Friday, March 24, 2006

some letter thing

I know we are allowed to not post over spring break but didn't know if our spring break technically started tomorrow or today so to be on the safe side I'm posting this reaction letter. I don't think I can keep myself from blogging for a whole week. It's going to be hard. *is nervous*

Right away I am intrigued. Your sentence "this time between eight and eight-fifteen are the only few precious moments in the school day that she can call her own" is very powerful. It seems to represent the female in society herself and the time that we all need to ourselves. Maybe it's the wording or just the image it gives me but I like that sentence a lot. You also tie in your thesis of your research paper well in mentioning that the teacher truly believes in the potential of each one of them. The first paragraph also ends well; it is very true. Teachers feel rushed to not have a personal time with the students in their hurry to get everything in for the SOLs. It's much more interesting reading your sentence in a narrative form than my sentence above.
Repetition can also be useful in a narrative. It enforces the idea into the readers head. For instance, your sentence "today's schools it is all about collaboration and inclusion, inclusion, inclusion" is especially strong. It is also interesting to read about how the No Child Left Behind act is really affecting the Special Ed teachers – my mom works in a school and though I hear about the things going on I guess I never really understood how much it affects them. I think your narrative is an excellent way of bringing that fact to the attention of your readers.
Your third paragraph is very well written and I am better able to understand your point, but it almost starts sounding more like a research paper than a narrative. Maybe take some of that out and add in Bryant's POV in the class more in this paragraph to make it sound more like a narrative. You pick back up with the more narrative-like form in the fifth paragraph. I think your frustration in the fact that if students do not pass it reflects badly on the teacher is visible and well supported. I'm able to become frustrated too and I'm not even a teacher.
Your paper at times gets too researchy but on the whole sounds really good and I think you are on the right track. I really get a sense of how teachers are personally affected in your narrative and how I'm sure many teachers do think the law is "idealistic crap" – that's a great way of putting it. It made me giggle.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fairweather Friends And Potato Chips

I was called a fairweather friend last night. Not to my face, which I'm not really big on. I believe you should maturely say how you feel about something personally, not via AIM or e-mail or whatever electronic sources you prefer.

It hurt me because I believe I am a good and valuable friend. I might not always have the best self esteem but I do believe I am a good friend. I have been there for my friend recently, whom I shall name Gertrude, through a problem she has been dealing with. I've been there when she calls me while I'm asleep and I don't complain because I don't mind being there for her. I like listening to people and helping them out with things, so no. I do not consider myself a fairweather friend.

On an entirely different note, there's also this person in another class of mine that makes fun of everyone in the class, and I'm not entirely sure why. It's very obvious and the people she makes fun of know. It doesn't bother me because I realize she's just stuck in some high school immaturity phase, but it still kind of annoys me because I'm sure other people are offended. Maybe I'm just defensive of people that get made fun of because I've been there before. I just dont understand why she gets such a kick out of it. It reflects badly on her sorority, too.

Oh, and I'm craving potato chips.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

creative writing family story

as you can see I had issues reaching the 500 word limit. I also took some liberties with the "family story" - for example, there was never any peas in the real version

POV of the Dorky Dad

It all began on a very sunny morning. Every husband has their weekend list of chores that their wife makes up for them. I had industriously worked all morning and had just finished mowing the overgrown-with-weeds lawn and was craving a nice big bowl of my favorite treat: Heavenly Hash ice cream. I could just imagine the cool chocolatey texture sliding down my throat after my manly duties of mowing the lawn. It was blistering hot outside and more than anything I wanted that huge bowl of ice cream melting before me, delicious globs of gooey white stuff dripping down the sides of chocolate mountains.
"Kids, saddle up, we're going to the store," I announced.
"Buy some peas!!" my wife yelled from somewhere upstairs. "We need peas! We're out of peas!!"
"I'll buy peas," I announced.
"Dad, we don't want peas," my son said.
I chortled. "I know, son, I know."
We arrived at the frozen food aisle and I swiftly made my way to the ice cream section. "Heavenly hash!" I murmured to myself. "It surely is a hash of heaven."
My daughter looked on in horror and my son looked like he would rather be anywhere than with his dorky rolled-up socks father. But I had to complete my mission: I had to find my heavenly hash!!
"Daughter," I said, "go fetch the peas!"
"The peas?"
"The peas!"
She gallivanted off to the frozen vegetables and grabbed a bag of peas. "I've got the peas, papa!"
We walked up to the check out line and saw a very old lady. Her name tag read "Isabella". She didn't look like an Isabella, I thought, she looked like an Agatha. An Agatha with unmovable hair.
"Oh," she smiled, "are you having a party?"
"No," I laughed. "My kids just like ice cream." I couldn't possibly tell her that I was stock-piling in case Breyer's retired my favorite ice cream flavor again, could I? No! I was forced to blame it on my children.
I heard my daughter's gasp of indignation and my son try to melt into the floor, but I just beamed merrily at her. It took a lot to get me embarrassed.
We got home and my wife chuckled at the story. My daughter still looked ashamed and my son still looked horrified. However, I told them to get over it because that night we would all enjoy a nice big bowl of Heavenly Hash. They smiled and nodded.
"Did you get the peas?" My wife asked.
"I got the peas."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

thoughts on rude people and estes wall

I got the RA position and was extremely excited. It's a single room, looks good on a resume, helps my parents pay for books, and yeah, it's a single. I know there's a lot of boring crap and you have to write annoying drunk people up; I'm not stupid. So when I told my friend I got the position and she was like "oh my god you are so destined to fail, good luck, you are going to die, if I could take a year back in my life I would never be RA" I kind of wanted to throw my pasta in her face. Or my half-frozen chicken tenders. Because she was being rude and that's what I do to rude people. This happened at Estes on a Monday night.

Earlier, during the weekend, there was another incident at Estes. There was a swarm of prospectives dressed up, tagging along obediently behind their protective parents. Me, experiencing a slight headache, with no make up on, and my hair disheveled, felt somewhat out of place, until I noticed the other college students all looked the same. On my way out of Estes, my roommate and I noticed a somewhat sketchy looking prospective standing in a corner with a what-appeared-to-be-portable-keyboard. This was not what drew my attention to his person, however. All the sudden he sneezed and instead of covering it up with his sleeve or his hand or mayhaps a tissue like a normal person, he turned to the wall and released his fury upon it. IT WAS DISGUSTING. I am quite certain that there are now boogers on Estes' wall.

What kind of prospectives are they recruiting these days?!

