Ashley Edmonds

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Modest Metamorphosis

"If Kafka's “The Metamorphosis” strikes anyone as something more than an entomological fantasy, then I congratulate him on having joined the ranks of good and great readers…for we can take the story apart, we can find out how the bits fit, how one part of the pattern responds to the other; but you have to have in you some cell, some gene, some germ that will vibrate in answer to sensations that you can neither define, nor dismiss "(Vladimir Nabokov). Far be it for us to quibble with Nabokov. But agree, with each reader brings different minds which can fabricate different ideas and views of Franz Kafka’s tedious, although clever, fantasy of wordplay. For, literature is only an art that is perceived on an open canvas as the portrayer sees. For we are all interpreters, and media inspires everyone differently. At first the long drawn out melancholy words, sentence after sentence, of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis reeked of monotone as I read. However, after a little background research and a second read through the sadness of Gregor’s experience spewed from the pages. Soon my mind raced with images and then music. Modest Mouse’s “Doing the Cockroach” soon filled in the background of my mind.

In “The Metamorphosis” Gregor discusses his dread of his jobs duties. He explains the,
“worries about making train connections, bad and irregular food, contact with different people all the time so that you can never get to know anyone or become friendly with them” (Kafka 4). Gregor longs for days to sleep in and not have to worry about the traveling world. As he awakes one morning Gregor finds all of his salesman troubles have diapered. However, he is now transformed into a beetle.

As I read through these lines Modest Mouse “Doing the Cockroach” first came to mind. Modest Mouse, a folk band from the 90’s, are known for their awkward keyed lyrics and underlining messages. In “Doing the Cockroach” Modest Mouse sings about how we are all as worthless as a cockroach.
“This one's a doctor
This one's a lawyer
This one's a cash fiend
taking your money
Tasty but worthless” (Modest Mouse)
I believe they are relaying that no mater you job or power aren’t we all miserable just riding the train of life, trying to make it day by day to get by.

I decided to mash up the two for the obvious reasons. One, both suggest the main character in a beetle of some sort. Two, on a deeper level, both to me tells a story about society and how we as people go along with what we are told or expected to do. Finally, I feel “Doing the Cockroach” is a perfect companion to Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”.

Work Cited 

  •  Nabokov, Vladimir. “Lecture on "The Metamorphosis" by Vladimir Nabokov” The Kafka Project, 6 January 2012. Web. 31 May 2012
  •  Kafka , Franz. The Metamorphosis. Tribeca Books, 1915.

Thursday, June 21, 2012



  ("There is at this moment a beetle the size of god's ass on the table about six inches from the t-writer. It is worse than anything Kafka ever dreamed, so big I can see its eyes and the hair on its legs — Jesus, suddenly it leaped off and now circles me with a menacing whir")

At first the long drawn out melancholy words, sentence after sentence, of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis reeked of monotone as I read. However, after a little background research and a second read through the sadness of Gregor’s experience spewed from the pages. At a deeper look and a little persuasion from Barry Creamer, a ministry blogger from Criswell College, it became apparent that Gregor’s misfortune and misery was in fact a reflection of Franz Kafka’s :
The Metamorphosis is in the realization that Gregor himself is Kafka’s prodigal—the prodigal who never “comes to himself,” never seeks help, never turns back, and never experiences the warm embrace of life-, purpose-, and for-giving grace in the arms of his true father or family. For genuine existentialists those experiences are as unrealistic as the love of Kafka’s father was (or appeared to be) to him. (That same sadness is mirrored by the family’s relief at Gregor’s loss rather than persistent pursuit of his restoration.) (Creamer) With this it can be assumed that Kafka portrays similar aspect of his own metamorphosis in his analogous story.

