Sunday, April 30, 2006

Style lesson 9

This lesson focused on elegance, however, williams does make a disclaimer, saying that no one can tell anyone how to be elegant, it is something that everyone must learn for themselves, either by practice, or by reading other works that are elegant. instead, williams will explain all the aspects that contribute to elegant writing.

he begins his explaination with Balance. an elegant phrase is usually well balanced, that is each side of the sentence has echos of each other. "In Lippman's, we hear one clause and phrase echo another in word order, sound, and meaning, giving the whole passage an intricate architectural symmetry" (Williams 155).

Next Williams focuses on emphasis and the weight of certain words. he says that readers expect the end of a sentence to have more empahsis, and therefore are pleased when it has a weighty word. "At the end of a sentence, prepositions feel light- one reason we sometimes avoid leaving one there." (Williams 159). the main point of this sub section is that an elegant sentence should always end on strength. there are 4 ways to accomplish this.
1. End with a strong word, typically a nominalization, or a pair of them.
2. End with a prepositional phrase introduced by OF
3. End with an echoing salience
4. End with chiasmus.

Finally, Williams discusses the length of sentences within a passage. He advises that sentences should be roughly 15 words long, if there are consisitently too few, you would sound choppy, however if there are consistently too many, then you sound long-winded. However, williams says that there really is no need to overly worry yourself, sentences will naturally vary as long as one pays attention to editing fluff.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

finish of short story

Riding in the elevator to her apartment Milena could hear sounds of merriment. She had seen many cars on the street and her father’s voice had filtered through her mind. His phrase was the one he used whenever he saw many cars together in one place, “someone’s having a party”. No matter what the situation might have been, that’s what he said. His phrases were seared into her brain, and his voice would trickle in whenever the occasions arose. The trite and pat sound bytes had been the background of her childhood, and she loved to think that they could continue on to her own children.

When the elevator dinged open she was confronted with a small child peering out of her apartment door. On seeing her, the eyes widened and the door was shut quickly. Milena prepared herself to look surprised. Instead of pulling her key out to unlock the door, Milena knocked on her own door and waited for the ‘shush’ that she knew would come. It did, and a sliver of Adam’s face appeared in the door. “No thank you, we don’t want any”, he joked. She could see that he knew the surprise had been spoiled, but she wanted to play along anyway, “I forgot my key”, she lied. He flung the door open and revealed her whole family in her living room. “Surprise!” they yelled, and Milena laughed and clapped, and felt warm all over.

Her uncles were the first ones drunk, but then they usually were. The two of them had been fraternity brothers in college, made actual brothers when Paul had married Robert’s sister. They now flanked her as she sat on the couch surrounded by presents. Milena had worried for years that they would embarrass her, but now she simply found them amusing. “OK”, said Uncle Paul the doctor, “So now that you’re getting married I can tell you a secret.” Milena peered around at the rest of the family who were all stifling laughter. “And what is that?” she asked. “A secret? I thought you knew, well, it’s a piece of information that you don’t share with others, but why are you asking about that?” The joke was old, but then so was her Uncle. The men in Milena’s family all told bad jokes, it was part of how they registered emotions. She remembered some of the ones from her grandfather’s wake. None had been funny, but everyone had laughed, it was a way to mask deeper feelings. “No,” she said, “what is the secret that you want to tell me?” The adult family members were now biting their hands, some had turned away and she could see them already shaking with laughter. “well,” Paul started, “When you were born into this family, all of the men took a vow to protect you.” His speech was slurred slightly, but there was a serious look in his eye. Milena knew that the seriousness would leave as soon as he reached the punch line, but she felt it best to match his solemn expression. He continued, “and so I went to the priest, and I told him I wanted to pray to God for you, and he gave me a flower. I took the flower to you in the hospital and tried to give it to you, but you wouldn’t take it. You cried when I put it in your crib. So I went back to the priest, and he said that it was a sign from the Lord that he shouldn’t garden for flowers anymore. So I just want you to know that only you can prevent florist friars.”

The room exploded with laughter, and groans from the generations who were too cool to find humor in such things. Through the laughter Milena saw Adam being interrogated by some flirty cousins in the corner, and wanted to go rescue him, but was stopped by Uncle Robert, the banker. “I have a toast to make to you,” he said, motioning towards Adam and Milena. Milena took the opportunity to steal Adam away from her cousins, and they stood in the circle of family with their glasses raised. Robert got up, swaying only slightly, and said, “In Italy we have a special toast for the new couple. I want to say it now instead of at the wedding because at the wedding I’ll be telling embarrassing stories. So here it goes, Tutti filli mosche”

There was a moment of silence in the room while the Italian speakers internalized what Robert had just said. Then they burst into laughter, Milena included. Adam tugged on her hand leaning in to say “what’s so funny?” Milena pushed the laughter back as best she could and said, “He meant to say Tutti filli masche which is an old Italian wedding blessing. It means ‘may all your children be sons’. But he mispronounced it and said, ‘may all your children be flies’”. She burst into another fit of giggles as Robert, thoroughly pleased with himself sat back down on the couch.

Friday, April 28, 2006

beginning of a short story

“Your wedding should be the most magical day in the world.” The phrase was well worn but the wedding planner said it in such a cheerful way that Milena couldn’t help but smile. This meeting was not the first, or the last, and Milena did want her day to be special.

“We already know your color palette, pink and cream, and we already know the flowers. What we need right now is for you to tell me how Adam proposed and to write that in the wedding book. Then we need to go over the seating arrangements, then the menu. And that’ll be all for today.”

Milena nodded, the woman’s voice was so soothing. Probably a good thing she thought, since wedding planning was so stressful. If your wedding planner had a high pitched or irritating voice then you probably wouldn’t listen to them, but this woman’s voice made her feel lethargic and generally lazy.

“Well,” she started her story, “We were in our apartment and he had cooked dinner, which wasn’t all that surprising, we trade off cooking. Sitting around after dinner he wanted to go for a walk, which was weird but I didn’t think too much about it. We walked through the park, and sat on our favorite bench, he said he had a question for me.”

“And did you suspect anything?” The wedding planner’s voice cut through Milena’s recollection, jolting her back into reality. “Not really, I thought he was going to ask if I liked his shirt or something”. The wedding planner jotted this down hurriedly in the margin of her notes and looked at Milena expectantly, “go on.”

“well he pulled out the ring and got on his knee, and it was all very romantic of course. I said yes, and all my friends and family popped out of the bushes around us.” Milena felt a bit uncomfortable relating such a personal moment with a relative stranger. His proposal had been so perfect, but in relating the anecdote it sounded so trite, so planned, not special at all. Milena hoped that she would get a chance to reword this story before it was written in the wedding book. She didn’t want her friends and relatives to look at the story and get the wrong idea about Adam. He was a great guy, and the romance of the proposal was being sucked out by her lack of auditory skills.

Milena wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans before placing them back on the huge round table that she and this woman sat at. “That sounds like a very nice proposal” the planner said. Milena had mixed feelings about this woman. She was short and dumpy and had the same speech patterns as one of her aunts, yet her mouth moved in a strange way, like it was always surprised at what was passing through it, and the eyebrows were all wrong. The woman had drawn them on, but she consistently drew them too high on her forehead, giving her the appearance of perpetual shock.

The woman glanced over her notes, making a few jots, and then looked up at Milena again. “so sweet,” she said, “Now the seating for the reception. Do you want it segregated, your family on one side, his on the other, or do you want to ‘mix it up’”?

Milena was thrown by the sudden topic change, and then again when this fifty-something woman used a slang term. The phrase had escaped the strange mouth hesitantly, with a strange pause in the middle of it, like a priest using profanity.

