This I believe update

(original) – I believe that I am not a writer, and never will be. I never found a connection with writing words and putting your thoughts out on paper. Writing always seemed dull and tedious and I could never think of anything worth writing. Despite my apparent hatred for writing I actually do not hate all words on a piece of paper or an English class for that matter. I just happen to hate everything that I write. Reading is one of my absolute favorite hobbies; there is nothing better than sitting down with a good book and finding yourself unable to put it down. After reading so many books maybe I compare my writings to them and find my personal writings lacking and dull. Growing up I did have a creative outlet and that was music. I started playing the guitar and piano when I was six and have been playing ever since. I always find it easier to convey emotions with music than words. After all, nothing makes an ordinary scene more tragic or awesome than a fantastic soundtrack. Unfortunately for me though, this is an English class not a music one. So my plan for this semester is simple. Since this should be the last English class I will ever take, I hope to write at least one creative story that I personally enjoy and am satisfied with. retrieved from http://twentytwowords.com/calvin-and-hobbes-discuss-the-purpose-of-writing/

(update) – Well wasn’t I just a ray of sunshine about writing assignments. In my defense, when you have sent so many papers to the slaughterhouse called “grading”, you have to distance yourself from them and pretend you do not care for your own sanity. But perhaps I was going about the process of writing wrong. Writing is an art form, and personally I would much rather read a book than look at a painting in a museum any day. But like all art, its purpose is to make the viewer feel something on an emotional level. Unfortunately for me, the only emotion I associated with writing was panic as the final day of a deadline rolled around. However, those deadlines always seemed to be just the thing I needed to get into the creative mood. retrieved from http://invisiblebread.com/2014/07/procrastinator/

So the first thing to change this semester was clearly my attitude towards writing. For some reason, mostly for English,  I think it is a good use of my time to complain about an assignment for hours before finally sitting down and completing the assignment. Only after finishing it do I realize how pain free the process actually was.  This semester, we had several assignments that were *gasp* actually fun for me to do. Fun and English, two words I never thought to say in a sentence together. One such assignment was the TV show analysis, where we had to analyze some aspect of a TV show. An assignment that requires me to watch a show? Yes please, I will take five of those to go. And with the final project, we were able to create infographics to present the information instead of an essay. Both of these assignments had a unique twist on them that made them feel much different than just a typical boring writing assignment. And that twist is just what I needed to feel more connected with my work. With my infographic, I did way more research and spent way more time making it than I original thought I would, and like a proud parent I displayed to the class, eager to show what I had created. So what do I believe? I believe writing is an important skill for everyone to have. While we may spend most of our time writing simple things like grocery lists and abbreviated text messages, the ability to bring your thoughts to life on paper and express what you think is a powerful tool. And of course when doing so, you do not want people to read what you have written and assume a caveman with a traumatic brain injury wrote it. Being able to write an exceptional paper is something I believe I am finally capable of now after this year. I have found a way to express my thoughts and find my personality as a writer. When it comes to writing, despite my original thoughts, I believe I will miss it.

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GMO Infographic

Genetically modified organisms are constantly in the spotlight over some new controversy and often seen in a negative light. However, instead of pushing them away, the world might need to embrace these “frakenfoods” to survive.

https://magic.piktochart.com/output/5631804-untitled-infographic

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TV Show Analysis

In this blog post CW’s tv show The Flash will be examined. In this essay, the genders of the main characters will be examined. The role the characters genders play will be looked at, how their gender affects the show, are they reinforcing or breaking stereotypes, and whether or not their gender could be switched.

The show The Flash is based off of comic books superhero Barry Allen AKA, The Flash. The show features Barry Allen, a Meta human capable of extreme speeds, and his team of ordinary humans as they capture and bring evil Meta humans to justice.

