Category Archives: English101

A Semester In Review

I wandered into the classroom- albeit a little late- with only one thought, “Wonderful, another English class. I’ll relearn how to write a sentence and maybe we’ll read Romeo and Juliette again.”
The rhetorical triangle came up and I wasn’t too surprised. I had been in AP classes for the last three years of high school, it was one of the more hated subjects I had to learn, but I took notes and relearned it.
“How does the world see you?” my professor asks the next week. Quiet and sarcastic I think sarcastically but do the assignment anyway.
It’s the seventh week of the semester, we’ve made blogs for the class and posted to the a few times now. It was a little strange but I knew what I was doing and pass it off as college being different than high school. I pause and wait to make a joke, since I’ve never heard the word before. It pays to be informed about the things you’re criticizing.
“The idea that everything has a meaning.” And there it was. I had assumed that since this was an ongoing joke between my friends and I (Everything is a sign #Illuminati) it would be simple to BS and move on with my life. Oh how wrong was I.



Semiotics was the absolute hardest of the concepts for me to understand, at the time I wanted to hold firm in my belief that not everything is a sign. Following the process for understanding what the signs in a paper or an image or a video mean was easy enough, but I simply didn’t see them. I got it done, with the help of few helpful kindly souls, but it was done none the less. The hardest assignment where this came into play was Where I’m From. A way for everyone in the class to get to know each other it went a little deeper than the “what is your favorite color” or “what your starter pokemon would be” (which is Mudkip, in case you wanted to know). It made me sit down and really think about what my essence as a person is. Exploring not only the materials and random items found in one of the numerous junk drawers but what the history of my family has done to shape me. Of course where I’m from isn’t the only way to look at myself. Although it wasn’t specifically about myself my analysis on violent video games and their effects on youths had been something that I’ve been researching and arguing for a while now. That was the third time I’d done that particular topic, but it was nice to get another chance to analyze old and new information. Over the years my view has shifted from just getting the word out that it is not the problem of the games themselves, but to explaining statistics behind violent outbursts, studies, tragedies, and then with my enrollment into the school understanding games not only from a gamer’s perspective but from a developer’s perspective as well.

But the experience wasn’t all dead puppies and “what do the numbers mean” jokes. I certainly had fun doing the assignments. I definitely had the most fun with the blog analysis assignment where I gave advice for NaNoWriMo and offered people sources to use, regardless of if this was their first time or if they had been writing for a long time. I liked the way it turned out well enough that I reposted it onto my art blog and got lots of feedback on the post. Many of y followers sent messages thanking me for the information and even asked for a follow up post on “post production.” It was a great feeling bringing my knowledge and experiences to teach other people to easily jump start their writing and other creative processes.


Munchkin cat in its natural habitat, our hearts

The blog was the most fun about the whole thing though. The format isn’t entirely new to me, I’ve run a few personal bogs for a few years now but I hadn’t thought about dong a semi-formal blog at all, and especially not for an English class. It was exciting to shift the writing style to fit the needs of MamaWaffle, and I’ll probably continue posting to it in the near future.
My only regret is that I didn’t make every single assignment about cats.

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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in English101


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Maybe Video Games Aren’t At Fault

Maybe Video Games Aren’t At Fault

With a recent incline in violent shootings many have turned to what the shooter did in their spare time to understand what could have triggered this behavior. A common factory among these shooters is that they often played violent online video games and have prompted for many to feel like the censorship or even in some extreme cases banning of these games is needed. Although it may be seen like the perfect culprit these games would suffer i the censorship was allowed, and there are often other factors in the shooter’s lives that have led up to a tragic event. The recent rise in violent shootings needs a solution, but one must understand what is the real cause of these shootings in order to prevent them in the future.

Violent video games have been blamed for adding stress to players but it is often used more as a stress reliever, a way for players to escape for a few hours to a fantasy world and live out fantasies that would not be allowed in normal society. Many players in the gaming community have claimed that video games, especially competitive games, are the more satisfying to play. Even some researchers such as Osamah Tahir in his article “Dangerous or Merely Fun?” states, “but some experts say violent video games help relieve stress and anger virtually.” And although the research is still divide very evenly, many on the opposing side have stated that video games that often require less attentive thought have been known to relieve stress. But this would not be the case if they were censored. There is a system set up to give these games ratings to better inform buyers about the content in the games, but no set way to censor the content or even the online interactions between players. There is a gray area in determining what is offensive or too violent, but that’s what the rating system is for after all.