“Well, I guess I want it mixed. Our families get along so it wouldn’t be a problem.” The woman smiled her false smile and said, “ah” before scribbling furiously in her notebook. Milena leaned foreword at an attempt to read what the woman had written, and then decided that she probably didn’t want to know.

The two of them spent another 20 minutes in the uncomfortable interview, and as Milena was leaving the building she felt her old self coming back to her. It was strange how the woman had such an effect on Milena. In her presence Milena felt awkward and unpolished. She wanted to like the woman, but her constant suits and perfect hair made it difficult. She smiled as she remembered her mother’s take on the situation, “its hard to warm to a woman who makes you feel like a bag lady without even trying”.

Halfway down the block from the wedding planner’s office Milena was getting more and more cheerful. The dreaded part of her day was over and she could relax, see Adam, get a bite to eat and trust that her wedding was in safe and well manicured hands.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

more discussion questions for my sex class

Pg. 245 “Virginity extending into adulthood constitutes an anomaly within the universe of fecund adults that is divided into men and women. Furthermore, one cannot easily fit adult virgins into another binary pair, that of girl/woman.”

This is an interesting point that the author makes here because it suggests that to be a full woman, one has to have had sex, either in marriage or as a prostitute. Should a woman by either choice or economic strata, remain unmarried and a virgin, then she can be seen as not a full woman, and therefore not a full person. I suppose this came about because for a society to continue and to thrive. Since virginal women cannot contribute to society by having children, it is looked down upon. However, the article discusses the fact that sworn virgins who live their lives as males do contribute to society as males. They can own land; they can head households, and even villages. These sworn virgins are women who have to live their lives as males in order to remain virgins. On the other hand they have to remain virgins in order to live their lives as males. It depends on the person and their reasons for becoming a sworn virgin.

Pg. 247 “Questioned by the doctor about the way he hid the menses, …, in the company of men, he denied having them: ‘I do not have that. At the age of thirteen, for some months, but afterward never.’”

I was intrigued by this, (s)he claimed to never have menses but the article claims that he appeared to be completely healthy. I have heard that menses can stop if the woman gets too much exercise or not enough calories in her diet. If Mikas was fighting a war, as the article says (s)he was, then I would assume that would be why the menses stopped. But I don’t see why the menses wouldn’t continue in later in her/his life.

Pgs. 251, 254, 255 256.

I noticed that Tome and Mikas had similar upbringings, and had similar stories, but I was struck at the huge personality differences. Mikas was violent and unfriendly, and hated women; while Tome was nice, welcoming, and seemed to like everyone. The biggest difference I saw was in their attitudes towards women. Mikas hated them, while Tome seemed to love them as much as men. Perhaps this is because Mikas was raised completely as a boy, while Tome chose to change genders as a nine year old. Something that I noticed that they had in common was that they changed their voices to reflect their new gender, i.e. male.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

major review letter

I felt that on the whole your essay was too brief to make any lasting impression. The information that was provided was concise, but again it was hard to ascertain what the point of the essay was. I did like the use of narrative, and the fact that you give weight to Christina's opinions by letting the reader know about her job and the new troubles she has been facing.

This essay was mostly narrative, in fact it was entirely narrative with no scholarly sources incorporated or even alluded to. It is clear what your topic is, namely that children should be watching far less television and spending more time in their homes learning from their parents.

If you choose to keep this audience then this essay is a good attempt. The audience that you are trying to reach would be interested in these issues, but there is no scholarly or medical support for your claims, therefore they would most likely be unimpressed and their actions would not change. This essay is fairly engaging, as I do care what happens to Christina and her daughter, however, there is nothing that tells the reader that they could expect more of their story. It seems as though you have already told us everything that we can expect about Christina. There is little to recommend yourself. While you do a good job of convincing your audience that Christina is a credible witness to the detrimental effects of television on children, you give the audience no reason to trust you, and since you present Christina, it throws her credibility into speculation. All in all the essay has a strong opinion, but no support. To improve this essay it is clear that much more needs to be done; research needs to be incorporated and you yourself need to be painted as a worthy spokesman on this topic. What you have is good, but there is a clear need for improvement. The essay that you have as of now would function well as a simple introduction, not as a full paper.


Ariel Giraldi

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

2nd half of 1st draft of chaucer paper

Class falls even lower with the characters from the Reve’s tale. While Allison and Nicholas have a whole house in which to practice adultery, Malyne and Aleyn have only one room in which to frolic. Not only is there only one room for them, it is the same room that the whole family shares, making the sex not only indecent, but risky as well. Malyne is another woman who gets a bad deal in the tale. Emeleye and Malyne are both used by the men of the tale to achieve their own means; either besting a friend or revenge against a greedy man. Malyne and her mother are the two characters in the story that get the worst treatment. Malyne is used as a prop for revenge, and her mother is raped. The treatment of women in this tale is abominable, as they are not seen as full humans, but rather seen through their sexuality as women. Aleyn thinks that since the miller’s wife is a woman, then she must want to have sex with a young and attractive clerk. The text gives us only the clerk’s point of view, and when read a little deeper, it is clear that the wife would not have enjoyed such an experience.
These three tales show us varying versions of the motives and outcome of sex, each one becoming more tactless than the last. The Knight’s tale pushes sex to the back of the consciousness of the characters, tying it with marriage. The Miller’s tale puts sex as a main theme, but only in a fun and carefree way, no one is really hurt for long, and it’s a lighthearted look at what can happen if women commit adultery. The Reeve’s tale takes the whole topic of sex and makes it a means of revenge. Sex is no longer a connection with another person, rather a violent act that is used to regain the respect that the clerks apparently lost along with the meal. The only tale that takes sex seriously, is the Knight’s tale, yet it makes sex a little too serious. The Miller’s tale lightens the subject slightly, but makes sex an activity on par with sharing a drink. The Reeve’s tale makes sex a horrible thing and uses it to hurt others. Yet throughout theses tales, the women are seen as objects to fulfill the men’s sexual needs and desires. Women in the Canterbury Tales thus far have not been shown to have much to recommend themselves other than their bodies.

Monday, April 24, 2006

part of 1st draft of Chaucer paper

The Canterbury Tales as an unfinished volume has drawn readers and scholars alike to analyze its every nuance. Though some of the connotations within this body of tales are hidden and difficult to uncover, others are blatantly clear and crass. One such connotation is Chaucer’s insistence on using sexual metaphors and themes within the tales, especially in tales which are told by characters of lower classes. The first three tales of the entire work all deal with sexual themes in varying ways, all of which involve using women as sexual objects.
Sex itself is never breached in the Knight’s tale, only marriage. The implication clearly being that the Knight is of such a high class that he would never stoop to discussing such base human occurrences. Yet sex is a strong undercurrent of the entire tale. Emeleye has no role other than to be beautiful to Arcite and Palamon. Emeleye as a person is not as important to the tale or the characters as the simple fact that she is beautiful. Emeleye as a sex symbol becomes simply an outlet for Arcite and Palamon’s aggressions towards each other. Emeleye is under the control of Theseus and therefore is forced to marry the Knight who wins the competition, yet she prays that she might not have to marry either one of them. The image of Emeleye that the reader is left with shows her to be submissive and easily swayed in what she wants. The goddess Diana tells her that she must marry one of the two and Emeleye accepts it and moves on. Her convictions do not seem to be very strong at all; in fact she is nothing more than a trophy for the men to fight over.
Sex and marriage are intertwined in the Knight’s tale, whereas in the Miller’s tale they are combating forces. Allison is married to John, yet it is never shown that they are having sexual relations; at least not as blatantly as the affair is described. When Allison is first approached by Nicholas she is skeptical, but not as offended by his advances as a married woman should be. She slaps him, but with only a few tears Nicholas is back in her good graces and they plan a night of intimacy. Here it is clear that the sex is not a part of the marriage as it was in the Knight’s tale. In the Miller’s tale sex is a fun activity that no one really is hurt by; people are only hurt by its by-products.
Allison is in the same boat that Emeleye was in, but with a few more advantages. Allison can pick who she sleeps with, and can physically hurt those who she does not want to deal with. Though Allison is a sex symbol, she keeps her humanity, which Emeleye loses. Emeleye does not want to get married or have sex to the point of praying to get out of it. Allison can’t wait to have sex with as many men as possible, with seemingly no regard towards her husband. The other obvious distinction between the two is class. Emeleye has no choices, no real life, yet she is of the noble class. Allison on the other hand has choice, and fun, yet she is from a decidedly lower class.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