And in case you wanted to know, I did not throw my pasta or my half-frozen chicken tenders upon that very rude person whom I mentioned before. Though I desperately yearned to...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Style Lesson 5

Less 5 of Style depicts cohesion and coherence, possibly two of the most important aspects of writing. If your characters do not mesh or your sentences do not connect, your story loses its coherence and thus its audience. Cohesion represents a sense of flow. One way to achieve this 'sense of flow' is to avoid passive tenses. An active sentence always makes your writing more cohesive. Another way to make your writing coherent is to begin sentences with information familiar to your readers. Second, end sentences with information readers cannot anticipate. This will allow you to more easily see when others fail to observe those principles in their writing than you can in your own, because after you've worked on your own for a while, it all seems familiar. Style also uses the term 'topic' to mean what a sentence is 'about', but that topic is not always its grammatical subject. But readers expect it to be. They judge writing to be clear and direct when they quickly see topics and subject/characters in the same words. Also, in most of a writer's sentences, they should start with the subject and make that subject the topic of the sentence. These tips will help a writer's work to become coherent and cohesive.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

religion midterm

review we had to do for our religion midterm.

Ch 1 pp 1-11

The Quest of Historical Jesus

First came the criticism of the sources. The question here was whether everything in the Gospel accounts was historical or authentic.
To source criticism was added historical relativism. Even if we had a historically reliable picture of Jesus, the problem would remain that this figure was deeply embedded in history and was less singular and absolute than people believed.
Hermeneutical otherness: even if we had historically reliable reports and in them encountered and irreplaceable person – this Jesus, who was as close to many people in childhood as a good friend, removed himself into his past world which demons were driven out.
Where an existential decision is urgently called for, Jesus becomes the preacher of a call to decision who summons individuals from their forgetfulness of life. Where people advocate a humanism which emancipates itself from supervision by the church, Jesus becomes the one who challenges religious institutions.

Five Phases of the quest of the historical Jesus
First Phase: The critical impulse towards the question of the historical Jesus
Reimarus views the life of Jesus from a purely historical perspective.
Reimarus finds cause to separate completely what the apostles say in their own writings from that which Jesus himself actually said and taught.
Strauss' main achievement is to have applied to the Gospels the concept of myth which has already current in the OT scholarship of his time.
Strauss sees myth and says that traditions contradict each other, or motives widespread in the history of religion are transferred to Jesus.
Strauss was the first to recognize that the Gospel of John is historically less trustworthy than the Synoptics. Put forward the view that Matthew and Luke are the earliest Gospels, and that Mark is an excerpt from both of them . Therefore by clarifying the relationship b/w the sources through the two-source theory, liberal theology could hope to cope with the 'shock' caused by Strauss.
Second Phase: the optimism of the liberal quest of the historical Jesus
The methodological basis of the liberal study of Jesus is the literary-critical exploration of the earliest sources about Jesus. Mark, a source which hitherto had been overshadowed, and Q, a source first reconstructed by scholars, were not regarded as the earliest, largely reliable sources for the historical Jesus. An emancipation from the traditional church picture of Jesus seemed possible on his basis.
Third phase: the collapse of the quest of the historical Jesus
Three scholarly insights led to the collapse of the quest of the historical Jesus.
Schweitzer's book showed that the images of the lives of Jesus were projections. He demonstrated that each of the liberal pictures of Jesus displayed the personality structure which, in the eyes of its author, was the ethical ideal most worth striving for.
Wrede argued that the Gospel of Mark is an expression of community dogma. This destroyed the confidence that it was possible to distinguish between the history of Jesus and the image of Christ after Easter.
Bultmann – Dialectical theology – it was not what Jesus had said and done which was thought to be decisive but what God had said and done in the cross and resurrection.
Research into the history of religions made it clear that theologically Jesus belongs to Judaism and that Christianity begins only with Easter. From this Bultmann drew the conclusion that the teaching of Jesus is of no significance for a Christian theology.
Fourth phase: the 'new quest' of the historical Jesus
Because the conflict with the Jewish Law was no longer located at the center of Jesus' life, other possibilities of interpreting Jesus' violent death historically were considered. Was he perhaps a political rebel against the Romans? The three classical accounts of Jesus in Jewish research from the beginning of this century represent Jesus was a ethicists, prophet and rebel.
Jesus as ethicists – some would call him an extreme nationalist but with a 'new concept of God' which detached God from his bond to people and history.
Jesus as prophet – the old prophets did not yet have to grapple with the Law as a finished, completed entity. But in the time of Jesus this was limited to the Jerusalem temple.
Jesus was a rebel – Jesus had wanted to found a worldly kingdom – in the first half of his life Jesus had presented a non-violent teaching, but then seized and occupied the temple violently and finally came to grief in conflict with the Romans.
Fifth phase: the 'third quest' of the historical Jesus
A sociological interest replaced the theological interest, and the concern to find Jesus a place in Judaism replaced the demarcation of Jesus from Judaism; an openness to non-canonical (sometimes 'heretical') sources also replaced the preference for canonical sources.
There is a dispute over whether non-canonical sources are to be preferred to canonical sources.
Meantime the Jesus research within the 'third quest' has split into two different trends. The most important differentiation is that on the one hand there is a return to a 'non-eschatological picture of Jesus' in which Jesus becomes the advocate of a paradoxical existential wisdom influenced by Cynicism. On the other hand, as in previous research, Jesus is interpreted in the framework of his eschatology and placed at the center of Judaism, for the restoration of which he hoped.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

more religion papers...

Posting on a saturday is almost as fun as posting on a Friday

Reflection paper for Religion:
The topic of exorcism makes me think of the movie about Emily Rose. Though I know it is hollywooded, it still remains that the motive of faith occurs in therapies. I guess I just don't really put much value in the topic of exorcism. I don't like to rule out anything was impossible, but the fact that a person who was deformed was thought to be possessed by demons itself shows that faultiness of its theory. I also found it interesting that the Jesus tradition does not contain any punitive miracles in connection with human beings, in contrast to some Old Testament stories. The topic of gift miracles, most especially the miraculous multiplication of loaves, really interests me. For instance, some people suggest that Jesus simply broke the loaf of bread up into many piece and the loaves were not actually multiplied. The many facets of the miracle stories truly fascinate me, especially the different theories on their occurrences. I find it interesting that norm miracles stand opposite epiphanies: on the one hand the divine will is manifested and on the other a divine being. I think this is a question Christians cannot solve easily, for both sides have their pros and cons. I personally cannot decide which side I prefer, though I am inclined to lean towards the epiphany side, but I have no real basis for my decision, just gut instinct.

