Sunday, March 29, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 10

SPRING IS OFFICIALLY HERE.  And the Oklahoma weather is proudly reflecting that fact.  It has been absolutely beautiful this weekend and even though I have spent most of it working on homework... I have gotten to slightly enjoy my homework since I worked on it outside in the sun :) 

I survived this past week of school and turned in multiple huge assignments!  And I believe that I did really well on my 20 minute Spanish presentation and my 20 page paper.  (Is 20 my lucky number for assignments?  I hope not.) 

Unfortunately, this week I also watched OU and the Thunder lose both of their games, which means OU's season ended during the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament while the Thunder's season might as well be over since practically every member of the team is battling an injury. 

I'm getting closer and closer to finishing this online class.  I'm glad I got a head start at the beginning of this class to get me ahead of the game.  So who knows how many more of these posts that I'll do because I might not need the points!  This past week I finished up the second addition to my storybook and I'm conflicted on where to end it.  When I get it completely finished I'll be sure to post the link to it on this blog. 

Anyways, besides schoolwork (I feel like school is the only thing I talk about in these posts, but that just reflects how much it dominates my life) I went out with my friends and had a great time running into people on Campus Corner.  All my friends and I are finally 21!  So we have been having a lot more fun lately :) We also went out to celebrate my roommate getting accepted into Nursing School.  So hooray! 

(Personal Photo taken in March 2015)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Week 10 Reading B: The War Begins

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 133-179 of The Mahabharata retold by R.K. Narayan. 

  • I hate Duryodhana.  He is the new Ravana. 
  • Is that really supposed to make a mother feel better?  Don't worry I'll only attack one of your sons.  
  • NOOOOOOOO. Bhishma.  Dang it Arjuna fight honorably.  
  • Oh Krishna sneaky sneaky.  Reminds of a scene in the movie Hocus Pocus where they trick the witches into thinking it's sunrise by shining car lights through the window.  
  • So I guess invincible weapons break after one use?
  • For Krishna who first wanted to make peace before the war, he's fighting dirty.  
  • Woah Bhima.  Early vampire?  
  • Should've listened to Krishna.  He is merciless.  
  • Does Krishna get karma for lying and killing everyone?!
  • Moral of the story: Never kill ANY animals. 
  • Well.  I guess being killed because you were mistaken for an animal is the perfect karma.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 10 Reading Diary A: Duryodhana's Embarrassment

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 85-131 of The Mahabharata retold by R.K. Narayan.  

  • How exactly is Duryodhana trying to embarrass the Pandavas?  By making a royal camp?  I can think of worse things.  
  • See the deer led them to the water.  Just leave deer alone and you won't die.  
  • Gift of unrecognizability?  I'm guessing this will turn out bad because it is their 13th year of exile and that's unlucky.  
  • Why is Draupadi not in disguises with them?  She's part of the family!
  • There is just way too many characters to keep track of in this story…
  • It seems whatever the Pandavas try and do they never seem to succeed at… 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 9

Spring break is almost over :( NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.  I just find it cruel that all of my professor's have BIG assignments due the week after spring break, so on my last day to enjoy break I'm forced to work ceaselessly on homework.

Get this on the Tuesday after spring break I have: an 18 page paper due, a 20 minute presentation in Spanish with a group and then a big assignment due in my design class where I have to design a direct mailer on behalf of the OU Recruitment Services.

So if I can just make it Wednesday at 12:00 p.m., I'll have survived one of the toughest weeks of my semester.

Spring break was fun while it last though.  I visited Las Vegas with my parents.  This was the first time I had ever been and the trip was filled with so much excitement and adventure.  I have a friend from high school that moved to Las Vegas for college, so I got to see her and she was basically my guide around the city.  We had not seen each other in almost two years!  So I consider myself lucky to have been able to see her this past week and catch up.

The standalone craziest thing that happened to me in Las Vegas was getting pulled on stage with a standup comedian at the Laugh Factory.  Harry Basil pulled me out of the audience to reenact famous scenes from classic movies like Titanic, Dirty Dancing, Gravity and Ghostbusters.  It cemented this spring break as one of the craziest vacations in my life.  Below is a picture my mom snapped of the moment.  What happens in Vegas… may be too unbelievable for people to take you seriously without pictures.

(Personal photo taken of me on stage at the Laugh Factory in Las Vegas, Nevada in March 2015)

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Storytelling for Week 9: And So It Began

King Shantanu let out a sigh of frustration.  He was exhausted from hunting all day and he had nothing to show for it.  Normally King Shantanu is a great shot when it comes to hunting deer but today something was different…

He was walking to a river to cool off when he noticed something.  It was a woman.  She had long dark hair that was tinted blue in the sun.  The beautiful woman sat up on the bank with her legs in the water and was humming a sweet melody to herself.  

