Stream of Consciousness and Dove Promises

What’s on my mind this week? Peppermint mochas, peppermint bark, peppermint tea, peppermint frosting, peppermint ice cream. I love the whole of the holiday season for many reasons, but the return of the peppermint flavor to coffee shops is usually my yearly cue to start listening to Christmas music and be in a better mood. There are so many things to look forward to! One of my all time favorite things about the holiday season are the “Lights Before Christmas” at the Toledo Zoo. This year, I’m leaving right from my last exam to meet my family at the lights! So excited.

Thanksgiving or Christmas always tend to be the times I try out the whole journal thing. I’ll really want to document this time of year more than any because I’m one of those cheesy, “I love the holidays,” listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving people. I even love snow and cold weather. No joke. I look forward to sweaters, boots, and hot chocolate like most students look forward to summer. I think it’s because my birthday is in January…To me, the holidays just bring out such a pure form of unadulterated bliss and good intention. Yeah, I’m still pretty naive and I intend to bask in it as long as I can. I know it’s stressful, I ring bells for Salvation Army, and the suicide rates this time of year are higher than any other, but I’m going to hold on to my child-like sentiments as long as I can. It’s about the only time of year I feel like I can.

I’m going to end this completely non-linear, roundabout post with the last Dove Promise wrapper I got before I left for break:

Why can’t the season of joy last all year round?

The Main attraction
http://static3.travelandleisure.com/images/amexpub/0018/4754/201011-w-tree-toledo-zoo.jpg

The elusive “e-PoRtFoLiO”

I’m not feeling too inspired, so I’m just going to answer the prompt questions. As a slight aside, the colors on the left, all of the cool colors: greens, blues, and purples are pretty much all my favorite and I think they will be the color theme for my portfolio.

How do you want to present yourself as a writer?

So I was thinking about this in conjunction with my “Why I Write” paper. I really struggled with that paper initially and eventually, the more I kept writing, I just sort of wrote myself into an epiphany: I write to learn. That essentially is how I want to present myself as a writer; that I’m in this thing, at this moment in my life, to learn more about myself, about the world around me, about how the world works. This is my most genuine attempt at this point in my life. Maybe this will change by the time the capstone, but that’s what it is for now!

Who is your ideal audience?

I guess in a narrow sense, my ideal audience would be a grad school I apply to. I want my portfolio to reflect my own intellectual curiosity. However, I can’t help but keep thinking of this thing as open access to the public, just like a legit website is. In that sense, I would want this to be a destination for the intellectually curious. It would be a place to go if you were curious about something  and it could be a spring board for other more in-depth research.

How can your portfolio be distinctive in terms of presenting yourself as a writer and the   media choices you make?

Well, I think by the above factors I mentioned. It will be a genuine reflection of my intellectual curiosity. I want to use my pieces of writing and work not as the centerpieces, but as the springboard for more research. Maybe an argument in one of my papers will pique someone’s interest. The media of course, will be some kind of website-building platform, probably Weebly at this point. But, I was thinking of making the sides of each page like a corkboard where I could pin related articles, pictures, or links to other things to check out. Or I could make them all pictures and then the pictures would then link to external places.

What reading experience do you want your audience to have?

Inspiring. Not to put more on my plate than I can handle, but that’s what comes to mind. This I feel like is similar to all of the other questions, but I want them to above all find the interface of my portfolio to be easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing in a simple, clean way. I want them to be inspired to go on and do their own research based on the pages/work I have posted.

How interactive do you want your website to be?

Like I said, I want there to be a lot of links to other places, but presented in a tactful, meaningful way, of course.

I feel like the questions are starting to get repetitive, or at least my answers are, so I shall stop here.

Good. Night.

 

 

 

Why was I taught to color in the lines?

I am extremely worried about the re-med and e-portfolio projects. I am not a creative person by any stretch of the imagination and I feel like both of these projects are really demanding of that skill set…that I don’t have…or is deeply suppressed.I like templates, neatness, order. I can definitely appreciate really creative and artistic things and I admire them a lot because they are the perfect example of something I can’t do.

With these projects, there are so many options and choices to be justified. I feel like if I have an idea for how the project should look, there are just a million more options out there that I didn’t even think of that would look way cooler. Yeah, cooler. If I’m not careful, me trying to be creative is going to end up looking like this all over a website:

More on Schon

I’m not really good with all of the philosophy stuff, but I’m trying for Schon.

Schon brings up a lot of really good, albeit really obvious, points in the beginning of this article. For example, his “knowing-in-action” really just seems like an attempt to apply a term to innate abilities. For example, he brought up the facial recognition idea. You know a person’s face, but are often unable to prescribe it certain features, such as if you were trying to describe Person A to Person B. There is a whole group of neurons in your brain that all they do is facial recognition. You can have damage in your brain that will result in an inability to recognize faces. There is a great article on it called “The Man Who Though His Wife Was a Hat.” I just don’t really see the point, I guess, in trying to define, or quantify, this “knowing-in-action.”

