Thursday, October 30, 2008

E312: Fahrenheit 451 Group Contribution

For our Fahrenheit 451 group I contributed several elements to our presentation, much of it behind the scenes.

First, I facilitated a group meeting where we set the first set of deadlines. Second, I later sset out specific deadlines for the group to meet including when to read the book, select the article, and watch the movie.

Third, I set up a group message board using so that the group might have more fluid, consistent communication. On the message boards, I made several posts regarding possible articles for the group discussion as well as several points of interest in the book.

Fourth, as the rest of the group, I formulated several questions to present to the class in order that the discussion might remain natural and flowing. Those questions included:

1. What are some examples of separate classes in this society?
2. How does Beaty try to manipulate the main character?
3. What value do the citizens of Fahrenheit 451 place on knowledge?

Finally, during the actual presentation, I facilitated the discussion by attempting to draw in the rear, often unspoken part of the class, as well as help the group transition from theme to theme.

As for what I have learned as part of the group: I learned that the symbolism is the book is more prominent that previously thought e.g. the Phoenix. Also, I learned that there are several themes present in the novel. The first is that happiness, a main theme in Fahrenheit 451, also proves to be the main focus for its citizens. Second, that knowledge is harmful to that happiness.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Untitled poem

Unexpected, not rejected,
Out of the corner of my eye,
Emotions recollected,
Surprise, not demise,
Bold and apparent,
That God heard my cry.

Pickin' up the beat.

Fast, swift, all of a sudden,
Think, much'n not sleeping much and
In a good way, stopped, but moving,
Hollar'in and Hoo'in,
New plans are screwin', that is workin'n holdin',
In a good way
Hopefully to stay.

Slowin' down the beat.

Slow down the beat.
Or Pick it up
It doesn't matter
With all that wonderful laughter
And the other line and a heart a pitter-patter.
It's all more than alright. More than alright.
And in sight. The Light and the light.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dancing with Ghosts; Rough Draft

This is a short story that I wrote for an English class. It is still in the draft phase. Constructive comments are welcome.

All rights are reserved. No publishing, reproducing, altering, or distributing any portion of this without the author's permission.



Dancing with Ghosts


His name was George Green and his daughter was a ghost, or so she kept telling him. "Daddy! Look at me! I'm flying!" said Katrina.

She was dressed in a white, semi-transparent robe and wore her white leotard underneath. The robe was her mother's.

    Cute, 8-year-olds are so cute, thought George.

    "Yes honey. I see that. And a beautiful ghost you are!" said George.

It was a year ago today, and Katrina's lively personality spoke volumes of the half that was her mom. Things were never the same since her mother Tina, his wife, died. He was just now coming to grips with that night. After all, it was all his fault. It was going to just be him at the play.

That night, they had all gone to see Faustus at the Geoffrey Theater. Tina argued that at 7, Katrina was too young to see such a gruesome tale. A man being torn apart by devils was too much for a child.

"She probably won't even understand it," Tina said.

George argued back.

"It is important for our daughter to be cultured. I want her to get a real education. The garbage that public schools are spewing out these hardly even counts as teaching," said George.

"Well, not everyone can go to a private, preppy school like you did George," said Tina.

"That is exactly my point Tina. Faustus is a classic, a wonderful play that will teach our young Katrina what good entertainment is all about, not like this anime crap," said George.

"Fine George. She'll probably be scared out of her wits and won't go to bed for days, but if this is what you want then she can go, but I'm coming too."

They got in the car and went to the play. It was a beautiful production. Perfect lighting. Wonderful acting. The final act of the evening was a tragedy.

While on their way home, some Coca-Cola truck driver dropped a cassette tape onto the passenger floor. One grab, one swerve, wrong lane, one life gone.

Oh how he missed Tina!

"Daddy! Were you even watching me?!"

George snapped back from his thoughts. Katrina stood in front of him, her brown eyes cross squinted in anger.

"Wha-, Wha' was that honey? Do it again. Sorry, daddy was distracted."

"I was trying to show you how I was dancing with mommy. See?" She smiled and her feet moved.

He looked at her. She held her left hand high. Her feet moved forward, then backward. One, two,three. One,two,three. One,two,three. The white robe flew through the air and Katrina was a blur. It looked so natural. He wondered how his daughter had dealt with Tina's death so remarkably.

The first few weeks were difficult. Lots of crying. A body in the grave and no one but dad was home. Just dad. Then, one morning, Katrina was all smiles. She told him how she had a dream the night before that mommy was in heaven, but sometimes God allowed her to visit Katrina.

Dreams, kids live on dreams, he thought at the time. Now he knew it. Katrina was alive but he was still dead. Katrina was dancing and he was standing still.

His daughter looked over at him, all smiles and twirls, and then came to a sudden halt.

"Daddy. Why are you crying?"