revision of housewives paragraphs

Pop-Culture vs. reality

There seems to be a growing trend in the media to idolize housewives as sexual icons and use them as the ultimate measuring stick for women. The show Desperate Housewives has taken much criticism for their use of sexy housewives to promote an image of America. However, there are aspects of Desperate Housewives that shows an image of women that is nothing like the criticism. Half of the main characters on the show are working mothers, and one, Lynette, decides to quit being a housewife in favor of her career. Not only does Lynette decide to go back to work, she takes over her husband's position, one that she is better at anyway, and he stays at home with their 3 children. The show portrays an actual family that does not conform to the roles that culture, and in fact the shows title, lays out for them.

Pop-Culture vs. reality

There seems to be a growing trend in the media to idolize housewives as sexual icons and use them as the ultimate measuring stick for women. The show “Desperate Housewives” has taken much criticism for their use of sexy housewives to promote an image of the American woman. However, there are aspects of Desperate Housewives that shows an image of women that is nothing like the criticism..

“Desperate Housewives” offers its audience both views on the controversy, and in fact, is much more relevant than critics would have the audience believe. There are examples in the show of all different sorts of women, no two of whom make the same choices or lead the same life. The character of Lynette Scavo shows the audience a woman who is rarely desperate and no longer a housewife. After staying at home with her children for years, Lynette decides that not only does she miss her job, she is actually better at it than her husband. The result is a switch of duties in the Scavo household. Lynette’s husband Tom quits his job to stay at home with their three sons while Lynette resumes her previously held position. Lynette made two active choices. Firstly, Lynette chose to leave her job to raise her children. Secondly, she chose to return to the office when she realized that housework was not satisfying her.

Another character on “Desperate Housewives” that does not fit into the housewife model is Susan Mayer played by Terri Hatcher. Susan is a single mother who owns her own business, yet still fits into Wisteria Lane along with trophy wives and housewives. She is raising her daughter the best way she knows how, and many of her choices are those that would stand up in the real world. As a working mother Susan runs a successful business, but she is still classified as a housewife. She presents an anomaly in the argument almost destroying the dichotomy of housewife vs. businesswoman.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

housewives draft cont'd


The idea that housewives are unhappy with their lives is one that has somehow been adopted into the consciousness of the American culture completely without merit. In fact, there have been formal studies done to asses the truth of this cultural myth. Are housewives really happy, or are they kidding themselves? In his article, "Are working women really more satisfied? Evidence from several National surveys", James Wright found that there was no significant difference between the satisfaction of working women and housewives. The data was so close that there was no real conclusive evidence stating that housewives are not as happy as working women. Many housewives have agreed and spoken to the issue at hand. One such woman is ____ who wrote that her life as a housewife is easier, calmer, and there is more time for her to spend, not only with her kids, but with herself as well.


Martha Stewart is a curious case for many feminists. She is at once a housewife and a working woman. It cannot be said that Martha does not work; she is the CEO of a huge corporation. However, neither can it be said that Martha is not a housewife, she is the poster child for stay-at-home moms and housewives all over America. Martha shows the American public that women can be two things at once, and that people do not necessarily fit into easy categories. Martha not only sells power tools, she uses them, which is a challenge to the ideas and stereotypes of Housewives. The stereotype tells the public that housewives must have "honey-do" lists for things like running toilets or stuck windows, however, Martha fixes these things herself in her stunning home, and not only that, she teaches other women to fix similar problems in their own homes.

There also exists a rising trend for women to emulate Martha and become both housewives and working mothers. With the rise of internet based businesses, more and more women can run part time careers out of their homes while being a full-time mother. These women are, at the same time, housewives and working mothers, giving their children the support they need while developing, while providing a role model of self sufficiency.

Between 1972 and 1986 there was some change in the attitudes of housewives towards politics and certain political issues, as is to be expected. Studies were done to determine the extent and nature of the change, and were outlined in Jennifer Glass' article, "Housewives and Employed wives: Demographic and Attitudinal Change1972-1986". Some of the most interesting changes were between the groups of housewives and the groups of working wives, specifically concerning issues such as abortion.

Pop-Culture vs. reality

There seems to be a growing trend in the media to idolize housewives as sexual icons and use them as the ultimate measuring stick for women. The show Desperate Housewives has taken much criticism for their use of sexy housewives to promote an image of America. However, there are aspects of Desperate Housewives that shows an image of women that is nothing like the criticism. Half of the main characters on the show are working mothers, and one, Lynette, decides to quit being a housewife in favor of her career. Not only does Lynette decide to go back to work, she takes over her husband's position, one that she is better at anyway, and he stays at home with their 3 children. The show portrays an actual family that does not conform to the roles that culture, and in fact the shows title, lays out for them.

Friday, April 21, 2006

start of housewives draft

Housewives draft.

Throughout American history there have existed strict behavioral and societal boundaries and roles for both men and women. The class divide has been a barrier which many people have strived to overcome, men and women alike. For women of specific social standing, their job has been the care of her home and her children. It is simply not true that all women throughout all time were constrained to the home, as working class families needed the secondary income, and until ____, when child labor was outlawed, there were more than simply parental incomes contributing to the running of the home and family. However, it is an indisputable fact that women who were of a status to not have to work, did not. That is not to say that they did nothing, they simply did not earn a wage.

Transition here

Nora stuff


Very few people love to clean, or list it as a hobby. Perhaps Monica Geller, of "Friends" fame would, but she would be an anomaly. What people would say is that finishing housework gives them a sense of accomplishment, proof that they have spent both their time and their energy in a productive manner. The stereotype is that Housewives are all clones of Mrs. Cleaver, vacuuming in pearls and heels. The truth is that women who have chosen to be housewives rarely, if ever, do housework in heels. The impracticality screams out at an average woman who is fighting with a clogged drain, or wiping gunk off of her stove-top. If you're already doing something gross, you should at least be comfortable.


There exist women who do not want children, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, there seem to be far more women who do want children and who also want a career. The problem has no easy answer, so some women choose work, and some choose family. Neither is right or wrong, neither one holds the answers to happiness, as each has its draw backs and its pitfalls.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Surfing the internet

