DragonBall Z

DragonBall Z
This is the Dragon... Dragonball Z. An anime show highlighting some of the best that human imagination has to offer.

Who are you?!

  • I like directing, editing and watching movies.
  • I like to play Call of Duty 4.
  • I like to play Rainbow Six Vegas 2
  • I LOVE going to Mr. G's class everyday.
  • There is no place like my real home.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reflective Essay

I can remember all the way back to my first day of school when I walked into class. I was unsure of was to expect because I heard a lot but now I know that it was only the beginning of the largest transformation for my writing since learning the ABC’s. I started off with the wrong foot and slowly I strived to redeem myself from the embarrassment from the first major paper. In the middle of the year I shown some progress and Snapgrades became my new best friend. Near in the end of the third quarter, my writing made it to the point where I felt comfortable and now I am able to convey my thoughts and my vocabulary is stronger and my sentences flow. Writing and understanding literature has made things and reasoning in life is easier. The improvement is unavoidable and I am not only shocked but also proud of the strides that I have taken in a tough course.

Back in September, we had received our first major paper assignment for the course. It was the explication of the year and I was actually unsure of what an explication was. I read the hand out but was still uncertain as to what the task at hand was. “Find the deeper meaning,” and I tried to look at the poem over and over again only to realize that the poem was still a big blog of mystery to me. I ended up writing about this in my explication and received an F. I was a little upset because there were hours put into the essay and I felt as though I did the best that I could. But I was wrong.

Looking back and re-reading my essay, I see the all the faults and wonder what I was thinking. I still did not fully understand the task of explicating a piece of literature. It was not until we began having class discussions about pieces of literature that I began to realize what explication was. Listening to the other students and Mr. Gallagher speak gave me clues as to what to focus on and strategies that would help make the explication process easier. I took the ideas back home and began to apply the strategies to my writing and then I began to pump out respectable papers. But, I am never happy with respectable papers because I remember I would always click on my Snapgrades link and end up being disappointed with the grade.

The disappointment only helped me to become a better writer in the end. I continued to observe and continued to improve. The blog on the Brueghel painting of Landscape with the Fall of Icarus was the next major paper that highlighted the next step that I had taken in my writing. Regarding myself as a visual learner, I was excited to find that the task involved explicating an actual painting instead of a piece of writing. I had fun breaking down the painting and all of the components from the foreground to the background. The requirement for a grade was a thousand words which I felt was totally possible with the amount of interest that I had in the project. I was happy with what I had written but still did not achieve the kind of grade that I had learned for. My grades were always in the B range and I was desperate to leave the B Club. I hit a plateau and didn’t know what to do to improve my writing.

I then used the model papers posted on the blog to find the little things that were missing from all of my papers; the difference between the A paper and the B paper. I read the theses and the conclusions and the textual evidence found in the A papers. I payed close attention to the comments left by Mr. Gallagher. I tried to apply all of these criticisms to my writing and my grades went up little by little.

By the middle of third quarter I think I had found my “writing mojo” and I was confident with my writing abilities. Explication was no longer a burden and I felt up to the task when class was given the James Joyce Paper. Everyone was talking about it as if this was the end of the world as we knew it and I was nonchalant about the whole idea. In the end, I produced a ten page paper that I feel is my best work to date. When asked to select a favorite and a best piece of work from the year I was sad to not be able to put the Portrait Paper in both categories.

I was happy with the paper and happy with the grade because it exceeded my expectations. I still had faults here and there throughout the essay but when compared with the Red-Shift Analysis; it is like reading from two different authors. I know that my writing and my analytical skills have made significant strides I am happy with the end result. The course was hard and rigorous and I feel that it was necessary for all of us to become better writers. I know that it changed my writing and I am now content with my output in Mr. Gallagher’s Senior Honors. I made it through the minefield.

