Tuesday, September 27, 2005

mom's fresh off the boat

Actually my mom is not off the boat, or my grandparents, or theirs. While I cannot relate to immigration status I can understand the alienation point of view, not here nor there. For myself, a whole family was the strange thing, yet I was not without one. Mom was a single mother of three. Her single mother status placed her in the money making position and the raising children position. My mother made sacrifices so I could eat and have a place to stay. The latter I do commend her on, as working a full time job leaves very little energy for three kids, and she did a good job (as far as I can tell). There is a similarity of sacrifices between Caroline Hwang's parents and my own: a sense of something owed. Not in the cold business transaction sense, but an expectation and hope that if they try hard enough, though their lives be lost, their children's lives will have an added opportunity. This is the most practical form of immortality that we can test. Parents know they are dieing and feel the need to pass on knowledge and hopes and dreams, through their kids they will live again.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

katrina rough draft

Hurricane Katrina’s impact is dwarfed in comparison to the social and economic reprecussions brought about by ill preparation for such a disaster. While the immiediate effects of the storm on the coast may seem severe, nature is a resilient force and will spring back relatively quickly. Unfortunately this is not the case for the hundreds of thousands of people who lost their homes in late August.
Now-ex-residents of New Orleans recieved the brunt of the hurricane. This alone could be weathered out by most people, but the destruction was greatly magnified by insufficient levees and the subsequent flooding of the city. Even this calamity could have been minimized by a well organized evacuation. Instead, the poor, elderly and sick were left to die, a strategy reminiscent of last ditch battlefield plans, not the protective laws of a civilized society. Alongside the tremendous loss of life and home, comes a loss of trust; particularly by those people herded into staging areas for buses that never came. Another form of disillusionment came to those in charge at various levels of government when seemingly everyone thought someone else was on the case.
Here starts the blame game, which will continue long after the fallen trees have been regrown and the disrupted ports put back together again. Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco had asked the federal government to help, but not thoroughly enough. Michael Brown, former chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), missed the cue that this was an emergency and then was exposed as a fraud, at least according to everyone but the white house. New Orleans mayor Ray Nagan called the evacuation, but failed to get enough busses until after the hurricane hit. Still others say that this was punishment from god, or that mother earth is rising up against her only adversary, mankind. Fingers point and accusations fly, but the facts still remain the same: people have died unnecessarily, and there’s many thousands of people that still need assistance.
Fortunately, help has arrived, and still is arriving in many different ways. The Red Cross is setting up medical facilities, assisting with relocating people and getting separated families back together. FEMA, reguardless it’s initial reaction, has disbursed $669 million to hurricane victims. Countless churches and privet organizations have made contributions, many of their members opening their homes to complete strangers who had lost theirs’. Worldwide, over a hundred countries have pledged aid, sending tents, cots, medical supplies and more. New York Fire and Police Departments have arrived to assist with security and help those who stayed behind. Iran has offered 20 million barrels of crude oil, but the U.S. did not accept, or reply for that matter.
Oil is a hot issue, and any effects on its supply are felt by everyone down the line. The Gulf of Mexico is home to over 180 refineries, supplying 11% of the oil to the United States. After the hurricane, 120 refineries were damaged beyond operation, and 60 more were unmanned due to emergency evacuations. Gas prices started soaring immediately, sparking a chorus of complaints across America. Gasoline marketing strategies are based off win-win price changes: the price goes up, people flock to the pumps before it goes higher, the price goes down, people do the same, thinking they are getting a better deal before it climbs again. Unfortunately for the general public, the general memory does not reach more than a month or two into the past, quelling any organized complaints before they begin. Many have said this is the highest they have seen gas prices and shouted “price gouging” and other frustrations. However, gas has been higher in the past: in 1981fuel was priced at $1.38 for a gallon of 87 octane. Adjusted for inflation this turns into $3.03 a gallon, still a record high.
Fuel however, has affected more than just the wallets of the consumer. When it is leaked into our environment alongside many other toxic chemicals, as is the case in New Orleans, the potentials for long term damages soar. Flooding has churned up a “toxic soup” of chemicals such as lead, gas, oil, sewage and many more, says Thomas La Point , director of the Institute of Applied Sciences of northern Texas. This in turn can lead to bacteria blooms of E. Coli, Cholera and Salmonella. All of this is being pumped into lake Ponchrtrain which undoubtedly will not be good for the lake and surrounding ecosystem. The cleanup will be a long and arduous on, to be sure.
Unfocused organization during the hurricane Katrina crisis has given rise to many avoidable problems much greater in magnitude than the damages wrought by the storm itself. Since hurricanes and other natural disasters happen without prejudice, they are essentially uncontrollable phenomena. Our best hope to deal with situations of this nature is to have a good plan of reaction and clearly communicate this plan to all those potentially affected. Unfortunately for many of the residents of New Orleans, this was not the case.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

katrina stuffs

Opinion/ reactions:
Magnitude. The natural impact is relatively small in comparison to the chain reactions rippling through the social communities in ever widening circles, starting from impact zone to the other end of the world.