Friday, March 17, 2006

religion paper

blogging on a friday night....

Religion Summary Paper:
The second part of this chapter deals with the primitive Christian miracle stories. Part of these primitive Christian miracle stories is the theme of exorcisms. Exorcisms report the driving out of a demon from a "possessed person". The person is delivered over to the demon: the demon takes the place of the human subject. Another theme is therapies: healing miracles in which no struggle takes place but the healing is brought about by the transference of a miraculous energy from the miracle worker to the sick person, such as seen by a healing touch by which this power is transferred. A third theme is norm miracles, which serve to provide a basis for norms, to punish offences against them (punitive miracles) or to reward their fulfillment. Another theme is that of gift miracles. Gift miracles are stories such as the multiplication of loaves or the miracle with the wine at Cana. Some features of the miracle story are that the miracle takes place spontaneously: no one asks the miracle-worker for it. Deliverance miracles are yet another topic. The deliverance miracles in the Jesus tradition embody two types: those of a deliverance through epiphany (walking on water) and of the protective passenger (stilling the storm). Epiphanies also represent Jesus in how he appears to his disciples after Easter in "divine glory". These types of epiphanies reveal how Jesus has been received in the heavenly world: from now on his authority surpasses that of the Law and the Prophets. It is not bound to any place of worship.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

narrative

start of the narrative. not polished or complete - still have some interviews to complete to finish the story


She was fifteen but she felt like she was four. She had just gotten her learner's permit, but she wondered how she could grow into the talent.
She put her face in her arms and wept. She wanted ridiculously childish things; her mother, her favorite stuffed animal, the fairy tale book with jagged edges from overuse. She wanted to bake cookies for Halloween with her mother, laughing in pretend frustration as the cat's tail always broke off. She wanted to be five and go to church in her favorite pink dress with the ice cream stain on the hem.

She wanted these things that spoke of comfort and safety. She couldn't have her favorite stuffed animal: she had lost it at a trip to Busch Gardens. She had asked her mother if she could take him with them, and now he was gone. And she couldn't run to her mother's arms as she once did. She was fifteen, it wasn't allowed. More than that, she and her mother never talked except in harsh, biting words. Perhaps that's where her troubles began. Even her father condemned her for speaking back to her mother. She wondered why no one could give her that kind of loyalty.

She still remembered the day her depression and self-deprecation had reached metaphorical rock bottom. She was an alcoholic swimming in the bottom of a blue-hazed martini glass. She couldn't remember what the fight was about, but she did remember. She crept down the stairs, carefully avoiding the fourth creaky step, sitting gently on the worn blue carpet.

"I just don't understand her," she heard her mother whisper to her father. She could always tell when people were talking about her. She could sense it like a blood-hound on the hunt. Her lifetime of paranoia came in hand that day as she sat on the blue-carpeted stairs. Or ruined her. "I just hate her. I hate her," her mother said.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

the affair

a story inspired by one of the sentences from comma karma. who knew. Her husband said he was working late. She knew that he was having an affair. She didn't know who the woman was and she didn't care. She meant nothing. Betrayal was betrayal and if it wasn't this woman, it would be another. She slipped from bed, donned a thin silk robe and made a cup of tea. She glided onto the porch and slid onto the old wooden rocker with her feet tucked to the side. It was cool, the sun was on the brink of rising, and she could feel the chilled oak stick to her legs. She let the tea cool without touching it and watched as the loose herbs settled to the bottom of her mug. "Darling," he appeared beside her, "are you coming back to bed?" She smiled up at him. "In a minute, love." He placed a chaste kiss on her forehead and shut the door behind him. She wiggled her toes, reveling in the numb feeling from being exposed to the cold air for so long. "Tell her you're leaving," the blond insisted impatiently. "Tell her. You promised you would." He shook his head uncomfortably. "I just don't know…it doesn't feel right. She's so clueless, so unsuspecting…" "That's her own fault for nothing paying attention." He waved his hand at her. "I can't do this anymore. It's not right." She blond smacked a manicured hand across his pale cheek. "You bastard. You cowardly bastard. She's not worth it." "No," he responded. "She's not." And that made him a coward. He told her he played poker every Thursday night with his friends. She called his buddy up on one Thursday night and asked Tim where he was. "I asked him to pick up some bread, and wanted to tell him to pick up some milk as well. I can't get in touch with him, but knew you'd be with him." "Why would I be with him?" "Isn't it poker night?" "Well gee, we haven't played poker night since about two years ago, right before my divorce. Are you sure he said poker night?" She laughed softly. "Oh silly me, I must have been mistaken." The coroner had announced two days after his death the results. Her husband had gone into a diabetic shock and in his confused state, had not checked the insulin needle for air bubbles. The result was a massive brain hemorrhage. No diabetic could survive such an event, the coroner told her. She could almost imagine his cold, clammy hands reaching out for her help. She could almost picture his body, almost seizing in his fights for life. She could almost imagine him reaching out to her for help. And she could almost, almost imagine his look of horror as he saw the air bubble in the needle if she tried hard enough. She played the grieving widow well. Even at four a.m. she was able to cry tears of grief and loss. She donned her black dresses with religious zeal and was so skilled in summoning tears her friends though she was in danger of taking her own life. If they had only voiced their thoughts, she would have said, "No, one murder is enough per lifetime." Poison was far too cliché, after all. Slipping a hair dryer in the shower would have been inspiring but almost prosaic. She hadn't decided, really, until the chance had presented it to her almost on a silver platter. Inspector Black took the case that was going to be thrown out as accidental, wondering how a man went into diabetic shock. In truth, he didn't know much about the disease, and asked the coroner how it could occur. "Well, it's not impossible, if a diabetic doesn't take their insulin injections regularly." "His widow said he took them every day at the same time. For twenty years," Inspector Black responded. The coroner shrugged. "We all forget things." He enjoyed a fine meal with his wife that night. "Are you alright, dear," the brunette across from him asked. "You're not eating your fettuccini. You love fettuccini." He twirled the noodles around his fork and smiled at her. "I was just thinking, dear. It's delicious." Something was off with her husband, she knew. Did he know? When Inspector Black arrived at work the next morning, his partner handed him his coffee mug and said, "Shame you can't bring in that hot widow for questioning again, Black." "What do you mean?" "We can't find her," his partner said. "Seems she left the country." Black paused in pouring his coffee. "What?" His partner shrugged. "Yup. Can't find her anywhere. What'd she say to you yesterday, anyway." Black shrugged. "Nothing of significance." A tall, leggy woman with short black hair walked past them, grinning. "She's still here gentlemen. She's still here," she whispered.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

