The Virus Is Lurking Outside Your House

  The book that I am currently reading is the restaurant at the end of the universe. I have read this before and as I am reading I remember what happens so I am probably going to switch over to It which I have never read. It is by Douglas Adams and it is the second of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. However, now that the Bubonic plague is sweeping across the land and the masses are hiding in their homes, all libraries around here are closed, so I guess I’m stuck with it. 

    I was actually kind of looking forward to watching Vertigo, except due to the unfortunate aforementioned plague, that won’t be happening for a seemingly indefinite amount of time. The research I did helped me to get a bit of a better background for what Alfred Hitchcock really did for film, because while I was aware he was influential and extremely good at what he did, the only Hitchcock film I could even name was The Birds. I have actually seen this movie, and it did not really give Hitchcock the greatest spotlight, as I’m sure that this couldn’t possibly be his best work.

    The transcendentalism unit (which, coincidentally, I was certainly not just thinking about) is one that I am partially split about. I understand that the deep meanings that Whitman conveys through his tangled forest of symbolism are important and insightful, part of the shock of realization comes once you finally decode the messages and see what he has been trying to say the entire time. I

     cannot help but think that if Whitman wrote this poem in a manner that people did not have to put in great effort to understand, his poem would not have been nearly as influential as it is now. At their base, I cannot help but think that his ideas are some that it would be within people’s boundaries to say “I could have thought of that” (whether this is true or not) rather than have them say “I never could have written like that, he must be smart.”  I believe this says something significant about this form of poetry, but, as with all poetry, it is up to you to decide what.

I’m Really Hoping For Some Luck Here

  My initial interpretation of this poem is that it is an incomprehensible mess, so needlessly symbolic that much of its profound meaning is completely lost. From the limited amount of this poem I can understand, I can see that it is actually very insightful and accurate, but only when Walt Whitman isn’t bragging about how wise and enlightened he is. While I understand that this is the style that is necessary to build your credibility as an intelligent person and experienced writer, it just seems extremely tedious to have to decode the poem line by line, minutes at a time. At the time this was released, I cannot imagine the general public would have had the education or patience to deal with deciphering all 52 sections in this poem. I wonder if Walt Whitman could have predicted the impact his poem would have on people throughout the future, especially the misery of high schoolers across the world that he is personally responsible for. I am sure his ego would certainly be satisfied with this turn of events, because his wisdom would be spread to the youth of the future.

    Overall, our section seems to uphold the overall theme of the poem, that Walt Whitman has enlightened himself and can now share his knowledge that- he says- God gave him because God cannot personally interact with humans so he must have used Whitman as his envoy to the human population. While I understand that the only way to get people to accept new ideas in this time period was to say that God says that they are right, it seems a little pretentious that Walt Whitman indirectly compares himself to Jesus Christ or Moses. However, I do understand this strategy he uses to get people to be open to his information, so it is not too bad. 

    My main difficulty with this assignment is the fact that I am almost positive I am completely off the mark with everything I am saying. My explanations sound competent and like they could be true, but I have little to no confidence that they have any relationship with what deep and incomprehensible message that Walt Whitman is trying to convey.

I always have to concentrate to be able to spell Thoreau

   Henry David Thoreau tried to leave society behind and embrace nature to its fullest in this excerpt of “Where I lived and What I lived for” In the main part of the passage he spends a great deal of time searching for the best place to live by shopping for farms. He remarks that many poets claim that they are the king of all they see when they view nature, yet they do nothing to earn this monarchy when in reality the humble farmer who does all the work is left with bare compensation.

     He eventually takes full residence in the woods on July 4th of 1865, but he still has to finish his house so that it is stable for the winter. He says that he did this because he absolutely wants to live his life to the fullest and not be dissatisfied with his life when his time comes to die. This relates to what Emerson says in his passage about Self Reliance because Thoreau is doing this to fully gain his independence. Thoreau continues to say that it is because of the inventions of modern life that we are forced to devote so much time to modern life, and abandon the more simple things. He says that his brain is his gift rather than his hands and feet like most men have, and the woods will help to provide his brain with the best concentration possible.