But there are two sides to every situation. Unfortunately studies done to fully understand the effects of violent video games on children to young adults are often too conflicting or incomplete to determine an absolute link. In studies between the violent tendencies of young adults and the video games they play controlled factors in them such as a child’s upbringing and mental health were often not kept at a controlled factor of the tests and results were sometimes inconclusive. In “Violent Video Games Do Not Create Violent Behaviors” Emma Zambrycki States “There’s so many other factors that go into it, like your personality, your history, any history of abuse, and mental illness, things of that nature. So many factors go into how you behave in terms of aggressive or violent behaviors. Violent video games may be a predictor, but to say that violent video games are the cause of those things, and they the only reason why, is incorrect.”
Unfortunately the amount of factors that must be taken into account cannot be kept at a constant or even closely monitored adequately enough to state that violent video games cause or do not cause violent tendencies.

A more recent event where violent video games were blamed for a shooter’s behavior was in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. The shooter, Adam Lanza, was known to play these online games such as Call of Duty for hours on end, however Lanza had multiple mental disabilities that should have been red flags before the Sandy Hook tragedy. In the Front Line video documentary on Lanza it is said that Lanza had Asperger’s– a learning disorder that is known as a higher form of autism– and Sensory Intergration Disorder– a neurological disorder that results from the brain’s inability to fully compile and pull from the five main senses efficiently. While one of the disorders can be known to make socializing difficult for those affected by them both together made Lanza detached from the world, often not wanting people to touch him and preferring to stay away from others and change. This began to slowly change when a teacher that Lanza had begun to trust invited him to join the technology club at his high school. While in the technology club it wasn’t just Lanza playing the video game on the computer, the other students were as well and his interest was seen as normal. It’s also important to look a Lanza’s mother and the actions that she took. Although she saw and acknowledged her son’s improvement she pulled him from the high school for unknown reasons, backtracking on the progress he had made and did not participate in groups or therapy to continue to help her son’s development. To get closer to her sons Lanza’s mother often took him and his brother to a shooting range, and kept large guns in her home. The idea that video games was to cause this unfortunate even in American history or that Adam Lanza suddenly snapped is far from the truth.
Raising Adam-Lanza

The thought that video games are the sole reason for violent shootings and the “growth” in violent and aggressive behaviors is not looking at the larger picture. Censoring mature games that are originally meant for adults will not help in either’s decline. Closer monitoring of children who have been diagnosed and need help, educating parents who might not be aware of what mature ratings mean, and getting proper help for those children early on are good places to start though.

Raising Adam Lanza. (2013, February 19). Retrieved December 4, 2014.
Zambrycki, E. (2014, October 19). Violent video games do not create aggressive behavior. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
Tahmir, O. (2013, May 19). Dangerous Or Merely Fun. Retrieved December 4, 2014.

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Posted by on December 18, 2014 in English101


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NaNo Prep Sources

NaNo Prep Sources

With NaNoWriMo just around the corner, it can be difficult to get back into the mood to write, especially if you felt that taking a two month break was a good idea (in my case). Finding the right idea, creating the plot, even coming up with characters can be difficult. Luckily the internet is a writer’s best friend. There are articles on helping the average writer bypass writer’s block, but they can sometimes be bland and repetitive. Again, the internet comes to the rescue with blogs dedicated to certain parts of the creative writing process.

The first question in writing a story: Do I know how to write a story? The answer is yes you do, but if you don’t feel confident enough in your skills as a writer there’s a blog for that. Fix your Writing Habits is exactly that, any user can submit a question or search the tags to look for something that they feel that they need to work on. The blog covers anything from Point of View, to Plotting, and even covers NaNoWriMo. Although the blog doesn’t have one focus the advice and help is diverse enough to be the one blog you need.
But it’s always good to have more than one source!

So now we know how to write, next we need a plot. Although you can find many story ideas on FYWH, Maxkirin offers a wider range of ideas (and they’re daily!). For our story idea we’ll use this one:Write about a character who used to be a member of an elite fighting unit. They used to fly into battle atop  a dragon– but that is no more. Why? Explore the point of view of this character as they look at their uniform. Did this character change… or did the world change? The plot is still open ended, which let’s us customize it to our liking.

