Category Archives: WPC

These are the pieces that I post based on ideas from The Daily Blog http://dailypost.wordpress.com/about-the-daily-post/

Coffee Overkill

When people talk about being an addict the first thing I usually think of is alcoholism or drugs or cigarettes, you know, the serious stuff. But caffeine can also be an addictive substance–it is classified as a stimulant drug. I never really gave much thought to how much caffeine (Read: coffee) I consumed in a day until I read the daily prompt from a few days ago: What is the one word or phrase that immediately cheers you up when you hear it? My first thought was, Starbucks. Not only is that marketing at its finest, but I then thought about how many cups I drink on average in a week. [Side note: I usually make  coffee  with my french press, I don’t only get coffee from Starbucks].

One in the morning, one with lunch, and one in the afternoon. Three. And that’s not including if I take an extra shot of espresso with my coffee.

 

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So how much caffeine is that?  According to google there are 95mg of caffeine in one cup f coffee and 64mg of caffeine in one shot of espresso. On average I take one cup of coffee with a shot of espresso a day, that’s seven shots of espresso a week, plus the other three cups of coffee. So to break it down in totals: Per Day=349mg, Per Week=2,443mg (2.4 grams). That is a lot of caffeine.

Now, I’m not going to quit caffeine cold turkey forever because that’s just silly. Caffeine helps relieve headaches, boosts energy (for the short-term), increases metabolism, improves cognition and researchers at John Hopkins have found that it helps improve long-term memory. However, too much caffeine is not good for the long-term as the withdrawal symptoms are brutal. I learned this first hand from the pounding migraines, lethargy and overall grumpiness. It can also induce tremors, especially if you drink it on an empty stomach as well as possibly increasing your risk of stroke, but the jury seems to still be out on that one.

I don’t want to need caffeine to function as a human being–to me that is one of the definitions of addiction. I should be able to function throughout the day without it. Plus, one of my favorite mottos is everything in moderation. I don’t think 2,443mg of caffeine counts as moderation.

In light of this, and wanting to be an overall healthier person, I’ve decided to limit myself to one cup of coffee a day, sans espresso. Instead of coffee in the morning, I’m going to eat breakfast. What a strange idea. Hopefully the withdrawal blues won’t hit too hard, but since I’m not going cold turkey I don’t expect them to.

So here’s to a summer of fruit smoothies and roasted brussel sprouts, a decrease in coffee and an increase in self-discipline.

If you have any suggestions or anecdotes to share, please leave them in the comments and any and all encouragement is greatly appreciated! Have a great week, bloggers!

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Book is the New Work

Click over to your favorite blog, and pick out the 4th and 14th words (that aren’t “the” or “an”). Drop them into this phrase:
“_____ is the new _____.”

My family never had cable and by time I was in 8th grade we didn’t even have a tv anymore. So I grew up on books and I loved them. I had read every fantasy, sci-fi and interesting young adult book at the small library near my house a million times when I went off to college.

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But once I got to university, I stopped reading. I don’t like to admit it, but I haven’t read a book all the way through in a long time. It’s hard mixing pleasure reading with academic reading. It might have to do with the fact that I don’t like a lot of academic readings–big words and haughty tones aren’t really my thing and in order to succeed in my classes, I don’t have to read these texts all the way through, I just skim them.

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We watched a TED Talk in my education class called Changing Education Paradigms, which was based on the talk by Ken Robinson, which discussed problems with our education system. One of these is the distinguishing between academic people and non-academic people, the former considered smart and the latter non-smart.

One of the reasons I think reading for class is such a burden is because the texts we read are often written by academics who insist on showing off their “smartness” through word choice and confusing sentence structure. Now, I’m an English major and I’ve made it to my junior year of college so according to society I am smart. But these texts we read make me feel like I’m back in fifth grade struggling to understand the basics of math! There should not be such a decisive divide between different types of “smartness”–those who excel at math and science are just as smart as those who excel at drama and art. I do not want the things I’m reading for school, that are supposed to help me learn, to make me feel stupid instead.

Students do need to be challenged, but confidence in one’s abilities is just as important. I don’t want to approach learning with the attitude that because I don’t know something I’m not as smart as my peers or that not understanding “academic works” makes me somehow lesser. I want to get excited when I learn new things because learning is enjoyable and I want to be respected for the things I do know, be it art, poetry, or any of the liberal arts.

Do you think there is a real divide between “academics” and “non-academics”? If there is, should there be?

I highly advise watching Robinson’s talk, it makes some great points about the American school system and offers some interesting ideas for future changes.

What do you think about divergent thinking? Could we incorporate that into our school system today, or is divergent thinking too different from the intellectual model of the mind on which we currently base our school system?

I want to know what you think–leave your ideas in the comment section!

The Winds of Change

Change. Good? Bad? Meh?

