My Line

•April 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I’m from the Gulf Coast,

from crawfish and cayenne.

[Image Source: http://lbmardigras.com/2011/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/mardi-gras-mask-and-beads.jpg]

My IP Story

•April 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

When we were told about this assignment, I had no idea what my “IP” story would be; the only intellectual property I ever had was through my Creative Writing program in high school, when some of my poetry and other various writings were placed in the school’s literary magazine. Any other intellectual property is school-related, of course, and a broad idea that I’ve shared with a few friends on how to solve the U.S.’s trash problem (and I happen to think it’s quite a great idea… if only I were President). So just like any other college student with an assignment she doesn’t know what to do with, I took to Facebook. And that’s when I was reminded of an idea I had several years ago, when I was thirteen with a MySpace account, never having heard of Facebook.

I was friends with these two people on MySpace (and in real life), but one of them was a friend I had from Mobile while the other was a friend I had made here in Montgomery. One day I happened to notice that they too were MySpace friends, and since at the time they were both close friends of mine, I was quite surprised and curious as to how they knew each other; I had never heard one of them talk about the other. So then this idea came to me—MySpace should have a mutual friends feature, where you can see what friends you have in common. I searched the website for a suggestions/comments section so that I could e-mail someone about it, because I was really diggin’ this idea. I never got a reply, naturally, so eventually what I thought of as a moment of sheer brilliance faded into the back of my memory.

I don’t know if Facebook even existed when I came up with this idea, or if it did, if it had the “mutual friends” feature already. Also, I am unsure if that would even be considered my intellectual property, especially since I volunteered the idea by suggesting it to MySpace. I’m not even trying to accredit myself to Facebook having the ever-nosey mutual friends feature, because if a thirteen-year-old thought of it, then I don’t doubt at all that someone who created a social networking website would think of it. But it is kind of cool, albeit nerdy, to think maybe I came up with it first.

My Mental Spring Break

•March 19, 2012 • 4 Comments

For most people, Spring Break is a time to relax, forget about most of your responsibilities, and possibly catch up on some much-needed sleep. Usually this also encompasses a mental break, but this was not the case for me. My entire week was spent analyzing new visual stimuli, since I went somewhere I had never been before, and constantly planning on what to do next with my precious, limited time. It started with an eight-hour road trip; 3 friends and I left at midnight so that we would reach our destination in time. Since someone else was driving, my mind was not in a good place; do I allow myself to fall asleep so that I can be rested for our big day tomorrow, or do I need to stay awake to watch their driving in case they fall asleep at the wheel? They were listening to loud music and the car was crowded and very uncomfortable, so when I finally decided I needed some sleep, I couldn’t doze off. It wasn’t a good start, but I was still glad to be doing something exciting.

When we reached our destination, I was in that hazy delerium you experience when you have four hours of sleep in a 48 hour period. There was sun–lots of sun–I religiously, almost robotically, applied the sunscreen as if I had been doing it in my sleep for years. Then there were lines, lines you stood in for such a long time that it didn’t even matter anymore. I was too tired to be impatient. Once we got in the gate, I felt surrounded by magic and all of those icky feelings of greasy sunblock, harsh sun, and a long car ride vanished. I saw the castle ahead in the distance, and my mind was filled with memories of watching VHS’s in daycare. It seemed that I was the only one I knew who had never been here before, and my 20-year-old self suddenly felt like a child again. I kept asking, what will we do next? What’s in that little shop? When is the next parade?

Ironically enough, my trip was filled with maps. And I must say, the maps lied–the place was much bigger than they implied. After a certain point my mind could not get past my aching feet that were forming blisters, and my dry mouth that was unsatisfied by the warm, gross-tasting water fountains. The only time my mind got a rest was when it hit the pillow every night, and it all started again every morning.

A Moment Changes It All

•February 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Anthony Shadid’s 2003 article “In a Moment, Lives Get Blown Apart” is quite striking and provides much insight into how Iraqi citizens were affected by bombings from the U.S. military by giving names and showing their individual responses. Although it specifically describes one instance of an attack, one can gather how many more stories like this could be told in the decade that our military occupied their country. The people affected were civilians, just trying to keep up with their daily routine of work and family; these people were not the terrorists that America was seeking in retaliation of 9/11, or the people who supposedly held those “weapons of mass destruction” that we just happened to never find.

I find it sad that these people, some of whom likely having limited knowledge of the U.S., will now associate us with the nightmare that they went through. They will generalize all Americans to be the people responsible for turning their lives upside down by bombing their homes and places of business, disrupting their sense of safety They cannot humanize us if we do things like this to them. What about the little boy mentioned in the article, who says “the Americans are trying to kill my father”? Peace cannot be easily achieved in the first place, but the younger generations carrying that subhuman idea of us will certainly make peace much more difficult. Similarly, many (if not the majority) of Americans think that all Middle-Easterners are terrorists and are incredibly intolerable of the culture and religion, when they are not the Islamic extremists that pose a threat to the safety of our country.

