Sunday, February 24, 2008

In Order to Define...

I have always found myself fascinated with words and the way people string them together. Whether it is poetry, a song, an essay, or a novel I always find myself engrossed with the obvious and hidden meanings of the words. One simple word can mean so many different things to so many different people. In one person it may produce thoughts of happiness and love, while in another it manufactures thoughts of sadness and hatred.

As our textbook states, all of the italicized words are very controversial in meaning depending on the people talking about them. The words are very general and broad and can be interpreted in a multitude of different ways. I ask myself, “How would I really think of a definition for these words?” My mind stumbles over all of the different contexts and circumstances that these words appear in my world. To start off, I would first find a roughly general definition of the word and carefully apply it to the claim of the word.

After thinking of a general definition and applying it to the context of the claim, I would need to think about what the word personally means to me. What I consider to be “serious literature” could be totally different than another person. I would need to carefully and meticulously come up with my own definition of the particular word being considered. Following that, I would merge my definition with the generally applied to help narrow it and make it a more specific criteria.

As I have already said, I am sure that my definition of a word would be the total opposite of another person’s definition. I would need to look at the complete picture of the word, including the general definition, other people’s beliefs, my own thoughts and beliefs, and all of the varied meanings of the word. The combination of all of that when applied to whatever the situation is would help me to finally form a criteria of definition for that particular word or phrase.

In real life a word can mean one thing to one person, and another to someone else. A word can be defined by anyone, however she wishes to define it. It is all based on the context of the situation, the experiences of the definer, and the thoughts racing through someone’s mind. In other words, any word can mean anything to anybody.


As I look over all of my previous posts regarding the milblog, I find myself once again traversing through the horrors, joys and thoughts presented in the Sandbox. War is an ugly thing. It is a horrible event that takes lives and never gives in return.

In all honesty I really have never had much of an opinion regarding the war or politics. I have always felt detached from the war and from the soldiers. I have never personally known a soldier that has been sent to Iraq, I have never known anyone to die in the war, and I did not know any of the people killed in 9/11. I felt the families’ pain and sorrow, but I could never really understand the anger and hatred behind it.

I do not like this war; actually I would venture to say that no one LIKES war in the first place. I must say that I do not particularly support the war. I think that it is somewhat pointless and I do not like knowing that soldiers are dying “for me” when I really have no idea what they are fighting about. I do not want people to die for me over something I do not understand or know the full extent of. I do not understand why our soldiers are still over in Iraq.

However, even as I find myself confused about the point of the war and find myself ever more turning against it, I still support our troops. I can still appreciate the fact that they are fighting for me, my family, and my friends. Even if I don’t understand all of the facts, I can still recognize the bravery and courage it takes a soldier to leave everything he knows, to stand up, and to fight for something he believes in.

After all of the time reading the posts in the military blog, I still find myself partially against the war. I still do not see the point of it. The heartrending and tear jerking posts all made me resent the war even more. I wondered why our soldiers should be suffering and why should they be dying for another country. All of the posts made me realize how much I support and feel for the troops. However, they also showed me how little I really know about the war and how little I really understand. I still cannot bring myself to support the war, but I will always support and encourage those who are fighting.


Thinking back on 9/11 I remember the outrage and sudden outburst of patriotism and righteous anger. I asked myself, “Why do people not always show their patriotism, why only after tragedy?” After my mind stumbled over that question, I realized that I had to first define the word patriotism before I could answer my own question.

To me personally the word patriotic could mean a multitude of different definitions depending on the situation. When thinking of patriotism, loyalty is the first word that comes to my mind. The different meanings attached to this word abound. Not only can one be loyal to his country, but also his family, his friends, or anything else he loves. Loyalty and patriotism are synonymous in meaning, at least to me. Out of loyalty I would die for my family, out of loyalty I would fight for my country, and out of loyalty I would stand up for my friends. Love who you are and the country you live in. Accept the people of your country and fight for them. Stand up for those weaker than yourself and give of yourself freely. However, being patriotic does not mean loving only those who are LIKE you, it means accepting those who are different and defending them anyways.

I was browsing YouTube the other night and found this video poem about Patriotism. It is definitely interesting and worthwhile to check it out. It makes you think and would be interesting to discuss.

Think Pink Uniquely

To start off this little spiel, I am going to come right out and say that “pink think” definitely still exists in today’s society. The Pink Think of today, however, has many different attributes than that which was presented in the essay. Today’s society is all about the working woman. She is a stylish, chic, strong willed and adventurous feminist whose biggest fear is breaking a well-manicured nail. Girls of today’s world have no chance to grow up without the influence of the Pink Think.