creative writing story

We had been at the grocery store for nearly half an hour, doing grocery shopping for our mom. The freezer section was impossibly cold. I rubbed my bare arms and stared at my dad impatiently. "Come on, Dad. It's cold."
My father nodded unperturbed. It takes a lot to make my dad mad or impatient. He just sat there loading up the grocery cart with his ice-cream. Heavenly Hash. He raved about it. He ate it as a treat. He ate it with gusto, with fervor. It was his favorite food.
In truth it wasn't that bad, but I think tasting it over and over again made me lose any zeal I had for it. There was chocolate, and some white creamy stuff in it that melted on your tongue. And some nuts mixed in there too. All in all, it was good. But not worth buying fourteen cartons of it.
"Yeah Dad, come on," my brother said beside me. "We're tired. And hungry."
"Alright kids, we're done here," he said proudly, stepping back from the freezer section. I peered in. He had taken the entire stock of Heavenly Hash.
We wheeled our heavily burdened card up to the counter, trying not to act embarrassed as the cashier lifted an eyebrow.
"That certainly is a lot of ice-cream," she said.
My dad laughed and jerked his head towards us. "My kids just love ice-cream."
We stared in horror as the lady snickered. Her nametag read "Virginia." Ever since that day I hated the name.
"Dad, that's not true-" but he wasn't listening.
"Must be having a party," she said, her gray hair bobbing.
We got home that evening, telling my mom the story. She laughed good naturedly, but she wasn't there to face the degradation we had faced. We didn't need to eat fourteen cartons of ice-cream! Our father just liked to stock pile in case Breyers decided to retire his favorite flavor again. She must have thought we were some kids on the way to startle newscasters with reports of obesity and no willpower.
Fifteen years later Breyers has retired the flavor once and brought it back again. Every time I come home I look in the fridge for the familiar carton of ice-cream. It's amazing that the carton has changed so little in over a decade. And without fail that carton of ice-cream is nestled amongst the frozen peas and god-knows-how-long-it's-been-there frozen meat.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Lady in the Rain

Lady in the Rain

Her stride was smooth and sinuous in manner; it had a rippling gait about it that created the image of whispering ivy draping over a river bank. Her silk robes trailed behind her in the wind, billowing out in soft plumes, perceptible to its every touch. When its unseen finger graced her cheek, her ebony hair escaped from behind her ear in tiny wisps, a sharp contrast against the gray sky. Her gown was of the saddest shade of blue: it was a mixture of tears and rain. And when the sky poured down its testaments of loneliness, her eyes poured out tear-shaped crystals that fell onto the uneven cobble stones and shattered in the silence. The metallic ring of their demise was saddening; heart rendering. Yet the aura of melancholy and gloom the world around her created, she was the paragon of tranquility and peace. When her crystal tears shattered upon the sidewalk, dreams sprouted in vibrant silver flowers that sparkled in radiance despite the gray despair enveloping them. Children would break away from their mother’s restraining hands and gathered as many as their chubby hands could grab a hold of. Their fingers wrapped themselves around the thin stems of the plants and pulled their fragile roots from their transient homes. Their fingers remained glistened with silver dust even when the flowers had wilted and blown away in the wind. They stared in amazement at their luminescent hands and stared after the billowing gown of blue and gray that could still be seen in the distance. And they could still follow the trail of silver flowers that the Lady in the Rain left behind.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

style

Style 4: Characters

A fine example of the importance of characters is the statement, "When character is lost, all is lost." Understanding the importance of characters is vital in any story. It enables the readers to judge writing to be clear and direct in manner. The first step in examining your writing style is to look at your subjects. If you do not see your main characters there, your next step is to look for them. They can be in objects of prepositions, in possessive pronouns, or in adjectives. Once you find them, it is important to look for actions they are involved in. Then you should make those characters the subjects of verbs naming their actions.
Readers also have a problem with sentences devoid of all characters. In some cases characters are so remote that you just have to start over. Most readers want the subjects of verbs to name the main characters in a story, and those main characters to be flesh-and-blood. Tense also affects how characters turn out. Some critics of style say that it is bad to use passive tense because it often deletes the agent, usually a main character. But in fact, the passive is often the better choice. To choose between active and passive you should answer three questions: Must your readers know who is responsible for the action? Would the active or passive verb help your readers move more smoothly from one sentence to the next? Would the active or passive give your readers a more consistent and appropriate point of view? Many writers depend on the passive verb too much, but it is important to realize it is not always bad.
Some writers and editors resolutely avoid the first person by using the passive everywhere, but deleting an I or we doesn't always help. The first person I and we are common in scholarly prose and can be professional when used correctly. Finally, a writer or reader must understand that it may be necessary to express complex ideas precisely. It also may needlessly complicate simple ideas. Furthermore, it must needlessly complicate already complex ideas.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

some writing of the half story

"Excuse me?" The man said.
Aubrey coughed. "Oh, I was just saying…I was lost."
The man flashed a brilliant set of dazzling white teeth. He looked like he could be model for Crest White strips. Hell, she thought, he can be a model for anything.
"Where are you off to?" He asked. "Perhaps I can help you."
"Oh…erm, that's very kind of you…" Quick, make up a place! "I was just looking for a café. For lunch."
The man flashed Aubrey his amazing smile once again. "I can show you an excellent café. I was just on my way to dine."
"Oh."
"Perhaps you would care to join me?" He asked.
Forcing her jaw not to drop to the ground again, she swallowed. "I would love that." 'Is this guy asking me out? Well, not asking me out on a date per say but… still…I'm Aubrey Blackwater. Aubrey Blackwater, the boring, plain, quiet secretary of a legal firm. Sexy French men just don't ask me out.' With this running monologue in her head, Aubrey followed the man across the street, past the man who glowered at her for not buying the poppies, and into a cozy café.
Aubrey was incredibly excited. It had always been her dream to drink strong black coffee in a French café, scribbling poetry furiously on a napkin. Scratch the poetry and add a hot French gentleman and it was even better.
"What would you like?" He asked.
"Oh, you don't have to do that," she began, but he cut her off.
"Please. This way you will feel obligated to sit with me if I buy you coffee."
'Oh, he's a smooth talker,' her voice warned, but she couldn't stop the easy grin the spread across her face. "Coffee would be splendid."
He pulled a chair out for her and she settled down, watching him walk to the counter. She'd admit it, she was checking him out. Her friend Anne would die when she heard about this. She needed a camera. No one from the office was going to believe her… She searched her purse and found her camera. Two pictures left. She bit her lip, debating on how to get a good picture of him discreetly. He had an amazing profile. Like a Greek God. She raised the camera, preparing to take a picture, when he turned around with a tray. She hastily fumbled with her camera, trying to put it in her purse before he saw her. When she saw him raise his eyebrow, she knew he was too late.
"I, uh…I was just taking a picture of the…French menu. It's so beautiful."
He swiveled his head around to look at the slanted neon colors on chalkboard. "Yes, we French have quite stunning menus."