As a young man in the 1900’s Kafka inexplicably resembled Gregor in The Metamorphosis as the weary saddened dung beetle. Kafka too found himself pressured by his lethargic and indifferent father to provide stability for his family. While growing up in the bureaucratic wasteland of Prague, Kafka described his town as broad modern streets of dreams, disguised with traces of the old ghetto, with its dreary alleys, reeking taverns, ubiquitous corruption to be more real than the palpable for the residents of the new city (Sokel). During his time in Prague Kafka was faced with the infant death of two brothers and constant moving that would soon send young Kafka into a state of instability. Both Hermann Kafka (father) and Julia Kafka (mother) were industrious people and instilled the necessity of work to Kafka at an early age. Although, Kafka did exceptionally well in his jobs, first at the Assicurazioni Generali, an Italian insurance company, and later with the Worker's Accident Insurance Institute for the Kingdom of Bohemia,  he often took long time off as an escape from fear of becoming just another pencil pusher (Wiki).  During his time off Kafka tried several attempts to purse his writing, but was shattered by his father when he wanted him to take charge of his brother-in-law Karl Hermann's asbestos factory, which took up a lot of his time until 1917 (when it was shut down) and literally almost drove him to suicide. (Wiki)

In  "The Metamorphosis" the latter Gregor spends his days pressed up against the window staring out onto the gray, contemplating thoughts of his earlier days. Gregor soon begins to fit the role as the unfit beetle, pondering over the meaning of his existence.
“Then he crept up on the window sill and, braced on the chair, leaned against the window to look out, obviously with some memory or other of the satisfaction which looking out the window used to bring him in earlier times.”  (Franz Kafka)
As a direct reflection of Gregor, Kafka in his depressed years at the firm was also known to have spent endless hours gazing out his bedroom window contemplating his purpose.
Kafka also developed early in life an inordinate sense of guilt. The idea of the insolubility of the most ordinary, even human problems depressed his youth and later inspired his art, Gregor in “The Metamorphosis” (Phillip Rahv 62).

Inevitably, when comparing Kafka’s life struggles of his time, with those of Gregor, the distressed insect, the similarity of the two are evident. This could be assumed as an arguable result of the unstable and depressed ethnicity Franz Kafka lived in. During his time he faced numerous hardships and obstacles that a young Jewish man went through in those times.

Work Cited

  • Barry Creamer. “The Prodigal Son Parable” 2012. Criswell College. 24 May 2012 Web
  • Wikipedia. “Franz Kafka” 2012. Wikipedia. 24 May 2012 Web
  • Sokel, Walter. “Franz Kafka as a Jew” Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook. 18.1 (2012): 233-238.Web
  • Rahv, Phillip. “Franz Kafka: The Hero As Lonely Man” The Kenyon Review. 1.1 (1939): 60-74.Web
  • Kafka , Franz. The Metamorphosis. Tribeca Books, 1915.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Metamorphosis Decades Apart

"If Kafka's “The Metamorphosis” strikes anyone as something more than an entomological fantasy, then I congratulate him on having joined the ranks of good and great readers…for we can take the story apart, we can find out how the bits fit, how one part of the pattern responds to the other; but you have to have in you some cell, some gene, some germ that will vibrate in answer to sensations that you can neither define, nor dismiss "(Vladimir Nabokov). Far be it for us to quibble with Nabokov. But agree, with each reader brings different minds which can fabricate different ideas and views of Franz Kafka’s tedious, although clever, fantasy of wordplay. For, literature is only an art that is perceived on an open canvas as the portrayer sees. For instance one artist, Carlos Atanes, an underground filmmaker, adapted in his 1994 “The Metamorphosis of Franz Kafka”; which entwines, loosely, the original story with Kafka’s reality. However, both tails circulate around one meaning Why do we exist? What does the transformation of Gregor Samsa symbolize? However, when inquired in different decades the meaning takes on a different sense.

In the original text, “The Metamorphosis”, Kafka paints a scene based out of a dying Central European town in 1912. Based on the speculation that Kafka portrays similar aspect of his own metamorphosis in his analogous story, one could assume the grey town is a shadow of his hometown of Prague. During the early 1900’s, post the rise of capitalism, Prague was a combination of ethical barriers. At the time Prague was segregated by Czechs, Jews and Germans, endeavoring to industrialize the advancing city (Tramer 305).  As Prague crept into the new age, Kafka described his town as broad modern streets of dreams, disguised with traces of the old ghetto, with its dreary alleys, reeking taverns, ubiquitous corruption to be more real than the palpable for the residents of the new city (Sokel). Where families struggled to survive, however managed to wear a lucrative mask, Kafka developed early in life an inordinate sense of guilt. The idea of the insolubility of the most ordinary, even human problems depressed his youth and later inspired his art, “The Metamorphosis” (Phillip Rahv 62).

