Year: 2010

On the National Day of Prayer

Let’s say you’re a parent. Let’s say that one day, under pressure from a bunch of acquaintances who are convinced you’re doing something wrong by neglecting to do this earlier, you start giving your child dessert every night– not only that, but expecting her to eat it. You keep the practice up, night after night, and you see no harm in it, since she seems perfectly happy with it.

Your daughter grows up with this practice. One day, when your daughter is fifteen or so, a friend points out to you that expecting your daughter to eat dessert every night is definitely a bad parenting choice. It’s bad for her health, it fails to teach her how to act with responsibility– in short, it goes against many of the values you had when you became a parent. In light of this, you decide to stop making her eat dessert every night, and instead, to keep sweet options available without pushing them. Your daughter can choose to eat dessert, but you’re no longer pushing it on her. From your perspective, and from the perspective of an outside observer, you’re respecting her right to do what she wants, giving her options while remaining consistent with the beliefs you hold dear as a parent.

Your daughter, though, has grown up expecting this. She hasn’t been unhappy with it; her whims have been catered to for a good chunk of her life. She expects that you’ll provide her with dessert every night. To her eyes, what you’re doing is not an exercise in liberty, in fact she it as the opposite. She feels entitled to her dessert every night. What happened? She was given a privilege so long she began to view it as a right.

This, in a nutshell, is the National Day of Prayer.

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The City

Visual Sketchbook: The City

Started this last night. I’ve been working on developing this fantasy-type setting in the back of my head for at least a couple of years, but I haven’t drawn much of it. Obviously, it’s not finished yet.

The City

Literary Sketchbook: Michael Crane

Here’s a little bit of an idea that’s been in my head for a little bit.  I may develop this idea more in the future.

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Butterfly Dreams

Well, I’ve officially entered the realm of Buffy studies. For my most recent paper in my Encounters class, I decided to study doubt in the Japanese film Rashomon (1950). To do so, however, I got to do something incredibly fun: I brought in an episode of Buffy, entitled “Normal Again,” and used the two texts together to illuminate the use of doubt in both. The essay, in fact, was so fun to write that it was a massive challenge to keep it under the word limit.

Since I didn’t really want to lose all the thought I put into this, here’s the full version of the essay for your perusal. It’s a really interesting topic, and if I didn’t have other things to do in my studious life, I might write even more about it, exploring other episodes such as “Restless.”

A note on citations: At certain points, I cite clips from Rashomon in the following format: (1.1:15-30). This citation refers to the clips of Rashomon on YouTube, as noted in the Works Cited page. The citation given would mean Part 1, from timestamp 1:15 to timestamp 1:30. Hopefully, this clears up any confusion.

The full essay is available after the break.

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Left Behind

I sat down at my desk this afternoon and noticed that something looked out of place.A new book on my shelfWell, that’s odd. I don’t remember having a copy of a fundamentalist Christian novel on my shelf. Let’s take a closer look…

Opening a copy of Left BehindThat’s funny, it doesn’t seem to close all the way. It feels kind of heavy, too… I wonder what’s going on here.

A hollowed-out book filled with salt-water taffyThe taffy!?! I’ve been had!

Well played, Mom and Dad. Well played indeed.

Tidbits

 

Stale Content Alert!

This post was written a long time ago, and my views have almost certainly evolved since then. Please keep that in mind while reading, commenting, or sharing.

There have been a number of minor thoughts buzzing around my head like gnats lately. They are bothersome and they take up otherwise useful space in my brain, so as an attempt to reclaim some territory, here are some minor thoughts from my head, in no particular order:

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Cartoon Spencer says: "Hello, classy people. The future is now."

Hello, Classy People

Cartoon Spencer says: "Hello, classy people. The future is now."

Drawn on my freaking AMAZING new graphics tablet.

Thank you, Mom and Dad.

Happy birthday, me!

Making Comics

On My Mind: Comics

What’s Spencer currently thinking about?

The Art of Comics

I was never a comic book kid. When I was growing up, I read the funnies in the newspaper, and for a short time, a little of Ranma ½. I would pore over anthologies of newspaper funnies, but without too much refinement of taste; at the time, I loved the beautiful Calvin and Hobbes just as much as I loved stale old Garfield. That was the extent of my exposure to comics, though. I never peeled open a Batman or a Superman story, and didn’t really give professional comics much thought.

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Bloggyblogging

Classes have started!

My schedule’s a pretty nice one– I’m taking Elementary Japanese, Encounters (the mandatory first-year humanities course), Social Problems (a sociology class), and Intro to Visual Arts Practices. I’m happy to point out that there are absolutely no math classes in this semester’s lineup. After Calculus II last semester, I’m rather burnt out on math. I’m not sure if I’m done for good, since that depends on both my future whims and the requirements of whatever major I settle on, but I’m done for right now, which is a relief. I’m also fairly lucky with regards to how the week pans out: three days a week, I only have two classes, and am out by noon! Of course, the tradeoff here is that on Wednesdays, all four of my classes meet… but I think I can manage that. All of these courses seem really interesting.

Today I had two classes: Japanese and Social Problems. Japanese was great, as always–Professor Takemoto is an animated and engaging professor, and he helped us brush the dust off, as it were, and start speaking the language again. He also distributed the packet of kanji characters we’ll be learning this semester, which contained quite a few beautiful characters containing strokes and radicals I’ve never seen before. We’re also, unexpectedly enough, reading a 2006 novel in class this semester. It’s an English novel, but it’s by a Japanese-American author, and it has a lot to do with Japanese culture. All in all, I’m looking forward to getting back into the Japanese groove.

Social Problems was interesting as well; the class is large, but there are a lot of people I know on the roster1Large by Whitman standards, that is. It’s about 30, 35 people. I love small schools.. We started by discussing what constituted a social problem, and whether or not cultural/demographic perspective had anything to do with what we classified as social problems. Our first text is entitled Gang Leader for a Day, and it follows a young sociologist as he integrates himself within and observes a Chicago crack gang. We’re also reading texts on the criminal justice system, inner-city poverty and crime, and juvenile crime. Looks like there’s a common theme here, but I don’t mind. All the texts sound fascinating. Also, oddly enough, the class isn’t going to meet this Thursday because the professor will be out of town, so I’ll have only one class that day. Awesome!

Other parts of campus life have been similarly easy and enjoyable to readopt, such as living in the dorms. My section met last night, and our new RAs introduced themselves. Although they might not have quite the charisma as last semester’s beloved Daichi, Hayley and Bailey seem to be a couple of pretty cool characters. Bailey also mentioned, as he spoke to us, that while sections usually get smaller at semester breaks, as students change their housing situations, 4-West actually got bigger–so big, in fact, that his room is actually in 4-East, the neighboring section. Like I mentioned before, I’m really proud to be part of a section that’s got such a strong family vibe.

I’ll write some more about school when something more interesting happens here.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Large by Whitman standards, that is. It’s about 30, 35 people. I love small schools.

What I Learned From my First Semester at College

2009 is over. With that, the first decade of this new millennium is over– as well as my first semester at Whitman College.

It’s certainly been an unusual ride, and one filled with many great stories and experiences to boot. Although I can’t possibly hope to retell every one, I figure the least I could do is make up for my sparse and uninteresting blog posts during the semester and give you a notion of the many things I learned during my first semester at Whitman.

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