The smiles on both of their faces exemplified the joy of that moment, but unfortunately it could only be for that moment. The smiles side by side could only last for so long before something came along to change everything.
October 23, 2005
Some Say the Internet is Doomed
Well Bruce Sterling of PC World Magazine wrote in his ARTICLE that "the Internet is doomed." He rants and raves about how there are more criminals out there committing new and old crimes and that it is making the Internet something to be feared. He is right that the amount of programs we need in order to feel secure when we browse through the Internet is getting to be a bit much, but I think he describes it in such a way that makes it seem worse than it really is. Of course you are in danger of being victim of some kind fo crime when you're on the Internet, but really that only happens when you are even slightly irresponsible...clicking on something you shouldn't, giving your credit card information to a sketchy website... so really you are doing it all at your own risk. If you are responsible and make sure you are aware of the dangers, you'll be fine. Don't be careless... what's your opinion?
Neovox article 1
Here's my first article for Neovox.
Neovox Article One
Mother Maker Destroyer
By Morgan Dunn
Allen just wanted his mother to leave him alone. She had been nagging him to clean up the toys in his room for a while now. “It’s my house and you do what I say when it comes to the cleaning,” she’d tell him.
He couldn’t stand it. Allen had to step out when she got like that, sometimes she’d actually get him to clean it and he didn’t like that one bit. The road waited for him, filled with sights and sounds that did not interfere with the way he thought the world should work, but rather relaxed him.
The boy walked down to the house of the Scientist. This man knew everything there was to know. Allen liked to hang around him for this reason; he felt smarter than his mother while watching the Scientist build his contraptions.
Plus his mother knew nothing about him; not even his real name. It was an escape.
On that day, he seemed particularly excited. “What are you so happy about?” Allen asked, slumping down on the couch in front of the Scientist’s machine.
“I’ve built the most ingenious invention known to man just last night!” the Scientist proclaimed. He turned to the boy after tweaking a few details of the machine on a screen. “This machine before you will control the weather. We’ll never need to worry about weather-related catastrophes ruining lives and homes again! I am a genius, of course you already knew that,” the Scientist said proudly.
“It shoots an invisible beam of ionization molecules into the sky. This changes the charges of the clouds. Also, the machine emits waves of subtle energy which effect temperature densities and increases or decreases wind speed…”
As the Scientist spoke Allen’s head was spinning, but still intrigued. “Can I see it work?” he asked, leaning forward to get a better look. Electric lights and computer screens flashed on and off all over the contraption, a round mass with a satellite-receiver-like apparatus at the top pointing towards the sky.
“Of course! You’re just in time to see the first test run,” said the Scientist. He ran to one of the screens and input some information. “Let’s see...rain.”
The thing shook, beeped, and hummed, and the appendage at the top spun around. A few seconds later, they both looked and outside. Sure enough, rain was falling, a light drizzle.
The Scientist clapped, applauding himself. “Yes! Now, something more extreme…” he said, turning some knobs.
The rain quickly turned to snow, with wind blowing it in all directions outside the barn they occupied. Allen was delighted; maybe they’d cancel school the next day. But the Scientist turned it off completely, making all of the movement, noise and bad weather disappear.
“The world must know; I have advertising to do,” the Scientist said. “Go run home. And, um, tell everyone.”
Allen walked home, disappointed that the Scientist didn’t want him around. His mother, of course, was waiting, yelling at him for not cleaning up his room. He shut himself in there, ignoring her, surrounded by piles of trash and old useless things he had collected, and went to sleep.
Allen didn’t much enjoy school the next day. He got detention for acting up and received an unreasonable amount of homework. That afternoon his mother wouldn’t even let him go out.
During night, lying in bed, the boy decided to carry out his plan. He snuck out of the house and made his way down the street, fed up with school and responsibilities plaguing his life.
He thought of his mother and her constant demands…if she can control so much of his life then why can’t he control a bit of the world as well? It only seemed fair. The nightly sounds seemed to drive him onward, not judging.
A black bird suddenly landed right in front of Allen. He stopped and stared at it, and it stared back. The eyes of the creature did not falter; they the boy could feel the black orbs trying to communicate something inside him. In the darkness, merely a silhouette in the moonlight with two lit up specks; the fluttering bird took off leaving behind a certain fear in the heart of the boy.
He quickly continued on.
The barn of the Scientist stood before Allen.
Inside the machine waited to manifest his intentions. He tried to remember what the Scientist had done to make snow. The boy moved some of the knobs and pushed some buttons, hoping the thing would work.
The air became colder as the appendage began to spin. Wind kicked up outside and a flurry began to fall. Allen was pleased with his small success but wanted to ensure school would be cancelled the next day. He put his hand on the knob and spun it to full power.
A frigid gust coming through the door caught Allen off guard. Suddenly snow was everywhere. The boy tried to turn the knob back but it was no use; the fiercest blizzard he ever encountered raged outside. Ice began covering the trees and the snow piled up quickly.
In an act of desperation Allen grabbed a piece of scrap metal and hit the machine. He swung several times attempting to deactivate it. Finally the thing’s lights dimmed, the spinning ceased, and the boy ran home as fast as he could.
Upon arriving home Allen suddenly felt a great deal of regret. Everything was covered in ice and snow, many trees had fallen across the street, houses had become partially destroyed. His little escapade had turned into a nightmare. At least smashing the machine had stopped the blizzard and made the air a bit warmer.
He stepped in the door to find his mother standing, arms crossed. “I was in quite a rage to see you’d run off, but a sudden relief to find you missing,” she said.
Allen peeked into his room and found the glass broken out and spread everywhere, he assumed from the ice and wind. He also noticed this glass and snow spread throughout the house wherever a window was near.
“Well, you can clean it all up. I don’t know how this squall started but I’m too old to fix it. Go ahead, you better start now.”
Alright I know this doesnt DIRECTLY relate to the course but it does involve technology in modern society and is very amusing.
October 21, 2005
Neovox article 2
For my second Neovox article I'm sticking with my Libido theme- it just seems to be the best thing I can write about since I'm writing a similar column in the newspaper. Instead of discussing the conversion from high school relationships to college relationships, I want to talk about relationships and holidays and the drama that comes with remembering the correct dates and buying the right presents.
This article will deal more with the personal aspects of what men and women think when special times of the year come around and my opinion of what the most important holidays actually are. I want to interview a few people in relationships as well to see how they go about buying their special someone a gift, and if, in fact, they agree with my theory about there only being maybe four major holidays that couples should dwell on.
You can check out what I have already started on my personal blog page Always Fabulous.
Out of the Old and Into the New
College- it’s that exotic, exciting, alcohol consuming, class skipping, party paradise you spent most of your high school career fantasizing about. Your bags are packed two weeks before you’re set to leave, you’ve acquired all your friends e-mail addresses and screen names, and you’re ready to have that good-bye dinner with your significant other.
And for someone reason, he/she is the hardest person to say good-bye to. The water works begin, you can’t stop hugging each other, and the moment you’re in the car traveling to that magical place you’ve been dreaming about sans parents, you two are on the phone saying how much you miss each other.
Time warp to about a month later and normal long distance couples are usually the ones you’ll see standing in the hallway or rec room, with the girl usually crying her eyes out and shrieking about the possibility of a break up.
Usually, they don’t last very long.
Even the most hopeless romantic has to admit that the possibility of a long-term, long distance relationship is slim to none. It’s hard to be without someone for long periods of time while establishing a new life for yourself. The distance between you becomes greater than a few thousand miles.
The next step is the break-up. Once that’s over and done with, a new world is ahead of you. You’re living on your own with no parents to answer to and now you’re single. The idea of playing it safe is still in the back of your head just because your mother did such a fabulous job instilling her moral values there, but you decide you would love to have a relationship with someone the next dorm over.
This is where the reality of being on your own for the first time settles in. When you do actually meet someone who’s as interested in you as you are in him the easy access of it all becomes so apparent that emotions are swept up in a whirl-wind of sleep-over’s and party hopping.....
When you were home you could have dated someone all four years of high school and you probably only snuck out of the house a few times so the two of you could have a night together.
Now the responsibility has fallen completely on your own shoulders and it’s finally up to you to make some healthy decisions. Thus, you have now reached the second level of the dating-relationship-roller coaster that you will spend you’re entire life trying to figure out- you have now become so much more invested in this newfound “companion” then you ever would have in another relationship.