Assuming that events are symbolic to his life, Gregor is also faced with similar obstacles. In the story the protagonist, Gregor, undergoes a gruesome transformation into a retched dung beetle. With his transformation Gregor became compulsorily distant from his work, society, his family and eventually himself. Which before long has him pondering what he knows, or thought he knew, and asking What is my purpose?. Given the obstructions Gregor faces, the meaning can be concluded that humanity is susceptible to forcibly reforming to an authority. Rather susceptible to settle for an expected job, lifestyle, or accepted idea, Kafka suggests that we are all insects in society, going through the same routine, decade after decade, week after week, day in day out, that eventually the custom becomes instinct. 

Throughout history there has been compelling evidence of illicit force being used to reform humanity. For example, during the early 1900’s life for Jews in Prague changed from tolerable to unbearable. This was a result of the uprising of German Nazis in the 1920’s. Reputations of Neo-Nazis racial propaganda ripped through the population of Central Europe, inevitably causing the segregation of communities. With popularity of the regimes fascist views growing, Jewish families living in Prague were stricken of rights and suppressed in the community by their fellow, Czech and German, Spaniards.

“Our personal problem was not, in fact, what our enemies were doing, but rather what our friends did,” stated Hannah Arendt, Jewish German-American political philosopher, to a friend about her escape from a death camp in Germany,1940 (Hannah Arendt). In Carlos Atanes film adaption of Kafka’s original work; that is exactly the lesson Gregor learned. Atanes’ placed the Samsa family right in the middle of late 1930’s fascist tainted Prague. Effects of Jewish segregation faded in and out from outside the family’s house, while inside, a half man half bug, Gregor tries to understand and cope with his unfamiliar form. Gregor’s transformation into an insect, or Ungeziefer, with a human-like appearance also echoes a grim realization of the Jewish torment. Ungeziefer, German for unclean animal not suitable for sacrifice, is a term that the Nazis used to refer to the Jews (Bruce 113).  
Gregor’s figure in the causes his family to lose their companionship for him, like the betrayal Jews experienced by their neighbors and friends. After all, how could an unclean animal not suitable for sacrifice really be a human?

Even though both Kafka and Atanes symbolic morphing toys with the question, Why do I exist, what is Gregor’s purpose? The times of the events are different, ultimately causing two different conclusions. In one Kafka suggest the formation of Capitalism and falling into uniformity. However, Atanes implies the same meaning; he strengthens it by adding symbolism of the Jewish population’s suppression by society during the German reign. Given each portrayal of “The Metamorphosis” the way an artist decides to set the scenery ultimately affects how an audience receives the underling question or meaning.

Work Cited
  • Nabokov, Vladimir. “Lecture on "The Metamorphosis" by Vladimir Nabokov” The Kafka Project, 6 January 2012. Web. 31 May 2012
  • Tramer, Hans. “Prague-City of Three Peoples” Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook. 9.1 (2012): 305-339.Web
  • Sokel, Walter. “Franz Kafka as a Jew” Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook. 18.1 (2012): 233-238.Web
  • Rahv, Phillip. “Franz Kafka: The Hero As Lonely Man” The Kenyon Review. 1.1 (1939): 60-74.Web
  • Arendt, Hannah. “Hanna Arendt” Notable.Women.International,  Web. 31 May 2012
  • Kafka,Franz. Corngold, Stanley.  The Metamorphosis: A Norton Critical Edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 1996. Print.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Annotated Bibliography: Franz Kafka vs. Carlos Atanes

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Annotated Bibliography: Metamorphosis

Still deciding the essential direction to go on analyzing how interpretations and presentations are a direct product of the culture of Franz Kafka. There are different ways I could go about generally answering the cultural aspects of Kafka in Metamorphosis.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Faith In Night

The poem “Night”, published in 1789 by English poet William Blake, was written with the purpose of enlightening about the existence of protective forces, and the inevitable evils of mankind. “Night” comes from the 1789 collection Songs of Innocence and of Experience, which is portrays the two contrary states of man “innocence” and “experience”. Like other poems in the collection “Night” suggests an ever going struggle between the holy and evil. Some might argue that the underlining point Blake tries to portray is as humans we all need to be protected, that people need some kind of protector. There is also the argument of sleep, that the poem in a whole is representative to the need for sleep. How sleep is the “innocent”, where people are protected, and the awake being the “experience” or “evil”. Although these are the suggested meaning I think “Night” also suggests a Christianic relationship between mankind and an all knowing God.