Red Shift Major Paper

“Red Shift” by Tim Berrigan

While reading “Red Shift” by Tim Berrigan, I feel confused and lost. It is difficult to understand. It is hard to dissect the underlying meaning. The speaker’s language is very ambiguous and loose. I do not know why Berrigan chose to say certain things in “Red Shift”. Berrigan’s writing is autobiographical and represents a lot of what can be found in his life. What does “Red Shift” mean? Why does he jump all over in his poem? Why does he go from being specific with dates, times, and settings to vagueness and having to use one’s imagination to get a picture in one’s mind? Tim Berrigan’s “Red Shift” is an addictive poem because I listen to it and want to hear it again and again.

The title “Red Shift” may have been chosen because of the United States involvement in the Cold War. The poem is written in the early 1970’s and a lot of important events occur with regard to the nonviolent conflict. There is Fidel Castro and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviets have there iron curtain in Eastern Europe. The North Vietnamese are gaining the upper hand in the war against the South and the Red is slowly covering the Earth. Red is communism. It is blood, war, love, and death. “Red Shift” means a shift in Tim Berrigan’s life. He is no longer loved and has lost a love one. It means a shift in the mind of the people in society because there are communists out there and it is shameful to be one. Life is no longer the same as what is used to be which explains the shift.

Tim Berrigan says “I am 43. When will I die?” If you put an emphasis on the I in that sentence, it sounds like he is saying “When will I die?” When is it my turn to become red? Tim Berrigan is going through a mid-life crisis where he does not know where to go. He is shifting from being young to old. That is why shift is chosen.

Who is he speaking to? He mentions a nineteen year old girl who is his lover. She died before the poem was written because according to these lines:
“ Not that pretty girl, nineteen, who was going to have to go [everyone dies sooner or later], careening into middle-age so, To burn & to burn more fiercely than even she could imagine so to go.” (Tim Berrigan)

She probably died in a fire and she is Tim Berrigan’s first love. Again, the Red is a symbol of the fire that takes her and her death that results from it. She is gone from him and now he is alone and does not know where to begin again. He wants his red (death) to come so that he may join her again and never leave her side. He wants to marry her and grow old with her and die with her as noticed in these lines:

“I would never & never will leave alone until we both vanish into the thin air we signed up for & so demanded To breath & who will never leave me, not for sex, nor politics, nor even for stupid permanent estrangement which is Only our human lot & means nothing.” (Tim Berrigan)
He mentions that he will never leave her side and they will turn to dust together but that never happens. She is gone and he grows old all by himself.

Why won’t he die? Tim Berrigan says “I will never die.” Everyone dies. Will he become the first immortal or will he live on in the hearts and minds of anyone who reads this poem? Will his spirit accompany this poem and all of the copies that are made of it? “Red Shift” is hard not to think about after hearing because the audio makes you want to hear it again. The Speaker brings the poem alive. Tim says in the poem “I came into your life to change it & it did so & now nothing will ever change That, and that’s that.” This statement is easy to agree with because his voice enters the head and will stay forever.

Still this poem is enigmatic in its language. Reading it for the first time will throw you off as it did to me. Maybe the people that Tim mentions are his family; maybe there are close to him. His spirit does live on to nag. It nags through the poem that is so hard to understand and comprehend. Tim Berrigan has a message and it can be interpreted in many different ways as there are people with the ability to interpret it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dialectical Journal Entry 3.24.08

