Sunday, May 6, 2007

Self Reflective Essay

Writing is an extremely beneficial skill, and its reward much outweighs any of the detriment writing numerous papers causes. Writing is not only on paper. Conversations and speeches are writings being spoken from the heart in front of audiences. Seeing that writing is such an integral part of daily life there is an immense need for continued growth. This semester has proved to be an eye opening experience. I have never considered myself as an immaculate writer, but an improving one at that. I feel that I made my greatest forward strides during my junior and senior years of high school. Seeing as it has been a while since taking an English course, especially one at the collegiate level, this course was a learning and refreshing experience.

During the course of the semseter I have read many other student's blogs and papers. I have read some great papers and some mediocre ones. I think that "good writing" is clear and concise. It has good organization and conventions and the word choice is advanced and appropriate for the paper. When I compare my writing to that of other students I would consider myself average. I am striving to one day be able to say that I am above average, but I don't have enough confidence in my writing just yet. However, being able to read other's blogs has demonstrated good ideas and set some examples.

English has never been my favorite subject and because of that I have not always had the most positive attitude towards the class. I have struggled with conventions and through my trials and tribulations I feel that I am getting a better grasp on this component of writing. In addition, my writing in previous years was much like a conversation and lacked tone. I feel that I have better control of that today because of this class. I would also like to focus on being able to develop a more perfected thesis. I have a tendency to write the first thing that comes to mind and not be too willing to change it.

Before this class I had never done any writing for a blog. Since the main component of this class was posting and commenting on blogs I now feel much more confident and proficient with blog usage. Also during the course of the semester I was subjected to different styles of writing which have proved helpful in my other classes at UCD. This class can definitely be accredited for the writing success this semester in my other courses.

Next, my writing has changed over the course of the semester. In the beginning of the semester my blog entries were not very confident or very well written.

When making a comparison between the Comcast page and the newspaper one may think that they are very different. In some aspects they are different, but in many they are very similar. The newspaper can offer a lot of the same news information but in order to find it one must look through the pages to find that particular article.

This was an example from the first post of the semester. I was really unsure of myself as a writer and the median of blog entries was a foreign concept for me. In this next piece I feel that my voice is strong and my writing is confident well articulated.

There was a faint rhythm in the background that could be recognized as Mexican music, entertaining the employees as they worked. I also heard chopping that was most likely associated with the butcher's block in the back dissembling the chicken into desired portions. Beyond the music and rhythmic fall of the blade on the chopping board the hushed conversations of the few customers flowed through the restaurant.

Overall I believe that my writing has much improved over the last semester. I still want to dedicate time to expanding my vocabulary in order to enrich my writing and conversations, as well as work on proper conventional use and strengthening my thesis statement. I feel that my papers have a stong voice and I am proud of that. Nothing is worse than reading a dull paper that involves no emotion.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Nowadays black and white photography seems as if it has lost its popularity. Most the photographs and pieces of art that hang on the walls of homes have flamboyant coloring that seems to define the meaning of the artwork. Ansel Adams is a world renowned photographer and is known for his black and white photography. The vast majority of his photography is based out of the national parks in California and New Mexico. Ansel Easton Adams was born in 1902 and died in 1984. He originally wanted to live the life of a concert pianist and then decided to take up photography. He was an avid member of the Sierra Club and an environmentalist. He also really enjoyed hiking and that is when he did all of his photography (Wikipedia). During the course of his life Ansel was responsible for capturing many nature scenes at the height of their beauty; if it weren’t for Ansel we may not have access to such rich and pure nature photographs. Many have tried but they will never have the full capability to mimic any of Ansel’s work. Simplistic value and natural beauty were not meant be toiled with; Ansel uses his photography to demonstrate the necessity to leave nature in its state of origin.
First, we must examine the content of his photography. To the common eye Ansel is selling black and white photography that may appear to be old fashioned and serene. After analyzing Ansel and who he was, the content of his artwork is much more than the serenity that it delivers. Since Ansel was a very dedicated environmentalist and had a profound love for the outdoors, especially hiking, the underlying message becomes much more apparent. Ansel was an advocate for looking and enjoying nature but not touching or altering it in any way. By capturing unique, flawless, and breathtaking scenes on film Ansel was exuding the utmost necessity to omit human intervention and expedition (Wikipedia). If human interference could be eliminated, Ansel felt that he was upholding his duties as an environmentalist (Wikipedia).
Next, for most of the time that Ansel was a photographer the luxury of color print was not available. Once color was available he was semi opposed to its use. “I have done no color of consequence for thirty years! I have a problem with color-I cannot adjust to the limited controls of values and colors. With black and white I feel free and confident of results (Callahan 10)”. Ansel’s lack of confidence with the use of color film forced him to the continued use of black and white photography. If Ansel was uncomfortable with the results of his photography, then his true message was not able to be portrayed to its fullest extent. The complexity of color was not necessary. Ansel was a skilled, expert photographer that used his knowledge and skills to his advantage. Much like nature the unnecessary toiling was not necessary. Ansel eventually published some color photography, however, there a many fewer color prints available.