So which is better? Long-distance love or up-close and personal connections? Either way, they are both very touch and go. When dealing with long distance you have to trust someone completely and constantly prove to them that you’re trustworthy. Of course in any relationship you have to prove trust, but when he/she lives only a block over it’s easier to do that with someone when you can constantly see what they’re doing, or know the people they are hanging around with.
Coming to college is like starting a new chapter of your life. Whether you want to admit it or not, college changes a person. High school is a structured foundation to help prepare you for being out on your own. Even though some might say they never want to go back to high school, it really was the stepping stone to give you the basic discipline to get you through classes you couldn’t stand, fine-tune the art of skipping, and figure out who are friends, acquaintances and potential love interests.
Lindsay Mermell, 18, freshman, attempted to “do the distance.” Her reasoning was simple: “Because I actually thought it would work,” she said after only two months of being four hours away from her boyfriend. “I was so head over heels that I saw some kind of a future together.”
So what changed? “He became very possessive, and much more paranoid; If I went to a party I was expected to call him every fifteen minutes.”
Not to send the wrong idea, there was never any reason in the past for either one of them not to trust each other. The simple fact became that her boyfriend was driven to insanity because he felt there were things going on in her life now that excluded him. Things came down to the decision of either to try and stay together and possibly continue fighting, or break-up and try to salvage some sort of relationship in the future.
“It’s going to be very hard to stay friends,” she said. “He was such a huge part of my life and I changed so much because of him in a good way but I feel I didn’t have the same impact on him so I don’t want to see how he turned out afterwards. I think eventually I’ll be able way down the road I’ll be able to be friends.”
Hence, here’s what awaits the newly single freshman: House parties, no parents, bars open until 2a.m., no parents, co-ed dorms, the choice to go to school, and no parents. This is almost like being a kid locked in Toys R Us over-night with free access to everything they ever dreamed about- and how often did we dream about riding those two bikes and big wheels around the aisles of the store with no one telling us to get off?
Dating in college seems to be a passing fad. It starts off with the chance meeting, maybe a few casual dinners at the dining hall, and constant away message checking on Instant Messenger and constant IM chats.
Eventually, you get to the “movie.” This is when you’ve finally decided it’s time for said prospect to come over to your room and “watch a movie.” Movies relieve the pressure to talk, but allow the possibility of conversation if it arises.
It also leaves the window open for possible hand holding, cuddling or making-out without the thought of someone walking in on you.
After the “movie” date is over and you’re both coming back for me, this is where the relationship starts to bloom and things start getting complicated.
You soon develop this “move-in” complex. He/she is constantly sleeping over; their clothes start to accumulate so much they eventually get their own drawer in your closet.
You start seeing their little personality traits around your room or apartment, as well as their favorite cereal box in your cabinet, and eventually, the toothbrush settles itself next to yours.
And all of this just happened within a month’s time.
Most grown up relationships don’t even move this quickly. When adults in the “real world” begin dating, there may be the occasional over-nighter, but due to schedules for work or their other responsibilities, the idea of moving their personal belongings into your apartment isn’t a thought until things actually become serious.
College students do this at a whim. We take for granted that innocent relationship we used to have as something that only “children” do. But what’s wrong with the innocent, slow, getting-to-know-you process? We look at college as the chance to grow up and for some reason everyone’s racing for the finish line before the graduation date is even settled.
These relationships we’re discovering should be taken one step at a time. This is the only true way we will ever know if they can stand the test of time, and distance. Lauren Ranieri, 22, a graduate of SUNY Cortland now student teaching in the area, met her boyfriend, Roger, two years ago while they both lived in Clark Hall.
Even though neither was looking for a relationship at the time of their meeting due to plans of studying abroad, the instant sparks between them were undeniable and they agreed to see how things worked out step-by-step.
Two years later, Ranieri still says they’re going strong. “I can't say that we have reoccurring problems that last a long time,” she said. “There are times when either one of us will get jealous, myself more than he, but those disputes are quickly resolved when we reach out to the other person and reaffirm our feelings.”
The real triumph for this relationship, and why it is a prime example of two people trying to make it work, is that both parties studied abroad during two different semesters. Instead of a few miles separating the two of them, the Atlantic Ocean floated between them, allowing them only holidays and summer vacation to catch up on the time they had lost.
“Our homes are three hours apart too,” she said. “But I believe that distance makes the heart grow fonder... in moderation. Distance will make or break a relationship, but if it is meant to be, it will be. Distance made me appreciate what I had even more. When it came time to see him for the first time in four months, I was so excited, nervous, and anxious to see how it would go. It makes things that much sweeter when we are both at school living near each other.”
That brings us to the college portion of the relationship test. When the couple has managed to occupy the same area, choices are made on how much time they spend together. In any budding relationship you want to be able to see that person as much as possible without smothering him/her.
But does this get you far too attached too quickly. “I think sleeping over in moderation is beneficial to the relationship,” Ranieri said. “It is one of the greatest feelings to lay down and be held by your sweetheart. Life tends to get so busy that there may not be downtime until bedtime. It's like saying, ‘there's no place I'd rather be right now, no one I'd rather come home to’.”
Everything just has to be balanced. As special as these intimate moments during bedtime can be, there needs to be boundaries. “We will make sure that sleeping over each other's house is not an every night thing because it will lose its special-ness,” she said.
So when do you decide to take the plunge from high school heartbreak to adult-styled dating, just remember: a long distance relationship might not have worked straight from high school, but in some cases, it’s not hopeless. And relationships in college tend to be more on the level you’re aiming for but aren’t flawless either. Sometimes they might take even more work to keep them going.
But when you think something’s worth it, it’s definitely worth the effort.
CSS is crazy
OK so this CSS stuff seemed like it was going to be a lot of fun when I first started glimpsing over it but it's honestly driving me insane for those who didn't already know. I'm sure many of you that actually go to class have heard me cursing out the screen because Dreamweaver has started to seem like the devil to me.
The webpage that we're going to have to create doesn't seem that bad since it's all stuff about myself, but with the classwork assignments I've gotten completely confused. We're learning how to take out all the unnecessary codes in a page already created- but don't you think we should be working from the other direction? I'm feeling like we're doing this completely backwards because I have no idea how I would start this page I'm supposed to be making, but I know that if you gave me someone else's page I could work completely backwards and turn it into my own.
Maybe we can spend a class period just starting the site together.
October 19, 2005
I enjoyed the article myself. I dont want to overanalyze all of the eroticism Almond used, because I can totally relate to his comment that was something along the lines of "I tend to feel compelled to call people out on being an asshole, other than myself". I dont think hes homosexual, I think he wanted to get under Sarvas' skin. Almond was somewhat hyprocritical to forgive him in the end after giving him a dose of his own medicine, but if it were a game of chess, he'd been the victorious. He was modest in his accomplishments and didnt pose as an elitist, he confirmed that there is a class of writers who's success goes beyond his own, but he chooses not to go around slandering them. Yes, he did a rather depressing job at summarizing the social class of writers (published and unplublished)...but what do we know? I for one, dont have any experience in the professional field of writing, I am a student. I also wouldnt solely rely on Almond's synopsis because everyone's experience is bound to be slightly different.
I put a link to my website as a comment on another post but well well well.
it comes out all funny on firefox but works well on internet explorer.
Second NeoVox Article coming up
Let's here your ideas for your next NeoVox article.
October 17, 2005
General comments on web projects
Here are three general observations about your web projects. None of these things directly affected your grades as they are common errors when starting out with web design.
1. Designing vertically rather than horizontally: look at your website. Is there a fair amount of space in the upper left and right hand corners of the page? Does the main text area of your page begin with an image centered in a column surrounded by blank space? Does the viewer have to scroll even to read the first full paragraph of your website? If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions, then this is a problem for you. Screen space at the top of your website is at a premium. You don't want to waste it. While "negative space" (the art/design term for blank areas) is important for visual organization, you need to use it prudently.
2. Images and text that are too large. Generally speaking, 12 point text is large enough for any header. Usually 10 point text will work for most text areas. As a general rule, images don't need to be much larger than 200 pixels in any direction.