Hamlet has finally agreed to turn himself into the King and is following Rosencratz and Guildenstern. Over and over, Claudius asks where the body of Polonius lies and Hamlet answer that it is at supper and the maggots are eating. I see Hamlet now as not being insane anymore but more leaning towards an extraordinary actor who is inheriting the traits of the character he is trying to play. Why does he say all of these sarcastic remarks that go around Claudius’ question only to reveal it right after? I think Hamlet enjoys seeing Claudius flustered and annoyed because of the hatred he has for Claudius after what happened to his father. But Claudius is finished being toyed with, “Where is Polonius,” (4:3 line 30) and Hamlet reveals knowing that this is his new father and Hamlet has that sort of subconscious feeling to respect or receive the punishment. Hamlet then finds that going to England is going to be a great thing and he happily waves goodbye to his mother, but not to Claudius who has taken the other father’s place. In lines before, Hamlet revealed the location of Polonius’ body almost out of fear. There is a contrast in those couple of lines. He does not love Claudius nor does he show a lot of respect. But, when there is a time when Claudius uses his Kingly powers to demand respect – it is given. As for Hamlet only saying goodbye to his mother, Claudius is not his real father. In his reasoning, Hamlet talks of marriage between one woman and a man and how he is only saying goodbye to his mother because Claudius was not apart of the original marriage. Claudius answers, “Thy loving father, dear Hamlet,” or “I love you, Hamlet,” (4:3 line 48) in the line before; does this mean that Claudius has taken Hamlet under his wing as his new son? I do not think Hamlet cares and so he is off to England where he will be put to death.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Filler Chapter for Borderliners

F I L L E R C H A P T E R (8-9)

She then went on to explain something to me but I did not pay attention. We sat in that storage shed, and we talked, talked about what it was when we were children in Copenhagen. She asked me what it was like not knowing who my parents were why they had left me and about not knowing what it felt liked to be loved or taken cared of. She began this interrogation that last through the night. August had fallen asleep a long time hours ago and me and Katarina had been speaking for only a few minutes. These minutes felt like an eternity. It was like time had stopped to listen to mine and Katarina’s conversation about our lives as we were finally alone and out of the grip of the academy. Time had stopped.

I began to speak but I did not pay attention to what I was saying. I spoke but without reason. Katarina just sat there and listened to me while her eyes seemed to scan my face and all of its contours and ridges of skin. Throughout our whole conversation, she sat still and only stared at me. I stared back and blocked out everything else so that I could marvel at her beauty. After she kissed me, my life had changed and I forgot about the school and all of the rules and regulations. We were two souls that had separated from the real world, only for moments; enough moments to talk about our whole lives and stare into each others’ souls.
But then she said to me, “Peter, was that your first kiss?” I proceeded to tell her that it was my first kiss and that it was unexpected but desired. Katarina had proposed a kind of spiritual marriage to me and with our kiss, there was acceptance and we were sealed together forever. Our kiss was a point in time that was unable to be revisited and I would never feel that feeling again. Katarina then asked me “Do you like the watch?” I told her that I did but that I did not know what it was for. I asked her why she gave it to me and she proceeded to stare, so I did not question her further. We kissed for a while and then she fell asleep on my shoulder.
Then I looked over at August, almost as though I was staring at child. He had picked a spot in the storage shed with some cardboard boxes and fell asleep on top of them. While Katarina and I spoke left and ventured into our own world, August had ventured into his own. He was twitching and was having a bad dream, one that did not seem to end because once he woke up, we would have to walk back out into the freezing winter of Denmark and trek through the snow along the path back to the school.

The next morning we woke up to the sound of scraping on the walls of the shed. August had sprung and the cardboard boxes gave in to his weight. Katarina and I had sprung to our feet and I ran over to the window. I looked through and saw that it was only a gentle deer scraping it little horns on the wall of the shed. Perhaps it had an itch that needed to be scratched.
We got up and decided it was time to go back to school at dawn while the school and its faculty were beginning to assemble through the archway. I closed the door, locked the lock and we left the shed behind. As we walked through the snow, I looked back only to realize the significant role our little shed was going to play in our escape. I fell in love with Katarina during the night we spent together and August seemed oblivious to that result. We had scaled a level in our relationship that was kept at bay while in school. I now loved Katarina and I know she loved me. While walking, I was behind her, she was behind August, and not once did she turn around to speak to me. Not once to speak of the night before or of our plan to escape and take August with us.

Time resumed at dawn and went back to its routine. Time had stopped for me and it was a powerful feeling when I kissed Katarina. I will never forget when she asked me if I loved her and when I did not answer.

