People have many ways to unwind, hidden guilty pleasures, and collections. Mine happens to be guinea pigs. I’ve always had a thing for small creatures but my love for guinea pigs especially, became apparent as they remained in my life into my teen years and grew in numbers. For my 17th birthday, I bought 2 guinea pigs, in addition to Laverne. This brings me to the names-all were pre-named from the shelter but the names fit perfectly-Laverne is a unique name, like the guinea pig, who doesn’t look like the typical species, Larry is a fat doofus, and acorn is spastic and simple minded(usually focused on one thing…FOOD!). So I think it’s weird enough that I have 3 guinea pigs, along with the 23 other animals, but I can’t get over how cute their faces/personalities are and I wish I could bring them to college. I kind of get carried away when I talk about them and as you can imagine, the teens and adults that I am around now have a hard time connecting with me on an animal like this. On the other hand, I possibly want to work with children when I am older and it is really neat to see kids open up with another unthreatening life/presence in the room. Guinea pigs definitely ease away tension because they make you laugh. Anyways, I spend most Friday or Saturday nights holding and feeding them carrots with my family. I joke about their intelligence, how they feng shui with their food bowl, plastic house, and hay and how they really love me but I know there isn’t that much going on in their heads. I think simple pets are great though, because they can mean as much or as little to you as you want but yet they are still living happy lies. Sometimes it feels like larger animals like dogs know all of my secrets and my dog Daisy judges me. But don’t these look like the best companions?!
Les Miserables December 27, 2012
So this has definitely been the vacation of movies, which is good since I’m only allowed to watch tv on weekend nights and hardly even do that with all of my work. Anyways, I had the perfect “Jewish Christmas” where I went to Les Miserable’s opening night and ateChinese food! My family can be pretty harsh critics, especially with a piece we’ve seen so many times, including on Broadway but we were pretty blown away. A movie can really capture so much more and in such a different way. The theatre is raw and simple and very powerful but a lot must be left out. For instance, real battles cannot be displayed and sexual scenes are very brief/clean. One example in Les Mis that struck me in this way was when Jean Valjean saves Marius and they are in the drainage pipes-I kind of understood that while watching the play but the movie made it quite real and clearly dramatic.
When I take a step back though, I think it is really wrong that the two can be so different because they really shouldn’t be. Movies have become a portal for more drama and masking reality, whether that means sex or violence. Teens now feel an emotional detachment and nonchalance about murder and sex and are rarely horrified by the consequences or reality.Many movies glorify these moments and make it seem so plausible that our society is pretty brain washed. I am glad I have seen the play version of Les Mis so that I can distinguish the difference more easily. It is a shame more kids do not see acted out drama/comedy because I think they would then see how it is just mimicking real life and that it is not actually real life.
Ultimately, I do think the movie version of Les Miserables really worked because it portrayed everything accurately. There is very little happiness and there is nothing covering up real life. The story doesn’t have that complete fairytale ending and there are a lot of heart wrenching scenes, making it feel like real life and part of French history. The acting was terrific and going along with what I said above, even the music was sung naturally(recorded live). I would still say I’d prefer the live musical(especially TA’s!) but like anything in life, I think it’s great to see things from multiple perspectives and in different ways.
Magazine News Breifs December 23, 2012
Increase in Homemade Desserts
Many people’s New Year’s resolution consists of some form of weight loss and maybe now that is possible with the closing of the Hostess Factory. The vanilla cake block filled with a matching frosting has been around since the 1930s, until there were labor strikes and the Hostess Brand owner went bankrupt. While many people joke about stocking up on the treat itself, more importantly, up to 18,500 people have lost jobs. “QUOTE“ There is already a low demand for jobs and the impact will be detrimental, not just to our stomachs.
Redefinition of Marriage
Whether people like it or not, our state, country, and world is growing increasingly liberal. In addition to re-electing our African American president, another reflection of this is seen in the legalizing of gay marriage. On December 29th, same sex couples will be able to marry in Maine. Maine is one of 9 states to start this revolutionary movement (also including all of New England except Rhode Island, Iowa, Maryland, New York, and Washington). What it means to the people who are really affected is almost beyond words. __ shares, “QUOTE” What may seem like the greatest victory or the biggest mistake right now will soon be just the-way-things-are but for those who have now been given equal rights to marry will be forever thankful.
The recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut is tragic but sadly not uncommon. Too many times innocent people have lost their lives to a crazed shooter, but this one touched more people as its targets were children ages 6 and 7. December 14, 2012 will forever be remembered as the day that 20 kids were gunned down and school children all around the world will never forget. Mackenzie Tilley offers, “It could’ve happened anywhere and it makes me feel so much more thankful for the life that I have.” People will try to look to the future and find solutions or prevention but what is more important is that we never forget, are thankful for what we have, and continually care and love for one another.