3. Inconsistent navigation. A less common problem, but still many of your sites lacked a consistent navigation bar carried from page to page. A Nav Bar helps your readers get around on your website and helps convey as sense of unity between your pages.
You'll be receiving specific individual comments from me in class.
October 14, 2005
As I mentioned in class, there is a plan to upgrade the blogging software over break. As such, you may find the site down on Monday or Tuesday....hopefully briefly.
In addition, as some of you know, I recently moved. This means that right now I still do not have Internet access at home. As such I shall be out of contact over break.
See you on Wednesday.
October 13, 2005
Read "The Blogger Who Loathed Me"
As you can see I've been changing our reading schedule every week. For next week check out this article by Steve Almond on Salon, titled "The Blogger Who Loathed Me."
Note: unless you have a subscription to Salon, you'll have to sit through an ad before you get to read it. Trust me, it's worth the wait. The article gives some insight into the culture of the Blogosphere, as well as what it is like in the community of struggling published authors.
October 12, 2005
I put a link in the previous post...just want to make sure the url is clear, because I'm not seeing it highlighted a different color. Url is: http://web.cortland.edu/hushla60/
Here's an updated link to my page, I struggled...but it is done so enjoy! This is totally more of a special treat to my friends but I think you'll find it quite informative & maybe you'll discover some new music you like.
my web page
i was finally able to post my web page. It's nothing great but here it is! http://web.cortland.edu/gordon49/mywebproject.htm
Revised neovox article
Well its revised...better than before...yeah.
Some have argued that the written word is dead. That there are no new stories out there, only the retelling of old. Novels as we know them are a dying breed. For years they have been becoming simpler with less substance but perhaps, more style. Blame it on our fast-paced immediate satisfaction attitude, but written works have by and large become much more action packed, less descriptive. If that is the case, simply putting a fresh spin on Romeo & Juliet, as West Side Story did, is just not enough. And that is where graphic novels come in.
A graphic novel is just what it sounds like, a story told with a combination of pictures and words. As with fiction, it is genre that has many subsets. There is the typical super-hero story, the creative nonfiction, manga, gothic horror, and many others. These are loose classifications at best, as one can easily slip over into another. As you can see, graphic novels are by no means just for children.
Among adolescence, manga is more popular now than ever. You can’t go into a bookstore without seeing row after row of books devoted to the Japanese comic book. The most well known titles these days are Pokemon and Dragonball Z. But it all began with Akira, the classic story of a futuristic Tokyo where street gangs fight for turf on their super-fast motorcycles.
This is perhaps the most expected genre, but also one of the most interesting. These deal with your common comic book plots, characters with secret identities and super powers, as well as some of the deeper plot themes. The art styles of this genre are some of the most provocative. When Marvel or DC comics decide to issue a graphic novel they recruit the best writers and artists that can be found. So even if the idea of reading a story about these kinds of characters puts you off, try them for the artwork. You won’t be disappointed.
The two best examples of this genre that I can think of are Kingdome Come from DC comics and Marvels from Marvel comics. Both titles are illustrated by Alex Ross, one of the best artists in the industry. His paintings are so realistic and yet surreal, because of the surreal content being dealt with. Each one these titles also are told from the perspective of an ordinary citizen observing the actions of those with super-powers. It leads to many provocative ponderings about the relationship between gods and man, between different ethnic groups, etc, etc. Really great reads.
GOTHIC HORROR & FANTASY
This genre deals with both the utterly fantastic, and the fantastic that lurks behind the thin veil of reality. Gothic Horror deals with the human condition and the evil and the evil that they are capable of. This would be akin to a Steven King novel, or any of the TSR fantasy novels.
Neil Gaiman cut his teeth writing various comics for DC. It wasn’t until he was asked to do a mini-series on a long retired character that he really came into his own. The Sandman story is by no means a comic book. It transcends that completely. The story is adult, dealing with life, death, love, and almost anything else you can think of in a unique way. Neil is one of the best writers of the later 20th, early 21st century. His use of language is so concise yet original that it really is something to behold. Authors such as Stephen King have begged to be allowed to write stories for his Sandman universe. He has won numerous awards for the series. I cannot recommend enough any work by Gaiman. Aside from his comic book beginning he has gone on to find success with three bestselling novels, as well as several independent graphic novels. Other titles to look for in this genre are The Crow, Constantine and the Tragic Comedy of Mr. Punch.
Not all graphic novels have to deal with the fantastic or the supernatural. They can tell the tales of ordinary people in extraordinary real life situations. Take for example two that have appeared on The New York Times bestseller list, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi and Maus by Art Speigelman.
Persepolis follows the life of a young girl growing up before and then during the Islamic Revolution of Iran. It depicts some serious scenes, such as torture, bombing, and demonstrations, without being overly graphic. This fits the mood of the book very well. Ms. Satrapi does not want her message to be drowned out because of the images, they are to enhance the story not overshadow it. The running narrative, panel to panel, is interesting and makes the story flow along very smoothly. The art is black and white, a very simplistic approach. This is part of the appeal of the art. Its simplicity allows her to show some of the more gratuitous scenes, without fear of disgusting or driving anyone away.
Maus on the other hand deals with the holocaust. The Nazis are represented by cats, and the Jews, mice. Again it deals in simplistic black and white panels, but does not take away from the horror of the actual experience. Both titles deal passionately with serious issues without making light of the situation.
They are not comic, but through the use of a well chosen wording, and often times stark imagery, they deal with subjects in a way that makes them accessible to everyone. From a high-school global studies student, to a thirty-five year old professional with little leisure time, could not only read these rather quickly, but come away with the same, if not heightened sense, of the gravity of the situation as some one who just finished reading a 300 page book on the subject.
Over the past ten years, this format has gained popularity tremendously. Hollywood has been making movies based on this genre at a record pace. In the past year we’ve seen movies based on some obvious choices like Spider-Man, Batman, X-Men and the Fantastic Four. These are the obvious ones because they are based on the Super-Hero genre. But there are many others that might surprise you. From Hell, Sin City, A History of Violence, and Constantine are some that you might be surprised to find out are also based on graphic novels.
The graphic novel is an art-form like no other. It requires concise language, and appropriate art. This appropriate art could range from simple black and white drawing like those found in Maus and Persepolis, to full blown painted artwork, like those from acclaimed artist, Alex Ross or anywhere in between. So take a break from the tired worn out novel and try something new. College leaves little leisure time, take a break from the studying and the drinking and pick up a graphic novel. You will not be disappointed
TOP 10 RECOMMENDED READING
1. Maus- Art Speigelman
2. The Watchmen- Alan Moore
3. Kingdom Come- Mark Weid
4. The Sandman- Neil Gaiman
5. Sin City- Alan Moore
6. Marvels- Kurt Buseik
7. Ghost World- Daniel Clowes
8. Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth- Chris Ware
9. Persepolis: Marjane Satrapi
10. V for Vendetta- Alan Moore
Revised Neovox article
Here is my revised Neovox article.
The Curious Trip into an Autistic Mind
Carved out of the cover of Mark Haddon’s novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, is the image of an upside-down, dead dog. This eccentric cover creates an eerie, anomalous setting for the murder mystery to come—a murder mystery solved by a child incapable of feeling human emotion.
Christopher Boone—a fifteen-year-old boy suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of Autism— discovers a neighborhood dog lying dead on its side with a pitch fork jabbed through its middle. Being a lover of dogs, Christopher sets out to find the ruthless murderer. He records his investigation in a book of his own, which he calls, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. With Christopher as the narrator, this novel allows the reader to step into the mind of someone who thinks and feels quite differently than the average person. How differently?
Christopher knows all the countries and the capitals in the world, every prime number up to 7,057, and how to calculate complicated math problems just by quickly thinking. In fact, when asked by one of his father’s friends what 251 times 864 is, Christopher writes, “I thought about this and I said, ‘216,864.’ Because it was a really easy sum because you just multiply 864 X 1,000, which is 864,000. Then you divide it by 4, which is 216,000, and that’s 250 X 864. Then you just add another 864 onto it to get 251 X 864. And that’s 216,864” (66). Christopher has a photographic memory and can remember every detail of every picture he sees. He cannot stand to be touched, and he detests certain colors. Haddon describes Christopher as a “character whom if you met him in real life you'd never, ever get inside his head. Yet something magical happens when you write a novel about him. You slip inside his head” (Powells).