One of my favorite lies to tell is that I am a surfer. My favorite pastime is lying. Not to friends or family, just people who take an interest. I feel like the people who ask me about my life deserve a better story than the truth would render. So for those who ask I am a former dancer, and then I am a former practically professional surfer.
When I’m a dancer I like to say that I was great, and that I had a sadistic instructor/ choreographer. She told me that I was getting too fat, and so I quit. This usually elicits some sort of sympathetic sound and a concerned pat on the shoulder.
When I’m a surfer I get really wrapped up in the story. I start to convince myself that it is true, and then get annoyed when they interrupt with a comment, tying to move the conversation along. I am addicted to the movies about surfing, my current favorite is “step into liquid” a surf documentary directed by Dana Brown. Dana Brown is the son of the immortal Bruce Brown, director of “the Endless Summer” the definitive surf documentary. My dad got into surfing from watching “the Endless Summer”, and he passed his passion for the sea to me and my brother. There is nothing I would rather do than play in the waves all day long. Getting on a surf board is the ultimate adrenaline rush, and when my brother got his first wave, the whole family was elated.
So when I get to talking about my life, I guess I feel that to understand me on a realer level they should know about the things that make me feel most alive, even if the version I tell is a lie.
On the internet I have found some very interesting sites devoted to surfing. Some of them are honest sites for actual surfers, the kind that surf because they want to, not because it’s the cool thing to do. One of the things that makes me absolutely crazy is the people who surf simply to get a tan and pick up members of the opposite sex. The real surfers don’t want to attract people, they aren’t concerned with getting laid, they just want to ride the waves. They want to ride the waves all day long, and if they don’t see another person besides their surfing buddies, they are happy as clams.
The surfing websites that are not aimed at real surfers are pretty fun to look through. They are mostly devoted to clothing for wanna-be surfers and some even have articles written by wanna-bes for the other wanna-bes.
As I was looking for pictures of my favorite surfers a pop-up ad commanded my attention and I had to laugh out loud. The ad stated that should I become a member of the half ass website, I would receive a free billabong beanie. A free beanie for pretending to be into surfing? Sure why not.
I am a fan of Taj Burrow. That sentence is something that few non-surfers will understand let alone utter. Taj Burrow is an Australian surfer who is one of the best in the world. He was the youngest to ever be invited to join the world surfing tour, but he decided to finish high school first. He has never won a world championship, but the most famous surfer in the world, Kelley Slater, has said that Taj is the best surfer in the world and deserves to win way more than he does. The funny thing is, no one knows who Taj Burrow is. People who love to surf and love surfers know who he is and wish to emulate him, but wanna-be surfers will wonder who you are talking about.
The same thing goes for women surfers. Lane Beachley, Kealla Kennely, and Rochelle Ballard are the big three in women’s surfing. These women are surfers who can ride the same big waves as the men, and they have become icons for surfer girls across the country, and usually after watching them the only thing I want to do is pick up my life and move to Hawaii.
The most important thing an icon can do is to inspire people. Some one who can make peoples lives better and inspire them to become more than they are, and more than they thought they could be. This is what all of the surfers do for me. So more than laughing at the wanna-bes, I feel a great sense of pity for them; pity for the surfers who have never heard of Taj, Kealla, or even hydro-foil surfing. Don’t know what hydro-foil surfing is? Look it up.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

part of a women's history paper

In a similar way, the dress of the 1860s restricted much more than a woman’s sexuality. It restricted her movement, air supply, and eventually, life. In her article, “Dress and its Victims”, Harriet Martineau explained in detail all of the ways that the fashionable dress of her day was harmful to women’s bodies. She begins with a brief discussion of the reasons for clothing and the jobs that it should do for the person. Her arguments are that dress should be, “Covering to all the parts of the body which need warmth or coolness”, “Bear a close relations to the human form”, “Ought to be agreeable to wear”, and “Costume will be modest and graceful.” (L&V pg 359, #122).
However, the author notes that the fashions of the time are anything but modest and graceful, and are, in fact, harmful to women. She discusses in graphic detail the ways that the corsets and fashionable crinolines move vital organs, causing faintness, and sometimes internal bleeding. “… and then the parts which cannot be squeezed are thrust out of their places, and grave ailments are the consequence.” (L&V pg 359, #122). Her material point is that there were fatalities every year that were the direct result of these fashions. Today’s society would never dream of fashion to be the cause of death, but so many were being killed by their sense of fashion, that this author spoke up.
She then cites women that she has seen fainting in shops or factories from lack of oxygen caused by the tightly pulled corsets. She is in favor of some foremen who have taken actions to prevent this sort of thing, “A fine is imposed on the wearing of crinoline by their workwomen. The ground of the regulation is, that the work cannot be done with either decency or safety in that kind of dress.” (L&V pg 360, #122). But many factories did not make such regulations, and therefore women were put in danger in the workplace, or fired for not being able to keep up their work to the level that had been expected. These women probably lost their jobs to men, whose fashions did not put them in such a position.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

more annotated bib stuff

Are working women really more satisfied?

the US dept. of Labor statistics state that in 1947 the labor force for women over 16 was 31.8%, in 1974 46.1%. for men over the same time period and the same age group the statistics were 86.8% and 78.3% respectively.
Wright states that: "Few working women, especially if they are married with children, are entirely free from domestic housekeeping and childrearing chores." (Wright 301).
the survey that was conducted asked women "What are some of the things you do which make you feel useful and important. 60% of women who were housewives mentioned housework in response to the question against 60% of working women who mentioned outside activities in response to the question.
"The implication [from women], often stated quite explicitly, is that nearly anything is preferable to that." (Wright 302)
the findings of the study as a whole which looked at happiness for housewives and working women was inconclusive as the outcome was split directly down the middle. "The inescapable conclusion is that for large proportions of housewives, fulltime housewifery is preferable to outside work, and moreover, that housework is a genuin source of satisfaction for them, something they say they like to do." (Wright 307)

Housewives and Employed wives: Demographic and Attitudinal change

this article stated that there was no real world view differences between housewives and working mothers, contrary to the expectations of the researcher. the author also made the observation that the population of housewives and employed wives has changed with every generation since WWII. the attitudinal differences mostly occured between full-time working wives and housewives. Glass says, "Among those of childbearing age, wives employed full time showed a greater approval of abortion for the 'soft' reasons (poverty or unwillingness to parent more children) than housewives." (Glass 565)
the choices that Glass presents at the end of her article for the problem of the mother who wishes to both spend time with her children and to work are as follows: Paid parenting leave, reduced hour work weeks, affordable quality child care, and a child allowance established through the social security system.

Monday, April 17, 2006

annotated bib stuff

For Glenna Matthews, the women of Chicago in the 19th century represent women all over America from the same time period. her article focuses mainly on the women living in the slums of CHicago, and the conditions that they were forced to deal with and clean house in. the most disgusting, and therefore important, slum discussed was the "Back of the Yards" a famous slum of that time period. Matthews discusses the dichotomy between the houses presented at the Chicago world's fair, and the homes that people were actually living in. she describes the fair: "The great fair, with alabaster buildings sited to create a pristine and orderly environment, stood in ironic contrast to the disorder and grime that plagued so many households in nearby areas... Chicago flaunted its capacity to create an island of beauty in a sea of squalor." (Matthews 2). Matthews then delves into Jane Addams and her foundation, through which women of means went and set up households in the slums in order to teach the women who lived there standards of cleanliness and housekeeping.

The Unproductive Housewife

In 1878 the AAW (Association for the Advancement of Women) wrote a letter to Congress contesting their claim that housewives were not "gainful workers". Their claim was that housewives are workers, they simply do not earn a weekly wage.
this article focused on the changing attitude about housewives in the 19th Century, and discussed in detail the "cult of domesticity". The "Cult of Domesticity" was the emergence of a distinctly female culture that focused primarily on women in the home.
in 1900, 40% of single women over age ten were designated "occupied", vs. only 6% of women in the same age group. THis article focused mainly on Economics, and the costs and benifits of housewives on the economy.
"[Catherine] Beecher consistently argued that women's allegiance to home and family was a necessary counterbalance to the competetive anarchy of the market economy." (Folbre 466).
the women who were part of the cult of domesticity argued that, "This was family labor, not domestic labor- its aim, the fulfillment of God-given responsibilities, not economic efficiency; its motive not self-interest, but love." (Folbre 467)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

style lesson 8

lesson 8 dealt with shape and the length of sentences and how too lengthy a sentence will confuse readers. Williams says, "Despite those who tell us not to write long sentences, you cannot comunicate every complex idea in short ones, so you have to know how to write a sentence that is both long and clear". (Williams 130)

Williams says that the best way to write a long and complex sentence is to make sure that complicated ideas are presented at the end of the sentence, where the reader can comprehend them better. It is also important, WIlliams asserts, to get to the subject quickly. THis helps the reader understand your meaning more fully, helping their comprehension of your topic.

it is also important to keep the Verb-Object connection in tact. without it the reader gets lost and no longer understands what you are trying to say.