Springs back pretty quick.

Levees and why they were not built up higher, class issues and blame.

Economic buildup- setting the scene
Larger issues have been caused by the lack of organized focus during the hurricane.
What issues had been overlooked or neglected. What things could have been done to prevent magnifying crisis. Levees

Blame cat.
What new issues have been caused by an unfocused officials. Sanitary, security, deathtoll, business and loss thereof , fingerpointing to a new level, removal of Michael brown, confusion, rearrangement of beauraucracy

Because of the lack of organized focus during the hurricane Katrina crisis, many larger issues have sprung forth; such as the health of the local population, securing a devastated area, additional strain on aid and of course, blame.

Unfocused organization during the hurricane Katrina crisis has given rise to many avoidable problems.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Aqualung is about the dehumanization of society and the breaking down of the human spirit.

This song is sung to the main character, Aqualung, though he is not the intended audience. Most

likely he will die before ever getting a chance to hear this song. The real audience are those who

can afford to listen to this music, and who most likely pass by an Aqualung on the way to work

or lunch.

He represents the animal under a human veneer. Ian Anderson paints a picture of a half

domesticated stray when he sings "Feeling alone, the army's up the road, salvation a la

mode, and a cup of tea". Aqualung floats aimlessly through his misery, returning to this point of

charity over and over, tethered by his needs of survival to a small area.

Our subject is in a bind, a one way destructive path to oblivion. He cannot turn back, nor has

to power to, should it cross his mind, which it won't. His life has narrowed to pain and fear.

This is illistrated by the lines "Feeling like a dead duck, spitting out pieces of his broken luck, sun

streaking cold, an old man wandering lonely. Taking time, the only way he knows. Leg hurting

bad, as he bends to pick up a dog end, goes down to the bog to warm his feet."

Aqualung shows an intense strength of being by weathering out all seasons. "Do you still

remember, december's foggy freeze, when the ice that clings on to you beard is screaming

agony?" Weakened by his social position and reinforced mentality of hopelessness, here he

exhibits a trait that the "civilized" portion of humanity would be loath to embrace: exposure to

the elements.

The purpose of society is to separate people from the animals and to create a better life for

all the participants of. The metaphor that is Aqualung demonstrates "casualties of society" or

the inevitable crushing of some because of all. This is not all that different from the animals, it is

an essential of nature to destroy to survive. "And you snatch your rattling last breaths, with

deep-sea-diver sounds, and the flowers bloom like madness in the spring."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Freewriting on audience: focus audience pitfalls: too broad too narrow.... Solution, have audience in mind. Further pitfalls: write to a position, not individual

Monday, September 05, 2005

Writing and the Workplace

In the three articles: Nations Business, Back to Basics to Improve Skills and Employers want better writing, the deficiency of quality writing skills amongst workers is emphasized overall.
Each article focuses on education as a primary factor, either as the cause of the poor writing and/or a possible solution to the same. Two of the three advocate entrance testing to avoid future problems, and Mr. Bagin of Nation's Business goes so far as to suggest periodic testing to "keep employees' writing in line". However, the third, Employers want better writing, only mentions the survey that spawned the article, so conjecture along those lines is fairly speculatory.
My first impressions as I get done reading these articles are of an impersonal business meeting. The big suits are huddled about chewing big cigars patting big shoulder pads proclaiming how thier's are to be the best of the best, and oddly enough they seemed to have the right idea of education instead of fire and replace. An order of cause and effect filters through as problem, cause, solution in a very pragmatic style. First, the problem is identified as poor writing. The importance of this is expounded upon by Mr. Bagin when he says "... an employee who is a poor writer could embarrass you and your organization". Various causes are pointed to; technology, immigration, poor schools and lax hiring standards. The emphasis here is not so great as it is on the solution of continued education. Even in Employers, "Schools try to teach how to write" is written, implying a failure to do so. Taking this a step further, if writing is taught properly, than the problem would not exist, meaning education is a solution.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Round two

I know I must write a paragraph. Reading these things always seems much easier, but so is eating a meal. To create means to take the magic out and pin the various bits to the disecting tray, analyzing them until raw data exists as function and order, a framework waiting to be filled out. But those are only the first steps of creation, emulation and deconstruction. Once the idea has been captured and it's spirit broken, then it can be rearanged. Boot camp follows the same principles to that extreme, breaking down the individuals to component pieces of a force, then using images of glory and gravity to emphasize any preexisting notions and build new ones. However not all ideas need be broke down or trimmed away to be expanded upon so dramatically. The real craft is the reassembly into something that has intentions carefully wrought through and through. A friend once told me there is a difference between a technichian and an artist; the technichian can reproduce the original flawlessly, but the artist can create it anew.