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vspaeth's blog

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The beginning of the end

As we are coming into the end of our first unit I realize I have been learning a lot.  Most of what I have learned has come from our Selwyn reading.  Before reading it I had not really explored the possibilities,pros and cons of education and technology. I learned that there are people who believe technology should replace schools and teachers. I have also learned that some online forms of schooling already exist where these traditional educational forms are missing. I'm excited to continue exploring this. 

I feel like we're building a very strong learning community in the classroom. I think as the semester progresses we're really going to learn a lot from one another. It is definitely a strength. At this point in the semester I don't really have anything to complain about. I think we've been discussing readings well. Overall I'm content and excited to move forward!

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Final Performances: Behind the scenes of the Literary Lab!

So EGrumer and I worked with dglasser to help flesh out her idea of Literary Labs a little more!

Some of the things I was responsible for were:

I linked to the websites where I found both the list and character profile in case anyone wants to see them again.  The book list was something dglasser knew she wanted when she originally designed the labs.  The idea, and she can correct me if I'm wrong, was that you would be able to draw inspiration from these various works.  The character profile is something that I (and EGrumer) had used before when acting.  Normally they're used to help people in the chorus or minor roles flesh out a character for themselves so they can put more into their performance on stage.  I liked this one because it was really detailed and I thought it would be useful to help writers develop characters if that's what they wanted to work on in the lab. 

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Exploring evolutions from Literary Kinds to Self

           How can we define genre?  It is a kind of something, a type.  It is a manner we use to categorize information that we come into contact with on a daily basis.  Genres evolve.  This semester we have explored the evolution of various genres; we have seen how the lines between them become blurry.  We have taken the definition of genre and molded it to fit in ways we may not have thought about before.  With this in mind, how has the genre of this class evolved over the course of the semester?  It has evolved.  Everything evolves.  I have evolved, the class has evolved, and this paper will evolve as it is written.  The evolution of the class is important because it helps me to see where my problems were and it helps me to tie everything together and try to make sense of a class that I struggled through. 

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A magical adventure with reality

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the genre of magic realism as a “literary style in which realistic techniques such as naturalistic detail, narrative, etc., are similarly combined with surreal or dreamlike elements (”  This is clearly not a genre we looked at in class, and yet it is not all that different from other genres we have studied.  For example, the OED defines science fiction as “imaginative fiction based on postulated scientific discoveries or spectacular environmental changes, freq. set in the future or on other planets and involving space or time travel (”  If magic realism is the combination of realistic and surreal elements and science fiction of fictional and scientific elements it is not unfounded to say that these two genres are cut of the same cloth. 

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My failed adaption

I'm quiet in class and I have trouble focusing on serendip.  I can't follow our discussions and there's something that blocks up my ideas and makes it incredibly difficult for me to form ideas.  It doesn't mean that I don't have them.  I'm just haven't adapted well to the environment that is our classroom.  I would make a very poor orchid type.

So I guess I'm just going to ramble my random ideas for a little bit.

For starters, I really didn't like the movie Adaptation.  Not because of the way it was made or the circular movement of it.  No, I didn't like it because they represented a very real woman, Susan Orlean, as a drug addicted, violent, ragged character.  I was shocked.  I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that she had seen this movie and didn't sue everyone involved.  That's what really bothered me about the movie.  If it was trying to say that it's impossible to represent someone else's story accurately then I guess they succeded because I don't think they represented her at all.

Okay, so that's my two-cents about the movie.  I didn't like it, I felt like I was watching someone's reputation get destroyed by vicious middle-school girls. 

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Ideas I want to get out before I forget them...

When I left class today my head was buzzing with different random ideas that I didn't now how to fit in to the conversation we had today.  For starters, I know we had the question about the smell of Orchids.  I don't know if Orleans tells us what the ghost orchid smells like but she does talk about the scent of other orchids.