In the first three stanzas presents a sense of peace and guidance. In these stanzas Blake implies the need for guidance by guardian angels. I believe this represents the beginning relationship between man and God. For example in the third stanza,
 “They visit caves of every beast,
To keep them all from harm;
If they see any weeping.
That should have been sleeping
They pour sleep on their head
And sit down by their bed.”
Blake uses “they”, which to me is implying the existence of Gods angels. I also see this representing sleep as the everlasting sleep, or death, and angels sent to persuade mankind to believe.

However, in the fourth stanza Blake challenges the faith of man. Wolves and tigers, representing the demons of life, try to break the faith of others. With these challenges the guardians try to protect, but in the end the decision is up to those who need protecting. In all I see the forth stanza as being symbolic to the life relationship with God. Meaning, how we decide to live in means of faith while on earth.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”  —2 Corinthians 5:10 
 Appearing before judgment is what I believe the last two stanza signify. Blake uses a lion to represent God and in the end whoever passes through judgment, and has their sins washed away can come lay beside the holy in peace. For example:
"And by his health, sickness.
Is driven away,
From our immortal day.

And now beside thee, bleating lamb.

I can lie down and sleep;
Or think on him who bore thy name."
The 1789 poem “Night” to me represents the steps of life through Christ. I also believe "Night" is a good representative of the struggle one might face and the reward of an afterlife for overcoming these challenges.  The struggle starts with a beginning of innocence and choosing to be guarded or protected. After experience in life demons and other evils come to challenge ones faith. All stages leading to the end of life as one knows and being born again after judgment.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

William Blake "Night"

The sun descending in the west,
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest,
And I must seek for mine.
The moon, like a flower,
In heaven's high bower,
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.

Farewell, green fields and happy groves,
Where flocks have took delight.
Where lambs have nibbled, silent moves
The feet of angels bright;
Unseen they pour blessing,
And joy without ceasing,
On each bud and blossom,
And each sleeping bosom.

They look in every thoughtless nest,
Where birds are covered warm;
They visit caves of every beast,
To keep them all from harm.
If they see any weeping
That should have been sleeping,
They pour sleep on their head,
And sit down by their bed.

When wolves and tigers howl for prey,
They pitying stand and weep;
Seeking to drive their thirst away,
And keep them from the sheep.
But if they rush dreadful,
The angels, most heedful,
Receive each mild spirit,
New worlds to inherit.

And there the lion's ruddy eyes
Shall flow with tears of gold,
And pitying the tender cries,
And walking round the fold,
Saying, "Wrath, by His meekness,
And, by His health, sickness
Is driven away
From our immortal day.

"And now beside thee, bleating lamb,
I can lie down and sleep;
Or think on Him who bore thy name,
Graze after thee and weep.
For, washed in life's river,
My bright mane for ever
Shall shine like the gold
As I guard o'er the fold."

Night by William Blake comes from the 1794 Songs of Innocence and Experience. As I am interested in the psychology side of things I chose to ask the indispensable questions. What trials or ordeals does the protagonist face? What is the reward for overcoming theme? Knowing that Songs of Innocence and Experience collection symbolizes the innocent, pastoral world of childhood against an adult world of corruption and repression. "Night" is also a good example of this and I plan on using that assumption to answer the essential questions raised.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Truth for Peace

"Public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues." - Society of Professional Journalist Preamble

As a journalist it is my job to seek the truth and spread the truth. I have made it my life's goal to help others by spreading the truth, in hopes to bring peace to society.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Over this past semester my focus as a writer has been organizing thoughts, procrastination, and entertaining an audience. At the beginning of the semester my blogs consisted of choppy word jumble and obvious and procrastinated assignments. However, being able to have peer comments and constructive feedback I realized it was time to step up my game and put forth a little effort.