George quickly rubbed his wet eyes with his right hand, but the tears wouldn't stop flowing. George sank to his feet for the thousandth time in a year. He promised himself he would never let Katrina see him like this, but he couldn't take it anymore. Sometimes, the right combination of scenes and sights opens up the heart. He could only cry.

The smile on Katrina's face disappeared. She ran over to her father, her barefoot feet pitter-pattering on the wood floor. She put her arms around him.

"Daddy, are you crying because of mommy?"

Mommy. More tears.

"But daddy, mommy is right here!" said Katrina, pointing to the empty space on her right.

Katrina and her wild imagination. Reality check! But her couldn't tell her that. She was too happy.

"Daddy. Come on. Just try to dance with her and you'll see. Mommy isn't dead!"

He almost blew up at her, at this beautiful 8-year-old daughter of his, but her brown eyes stopped him. They looked just like hers. He decided to take his daughter's advice.

    He wiped the final tears from his eyes and stood up. He looked down at his daughter. She was smiling again. He held his left arm high, then did his best to bring his right arm in a curve behind the imaginary character.

    "No daddy, you're doing it wrong. Bring the right hand a little higher. Didn't they teach you anything at your school?" said Katrina.

    He did as she said, then Katrina began to clap the beat. One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three.

    George tired of this exercise, but Katrina was enjoying it.

    "Lose yourself in the music daddy. Look into mom's eyes."

    He imagined those eyes, right in front of him, her pink-lipped smile curved with joy. And there she was. He was dancing with his Tina.

    He heard laughter and looked over his shoulder at his daughter.

    "Daddy, you're smiling!"


All rights are reserved. No publishing, reproducing, altering, or distributing any portion of this without the author's permission.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I See You:Rough Draft

This is a short story that I wrote for an English class. It is still in the draft phase (isn't everything?). Constructive comments are welcome.

All rights are reserved. No publishing, reproducing, altering, or distributing any portion of this without the author's permission.

He wanted to go to sleep. Pushing 7 A.M. he had just finished a long night already and now some other bozo-on-the-run was going to keep him up. Not that he wasn't glad perform his duty. He loved performing his duty.

Black monitors filled every inch of the white wall space in the room. Each monitor showed a live, first person feed from each Op Sec team member. They were in their usual attire: black pants, navy-blue trench coat. Both hid body armor underneath. An armored helmet hid their faces. He envied them, but they weren't his job; the center monitor was. Satellite Imaging.

"Move in with Satcom 4, David. Nice and easy.," said Thomas, the operations leader. He was big, burly, black man with a bald head. What he lacked in hair he more than made up with in brains; the guy was a genius. In this room it was just Thomas and David.

The perfect pair of Governmentals, thought David.

Outside, it was dry and sunny, the perfect day to go looking for free-speech pond scum. David pressed a few buttons on the computer, and the tiny black dot on the center monitor grew into a human face. The disease up-close-and personal, just like he liked it.

Live from Capital City, thought David. You're on Candid Camera. I see you Bozo.

David watched the man on the monitor. I see youThey always looked like that, didn't they? All the makings of their kind. Bold, feeling entitled. Any moment now, he would be surrounded by a dozen navy-blue, coat wearing, badge brandishing officers from Op Sec. Then, bang. He had it coming.

As a child, David had learned two important things: there were two kinds of people, the good guys and the bad guys. This guy was definitely a bad guy. He saw the news reports.

"Five minutes until intercept boys and girls, just hold tight. Gotta bring 'im nice and quiet. We don't want this one to go kablooey," said Thomas.

David smiled. He knew that with Thomas in charge, there was no way of this op going bad. The smell of strawberry Pop Tarts brought back a memory of the previous ops leader. He was a softy who allowed the enemy to get away. Even when he caught them, he still only arrested them. Arrest? Who does that anymore? The man was a rusty cog. About this time last year the Navy-Coats got him too.. David was glad when they removed that old gear and brought in Thomas. Thomas was a man who would do the right thing.

The Constitution was clear, swift justice was important, thought David. A speedy trial by a jury of your peers, right out there on the street where they catch 'em.

"Alright David, I want you to start the recording now. They're going to need this for the news tonight. A nice little clip to let the people know that we're serving them," said Thomas.

David's thin fingers tapped the buttons marked RECORD and ENTER. A red light flashed on.

He suspected that tonight's broadcast was going to draw a record number of viewers. This was their leader after all. He couldn't wait to get home and watch it himself. David was still smiling. Thanks God he was a part of it all.

God, a funny expression, best to be careful with that thought.

As for God, David thought the idea of him was repulsive. So many senseless deaths in the name of God. Bombings. Murders. Good thing the government stepped in and put a stop to that business. He loved the government.

Five years from now, I'll probably be running the show, thought David. Why not? I've been faithful.

"Two minutes to intercept. Check your gear. Remember, make it clean and fast. No ugly scene." said Thomas into his headset.

The headset wrapped around Thomas's head like a crown, thought David. Someday, I will wear that crown.

