Thursday, March 1, 2018

Blog Dump

I have a folder thing on Evernote with various notes, clippings, etc. of either things I want to write posts about or posts I began to write but never got around to fully developing for various reasons. I decided to just 'dump' all of it here, on this post. I will try to provide some context for each one but can't really even guarantee that. If you would like further explanation/elaboration on any of them, please reach out to me! I'm posting them in chronological order, beginning with the oldest.


I think I had an idea for a post associated with this that was going to be something along the lines of "It's Not Just Me!":

Okay. I literally chuckled to myself when I saw this one. It's literally just an idea for a title of a potential post:

"What is that purple-ish ring she is always wearing?"

And another. Same day. You're welcome.

"Yeah, I used to do Pointe, and I'm Cecchetti level 1 certified" *Z-Snap*

Ugh. I'm pretty sure I have a draft for this somewhere. All you get right now is the potential title:
"The lowest grade I've ever received on a paper"

Yep. Same day. Guess I was in brainstorming mode.

Oh, lucky you. I found the draft:

I am finally sharing the essay that earned me a failing grade at Cal. It was so difficult, so shocking, because all through high school I had been told by multiple teachers that I was a good, maybe even excellent, writer. In the eighth grade, I won first place for a district-wide UIL writing competition. During my Junior year of high school, my English teacher passed on an essay I wrote (which also just so happens to be the first post on this blog J ) to the school district’s curriculum development department. This teacher told me that the assignment I turned in was going to be used as a sort of model when developing writing curriculum in order to try to help students produce similar writing. I was extremely surprised and humbled to discover this. Did I enjoy writing? Yes. It was an outlet for me. Did I think I was some kind of genius or even an innovative writer? No. By the time I graduated high school, I had decided that I was a “proficient writer.” Then, I took Berkeley’s R1B course in the fall of 2010. It was a required class since I didn’t score a 5 on my AP English Exam (see, by no means a perfect writer). I was pleased to find that there were a number of choices when it came to the required course and decided to take a Comparative Literature course that focused on magical realism – a concept I was first introduced to during my freshman year in high school. It was an extremely interesting and enjoyable class. I earned a B on my first essay, a “diagnostic essay.” I think I was slightly disappointed with this grade but after overhearing some of my other classmates discussing that they had received similar grades felt more secure in my work. Then came what turned out to be a pretty trying essay, the comparative essay. I chose to compare the setting of Baudeliare’s “Correspondences” to the setting depicted in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It appears that I no longer have the first copy of the essay. I imagine at some point I deleted it in the hope that it would erase the negative memories and feelings associated with it. If I remember correctly, my thesis in the first draft was something to the effect of “these two works of literature both take place in nature and there are similarities and differences between the two.” Yeah, not exactly revolutionary. Based on my previous English classes, simply acknowledging that two different pieces have a similar setting and then thinking to compare and contrast the two would be more than sufficient. Professor Dimova informed me this was not the case. I met with her during office hours to discuss my paper and the “disgraceful D” (I just came up with that :p) I earned with it. During the entire meeting, I unsuccessfully fought back tears. I was quite distraught. If I wasn’t a “good” writer, what was I? Was I good at anything? Had my entire education prior to Cal been a joke? Had it not prepared me for the rigors of the education at Cal? Was I doomed to fail? Professor Dimova explained that I needed to further develop my thesis and come up with some kind of argument/stance. She explained that what I had turned in was essentially a good starting point, but by no means, a finished, analytical product. I believe the essay below was my second attempt at the assignment. Reading it now, I feel it isn’t worth a whole lot either. It’s not very well developed. It doesn’t include anything particularly interesting, radical, or revolutionary. I think I earned a B/B- on it. I feel that was an overly kind grade. I have always had difficulty with organizing my thoughts in writing and especially explaining my personal thoughts/beliefs/ideas thoroughly to allow the reader to gain some kind of mutual understanding. That’s something I still struggle with. Whenever I have an essay assignment in one of my classes, I go to the student writing lab and work with a tutor in an attempt to get my thoughts/ideas into some kind of semblance that makes sense.

