Why I Write

I write primarily because I need to. I occasionally derive some amount of joy from writing when the topic is one I am passionate about, but for the most part I write out of necessity. I plan on majoring in either finance or accounting and working my way up through the ranks, with aspirations of one day being a top-level executive. This will demand many things from me, and one skill that will be very important is my ability to write. Specifically, my ability to convey information clearly and succinctly is a must.

Because of my goal, I write almost exclusively in a formal style that would be suitable for communication with business associates. While personal stories and narratives are easier to write and assist me in introspection, formal writing as a means of communicating is significantly more important to me. Writing a good paper and receiving an A is a very satisfying feeling, but I write to set myself apart and to make me a more appealing job candidate one day in the near future.

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Inquiry Four Preparation – 12/5/12

For Inquiry Four I plan on using three pieces of my writing that show my growth as a writer this semester and also some trends I notice in my writing. I’m not positive these will be among the final three pieces I use for Inquiry Four, but right now two of the pieces I’m considering are from my Freshman Psychology class (PSY F104). The first comes from very early in the semester and the second about two months later, and the style of the former starkly contrasts with that of the latter. I am considering using these two essays because they show my growth as a writer.

However, the two papers are written in a specific, scientific way. This clouds my voice considerably, and I think it is important that examples of my voice when writing are also included in Inquiry Four. This is one doubt I have about using the two scientific papers.

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Thanksgiving Break

My Thanksgiving break was really fun, but it was not exactly relaxing. I only got to sleep in my own bed for two of the nights, and much of it was spent travelling. Still, it was great seeing my family after three months away, and Thanksgiving day was delicious. My Thanksgiving break went something like this:

On Tuesday, I flew home out of CVG, and got into Dallas around 7 pm. My dad picked me up at the airport and we went out to dinner.

On Wednesday, I had a haircut, and then my dad and I pre-flighted the Cherokee and flew to Wichita, Kansas, where my mom, sister, and approximately twenty other relatives were gathered. We went out to eat when we arrived, and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at my grandma’s house.

On Thursday, we slept in, enjoyed a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner, played a game of football, and then settled in to watch a very disappointing Cowboys game. After, pie was had and cards were played until the early morning.

On Friday, we flew back to Dallas and I went out with friends all night.

Saturday came with my dad and I going to see Skyfall, and then we went out to dinner. Afterwards, we watched a very disappointing Mavs game.

On Sunday, I was travelling back to Oxford all day.

And that was my Thanksgiving break.

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postsecret Assignment 11/14/2012

This assignment was pretty cool, because I had never heard of postsecret prior to it. The concept of anonymously posting secrets, ones that you might not ever tell to people you actually know, was intriguing to me. I feel like this website is a great place to open up and share what you have to say. It seems like this would be a great release for someone burdened with a secret they feel they cannot cope with on their own. For example, the postcard about the man who found photos of his deceased father engaged in sex acts with his adult niece. This is something I would need to tell someone, but I would never tell the members of my family, because that would be life-destroying for too many different people. However, the main postcard I focused on was the one that said “I lie awake at night and wonder what his name could’ve been.” Surrounding this statement was a list of tons of boys names. I assume this is a mother who either had a miscarriage or found out she is incapable of bearing children. This is a prime example of a secret that helps to share. The woman who sent in the postcard was able to share her grief with thousands of anonymous readers, undoubtedly lessening the burden on her shoulders.

Link to the card:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Iu5stV8NWi0/UJajcvN6geI/AAAAAAAAV-U/bolLGZz-riA/s1600/james.jpg

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In Class Post 11/9/2012

I typically use the internet to check my grades, do homework assignments, and catch up on local Dallas news. When I am not doing these things, I also frequent Facebook (especially during election season) and internet meme sites like 9gag, which my friends have gotten me addicted to. I also use sites like hulu and netflix to get my tv fix.

There is really no difference in the way I portray myself online and the way I portray myself in real life. I don’t engage in much interaction on the internet, and don’t tend to contribute to it, so most of what I’m doing is just observing what is already there.

I am definitely a passive user of the internet. I use it daily, but do nothing to interact with other users or contribute to the information swirling around there. A passive user, in my mind, is one who does not participate in the parts of the internet that ask for user input (i.e. uploading videos to YouTube, posting status updates on Facebook constantly). An active user is one who participates a lot more in these activities and other activities like them.