In Christopher’s recording of his murder investigation, he begins to use his book as a journal in which he includes his perception on life. The reader feels trapped inside Christopher’s unemotional mind as he tells of his parents’ actions toward him and each other. His parents obviously separated because of the stress Christopher caused them. They resent his birth, yet love him. The reader sees all of this, but Christopher sees his parents as people, simply living. For example, when Christopher’s father looses his patience, he screams, “[. . .] if you do not behave I swear I shall knock the living daylights out of you” (47). Christopher does not get upset; he does not understand anger. Ironically and somewhat eerily, Christopher’s lack of emotion has a powerful way of reaching into the depths of the readers’ emotions. Regarding the novel’s effect on readers, Haddon says, “people have said to me that it's a desperately sad book and they wept most of the way through it” (Powells).
Although the murder mystery is a story in itself, hearing it from Christopher’s autistic mindset creates a whole other dimension. Having worked with Autistic children as a young adult, Mark Haddon succeeds in bringing this scary, yet realistic ambiance to the story. When describing that he once worked with autistic children, he explains that “they had [autism] much more seriously than Christopher does” (Powells). This novel helps remind the reader that there are Autistic children out there exactly like Christopher, who cannot feel emotions. And, there are parents who deal with the difficulties of raising an Autistic child like Christopher.
Even more than carrying the reader into a completely different and unfamiliar world, Haddon indirectly proposes thoughtful questions for the reader: Who defines normality? Who says Autistic children are worse off than “normal” children? Are they? Are the parents wrong for deserting their Autistic child? Can you blame them?
This novel is amazing. The New York Times explains it best when describing this story as “The Sound and the Fury crossed with The Catcher and the Rye and one of Oliver Sack’s real-life stories” (The New York Times). If you are searching for an easy-to-read, yet paranormal, powerful, and profound novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is your choice.
Kakutani, Michiko. “BOOKS OF THE TIMES; Math and Physics? A Cinch. People?
Incomprehensible.” The New York Times, June 2003. October 9, 2005.
Weich, Dave. “The Curiously Irresistible Literary Debut of Mark Haddon.” Powells.com,
June 2003. October 9, 2005.
Revised NeoVox Article
Going from home life to college life can be hard, especially socially. In high school friendships were different. The only times you had to get along with your friends were in school and the occasional hang-out sessions on the weekends. Your family was there all the time, bugging you and getting your way. And teachers had a big role in your life because if you went to a small school they were everywhere. At college you interact with people on a whole new level.
In high school you talked with your friends only in school. If you knew the person well enough you’d get your parents to like their parents so you two could hang out on the weekends. Most of the time one would go to the other’s house to watch movies or walking around the mall for hours trying to pick up people of the opposite gender. They were there for you to talk to but they hardly ever were involved in the situation.
College is much different. Generally your freshman year friends live the same dorm as you and most times on the same floor. These people become your closest friends or your biggest allies. Neighbors who you liked at the beginning of the semester may decide half-way through that you slept with their friend’s crush (both of which live on the same floor as you) but they don’t have any facts so when you ask them why they hate you they don’t actually tell you. And the truth is, another girl on the floor, in a drunken stupor, accidentally said your name to your neighbors instead of the actual person who did sleep with him.
Drama between friends is the worst you’ll even encounter. Sometimes one of your friends decides she/he doesn’t like another of your friends and they’re fighting all the time and you three can never hang out in one group. But when there’s not drama, times are fun. You become a big family, going out to parties together and taking care of one another when things get tough. People start to become a part of the hard times. It’s easier to talk to them about it because they were there to witness it.
Your familial connections begin to change, too. When you’re at home you hate being around your family all the time and having to ask them for rides places. They’re bugging you about homework and getting to bed on time and staying out past curfew. Once you get to college, everything becomes different. Your parents are never around to tell you what to do. They’re phone calls or IMs away, asking you if you’ve done your homework. And it’s easy to fib to them. You can say yes and they can’t ask to see it.
Most times you begin to miss your family more and the distance between you and them is frustrating. Being without home-cooked steak or good salad makes you quickly wish you could be back at home. And the bond between you and your family grows. You talk more about adult things instead of the petty drama of high school. It feels good to make them proud of you when you get a 3.0.
The interactions with teachers becomes different, too. In high school the teachers were everywhere. They’d show up in the lunch room, eating a sandwich, or in study hall talking to another teacher. They could teach other subjects besides the core classes. You could also become close to a certain teacher and feel safe to talk about anything with him or her. In a university you hardly see them outside of the classroom. Some live an hour or more away, so they don’t stick around much after classes. It’s also harder to talk to them because they mostly lecture at you and then leave. And if you do become close with some of your professors, they generally regard you more like an adult and open up more.
Social interaction with friends, family and professors changes quickly once you get to college. Living in close quarters with people, being away from loved ones and dealing with odd teaching styles is something new to deal with. But it makes the college experience more challenging and rewarding with people who will stick with you your whole life.
Revised Neovox article...
I got some really generous and complimentary comments from some of you after posting my first draft of the article, but after meeting w/ Mr. Reid, I made some changes to the ending paragraphs and moved the "flashback" paragraph closer to the beginning. I cut a lot from the last few paragraphs after realizing a lot was repetative or unneccesary. Let me know if you feel this revised version is as good as the first, or if theres any additional changes you see fitting. Thanks!
“Be good to your Mother”. “She’s the reason you’re here today”. “Would you talk to your Mother with that mouth?” All voiced reminders you may be taking your Mother for granted. You may roll your eyes when your Father tells you to mind her, thinking to yourself “She is so goddamn suffocating, I cant wait to live on my own.” You’re being dropped off at your first day of Junior High, you make her drop you off at the farthest corner of the school so that it looks like the two of you aren’t together, let alone blood-related. You’re bringing over the new boyfriend or girlfriend and that first meeting seems to go by slower than any Math class you’ve had to sustain, thinking to yourself “Please God...don’t let her tell the story of when I was two and a half, saw the dog shitting in the front yard so I decided to do so myself under the Christmas tree.” When her life ends, you’ll feel a gaping hole at first that whispers to you all of the things you wish you had told her, growing smaller with time but never completely healing. For the first couple months you realize what everyone meant in saying that you are lucky to have her and it the hardest thing you’ve ever had to adjust to- this is it, you’re on your own. Although, it is a whole different thing, to have her alive and very much so a part of your life, feeling as if you had lost her years ago to something more harmful than death itself.
It had been three weeks since her Mother disappeared for the approximate 243rd time. She came back that day to “recharge her battery” as the Grandmother put it. The daughter was simply grateful her car hadn’t been incorporated into the vanishing this time. Mother walks in looking pathetic and worn out from her extensive all night (and all day) partying over the past 2 weeks- or had it been three? She had no recollection. The daughter’s face conveys no emotion- she’s grown numb to such things as worry or relief to see her mother alive and in tact.
Mother says “Hi. I was at a friends. He’s having a really rough time, his uh brother passed away and he really doesn’t have anyone there for him. I called your cell phone but it went right to your voice mail I think.” Daughter processes and discards the excuse into the never-ending stash she’s stored away in her memory. Daughter says “We have to be out by the first of the month, your social worker called and your benefits wont go through because you’re not in compliance with your treatment. I cant afford the full $750 this month or any other month for that matter. This just isn’t going to work.” Daughter watches Mother’s face waiting for her to crack, show some sign of remorse, any trace of the woman she once knew in this frail, abused body standing before her. At the age of twelve it would’ve been difficult, but now almost twenty one she’d constructed a penetrable but usually reliable shield blocking her emotions from her tear ducts. Daughter feels like the parent who’s just finished dishing out a good serving of how dare you come home passed curfew. She’d give anything for this to be reversed. She laughs inside thinking she may be the only teenager in history to wish she were, at present, being grounded by her Mother. Mother says “Doesn’t Aaron owe you $310?” Daughter says “He doesn’t have it right now and you know just as well as I do that $310 wont so much as temporarily solve our problem.”