What I did like about the Schon article was his attempt to try to apply all of his terms to a spectrum of careers: medicine, law, music, art, business. His examples got pretty redundant after awhile, but I appreciated his attempt. Probably the most striking lines of the article for me was on page 34:

“Within this framework, there is little room for professional artistry, except as a matter of style grafted onto technical expertise.

For all the use and application Schon did of his concepts to other non-humanities related professions, I was a little surprised by this. It makes sense, I guess, for the matter in which he explained it. However, I think this quote really begs the question of what does he define as “artistry?” Maybe it really is just for art, music, and theater professions? Can there be no expertise in these professions?

All in all, I didn’t really see the point of this article or what meaning I was supposed to glean from the lofty rhetoric used by Schon to describe mundane daily actions, especially in the context of writing. It sort of read like a psychology textbook where in which a lot of technical names are assigned to everyday occurrences.

Aha! moment too late…

I got the email from Naomi about the NERP program (I think that was the acronym…) and I was really intrigued by it. I saw the quote by Henry David Thoreau at the top:

Relevant.

 

How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live.

 

This pretty much sums up what my “Why I Write” paper was trying to get at, but probably ended up more of me flailing around for words and concepts that I could not articulate myself, but I perfectly laid out here. Better luck next time.

Also, some preliminary thoughts on the Re-Mediation project: In everything that I think of, I’m finding it really hard to not change my audience. I don’t know, in changing the medium, it almost begs a different audience. Or possibly, it’s that certain mediums are more appropriate for certain audiences? For example, my paper is re-purposed for an older, adult audience. Say, age 65 and over. Bascially, the age group where dementia and Alzheimer’s may be of concern. I’m having a really hard time thinking of what an accessible, appropriate technological medium would be for that audience. The other ideas that my blog group discussed all involved changing my audience which I know we are not supposed to do. Ahhh, hopefully it will come to me.

A tearful goodbye to my first blog group!!

It’s been a long road, guys and in the words of Katy, “these are our last moments together.” =)

When reading back over my older posts, I definitely noticed a few trends. From Post 1 to the most recent there is definitely a decent level or sarcasm, complaining about readings, and a fairly consistent length (leaning on the slightly lengthy side). The posts I enjoyed reading back over the most were my very reactive blog posts, particularly ones about readings I didn’t like. The schema I have in my head for blogging is basically someone sitting behind a computer writing a public diary entry about whatever they feel like. Much to my dismay/curiosity/surprise, my blog posts have turned out to be that very thing…yay technology.

As far as comments, I enjoy getting any comments. Good, bad, ugly. I like ’em all. Most of the comments I left were for the people in my blog group and I really enjoyed their posts because I felt like I got to know them better than just the biweekly interactions we had in class. Once in a while, I would expand my horizons and comment on a random post I really liked the title of or felt strongly about.

One thing that I have noticed about blogging that I think is worth mentioning, but doesn’t fit cleanly into one of our topics is the level of writing appearing on the blog. When I posted my first blog, I read through the other three or so that were up and was blown away by the great writing that I saw. This immediately made me want to up my game. I’ll admit this competitive streak lasted about 2 weeks before other classes set in and my writing level decreased substantially in formality. That being said, I still feel like I achieved the same level of insight writing informally that I would have had I been required to write formally. At any rate, blog group number one, best of luck to you in your new groups!!

Everything’s not for the audience

I have to admit that when I entered the minor and saw that we had to do an e-portfolio with online archiving, I had no real concept of what an e-portfolio was. I thought it would be something like a laundry list of our selected works in some sort of online personal data base thing that I had never seen. Obviously, I was wrong.

I think that I am excited about the idea of creating the medium in which we present our writing. The problem is I am majorly lacking in the creativity department. I always colored inside the lines, I didn’t have to be taught, I’m just that kind of person. In thinking about designing my own e-portfolio, I don’t have any ideas.

None.

Blank.

Zip.

Zilch.

Nada.

I guess I do know what I do and don’t like. I appreciate clean, organized, and a unifying theme. I dislike clutter, multiple different sized fonts, and cheap looking color schemes. In class on Thursday, we talked about making  your e-portfolio your own while still thinking about audience. I thought that pretty much everything we do is already, to some degree, for an audience. However, after more consideration, we pretty much do what we want how we want maybe within the limits, or confines, of a certain audience, but largely everything is still up to us. If I wrote a paper, composed a speech, or made an website strictly for a particular audience, the integrity and authenticity of me as the author or creator would be lost in my careful construction. No one likes a liar. I think that in every choice you make about design or font or color, you are showing a part of yourself whether you feel like you are or not. Another thing that I find overwhelming about the e-portfolio design is the sheer number of options out there. Like with the technology presentations so far, the possibilities are essentially endless and that is more terrifying than it is freeing or exciting to me.