    In the conclusion, Thoreau leaves the woods because he says that, while he has found peace, he cannot impact the world if he leaves it and remains separate from it. He says he wants to live life to the fullest, and this cannot be accomplished by removing yourself from the world around you. He has already stated that his brain and intelligence are his gift, rather than his hands and feet, and he cannot put his brain to the best use while alone in the wilderness.

    If I conducted Thoreaus experiment the main thing I would miss is other people. I would lose my mind alone for months. I could do this from a physical/practicality standpoint, but if I did not have at least one other person to do this with then I would not be able to. 

    This relates to transcendentalism in that Thoreau is being his own person on his own rules and standards, which seems to be the heart of this topic so far.

Don’t use debating while arguing

 Before I learned about arguing I would not really have known about any of the strategies that you have to use to win. I really enjoy asking trap questions that force your opponent to answer the way you want them to. I also feel like if debate was something you were able to really get good at, it would change the way you talk and act in your life, and also really annoy everybody around you. Nobody likes the guy who is always right, or just never admits that he’s wrong. Just ask anyone who knows Aaron. If you got good at debating, you would have to save it for when you really need it, or else you would just be intolerable to be around. However, the thought processes that debating builds helps you to think faster and use past knowledge to outsmart other people, and this can easily translate to many other valuable skills in life.

    Unfortunately, these skills do not include the majority of arguing in day to day life because it is so radically different from a structured and diplomatic debate. For example, if you ever argue anywhere at any time in the 21st century about a controversial issue, you will not change someone’s mind about their beliefs. While it is possible to logically annihilate any point they make if you do any amount of research, their reasons for believing what they do are most often not at all based on logic at all in the first place, so it is completely impossible to appeal to them by using logic. I think the only solution to a problem like this would be to move far, far away from Hicksville, Pennsylvania. 

    I guess the moral here is that debating can only work against and in front of people that are both intelligent and open-minded, a combination that practically does not exist today. In formal or simulated situations, debating has its place, but the real takeaway is the way that debating makes you think and respond to people, and can be a valuable mental skill, but rarely, ironically, while arguing in the real world.

This Is What I Get For Missing School For A Day

 I was assigned the pro position that is supporting the practice of assisted suicide. Thankfully, this is my personal position on this issue and this will make my argument easier to create. I do not know a great deal about this topic except for the bare minimum, and I will have to do a lot of research before I can actually create a functioning argument in favor of it. Basic Google searches generally bring up articles that are labeled “the facts,” but usually have some sort of bias one way or the other, but if scroll down or add “pros and cons” into the title, I can find a few unbiased sources that just display the facts. 

    My main logical approach towards arguing for this topic is the fact that it should be your right to end your own life if you want to, especially if you are in a great amount of pain with no foreseeable cure. This also ties into an emotional argument that involves appeal to pity. If I find examples of people that were not granted assisted suicide and were instead left to linger and die in pain, this is a horrible example of the reason that assisted suicide should be allowed, and my audience will understand the sense in this due to the combination of logic and appeal to pity.

    This also becomes an ethical issue because you are taking away someone’s right to end their life, especially if they explicitly say that they want this. I can see how this would be an interesting argument, however, if my opponent was well-researched because there are so many ways to stall your opponent by playing devil’s advocate by making me set a hard line about where assisted suicide should not be granted. If I want to win the argument, I will definitely have to come up with some definite or at least logical answers to this question. However, I certainly think I will have to emotional advantage because of the fact that denying assisted suicide usually means keeping terminally ill patients in extended pain before their inevitable death.