On the monitors, David watched the Op Sec team members pull clips out of their guns before shoving them back in.

Something didn't look right about the ammunition, thought David.

David looked at his center monitor. Yup, the Bozo was still clueless. He was about to meet up with a plain clothes officer, someone who had been undercover in the Liberty underground for three years. This was David's favorite part, the part where the bad guy got nailed. A bullet in the head. Yum. David licked his lips. He loved his job. Sleep? What was he thinking?

The man on the center monitor shook hands with the officer.

Here it comes, thought David.

"One minute to intercept. Move the vans," said Thomas.

It was like a wonderful opera. Each member had a part to play in the capture of this Liberty leader. Oboes and clarinets, trumpets and trombones. Drivers and gunners, David and Thomas.

David watched the monitors as several vans, some black, some white, moved in from directions opposite the man on the center monitor.

One word.

"Go," said Thomas.

A flurry of activity. The man was on the ground, hands tied to his legs.

He looked like a helpless baby, thought David.

Several of the officers removed their helmets and read the man his rights. Then, ten of the officers moved to the man's left. One stood directly in front of the man. The final at the rear.

It was a trial. This was how they did things. It was so much more efficient than the old days. No more clogged prisons taking taxpayer money, no more corruption in the justice system. 10 officers were the jury, 1 the judge, one the baliff and executioner. No more scummy lawyers. The accused was left to their own defense. This wouldn't take long.

David watched the center monitor. The man was shouting something about rights and life or some nonsense. The judge looked at the jury. Zero. Not guilty. Ten hands went up. Guilty.

The executioner brought up a pistol in front of the man's head.

"Cut the feed now," said Thomas, but David was too mesmerized by the sight. He loved this part.

"David, I said cut the feed now."

Thomas walked over and depressed the RECORD button, but never made it to the ESCAPE key. The center monitor showed it all.

David kept waiting for the gun to fire, but it never fired. Instead, the Op Sec team member holstered his sidearm, untied the man, and helped him to his feet.

For the first time, David spoke to Thomas.

"Thomas, what just happened? Why wasn't that man executed. He was supposed to be executed," said David.

Thomas looked at David. David's eyes were wide, like a confused child.

"The man is being set free because he stands for something much more than you or I. He stands for what this country used to be before it lost its way."

"Lost its way? But, Thomas, the country is wonderful!" said David.

"It was, and it will be again someday. I'm sorry you had to see that," said Thomas.

David looked back at the monitor. The man was gone. The Op Sec team was gone. David glanced at the other monitors. White snow. Their cameras had been disconnected. When had that happened?

David looked back at Thomas holding a black gun. Bang.

All rights are reserved. No publishing, reproducing, altering, or distributing any portion of this without the author's permission.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Response to a webCT post on clockwork orange

The following is a response for a class. It is a discussion strucutred around the film, Clockwork Orange:

>I know that sounds a bit crazy>but if the police and society in general did everything they could and>actually prevented gang activity, what purpose would they serve?

First, what purpose would police serve if they weren't striving to maintain order and eliminate chaos? A police force which stops at only doing things halfway because they are afraid of job security is a pointless police force. Also, if the police force did actually eliminate crime and chaos, that doesn't mean that the newly attained status wouldn't need to be maintained. No, the police would still have a job, at least until people are morally perfect and all life goes like clockwork (no pun intended). As for the movie doing a better job at rehabilitating criminals today, really? The character in the film is no more rehabbed than when he went in. He still dreams of psychotic deaths. Heck, the man identifies with the roman who beat Christ because he likes the idea of death and torture! No, the film's prison system is as much a disaster as our own.

Previous Post: X [name redacted]writes:>Watching Clockwork Orange today in class made me think about the world>in which the story takes place. It's obviously set in England and some>may say that the world is unidentifiable with our own. "Our society is>not like that, it's not THAT crazy". But it is. Let me first address>what's going on in the movie. The film seems to draw a fine line>between the total chaos we see at the beginning of the film where Alex>and his comrades ravage the town and do what they want and in the latter>part of the film we see complete order and institutionalization (which>you'll see later in the film). It almost seems as though the society>portrayed in the film intends for the gangs to act the way they do. >They serve a purpose (the gangs) and create a purpose for the>authorities, which is to uphold order. I know that sounds a bit crazy>but if the police and society in general did everything they could and>actually prevented gang activity, what purpose would they serve? That's>where contemporary society comes into play. How many times have we>heard about gang related activity on the news and how the authorities>know who the gang is, where they hang out, what they're business is, and>then nothing is done until after all the blood is spilled. Sometimes>it's subtle and sometimes it's blatantly obvious that they want us to>kill each other just so they can pick up the pieces and say they're>"heros". Where the film differs from real life however is they're>attempt to rehabilitate Alex. Today's prison system fails miserably to>even attempt to rehabilitate our convicted felons. We either keep them>in jail or promptly send them back out onto the street to keep the cycle>going. It's organized chaos.