Mother walks into the kitchen, appearing 5-10 pounds lighter than she had two weeks ago. Mumbling something about the refrigerator being empty, she walks back into the living room, dragging her feet out of seemingly disappointment. Mother breaks the silence “Nana hasn’t sent anything over lately? No goodies?” She doesn’t wait for an answer, she’s afraid of what a pause might evoke from her Daughter. “Can I use your cell phone? I wanna see if she’ll lend me some bus fare.” Even though this is far from the first time she’s been in this position, making eye contact with her daughter cuts through her with the force of a machete. Having no dignity is one thing that has never gotten easy...or has it? Don’t think about it now she tells herself. Or maybe it’s the soberness, she’s conscious of the empty feeling that comes with not being high on crack. She’ll soon need to escape again to fill that void, to dull her senses to the reality she’s created for herself. “I’ll worry about it tomorrow” she thinks. Tomorrow never seems to find its way to her.
The Daughter made a conscious effort to remember 5th grade and every year before it almost daily. She was afraid that neglecting to do so would let certain things she’d like to remember about her Mother slip through the cracks, forgotten. Cornbread muffins on Thanksgiving. Reindeer made out of candy canes and pipe cleaners around Christmas. Learning to count money, and being ecstatic when she was allowed to keep the loose change. The ice cream man, making the other kids jealous because he’d give her free ice cream (everyone had a crush on her Mom). Shopping sprees to the Dollar Store (any elementary students dream come true) whenever she’d get an A in class. The not so happy memories were just as relevant, they stood for discipline, the Mother and Daughter had evolved into more of a friendship since the poison had been introduced. Roles reversed.
Two weeks later, the first of the month is tomorrow. Mother disappeared for the 244th time yesterday, leaving her daughter to pack the contents of the house on her own. Her father has come with a U-Haul and they spend the next seven hours loading and unloading. Daughter fronts the $54.00 plus tax for the storage space for Mother’s things. It may have been the perseverant snow that had started its ascendance the night before, or the couple hundred dollars he lent to her for the U-Haul, either way her Father had every intention on making the experience that much more intolerable. It seemed that with each inch of snowfall, her Father had another paraphrasing for “I told you so”. He had made all aware of his disapproval from the get-go, his Daughter renting out a house for herself and her Mother in attempt to help her Mother back on her feet. It had been bound for failure before it had been a mere consideration, but he was never able to convince his hard-headed daughter of this. It pained him to know she had thought she could save her Mother. He was among the first to lose all hope in his ex’s recovery and chance at getting her life back on track.
Next came the Grandmother, as neurotic and psychologically bruised as any normal, old woman could be. She’d never say so of course but she often blamed herself for her Daughter turning into the waste of life she had become. It was this guilt that fueled the continuing of loaned bus fare, hand me down furniture for each “new start” apartment, groceries and considerable amounts of shopping sprees. In addition to her escorting her Daughter repeatedly to rehab, this was the Grandmother’s contribution. She had no words, no pleas, no loving intervention, her emotions were never as open as her wallet. “Love is a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food in your belly”- this motto reigned true in her mind throughout the years she raised her Grandchildren as well. Pre-junior high is when the two girls were handed over. The day their Mother traded them in for the poison.
It takes a month before her caller id reads “restricted” again. Mother is needing to borrow money to pay the next month’s rent on her storage unit. Another month passes and Daughter gets a call requesting that she confirm to her current boyfriend that she did indeed give her Mother those old shoes, that old sweater, those earrings she didn’t wear anymore. Boyfriend is psychotic and assumes his woman has been cheating, her supposed sugar daddy must’ve bought her all of these things. A week later, phone reads “restricted”, she wants a ride to the emergency room but wont say why. The car ride reveals the boyfriends been abusive, and this isn’t the first time. She thinks her ribs are broken, and is furious that the hospital calls the police (obligated to by law). She wont press charges, she seems to like playing the role of victim. Daughter feels guilty for thinking that her Mother is taking the abuse because for once, she can blame the destruction flooding her life on someone other than herself. Over the course of the next week, Daughter is moving Mother and her “necessities” to a battered women’s shelter. Mother is concerned about the rest of her stuff and what he might do to it out of spite. “My stomach flip flops just thinking about it, I cant lose everything- its all I’ve got”. Something in the Daughter has, at that exact moment in time, let go. A faint flame that up until now, regardless of any weathering, has burned in her. Strongest at first, hopeful and naive. Over years she had felt it getting colder, felt it go out in those around her...in anyone her Mother came to let down again and again. Those last three words hit her ear drums, embracing every nerve in her body, ricocheting off her heart and hitting its target, flame extinguished. “All I’ve got.” She watches her Mother push the cart containing clothes, TV, makeup case and stuffed pig (gift from previous boyfriend) into the elevator. Car running, she waits to shift gears, she feels the gates to her tear ducts trying to give way. No, not tonight, she thinks. It’s funny how the human brain tries to heal itself, blocking entire people from entering a particular train of thought.
Daughter hears rumors Mother has a plan. The Reverend working with the shelter has made her an offer to help get her an apartment, but she has to get clean. Bless your heart Reverend, Daughter wishes she could apologize to him ahead of time on her Mother’s behalf.
It’s been 5 weeks, Daughter packs her car. She’s transferring schools, severing herself from every street sign, old/new apartment that she’s called “home”. Cell phone lights up reading “restricted”. Daughter hits ignore.
October 11, 2005
Revised Neovox Article
Friedman's "The World is Flat"
Book Review: “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century” by Thomas L. Friedman
by Brenden Hendrickson
Say you are walking through the book store looking for something new, exciting, and interesting. As you pass by Thomas L. Friedman’s new book, “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century,” you don’t give it a second glance. Who could blame you? The history of the past five years? You have been pretty well aware of what has been going on around you lately, so why would you need this book to recap for you? In truth, the book may be just what you were looking for. Friedman explores the way in which our economy and our everyday lives are being affected by rapidly developing technology. Friedman dives into the recent past to explain how we have reached what he prefers to call “Globalization 3.0,” which began in the year 2000.
Outsourcing and globalization are two recurring themes in the book. Businesses are constantly looking for ways to do things for less money and with more efficiency and in the era of “Globalization 3.0” the rate of outsourcing in various forms is increasing and sending the rate of globalization soaring with it. Friedman explains in what normal and slightly odd ways outsourcing is taking place in business today. It happens when an account sends out someone’s tax information to India to have the figures completed there then sent back for the accountant to take credit for it. It even happens when you pull up to some McDonald’s drive-thrus. You think you’re talking to the guy who is just inside the building but really you’re talking to someone who is potentially a few states away. Friedman goes into great detail to explain why such tasks are sent to be completed somewhere else. The overall answer is simple: greater efficiency at a cheaper rate.
Friedman discovers that the world is actually flat when he takes a trip that he sees as similar to Colombus. He and Colombus were both intent on traveling to India. Colombus found new land instead and discovered that the world was truly round. Friedman made it to India and while there saw the way things were being conducted. The countries that used to be falling behind in the technology race have quickly developed themselves and so “the playing field has been leveled.” Now most have acquired the same advantages and the world has become even more interconnected. Friedman explains that all of this leads the world to be a smaller place and also verifies that the world is flat because of “the playing field” being leveled.
Since globalization involves all of the countries, Friedman goes into depth about how different portions of the world have been affected, are being affected, and will be affected by the “flat world.” This book is a terrific read for anyone who is interested in how things work and what kinds of technology are out there and what we can expect to see. Seeing how the world actually became flat and moved into the era of “Globalization 3.0 and then getting a full description of what is becoming of the world because of that is enough to keep you turning the pages and saying “Wow ” Watching the world quickly grow from the time the Berlin Wall fell to pieces and Windows was created to now when everything has become “Digital, Mobile, Personal, and Virtual.” If you love learning about technology or just like to know what’s going on in the world, this is a must-read.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:
Here are some of the reviews Friedman receives for his latest book.
Warren Bass of “The Washington Post” concluded his review by saying:“While The World Is Flat is not a classic like From Beirut to Jerusalem, it is still an enthralling read. To his great credit, Friedman embraces much of his flat world's complexity, and his reporting brings to vibrant life some beguiling characters and trends. If his book is marred by an exasperating reliance on the first person and a surplus of catch phrases (" 'Friedman,' I said to myself, looking at this scene, 'you are so twentieth-century. . . . You are so Globalization 2.0' "), it is also more lively, provocative and sophisticated than the overwhelming bulk of foreign policy commentary these days. We've no real idea how the 21st century's history will unfold, but this terrifically stimulating book will certainly inspire readers to start thinking it all through.”