This Was A Pain To Do Over Christmas

    Over this Christmas break I was given the unfortunate task of repeating Benjamin Frankin’s unattainable experiment. I had a list very similar to his own with 15 virtues necessary to what Ben Franklin described as “moral perfection.” This, of course, is just as impossible as it sounds, especially during a period of time notorious for its temptations. I failed multiple virtues daily. Not one day went by that I successfully stayed within the boundaries of all fifteen virtues, or even fourteen or thirteen. There were several (as I will get to later) that were much easier than the others to follow that I managed to make it through the entire break without breaking, but there were also many others that were not this simple or easy. In addition, I often forgot the experiment even existed until it was nighttime and I had to enter my results. Some nights, at 11:30, I would remember the challenge and roll over and scrawl down the virtues I had broken on notebook paper, only to repeat this process the night after. If this experiment had been conducted during a different period of time, I probably would have done better. However, because I was not concentrating on the experiment very often, it is a better representation of my morality in my daily life.

    Depending on the circumstance, there were some virtues that were much easier to follow than others. For example, throughout the entire time period, I did not even once fail Justice, Sincerity, Moderation, Cleanliness, or Authenticity. My most commonly failed virtue was Resolution, simply because of this project. Every time I wrote my virtues down quickly in a notebook rather than log in to my computer, I would just add resolution to the list. Ironically, this experiment brought out a poor ethical practice that I continuously repeated that would not have happened otherwise. Most days I averaged three to four virtues failed, but of course, Christmas Day had the most virtues failed with five. This supports a point I made earlier that if this experiment had been conducted during a different period of time, I would not have failed as many virtues as I did.

    Since it is virtually impossible to ever be morally perfect for any period of time, this experiment on the surface seems pointless. However, Benjamin Franklin was correct when he realized that just attempting an experiment such as this can make you into a morally better person. The practice of trying to be perfect will inevitably lead you to failure, but if enough effort is put in, considerable improvement is almost guaranteed. This idea can be seemingly applied to almost any other valuable skill, and a few non-valuable ones too.

    This experimental model is essentially a good way to get good at any skill. You have an end goal in mind of improvement (Franklin aimed too high with perfection) and you take small steps along the way toward reaching your goal. Eventually, even if your end goal or status is not attained, you still have drastically improved in your skill if you have put enough work in.

I Only Have 25 Words Of My Essay Done

    The dodo’s conundrum is a deeply and sometimes incomprehensibly symbolic poem. I can understand the surface of the metaphor in the perfect world the narrator has created for himself. He meticulously creates a perfect world inside his mind for himself to live in, and in his bliss, he blocks out the world outside of the world he has created. He remarks on the fact that many people have a similar world built for themselves and that reality can sometimes only exist in the mind of the perceiver. He also says that while everybody has a world like this, he is not willing to put in the effort enough to view or enter theirs, because he is completely comfortable where he is. He then momentarily comments on his relaxation in the world he has created, but sadly understands the fact that this lifestyle can lead to danger, but refuses to leave his perfect world despite the risk. Eventually, his world has become his prison and he sadly watches from the place he has trapped himself, but still is not really too bothered. 

    While I feel I have a decent grasp on the theme of this poem, past experience shows me that I have probably completely overlooked several layers of deep and nearly indecipherable symbolism. I am reasonably confident that I am either a little wrong or completely off the mark, and while there is more symbolism that I am sure I could decode, I feel that the general gist is there, even if it is not 1000 words worth.

Blog 7

    My view on poetry has not really changed very drastically at all. If anything, it may have even gotten a little worse. On the surface, it does not seem to bad because the deeper meaning of most of these poems is not too hard to figure out and they are enjoyable to read. However, the extremely deep and in depth analysis of every poem sometimes seems like an extremely unnecessary and time-consuming use of effort. I can see how, in the future, this might be necessary if the poems we are trying to decipher are ridiculously complicated. (just wait, I know.) But right now, it is a pain to to this with every poem we come across, even when many of the characteristics of poetry are not actually in the poem.