Third, even though Ansel lived from 1902 to 1984 the legacy of his photography has much out lived him. His original intention of leaving nature how it is did not die out when Ansel passed. This idea has lived on through many years, and will continue to be an integral part of life. Ansel and his photography obviously made a big impact on many people. Is his honor The Minarets Wilderness in the Inyo National
Forest was renamed the Ansel Adams National Forest in 1984 and in 1985 Mount Ansel Adams was named in Sierra, Nevada (Wikipedia). With these monumental landmarks named after Ansel we know that he made a large impact on society. The younger generations will be exposed to Ansel even though he has passed. There are many members of society today that are avid environmentalists much like Ansel. Many of these people are conducting conservation acts to preserve nature much like some of what we see in Ansel’s photography. For many people they just see Ansel’s photography as interesting and unique and don’t really understand what Ansel was trying to do with his art.
Finally, Ansel also used rhetorical appeals in his art. Both logos and ethos appeals are present. The logos appeal is presented in the fashion of rationality. Ansel was very rational in his attempt to preserve nature. It is a rational thought to want to maintain natural beauty because once it has been altered it is nearly impossible to restore. In Ansel’s case, if an entire portion of untouched land was removed to build houses, the original scenery would be irreplaceable. The ethos appeal is more directly related to ethics and credibility. Ansel was a credible source for preserving nature. Like stated before he was an active member of the Sierra club and he was an environmentalist. In his case he definitely practiced what he preached. For the ethical part of the ethos appeal Ansel was a modest thinker. He wanted people to be able to enjoy nature but don’t change or demolish it. That seems like an attainable goal.
In conclusion, it is important to examine things fully before jumping to a conclusion. I have always been fond of Ansel’s work but it didn’t have very much meaning to me. The natural beauty and the uniqueness of the black and white were attention grabbing, but I never knew what his photography stood for. Finding out the true meaning of something sheds light and knowledge on the viewer. If all things were looked at from a rhetorical perspective it would be interesting how things changed. Ansel was a respected photographer and environmentalist. His legend has stood strong for twenty three years and will continue to persevere in the future.

Works Cited
“Ansel Adams.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 2007. 26 April 2007.
Callahan, Harry M., Enyeart, James L., Shaefer, John P., and Stillman, Andrea G.. Ansel Adams in Color.
Boston. Little, Brown and Company. 1993.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Free Write: Divorce

These days divorce is more common then peoples' parents actually being together. When is the last time that you met someone and their parents are still together? If they are still married how well do they get along? It seems these days that people are in such a hurry to get married and they don't even truly know who their significant other is. In fact, the divorce rate has been on the rise over the last ten years and forcing more children to grow up in split households. I believe divorce and the way children act are strongly correlated. It seems that most people go into a marriage knowing that if it doesn't work out that divorce is always an option. Instead people should spend more time evaluating if marriage is the right path for their relationship, rather than opting for a divorce later on. I don't really understand how people can take wedding vows and promise to be together with some one until death do them part and for richer or poorer when they have only know the other person for several months. My parents got divorced when I was in forth grade. For me this was one of the most tragic and horrific moments in my life. I remember that I found out that my parents weren't getting along when I found my dad sleeping on the floor in the living room. When I asked him why he told me that he couldn't sleep so he moved to the floor so he wouldn't disrupt my mom. The problems continued to worsen when my mom would not come home for a week at a time and when she was at home she was just getting clothes or doing laundry. When I finally found out that my parents were getting a divorce my dad took me to a Denver Nuggets game and told me there. I will never forget that day. My parents have now been remarried and my mother divorced again. If and when I get married I will definitely think twice so that I don't one day put my children through the same thing my parents put my sister and I through. To this day my parents can't really have a civilized phone conversation let alone be in the same room together. To me this is very ironic. I still don't understand how two people could have come together in holy matrimony and love each other so much and have nothing but hate for each other now!