Friday, March 10, 2006

Reflection Paper

Reflection:
The topic of Jesus' miracle stories really interests me. I was aware already of the motifs in New Testament miracle stories but didn't really understand the full extent of them all, such as resistance of the demon, difficulties in approach, and other descriptions of the distress. The rationalist interpretation of miracle stories is one I have encountered many times in my church and elsewhere, but it still does not make sense to me. To think that Jesus said to turbulent waters "be silent" and the sea just happened to settle at the same time I think is far too coincidental to be attributed to mere chance. I also don't put much belief in Strauss' argument that the miracle stories are to be understood as poetic compositions which seek to express an idea. To me there is more to the miracle stories that 'poetic compositions' – I believe the miracle stories may have happened somewhat differently than how they were written (its hard to get all the facts straight if you don't write down a scenario immediately after it takes place) but I believe they did happen and not as poetic compositions. I also don't really believe that they were revised and relativized critically by the evangelist to convey their message. The representation of Jesus as a magician likewise strikes me as ludicrous. I should not dismiss it entirely, it could be possible, but my religious upbringing almost leads me to be offended by the suggestions that Jesus was trained as a magician and that was how he performed his miracles. I was also interested by the fact that society's power of definition decides what is socially unacceptable as magic and what is accepted as 'miracle'. Some societies may view Jesus' miracles for true, honest miracle stories, while others would chalk it up to him being a magician. The theory of Jesus being a magician was a theory that was wholly new to me and I hope to learn more about it in the future.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

religion summary paper

Summary Chapter 10: Jesus as Healer: The Miracles of Jesus
P 281-291


The miracle stories are attested in so many layers of traditions that there is no doubt about their historical background. However, they also seem to us to be an unhistorical 'gleam' born of longing and poetry which has attached itself to the historical figure of Jesus. When viewing the miracle stories it is easy to see the ancient parallels to New Testament miracle stories. There are also recurring motifs in New Testament miracle stories, such as the coming of the miracle-worker, the appearance of the crowd, miraculous actions (touch, healing substances, prayer), and spreading of the news. There are also six phases of the discussion of the miracle of Jesus. One phase is the rationalist interpretation of miracles. Rationalistic theologians attempted to make the miracles plausible to modern understanding by interpreting the really miraculous element out of them. For instance, Jesus' walking on the water was explained by the presence of logs of wood which were floating in the precise place in the Sea of Galilee where Jesus went over the water. The second phase is the mythical interpretation of miracles. Strauss argues that the miracles stories are to be understood 'mythically' such as poetic compositions which seek to express an idea. The third phase is the interpretation of the miracles in form criticism and the history of religions. The fourth phase is the redaction-critical relativization of the miracle stories. The miracle stories were there in the tradition, and they were revised and relativized critically by the evangelists to convey their message. The fifth phase was the place of Jesus in a typology of ancient miracle-workers. In this phase Jesus is viewed either as a charismatic or a magician, a thesis that says Jesus was probably trained as a magician in Egypt. The final stage is the sociological aspects of the belief in miracle and of the emergence of miracle-workers. Sociology areas object to the notion of a timeless belief in miracles. Belief in miracles may be historically conditioned and increase in some periods and decrease in others. Social anthropologists suggested society's power of definition decides what is socially unacceptable as magic and what is accepted as 'miracle'.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

College students themselves discriminate against their colleagues that suffer from a mental illness. Part of this steams from the impact of pharmaceutical companies' advertisements on college students' perceptions of depression and treatment methods. Along with students discriminating against other students are students jumping to the conclusion that they suffer from depression, when in fact they do not. College stressors such as grades, social adjustment, and concerns about future jobs help to decrease self-esteem and energy, which can allow some students to believe they are depression (Frankenberger et al 2). Students take anti-depressants when they don't truly need them. This undermines those individuals that truly do suffer from major depression. Students that don't truly need anti-depressants often do not take into consideration the side effects of them. The two more prominent side effects of antidepressants such as SSRIs (eg Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil) include sexual dysfunction and weight gain. The weight gain associated with these medications tends to send those that are only mildly depressed back to their doctors in distress. If they suffered from major depression in actuality, the relief of depressive symptoms would outweigh certain side effects in most cases.
Another fatal mistake of those viewing depression in college students is feeling that the matter is not truly serious. For instance, in April 2000 MIT sophomore Elizabeth Shin of Livingston, N.J., set herself on fire in her dorm room. Her family sued the school for $27 million, stating that she had repeatedly told MIT administrators, psychiatrists and roommates that she felt suicidal. The school failed to put her under intensive psychiatric care or inform her family of her troubles. David Deluca, the Shin family's attorney, stated that "If a student is acting out because of drugs or alcohol, there's no hesitation to bring in the same. We've not gotten to the same point when it comes to mental-health care" (McGinn 59). Fortunately some people view depression as the serious, debilitating disorder that it is, facing the fact that children who seem 100 percent healthy when leaving for college may become depressed or commit suicide. Donna Satow and her husband have creased the Jed Foundation in honor of their Son Jed who committed suicide in 1998 as a sophomore. This foundation helps colleges develop strategies for dealing with depression. Donna Satow states she would like all colleges to screen incoming students for depression (McGinn 59) but it is important that they not discriminate.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