As Ms. Peril mentioned, it all starts with a pink blanket. From the moment a mother gets the ultrasound telling her she is having a bouncing baby girl, she goes all out with decorations and shopping. The moment Baby Girl pops out into the world screaming, she is dressed in a pink blanket, pink hat, and a pink jumper. Not only are all of Baby Girl’s clothes sickeningly sweet, cute and pink, but poor Baby is also bombarded with happy frolicking unicorn borders and rosy painted walls as soon as she is brought home. Not once does the expectant mother consider buying a truck or G.I. Joe for her baby. Why for heaven’s sake that would be downright blasphemy! Nothing but the best squishy pink unicorns, pink booties, pink outfits, and pink bedding are bought for precious Pink Baby Girl.

From the first moment on, a child’s behavior and worldly role is defined by the very color she is dressed in. Little Baby Girl is constantly reprimanded for getting dirty, thus becomes a prissy girly girl. Baby Girl has never before seen a G.I. Joe or a toy truck, therefore she shuns them in order to play with her pink and fashionably dressed Barbie. These thoughts and actions stay with Baby Girl throughout her entire life, shaping the way she thinks, the way she lives, and the way she works. Baby Girl would NEVER want to work as a truck driver or trash woman; those jobs are too dirty and dull by far. She would much rather become successful as a Doctor, a Lawyer or a Business woman like her pretty Barbie was. The power embedded in the color pink is a terrifying but very real thing. From the very beginning it begins to shape women’s thoughts, behaviors, careers, and futures.

Another concept that I personally think closely relates to a woman’s Pink Think, is what I am going to call Straight Think. For this portion I am mainly going to focus on how this affects men in today’s world. Straight Think is a well established schema in today’s society. It is basically all of the acts and thoughts that shape and make up a person’s (mainly a male’s) heterosexuality. It is what some people think make you, in essence, a “good” or “Christian” person. Or as a few would say, what makes you a Manly Man. It is playing with “boy toys,” being a typical boy, and of course wearing blue. As with Pink Think, this can be brought into existence from the very moment of Baby Boy’s birth. Like Baby Girl, Baby Boy is encouraged to play with HIS toys with the fear that if he would play with HER toys he may be more likely to become *gasp* gay. He is discouraged from every playing with “dolls,” instead he is given “action figures” and trucks. Baby Boy is dissuaded from being in gymnastics, dance, or ballet. Rather, he is encouraged to become “tough” by participating in football, fighting, and roughhousing. All of this is in the hopes that he will turn out to be “normal” and straight.

However, I find this to be a dim-witted and foolish view to take. If a child is in fact homosexual, the parents and teachers are only isolating him. If a child wants to take place in the supposedly “other sexes” sport, he should be allowed to. Parents fear having to raise and own up to having a homosexual child and try to take all precautions to prevent it. Thus, they install in Baby Boy a homophobic sense of reality, in which anything different such as pink shirts and male cheerleaders are gay. It is an anxiety for all to be thought gay. Or to actually be gay in a society that was raised to shun and reject homosexuals with hate and fearfully constructed biases. Straight Think is definitely seen in the comedy movie “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.” Beyond all of the obviousness of the movie, the great fear of the parent is that his boy will is gay, and he is constantly discourages his son from dancing and singing, only to be push him towards more manly sports. In all reality, Straight Think is a concept that every parent strictly adheres to and fears the consequences of disobeying in case they accidentally allow their child to become gay. Oh the horrors.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

You hate Britney. I hate Britney. We all hate Britney!

To start off I am going to come clean and say that I was one of the teeny boppers who listened to all of her music and bought all of her CDs. I am actually pretty sure I have all of them but the last two. As much as I cringe to say it, she was one of my heroes and all of my friends and I looked up to her. Regretfully one of them developed an eating disorder so she could “be like Brit” and another got pregnant. What a great hero she was.

Anyway, I will move on to the actual assignment. I thought both the Coldplay and the Britney essays to be interesting and well written. I chose the Britney essay because it pertained to my life and life in general more than the Coldplay essay did. I found myself pleasantly surprised with this essay and would grade it as an A. Ms. Williams seems to be a very competent writer. She did well thinking out the essay, stating her main points, describing and backing up her thoughts, and adding in facts.