Adoration of the Kings (Poem explication on Blog)

The Adoration of the Kings
In the poem, Adoration of the Kings by William Carlos Williams, the speaker depicts the scene of the Christian nativity as seen through the eyes of the painter, Pieter Bruegel. The poem’s language favors the depiction of the Kings over Jesus and his birth. Williams makes a reference to the “Italian masters” (10) or the renaissance painters who may have better illustrated the scene. The painting by Brueghel shows the Three Kings “in their stolen / splendor” (4-5) and the offering of their gifts to the newborn Jesus and his mother, Mary. The attention of the poem is focused on the Three Kings and what they have brought to the painting when attention should be focused on the birth of the savior, Jesus. This conflict is evident in the title of the painting itself. Bruegel’s purpose in his painting is explained through reading of the poem when Williams makes a reference to Bruegel being asked to do something but does not.
The title Adoration of the Kings foreshadows the speaker’s intent and where the poem will head in its language. The title conveys a sense of liking and worship towards the Three Kings rather than Jesus or Mary because they are not mentioned. The Kings are adored by the people in the painting surrounding Jesus and Mary. The eyes of the onlookers seem to wander more towards the gifts and the garments of the Three Kings. The kings have stolen the light from the monumental birth of Jesus and Williams chooses to elaborate on that in the poem.
The speaker begins with “From the Nativity / which I have already celebrated” (1-2), conveying the fact that William Carlos Williams may have been Christian who celebrated the birth of Jesus. An inference can be made that Williams has seen many depictions of the Nativity but finds Bruegel’s depiction special because it focuses on the grandeur of the Kings rather than on Jesus though most other Nativity scenes do the opposite. This focus on the Kings is evident when the speaker says “Joseph and the soldiery // attendant / with their incredulous faces / make a scene” (6 – 9) because they are gawking at the riches rather than Jesus. Williams uses what he notices right away after first looking at the painting in the beginning of his poem to establish this point of adoration towards the Kings and begins on why Bruegel chose to paint the picture the way he did.
Bruegel painted Adoration of the Kings “with a difference” (11) from the “Italian masters” (10) or renaissance painters who were known to depict scenes of Christianity with beauty and sometimes sarcasm. Williams makes this known when he writes “the alert mind dissatisfied with / what it is asked to / and cannot do” (16 – 18) showing that Bruegel does not choose to follow the standard that was set for him by the renaissance painters and their typical depictions of the Nativity. Williams’ use of many words and his choice for the placing of line breaks helps the reader infer that Bruegel was compelled to paint according to how the renaissance painters did. But Bruegel “cannot do” (18) it and so the Adoration of the Kings is a very different scene than any of the other Nativity scenes. Instead, Bruegel chooses to paint with a different kind of reality; the reality of the people staring at the Kings and not at Jesus; the reality of the people coming from far away to catch a glimpse of the gold worn by the rich. Williams’ accepts Bruegel’s view on the Nativity because it highlights the negative view on hoarding materialism found in his many socialist ideas.
The poem ends with a general feeling of acceptance as the speaker goes on to describe the painting “as a work of art / for profound worship” (23 -24). The use of many adjectives such as “brilliant” (20), “downcast” (22), and “profound” (24) all help to convey that sense of acceptance. The speaker’s language compliments Bruegel’s painting and what it is depicting as Williams switches from the painter’s purpose back to his view on the poem. In Adoration of the Kings, William Carlos Williams succeeds at exposing the overwhelming adoration for the Three Kings when the adoration should be felt for the baby, Jesus and his mother, Mary. Through the speaker’s use of suggestive language and the strategic placement of line breaks one feels as though Bruegel paints with individuality and goes against the accepted standard set by the “Italian masters” (10). The ending to Williams’ poem depicts his happiness and excitement in the ideas suggested by the painting almost as though he applauds the degrading of materialism accepts the reality presented of the Three Kings and their lavish prowess.

