Posted 2 years ago

Research Paper

Topic: I’ve been getting more and more into freestyle rap and I’ve always loved improv comedy (who’s line is it anyways? Curb your enthusiasm, etc..) SO I want to write about what’s behind ad libbing. It seems like an impressive mental process, so I want to focus on the brain function aspect of the art of surfing on brainwaves!

Purpose: This topic is important to me because I have had many jobs where the main focus, really, is entertainment without a script. I’ve always loved being surrounded by people who can roll with the punches, constantly adapt; pull from their experiences, culture, and theory to make something entirely new and interesting… all in the time it takes to remember a phone number. I hope to inform my audience on how they can mentally exist closer and closer to the exact present, and mayyybe become funny. 

Writer: My first experience was in my elementary school’s Academic Triathalon, a competitive matching of miniature wits. After all the science and math was through with, the final showdown was always an improv show with an assigned plot. I cannot put in words how fun that was. Since then, I’ve done all kinds of daily improv and freestyle bullshitting with friends,I’ve had jobs in the service industry where adaptation was key, but I really got a stage when I was giving small tours to groups of about 11 people in San Francisco the last two summers (on segways haha). Everyone was (obviously) there on vacation, and so DAILY I was bombarded by people craving relaxation; people who were spewing banter and questions and quirks that were kept under wraps until they were thousands of miles and an ocean away from home. Living off-the-cuff was incredible.

Audience: My audience will be anyone who is interested in increasing their own unique ability to get people to react to their words more effectively. Although I have to assume most people can hold a conversation, the tools and resources I will provide will speak to a curious audience of thinkers who hope to increase their mental pace. I believe that right now, my future audience assumes that some people are simply quicker or wittier than others. I hope to show them that although we live in a world where great comebacks are 5 minutes late, we can learn what it is about our mental processes that may be worked on so we can be more entertaining.

Working claim – Our minds are ours to control; just like any other part of your body, it can get stronger with proper use. 

Three (preliminary) supporting arguments 

          People can become super-learners, or vastly increase their memory through practice

          Many things which we find funny or entertaining follow a similiar pattern

          The space between your mind and your mouth can be lessened, e.g. fast readers.

Three (also preliminary) counterarguments 

          IQ is fairly static

          Creativity is a skill some people don’t have

          people are too self concious to eliminate a portion of their “filter”, don’t know what might come out!

What types of evidence will you be looking for? I hope to focus mostly on scientific study, some expert testimony and some interactive example



Posted 2 years ago

Critical Analysis Proposal

So I’ve really vibed with this song, ‘Devil’s Pie” by Rhymefest, off his debut album “Blue Collar” in 2006. It is a collage of ideas drawn from the culture of hip-hop, D’angelo’s “Devil’s Pie” and whatever the heck you want to call The Strokes, (Besides ‘Cody’s favorite band growing up’…’Alternative rock’ doesn’t do it for me, though this is probably the wrong platform for that discussion).

When I heard “Devil’s Pie” in 2006, the familiar riff from the Stroke’s ‘Someday’ struck a chord (punavaoidable) with all the appropriate emotions for the upcoming message. The riff brought on much nostalgia from my connection to the original song: growing up, having friends depart from my side, gaining new goals and concerns; ultimately, about growing up into a world that’s bigger than it’s ever been. Pair this with the new layer Rhymefest speaks upon it and you have a melodic life lesson about how easy it is to lose your way in whatever big new world you’re heading into.

But would you still learn as much from the song if you were ignorant to the source of the riff or if the riff were absent? Would it otherwise simply be a song about the dangers of valuing objects and things? The subtle hint provided by the Strokes actually speaks volumes to Rhymefest’s struggle and should provide the lucky listener who identifies with “Someday” a small variation on a lesson otherwise lost.

Very recently, this song played on The Current and got me interested in evaluating the relationship between the themes hinted at in the riff and the words being spoken. My thesis will be: If a work of compilation is taken at face value, how much meaning is lost? Does this invisible string-pulling create a realm of meaning which only compiled works may occupy?

Listen to all three of these songs! Lots of tasty brain food. 

Posted 2 years ago

First draft ruminations…

Talk about your process writing this portion of the draft. What came easily for you?

First drafts are a nightmare. I usually have no clue where to start, but this paper was a great re-intro. I had an easy time of summarizing the ideas which Lethem put forth, though it was a little difficult to remember that I needed to spell out every topic. I kept stopping myself from inserting my own opinion, and once I focused purely on the text, summing things up came easily. The main points about copyright laws being faulty were gone over in discussion and in rereading so thoroughly that I found it very easy to translate Lethem’s points into simpler language and write with a steady flow, which made the whole process easier.


What were the major struggles of this draft? Be specific.

Time management was, as always, my major challenge. I began the summary the day it was assigned and thought so highly of myself that I ended up relaxing and putting the rest off until the day before it was due. I then wrote too much AND didn’t finish my conclusion to my satisfaction. I now know that I need to allow myself time for editing after my ideas are down, because I usually edit as I go and become sick of each paragraph by the time I get to the next. This leads to a really top heavy draft with kind of a wimpy tail on it. Very uncool. 


Let’s talk about time management. How did you balance the researching and writing of this partial draft? In what ways could you improve?

I hope I wasn’t supposed to do research, because I used only the given text and some second opinion summaries to gain some perspective. Negating the almost complete absence of research, I would say my balance was spot on. I could really improve my summary by using smaller quotes (as recommended by my editing partner) and elaborating on the ideas which came later in the text. Again, my first draft is almost always shaped like Larry the Lobster. My time management could allot more time for slapping the keyboard until EVERYTHING I wanted to say was out, and THEN getting my mouse involved. I tend to perfect as I go and by the end of it (if I’m in a time crunch like I was on this one) I barely even bother with tense. 


Now, a to-do list: write at least five (5) things you need to do before you hand in your summary portfolio to Chrissy on Monday, February 13th. Be specific. Do not write “finish the paper.”

1. edit the back 9

2. heed my partner’s advice and work on transitions/wordy quotes

3. eliminate my bias, which the paper reeks of

4. snappy conclusion, so far unfinished

5. read more second opinion summaries to learn references I may have missed

Posted 2 years ago

3 Study Q’s for The Ecstasy of Influence

1.”A time is marked not so much by ideas that are argued about as by ideas that are taken for granted” I would entirely agree with this statement by Lethem. SOPA is brought to mind by this quote as it reminds us to value what we take for granted, i.e. social freedom on the internet. Could SOPA be more self-defeating?

2.”The first Congress to grant copyright gave authors an initial term of fourteen years, which could be renewed for another fourteen if the author still lived. The current term is the life of the author plus seventy years.” Radiohead’s album ‘In Rainbows’ was released for free in 2007. Dylan has never denied a request for a sample. When Drake’s ‘Take Care’ leaked late 2011, he said, ” Listen, enjoy it, but it if you like it… and take care until next time”. This idea of keeping an iron grip on creative media seems to be letting up in the wake of the internet as a social force. Do you think that old ideas of copyright may be making a return? Could our lack of monetarily valuing art cause a slackening of cultural competition?

3.As Jefferson wrote, “He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” I think this is a fantastic point for discussion. Technology today can produce culture at speeds which leave trends constantly at the wayside. Could this quote be entirely false in today’s context? Could the lack of citation be inexcusable with the ease of tags?