Also, I’m about half way through the Great Gatsby and now I remember how much I dislike it. There are books about average people, those we can relate to, and there may be no real point or deeper meaning to the story but the reader is left satisfied. I’m excited to hear what the class has to say because books like these feel so unrealistic and pointless. Maybe the point really is just to acknowledge a certain time period and lifestyle but either way, it is difficult to latch on to.
Connecticut Shooting December 22, 2012
The shock and horror of the Connecticut shooting has been absorbed and now, it is time to analyze. It seems that analyzing is our world’s way of handling difficult matters but nothing is ever really accomplished. The reality is that those families and community will never be able to truly move on from the trauma. But the majority of the people in the world will be able to put the tragedy into a neat little category. When I heard about the event through other people, I felt so much dread and sadness for those 5 and 6 year olds. But when I was listening to the news broadcast, I got angry and frustrated. Why did people feel a need to reason and explain, find a “solution” and look to the future? I think it is because they didn’t want silence, they needed something to talk about in the moment. Silence would have been the best thing, what Newtown would’ve really appreciated. Our world’s reaction to tough situations portrays how far we’ve dropped. Everything moves so quickly, so efficient, and we can’t get bogged down in one instance. I found myself at one point even thinking, why is this one case getting so much attention, there have been so many other tragic shootings? I truly believe that the world runs on love-it leads people to work towards something, have other people to live for, and to work together. Newscasters show no emotion, they are even so heartless as to talk about a christmas jazz concert immediately after relaying the news about the shooting. I think everyone in a way has a post traumatic stress disorder, one that they are scared by and don’t want to acknowledge because they feel that they shouldn’t really have an emotional connection to something that happened half way across the world. While I recognize the need to maintain composure and be neutral in their reporting, I feel the news media does the victims and the public a disservice by coldly presenting the facts of events that are so tragic and catastrophic as this.
Introverts December 13, 2012
I recently listened to a TED Talk on Introversion by Susan Cain, http://www.ted.com/speakers/susan_cain.html, and this is a reaction to that piece.
My life has not been a series of Unfortunate Events-I could give countless examples of people trying to change me, looking down on me for not being outgoing and trying to coerce me into fitting in with everyone else. I think sometimes quiet people come off as haughty and self righteous, like I know what’s in my head is right so I don’t have to verbalize it, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I am scared of social interactions and outgoing people intimidate me. And the more I am criticized for who I am, if I’m lucky and feeling extra strong, I’ll get angry, but usually, I’ll move deeper into my shell. Another common misconception is that introverts are lazy and by not taking risks, they have an easier time of it and so being quiet is an active and manipulative method to get ahead, to do better than extroverts. Again, if this were something I could change, I would!
Society has made me feel guilty for who I am and I’m never happy with my actions. I always scorn myself for not just saying something in class to participate and on the rare occasion when I do, I hate what I say and I wish I’d just stayed quiet. I would say that I’m shy also which isn’t a quality of introvertism but the combination of the two makes life pretty miserable at times. The way that I respond to social stimulation is evident in most parts of my life. I never rise to the occasion, like in big races in running, because I dislike stimulation, I’m content to run alone. I fail at oral presentations because I am so uncomfortable that I seize up. All of my school life, I have had “poor grades” for class participation because of being an introvert.
Like Susan Cain said, people have it in their heads that creativity and leadership comes from the extroverts. So in school, everything is designed to force each individual to become part of a group, like group projects, group work on questions, even the set up of the classroom where more than one student sits at a desk and students face each other. Most people wouldn’t think twice about introverts vs extroverts, they would even just categorize them as shy vs outgoing, but what we introverts feel is close to the end of the world when we have a bad encounter. I don’t want to be completely cut out of society and to be all on my own; I just wish people were more aware and sensitive. People just never know what another is going through and it is the worst feeling to be criticized while already feeling very fragile. To that end, without going into too much detail, I had a miserable cross country season and went into track so excited for a completely different yet familiar experience. One of my coaches accused me of alienating myself and acting like a prima donna in the first week of practice. I know that is not who I am but my feelings and self esteem were crushed in that quick instant that my coach probably never thought twice about.
I think the worst part about being an introvert is knowing that people are worried about me and see my actions as problematic. Extroverts are actually problematic for me! I have become more focused on making other people happy and think positively of me that I have little room left to be who I want to be. I know that the reality is that introverts need to figure out how to work in a world of extroverts. But I think more people are introverts than we/they know and our world could be a much better place if more people recognized who they are and saw it as a strength. I especially enjoyed Susan Cain’s 3 simple recommendations-1.stop the madness for constant group work 2.go to the wilderness-get inside your own head 3. take a good look at what’s inside your own “suitcase” and show others what you have inside occasionally
The American Dream December 9, 2012
“It was freedom from want, not freedom to want-David Kamp.” This is what is wrong with the American Dream. Historically, the desire to aspire and imagine a future better than the one we were living was what drove society toward greatness. It was born out of an individual desire for a better life but has become so twisted that Americans now interpret this iconic image as free from any problems. I don’t believe the American Dream is dead. It is simply hidden behind people’s ignorance and laziness. The American Dream has always been there and always will be; each individual just has to have the determination and will power to find it and work towards it.