Only a few writings into the course and it was obvious my lack of efforts and organization had been improving. Starting with the essential post of Organizing Thoughts where I asked for advice on how to improve the flow of my writings, and was suggested to use the free writing method, with each posts to follow I showed more and more improvement. I also found with free writing my post increased in length every time. Although each post built off one another in improvement, by the very next post I Have to get This Done!...Tomorrow showed immediate improvement. Finally, after several post to practice Shitaintclear and Into the Future showed the most improvement. With each post it is apparent that I had also improved on procrastination. Each showed improvement on length and value to suggest more thought and time had been put into the assignments.

After improving and the two main issues of presenting my ideas and giving my writings more thought and value I really wanted to turn my focus to entertainment. In several of my posts I wanted to capture my readers and keep them coming back each week. Shitaintclear and Into the Future again are the two best examples of fun and interesting posts. I would also add One for One as a great post even though it was a picture assignment. In this particular post there may not be a written story however, I believe to layout and contrast of the photos make the post a fun and vivid post.

With all the positives I have gained in each writing I am still falling victim of poor editing and proof reading skills. For example, there is probably evidence of this problem in this very post. I do proof read and edit each writing, but my brain knows what I thought I wrote and I am oblivious to the mistakes each time. Although, I have tried proof reading after taking a break and that has helped a little I still have miss used commas and silly mistakes. I would like to keep working on this problem by practicing with commas more. However, proof reading I feel I will always need the extra read through by a peer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One for One

Today I was inspired to go the day without shoes to raise awareness and money for Toms. Toms is a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Today April 10, 2012 Jacksonville State University held a campus wide awareness down for One for One. This event consisted of walking around everywhere barefoot to obtain a better understanding of what children without a way to protect their feet have to endure on a daily basis. As the day of fun and festivities ended it was time for the long walk around University/Trusties Circle, barefoot of course. This is when the reality kicked in. With the asphalt almost unbearable and the rough rocks rubbing blisters on the balls of feet, it was a real challenge to make it to the finish line.

This picture was inspired by today’s events. I used (online version) to increase the contrast, brush the toenail polish glair, and made the blues really pop. I found this assignment exciting and what a great way to involve my experiences of today in my blog.
 Yes those are blisters.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I wonder why when you say goodbye
beautiful colours paint the sky.
Shades of orange, yellow and pink too
all come out because of you.
And although I hate to see you go,
I really do enjoy the show.
I've seen you leave so many times
and still it's a favourite sight of mine.
There'll be no sadness, be no sorrow
because my sun, you'll come out tomorrow.
I won't feel hurt, I'll feel no pain
because on your way down, your colours will reign. 
- Adoni Marcano

Friday, March 16, 2012

Book Club?

“If daily reading begins in infancy, by the time the child is 5 years old, he or she has been fed roughly 900 hours of  brain food! Reduce that experience to just 30 minutes a week, and the child’s hungry mind loses 770 hours of nursery rhymes, fairy tales and stories. A kindergarten student who has not been read to could enter school with less than 60 hours of literacy nutrition. No teacher, no matter how talented, can make up for those lost hours of mental nourishment.” (USDOE, 1999)

Have you ever heard the phrase “if you don’t use it you’ll loose it”? So if you do not use your skills, like reading. You may not loose your ability to read, but may struggle with higher literacy. Think about the brain food quote. If this is proven true think of all the educational hours we have lost. In CliffNotes I brought up the statistic that 25% of Americans will not read a single book in a year. After some thought on the matter I have decided I would personally like to change this.

As of today I am setting myself a personal goal to read as many books as I can by the end of the year. (20+) However, I do not only want to read the books, but I also want to find ways to interact with them. For example in high school I had found a few authors my friends and I really liked and we would take turns reading the books. One book I remember reading is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. While reading we would jot down our thoughts as side notes, and then pass the book on to a friend to read and add their thoughts. Finally after the book made it around the circle I would go back and reread the book. This was such a great experience, because every time reading was like reading a whole different book.