Ms. Williams did an excellent job setting up the layout of her essay and making sure that it flowed smoothly throughout the entire thing. The essay had a great introduction and attention grabber. Ms. Williams made it a very personal introduction and made sure that it would catch the attention of all parents and future parents. This helped carry her voice throughout the essay by making it more personal and by showing her fears for the younger generation of children that will be influenced by the pop culture.

The writer presented many facts throughout the essay in a very well-informed manner. She led up to the facts, introduced and explained them. They were all relevant to her points and helped support her thoughts. The only problem that I really noticed was that she started off some of her paragraphs with the facts. They were still explained thoroughly, however, it made her voice in the paragraph being presented weaker than in the rest of the essay.

On the whole I thought that this was a very well written and researched essay. It was organized by paragraphs that related to each other and had smooth transitions. Ms. Williams presented the multiple facts with finesse and talent, all the while keeping her voice present and strong.


To start off I honestly do not know much about any of the subjects we were given as choices. However, I have always loved going to musical plays. Thus, I will use “musicals” as the subject that I might actually know something about.

What makes a musical “good?” Well honestly there are a multitude of features that need to be considered in order to critique a musical play. What kind of play is it? Who is the target audience? Are the actors professionals or amateurs? I have been to three professional Broadway plays, however, I by no means view myself as someone who knows everything about musical plays. The plays I have seen include, “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” and “The Phantom of the Opera”.

First off when considering whether a play is “good” one can always look at the selling of the tickets. If the play is sold out and packed, there is obviously something about it that people like. One should look at the overall selling of the tickets, not only just for one showing. If the play is sold out at more than one showing, then it’s notable that the first sold out play was not just a freak accident.

Something else to look for while watching a musical play is obviously the acting. Personally for me, I find the theater actors much more talented than the actors in movies. Not only do theater actors have to sing well and memorize all of their lines, they also have to perform in front of hundreds of people. They have no chances to do another “take,” they only have one chance to get the scene right. The singing of the actors should be on key and should project out into the balconies.

One last thing that I am going to focus on is the attire of the actors. When I saw the play “The Lion King” (seriously click on that link and check out the aweosme pictures) the costumes were absolutely stunning. The people dressed up as animals were able to move all of the body parts, make them talk, all while dancing and singing themselves. I vividly remember the giraffe walking down the aisle; it was seriously the size of a real giraffe and looked just like one. The costumes in a musical play should fit all of the scenes and the type of play. They should stand out to the audience, even after the play is over. It has been nine years since I saw the “Beauty and the Beast” play, but I still remember the amazing costumes and make-up that continually changed throughout the play.

On the other hand, I know absolutely nothing about NFL quarterbacks. I have never really been that into sports, especially watching them on the television. To start off, in order to actually evaluate a quarterback I would most likely do some background research on the internet. I would find out what exactly a quarterback does, or should do, for his team and also find out who some of the more well known quarterbacks are. I would look at some of the well known quarterbacks, find out their statistics and background and compare them to not so well known quarterbacks in order to try and decide what makes them “good.”

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... Bigfoot?

To start off, I went to both the crop circle site and the Bigfoot site. The crop circle site pretty much gave me a headache right away just because of the font and background. It messed with my mind way too much to actually try and muddle my way through it, so instead of the crop circles I decided to go with the much more interesting Bigfoot.

The spotting Bigfoot site was easier to look at and understand. The site has a simple and professional looking black background with a white colored font and blue links that were fairly easy to read. The setup of the site was reasonably simple and painless to wade through. The makers of the site made the links easy to follow and pretty clear as to what they were connected to. The set up of the information on the homepage of the site was also straightforward and clean cut. It was a simple process to quickly scroll down the page and see the different information and links set up in an uncomplicated centered line.

The graphics and the links leading to them were great. The heading on the site was very clear and concise, stating what the site is, when it was founded, and how to make contact with the makers. I also enjoyed the video that clearly stated what the site was all about instead of having six or seven paragraphs that stated the same thing in a lengthy and boring drawl. The video was a great way to show the technological savvy of the maker in correspondence to navigating the World Wide Web and the making of a semi-professional website.

The balancing act of mixing text and pictures can be a fairly tricky process. Where should the graphics be placed? Beside the text? Below it? It takes a certain finesse and talent to find the perfect balance between the two. This site didn’t completely muck up the job, but it could have been better. As I said before, it was nice to be able to scroll down the page and see the information; however, there could have been more space between the pictures, links, and text. It made the page look almost too messy and less professional. It was a tad cluttered and could be easily cleaned up to look less amateur. For example, the entire “Expedition Schedule” should have been linked to a different page. There is a goodly portion of the homepage token up by it, but there is also a link to the schedule elsewhere on the page. It took up too much room and would have worked much better just as a separately linked page instead of both.