Erin Dion
Professor X
Comparative Literature
October 8, 2010
“Naturally Human”
            In Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Baudelaire’s “Correspondences” Nature is characterized as an otherworldly place that often leads humans into confusion. This setting, distinct from the “real world” and its cruel, imposing responsibilities and challenges, forces humans to face fantastical subjects and ideas they would never encounter in their “normal” daily lives. Ideas that seem bizarre in the normal world seem more logical when presented in a natural setting. The forest in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a mysterious place where the characters are open to relationships they would not think of participating in while they inhabit the city. Puck’s use of the love potion on the characters results in chaos. This chaos is not necessarily negative as it reveals new ways of thinking and possibilities. The fairies in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” act as intermediaries between Nature and humans. Baudelaire characterizes Nature in “Correspondences” as a sacred creation that man can no longer understand, resulting in man’s confusion. This is a reflection of man’s rejection of the natural world as he turns to the concept of modernity. The lack of a liaison between man and Nature in “Correspondences” only substantiates the rift between the two. In both of these pieces, Nature has an overwhelming influence on humans who are unaware of this interaction.
            In “Correspondences”, Baudelaire describes Nature as a living being. In the first stanza, Nature’s “living colonnades / Breathe forth a mystic speech in fitful sighs” (Baudelaire 1-2). The idea of Nature being alive is also present in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – the fairies are essentially a part of the forest. These creatures are very lively and their power to manipulate humans makes them godlike. The Nature in Baudelaire’s work is made up of many symbols, both literally and figuratively. The first stanza mentions, “Man wanders among symbols in those glades” (Baudelaire 3). Man’s inability to understand Nature causes him to see everything in symbolic form. Some of the poem’s more figurative symbols include the “dwindling echoes,” “scents and sounds and colors,” and “infinite pervasiveness” (Baudelaire 5, 8, 12). These figurative symbols mirror the symbolism man sees in Nature and initially leave the reader in a similar state of confusion. These symbols are analogous to the complex relationships in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” because the relationships represent:  jealousy, conflict between love and reason, and rejection. These characterizations of Nature create a complex setting that houses deep, inner processes surrounding humans that they can only realize when in this setting.
            The forest in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a place that civilized peoples do not visit often and the home of the fairies. This characterization of Nature makes events that would seem strange in the civilized world rational and normal. The forest is first mentioned in the play when Hermia and Lysander devise a plan to pursue their forbidden love. Hermia explains the plan to Helena:  “Before the time I did Lysander see, / Seemed Athens as a paradise to me. / O, then, what graces in my love do dwell / That he hath turned a heaven unto a hell!” (I.i.204-207). Hermia later continues, “And in the wood where often you and I / Upon faint primrose beds were wont to lie, Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet, / There my Lysander and myself shall meet, / And thence from Athens turn away our eyes / To seek new friends and stranger companies” (I.i.214-219). This quote reveals the important distinction between the city and the forest. In the forest, Athenian law is not applicable and Hermia and Lysander are free to practice their love. Hermia’s speech also shows that the forest has the ability to make things happen that are not possible in the city (new ways of thinking, relationships, etc.). Hermia and Lysander’s relationship represents a concept very intrinsic to humanity:  true, inescapable, love. The fact that Hermia and Lysander can only obtain this love in the forest suggests that the setting itself has a strong connection to humanity in that it is a basic form of life. The forest is also the home of the fairies. This presence of mystical beings contributes to the forest’s mystical quality but also gives humans a direct connection to Nature. This direct connection allows the characters to feel more confident about the actions and decisions they make while in the forest.