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Post-Election Discussion Activity 11/7/2012

With the conclusion of the election last night, I felt exhausted, and a little disappointed. Exhausted because, being from Texas (not exactly a swing state) I am not used to being bombarded with political ads on all forms of media at all hours. I was also disappointed. A portion of this disappointment stemmed from the fact that my chosen candidate did not win the election, but most of it comes from my peers’ reactions, both on the winning side and the losing side. Many of those who supported Obama were derisive last night in the face of those who had supported Romney. And many Republican voters became apoplectic with rage or with fear after seeing the results of the election. Both of these reactions were, in my eyes, overkill. To me, the country is even more divided now than it was in 2000, and among my friends at least, it is more racially divided than it used to be. However, once everyone becomes used to the idea of four more years with Obama, most of this will go away, as it usually does.

Being able to participate in this year’s election made me pay much closer attention to the issues that were important to me and where each candidate stood on them. I did feel empowered, but being from a historically red state, I did not feel as if my vote was of tantamount importance.

Living in Ohio was a bit nuts during this election season. Texas is not inundated with the amount of political ads and other forms of campaigning the way Ohio is, so that was a new experience.

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Inquiry 3 Proposal

As I am uncomfortable and unfamiliar with most of today’s social media mediums, I am going to write a short story for Inquiry 3. The part of my identity that I will focus on is the fact that I am an older brother. I have one younger sibling, a sister who is a senior in high school. I haven’t decided specifically what story I will write, but it will be a nonfiction one concerning my relationship with my sister and how it has shaped my identity. Specifically, I will write about how growing up with a younger sister has caused me to be crazily obsessed with what is fair and what is unfair. There were a lot of times throughout my childhood where my privileges were restricted so that things wouldn’t seem unequal in my sister’s eyes. My parents told me I had to be the bigger person, and actually charged me a quarter any time I said “That’s not fair”. While my topic may seem a little frivolous, it will actually reveal a lot about my personal identity, and the story will be humorous, as well. As a result of these occurrences that took place throughout my childhood, I pay way too much attention to making every aspect of every relationship I have fair. It is a rather unhealthy obsession, but a habit that I cannot seem to break. Overall, I expect Inquiry 3 to be a challenging but rewarding experience, and I feel that my chosen topic is a feasible concept that I will be able to execute well.

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“The Anatomy of a YouTube Meme” Response 11/7/2012

This was an interesting article. I had never considered that memetic videos like the ones discussed in the article would have so much in common. After reviewong some of the videos listed in the table and watching specifically for the criteria used to relate them, I too saw the similarities. It is very interesting that there is a certain framework that causes so many people to actively participate in distributing and recreating thoughts and ideas. To me, this is further proof that humans are not so different from one another.

On the concept of viral versus memetic videos:

Would everyone categorize Psy’s wildly popular “Gangnam Style” video as viral or memetic?

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Identity Assignment 11/2/2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZxs09eV-Vc

The link above is to the now infamous Obama campaign Big Bird ad. The ad goes as follows:

Obama endorses the message at the beginning of the ad. Then, a deep voice-over lists the names of Wall Street criminals, like Ken Lay (of Enron) and Bernie Madoff (mastermind of the Madoff ponzi scheme). Afterwards, the commercial says that, luckily, Romney has his eye on a far more menacing enemy. Big Bird from Sesame Street. The ad cuts to Big Bird, and then to Romney saying in a presidential debate that he is going to cut the government subsidy for PBS.

The intention of this ad is to make the general public believe that Romney’s attention is on issues of little consequence, when it should be on real problems like the gross misconduct of certain people on Wall Street. The ad is targeted towards the middle class, many of whom are resentful of successful people on Wall Street, and the ad also insinuates that Romney is more or less “chummy” with those taking advantage of the system. The ad wants to make people believe that Romney does not care about the masses and that he will turn a blind eye to white collar criminals because he is a big businessman himself.

Obama’s ad utilizes Romney’s identity as an uber-wealthy businessman to suggest that Romney can’t relate to the general public, and that he is only interested in the bottom line. The ad is very sarcastic.

The ad soesn’t show how one should convey their identity publicly or politically, because Romney tries to show that he is a person just like everyone else, but those with liberal agendas use Romney’s assets and income to disparage him at every turn. To me, attack ads are a better commentary on the association doing the attacking, and while some can be effective, I feel this one may have crossed a line.

That being said, it’s pretty darn funny.

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In Class Brainstorm for Inquiry 3 10/31/12

As far as this assignment goes, I will probably write a personal essay or short story about my public and private identity, mainly because I am not familiar enough with public meduiums (i.e. blogs, youtube) to feel comfortable using them. Beyond this fact, I am not sure what I want to write about. There are multiple topics I feel comfortable writing about, if I can figure out enough to say about them to be plausible ideas. These topics include being a pilot, being adopted, having a shy personality, and others, as well.

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