“Maybe my luck is beginning to turn around,”  King Shantanu thought to himself.  From that moment the King knew that he would never encounter a more beautiful creature no matter where he ventured.  Before she finished humming the last stanza in her melody the King had fallen in love.  After professing his love to the beautiful woman with her legs still adrift in the river she had agreed to marry him on one condition.  

“It would be an honor to marry you and I will do so full heartedly, however I can only be wed to you if you promise me one thing,” said the beautiful woman whose name was Ganga.  

“Anything you ask you shall have,” replied the King. 

(Image of Shantanu and Ganga meeting from Wikipedia.)

“If you promise to never question me on any of my actions, I will be your bride,” she told him and The King quickly complied.  

A small part of King Shantanu’s mind told him this was a bit odd and that this could perhaps be a bad omen.  He shook the thought away and reasoned that he now had his whole life to get to know Ganga.  “Why should I ever question her about her actions when she will be spend an eternity living and confiding with me.  I shall soon know her beautiful mind and will never have to question her because I will understand her completely.”  

Their wedding was one that would rival Rama and Sita’s.  The kingdom embraced their new Queen and applauded the King on choosing a woman who encompassed such a benevolent presence.   It was not long until the Queen announced that she was pregnant with their first child.  

After nine short months Queen Ganga gave birth to a baby boy.  The King was overjoyed.   His mind went back to the first time he gazed upon his beloved wife at the river.  He could never imagine his life without her.  And to think that when he went to cool down from the water he thought he was having an unlucky day…

Author’s Note:  I chose this story because I thought what Ganga what was doing to her sons was a completely reasonable thing for the King to question.  I wanted to show that Ganga was one with the water and decided to portray her very mermaid esque.  This part of the story is not very detailed in our reading, so I wanted to show what King Shantanu might be thinking.  Him not having a good day out hunting could even be a bad omen.  I decided to title this story "And So It Began" because I feel that these events catapult the rest of the stories in The Mahabharata.

Bibliography -

Narayan, R.K. (1978). The Mahabharata.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Week 9 Reading Diary B: The Pandavas Live

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 41-83 of The Mahabharata retold by R.K. Narayan.  

  • I guess Karna is not very karmic since he wants war!
  • So the Pandavas got the Gandiva bow as a reward for trapping animals and burning a forest?! WHAT?
  • Dhritarashtra built an entire assembly hall just to play a game of dice...
  • Um what happened at this game of dice.  Thank goodness for Krishna.  
  • The second game of dice results in an exile.  Rama's exile is 14 years while the Pandavas is 13.  
  • Surya gives them an endless supply of food while in exile!?!
  • So living with women is a blessing in disguise?
  • This has been a very interesting section.  So much has happened and there' a lot of potential for the storytelling assignment.  

(The Disrobing of Draupadi from the Reading Guide)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 9 Reading Diary A: Starting The Mahabharata

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 1-39 of The Mahabharata retold by R.K. Narayan.  

  • I'm especially glad that there are reading guides to go along with this book because I just started it and I'm already getting all of the names mixed up!
  • This is a harsh punishment for stealing a cow…
  • Stealing the cow did not work out to well for Bhishma.  I don't know why he things stealing daughters from a swayamvara is a good idea.
  • They have a very strange solution to the problem of not having an heir...
  • First time that I've heard of a mantra for obtaining sons from gods…
  • Karna is one letter off from Karma.  I'm suspicious.    
  • Karna has a similar upbringing to Moses.
  • So now Pandu basically has the children of gods.  
  • Madri most be irresistible.  
  • Wow the sister of a dangerous rakshasa falls in love with the hero.  Influenced by the Ramayana?  
  • Draupadi gets 5 husbands!!!! Wow normally it's the men in this time who can have multiple spouses and not the wives!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 8

This is the last week of school before spring break and all I can say is, I'm ready more than ever for spring break.

Over the past week I had another snow day miracle occur where I did not have to complete an assignment that I had not finished since the computer labs would be closed on Wednesday (Heck yeah).  However, after the weather shift today I hope we will not have any more snow days, because I'm too attached to this beautiful sunny and over 60 degrees weather.  

Just yesterday I attended the OU Men's Basketball game against Kansas.  If you aren't familiar with college basketball, Kansas or KU is a top dog in the sport and consistently is one of the top ranked schools in the nation.  The game actually ended with an amazing last second shot and the atmosphere was unlike any game I've ever attended.  I remember always watching amazing buzzer-beating plays on TV and wondered what it would be like to be watching from the arena.  AND NOW I DO.  
Here's a picture that my family took while they were watching the game at home!  See if you can find me in it :) 

(Personal photo of me in the student section of an OU Men's Basketball game.)