Bass may have found himself intrigued by the book but some others had a different view. Matt Taibbi of “New York Press” dealt out nothing but criticism in his review.
“I'll give you an example, drawn at random from The World Is Flat. On page 174, Friedman is describing a flight he took . . .
I stomped off, went through security, bought a Cinnabon, and glumly sat at the back of the B line, waiting to be herded on board so that I could hunt for space in the overhead bins.
Forget the Cinnabon. Name me a herd animal that hunts. Name me one. This would be a small thing were it not for the overall pattern. Thomas Friedman does not get these things right even by accident. It's not that he occasionally screws up and fails to make his metaphors and images agree. It's that he always screws it up. He has an anti-ear, and it's absolutely infallible; he is a Joyce or a Flaubert in reverse, incapable of rendering even the smallest details without genius.”
In Taibbi’s review, I’m not sure if the critic honestly hated the book or if he just has something against Friedman (Perhaps that he is still working for a no-name newspaper compared with the New York times in which Friedman is a popular writer. Might I be on to something?)
In my humble opinion, I suggest reading the book. There is much to learn and you can decide for yourself whether the book was truly enlightening or if you found yourself drowning out the actual information because you couldn’t get past some nonsense metaphors.
Blogs compete with traditional news
Following on Aaron's comments on an earlier post about doubt concerning traditional news sources. Here's a BBC article on the rising importance of blogging and citizen journalism.
Here's my site!
You can access my site here: http://web.cortland.edu/fallon75/
Welcome to the Conceptual Age
Let me provide a long quote from the end of Pink's essay:
If the Industrial Age was built on people's backs, and the Information Age on people's left hemispheres, the Conceptual Age is being built on people's right hemispheres. We've progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers. And now we're progressing yet again - to a society of creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.
But let me be clear: The future is not some Manichaean landscape in which individuals are either left-brained and extinct or right-brained and ecstatic - a land in which millionaire yoga instructors drive BMWs and programmers scrub counters at Chick-fil-A. Logical, linear, analytic thinking remains indispensable. But it's no longer enough.
To flourish in this age, we'll need to supplement our well-developed high tech abilities with aptitudes that are "high concept" and "high touch." High concept involves the ability to create artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to come up with inventions the world didn't know it was missing. High touch involves the capacity to empathize, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one's self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian in pursuit of purpose and meaning.
Let me pull out two shorter passages. First, Pink writes we're becoming "a society of creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers." This "becoming" "involves the ability to create artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to come up with inventions the world didn't know it was missing."
I think this is good news for professional writers. This is the career you want, n'est pas? This is what you are being prepared to do: to recognize patterns and to create discourse to intersect and affect those patterns. This is the fundamental task of rhetoric. Let me say that differently. Entering the Conceptual age means:
1. Cultural Analysis: read your situation, recognize the patterns in culture.
2. Invention: be creative--address the needs/wants, concerns, issues that you seeing brewing around you.
3. Audience awareness: empathizing with your audience, connecting with them on emotional, ethical, logical, and cultural levels.
4. Shaping your message/text to the situation: recognizing patterns-what interests people, what they find convincing, how your audience speaks, what catches their attention.
When you take together the development of your creative abilities in Creative Writing classes, your understanding of technical and professional writing genres, your growing knowledge of new media modes of communication, and your general concept of rhetorical theory, you should be off to a good start in the Pink's "Conceptual Age."
Of course, a BA just gives you a starting point. Entering the Conceptual Age does seem like it will require taking more risks that those expected of the Information worker, just as the information worker took more risks that the factory worker (and the factory worker more risks than the farmer).
October 10, 2005
Psst...pass the handcuffs (revised now with currency!)
Here's my revised essay. Any suggestions on how I could fix it up a little bit more before Wednesday?
Stop for a moment and think about anything different you’ve ever done while having sex. Have you ever role played? Incorporate toys like handcuffs or a blind fold? Have you ever bitten your partner, be it lightly or a little rough during sex or foreplay? Talked dirty? If you have then congratulations! You’ve just practiced some light BDSM.
Don’t panic just yet. This does NOT make you a pervert.
It’s come to my attention that a great number of people have a grand misconception of what BDSM truly is, no thanks to some persistent social folkways and now, as of the end of September, the FBI. “According to an electronic memo from FBI headquarters, established legal precedents indicate that conviction is most likely in cases where the content [in pornography] ‘includes bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior.’” Be aware that this all involves consenting adults, except for in the case of bestiality where the animals don’t have the ability to consent.
When people hear that acronym BDSM, or words associated with it (“sadistic” and “masochistic”) they’ll think of some very dark things like serial killers or beaten victims in chains. These are very incorrect visions of what the true BDSM subculture is about.
BDSM stands, roughly, for Bondage, Dominance, and SadoMasochism. Yes, I realize that spelling it out only makes it sound more criminal. Bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism are scary words, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the acts behind those words are scary, or illegal for that matter.
If you have ever used handcuffs or a blindfold or even role played then you, my friend, are practicing the basics of light bondage and dominance (as well as some of the politicians in office right now). BDSM is about positive sensation (physical and emotional), trust and equality. The objective is that you and your partner both receive maximum satisfaction, not to harm or to be harmed, which is the common misconception that most people get.
Let’s start with using the blindfold as a beginning example. When you’re blindfolded your other senses become stronger, most importantly your sense of touch. Simple touches become more intense and your body becomes more responsive, especially towards pleasure and pain reception.
That’s the point. It’s about giving and receiving positive sensations.
One person’s pain is another person’s pleasure, and that’s a key element for BDSM. For another example, some people like to be spanked because they find it stimulating, not painful, depending on the degree of pressure behind the slap. The pleasurable sensation is so teasingly close to where you want the most attention. For some people to be spanked is a sheer thrill, not a degrading punishment.
Now comes the toys. This is where a common person’s perception of whips, chains, and nipple clamps comes into play. Scary toys, I know, but again, it all has to do with each individual’s perception of pain and pleasure, and to what degree their partner will use with these tools. Some people might enjoy being whipped until they are covered in welts and some people might only be able to stand nothing more than a few light taps. It varies from person to person and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as everyone is willfully consenting. (It’s wrong if you’re being pressured into it, like say your boyfriend or girlfriend says he or she will leave you if you don’t try. If that’s the case you’ve got some larger problems in your relationship and you’re reading the wrong sort of article.)
Now, after understanding how sensation plays in the BDSM world there are still some parts that can throw people off. This is usually a fetish. A fetish is any object which has sexual connotations for a person. Some of the more bizarre ones are what will throw people –and the government- off. I’m sure some of you are thinking of something you’ve seen or heard, be it scat (feces fetish) or painful sounding fetishes such as whipping or flogging. Once again, one person’s pain is another’s pleasure.
There is nothing wrong with having a fetish (although it’s perfectly ok to be disgusted by some. Scat is not a turn on for me, personally). Actually, I find it unhealthy for a person to have no fetish at all. Lacking a fetish makes me worry for two reasons. One, you have a fetish so morally unacceptable that you’re too ashamed to say what it is, be it a fetish for small children, animals, corpses or whatever else sounds perverted totally socially unacceptable in any culture. Or two, you have a very strong fear of sex and of feeling aroused in general, which I do not find too healthy for one’s mental state or social life.
Besides, views on sexual behavior, like everything else in society, changes over time. For example, did you know that today more heterosexual couples practice and enjoy anal sex than homosexual couples? In fact anal sex is something I would encourage upon couples since it involves so much trust, patience, and, most importantly, communication. Communication, as we all know, is dire to successful long-lasting relationship.
I know many people find anal sex disgusting, but it’s perfectly safe and clean when done right, like most fetishes (anal sex is a fetish if that’s what you mostly fantasize about). Then again it annoys me when people refer to anal sex as vile on the grounds that that is where waste comes from, but they forget entirely about oral sex. Waste comes out of there too, you know. Or at least you should know!