 

My Childhood Playlist

•February 13, 2012 • 3 Comments

For my music-themed post, I decided to share a certain phenomena that happens to me when I hear songs from when I was a kid. As it is, I have reason to believe I have more memories of my childhood than most other people based on things I’ve talked about with my friends. I think this makes it easier to remember a lot of the music I used to love, and also helps me recall memories associated with that music.

I’m sure everyone knows that feeling you get when you hear a song you haven’t heard in a long time. It takes you back to the time when you listened to it a lot, and it’s so closely tied to your memory you can even remember specific occasions of what you were doing when that song was playing. In a way, it helps you remember what your life was like back then better than if you just tried to think of it on your own.

Here is a playlist of songs that I listened to a lot when I was a kid that are special to me because of the memories they contain–I apologize in advance, but didn’t everyone like some less-than-respectable music at some point in their life? Don’t judge me!


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#1. Always Be My Baby by Mariah Carey: This song came out when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I was living in Mobile with my parents and my older sister, who was about 15 or 16 years old at the time. Some of my most precious childhood memories are from this time, because it was the only time my whole family lived together (we moved when I was 5 and my sister stayed in Mobile to finish high school). I remember watching the music video and thinking how big those kids looked to me.

#2. If You Had My Love by Jennifer Lopez: When I was 7 or 8 this song was released, and I remember watching the music video on MTV back when they still played music (sneaking behind my parents’ backs, of course). This song reminds me of being bored all summer, laying on my sister’s bed so that I could watch her TV since I didn’t have one in my room, and starting to watch MTV a lot for the first time.

#3. Tearin’ Up My Heart by Nsync: Like most girls my age, I was an avid Nsync fan, and this was the first song by them I ever heard. This is what spurred me to buy their CD, and it was all downhill after that. This song reminds me of hanging out with my friend who lived down the street, and I thought she was just so cool for having her very own CD player with speakers in her room. We would listen to my Nsync CD, dance, sing along badly, and jump on her bed.

#4. I’m Blue by Eiffel 65: When this song came out it was around the time my parents got divorced, and the only way I heard it was when I would go visit my dad on the weekends. He must have lived closer to the radio station that played it all the time, because the only times I got to hear it were in his truck. I saw a commercial saying that their CD was being sold at Sam Goody, and I got him to take me to Sam’s and Goody’s to look for it, not knowing that Sam Goody was a completely different store! I finally acquired the CD somehow and listened to this song on repeat, much to my mom’s annoyance.

#5. The Sign by Ace of Base: I have a very distinct memory of this song, and it’s quite strange to me that I remember this. My sister and her friend came to pick me up from daycare one afternoon, and the weather was supposed to be severe later that day. I was deathly afraid of tornadoes as a child, so I was basically freaking out when they came to get me. To help calm me down, my sister’s friend grabbed my handheld fortune teller thingy and started moving it with her hands to make it look like it was singing along to the song on the radio, and this happened to be the song. It didn’t help calm me down, but it gave me a strange memory.

#6. Candyman by Aqua: Remember my friend I was talking about with her very own CD player in her room? Well, she and I would listen to this song all the time, the singing along and dancing never improving.

#7. I Want it That Way by the Backstreet Boys: My sister and I would listen to this song together all the time. I’m not sure that she even liked it that much, because she was about 18 at the time and that seems a little old for the Backstreet Boys, but at least she pretended to like it for me. We listened to it so much together that when she moved away I couldn’t bear to hear it without crying. To this day, this song brings back strong emotions of me missing my sister… strange for a cheesy Backstreet Boys song, huh?

#8. Dreaming of You by Selena: When I was 9, my best friend was a girl from Panama (the country, not Panama City) and she showed me the movie Selena, about the Mexican singer whose rise to fame was cut short by her getting killed by the president of her fan club. Although this is not my favorite Selena song (my favorites are all in Spanish), it brings back the most memories.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Genius-try

•February 6, 2012 • 1 Comment

Today in class we watched Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED.com talk again, and I must stress how much I love this one. Not only does she provide me with interesting facts that I can pull out like parlor tricks to impress my friends and family (such as the origins of the idea of a genius and the phrase “olé” coming from “Allah”), but she brings up important points about creativity and the doom that seems to surround the greatest creative thinkers. If artists believed in a power outside of themselves that brought them these great ideas, they would very likely be much happier people and perhaps not as prone to manic depression and alcoholism/drug addiction. In order to nurture one’s creativity, you should free yourself of the huge responsibility that comes with being a creative person — just let the ideas come to you, and be ready when they’re there. If you’re not ready when the ideas do pass through you, let go and accept that it wasn’t meant to be for you to give life to that poem or song or short story. Creativity does not have to correlate with despair; you will only be a tortured artistif you let yourself be. In my opinion, you shouldn’t put that much pressure on yourself, because the great ideas we are given as creative people are divine in nature and we are not meant to cope with the responsibility of producing them at will.

My Map

•January 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

 
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