The first character to discuss is The Flash himself, Barry Allen. As the name suggests, Barry Allen is in fact a male. So how does The Flash being a male affect the show? For one, it makes the show accurate to the comic it represents, which is extremely important in my opinion.  Barry Allen does not really represent any male stereotypes. He has his faults and makes mistakes and shows emotions as all normal people do. He is not portrayed as a perfect human. He does however; represent the typical invincible superhero who always manages to come out on top no matter the odds. So could the genders be switched and have the show be the same? Technically yes as there is nothing wrong with a female superhero running around with super speed. However, at that point it is no longer The Flash because he is a male. For the show to be based off of the comic, it needs Barry Allen not Ashley Allen. Because of this the genders cannot be switched and have the show be the same because it will no longer be about The Flash, but a different superhero, or superheroine rather.

Up next is Doctor Harrison Wells, a brilliant scientist responsible for Barry’s super speed and all other Meta humans’ abilities. He is shown as Barry’s mentor and *SPOILER* is later shown as the Reverse Flash, one of Barry’s enemies. Looking at the first part of the description, a brilliant scientist and mentor, what gender this character is does not matter in the slightest. However, when Wells is revealed to be the Reverse Flash, then his gender can no longer be switched. The Reverse Flash is portrayed in the comics as The Flash’s evil male counterpart. For him to be a female in the show would seem odd and out of place. Because of this, Doctor Harrison Wells is stuck. As for stereotypes presented, the only one that comes to mind is his refusal to apologize and admit when he is wrong. Sometimes males are considered stubborn and prideful and Wells most certainly can be seen as both of those.

*Spoiler* When Barry’s mother is killed and his father is falsely sent to prison, police detective Joe West steps up and becomes his guardian and father figure. No gender stereotypes are represented in Joe West. The gender of Joe West is not changeable. Joe West basically becomes Barry’s father. He had a large impact on Barry’s life and helped shape him into the person he is today. A male role model is what Barry needed growing up and this is what he had in Joe West.

Joe West’s daughter and Barry’s love interest Iris West, is a waitress and journalist in the show. A gender stereotype that is represented in Iris West is how her coworkers at the newspaper treat her. They look down on her as unable to do her job properly, whether or not it is because she is a woman or inexperienced can be argued either way. The show wanted some sort of romantic interest to appear and she fulfills that role. Her gender is not switchable either as she is the female lead in the show.

A partner of The Flash, Cisco Ramon works for Doctor Wells and is responsible for creating high tech gadgets as well as The Flash’s suit. No stereotypes are represented in this character. Cisco’s gender servers no purpose to the show. This is one character whose gender can be switched and there would be no effect on the show. Cisco is simply a colleague and friend of Doctor Wells and The Flash and a man or a woman can fulfill that role.

Caitlin Snow is the other colleague and friend of Doctor Wells and is the final member of The Flash’s team. As a woman, she breaks a gender stereotype of only males being successful in a science field. Although the characters gender serves no purpose to the show and could be switched, she helps to balance out a male heavy cast which is important in its own right.

The show does an excellent job of creating a balanced cast that portrays the characters as normal people and avoids the use of gender stereotypes which creates an interesting and fun show to watch.

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Corrupt practices in campaign finances

Corrupt practices in campaign finances

Cody Boucher

12/14/2014

University of Advancing Technology

            In a Montana senate election, 6.8 million dollars had been spent on broadcasting alone (Big sky, big money). 68% of this money came not from the political party, its supporters, or the candidate themselves, but from outside groups (Big sky, big money). These outside groups allow large corporations and big money groups to anonymously influence elections. With the anonymity that surrounds these outside groups, campaign finances have become corrupted and are no longer a way for voters to support their candidate; rather it is now a way for large money to buy elections.

Retrieved from link

            So what exactly are these outside groups? Before looking at these outside groups it is important to understand why they exist. In 2010, the United States Supreme Court voted on the decision to allow corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns (Big sky, big money). After the law was passed, a company such as General Motors could now spend an unlimited amount of money on one of the next presidential candidates. However, to avoid corruption and the purchasing of political seats, these corporations and unions can not give money directly to a candidate (Big sky, big money). Instead, these corporations must send their money to an independent outside group such as a super pact (Big sky, big money). These outside groups exist solely as a way for corporations and unions to funnel money to a political campaign.