A Stranger Blog from September! (Look at the difference)

On the third day of the class discussions, Taquan was able to elaborate for us the symbolism and reasoning for the use of the sun in Albert Camus’ The Stranger. He told us how in Greek Mythology, the sun reveals all and is power over everything. It is the eye in the sky and watches over everything. In The Stranger, the sun also causes Muersalt to unleash his weapon and take five shots at the Arab on the beach. The sun was the driving force behind a lot of the plot in the book.
There was also mention in our class discussion of Muersalt going against the society. Emily T, Meagan and I all realized Muersalt has no feeling inside. He was labeled “inhumane” in class. Albert Camus was an existentialist and happened to touch a lot on the theme of absurdity in The Stranger. The definition for absurd is 1. Utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false: an absurd explanation 2. the quality or condition of existing in a meaningless and irrational world. He was greatly influenced by other existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger. The reasons we think of Muersalt as an inhumane and emotionless person is because his way of thinking is without logic and senseless which is contrary to our reasoning. Muersalt’s aura of absurdity is evident in the quote, “I drank the coffee. Then I felt like having a smoke. But I hesitated, because I didn’t know if I could do I with Maman right there. I thought about it; it didn’t matter. I offered the caretaker a cigarette and we smoked.” (p 8) Albert Camus. This strikes me as being rude and kind of unnecessary when one is present at a funeral but Muersalt feels it is just fine.
Albert Camus’ great idea of the world as being meaningless is shown through Muersalt’s behavior. He is a character that is enigmatic and strange to the reader. To Muersalt, there is no point in certain things such as a punishment of death for killing another person because we are all supposed to die sooner or later. Albert Camus’ purpose for the sun was to show that there is a higher power in the world that is regulating his life and guiding him to his pre-determined fate which Meursalt believes he controls. But he does not control the thoughts of the judge or of the jury. When read the death sentence conviction, Muersalt feels nothing and accepts the fact that he is going to die just as he accepted everything else in his life.

Book Cover Essay for Borderliners

Book Cover
The book cover that I have chosen to create is the best choice for Borderliners because it collectively displays all of the critical themes prevalent in the story. The title is neatly written across the top of the front cover and the author’s full name is legible on the bottom of the book cover. In the center of the cover is a big ball of energy that represents time. I have drawn it as a large mass of energy swirling around locked with a key. The school is at the top left hand corner of the mass of time. Below the title are two clocks showing that time is all around us. In the lower right hand of the cover there is a blade representing time cutting across the universe in its course towards infinity. And in the lower left corner of the cover there are the three main characters of the book, Peter Katarina, and August standing in the blackness surrounded by nothing. The blue of the background is representing the sky because of its infinite, endless look. The great of mass of time is appropriately situated in the center of the blue because it keeps on regardless of the human race.
I chose to draw the mass of time in the center of the book cover because time is a dominant theme in the story and I felt that it was very important. I wanted to answer the question that was asked in the very first sentence of the book, “What is time?” (3). I tried to create time in my head and what was drawn on the cover is the closest I could come to the picture imagined. There is energy swirling in the ball of time and it is bright, almost a beacon in the blue infiniteness. There is light shining from the mass of time and it is almost godlike because in the book, time controls the universe. Its control is used in the school to regulate the day and to split up the classes. The school bell tower is drawn above the ball of time to symbolize the school’s use of the entity. The “time at Biehl’s academy was absolutely linear,” (225). The school used time to regulate itself and that is why there is a lock across time. The lock is opened by the master key of the school that Peter made a copy of in the book in order to gain entry into headmaster Biehl’s office.
The children of the book are drawn on the cover because they were the main characters. I wanted to include the main characters in my cover; unlike the present cover which is solely a picture of a key and on an orange and black background. The children are looking up at the mass of time and marveling at its beauty. Time in the book controls life like a God. They are looking up at the mass of time as if they were worshipping a God.
Moving to the right of the children there is a blade that is cutting along a line that represents the borderline that the children are on in the school. It can also be interpreted as linear time which is infinite and goes on forever in both directions. “Linear time has to be envisaged as a huge, endless knife blade scraping its way across the universe, and drawing it along with it.” (221). This is where the idea of the blade comes from and why it is leaving a black trail behind it which represents the past while it cuts across the borderline.