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=shopping+aisle&num=10&um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&biw=1366&bih=622&tbm=isch&tbnid=4g2bTpW6bJ2BZM:&imgrefurl=http://dangerousintersection.org/2008/02/18/experiencing-the-paradox-of-choice-at-the-local-schnucks-grocery-store/&docid=SEjps85Vsm7cwM&w=2816&h=2112&ei=QGKTTpj7GMnw0gHqjIVY&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=270&sqi=2&page=1&tbnh=115&tbnw=153&start=0&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:19,s:0&tx=86&ty=23
It's all just mustard, right?

This was a response to Joe…

…until I realized, I hadn’t posted yet this week. As I was commenting on Joe’s post (thanks for the inspiration), I decided to chalk this one up to the next level.

~*~**~**~*~*~*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~

Basically, I tentatively agree with Joe/Ong’s idea that all aspects of speech and/or writing are basically artificial in some sense. This drew a strange parallel in my mind to a discussion I had in another class last week.  My prof was telling the class about a woman he had interviewed once that was seeking “true movement.” Over the years, she had found her definition of “true movement” in only one circumstance: falling. When the human body is falling- apparently- it is the most natural and amazing to see the ways in which the body will contort in order to protect itself. Therefore, this woman built her entire dance company and performance around high flying acrobatics and literal leaps of faith. All in the pursuit of true movement.

Why do we all look like this as we jump? http://stormynightpublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/cliff-diver.jpancecases.

Back to language, reading, and writing. I think the same concept applies. True movement is born out of a reaction. Out of instinct. You begin to fall, you put your arms out to break your fall. Most of us shouldn’t have to think about that response. It is natural. Similarly, I think that in order to have “natural” speech or writing, it has to be borne out of a reaction to someone or something. In the heat of the moment, in the midst of an argument, at the edge of glory, on the precipice of doom, whatever melodramatic moment you may have. The point being, whatever form of communication that you choose at that moment is going to be visceral. Natural. And that is what I believe Ong was looking for.

Come On…

I could not wait to get to the end of this article.  I probably could have muddled through most of it, but then I hit the friendship paragraph and the “visceral, personal connection” between a blogger and a reader. Come on. Personally, I find Sullivan’s “friendships” with his readers to be about as substantiated as a Britney Spears pop song.

I also took issue with his assertion that “Blogs get away with less.” Come on. Does anyone remember the Shirley Sherrod scandal with the FOX blogger Andrew Breitbart?? He did exactly what Sullivan claims bloggers can’t get away with–he took her words out of context with the actual footage readily available on the internet of her true words and the context. Even with Breitbart’s asinine move, it brings to the surface an important point about blogging. Whatever you type in your moment of anger, sadness, lust, paranoia, self-pity, or whatever is out there immediately and forever. The best analogy I can draw is when a lawyer yells “Objection!” but really, it doesn’t matter. The question is already out there. It’s already in the mind of the jurors.

Lastly, I concur with Sullivan’s statement that blogging is “writing out loud.” It’s just to anyone and everyone who doesn’t want to hear it, as well. The real irony here is that I am doing everything I just complained about. In my moment of annoyance and anger to what I read, I went to this blog. Come on.

COME ON.

And your score is…

I’ll admit that a lot of the Brandt paper was of zero interest to me. I just felt like I was reading a lot of lofty, unsubstantiated wording, which is not true, but as someone not versed at all in the topic, I was lost. What I did really enjoy were the concrete examples she offered of interviews she had conducted with various people. The snippet that struck me the most was with the education specialist from a national trade association. He talked about sending in all his work to have it run through the Rudolph Flesch readability forumla.

Readability formula!?!?

At first, I was totally shocked by this. The more thought I lent the topic however, the more sense it made. I remember an assignment I had to do for a scientific writing  class I took freshman year. We were required to “translate” an original research article into an article for a popular magazine. My prof at the time asked all five (yeah, five) of us in the class our best guess for the national reading grade level. I boldly, and in clear demonstration of my naivete, offered some high school as the reading level. Wrong. Third grade. 3rd grade. That blew me away. Language, word choice, sentence structure, sentence length, syntax, all of that stuff we agonize over because we think it makes good writing. It has to be simple for real world consumption.

This brings me to two last points with the Brandt paper. First, I think literacy and reading are a HUGE issue in this country. The SES connection is a deeply disturbing one brought to light by Brandt. This highly industrialized country has only a 98% literacy rate. Most European countries have 99 or 100%. I don’t believe reading should ever be put on the backburner as far as how undeniably essential and important it is to functioning in our culture and society.

Lastly, in light of our discussion about the essay rubric in class today, I think the readability formula really highlights just how important audience and purpose are to every piece of writing we do from now until we stop writing. It is critical that you know who you are writing for/to because every audience calls forth very different demands from the writer.