            Throughout the play, Puck, the servant to Oberon, the King of Fairies, speaks in a charm-like manner, making his speech difficult to understand. For example, rather than simply recounting the effects of the love potion on Titania, Puck chants to Oberon “My mistress with a monster is in love. / Near to her close and consecrated bower, / While she was in her dull and sleeping hour, / A crew of patches, rude mechanicals / That work for bread upon Athenian stalls, / Were met together to rehearse a play / Intended for great Theseus’ nuptial day. / The shallowest thickskin of that barren sort, / Who Pyramus presented in their sport, / Forsook his scene and entered in a brake. / When I did him at this advantage take, / An ass’s nole I fixed on his head” (III.ii.6-17). Puck’s speech is very elaborate and enchanting. His speech also rhymes, giving it a hypnotic and charm-like quality. Puck is also very mischievous and uses the love potion on Demetrius and Lysander. This results in a reversal of the relationships:  now both men fight for Helena’s love rather than Hermia’s. Puck, a creature of the forest, controls these humans’ lives, unbeknownst to them. This suggests that Nature possesses an influential power beyond human understanding.
            Baudelaire’s “Correspondences” describes man’s complex relationship with Nature. At some previous time in history, man had the ability to understand and easily interact with nature, but when industrialization occurred, resulting in a turn towards modernity, man no longer could understand or communicate with Nature. The first stanza begins with a powerful metaphor and gives human-like life to Nature:  “Nature is a temple whose living colonnades / Breathe forth a mystic speech in fitful sighs; / Man wanders among symbols in those glades / Where all things watch him with familiar eyes” (Baudelaire 1-4). The opening metaphor compares Nature to a temple, implying that Nature is sacred and should be honored in a reverent manner. This metaphor is also an oxymoron because temples are manmade creations. This could refer to the idea that God (the creator of Nature) is human-like since man was made in His image. The personification of Nature in this first stanza also refers to Nature’s power. Nature is able to act on its mystical and spiritual characteristics, and it also possesses omnipotent human qualities. The mystique surrounding Nature’s “speech” represents man’s inability to interpret Nature and its attempts to communicate with man. This lack of understanding is the effect of man’s distancing from nature and preference of mechanization of the world. It is also apparent that Nature is frustrated by man’s inability to understand its communications because it sighs fitfully. Also, man only sees symbols in Nature rather than their underlying meaning. Since Nature is constantly watching man, Nature has a much greater understanding of man than man has of Nature. The second stanza continues “Like dwindling echoes gathered far away / Into a deep and thronging unison / Huge as the night or as the light of day, / All scents and sounds and colors meet as one” (Baudelaire 5-8). These echoes represent the comprehensive communications man used to have with Nature. They are “far away” in time and space, and since they are echoes, man can hear them but not understand what they are recounting. Baudelaire then describes the environment:  “Perfumes there are as sweet as the oboe’s sound, / Green as the prairies, fresh as a child’s caress, / -- And there are others, rich, corrupt, profound” (Baudelaire 9-11). These similes compare the unknown environment of Nature to images that humans are more familiar with, and two of these similes directly compare Nature to human/manmade things. Baudelaire’s use of metaphor, personification, and similes illustrates the complicated relationship between Nature and man and Nature’s mystical qualities, which give man the possibility to communicate with his Creator.
             Shakespeare and Baudelaire’s characterization of Nature as a mystical and otherworldly setting give the authors the ability to explore unconventional and deep themes such as love, relationships, and the basis of humanity. The setting’s natural quality inundates the eccentric concepts discussed in the two works, resulting in rational thoughts. Shakespeare achieves this by using fairies to mix up the relationships in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” causing the characters to question their true desires. Baudelaire uses metaphor, similes, and personification to portray Nature as a sacred setting that man can no longer comprehend because of his choice to separate himself from the natural world and become engrossed with his own ability to create. The fact that man is still drawn to Nature indicates that Nature possesses some inexplicable quality that is greater than anything man could ever create. Nature, as presented in these two works, shows its power over humans and its ability to alter their lives, often without the human’s acknowledgement.   