With all the hype over The Hunger Games movie what better book to start with then The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. What a great opportunity to read the book then watch the movie and be able to compare the two. My second book I would like to read is The Rum Diaries by Hunter S. Thompson. I have seen the movie and can not wait to read the book. Hunter S. Thomson is my journalist/writer hero and I would like to eventually read all of his works including: Fear and loathing in Las Vegas, Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, and Where the Buffalo Roam. I would also like to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower again to see how my thoughts have changed over the years. Those are only a few and I have a lot of catching up to do on my reading. So if anyone has any ideas for books I MUST read please let me know.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Am I a great writer? No, in no means am I anywhere near being a perfect writer. However, I do pride myself with having common sense, and being a pretty “darn good” typographer. (Typography, in print journalism, is the detail of layout of the newspaper, magazine, flier, exedra; that is the key to what makes the text appealing to the eyes.) So yes, I do know a little something on what is news worthy and appropriate. That is why sometimes when I am reading smaller papers I really would like to call up the editor and ask “WHAT!?!”.

If you have attended Jacksonville State University then you have surely heard or read the notorious Chanticleer. In the latest publication there was a lengthy opinion article on Rick Santorum. After reading this article this defiantly made me say out loud, WHAT!? But, before I go into the errors of the article itself, let me just touch on this page. First, the filler the paper uses are atrocious. Second and the font in a paper is ALWAYS justified. Third, this slandered article should have never had a full page. However, all of my newsy pet peeves aside lets move on to the article.

How many times have you written an essay and said “I am writing this essay about...” or “This essay is about…”, only to have your essay returned inked to death. Well this article starts out just that way. I quote, “I am so blessed to have the opportunity to write a political opinion article,” which translates to “I am writing an opinion article about…”.  I do not believe this line should have ever made it to the final cut. Later on in the piece the writer also mistakenly says, “Now with that quote in mind,” but never addressed a quote, only his thoughts on what NPR (National Public Radio) had to say on the matter. There were several other “no no’s” in the article, but the one that stood out to me the most was in the last paragraph. “…a cheating, selfish, b----, who wants to colonize the moon.” WOW, when did the writer ever feel it was appropriate to use the word bitch (even though the last four letters where blanked out) in a new article! Internet, okay but this is like turning on abc 33/40 and James Spann saying “you is a dumb bitch if you don’t take cover now”. Even if you are writing for a college newspaper using profanity is never okay.

However, do not get me wrong I am not for Rick Santorum nor do I believe any of the “santorum” spewing out of this mans mouth. I am just frustrated as a journalist and writer at the nonsense and errors that actually get published in Newspapers and magazines. I know I do not have the best grammar skills or am the best editor, but my fondest memories were always on Thursday’s when my old advisor would bring in a few big named papers and we would spend the class period giving it the red ink of death. Maybe this is why little things in articles irk me more then others.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


In a world with internet access and cliff notes, the amount of reading the average person does is decreasing with each generation. In a 1993 National Assessment of Adult Literacy, the largest government-funded national literacy survey to date, stated that the average American reads at an eighth grade reading level. Also, that 25% of Americans will not read a single book within a year. For me I find this very true.

I remember in elementary school when we had such programs such as STAR that would reward kids with prizes for the amount of books they read within the school year. However, even then I could hardly tell you how many I actually finished. For me, starting this habit of only reading part of a book to retain enough information to pass a quiz has followed me into my adult life. To be honest I could not even tell you the last book I actually sat down and read all the way through. Yes, we as students have always had books assigned to us to read, but of course I would procrastinate and end up reading the cliff notes the night before the test. I have always wanted to broaden my interest in books and reading, but I always find myself staring endlessly at the TV or monitor screen. I would really like to work on ending this problem for myself. I feel that if I could make myself set down and read (and finish) I could grow myself greatly as a more intellectual person. But, how do I change a lifestyle of a bad habit, and why is it that over the years we have distanced ourselves from literature?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Into the Future

For many years now the film industry has played fantasy on virtual vision. For example the one I can think of off the top of my head is the Terminator films. In these films director James Cameron introduces the 80’s to “cyborg vision”. This vision is a virtual computer based vision equipped with face recognition and commands. Fast forward 28 years into 2012 this once farfetched vision is more realistic then one might have thought.