Williams says, "When you have to write a long sentence, dont just add one phrase or clause after another, willy-nilly. Particularly avoid tacking one relative clause onto another onto another. Try extending the line of the sentence with resumptive, summarative, and free modifiers." (Williams 141)

Williams finally discusses modifiers, and the need for the writer to make sure that their modifiers actually modify something else in the sentence. if they do not, again, the reader will become confused.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

an essay about my town

As you ride down the bike path from Maple Avenue towards Church Street in Vienna, on your right you pass a brook that gets ever bigger. Suddenly you see a wooden, whitewashed bridge. Should you decide to explore the bridge, you will notice the unassuming building connected to it. If you decide to enter the building, it won’t escape your notice that you have entered a store. However, the store you have come upon is no ordinary store; it is Freeman’s Store in Vienna, Virginia.

Walking into Freeman’s Store is like entering a time warp. It is an old fashioned general store, down to the last detail, including the very old working cash register. The ground level of the building is the general store and the old post office. A small bookstore is around a corner full of mostly children’s books, like “The Wizard of OZ”.

Upstairs is a museum dedicated to the Freeman’s. The sitting room and the adjoining piano room have been preserved just as they were when the Freemans lived in them. Included in the piano room is the bureau where Mrs. Freeman, the first post mistress of Vienna, kept the mail.

In the basement of the house is a museum dedicated to the tools and farm equipment used in the early days of Vienna. It is also the storage area where Vienna’s first fire truck was stored. A small hand pulled chemical engine, it was stored in the Freeman basement so that it wouldn’t freeze in cold weather.

The Freemans were one of the founding families of Vienna. In fact the first car in Vienna, a 1904 Ford Franklin, was owned by Mr. Freeman. The speed limit was twelve miles per hour.

The Freeman store has been many things over the years. It has served as a residence, a store, a Civil War hospital, a railroad station, a post office and a fire house. It is an old house, and thusly smells like one, full of history and a summertime hangout spot for years. The checkers set made from corn cobs sitting in the corner next to the soda fountain gives the place a comfortable feel that radiates throughout the town.

Friday, April 14, 2006


ok, so i got onto Macon Web to look at classes offered and try to pick ones that ill need next semester, and there is NOTHING.

i only need 7 classes left to graduate, which should not be undoable, in fact it should be rather easy, as to remain a full time student in one year 9 classes can be taken. that means that i would have two open spots for elective the spring of my senior year.

HOWEVER, stupid Macon is deciding to offer 8 thousand courses for freshman and like 4 courses for seniors, leaving seniors SOL.

how is that allowed? seniors have more need for more specific classes, freshman can take anything, so why are freshman THAT ARENT EVEN HERE YET considered to be more important?

the administration of RMC has been doing this for years and its time we stood up and told them that it is NOT ok. if things do not work out PERFECTLY (which they wont because the universe is like that) then i might not be able to graduate in a timely fashion.

that is bullshit.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

shakespeare paper 2


The story of Duke Theseus we find in Chaucer's Knight's Tale, the first tale of the Canterbury tales. The noble Duke Theseus and his new wife Hipolita are not the characters that one would automatically think of in reference to MND, however, they are central to the plot, as they are in other incarnations of the tale.

In Chaucer's version Hipolita, called Ypolita, is queen of the amazons. Shakespeare gives his audience no background at all of Hipolita, especially nothing as interesting as an Amazonian queen.

To Chaucer's audience Theseus is a king who has just conquered Thebes, yet Shakespeare's MND Theseus is merely a Duke.


Theseus and Hippolyta
Shakespeare’s choice of Theseus and Hippolyta as the nobility of this tale is interesting. Their backgrounds are military, not romantic, however, as lawmakers and settlers of disputes, they rule very well
Theseus and Hippolyta are legendary figures with legends in the Greek traditions. However, Shakespeare’s main source is apparently Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale. Bullough states that, “Theseus was greatly admired as a conqueror in love and war; his marriage to Hippolyta ended the war with the Amazons.” (Bullough 368)
There are clearly many similarities between Chaucer’s Theseus and Shakespeare’s. Chaucer describes Theseus and his marriage as follows:
Theseus and by his chivalrye;
And of the grete bataille for the nones
Bitwixen Atthenes and Amazones;
And how asseged was Ypolita,
The faire, hardy queene of Scithia;
And of the feste that was at hir weddynge,
And of the tempest at hir hoom-comynge;
(Chaucer, lines 878-884)
Chaucer gives the reader a noble and chivalrous Theseus, but his Ypolita is queen of the Amazons, not the quiet and submissive Hippolyta that Shakespeare presents. Shakespeare’s description of the courtship and resulting marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta is decidedly shorter and more concise.
Theseus: Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword,
And won thy love doing thee injuries,
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph, and with reveling.
(MND 1.1.16)
In both cases we have a brief description of a battle through which Hippolyta was won by Theseus, followed by a reference to the wedding feast and celebrations. A final link between Chaucer and Shakespeare is that Theseus is the initiator of activities in both texts, starting the contest in the Knight’s Tale and ordering the play in MND. The Theseus that Chaucer presents is a good point of reference for Shakespeare, and it is clear that Chaucer was a source for Shakespeare in regards to Theseus and Hippolyta.
However, Chaucer was not Shakespeare’s only source, Plutarch’s work, “Life of Theseus” also provided a character that Shakespeare could draw upon. From Plutarch, Shakespeare took for Theseus the themes of a lawgiver, and a provider of order. This is most seen in 1.1 as Egeus petitions Theseus to provide a solution to his problem; that his daughter Hermia, wants to marry a man of whom Egeus does not approve. Theseus finds a solution;
Theseus: For you, fair Hermia, look you arm yourself
To fit your fancies to your father’s will;
Or else the law of Athens yields you up
(Which by no means we may extenuate)
To death, or to a vow of single life.
(MND 1.1.117)
As a proclaimer of the law, Theseus is a fair man. He must do as the law says, and he offers Hermia more than the law demands, giving her until the next full moon to make her decision.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

part of my paper

“On Sunday mornings as he passed the churchdoor he glanced coldly at the worshippers who stood bareheaded, four deep, outside the church, morally present at the mass which they could neither see nor hear. Their dull piety and the sickly smell of the cheap hairoil with which they had anointed their heads repelled him from the altar they prayed at.” (Joyce 356)

Here the reader sees how Stephen has come to view religion, and through him, Joyce. The Church as presented in this novel is more like a hammer than a comfort. The people and their “dull piety” repulse Stephen, and keep him from entering a house of God. However, this scene of disgust with people with whom he had, in the past, socialized with is not an isolated incident. Stephen has a similar encounter when imagining his missed English lecture.

“He fancied to himself the English lecture and felt, even at that distance, restless and helpless. He saw the heads of his classmates meekly bent as they wrote in their notebooks, the points they were bidden to note, nominal definitions, essential definitions and examples or dates of birth or death, chief works, a favourable and an unfavourable criticism side by side. His own head was unbent…” (Joyce 440)

An interesting point of this passage is the end. In both cases, the viewing of the churchgoer and the image of the English class, Stephen is an outsider, viewing the situation from afar with a critical eye. However, in each case, Stephen has formerly been a participant in the situation. This throws a different light on the subject. Stephen as a casual observer has the right to claim that the people he scrutinizes are mere lemmings. However, as a participant, Stephen has no such right. It is not clear whether, as a participant, he attempted to escape or to free his comrades. Therefore a careful reader must conclude that he takes the part of the lazy revolutionary; being at once a member of a group and a critic of it.