description paper

description paper of my trip to Africa + moral story

The air is cool but heavy, with a nearly tangible blanket of quiet covering it. The open and spacious skies are majestic in themselves. Everything, centered on a sense of calmness helps illustrate the peace and simplicity in Africa. Sorrows are forgotten, tears are dried, and the rainbow in the distance is brighter than ever. The mist is magical, the skies are open, and the air remains fresh and untouched. Pictures of these images; blazing sunrises, trailing clouds that seem to go on forever, acacia trees, are nothing compared to experiencing them. A veil of mist opens up, creating a picturesque view of the land. Mount Kenya, towering above the lands with imposing tranquility, seems to scour the soft hues of the pink sky.
With a final sip of scalding tea, I leave for my first game drive on the safari trip. I am excited, but do not know that the coming memories will remain in my mind for eternity. The first fleeting impala, the first dignified elephant, the first composed giraffe are all amazing, but their inspiring qualities are enhanced by the unbinding sky. The cheetah, however, will remain in my mind like an imprinted brand the longest for it’s memorable legend.
The first cheetahs were similar to the present day ones, but there are differences that provide a wide gap between the two. Cheetahs then had no spots and no trademark “tear marks” on their faces as they do now. They also had retractable claws, unlike the present day cheetahs. It was said, that a young cheetah, named Samburu, was the one to change all this. Samburu was known for his friendliness, helpfulness, and bravery. He had many friends, who he got along with, and all lived together in happiness. One day, Samburu noticed the others were acting differently towards him. They left him out, were blatantly mean to him, and Samburu didn’t know what to do. That was when he discovered tears, something that the other creatures had yet to realize. Crying them made him feel better, but when they didn’t stop falling from his eyes, he wondered if they would ever cease. These tears even left a permanent black trail from his eyes! When the others saw this, they laughed at him even more and threw sticks at Samburu’s unblemished coat. Soon he had ebony black spots covering his coat. Samburu’s brother noticed what they were doing to him and became angry. Soon black tears were falling form his face, too, as he felt his brother’s pain. He called to Kenyatta, the god of tears, to punish the other cheetahs. Before the others knew what had happened, they had black trails of tears from their eyes and spots on their coat like Samburu. Samburu and his brother decided they could not forgive the others and left them to venture the wild expanse on their own. From that moment all cheetahs have the striking “tear marks” on their faces, spots covering their coats, and claws that do not retract so they will always have them ready in case someone tries to hurt them. Never will you find cheetahs together, unless it is a mother and her cubs or two brothers, like Samburu and his brother.
I remember that tale vividly. I can still hear the fire popping in the lodge’s fire as our guide related the story to us. I can still smell the scented steam from the cup of rich coffee in my hands, and still see the sights that I will never forget before me. I can clearly picture a cheetah breezing by, the whispered word “Samburu” trailing after it, unaware that it will never catch up. As the stars twinkle above, holes poked in a cape of velvet for hope to see through, I ponder over the legend and the meaning of it.
The last day of my trip surmounts on the billowing clouds. It has come too quickly; I am not ready to leave. A tawny eagle bids its’ farewell as the sun reaches out its’ arms for one last hug. A butterfly floats past on a breeze, not knowing where it is going, but not really caring. The solitary hills, the musical acacias, beckon for me to stay. As I promise myself to return, a perfect cheetah calls out in it’s own goodbye, it’s skinny tail and lanky form disappearing behind a whispering tree.

Monday, March 06, 2006

part of my RA Application

1. Please describe any personal characteristics which you possess that make you well qualified to be a Resident Assistant. What skills do you possess and what experiences have you had that might enhance your candidacy for the Resident Assistant Position?

Responsibility, integrity and commitment; three cornerstones of a foundation I believe is required to be successful in any endeavor. While I am hopeful that I possess these, I am also aware that growth is only furthered by striving to excel. As an active member in the Alpha Phi Omega organization, I have enthusiastically participated in various community service projects throughout the Ashland and Richmond area, which have increased my appreciation of these three characteristics. This service fraternity has expanded my understanding of the meaning of our credo: Leadership, Friendship, and Service. These three ideals educate individuals on the importance of strength in character, service in the community, and loyalty to friends. Participation in this organization has also increased my dedication to the fact that we must continue our responsibility of replenishing our natural resources and commitment to recapturing the beauty of our environment. Writing is also one of my passions, and I am involved in the Washington Literary Society as well, an organization which helps writers garner new ideas and talents and increases motivation for publication. With such excellent mentors as Dr. Thomas Peyser and Dr. Amy Goodwin, I have only grown as a writer during my undergraduate career.
During my summer employment at Mid-Atlantic Tennis Supplies, I acquired expertise in office management and assisting customers with their issues and concerns, which broadened my understanding of people and how a single issue can be viewed in multiple ways. This position helped me gain proficiency not only in the organizational field, but also in dealing with a clientele composed of individuals from various backgrounds. I believe my experience there enabled me to develop office skills as well as the ability to interact with clients on a friendly and personal level.

2. Do you think it is important for a Resident Assistant to be aware of multicultural issues? If so, how can you be open to working with people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs?

I believe it is very important for a Resident Assistant to be aware of multicultural issues. In today's society, there exists a wide variety of beliefs and values, particularly in individual cultures. It is vital that one respects these individuals, for we all contain diverse personalities that make up our communities. Multicultural issues are only one facet in these various communities. Racial, religious, and gender discrimination are aspects of different cultures and I believe discrimination amongst them should not be tolerated. We grow as individuals due to learning about others and their different cultural values. As an RA I would be dealing with people from different situations in life and would need to adjust to the different cultures with which I am confronted. In the past I feel that one of the reasons I have admired my RAs is their tolerance for different people and their willingness to share their own experiences.


3. How do you feel being a Resident Assistant would contribute to your own growth and development?

I very strongly believe that becoming a Resident Assistant would further assist my skills in the area of paperwork and communication. This position would also enhance my competence as a leader and by being an RA, I would gain a greater aptitude for helping people. I believe learning how to take on a leadership role is a key to developing one's expertise for the real world outside of college. I also think it would help me gain finesse in preparing to for Graduate School. Being an RA would also allow me to socialize with students on a more personal level and therefore learn more about the Randolph-Macon community. I am interested in the dynamics that make up this college atmosphere and learning about the individuals on a one-to-one basis would increase my knowledge in this area. Most importantly, being an RA would allow me to become a role model and set examples for those around me. In the past I have admired not only the organizational and administrative skills of my RAs, but also their willingness to listen to my problems. I hope to become one of those RAs that I so admired.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Style Lesson 3