3/23/2017 Continued
Titled: "I have nautrally bleach blonde eyebrows"
My mom thinks I look like a bunny...
She also told me my face looked like a baseball mitt when I woke her up the night after getting my braces because I was in a considerable amount of pain

Love you, Mom!!!


Simply titled: "irony"
The irony of college graduates not knowing/understanding the differences between alumni, alumnus, and alumna.

"My (extremely extensive) thoughts/feelings on marijuana"
I voted to legalize pot when I was in California in 2010 in the hope that tax from buying marijuana would significantly contribute to state's income, eventually leading to a decrease in tuition

The 2 Bs:  Balance and Boundaries
This is what a lot of the work/therapy I've been doing the past eight *sigh of exasperation* years has been centered around.


I get knixwear and shethinx confused

I also mix up numbers all the time - anecdote from AP Calc AB Class wrote the answer wrong after doing all calculations correctly and coming up with correct answer but wrote wrong numbers in blank space for final answer

Saved on 4/6/2017

"4/5 Revalations"

around 10pm i ordered a dress online for easter
while in the shower about an hour later, i decided i wanted to cancel the order so that i could spend a little extra on my next trip to trader joe's #priorities
don't worry, i will definitely bring this up in my next therapy session

This was an "interesting realization"

apparently when my dentist recommended an orthodontist who would be able to make new retainers for "a less expensive price," that meant FREE, compared to the quote his office provided me $750


"blog ideas"

1. Results of quiz - linguistic thinker - the emphasis I put on words and what people say - if you say you are going to do something and it relates to me, you better do it
2. The saying "life is too short so..." What is short? Some people die young, some people die old, I think the saying "life is full of surprises, so...." Is more accurate/appropriate


"these are a few of my favorite things" I forgot about this after writing down the first one, so it should really be "this is one of my many favorite things"

inspired by jonathan swift's a modest proposal. if you haven't read that work, you NEED to. 

1. When a scholarship is detailed on a university's website and then you go talk to a financial aid rep about applying for the scholarship and bring the material(s) that will make you eligible for the scholarship. The person accepts the material(s) and even consults a higher up financial aid employee to make sure your material(s) are acceptable to qualify you for the scholarship. Then, about a week later you receive an email from the financial aid office stating they do not have funds to provide you the scholarship, even though you qualify.

I want to say a second one had something to do with driving on I-75. Oh!!! I remember!!!!!!! The fact that most people drive around 50mph on that highway for some reason when the speed limit is 70mph...or at least I think it is. I know it's higher than 50mph, and it always upsets me greatly when people are driving significantly under the speed limit for no apparent reason. SO THERE!

"annoyance add to my favorite things list"

i have not had any assignments graded for my upper-level psychology class since 3/10. it is now officially 4/7. I submitted an assignment on 3/17 and another on 3/19. We have also had a major test about a week and a half ago

So this was titled "Size Doesn't Matter OR Size Doesn't Matter" I THINK it was supposed to be "Size Doesn't Matter OR Size Does Matter"

Size Doesn’t Matter OR Size Doesn't Matter
You know that saying, “Life’s too short to….*insert stupid/meaningless activity*” Yeah. I don’t like it. Plus, it’s not accurate. Is life really short? You don’t know. It’s different for every person.
SO….here’s my proposal:  Let’s change the saying from “Life’s too short to…” to “Life’s too full of surprises to…” This change is based on own life experiences. At the age of thirteen, I thought I had my entire life planned out, but life threw me a “little surprise” in February 2011 that changed everything.
I’m trying to say:  Life is too full of surprises to not have a huge smile on your face everyday J


blog idea: pronouns, feminism, and the power of words

Women can't be a Mrs. If they keep their maiden name. Why do women have Miss, Ms., and Mrs. When men simply have Mr.? Unnecessary confusion. At what age is it appropriate to begin addressing a female as Ms. Rather than Miss? Men have the word guy, I guess the equivalent for females would be gal, but that isn't widely used and I think would be considered southern slang. Women just have girl and woman. There is a bit of hesitancy and maybe even negativity about being referred to as a woman rather than a girl, but, if anything, it's the opposite for males - they would rather be referred to as a man than a boy.

had a possibly disappointing experience today, 4/5. went to orthodontist, got lost. called office. the first female who answered the phone transferred me to another female who said something to the effect of she was thought of the person in the office w/ the best sense of directions/ability to give directions but didn't i think i had to admit that it was really necessary to have/use gps - i got the impression that she either said/indicated that this was particularly/only true for women - who i guess are thought to have a poor sense of direction

Disgust: Second Wives Club on E! 

Even that made ME laugh, so I hoped it made you laugh.

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