Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hipster 101

 passive voice
abstract subject
linking verbs
transitive verbs

This is a definition essay I wrote for a previous English class about the slang term Hipster.

You have seen them walking around [I'm not sure if this an example of passive voice so someone tell me please if it isn't!], the kids with the dim colored skinny jeans, grown out hair and fake glasses. They will also have giant burly beards and thick old fashioned mustaches and are very fond of thick cardigans and “vintage” Value Village clothes. These kids that you see are called hipsters. However, there is much more to being a hipster than just getting the look down. You need to know the diet of a true hipster, the correct transportation, preferred music preferences of their kind and overall the lifestyle in general--the idea is that to be a hipster you have to be as far away from mainstream culture as possible.
            To start off with, a true hipster knows that when you want to get from point A to point B you must break out your handy dandy BICYCLYE! Of course as you know, true hipsters are urbanites and also eco-friendly so for the most part they reject our nation’s lovable automobile. When I say usually, that means that the exception would be if your car looks vintage or you have a station wagon that has a bicycle rack because above the car hipsters still love their bikes. Going back to the bicycle, you will also want to make sure that it is also vintage looking; think 60’s bike. It is also required to be a fixie (a fixed gear bike) with funky handlebars in a nice pastel color. You can also add a basket on the front for you to carry your groceries or other purchases. Now, these bikes can be expensive so don’t worry, it’s common for hipsters to make their bikes from scratch. However, stores like Urban Outfitters do sell the model that is desired, although at a hefty price; so if you go down that road make sure you lie and say you got lucky and found it at a garage sale. 

             Now we come to the lifestyle and mentality of a hipster. As described in, hipster’s “value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter” including the reveling of all things that are “ironic”. One of the preferred activities of a hipster to show your creative side is photography. However, you must know to use vintage style cameras (like your bike) such as Poloroids, Holga design, Diana design, and lomography cameras---this way your art looks vintage as well. Disposable cameras are acceptable too because they “remind us of our childhood”. Other arts and crafts you can do in your spare time is knitting, crochet, drawing or some sort of wood work; heck make yourself some benches for you and your hipster friends to sit on. On that note, while with their friends and at social gatherings, hipsters love to drink PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) beer and smoke cigarettes, preferably ones you rolled yourself but menthols or a European brand would work too. Hipsters also like to “flock to "ironic" locations” (Verbal Vomit). Think of places that you loved to go to as a kid such as the zoo, planetarium, aquarium and playground. They are fun because they remind you of your childhood which makes them “ironic” because you are now grown-up and returning to said places. While there, it is important to notice how sad it is to see all those wild animals locked in cages and be inspired to blog about how sad and unfair it is. Hipsters love to blog on sites such as Tumblr and tweet on Twitter. Hipsters also have a distinct music taste. Your music must be vintage (like everything else) underground, or indie (independent). These include bands such as Bon Iver, Iron and Wine, Fleet Foxes, and The Decemeberists. Vinyl records are also respected as being extremely cool. Even better yet, you can pick up your very own acoustic guitar and play along. The even cooler thing to do would be to start your own band with your other musical instrument playing friends; just make sure you make indie music with meaningful lyrics.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Taking a crack at brush strokes!