This passage follows a trend throughout the novel that being that Stephen feels that his fellow men are drones and he alone can see the dangers in their monotony. This English lecture appears to Stephen, and to the reader, to be a simplification of great literature and authors. This method is clearly absurd, and insults the intelligence of all of the students, Stephen specifically.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

discussion questions for my sex class

Ariel Giraldi Discussion questions for Hijra article

Pg. 376. “In this impersonation, male devotees dress in women’s clothing, simulate menstruation and have sexual relations with men, and some devotees even castrate themselves.”

This is so interesting to me, but I wonder how they could simulate menstruation. If they are mostly impotent men, which the article claims to be the case, then firstly, how would they know what menstruation feels like to impersonate it? Secondly, I don’t understand how impersonating menstruation would be an important thing for them to do. If hijras are indeed a third sex, then impersonating something so decidedly female seems to me to be a moot point.

Pg. 385 “She is taken by a group of hijras in procession to a nearby body of water and performs a final ritual that completes the transformation from impotent man to hijra , or sacred, erotic, female man.”

As I was reading this I was looking back and remembering the Lady-Boy article that we read. For the Lady-Boys there was virtually no ceremony, the transformation from male to female was a surgical and very medical procedure. For the hijras the surgery is only the first part of it, there have to be omens and approval from the goddess, finally after the surgery, they go and are washed in the river. It seems to be much more spiritual and bonding than the Lady-Boys who simply decide to become female.

Pg. 386 “Hijras claim that any baby born intersexed belongs to their community, and it is widely believed in India that this claim cannot be resisted.”

Does this mean that the child will have to join the hijras eventually, or do the hijras take the baby after the celebration? It seems to me that since hijras are supposed to be nurturing and female-like, they would want to raise children, but on the other hand they are supposed to be care givers over the whole family and protectors in the name of the goddess, so I wouldn’t then think that they would take a child from its family. Here I was also intrigued about how hijras act like women, but don’t seem to be in contest with women. Unlike the kathoeys that we have read about, who saw women as a threat to what they were attempting, i.e. have sex with men. The hijras seem to me to be much nicer than the kathoeys, and I would like to meet one after reading this article.

Monday, April 10, 2006

1st draft of Brit Lit paper

Ariel Giraldi
Peyser paper "Portrait"

Stephen Dedalus' themes as an artist stem from his childhood and its themes of peer pressure and problems with authority.

Throughout his childhood, Stephen Dedalus has issues with adults and authority figures. The most overarching example of this is his relationship with the Catholic Church. Stephen's faith is a major source of confusion for him, as seen through his constant WISHY WASHY NESS concerning sin. As an authority figure, the Church imposes itself on Stephen like a bigger version of Dante, who told Stephen that eagles would peck his eyes out for being a naughty boy. This punishment's severity far oversteps the severity of the crime, a protocol that the Catholic Church is notorious for.

Stephen also has problems with peer pressure. As an unpopular child, Stephen runs into many problems at school, not the least of which are being pushed into a cess-pit, and being urged to lodge a complaint against a teacher. However, even when Stephen is being praised by his classmates, a rare occasion, he is uncomfortable. These are clearly clues to Stephen's character as an artist as one who enjoys neither censure nor praise. In this context we must assume that Stephen will create art that both speaks and is silent to those who will not hear its message. With such a contradictory task before him, is it any wonder that Stephen Dedalus is a troubled child?

For Stephen to be a good Catholic he believes that he must ascribe to every vestige of Church doctrine; a belief that is widely held. However, Stephen strays. His dalliances with prostitutes are not acceptable as Catholic Sacrements, yet Stephen continues, knowing his actions to be wrong. Perhaps this defiant behavior stems from an incident at school wherein Stephen is wrongly punished for not having his glasses.

QUOTE about glasses and smacked hands

To know that an authority figure was wrong sends Stephen into a spiral of doubt towards all authority figures. There is an obvious connection between the teacher and the Church especially since the violent teacher is a priest, and therefore a representative of the Church. Until this moment Stephen does not question what he is told, especially concerning God. Only after this incident does Stephen feel that he has been betrayed and that there is no good in him. Stephen's father is yet another example of an authority figure that Stephen thinks very little of. For Stephen, his father is the epitome of the failed man. This becomes evident in their trip to PLACE.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Of the different methods of crafting an argument that are presented, i think that i could use more than one in my journal article. My topic could be slanted as humerous, by using the image that most people have of a housewife and showing that it is ridiculous. i could use figures that are already known to my audience such as joan cleaver, and point out that women today would not spend their afternoons making 4 different loaves of bread to cater to the specific tastes of each member of the family.

i could also use the Toumin method. in a paper of this size, i do not think that it would be beneficial to employ this method throughout the entire paper, but i do think that in certain parts of the paper i could use it. with this method the writer states what would normally be a conclusion first, working their way backwards towards their main statement. an example of that would be:

water droplets reflect light
my eye interperets the reflections of the light in waves
the sky is blue.

i think that a writer could use almost all of these methods, depending on the subject.

i am thinking that my audience will be women who have chosen to be housewives, and therefore do not view it as an oppresive state of being. i think i will choose a magazine that is clearly directed to such women, something like Good Housekeeping, or Martha Stewart Living.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

style lesson 7

this lesson's title and focus was Concision. the lesson begins with the statement that "style's first grace is that of compression" (williams 110).

Williams then outlines 5 principles of concision.
1. Delete words that mean little or nothing
2. Delete words that repeat the meaning of other words
3. Delete words implied by other words
4. Replace a phrase with a word
5. Change negatives to affirmatives

williams then fleshes out the meaning and practice of each of these rules. he gives examples of words and phrases that should be avoided with each rule. he says that "readers think you write clearly when you use only the words you need to say what you mean" (williams 114)

the next main focus of the lesson is on metadiscourse. though many teachers say to avoid metadiscourse at all costs, Williams argues that metadiscourse is necessary in some cases. those cases being when the metadiscourse guides the reader through the text. metadiscourse has its place, "the risk is that you can easily use too many" (williams 121).

Friday, April 07, 2006

paper revision

Original Paragraphs

In 1990 the United States was heavily involved in the conflict in the Middle East, eventually earning the title "Operation Desert Storm". As an Naval Officer Paul was called to war, his skills as a doctor ensuring him two tours

Camp Lejeune was an experience for Nora that she will never forget, "You haven't lived until you've lived on a Marine Base" she says. Their house was a small town home adjacent to the firing range and on the way to the sniper school. In the mornings Nora awoke at 5 am to the sound of heavy artillery and on the way to get her paper piles of leaves and garbage would pass her door. Though they were always polite and smelled of Avon's Skin so Soft to keep insects away, it was always a bit unnerving to be greeted by a walking mound of peat moss.

Paragraphs revised
In 1990 the United States was heavily involved in the conflict in the Middle East, eventually earning the title "Operation Desert Storm". As a Naval Officer, Paul was called to war, his skills as a doctor ensuring him two tours. While Paul was gone, Nora was faced with the daunting task of raising her daughter, with the possibility that she might be a single mother for much longer than she anticipated. One Christmas while Paul was in the Middle East, Karen contracted the stomach flu. Therefore Nora was forced to stay at home with her sick daughter instead of enjoying the Christmas festivities with her family. Unbeknownst to Nora, her brothers had taken pity on her and compiled a big plate of Christmas dinner for their sister . When her two brothers came to see her on that Christmas night, her daughter vomiting in the background, Nora burst into tears. It was the perfect family Christmas.