When outside groups are mentioned in campaign finances most people tend to think of super pacts. However, there is another type of outside group that is rapidly rising in popularity. These outside groups are called 501C4’s, otherwise known as tax exempt nonprofits (Big sky, big money). These tax exempt organizations are very similar to super pacts; they are simply a way for corporations, unions, and citizens to donate money to election causes. So why are 501C4’s rising in popularity? The answer lies in what these particular group funds. 501C4’s are completely anonymous, unlike a super pact (Big sky, big money). Any money that is donated to a super pact is recorded including the amount and who donated it. However, money sent to a 501C4 is simply taken in and added to a pile, no questions asked.

So how do these 501C4’s remain anonymous when a practically identical group must reveal all of their donors? While super pacts are responsible for directly supporting candidates with political ads that tell voters to elect a specific candidate, 501C4’s focus on issue ads (A fine line: Distinguishing issue ads from advocacy). While political ads tell voters to vote for someone, issue ads are used to discuss and bring the voters’ attention to certain issues that the outside group feels voters should be aware of. The problem is that these issue ads are not bringing up political issues; rather they are slandering a political candidate. These attack ads are legal and considered issue ads because they do not tell voters who to vote for. These ads simply say that candidate A is terrible and no one should vote for them. The ad is not telling the voter to vote for candidate B but heavily implies that the voter should definitely not vote for candidate A. At a glance it is incredibly difficult to tell the difference between an issue ad and a campaign ad. “Taking credit for others’ hard work, typical Washington. No matter how Obama spins it, gas costs too much. Tell Obama, stop blaming others and work to pass better energy policies” (A fine line: Distinguishing issue ads from advocacy). In this particular example of an attack ad, notice how the other candidate is not mentioned at all. The ad simply brings up the issue of Obama’s apparent failure to produce better energy policies. When voters see these ads on TV, even though the other candidate is not mentioned it is common for voters to assume that they must be the better choice. That thought process is what has politicians worried.

Retrieved from link

            Governor Bullock from Montana stated that “Montanans believe that our elections should be decided by ‘we the people,’ and not by shadowy dark money groups, that seek to hide their money and motivations. We’ve already seen the negative impacts of the Citizens’ United decision on Montana elections, as anonymous attack ads flood our televisions and mailboxes with false attacks” (Bullock statement on failure of constitutional amendment to undo citizens’ united ruling). Over 100 years ago, Montana passed the corrupt practice act which banned corporations form giving money directly to campaign and required disclosure of who gave money to a campaign (Big sky, big money). When the Supreme Court passed the decision to allow corporations and unions spend unlimited amounts of money on campaign 501C4’s immediately sued Montana’s corrupt practice act calling it unconstitutional (Big sky, big money). These outside groups have started targeting house and senate races over presidential elections and the chance to invade another state was now within their grasp. Montana’s corrupt practice act traveled all the way to the United States Supreme Court for an official ruling (Big sky, big money). Unfortunately, the results were not what Montana was hoping for. The United States Supreme Court voted against Montana, calling the corrupt practice act unconstitutional (Big sky, big money). After the decision Governor Bullock said “While the failure of this bill is a set-back to restoring faith in our election system, it is by no means an end to our efforts to ensure that elections are decided fair, transparent, and accessible” (Bullock statement on failure of constitutional amendment to undo citizens’ united ruling).

So how much influence do these anonymous outside groups have on elections? Unfortunately, we will never know. With all of the funding these outside groups have, and the amount of ads put forth, it is impossible to say that have no influence on the outcome of an election. Despite Montana’s effort to remove the anonymity and secrecy from elections, it still remains. This anonymous influence is why the Supreme Court needs to reconsider their ruling on campaign finances. Voters deserve to have all of the facts when making important decisions such as elections; hiding the finances behind candidates and where they received their money is a corrupt way for outside groups to influence elections. As long as these secret groups with a practically unlimited budget exist, there will always be an anonymous influence in campaigns and corrupt practices will continue to thrive.