This website may have looked more professional with a simple homepage that had multiple links to other pages. The pictures that were posted on the homepage were interesting I admit, but did not have explanations that described them. I think it is fine to click on a picture and be taken to a page just about that picture, but wouldn’t it be quicker and more efficient to make ONE page with ALL of the pictures and explanations on it? All in all, this site does not seem very credible to me. The overall set up of the website seems a little immature. The additional pages about sighting reports are very easy to read and quite clear, however, the homepage just seems too messy. Everything is there on the page, but its chaotic mixture of scrunched graphics and bright blue linked text made it seem unprofessional and made it harder to shuffle through. On the other hand, I believe that the maker of the website did well presenting the visual argument. There were multiple relevant pictures and each page had a clear concise heading. The maker did a decent job at letting the readers know what he wished to present and make known..


After clicking and scanning through all of the pictures, it just happens that the one I fell in love with was the very last one I came to. The pictures taken of Haiti and the Haitian people are all overwhelmingly touching and heartrendingly sad. However, amidst all of the turmoil, heartache, tragedy, and sickness, this little girl still found something to smile about. Her beautiful charming grin argues that even among disaster and chaos, there is still hope and love to be found. She has given me hope that not everything in life is horrible. She has shown that there are still things to smile about. No matter how small or insignificant the pleasures may seem to others, as long as they make at least one person smile they matter.

Diving In

Once again I dive into the sandbox, ready for adventure. After reading this week’s military posts, I found myself in some sort of a funk. I realized that I never really know how to respond to the posts after reading them. Nothing I can say would really make a soldier’s life easier to bear. They don’t know me; I don’t mean anything to them. I am just another blank face. I am just another nameless person. I am always just another blank nameless person offering a few simple meaningless words of remorse.

A New Hope
The first post I clicked on was once again written by The Usual Suspect. He seems to have finally come out and said that he uses his posts for ranting, raving and talking to help him deal with his problems. I love the way he words his sentences and the way he gets his points across. The vulgar language and sarcastic phrases really put his attitude and emotions into perspective for all of us readers.

The Tale of Two Mountains
This was a touching story about how one man made many mistakes and survived, and how his friend did everything perfectly and was shot. The soldier put it much more eloquently than I am able, but that was the gist of it. The soldier feels guilt and confusion over being the “survivor.” Why did he get to live when he made so many mistakes? Why wasn’t he the one that was dead? Why did he get to come home to his family and his friend couldn’t? The question is always “WHY?” There’s never a real answer that can make a person feel better. There’s never a real reason to the why of things, other than that’s the way God wanted your cookie to crumble.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Always Politics

I actually surprised myself by finding this to be a very interesting assignment. I honestly have never been all that interested or concerned with politics. I know that is probably not the best attitude to maintain, but I have my excuses like everyone else does. Excuses such as being too busy with my own life, wanting to watch reruns of Grey’s Anatomy instead of political debates, not caring what politicians are arguing about, and of course thinking that they are all full of crap anyway. Every time I would actually pay attention to the campaign advertisements or watch a little bit of news, I found myself irritated that all the politicians would do is say how horrible and ignorant the other party is. I always wondered why they couldn’t just talk about what they would do for our country instead of bashing the people they’re running against. Even after doing this assignment I still find myself shaking my head at the fallacies and flashpoints every politician uses to further his ideas and career.

I will go ahead and move on to talking about the actual class assignment. I found myself randomly picking a political blog that was listed in our textbook and found myself traveling to <>. It is a very interesting and quick responding blog site. Of course the first post I would happen to click on would be about the infamous Bill Clinton. Not only was this about Bill Clinton, but the author, Andrew Revkin, really talked about how quickly the internet and blogging can spread misinformation and faulty assertions. Revkin posted about a Mr. Tapper’s post that blatantly twisted Mr. Clinton’s words around and made his message to the public completely different.

Revkin point blank criticized how Tapper used only portions of Mr. Clinton’s speech instead of using the full text. Revkin points out that Tapper only used portions of the speech that supported his preexisting stance and idea. Revkin pointed out a few fallacies and flashpoints regarding Tapper’s post, however, he did not exactly explain them. Rather, he assumed that his readers would automatically know and understand what he was talking about. He pointed out an Ad Hominem argument that was used against Clinton. Attack the man and ignore the bigger argument going on. Attack his character and ignore the fact that his entire speech wasn’t quoted, only the incriminating parts.