Plot down, now we need to understand what our character will be and what he/she will look like. Character Design Inspiration is a blog that a writer can use to generate ideas of a character’s appearance. Although most of these blogs have sections for character development it’s difficult to decide on a good protagonist with just words- visuals can often stoke some ideas better than words. This blog is categorized and tagged so that navigation to what you want is simple and easy. But our story seed told us to write about a character that used to be part of a fighting unit. That means:

Character Design Inspiration posts some weapons, but not enough to fully grasp the range that is out there. Art-of-Swords is a great source for finding the perfect weapon for your character. (If you’re not using guns that is. For gun references gunrefs is a good source). Many of the swords are posted with the history behind them and are tagged by type. Since I have a soft spot for it we’ll chose the katar as the weapon of choice.

So now we have a story idea, a character, and he has a weapon. Now we have to decide on the finer details of the world. The Writing Cafe is another well rounded blog, but they are an excellent source for world building and mythology in particular. Our character doesn’t fight with the elite squad of fighters anymore, your world can explain why in its history. Did dragons go extinct? Is there a new ruler and they disbanded the group? Was our character discharged from the group? These are things that understanding your world’s history can decide.

The Majority of these blogs post daily motivation to get writers through the mid NaNo slumps (which generally last from November 3rd to November 30th) so it’s easy to stay on top of things and keep going. Many also post tips for writing and story organization help. Also know that these are not the only sources to use, these are only a hand full of the blogs that I’ve found useful through my writing.
Happy NaNoWriMo and good luck!

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Posted by on October 19, 2014 in English101


A Plea From My Phone

To: Human Resources
From: Glenda Heluuu
Date: 2 October 2014
Re: Request For Management to “Take it Easy”

I’ve been in the employment of CC’s Phones for just over a year now, and for the most part have not had any complaints. I’m cleaned regularly, my cache is kept clear, I haven’t had a virus and have never been lost or forgotten. Precautions have been taken to make sure that I am safe from others, however the abuse that I have taken in the year and few months of my activation from management is unacceptable.
The dropping incidents are becoming more frequent and more ridiculous- I’m sure you’ve heard about the roof incidents from last months that we were both involved in. No phone should have to suffer through that kind of trauma without maintenance. I black out from slight bumps due to the injuries sustained through that week. Why I would be needed on the roof of a building is beyond me. Management has been known to pass this off as a simple bump in the road and say “that’s what the case is for.”
Management has also taken to installing apps that are beyond my technical capabilities. The simple social media apps,bthe flashlight, the solitaire game are all fine. But Battle Cats?, Keyboard modifications?, The Sims free Play? Having the multiple processes up that the game requires causes me to become confused and freeze up. Experts say it’s not good for my health, Management has known this, and continues to abuse me.
I am not asking for time off, or for a transfer. I, and many of my coworkers, would simply like for Management to be more aware that we have feelings too.

—Glenda Heluuu

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Posted by on October 4, 2014 in English101


My Way Of Life

On My Corner

Things have really calmed down recently, getting back to normal I hope. I heard from one of the middle school students that someone’s knocked into the sign at the entrance last month. I heard plans to spray paint the fallen stones. The high students brag about knowing who it was and the party that caused it. I hope it’ll be fixed soon. The rest of the neighborhoods signs are worried that they’re next.
There haven’t been any fire trucks recently, but lots of ambulances. I get sad when they go by, the people on my street are nice. They keep bowls of water and food at the base of my pole for strays, and don’t write on me. The parties they throw aren’t anything to sneeze at either- cars line the streets almost every weekend… I’ve misspoken though, some of the people are nice. The rest of them only slow down enough to turn. I worry for the good ones that do stop. A lot of ambulances show up at my corner because some stop and others don’t. I’ve seen a lot of accidents happen on my corner, but I’ve seen a lot avoided because I’m here.

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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in English101, Where I'm From


Where I’m From

I am from pen ink
From Suave and Swifter
I am from the faint scent of soot
Gray, dreary, and accented by sweet candles
It felt mystical
I am from the aloe vera plants
The grapefruit trees
Swarming with every bug in the yard

I’m from the Sunday brunches and playful teasing
From Shirley and John
I’m from the do-it-yourselfers
And uncontainable ambition
I am from the card games played into the night
And from the Monopoly games gone wrong
From “do it now and play later”
And “treat others as you wish to be treated”
I’m from hours spend in my second home
Singing praises to the savior

I’m from Houston and Louisiana
Barbecued burgers and Meme’s etouffee
From the long drives to Miss Cornway’s home
Cluttered with toys and junk alike
From the cousins abandoned to the family
Their mother lost to the streets

Scattered through the house
But centered in the entertainment room
Each picture to show how far we have made it
I am from laughter at the cowboy boots and their ten gallon hats
From moon landings
And New beginnings
I am from a foundation for those who need it

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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in English101