Earlier this week information from Google X Lab was leaked the release of the android powered Google Glasses. Essentially these sunglasses will be a virtual interaction with your smartphone. The glasses like Bluetooth will be synced with your phone and will allow the user to interact with their phone with out looking at it. How do Google Glasses work?  The glasses will be equipped with one computerized lens and built in camera. The camera records and assesses what you are looking at and portrays the content on the computerized lens overlaying it on reality. For example, say you are at a historical landmark, the glasses will recognize the landmark and display facts and comments on what you are looking at. For more of a social example, don’t you hate when you run into someone and they obviously know you, but you are not sure who they are or how you know them. Well Google glasses can help, because the glasses have face recognition. It will be able to access your accounts (Facebook) and show you who they are and maybe how you know them. How do you command Google Glasses?  The glasses are operated by head nods and side-to-side motion.
Other Features
  • GPS
  • Apps
  • Motion Sensors 

Wow, who knew this technology would come so soon? Personally this excites me to think how advanced everyday technology has come. However, I can see the cons this product may bring about. Don’t you hate being around someone with a Bluetooth set on and the awkward moment you realize they were never talking to you? Well now you’re going to have that and someone who is head-bobbing coming toward you. (Talk about awkward)  Also, as if our generation is not already dissocialized enough with texting, tweeting, Facebook, and angry birds the Google Glasses take this to a whole new level. Now you can do these things everywhere at anytime. I also could see the threats users could cause. We already can see the issues with texting and driving, but now Google Glasses make this easier and could possibly cause even more of a distraction than before. With that being said, think about the phrase “the government is tracking us”. Well now that your every move will be recorded this could be more true then ever.  As exciting as this new product is I find it just as scary.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is More Better?

Be honest, which do you find more effective, a brief description/ summary or a long drawn out article? Most would choose the brief description. Think about it, when you Google something most people would prefer to read briefly to get a general idea of the topic. So with this being said, why wouldn’t teachers teach students to be able to write briefly and effectively on a topic?

In the article, "Teaching to the Text Message"Andy Selsberg, a teacher at John Jay College, saw the interest in texting as an opportunity to teach his students using Twitter-based learning. “We need to set our sights not lower, but shorter.” Selsberg along side traditional writing lessons also set up projects that would test his students critical thinking. In some projects students were asked to define things in two sentences. One of my favorite projects was where Selsberg asked his students to describe a chalkboard in one to two sentences. One of his students wrote, “A chalkboard is a lot like memory: often jumbled, unorganized and sloppy. Even after it’s erased, there are traces of everything that’s been written on it.” This response is beautiful. I believe that these two sentences were probably more thought out than if assigned an essay on the chalkboard.

I agree with Selsberg’s logic of using less to explain more. I believe setting a required length or word count can take away from an assignment. When setting a length students are more prawn to plagiarize, ramble, or manipulate the true content of the final product. For example, say a teacher assigns a 400 word short essay. Most of the turned in assignments would contain one or even all three of these problems to make the essay seem legit. However, with challenging the students with shorter content students are required to think more about what to write, and could have a better understanding of the topic.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Social Vs. Traditional Learning

There is no argument that growing up in the digital era, solely dependent on the technological interaction with our peers, that we as students struggle with academic writing. A lot of times when assigned research papers it’s like pulling teeth to write. I become extremely stressed about the assignment and usually procrastinate to avoid the anxiety. However, because we DO live in a digital and social world there are endless possibilities to learning and teaching that can spice up a traditional class.

Recently I read the article “Blogs vs. Term papers” by Matt Richtel. In this article Richtel talks about the stress term papers bring students and teachers and also discusses the arguments (pros/cons) of using a social media based classroom.

In the article I find myself asking “WHAT?!?”. William H. Fitzhugh protests against moving away from rigorous academic writing, and believes the solution is not blogs but more reading. Fitzhugh also proposes what he calls the “page a year” solution: in first grade, a one-page paper using one source; by fifth grade, five pages and five sources. –again WHAT!?   Could you imagine being responsible to write a five page paper with sources before even completing middle school. I do agree that our generation has shied away from reading and extensive writing, but this method might just be a little too extreme.  