Style Lesson 3: Actions

There are three principles of writing: clarity, direct style, and conciseness. It is vitally important to make main characters subjects. A second principle of clarity is to make important actions verbs. Readers will think sentences are clearer if the characters are subjects and if all the actions are verbs. Most importantly, a sentence seems clear when its important actions are in verbs. Readers will think writing is dense if you use lots of abstract nouns, especially ones derived from verbs and adjectives.
One way to predict how a reader will judge your style is to ignore short introductory phrases and look for two things: abstract nouns as simple subjects, and if you read at least six or seven words before you get to a verb. If you do find such sentences, you should decide who your main characters are and look for actions that those character perform. Essentially, your sentences are likely to be more concrete, because they will have concrete subjects and verbs. Readers understand what you are trying to say if your sentences are more concise, the logic of your sentences is clearer, and your sentences tell a more coherent story. Finally, it is important to revise what you write because you tend to write incoherently about what you are unsure how to express.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

part of my paper on my controversy

This controversy of depression on college campuses also stems from its causes. Some debate that symptoms of depression are caused by historical background while others suggest that it is biologically attributes. Causes of depression range from deep psychological trauma to biological, physical changes that can cause the most stable, happy person to become depressed. Traumatic events in early childhood, such as the loss of a parent or childhood abuse may predispose one to depression later in life. Genetics also plays a vital part into the role of depression. This factor affects not only college students but all individuals at any age or stage in life. Genes control how our cells behave during development, but if a gene is faulty or absent the result will affect cells' behavior. This can affect us physically and mentally (Wolpert 42). Depressed people do have an increased family history of severe depression (Wolpert 46). There is little doubt that changes in brain chemistry are linked to depression, particularly the levels of neurotransmitters and hormones, that fluctuate in the years of high school and college (Wolpert 106). A commonly accepted view is that depression involves a deficiency of neurotransmitters like noradrenalin and serotonin in the brain. Sometimes, chemical imbalances in the brain cause serotonin to be blocked. It is this blocking of the uptake of neurotransmitters like serotonin that is thought to be the basis of action of antidepressant drugs (Wolpert 107). These controversies for the causes of depression and how it affects college students in the end cannot be agreed upon.

Treatments vary between two major modalities. There exists talking and behavioral therapies to help an individual deal with the symptoms of depression, or physical intervention, as seen in the form of pharmacological means. When neither of these therapy treatments work, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is sometimes suggested, though it is rare and extremely controversial. (Solomon 101). Even less invasive methods, such as antidepressants, have also sparked controversy, however. With the rise of antidepressants prescribed to college students, the rise of controversy has matched pace. Psychosurgery and ECT evoke frightening images, but modern day has refined the techniques to cause virtually painless treatments, though none are without side effects. ECT treatments seem extreme, but in some cases it is the only option to relieve the depression by patients for whom no other treatment ahs worked (Wolpert 139).
There are those who believe depression should be cured naturally. This is the foundation of arguments from people such as Tom Cruise, who was censured for loudly criticizing Brook Shields for taking antidepressants after suffering from postpartum depression. Psychotherapists view depression as something that can be cured through examining one's character, personality, and background. Other doctors view depression as an externally determined imbalance that can be corrected without reference to the rest of a personality (Solomon 101). Controversies surrounding the topic of medical treatments suggest that medication has set us free and that we are not correcting the origins of the illness (Solomon 103). This is simply slapping a band-aid on a wound without really curing it, some would suggest. Behavioral therapists suggest that the only way to effectively cure depression is to alter their thinking patterns (Wolpert 146).
Those opposed to physical intervention ardently suggest that there are plenty of alternatives that individuals are not taking advantage of. Dieticians state that "you can certainly bring on a depression by failing to eat the right foods, and you can to some extent protect against recurrence through careful monitoring of diet" (Solomon 138). They are careful to state that you cannot cause depression by eating certain foods, however. Natural herbs, such as Saint-John's-wort appear to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Since it is a natural herb, too, it is easier on a college student's budget than anti-depressants. However, it does not help all cases of depression. One major problem individuals find with homeopathic remedies is that while they are effective at keeping them sable, when circumstances drove them into a new depression, they could not bring them out (Solomon 154). In the late 1990s, Americans ran to the stores to discover whether St. John's wort was really the miracle drug is proclaimed itself to be. While it helped some, those with major depression were disappointed to find the herbal supplement fell woefully short of helping (Connor 22). Research seems to suggest that herbals remedies such as St. John's wort can help but do not always remain helpful in the long run or in some instances do not help at all. Furthermore, those patients with severe depression initially do better when treated with drugs (Wolpert 161).
A more modern treatment of depression is eye movement desensitatization and reprocessing (EDMR) therapy. Originating in 1987, it was discovered to help patients who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. The patient while going through this process is said to relive their trauma and at the end of the session, remain free from nightmares (Solomon 140). However, while EDMR is increasingly being used for depression, research is careful to state that college students may not have this subconscious damage post-traumatic patients do and therefore it may not be as helpful to depressed college students.
The stigmas attached to individuals who suffer from depression are often unwarranted and fundamentally unfounded. It is easily argued that depressed people have a more accurate view of the world around them than do nondepressed people. Freud observed that the depressed person has 'a keener eye for the truth than others who are not [depressed]' (Solomon 433). Many students who suffer from depression say they feel signaled our or secluded from things. Many feel ashamed or like they will be penalized for having a disorder they cannot control. For instance, Dean of admissions at MIT stated she was looking to enroll "emotionally resilient" students. She states "If you need a lot of pharmaceutical support to get through the day, you're not a good match for a place like MIT" (McGinn et al 59). Students applying to go to college hear such statements and feel like they should be ashamed of feeling depressed and therefore do not report it. The rise of depression in college students is increasing but that does not follow students should consequently feel ashamed. Instead, the public and society and college communities everywhere need to be made aware that this issue is rapidly growing and should not be ignored. Furthermore, those that suffer from depression should not be condemned as MIT does. A counselor at an East Coast private high school stated that officials from two college during the 2003-04 admissions cycle confided "they were focused on admitting a class that was 'rock solid' emotionally – both to help prevent suicides and to reduce the toll on overbook school therapists" (McGinn et al 59). This fact shows that the amount of depression in college students is growing at an alarming rate, to the point where school therapists are "overbooked".
One of the most disappointing stigmas attached to mental illnesses on college students is that of discrimination. I interviewed a student, who wishes to remain anonymous, who related her spring semester of her sophomore year to me. She stated, "I was a mess. I was so depressed I could hardly function. I slept rarely more than three or four hours a night. Professors were even beginning to become concerned. I saw counselors on campus and at home and got my medication changed. The one thing people don't understand is that medication changes take a long time for your body to become used to. So it took me awhile to become myself again." However, while she was going through this rough transition, her grades dropped and she lost her scholarship. Upon the appeals process, she explained all these very private details to the scholarship committee, who agreed it was unfortunate, but was unwilling to give her her scholarship back. She was outraged that she was being discriminated against for something that was out of her control. Since many admissions processes are requiring students to appear flawless, many families are avoiding disclosing a child's history of mental illness or emotional problems (McGinn 59).