This is the first half of a paper I wrote for Mythology.
Adjectives Out of Order
When you look at how people you admire are looked up to, how celebrities are worshiped, and even all the religions out there that do sometimes claim that man is equal with God, no one ever really thinks about the term Hubris. I know I hadn’t before this class, I didn’t even know what it meant. The only thing that comes to my mind that I have already known when I think of Hubris, besides Greek mythology, is Paradise Lost. I vaguely remember my grandmother, having a very matter-of-fact air to her, telling me and my cousins the story of Satan’s fall from heaven when I was little and I think that story, along with the message of Hubris (although that word was unbeknownst of me then) might very well be one of the only reasons I haven’t gotten a fat head from my foolish pride.
Hubris is essentially when you have such great pride or arrogance, or when you begin to believe you are equal or better than the gods. It is a very serious thing in Greek mythology and plays pretty significant roles in some stories. Usually if a character committed an act of Hubris, he/she would feel the destruction of the gods. One act of Hubris that ended in a death was in The Oresteia. In the story Agamemnon’s wife, Clytemnestra, hates her husband for “sacrificing” (should just say murdering) their oldest daughter and in turn tricks him to commit Hubris. She lays down a purple carpet for Agamemnon, so that his feet will not touch the earth where he walks; upon seeing this Agamemnon sees it as an act of Hubris and says “Such state becomes the gods and none beside. / I am a mortal, a man; I cannot trample upon / these tinted splendors without fear thrown in my path" (922-24). Yet she convinces him to by appealing to his manly pride and he does so. This displeases the Gods and in turn Clytemnestra eventually kills him. Also at the beginning of The Iliad Agamemnon refused to give Chryses, Apollo's priest, back his daughter and even insulted him. A stolen daughter, an insulted priest, leading to a very angry god, is one of the factors to the beginning of the war.  This is also an example of how Agamemnon showed Hubris through his extreme arrogance. Agamemnon was the most arrogant, in my opinion, of all the characters; so it was simply a matter of time until he was done in.
Finally, the biggest outside reference to Hubris, as I already mentioned before, is in Paradise Lost. When I was little my grandmother vaguely and shortly told my cousins and I this story, or at least a summary of it, but just told it as a story, not a reference to a book necessarily. So when I learned in one of my other classes that this is indeed a real poem, I was a little surprised. I also felt a little smug when I was one of the only students in the class who had a vague understanding of what it was; even though I didn’t fully considering I never actually read the darned thing. However the point is that the poem is about Lucifer’s (Satan’s), as well as all the other rebel angels, fall from heaven, then his corruption of Adam and Eve.
Lucifer created Hubris by believing that he was more powerful than god; he was jealous of the Son of god and that him, as well as the other angels, had to serve them when they themselves were self-raised. Lucifer, jealous, cunning, and determined, was able to start a rebellion of other angry and lost angels.This led to the Angelic Wars between Satan and his army against Gods still faithful angels. Ultimately the Son of God defeated Satan’s army single-handedly and all the rebel angels were condemned from heaven. This leads to the famous line by Satan “better to reign in hell than serve in heaven”.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Other classwork writing

American Born Chinese
So I kind of keep this a secret from most people, but I used to be a big fan of graphic novels. I have read a huge variety of genres of graphic novels, varying from action to quirky magic. That being said, when I first read the inside of American Born Chinese, I was honestly not very interested. The description of Jin Wang’s story sounded ok yet a little boring; as soon as I read the description for the Monkey Kings story, I was done. I thought it sounded childish and silly and I was dreading reading it. However, after actually reading it I feel slightly bad for my prior judgments and see it as a good read with a heartfelt message.
            All the stories in the inside panel sounded so different from each other; so when it said they were all going to tie in together at the end I was curious how Gene Luen Yang was going to accomplish it. When she finally did, I was definitely surprised to find out that Danny was really Jin Wang. Yet, when I found out that Chin-kee (when I first saw this name, I didn’t realize that it was a mocking of the word “chinky” embarrassingly enough…) was really the monkey king I thought it was a little out there. When he told Danny/Jin Wang that the reason he was disguising himself was to be Jin Wang’s conscience, or sign post to his soul, I thought that was really interesting. The whole time I was reading Danny’s story, I couldn’t believe how they were portraying Chin-kee because it was clear that he was designed to be like every racial stereotype out there; Chin-kee had giant buck-teeth, squinty eyes, long braided hair, traditional silk Chinese clothes and ate cat chow mein. Needless to say, I was quite shocked to see him in the book. So when it was revealed that he was the physical reminder to Danny of everything he was embarrassed about his race, and how people perceived his race, it helped with said confusion as it finally gave a reason why he was included.
            This book definitely had a good moral to it; that you should always accept yourself and not be ashamed of whom you are, especially for the sake of other peoples opinions, because you’re perfect the way you are. Other than for the good moral of the story, I’m not quite sure if I would read this again or recommend it for entertainment purposes to someone else. Other than the good morals, the story’s in it, especially the shape-shifting aspects, were a little too far out there for my taste. Don’t get me wrong, I love myths and fiction; I just think that American Born Chinese didn’t carry it out to my personal liking. I can definitely see how it is so popular and has won an award, but I would really only recommend it for academic reasons.
            Also, when reading it I didn’t see it as applying to only Chinese teens, or that race, which was a big aspect of it, was the biggest. As it was pointed out in class, I saw it as relatable to every race, as a relatable to story to all around teen angst and the issues of fitting in; that awkward teen stage that most people, including myself, experienced. I also have the hard time finding that fine line between books being a racial inequality issue or simple teen conformity issues. I do believe that this book, although covering both, falls in the ladder; which makes it a more attainable book for more cultures as well.
There were only two other problems I had with the book—the use of potty humor and the above narrations (if that’s the correct term for them).We were discussing it in class, the narrations that were throughout the book, especially in the story of the Monkey King. At points, like on page 163 for instance, I found it a bit confusing. It also kind of irked me on page 10 and 11, when it would narrate the story in a serious fashion but then make it silly with what the Monkey King says. I also dislike potty humor in most things, so I wasn’t the biggest fan of situations involving the Monkey King/Chin-kee peeing in/on things or when the Monkey King farted in the demons face. This aspect just made it seem a little childish to me.