Election 2012

As the election nears, one cannot possibly walk around campus without being asked, “Have you registered to vote?” While frustrating to students like myself, who registered back in Colorado years ago, I can appreciate the efforts of these volunteers. Nobody should take the right to vote for granted because anyone with a basic knowledge of U.S. history knows that this was not always such a universally held privilege.

 

Although, I would argue that just as important as mobilizing eligible voters, is educating this same electoral group. I am probably biased as a Political Science major who constantly follows current events, but it pains me to hear people voting for a candidate or an issue because their parents or friends are doing so. In 2008, my sister, recently legal at 18 years old, decided that she loved Presidential nominee Barack Obama. Everyone eligible to vote in my household is an independent, so this did not necessarily conflict with anyone’s views on a party basis. However, her support intrigued me, as she had never once taken any sort of interest in politics. Her lack of a logical explanation, coupled with her failure to understand any of the pressing issues (Iraq, the economy, and the financial crisis) suggested that she found rationale in her opinion elsewhere. Finally she admitted to me that her friend gave her an Obama pin, and she would be voting for him. Read More

My Re-Mediation Project

In the following video, I attempted to present the same argument from a previous paper to the same audience, but in a different medium. I chose to “re-mediate” a poem that I wrote about the 2008 United States financial crisis, which was spurred by the collapse in the inflated housing price “bubble.” My intentions were to explain the complexity of the problem, whilst simultaneously arguing that there was one specific group of people who were most at fault for this disaster. Investment bankers essentially acquired massive amounts of subprime mortgages from lenders (banks), and then sorted these into categories by the risk associated with the repayment of the debt. The safest mortgages, rated AAA-A, were the least likely to default, but also yielded the lowest return. Then were the “O.K.” mortgages generally rated BBB, which were more risky but yielded a higher return. The remaining were not even rated, but yielded an extremely high return for one’s money. These investments would be paid only after all others had been, making them inherently the most risky. This grouping of mortgages became known as a Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO). The shady investment bankers manipulated and convinced these lending institutions that housing prices would always be on the rise, thus allowing unqualified, “risky” candidates (prospective homeowners) to receive loans. Once the bubble burst, and housing values plummeted, this group of debtors could not repay their loans, thus worsening the problem. Read More

Not Enough Writing

As the semester winds down, as per usual, I find myself scheduling multiple appointments with all of my academic advisors. My LSA advisor is actually the one who recommended my application to the Minor in Writing in the first place. I looked forward to speaking with him and sharing what has been an extremely positive experience overall. However, as we shared stories there was one question that had both, usually chatty individuals, at a loss of words. Why is there not a greater emphasis on the development of writing skills in higher education, or at least at the University of Michigan? Read More

Ma, This Blog Post is Going on the Fridge

Just in case my new blog group members have not read my previously enthralling posts, which is somewhat unimaginable (sorry I use a fair amount of sarcasm), I spent a lot of time lamenting the effect that technology is having on our generation’s writing quality. I was essentially arguing that in this day and age, with the advent of Twitter and text messaging, younger people are constantly ensconced in a brutish form of writing that disgraces the art form that it truly is. Read More

Patient is Not Yet My Virtue

I’m sure the people in my writing group will be sick of me reiterating this, but I do not write fiction. Never have, and really never was planning on it. When I examined the re-purposing assignment, it became clear that I was going to have to leave my comfort zone of academic argumentation and essentially try something new. While I initially planned to do a short story, a combination of a busy mind and too much caffeine led me to an entire night of reflection in bed. Somewhere around my fourth hour of trying to determine whether the bathtub above me is going to fall through the ceiling, because that crack may or may not be getting bigger, I decided to get up and do something productive. I have absolutely no idea what compelled me to write a poem, but it was probably the mixture of delirium from a lack of sleep and mold spores that may or may not be present in my foul living abode. Read More

You Can’t Rush Art

Throwback. You Just Can’t Rush Art…

As I sat and listened to the two speakers at last night’s How I Write session, I could not help but admire what they both had accomplished at relatively young ages. After getting lost in the hopeless maze that is North Quadrangle I missed the introductions to both of the writers. But, as I listened to Perry subtly reference all of his achievements while speaking, I was enamored with the breadth of subjects that he succeeded in.

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Thick Skin Necessary

After a few weeks of regular blogging, I am not sure if my style has really changed all that much. I don’t necessarily think that this is a bad thing, as my understanding of this form of writing is still essentially the same as it was at the commencement of this class. While Andrew Sullivan’s provided me with the challenges of blogging, mainly the high octane nature of the art, it really didn’t cause me to reevaluate the reasons as to why I blog. Although, the more that I invest into blogging, the more I respect those who are able to do this for a living. Obviously I respect the tremendous amount of work that goes into constantly finding the latest story, but the level of scrutiny that bloggers are constantly under is borderline ridiculous. Read More

Am I Ready For This?

I am technologically inept, and I am comfortable admitting this much. This attitude often saves me from embarrassing myself when trying to keep up with others talking about specific aspects of this foreign subject. The idea that I will be creating my own e-portfolio is quite intimidating at this point. I have my own comfort zone, and this new media aspect is something that is constantly pushing me to use skills that I am not as confident in. Although, I have a fairly laid back personality, and rarely feel stress about much of anything, I could see how this constant uncomfortable feeling could grow on me. Yet, after reading a couple of the previous cohort’s reflection notes, and recalling what Anne Lamott said, an aura of calm suddenly hit me.

 

At this point, nobody is expecting me to be a professional with this type of work. I am not applying for a job as Webmaster of The New York Times, or much less any professional aspect. I need to have faith that with practice, I will soon be successful in this new media form and hopefully, it will become something that I am excited to partake in.

 

I always enjoy a challenge that pushes me into previously foreign areas of learning. However, knowing this, I realize that I still absolutely hate that initial time period where I am running around like a chicken with their head cut off. I also love to meet new people, yet I always get butterflies when walking into a room with zero familiar faces. When I walk out of that room, the majority of the time, I am smiling because I have met new people, but also because I recognize that there was not really anything to worry about in the first place.

 

When I think about my e-portfolio, I think about Lamott’s piece. I simply need to get something down, and maybe it will be incredibly awful, but I have a feeling that there will at least be some building blocks for future success. Failure is not eminent, as I often feel initially (except for the Scarlett and Gray). I need to trust my abilities, and Lamott, as well as the previous cohort, may have given me the necessary boost to avoid these unnecessary feelings.