After the game I went out with my friend to Campus Corner and ran into people that I haven't seen or talked to since freshmen year!  It's so nice running into people that you have lost touch with and when you see them you just pick up right where you left off.  

So this next week I'll be trying to complete as many assignments as I can before spring break.  Hopefully layovers during spring break will help me work ahead for assignments in this class.  I guess we'll have to see.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Commenting Review Week

I feel like the feedback I have gotten from comments has really helped me improve my writing.  Also, having this instant feedback motivates me to write when I feel swamped with other schoolwork.  I really appreciate it when my peers tell me what they got from my story.  This helps me to see if my message was received or can call attention to some details in a way that I had never thought of before!

The project comments from Laura are extremely helpful.  She knows how to correct or constructively critique stories in a way that does not damage a writer's ego.  Other people in the class do not have this ability…  And there have been times on my blog and other students' blogs where I feel our peers have been too harsh in the comment sections.

Overall, I feel that the comments I have received have helped me become a better writer.  So I will gladly take all of the helpful and harsh comments my peers can give me.

(Image provided by Flickr)

Writing Review

The writing assignments are the main reason I enrolled in this class.  I love writing.  Creative writing is so fun to me, I love creating or adapting a story and then making it my own.  So all of the past storytelling assignments I look back on fondly.  I really appreciate that this class lets us students write creatively but doesn't stress us out to the max.  I feel like that is something very unique about this class and I'm glad I have this opportunity in college, because I was really starting to miss the creative writing classes I took in high school.

Much of the feedback from peers is very helpful!  However, I feel that some students have become power-hungry and search your stories for any tiny error to bring up to you.  I appreciate it when anyone helps perfect my story by finding errors, but I don't appreciate people reading my story to basically grade me themselves.  Sometimes I feel like people lose sight of my story because they're too set on correcting me.

(Picture of a 1796 oil painting done by J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) entitled “Fishermen at Sea.”  Source: Wikipedia.)

This is my favorite picture from my storytelling posts and it was actually my first!  I wrote my story and incorporated a big contrast between light and dark.  Then I found this picture that captured that contrast PERFECTLY and had a fishing boat and a stormy sea.  It felt like fate.  I feel like this image added a lot to my story.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Reading Review Week

Well it's that midpoint in the semester and it's time to review the two readings we have covered thus far in this class.  Both readings were about the Epic of Rama with two different versions done by two different authors.  

Looking back over the past seven weeks at my reading diaries, I feel like my entries in the beginning were a bit more detailed than my past few entries.  This may be because Narayan's tales of the Ramayana were my first exposure to Rama's Epics and I jotted down more of an outline because all of it was so new and I didn't feel the need to be as detailed when reading Buck.  Also, I was probably able to add more to the Reading Diaries at the beginning of the semester because I was not super busy with other classes.  

I really like that there are Reading Guides that go along with the class readings because I feel that they can really help students get the main idea of a section.  One of the past readings that has stayed with is the battle with Ravana.  That part really was the climax of the epic and so much was going on so it was very entertaining to read.  I feel that this part of the epic was not long enough whereas in other parts (like Rama's journey into exile) went on way too long!  

This image of Rama and Sita at their wedding has definitely been one of my favorites.  I love all of flowers and they contrast well with the earth toned walls and background in the picture.  It's just so beautiful I wish there were more photos of them with these colors!!!! 

(Image Information: Picture of Sita and Rama at their wedding from Wikipedia.)  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Famous Last Words for Week 7

Well it has been one of the most exciting weeks of my life.

Firstly, I turned twenty-one years old on Monday(!!!) and I was so happy to celebrate with my wonderful friends.  It was one of my roommate's birthday as well, so we got to celebrate together and we had a lot of fun.  Our apartment was decorated and there was a snow day and I got to miss my one class of the day.  My other roommate even made us a cake :)

(Personal photo of me and my roommate blowing out candles on our 21st birthday taken February 2015.)

Also, I experienced a birthday miracle.  My 10-page paper that was supposed to be due at 9am the day after my birthday was pushed back to Thursday because of the snow.  It was awesome to not slave over editing my paper on my birthday and was a HUGE relief to have more time to work on it.

Then the week really picked up and I had to catch up on assignments that I neglected to finish last week.  Thankfully, I got them all done and completed a huge assignment in my Publications class where we designed our very own business cards and letterheads from scratch!

After this week, the craziness is starting to die down and I'm beginning to have some free time.  I don't even know what to do with myself!  I guess this would mean that I successfully survived my Junior year midterms.

All I can think about now is spring break and how amazing it would be to get some assignments done before then so I can use the break to relax.  Most of my teachers have assigned their next big grades due the week after it!  Fingers crossed I can buckle down and work on my assignments ahead of time.