Trust is the biggest part of the BDSM world. You probably would never allow yourself to be blindfolded by a person you didn’t trust, let alone be handcuffed. A person in a healthy relationship would never need to be afraid of his or her partner, nor would his or her partner do something to that person without consent. This is true even in BDSM relationships, where there is bondage and rape fantasies a plenty. These are just fantasies that a couple is acting out for sexual gratification. They are not meant to be real or harmful in any way (especially rape fantasies). A healthy couple knows this and understand it, regardless of their sexual interests, be it mainstream sex or hardcore BDSM play.
There is, however, a lot of arousal in knowing that your partner could do whatever s/he wanted to do to you when you’re in a helpless state. And that’s the point. Your “top,” the dominant partner or the one who is doing most of the work, has to be someone you MUST have complete trust in. It’s a bonding experience (no pun intended) that brings a couple closer together. Your partner must know what you do and don’t like, what makes you feel good and what makes you feel uncomfortable, and most importantly, how to exploit and use it to his/her advantage.
Even without the bindings there must be trust. This is where your master/slave or whichever role-playing-game comes into the picture. A top needs to know when his/her partner is enjoying being commanded and when s/he feels insecure or uncomfortable. Some women are aroused by being called degrading names in bed while others are terribly insulted and hurt. It’s up to their partners to know which they prefer.
There has to be as much equality in the relationship as there is trust. Just because a partner is commanding or demanding towards his/her significant other in the bedroom does mean that they are allowed to act that way outside of the bedroom. Either partner, the one doing the acting or the one being acted upon, should be able to call the stops on any situation that that person is uncomfortable with no matter what. One partner should not continue if the other doesn’t want to, nor should that person feel obligated to continue simply because that partner wants to.
Each partner should know what the other likes and doesn’t like, when and where to proceed or not, and what lengths they’re allowed to go with each other. Each must also respect whatever limitations or condition their partner may have. Because one man likes to be verbally humiliated in bed does not give his partner the right to do so in public.
Another misconception about BDSM practitioners is that they are perverts or were sexually abused at some previous point in their life. Neither is true. Many BDSM’ers grow up in normal families and homes. Again, it’s all about a person’s personal interests and kinks. Nor is a BDSM person someone you can easily point out on the street. You probably know a person who is fond of some light whipping or spanking or bondage and you’d never know it, nor would a person know that about you just by looking at you. A pervert is the man in the trench coat in the park who walks up to you and, well, bares it all. That’s something of a violent act or could at least lead to a violent act.
BDSM has NOTHING to do with domestic violence, as some government sponsored groups would have you believe. Domestic violence is one partner abusing the other verbally and/or physically. BDSM is about trust and equality. There is nothing equal in an abusive relationship. A person in a BDSM relationship knows whether or not his/her partner would like to be harmed or not, and will do whatever the partner desires.
This is not the same in an abusive relationship. One partner exhorts more power over the other and is abusive regardless of his or her desires. An abusive partner will hit the other regardless of his or her partner’s feelings. An abusive relationship may always lead to long-lasting injury, which is usually rare in a BDSM relationship.
Finally, some people may not understand BDSM because it is considered unethical, even criminal. There are in fact a few places were consensual SM is considered illegal, and there will be more still if the government keeps wasting its resources on something they never even bothered to do basic research on. Mainly this is because of the lack of understanding in lawmakers between the difference between healthy sexual play and unhealthy sexual play. For example, healthy sexual play is handcuffing your partner to the bed and pleasuring him/her until s/he begs for some kind of sexual release. Unhealthy sexual play is handcuffing a stranger to the bed and harming the stranger while he or she begs to be released. See the difference? The bed and the handcuffs are there, and that’s what some people may see instead of the dissimilarity.
If you’re still confused and think BDSM is sick and twisted, then I will just have to refer you to other, more detailed, sources. I’m not saying you readers should go out this instant and buy a new set of cuffs or get some rope, but I’m simply asking you to understand that there’s nothing wrong about practicing sex a little differently than many people normally would. I don’t personally practice BDSM, but it does intrigue me and I don’t see any reason for it to be shunned. I honestly think it could help many people’s sex lives. Trust, equality, and giving each other maximum positive sensual gratification is what a healthy sex life is all about, after all, and I’m sure many FBI agents are aware of that.
This Week's Reading Assignment
Having had some interesting conversations regarding "The Long Tail." Here's another Wired article that has recently been expanded into a book.
Daniel Pink's "Revenge of the Right-Brain."
Pink's article addresses the changing demands of the American workplace as we move (or so he argues) from the Information Age into the Conceptual Age. This new age will require more creative, big picture (i.e. "right brain") thinking. The slogan associated with this analysis is "The MFA is the new MBA," meaning Creative Writing style graduate programs (like a Master of Fine Arts) will be the model for the type of education necessary to be successful in business in the future.
What do you think? Good news or bad news?
Hurrah! We are back up and running
As you've no doubt noticed, technical difficulties have had the site down for a few days. Having recently moved, I don't have internet at home (gasp!), so I wasn't able to act on it over the weekend. However, the problem has been resolved.
So blog on!
October 6, 2005
So I don't know how many of you read the articles on the side of our blog, but I happened to notice an interesting one today in which Nolan Bushnell, a well known video game designer, has created a restaurant where video monitors replace all human interaction. Waiters and Waitresses are gone and in their place come large video screens in the middle of the tables. Not only this, but also these video screens will have every kind of entertainment necessary for a bad date: video games, movie trailers, and more. In the rare case of a terrible date that one is stuck on, how else can this invention be helping us progress in our social interactions? This is just one more step away from people and into ourselves, or worse yet, something completely mechanic. America used to be famous for its mealtimes--when families and/or friends gathered together after a day apart to connect and interact. This new restaurant cannot be helping.
Yet later on in the article, Bushnell comments on his video games, "My goal is to create games that almost retreat into the background. I'm interested in bringing them back to their role as a social facilitator, the way party games help people to interact. The game should be secondary to the social interaction between the players." Does anyone else see the irony in this comment?
When I was reading this article, I had this flashback to Back to the Future (III?) when they go into the future.... sometimes it seems with all our technology we are turning into a freaky futuristic movie...
October 5, 2005
link to my website
The URL to my website is http://web.cortland.edu/lauro38/Kauai.htm
to view my website
Yeah I don't know why internet explorer wouldn't let me make a link so here it is again. Click Here
Tedd's Trite Website
Here is the link
It's dorky. Enjoy. :)
Omega Delta Phi
Because the boys of Omega Delta Phi have been such good friends, and were in a pinch for an updated website, and I had to make one, I decided to help them out and put one together to show case my boys. Here's there website- maybe it'll make you want to pledge! web.cortland.edu/Aglial29/omega.index.htm
Steve Lennon website URL
The URL to my website is web.cortland.edu/Lennon64/homepage.htm
Personal Page Assignment
Please give me a working URL for your personal page assignment.
here is the website I've been working on, and will continue to for pretty much the rest of my life :)
It's on teaching children with special needs and it's a long term project I'm doing for a psych professor...
Here's a link to my website. Go and enjoy. (Or just go and mock me, whichever you prefer.)
Well its finally up and running. I tried to use CSS but I really was in the dark on it, so I just settled on Tables and what not. Well check it out and let me know what you think.
Well its finally up and running. I tried to use CSS but I really was in the dark on it, so I just settled on Tables and what not. Well check it out and let me know what you think.
October 4, 2005
Wikipedia takes on Textbooks
If you haven't heard of Wikipedia, it's an online encyclopidia that is a direct result of open-sourcing. The entries on this encyclopidia are added and edited by anyone with accurate information. Wikipedia has grown substantially and outdone every other encyclopedia online. Now that they have conquered that territory they are moving on. There next project is called Wikibooks. This will be a compilation of textbooks for anyone from "kindergarten-to-college." The site will offer free use of textbook material online. The project is just beginning but still has plenty of entries and then plan on it taking off quickly. To read the full article click HERE.
Link for the Long Tail
Check out Chris Anderson's Wired article on "The Long Tail." The link Ashley provides is also related and you should check it out.
October 3, 2005
My OBX Website
I based my website on my experiences vacationing in the Outer Banks. If you've never heard of it, this site should clear it up for you.
Rewrite of neovox essay
just wondering if anyone would be interested in giving any feedback on my revised neovox essay?