References

A fine line: Distinguishing issue ads from advocacy (2012). . Washington, D.C.: National               Public Radio. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1021029826?                 accountid=38189

Big sky, big money [Motion picture]. (2012). United States: Frontline. Retrieved from                     http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/big-sky-big-money/

Bullock statement on failure of constitutional amendment to undo citizens’ united ruling.              (2014, Sep 10). Targeted News ServiceRetrieved from                                                                     http://search.proquest.com/docview/1561428885?accountid=38189

Eliza, N. C. (2012, Mar 05). Super PACS target congress. Roll Call Retrieved from                             http://search.proquest.com/docview/926206660?accountid=38189

 

 

 

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Reflection

All is silent in the Colosseum. The furious roar of the battle still rings in my ears. I dash to the edge to see the fate of my champion and gasp in horror at the sight that greets my eyes. My poor champion lies abandoned on the sand, his once white clothes stained with his blood. The enemy laughs, shaking his now red sword in my direction, drops of blood hitting the sand like water. He picks up my champion as if he weighed no more than a piece of paper and throws him my direction without a care. “Fix up that paper, do all the corrections, and turn it back into me. I know you can do better!” My teacher calls out over his shoulder as he walks away, still carrying that red pen of crushed hopes and destruction. I hate writing.

Retrieved from http://phdcomics.com/comics/archive/phd030706s.gif

My entire writing career has basically consisted of a personal record to see how much red pen my teachers can cram onto my original papers before sighing and returning it to me, saying, “Re-write it!” It was a unique battle of wills: would the teachers make it all the way through my paper or would they break half way through and give up before running out of ink. Creative writing in high school was my worst enemy, an impossible foe to beat. No paper I crowned as my champion was able to survive the subsequent slaughter called grading. It wasn’t until my Senior year that I enjoyed writing. I didn’t enjoy creative writing. No I still loathed my English teacher for the irrational fear of red pens that he instilled in me. My senior year I was taking advanced biology, physics, and calculus and had to write these magical papers called lab reports and research papers. At last I had found something I could do. No more struggling to write a gripping tale, all I had to do was write about the facts, no more fluff to fill up that three page minimum requirement my English teacher loved to assign. With those page requirements I became the “people’s champion”, always coming up with creative ways to fill that last half a page. I’m fairly certain I’m the reason my English teacher used a ruler to measure indents and eventually demanded that all assignments be turned in online so he could set everything back to default in a MS Word document. What a buzzkill that was! So coming to college and seeing how much writing I was about to do and that one of my first assignments was to describe how my street looked from some object on it my first thought was “This ain’t gonna be good.”. But it turns out I was pleasantly surprised. Most of the assignments did not require us to come up with something on our own and write about it. Rather we typically researched articles and created a blog roundup or analyzed a picture of a home and provided our opinions on the residents based on it. I did not particularly enjoy these assignments, but I also did not try and summon Satan to annihilate them, so all in all I can not complain. The assignments were good for what they were supposed to do, which was just to encourage us to write, and as we wrote, we all began to realize the problem areas that we had. My problem area was quickly identified as Professor Watterson stared at my paper in shock wondering how I was able to cram so many commas into it. Maybe I should buy a cape and write Captain Comma on it and become the hero that commas need.

Retrieved from http://penultimateword.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Serial-comma-comic-001.jpg

After identifying my problem and informing me that using so many commas was bad, I began to try and work on using them correctly. I would reread my papers after writing them and try to see if I could see any commas that did not belong. But to be completely honest, I am still not sure if I am using them correctly or not, and usually end up throwing, a, couple, commas, in, for, just, to, be, sure. At the end of the semester, I would like to believe that I have improved as a writer from the beginning of the semester. Whether or not it is true though, that remains to be seen. Hopefully next semester in English I will be able to finally write the champion paper that will finally vanquish the red pen and leave it bleeding in the sand. Until then I will enjoy English the way it should, be putting down my pencil and reading books written by people who can actually write.