Free Write: Study Abroad

I think that studying abroad is a great opportunity. It gives you the opportunity to travel to a different country and enjoy the richness of the cultures meanwhile getting an education. I have always wanted to travel to different countries just to get a different experience. I was born and have lived in Colorado my entire life. I have done some travel within the United States but it has not been extensive by any means. I am considering a degree in Spanish so studying abroad would be a great opportunity for me. It would give me a chance to develop and perfect my Spanish and learn
different dialects at the same time. I believe the only way to become proficient in a language is to speak it with native speakers. Speaking in class only gives you so much. For example, I took four years of Spanish in high school and I did really well. When I began speaking with native speakers I realized just how much school did not teach me. The grammar and vocabulary are just a fraction of what it takes to hold a conversation. I have a friend that studied abroad and she told me nothing but great things about her experience. She has now graduated and took an eight month trip to Europe alone. I really think that if she had not tested the waters by studying abroad she may not be on this trip right now.
Finally, I would like to study abroad in either Spain or Costa Rica. I have not decided which or when I will be doing this but I hope that it is soon!

Extra Credit

I went to see David Lynch's film Inland Empire at the Myan Theatre. I had never been to Myan before and I must admit the idea of having a bar and a movie theater together is quite genius. Needless to say the bar would have come in very handy for seeing this movie if I were not driving. While I was in line, a couple in front of me was asking the clerk how the new David Lynch movie was, and he kind of tilted his head and said it was ok and that everyone that came out of the movie seemed to be quite confused. Hearing this comment made me a little nervous because I knew I had to write a paper on the movie after I saw it. Once I got into the theater and found my seat I realized that it was quite uncomfortable and I was going to have to sit through a three hour movie in these circumstances. My knees were crushed into the seat in front of me because there was not leg room. Good thing the theater was only about half full and no one was sitting in front of me or I would have been in trouble. When the previews started I realized the movies were from directors, actors, and producers that I had never heard of before. Now for the movie. The movie began and it looked as if it were filmed a while ago and perhaps with some one's own camcorder. It was not what I was accustomed to seeing in the theatres. The movie started with a scene in French and I was worried. I thought I was going to have to read subtitles for three hours with the idea that I wasn't going to understand the movie anyway. The beginning started with a prostitute scene and a girl crying. The movie seemed rather uneventful until the old lady came and introduced herself as the younger lady's new neighbor. They were talking and the butler went and fetched them some tea. They then began talking about the role that the younger lady was going to be playing in the play. It then appeared as if she had a weird deja vu and from that point on in the movie I was totally lost. Then next day, the lady went to play rehearsal and her and the other actor were reciting their lines to each other and they heard a noise and the man actor went looking through the set to see if he could figure out what the noise was. After that I had a really hard time distinguishing between the scenes when they were acting and when they weren't. Then it seemed that the scenes were switching between the lady having time with her husband and having time with the other actor. I was trying to focus and figure things out but by this time I think that all hope was lost. Then it got even more weird. When the main actress was in the new house a bunch of prostitute girls started singing and dancing and acting very strangely. I am not sure what this was all about. Then the main actress was talking to a therapist type person and the scenes kept changing and going back to the crying girl in the beginning. By this time half of the people in the theater had left and as I looked around I realized that another four or five people were sleeping. I feel that I misunderstood a major part in the movie and that is why I didn't have any idea what was going on. I think that part of the reason that I didn't understand this movie is because I have never been exposed to this style of film before and I have no background information on David Lynch's past works. Next time if I have to see a movie like this I will definitely do a bit of research before I go and see the movie.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Free Write

Will and Grace is one one of my favorite TV programs. I originally started watching Will and Grace with my family when I was in high school. We would always make nachos and watch TV as a family on Thursday nights and Will and Grace was one of the programs that we really liked. It is really funny and it seems to be a little more real life than some of the other programs. More than anything the one factor that brought my attention to this program is it's comedic value. You can almost count on laughing every time that you watch it. When watching a TV program or movie you always see the actors at their best. This particular clip is bloopers of Will and Grace and they are really funny. Since you only see the actors and actresses at their best it is fun to see them make mistakes and to see they are real people and not acting machines. I once saw an interview with the cast of Will and Grace and the actors are completly different in real life than they are on the show. Their roles are played so well on the show that it is hard to believe that they are any different in real life. Jack and Karen are my favorite characters. The two of them together make a classic pair. The bantering and mockery are priceless and always leave me in stiches. If you haven't seen this program I would highly recommend it. It is quite unfortunate that this program does not air on NBC any more but the reruns are still available for yor viewing pleasure. It seems to me that all of the old school stuff is the best and the newer artists or TV programs are claimed to be better be critics but I still enjoy the old school music over the new artists today. The same can hold true for TV programs. Will and Grace and Friends are to two programs that I was most fond of. Now the only way that I can enjoy these programs are through repeats. Don't get me wrong the repeats are still enjoyable but the suspense from week to week to find out what was going to happen between the charcters is much missed.