Life is what you make of it. People say that the best lives are the happiest ones. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people have interpreted that incorrectly-they view happiness as material wealth and easy-to-get gains. The value of the American Dream was the underpinning meant you worked for what you got-through hard work and effort, anyone could achieve anything. As Kamp states, the phrase, “The American Dream,” found its way into the lexicon- its meaning continuously morphing and shifting, reflecting the hopes and the wants of the day. Today, however, that means achieving nearly impossible things like being a millionaire or a pro football player and what seems impossible isn’t worth even attempting.
My mom says that the American Dream is “doing what you want to do, not what your class or family heritage forces you to do.” “Having the freedom, the wealth, to do what I want to do, be a mom, means the world to me,” she went on to say. “As a woman, it’s probably not commendable to say that my dreams are as simple as wanting to be a mom but I think i can say that because I do have advanced degrees.” As you can see, her “dream” has nothing to do with being a millionaire-all it takes is a lot of effort and energy.
In theory, the American Dream is different for everyone; it is something someone finds important or goal worthy. But since the average person today is unimpressed by most things in life and isn’t goal oriented, they therefore say it it doesn’t exist. Too many people believe that what you can’t see, doesn’t exist. There is such a lack of imagination and confidence in realistic dreams, that generation after generation passes on a false or dull sense of reality. One such example is in the retirement plan Kamp offers-retire at 65, living off Social Security checks. There are no guarantees in life and that is how the American Dream survives, you always have to strive for something that would be unimaginably rewarding. Despite all of the wrongs of the world today, I truly believe that the American Dream still exists, people just give a half baked effort and fail and therefore say the American Dream is impossible or a sham.
The American Dream is critical- it is what keeps our society in motion and constantly changing. Although believers are scarce, that smaller number of busy bees, still working toward that American Dream are who keep our nation alive and balance out the lack of integrity and belief in hard work.
Death of a Salesman December 7, 2012
I try not to blog about the same thing twice but I couldn’t resist when right after I blogged about “mansplaining”, I found so many examples in Death of a Salesman. Especially towards the end, when Willy is really losing it, he mansplains in an attempt to regain control of his life. What it comes down to is that Willy lived a fraudulent, unsuccessful life but no one dares argue with him. They let him keep his last shred of dignity through listening and agreeing to his antics. When Biff, the only one to really argue with Willy, puts the facts out in the open, he is shunned and quieted by Linda and Happy. It seems that mansplaining can even be used to protect ones ego and to excuse away any error in judgement or fault of character. Even if it is not technically “mansplaining” because it is directed not just at women, the concept of building yourself up by overstating and explaining something to someone who already knows what you are saying, is evident all over the place and it really irks me.
On page 1076, Bernard also challenges Willy when Biff decided to not complete his flunked math class over the summer, accusing Willy of putting the thoughts in his head. At first, Willy thinks the idea is preposterous(“Me? I begged him to go. I ordered him to go!”). As Bernard persists, Willy says, “It keeps going around in my mind, maybe I did something to him. I got nothing to give him.” He completely takes over Bernard’s ideas, he is disinterested when Bernard says it but once he steals it, it becomes his idea and it is of the utmost importance. When he takes over someone else’s idea and mansplains, Willy feels he has authority and is in touch with reality which really shows just how crazy he really is. He is at a loss for words when Bernard says that it was his fault, the opposite of what Willy was thinking. Bernard opens up Willy’s ignorance and fraud, leading Willy to get defensive and say whatever it takes to make people think better of him. I think overtaking another’s ideas goes along with mansplaining, like that person can put it so much better than the other could so they restate another persons words, to, I think, make it sound better for themselves. On page 1085, Happy says, “He told him my Florida idea” and Willy cuts him off to say, “Don’t interrupt, how’d he react to the Florida idea?” Another example is on page 1098 where Biff is fed up with Willy and ready to leave the house and Willy says he won’t have Biff blaming his downfall on Willy and Biff says, “I’m not blaming it on you” and Willy responds, “I won’t take the rap for this, you hear?” Overall, the main idea is that Willy just doesn’t listen, he is in his own world and winds up hurting the people closest to him and offending people he meets throughout his life. No one wants to face reality and so they respectfully listen to Willy and treat him as an equal, or even with reverence and unfortunately, people do that today, even toward people who don’t have any illness.