Cody Boucher

Retrieved from https://palmtreesbarefeet.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/book-quote.jpg

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Home Decor

When we visit someones house for the first time we typically look around their house and make judgements based on what we see. If someone made no effort to try and clean up their house we might consider them a slob. If we see that someone has several books out we might consider them and educated person or a book work. Whether we like it or not we tend to judge others and make assumptions based on what we see. After all, thats why we have sayings such as never judge a book by its cover and on the other side first impressions are important. When it comes to our belongings, most of us care deeply about them. But, after seeing someone who is obsessed with their phone and losing it to some might argue that we care about stuff to an unhealthy degree. When it comes to my possessions, I care about some of them more than others. For example, if my computer was stolen I would be upset but its just a computer, I can go buy another one. However, if someone were to steal one of my guitars I would be devastated. I care deeply about my guitars becuase of what they mean to me. I have lots of memories with them, from the places I’ve been and the gigs that I played at. If someone took my guitars it would feel like they were taking the memories away from me. One guitar in particular that I care the most about is an older rare model and was my mothers first electric guitar. I would give up everything I own right now to be able to keep that guitar because of what it means to me. Is that way of thinking unhealthy? Perhaps it is, but I do not think that there is anything wrong with becoming attatched and having emotions and caring about an object. When looking at the image below, the first thing I notice is the instruments. I see the guitars and bass on the wall, then the drum set, and lastly the banjo and amplifiers in the corner. I immediatly assume that this person cares about the instruments, they are all in their designated spot, none of them are just laying on the floor where something could happen to them. I also think that this person is very organized and clean. The room is very neat, especially the way the guitars are lined up along the wall. The only other thing that I get from looking at this picture is a feeling of jealousy because I would love own a music room like that.

 

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Roundup

In this blog roundup I have decided to choose three blog posts about guitars. The three posts I’ve choosen are Gibsons new 2015 lineup, Fenders expansion on their American standard series, and finally are guitar players becoming to dependent on tuners.

Do You Suffer from Guitar-Tuner Dependency?

A guitar tuner is a device that assists the user in tuning their guitar. It tells the user the pitch that the guitar is making and whether it is flat or sharp of the correct pitch. The user can then adjust the pitch accordingly. Most older guitar players, including myself, learned how to tune a guitar by ear. However, tuners are becoming easier to use and more accesible. In fact some guitars actually have a built in tuner that tunes the guitar for you. This may not seem like a bad thing but if you are completly dependent on it and it breaks, then you have a problem. Other problems can arise such as not being able to hear pitch properly at all. Soon some guitar players will have no idea whether or not they are actually playing the correct note, which is definetly a problem.

Fender Expands American Standard Series

Even people who know nothing about guitar typically recognize the brand Fender, and for good reason. Fender first started its American Standard series in 1986 and has been improving it ever since. This year is no different as Fender has released a list of improvements several of its guitars in this series. Fender has also included a Dimension bass in its American Standard lineup called the American Standard Dimension Bass IV HH.

New features on 2015 Gibson Les Pauls

Another popular guitar brand is Gibson, famous for its Gibson les Pauls. Gibson has released on its overhaul of its 2015 guitar lineup.  The most stricking change is that they are reducing the number of models that they will offer, choosing to pick just a few main series. Along with this they have a few new key features including their G-Force tuning system, an automatic tuning system which relates back to the first article. The new guitars also feature the Gibson Zero Fret Nut which imrpoves sound by having the string the same distance over the fretboard making open strings sound like fretted notes. Lastly in celebration of the 100th birthday of Les Paul there is a special graphic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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