The Cinderella Myth Unfolded
This is dedicated to all the ladies out there:
Remember when you were young and watched "Cinderella" and you believed it could happen to you? You believed in that unexplainable, magical love that is pretty much only explained as perfection. But you've grown up, and now you laugh a little at your naivety, and you've moved on. You're pretty happy. But you've Settled. You go through a couple guys, one with nosehairs and big clown feet, one who cheats on you for a good year and half, the next who doesn't cheat on you but since you've been programmed to distrust everyone due to boyfriend #2, things don't work out so well with this one either. A few others go down your line, each with their individual flaws and maybe a few who dutch oven you, but in reality you're pretty happy. You've settled, but you're happy… you know this Cinderella thing is a myth; it's not even a distant hope that it might happen. It's just a myth. You're a big girl now, and you've learned it's all about unconditional love, or maybe unconditional learning-to-live-with.
But here's the thing. I was you—until this summer, that is, at a camp for children with special needs. This summer, I realized the whole Cinderella thing can come true. And it did come true, for me. He was basically everything I never even imagined could come true. Not in his perfection, mind you (although he didn't have terrible nosehairs or a problem with keeping food in his mouth while he chewed), but rather in his perfection for me. He was already going in life where I wanted to be going. You know how when you meet someone and in the back of your mind you automatically stick your first name with his last name and imagine for a moment describing to your grandchildren how you first met. And then, as things get more serious, or even maybe just more possible, whether you realize it or not, you kind of make your goals and ideals fit his. Sometimes you make them be his, but usually after the first couple of those mistakes, you learn to just compromise your goals to go in the same general direction that his go. "Sure, honey, I hate snow and cold, but it is sunny 6 months out of the year in Alaska…" No really, I know you all know what I'm talking about, basically because we all do it.
But with Gavin, he was going where I wanted to be going. His views on children with special needs are the same as mine. His love for them, is that like mine, but I guess a thousand times better; it's intense and hard to take in all at once, and powerful. His ways in dealing with people, his views on life, his genuine outlook—like mine. I liked that. I liked that he was already on the very same road that I see myself traveling, and it didn't take any compromising or left turns to get there. I liked that when I watched him life guarding out on the docks he would break out in dance, and all of my campers would giggle and tell me that he danced on the docks like I did in the bunks late at night before bed. I liked that he liked to lay beneath the sky and find new constellations, and as we lay on the sand looking up at the sky I felt as free with him as if I were in that open, dark sky. It wasn't just when we were alone that I saw this connection, it was when he walked in a room and I looked up to see him, head tilted, eyes smiling and thinking, and smile open and ready, just ready, and it was in the moments I would forget to breathe and for just a moment feel like I had landed from a long, hard journey. It was nice having someone walking on that same road as me. I felt…ready for life. I felt like I'd arrived.
So now maybe you've scrolled down your list of possibilities to all the guys who are exactly like you, but I have to tell you, that doesn't exactly work either. Because, and I think Jerry Seinfeld described it best when he said (and this is a rough paraphrase), "Why would I want to date myself?? I already hate myself! I wanna date someone I actually like!" Again, to pull us back to seriousness, because adding random humor helps make me feel comfortable when I discuss anything even remotely close to serious, if you date yourself, you have no one to push you to the limits, inspire you to explore your boundaries and many times even surpass them. You have no one to help you jump to life on a different level.
Gavin changed me in many ways. He did for me what they do in movies—he let me free a little bit. He inspired me to be more than I am, to try things completely differently and to be free. He challenged me and pushed me and made me laugh in new ways. And gave me new love. He asked me once, on our day off, "You would marry me right now, if I asked you, wouldn't you?" The five of us who had the day off had gone to Niagara Falls in the middle of the night, and after standing on falls at 4am, had found ourselves walking the streets of Buffalo, NY. We were staring at a wedding chapel and all of us had sort of just stopped in the middle of the street, staring at it. I looked at him, knowing that we all knew the answer. We just looked at each other for another minute, as the chapel's neon sign flashed, "we wed: o en 24 ho r." A lone taxi flew by us, honking. It was time for breakfast.
I couldn't tell you when I started to like him, but I do know that in one of my first memories, he sauntered up to me at the meal hall and, grinning, said, "Sweethawt, your very smile makes my day every day." He was kind of crazy at times; our first meeting, he and two other friends ran after me and my co-counselors to see if they could ride in the back of our pickup and do donuts because they had never seen a pickup before. Sometimes he was the loud one even when it involved no noise from him like the time he let his friends duct tape his face to see what would happen. And then sometimes he was the quiet one, holding the campers hardest to love and making them laugh or maybe even just smile. And then he was the deep one, the one that asked the questions about life that I'd always wanted someone to care about enough to ask, the one that understood me and wasn't scared by my past or even future.
My last memory of Gavin is the one that seems the least tangible. It was our last night at camp, and we had walked to our spot—a cliff above the lake and off beyond all the cabins. Dry lightning lit across the line between water and sky, and for moments alone lit up his face. I tried to memorize it as his blue eyes searched mine. He always tilted his head to the side when he watched me, like it helped him understand me better. I couldn't think of anything to say that night. Or rather, there was nothing to say that could change things, that would make his stay in America or make this new void in me fill.
They say write about what you know, but I'm finding as I write this that I am not writing about what I know, but rather what I don't know—and what I don't know is why I found this Cinderella love in someone who I can never be with—and I'd sort of hoped that writing this sort of self exploration would lead me to a greater understanding of love. Or at least I'm hoping that as I write this, I may come to some sort of peace.
None of that greater understanding/peace has happened, really. Except that I know what I have to find, and that is a magical love. Maybe if Gavin did not live several time zones away, or maybe even if he were from the same country or continent as me, we might have had a long term relationship. But I don't know if it would have worked out. Of course I think it would have. Otherwise, several months later, I would not continue to think of him, dream of him, and long for him. But in all actuality, if all he did was prove to me that Cinderella magic can come true, and help me aspire to find that again, he did his job—as usual—better than expected. My friend asked me, if I knew ahead of time the heartache of leaving him, would I do it again? I couldn't not do it again. Maybe I'll never see him again and maybe I'll always miss him. But there is one thing he did for me, and that was open up a new part to me that doesn't have to leave me. And while every day in secret daydream I will relive our moments together, our last goodbye, and the tangible spark between us, I can't really decide whether I truly want to get over him and move on, or whether I want to remember him. I'm not quite sure if there is a way to do both.
But what I want for you is that you may know, through a primary source (I hope all my history teachers are happy that I inserted this wise bit of academics), that Cinderella can happen. It does happen. But in the meantime, know who you are and be happy with that. Stop settling with losers who cheat on you or make you turn into their perfect and ideal girlfriend. Stop settling for someone who doesn't adore you, who doesn't make your stomach settle somewhere in the throat area every time you think of him, and someone who doesn't make your face hurt from smiling so much every time you say his name. And most importantly, don't settle for the guys who give dutch ovens.
October 2, 2005
The Long Tail Link
Like some of you, I also had trouble opening the link to the Wired article. So, I went to the Wired News website and found "The Long Tail" article, or at least I think this is the right one. Here is the link to the article I found. For those of you who have already read it, is the right article?
October 1, 2005
I read the Long Tail article and am not clear how the music will be distrubuted. Will a selection be electronically sent to the customer who will record it on a personal CD or will the music remain in Cyberspace somehow? As a listener who has never been interested in pop music, the idea of having a more varied choice is appealing -- on the other hand, I doubt I've purchased ten CDs in as many years;it seems I'm in the minority there, but no distribution company could survive on the profit from my purchases. Even so, I think I would have a tendency to browse more frequently if I were able to find a wider variety of choices. Perhaps I belong to the long tail of buyers. So let's say, for instance, that I wanted one track from the album "Out of the Woods" by the George Shearing Quintet. Could I listen to the entire album for free then say, "send me Track 2 side 1 for 99 cents?" I should think with seversl rock bands this would be a real money loser. For instance, Grateful Dead's "Truckin": if listeners could buy only that cut, the band would have made a lot less money. Same for Pink Floyd's "The Wall" Or are these bands not part of the long tail arena? If they wern't included at the recording time, maybe they are now.
Another area where this would seem to be beneficial is the classical music buff. How many recordings of Mozart or Berlioz have been made in the past few years?
I don't know, but I hope somebody can tell me.