    Unfortunately, I do not know everything about poetry yet, and understanding the poem and what it is about essentially counts for jack squat when you still have an entire page of questions left to answer about the tiny intricacies of ideas and components that the poem may or may not contain. On a basic level, I understand the need to analyze the meaning and structure of a poem, but choosing seemingly random and generally meaningless information to memorize about any particular poem really makes me enjoy it a whole lot less.  

    El Dorado is a pretty good poem, especially the hidden meaning of “give up early and don’t do things that are unattainable or unrealistic” and it is well written but the end sounds deceptively optimistic when really it  just means that his goal is unattainable and will never be reached and that our hero has died. This is horribly depressing, but this makes the poem a little better than it seems at face value after you find the hidden meaning. If I were to just read this poem at home or come across it somehow, I would almost certainly enjoy it a lot more than I do when I have to pick it apart and try to memorize the extremely numerous facts that it contains and still get a nice round 66 on my quiz for my effort.Image result for dorado"

 

Aliens in Game of Thrones

    When I first started my story, I was initially inspired by the six word phrase “I almost had you, didn’t I?” I originally thought of one character discovering the antagonist’s identity, and then dying for his discovery. This led me to think of the plot twist with the alien having possessed a minor character in the story and killing the protagonist. The story just developed from there, with things like Vince having the position of Secretary of Alien Defense, the truck ride scene to show the reader his character, and the crash scene in Missouri. I added Trina as another way for the reader to sympathize with Vince and to also show him as more human and lifelike. I kept the number of minor characters limited to keep the focus on Vince as a character driving the story, and his job as the Secretary of Alien Defense grants him access to the archives which leads to him discovering the aliens secret. 

    I also tried to include as much foreshadowing as I could with things like Trina’s quote of “At least bring me back an alien,” because in the end, this is what Vince does do while also not obeying her request to “Bring yourself back.”

    I tried to include the most realistic characters I could, and this was inspired by the Game of Thrones series I am reading. IN these books, George R. R. Martin creates more realistic characters than I have ever read about, and he does this by revealing their innermost thoughts but also withholding some of their motivations of the actions to let the reader fill in the gaps from what they already know about the character. This helps the reader to further bond with the character, and I tried to add some of this description in my development of Vince’s character in my story.

Blog 5

    One element in the book I am reading, A Storm of Swords, that I will be sure to add to my short story is the addition of complex and flawed characters. The Game of Thrones series has no shortage of characters that are more realistic than almost any I have ever read about. George R. R. Martin does a fantastic job of showing the innermost thoughts and feelings of a wide scope of characters with an even wider scope of personalities and -more importantly- moral beliefs. Jon Snow is the essence of honor and morality, and struggles with intense guilt whenever he is forced to break his oath or code of honor. Characters like Varys, and especially Petyr Baelish, have close to no morals at all. Varys justifies his actions by telling others (and himself) that he does what he does for the sake of the kingdom. Petyr, however, feels no such need to justify his actions. He sees himself as superior to everyone around him because of his intelligence, and sees this war and series of disasters as the phrase he coins, “A game of thrones.” 

    In addition to their extreme realism, George R. R. Martin does an excellent job of creating flawed characters. The most prominent example of this is Tyrion, who actually possesses a very layered personality. To other characters, he either comes across as shockingly clever and confident, or remarkably frightening due to his ugliness. However, underneath, he deeply resents his physical condition. He constantly mocks himself in his hopefulness for improvement of his circumstances or outward appearance, calling himself “Fool of a dwarf” over and over. Tyrion is an interesting character in this way because of the juxtaposition of his attitude against his appearance, and this is one of the many things that show that George R. R. Martin is an excellent writer.

    No matter their appearance, demeanor, or moral standpoint, every character in A Storm of Swords is as realistic in their thoughts and actions as any I have ever read, and this is a component I will try to add to my short story.