Friday, March 03, 2006

Reflection Paper for Religion

Reflection:

The end of time and our place on this earth is one that sparks many debates. It is a topic I have not really paid much attention to, in all honesty. Granted, I think about the end of time and certain aspects of eschatology like any other Christian, but I do not dwell on it with fervor as others do. Not because it is unpleasant, it is simply so complex I have no made up my mind how I feel about it. One particular area of research in eschatology that interested me was C.H. Dodd's view. I have heard some believe there is no hell and that hell is what we live now. Likewise, I have heard that some believe there is no heaven, that what we live now is heaven. I make up my own mine on such important theoretical debates, but I still find it interesting and helpful to listen to other people's ideas. I personally would like to believe that there is a heaven and a "better place" because sometimes I find the troubles of this world too much to bear not only for myself but others. However, I would also not go so far as to say what we live in is the "hell" that we so fear. There is too much beauty in life to consider it truly evil. Other theories on the end of time and the coming of Jesus confused me. Kummel's view, for instance, in which he states Jesus was reckoning with a short time between his death and the coming of the kingdom of God, seems to me farfetched. When I read text from the Bible, or consider the beliefs I have grown up with, I believe Jesus felt the coming of the kingdom of God would occur in the far future. I never got the impression that Jesus believed it was right around the corner after his death. Bultmann's argument seems to follow on this same path and though this suggestion that Jesus new the new world was imminent is new to me and confusing, it is also note-worthy to ponder the possibility that Jesus believed the coming of the kingdom of God was coming soon after his death. This chapter brought new ideas on the second coming to my mind, some which I agreed with, some which I did not, and some that I am yet ambivalent about.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Religion Paper on Eschatology

Eschatology is the branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind. The center of Jesus' eschatological preaching suggests that the saving message of the kingly rule of God which is proclaimed on one hand as already having come and on the other it is imminent. Dozens of individuals studying theology have varying views on Jesus and eschatology. According to Ritschl, for instance, the kingdom of God is the loving community of human beings in the highest good. Ritschl also applies the tradition of Kant, according to whom the kingdom of God organizes beings in accordance with laws of virtue. J. Weiss and A. Schweitzer vary in this view, however. They interpreted Jesus consistently in an apocalyptic context. J. Weiss argued that Jesus expected a new world which would break in after cosmic catastrophes, a world which would be brought in by God alone. Palestine would be the center of the new kingdom, in which Jesus along with his followers would rule over the restored people of the twelve tribes and the pagans who would stream there from all over the would. Jesus' ethical demands are the conditions for entering the kingdom, according to Weiss. C.H. Dodd provides another point of view. He suggests that the kingdom of God has already come. Accordingly, Jesus' parables of judgment are not about the last judgment but about the division among people in the face of God's kingly rule which is already taking place in the present. Dodd attaches little significance to the saying about the future. Another view, given by W.G. Kummel, suggests that the person of Jesus is the basis for continuity between present and future: in Jesus what the future kingdom will bring is already present. Jesus was reckoning with a short time between his death and the coming of the kingdom of God. There is also an existentialist interpretation of eschatology put forward by Rudolf Bultmann. Bultmann put forward the conviction that Jesus himself lived in the apocalyptic myth, such as the expectation of a chance in the world in the very near future. There seems to me to be two Jesus personas: the apocalyptic Jesus and the non-apocalyptic Jesus. These theories try to interlock these two images but it seems impossible to do.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Another Half Story for Creative Writing

However, there was no gum around. Eli searched frantically around him. Shaking the water out of his eyes, he tore off his shirt and stuffed it into the thumb nail size hole in the boat. The boat continued to rock back and forth. Eli looked around him, gazing in abject terror at the waves that seemed to claw mercilessly at his boat. Nature truly could not be fought, Eli realized. He had been a fool to risk this option. Sensing he would be far safer beneath the deck, Eli hurried back down, listening to the sounds of the storm above him all the while.
He picked up his Louis and Clark book off the damp floor and clutched it to his chest in what he knew was a foolish gesture. They had survived a miraculous excursion, though, hadn't they? A loud crash above jerked Eli out of his reverie. He prayed like he had never prayed before in his life. Where the hell was MacGyver at a time like this? He sure could use a MacGyver.
Somewhere in the night, Eli passed out from sheer exhaustion. Hours later, his eyes opened slowly, crusted from sleep. He was terribly cold, wet and…alive. Jerking himself off the bed, he ran to the deck of the ship. And stared.
The boat had run ground on an island. It looked like the typical island he had seen in Castaway. Except there was no Wilson to comfort him. Eli forced his mouth closed and disembarked from the ship. The sand made a soft shh-shh noise under the soles of his worn-out sneakers. He saw clumps of seaweed littering the shore and his stomach seemed to suggest it would make a delicious meal. Smelling the foul vegetation, Eli resisted. He wasn't that desperate yet. He still had granola bars in the cabin. He snorted. He bet MacGyver didn't have granola bars. Eli paused and thought about that for a minute. Oh god. He was going insane. And he had only been stranded for less than an hour and he was laughing to himself because he was sure MacGyver didn't have granola bars.
He heard a crash in the shrubbery behind him and jumped. Lord, please tell me there aren't lions or some other ferocious creature inhabiting this island. The sound moved away from him and Eli's curiosity got the better of him. Carefully picking his way through the dense foliage, he followed the rustle. He soon began to hear the beat of drums and…was that chanting?
"Civilization!" Eli whispered hopefully to himself.
He was getting closer. He was beginning to dream of other people on the island. Perhaps they had gotten stranded too. Perhaps they could all build a magnificent ship to sail back home with. He was already missing it; the comfort of his own bed, air-conditioning, even his tabby cat Ginger. Eli reflected a moment. Perhaps this was God's way of showing him where the treasure was. Yes, he could almost taste it. It was surely under his feet.
Eli sniffed; he could smell something in the air. He couldn't place the scent but it struck fear deep in his belly. It smelled like blood. It smelled like death. He saw a clearing through the maze of trees ahead. Pushing a branch out of the way, Eli stared in shock and horror.