Camp Lejeune was an experience for Nora that she will never forget, "You haven't truly lived until you've lived on a Marine Base" she says. Their home was a small town house adjacent to the firing range and on the way to the sniper school. In the mornings Nora awoke at 5 am to the sounds of heavy artillery and on the way to get her newspaper soldiers dressed as piles of leaves and garbage would pass her door. Though they were always polite and smelled of Avon's Skin so Soft to keep insects away, it was always a bit unnerving to be greeted by a walking mound of peat moss. Once, while walking their dog, Nora stopped to let the dog relieve himself near the side of the road. Once the dog had finished, the piece of land that he had been urinating on bid her a respectful farewell.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


After years of expensive education
A car full of books and anticipation
I'm an expert on Shakespeare and that's a hell of a lot
But the world don't need scholars as much as I thought
Maybe I'll go to the gym, so I don't get fat
Aren't things more easy, with a tight six pack
Maybe I'll just fall in love
That could solve it all
Philosophers say that that's enough
There surely must be more
Love ain't the answer, nor is work
The truth elludes me so much it hurts
But I'm still having fun and I guess that's the key
I'm a twentysomething and I'll keep being me

this song is by Jaimie Cullum, and it really speaks to my life right now. my favorite thing about the song is that it really articulates what is on my mind in a poetic form. i think everyone goes through a phase at some point in their lives where they dont know whats in store for them and its a scary prospect. if there is a secret i sure havent found it and ive been looking. a big question for me is how many times am i going to screw up before i get the right answer. for the most part i think most people are just kidding themselves if they claim to have thier whole life figured out. even people who we think are so together and have it all feel inadaquate somehow. if all life i supposed to be is to have fun and be yourself (as some would claim) then where does emplotment fall? and if employment has to be included, what kind of employment? the romantics would say that even a job at McDonald's is a sucessful carreer as long as the person is happy; but mainstream culture does not think so. who should we trust? the artists claim that love and art are the answers to any problem, yet very few people actually live within those parameter (even of the people who preach it). but the alternative isnt appetizing either. the alternative is work all day everyday, and there are even fewer people who want to do that. so the question stands; who is right? the artist or the investment banker.

and if its the artist, is there any way that a real person in our society could live a purely artistic life? the answer im afraid does not exist, yet we still ask the question.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

spring break

over spring break some friends and i went on a mini-road trip to Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. my friends and i had always wanted to go there and it seemed like the perfect opportunity since my aunt and uncle recently moved to a suburb near there. on the way up we didnt stop anywhere and went directly to King of Prussia Mall, the biggest on the east coast. once we had shopped ourselves out we headed to my aunts house for dinner and to get settled in. the next day was spent in the city itself and was full of amusing moments. one of the funniest moments involved a woman walking down the street. she was in her 50s and looked a little rumpled. she approached a man in his mid 30s, grabbed his arms and asked emphatically, "Daddy?! Daddy!?" at first i thought that she had some mental disabilities until the man responded with, "Its a boy".

we saw many of the sights that Philly has to offer including the liberty bell. however, when we got to the liberty bell there were 3 middle school field trips that had also chosen that day to visit the liberty bell. the result was that almost all of our pictures of the liberty bell involve people that we do not know. we stood aside for a moment to let them all pass, but the moment was not quite longe enough for all of them to dissipate so we gave up and went to have a cheesesteak.

we were told prior to arriving in the city that the best place to get a cheesesteak was at either Pat's or Gino's. once in the city however, we were differently informed. the best place according to the natives of the city was Sonny's, and as luck would have it we were only a few blocks from Sonny's. so to Sonny's we ventured

At Sonny's we ran into yet another school group, though this time we managed to be in front of them in line. the cheesesteaks were incredibly expensive, and incredibly good. i ate all of mine, but it sat in my stomach for the rest of the day and none of us had dinner that night.

our final full day of the trip was spent visiting my cousin at Princeton. we walked around campus and were blessed with a beautiful day. we bought tee shirts and flirted with Princeton males and all in all had a fun time. the trip to princeton was capped off by a trip to the Bent Spoon, a local ice cream place. the ice cream was incredible, though in a smaller serving than i would have liked.

on our last morning the workers finally arrived to put in the pool at my sunt and uncles, pouring concrete and such. we left a bit later than we had intended, as we were all talking to each other more than we were packing.

the way home was more interesting than the trip up to Philly, as we had to stop for lunch. we decided to stop at the first Taco Bell that we saw, however once i pulled off on the first exit that claimed a taco bell we were struck by how run down it was. the town was directly on the state line between delaware and maryland and boasted the "Party fun zoo" featuring "Mickey the chimp". we did not get out of the car.

the next exit had a better feel about it so we pulled into Perryville to eat at taco bell, and on the way, we found a billboard that had completely collapsed. we took pictures.

we finally made it home in one piece, and i have to say it was a fun trip.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"siblings" story part 2

“Sweetie, stop trying to define me, I’m not a simple being like you are.” The cruelty of his statement struck Sweetie like a slap across the face. Her mouth hung open in astonishment and closed in a tight lipped expression that told him of her hurt and disapproval. She stood abruptly and smoothed her hands over her Sunday dress. He stood, trying to stop her from storming off when a shrill cooing voice floated over the garden. Snookie’s eyebrows shot up, the closest his face ever came to surprise. The two stood motionless practically glaring at each other as the disembodied voice grew closer.
“…and so secretive, out here all the time being so antisocial. Do they ever help me with company, no they don’t I can tell you! And here’s our Daisy gone to New York and Daddy gone to retrieve her, and Snookie’s come down from his big job in Raleigh, and all the neighbors, well I just don’t know, I can tell you, I just don’t know. Oh here they are!” The entire monologue was spoken entirely too loudly and its cheerfulness overwrote the actual words. The speaker rounded a turn in the garden path and came upon the siblings.
“Well now, what have you two been getting up to? You know Rita and I had to entertain all the neighbors and mix all the drinks ourselves and you two out here gossiping all the night long. What is the topic, I want to make a contribution to the conversation.” With the final remark the round woman lowered herself dramatically into the second lawn chair and looked expectantly at her children.
Sweetie glared at her brother and landed in her chair once again, leaving any explanations up to him. He cleared his throat and said, “Well Mamma we were just discussing Daisy and her…situation.” Spoken carefully, the undertones of his statement completely surpassed his mother and she jumped in with,
“Yes isn’t it awful? Still can’t be helped, some children just have an urge to fly, and there’s worse places to be than New York I’m sure.”
As his mother fanned herself with her handkerchief, Snookie glanced at his sister who colored with shame and turned her head. Snookie resumed his former position staring out over the neighborhood and into the descending night.
Once again the crickets overtook the scene with only Mamma’s sighs punctuating the night.
After a few moments, Sweetie’s voice asked her mother whether she had heard anything from Daddy.
“Nothing yet Sweetie, but you know how Daddy is, so flighty, never tells me anything. I’ve always had to be the sensible one.” She sighed and the siblings took great care not to look at each other.
Sweetie’s next comment was strained, obviously suppressing laughter.
“Yes, that’s true Mamma,” Snookie’s face was thankfully hidden, “But I would’ve thought that he would check in by now.”
“Well…,” the rotund woman hesitated, “There was a letter a few days ago but it was full of nonsense, I don’t understand half of what that man says to me, he does it just to irritate me, uses all those big words and such, I just don’t know.”
Snookie turned abruptly, “Where did you put the letter Mamma? You have to let me read it, where is it?”
“Well you don’t have to yell I’m sure!” Mamma’s tone was suddenly one of a true mother. The voice was of a woman who had been mothering her entire life and knew exactly who was in charge. “It’s in the desk in the library”. Snookie hurried off and Sweetie was left to entertain her mother.
“Well,” Mamma began, “I’m sure I don’t know what’s the matter with him,” she sighed and fanned herself for a few beats before leaning foreword to place a chubby moist hand on Sweetie’s. “Tell me dear, what is happening with you and Aaron? He never comes around to call at the house much anymore, did you do something to upset him?”
Sweetie pulled her hand away as politely as she could. “No Mamma, I didn’t, he’s just very busy”
“Oh, busy-schmisy”.
“Mamma, he’s a very important man, he has other things on his mind.”
“Well, I’m sure I don’t know what could be on his mind besides his future wife. When is that going to happen by the way? You two certainly do take your time in getting around to things. Normally I wouldn’t meddle ya see, but we do need to make sure that the club will be open on the date, so much planning goes into a wedding. Ah well, I’m sure your time will come.”
Sweetie colored visibly even in the dwindling light. “Mamma please”
“I just don’t know, all three of my children, one off to New York without even a goodbye or a note or anything, one off in Raleigh making money and no marriage prospects; and then there’s you Sweetie. You always were a strange girl. Even as a child, I just don’t know.” Mamma’s diatribe troubled Sweetie and she stood, not knowing how to react.