By the way Revkin spoke, I also believe that Tapper may have set up Clinton as a Straw Man. Tapper built up an argument against and criticized Clinton for something that didn’t even happen and wasn’t there. Tapper wrote that Clinton seems to be saying that we should slow down the economy to help prevent global warming. However, in reality the full text of Clinton’s speech was stating that a slowdown of the economy wouldn’t work because other economic powerhouses (i.e. China) would fail to do the same. Revkin happily pointed out that Tapper completely twisted around the speech, cut out major parts, and used it to further his own means and ideas.

I found it really interesting how much people on these political blogging sites will argue about anything, everything, and nothing at all. Not only do they argue about what people actually say, but they also make up, twist and distort speeches in order to argue about the made-up stuff. Some bloggers obviously do the making up and twisting to start the arguments on fire. Other bloggers actually seem to take pride in sniffing out and discrediting the people that are making up.

Like I said at the beginning, I still shake my head and grimace every time I hear the word “politics.” I am aware that this may come across as a rant against politics, but seriously politicians seem to stoop to any means to further their own causes. They lie. They make up arguments just for the sake of arguing. They bash and try to discredit their opponents. They basically talk and argue about everything but the real topics and problems. The world of politics will always be filled with intrigue, backstabbing, and lies. However, I still found this an interesting assignment because I honestly never would have taken the time to go to a political blog even if I had known they existed

Wiki Wiki What?

To start off I am going to say that I have definitely been having fun making my wiki. However, I couldn’t take the wiki tour because the link would not connect for me, so I hope that so far I am doing it correctly and not completely botching it up. Here is the link to my wiki,

I think that the wiki could have an interesting potential for sharing our thoughts and feelings much like a blog. So far, to me at least, a wiki really just seems like bragging place that is all about YOU. Which of course is wonderful, you always need somewhere to go to in order to brag and make yourself feel great and above the world! And of course everyone wants to know EVERYTHING about you, so why not make a bragging website all about yourself!? I really am not all that sure of what the exact point of a wiki is, but I am definitely having a lot of fun making it and finding all the videos to attach to it on YouTube!

Digging In The Sandbox

Once again I return to dig through the Sandbox. Once again I find my heart aching. Once again I find myself humbled by the braveness and strength of the soldiers. Every time I return to the Sandbox and read the soldiers’ posts I find myself touched that the soldiers would share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with us ordinary civilians.

“Suspect’s Creed”
The first post I came to was by The Usual Suspect. The first post I read by this soldier was about his insatiable love for rocking out to his hardcore metal music and how he uses it to get through the days in hell. His newest post, Suspect’s Creed, was also an excellent post that I believe allowed him to vent his angers and frustrations to a world that cares. I think that this is his way to relate to the rest of the world and his way of getting through the hell he is going through. I love his writings and the way he is so confident that he will not take shit from anyone and that he will never be a “yes man.” This was definitely another interesting post by a very interesting soldier.

“From Hero to Zero”
This was a sad post and a very cold dose of reality. As I read this I thought about how much crap soldiers take when they are sent away, only to come home and find their wives cheating on them, to be spit at, and to be held in disdain for doing their job and protecting their country. What kind of a world do we live in if the very people who protect and fight for us are scorned? This man talked about his surprise at finding one of his friends had murdered and was going to be in jail for the rest of his life. His points about going from being a hero fighting in Iraq for our country, only to come home and be treated as dirt were very sobering and upsetting indeed.

“The Faces”
I usually do not get choked up and teary eyed at many things, but this post made my eyes well up and gave me the goose bumps. This woman is an RN in the army and was caught off guard when she was walking through the ICU section of the hospital. She saw not only a wife of a severely wounded soldier, but also her two beautiful children. They sat there day after day hoping that this wounded soldier would wake up from his drug induced coma and come back to their world. Not only did this RN take the time to stop and chat with the soldier’s wife and children, she also took it upon herself to give them a portable DVD player to help take their minds off of the present. This nurse’s small kindness gave hope to this mother and her two children and made their days a little bit easier to muddle through. When this RN described the scene of when the soldier woke up and his wife began crying, it seriously gave me the chills. The kindness of this RN was amazing and she has definitely earned her place as an angel.