Personally I really enjoy this style teaching. (Teaching in a more interactive environment) I believe by using tools that students already use, like blogs, can be an enriching way to teach. I agree that blogging is less stressful. I actually think that having classes with blogs are a refreshing change. - 1.) I do not feel the urge to OD on coffee or wake up wishing I could just have an IV of caffeine. 2.) I learn more with constant feedback on my work. 3.) Students have the chance to be the teacher. – I agree that students should have some scene of academic writing but outside of school when is this relevant to most people. I think Professor Davidson had the right idea by using blogs and teaching students cover letters, business letters, and have them write short stories and essays about their chosen careers.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Have to get This Done!...Tomorrow

Procrastinate -to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost. As students and adults we are all at some point guilty of procrastinating. I would like to bet that while leading up to this post everyone prepped about the same way. Think about it, after class knowing about the next assignment, at some point you said I need to do my homework and get it out of the way so I do not have to worry about it later. Then either two things happened: one- you sat down that night and got your work done; or two (of the more likely) – that night you thought about your work and then said “well I will just do it tomorrow”. Well most like, tomorrow turned into today and the deadlines creped up before you noticed.

I know this happens to me all the time. I convince myself that I will, get off work and do this, this, and this/ wake up early and accomplish everything, but who I am kidding it always happens the same; I DON’T. I usually find myself creeping around on Facebook, captured my some show on TV, or my all time favorite sleep. Now of course I know the way to not procrastinate is to simply NOT to procrastinate, but that is way easier said then done. How exactly do I motivate myself to not procrastinate?

First I would say do not be around distractions. Turn off that TV show and started the work before logging in to a social network. I know this is extremely difficult when today’s culture is desperate to know what is going on. (Who is dating who, who’s prego, oh no he/she didn’t social blah blah blah) However I like to take these unbearable urges and turn them into rewards. For example, after I am done with this post I will be rewarding myself with a quick look on Facebook, coffee, and a long needed cigarette.
So to make that possible sometimes I like to think like to think about the essay “Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott. I find the quote, "It's not like you don't have a choice, because you do--you can either type or kill yourself", to be very helpful when I find myself not wanting to write.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Organizing Thoughts

As a writer I know one of my challenges is organizing my thoughts and getting my point across the way I would like to. When given a topic I find my thoughts racing and struggle in putting my thoughts out there so that my audience understands fully. Students at the earliest ages have various formulas (on how to brainstorm and organize thoughts) engraved into our heads. For example: webs, charts, lists, ect…

However, what if these tools do not help you to your fullest? That is the issue I find sometimes. I know that I can be a great writer, only sometimes it takes me a lot longer then I would like to perfect one of my writing. Sometimes this is the cause of different variables like: If I fully know about what I am talking about. (Like most students in high school I perfected the art of how to bullshit people.), If I really cared about what I was writing about, and If I took my time in writing about the topic.

I would like to improve on these problems. I know every now and then I should research, try to care, and not procrastinate on my writings. Other then these issues, what could I do to help organize my thoughts? [Not including the graphs, charts and webs I already use is there any helpful advice?]

Thursday, January 19, 2012


What are my writings purposes? As I sit here boggling that question– I try to think back to how my love to tell started.

Growing up I remember being artsy in the fact of storytelling, crafting, and presenting my imagination. Everything from music, writing, to drawing I could somehow elaborate enough to capture my audience. Starting with my earliest of age I have always seen myself as a “narrative” person. I am almost certain all of my awards or contest where the result of a story or article but, at what point were my writings me?

As a writer I believe my purpose is to narrate or tell, and I believe this has always my purpose. As an aspiring journalist it is my job to tell and inform my readers, but any writer can do this. However the question is: How can I do this without loosing me?

First aspects I must keep in mind and always improve on.

*Fundamentals: Grammar, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, without these you are not a writer. From day one as writers we are harped this continuously, but I believe no one ever really masters fully. To me it does not seem possible because, what do they say, eventually when you are good enough you make up your own rules of writing. But, how do you know if you are ever good enough?

*Style-focus and flow: As a reader I do NOT continuously read an author or journalists work I do not enjoy. I believe it is very important to stick to yourself so that your work is recognizable.

In retrospect my goal in writing is to accomplish these two things. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Keep it simple

As a journalist I find it sometime challenging to just slow down and keep thing simple. Which in journalistic writing this is a big “no no”, since the audience the writing is directed to is the “average Joe”. This style of writing is mint to be none bias, and for me this sometime apposes a challenge to not be opinionated; also to take in mind who I am writing for. Although I would like to improve on this, I am excited about not having such strict guidelines on blogging.