Monday, April 03, 2006

"siblings" finished

“I just don’t know, all three of my children, one off to New York without even a goodbye or a note or anything, one off in Raleigh making money and no marriage prospects; and then there’s you Sweetie. You always were a strange girl. Even as a child, I just don’t know.” Mamma’s diatribe troubled Sweetie and she stood, not knowing how to react.
“Not that it matters, mind,” Mamma continued, apparently not noticing her daughter’s unhappiness. “As long as Aaron is going to propose, and from what Rita hears that’s what’ll happen. He’s a good man, and his Daddy owns practically all of Savannah. You’ll have so many nice things; much nicer than Gabrielle. Did you hear about that one? Well not that I’m a gossip mind, but she just up and went, fell in love with some mechanic and now they’re living in that trailer park with all those dirty babies running around. Not that any baby isn’t a gift from the Lord, and far be it for me to pass judgment I’m sure, but those two have nothing but ‘love’ and what does love get you? Nothing that’s what.”
Sweetie was facing away from her mother but tears were rolling down her face and her tiny hands were balled in rage and pain.
Mamma sat back, pleased to have passed her gossip on, and moved on to her son, “And Snookie running off to read that letter, as if there was anything important in there, just a mess of finances that I don’t understand. I would’ve asked him to read it, but then he took off like a bullet, and anyway, it’s my letter in the first place.”
“I’m sure he just wants to help Mamma”, Sweetie’s rage was seeping out into her words.
“I’m sure. He always was a helpful child. He got my Buttercup out of that tree when he was only a lad, Buttercup was so scared and I was so worried, but Snookie just opened up a can of tuna, calm as you like and Buttercup came down out of that tree. Whoo, the mosquitoes are biting tonight I think I’ll go on in, they see me and think it’s an all you can eat buffet.” She chuckled at her joke as she hoisted her large frame out of the lawn chair. “Now don’t you stay out here too long, Rita and I need your help in the kitchen.”
She waddled up the path to the house, mumbling gossip to herself.
Sweetie stood stock still in the garden until her brother came back to rejoin her.
“Mamma’s in a great mood,” he commented, “That must mean she’s got to you again, why do you let her do that? You always rise to her bait.”
Sweetie nodded not tearing her eyes away from Virgo her favorite summer constellation.
“So the letter,” Snookie began as he lounged into a lawn chair. “Daddy says he’s found her living in some shit heap in New York. Halter-top, barefoot, and here’s an exciting twist for your listening pleasure, pregnant. That’s right, little miss Daisy, perfect little southern Belle, got herself knocked up and off to New York with that grease stain. Daddy says he’ll give her enough money to live on for a while, but she’s a mule, won’t take it.” Snookie chuckled with pity and disbelief. “You know, I might pay to see her like that myself.” He paused to light a cigar. “He won’t tell Mamma of course, he coded it in that letter, big words so she wouldn’t understand. That letter was for me, make no mistake about that. I wonder what would happen if we let it slip to Mamma or the neighbors what Daisy’s really doing in New York. Can you just imagine?! Of course I wouldn’t do that to you. She’d lose her mind, what she has left anyway. It’d all fall on you, and I don’t want that for the world.”
Sweetie’s body was shaking with sobs and she finally brought her hands up to cover her face.
“This has become quite a trend, all the girls around here running off with trash like that. Quite the party story about that time they went slumming. I just hope you don’t take up the fad. You’re not strong enough to deal with all that. Daisy’s living on the fifth floor, no elevator of course. Daddy says there’s all manner of trash living around there, asking him for money on the street. Can you imagine Daisy living like that? And all in the name of ‘love.’”.
Sweetie spun around so quickly that Snookie was momentarily caught off guard.
“What do you know about love?! All you love is money! You run off to Raliegh and sneer down at us. Daisy finds someone to love and everyone acts like she’s on her way to hell! My God! None of you know what love is! None of you!” Sweetie collapsed into her tears, and grasped the honeysuckle vine for support.
Snookie let the moment pass before saying, “Sweetie, she is in hell. You wouldn’t be able to imagine it, but I’ve seen places like that. Babies crying, people screaming, and New York city?! That place seeps into people’s souls. It takes them and turns them into something else. The people who end up there are not our kind of people, and not the people that I want to see you hanging around with.”
“You wouldn’t know anyway, you’re never here anymore,” Sweetie said weakly, “It’s just me and Mamma and Rita, and Daddy rattling around the house and unless Aaron comes that day there’s no one around to talk to.”
Snookie stood and guided his sister into the chair, “Sit Sweetie,” he said, “You’re not feeling well.” He stated this as if he knew, but she didn’t fight him.
They sat in silence for a moment, neither one ready or willing to speak. Snookie broke the stale mate with, “Sweetie, what’s really going on? What’s wrong with you lately?” Some modicum of concern had bled into his normally aloof tone.
Sweetie shook her head to indicate that she didn’t know, and if she did, she was unwilling to share the information.
“C’mon, it’s me.” Snookie’s voice dropped to a frequency that found its way into Sweetie’s subconscious.
“I miss Aaron,” she said, “I never see him anymore, he’s so busy with work. I keep having dreams about him, I really need him. It’s so lonely to sleep alone; I toss and turn because he’s not there. It hurts not being with him. In my dreams he’s there and we lay there together, and then I wake up and he’s not…” her voice trailed off.
Snookie patted her awkwardly on the shoulder, trying to let her know that he understood, but not really having any experiences to draw upon.
“C’mon Sweetie,” he said gently, “Lets go in. It’s getting dark out.”
They stood and ambled towards the bulk of the house as the heavy summer night fell into place around them.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Style lesson 6

In the 6th lesson, Williams focuses primarily on Emphasis.

To start with, Williams empahsizes the importance of paying attention to the end of sentences. Williams stresses that the end of a sentence plays a crucial role in the reader's comprehension. it is important to place any and all complicated material near the end of the sentence where readers have a better chance to understand it, technical jargin and important ideas should be in the end of the sentence.

Stress is also an important factor, as it is how people read. the stresses that people automatically put on words or syllables can be manipulated by a writer to help his point. Williams says, "You can manipulate a sentence to emphasize particular words that you want readers to hear stressed and thereby note as particularly significant." (williams 96)

there are other means of emphasis however, williams notes one that is particualrly important, that repetition of a word too soon can make a sentence seem flat. in this case it is much clearer to use a pronoun.

Finally Williams says that key concepts should be introduced in the beginning of a passage. he says, "readers read the opening sentence or two of a paragraph to find the key concepts that the paragraph will repeat and develop, and they look for those concepts in the last few words of that opening." (williams 102)