Some orchids have straight-ahead good looks but have deceptive and seductive odors.  There are orchids that smell like rotting meat, which insects happen to like.  Another orchid smells like chocolate.  Another smells like an angel food cake.  Several mimic the scent of other flowers that are more popular with insects than they are.  Some release perfume only at night to attract nocturnal moths. p. 46.

So that was the answer to one of the questions we didn't get around too.


I've also had a question buzzing around my head.  In class it was mentioned that the full title of the novel is The Orchid Thief  A True Story of Beauty and Obession...but how can you have a true story about beauty?  We've been talking about this idea of truth and fiction and perception and I think beauty is a perception that can have no truth.  Beauty varies between societies and between individuals.  I don't like that she calls this a true story about beauty, it leaves me with this big question like "Beauty according to who?"  

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Some early reflections on Slaughterhouse Five etc..

So as I was reading Slaughterhouse Five I realized I had a lot of trouble really following it.  For starters, I was reading it on my Kindle, so I was unsure where the story actually began.  For most of the first chapter I felt like I was reading some introduction (until I got to chapter two and realized I was reading chapter one).  After finishing, I can totally see where the lines between "fact" and "fiction" are blurred in this tale.  

Honestly though, I'm having a harder time digging through what's "reality" and what's "fiction" because our discussions in class have completely destroyed any solid ground I have had on which is which.  I can barely get though my day without wondering if everything I'm experiencing is true or not.  How can it be if the only  proof I have to offer comes from my memories?  Facts, fiction, I don't know what the difference is anymore.  I don't know if there's a point in distinguishing between the two anymore.  Throw opinion in there and I lose it.

How can we say that this is fact or fiction?  Did the author actually have a friend who he went back to Dresden with?  Did he hear a story about a guy who inspired Billy?  If the character of Billy was based on someone then how can we say whether or not his story was true? 

I don't know.  I'm so confused by all of this.

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Putting together the pieces, maybe building some bridges?

So all week I've been trying to piece the last few classes together and I think I've gotten somewhere...let's see what I have.

My focus has been on Game of You.  I've been captivated by the idea of the locks and what the key could be.  The first key hole we see is followed by the title page.  The word "you"  appears on the page outside of the title which is something I found really weird.  Then I wondered, could the key be "you."  We were struggling to find a point of the book.  I mean, Barbie has this fantasic adventure and yet she wakes up and doesn't remember anything in it.  The readers are left looking for some change in her, and yet does she really have one?  A key hole appears at the end of the graphic novel as well.  So Barbie hasn't yet learned to unlock whatever it is that lies behind that locked page.  Neither have we.  Perhaps the artist/writer is trying to remind us of that. 

The idea that Barbie had not remembered anything when she woke up reminded me of the radio lab on memory.  Barbie does not remember anything so did it really happen at all?  The book makes the readers think that it did because Barbie mentions how her friends are not talking to her as much anymore but regardless, we do not know how Hazel and Foxglove are recalling the events, we don't even know if they remember everything. 

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Writing a Success Story: The evolution of genres in the classroom

“Disability is a mode of human difference (Price, p.4).”  In the past decades there has been a growing emphasis on the differences among people within the school setting.  This emphasis on differences has led us to create more genres of students existing within the classroom.  Advances in psychology have increased awareness of various mental differences and how they affect the success in the school setting.  The expectations for success have now changed because with this new awareness every individual is provided with the opportunity to learn, leading to an increase in the categories society places students into.      

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Thinking outside the comic lines

So at Plenary today I bought myself a hand-made Pikachu hat.  Pikachu got me thinking about Pokemon which led me to a pretty big realization.  I don't know where Pokemon originated.  There's the TV show, but before that their were the video games.  There was also the card game, and there are a number of comics that explore the same world.  However, without actually typing it into google I couldn't tell you which came first.

This got me thinking about a lot of American Comics.  Primarily superhero ones.  I love comics, but I never really read a lot of American ones; and yet I can tell you who Superman and Batman and Spiderman all are, and I could pick them out of a crowd.  If I've never read any of their comics, how come I know them all so well?

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