Even though I’m not always gung-ho about change, I try to embrace the process. I think it pushes us out of our comfort zones, to new places, to new people, to try new things. Change is the catalyst that introduces new experiences so that we can grow as individuals.

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Lists always make me feel like I have at least some control over my life. I might need to figure out what I want to do as an independent adult, but I also need to go to Wal-Mart and buy some yogurt. I’ve posted below a list of things that change and the great thing is that not all of these things are negative!

  1. The weather
  2. Grades
  3. Your favorite type of pizza
  4. If you have a cold
  5. Where you consider home
  6. Bad habits
  7. Hair length
  8. How many siblings you have
  9. Your friends
  10. Feeling sad
  11. Where you live
  12. If you’re single or dating
  13. The number of shoes you own
  14. How much money you have
  15. Your feelings on Justin Bieber

How do you feel when it comes to change? Do lists help you feel more in control or are they an unnecessary nuisance?

Have a great week, bloggers!

Are You Talented?

I don’t have very many talents that I can physically show people. I was never good at sports, I don’t have any trophies, and if you asked me to type with two hands I’d laugh. So there are lots of talents I wish I had but don’t. Not to put myself down, I am good at other things, like reading, listening, working with kids, being compassionate and typing with one hand. But I can’t really challenge someone to a listening contest–I think I’d die of boredom!

In the theme of practice makes perfect, I am teaching myself how to knit this semester!

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For one of my education classes we have to teach ourselves something new so we can more fully understand the struggles our students go through as they learn their letters and how to read. I’m supposed to keep a mini-journal on how I learn and how I feel while I learn. One of my roommates knows how to knit so I might ask her for help, but I think I’m going to try and youtube it before I ask. I was never good at asking for help…I guess this will be good because not all of my students will find asking for help easy either.

I want to create an atmosphere in my classroom where hard work is valued and complimented, rather than just “smarts” because there is a difference and I know I never found being smart easy like a lot of my peers growing up. No one wants to seem dumb, but asking for help does not equal stupidity. Being naturally good at math is great, but learning is about being challenged, and all students need to practice to reach their full potential.

Elementary classroom setting.  Focus on teacher and chalkboard.

What are some talents you wish you had but don’t? Are those talents that you can physically show people, or are the more abstract? Can you type with two hands, or am I the only one challenged by the keyboard? Have a great week and leave your answers in the comments!

Meet Mandy

I’m currently taking a fiction class at school and I wrote a dialogue centered piece, which I don’t usually do, but I had a lot of fun writing it. I’ve give you a brief run-down on the character I’ve created for that class,  I like the way she’s turned out so far. If you have any suggestions about how to flesh my character out or make her more relatable/genuine, I’d love to hear them so post your ideas in the comments!

Character Composite:

Character name: Amanda (Mandy)

Date of Birth: 08/15/1999, held back a year in school due to her dyslexia so she’s in eighth grade

Place of Birth: Palmyra, Missouri (still lives there, on a farm with her family)

Physical attributes: Tall (5’7) and gangly, long legs, Caucasian (gets really tan in the summer because she spends all her time at the pool–desperately wants to be a lifeguard), cloudy green eyes, round face, long light brown hair (but turns dirty blonde in the summer), swimmers body (on swim team)

Some likes: Swimming, reading, Helping her dad bale hay/do chores around the farm (collect eggs from the chicken coop, feed cows, ect.)

Some dislikes: homework, her sister, family dinner

Dialogue:

“Amanda, you’ve been here all afternoon and you still haven’t finished your chores at home.”

Mandy rolled her eyes, wondering how long it would take to swim 400 miles away from here.

“That was for the swim meet, it doesn’t count and I have, like, two more things to do at home and I promise I’ll do them when I get back! Besides, the pool’s only open a few more hours, I’ll be home by eight!”

Her mom raised a carefully filled-in eyebrow and pursed her lips.

“You, young lady, will be home in time for supper—six thirty on the dot, at the table, hands washed, grace said. It’s a sit down meal tonight and no one is getting out of it, not you and not your father.”

Mandy spotted the opening and took it,

“So I can stay if I’m home in time for dinner?”

Her mom sighed,

“Yes, but make sure you are home on time or you’ll have twice as many chores tomorrow. I’ll go talk to Kelsey’s mom to make sure you have a ride home.”

Mandy grinned,

“Thanks mom, you’re the best!”

She waved as Mandy jumped back into the pool,

“Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen!”

I Don’t Want to Find Myself

I never change, I become myself. -Joyce Carol Oates

This six word quote sums up my foreseeable future. College is all about “finding yourself”, blah, blah, blah, I know, I know. Image But I don’t want to find myself, I want to become myself…do you see the difference? The first infers that you have a self currently, but you want to find a new one. I like who I am at the moment and I don’t want to find a new self that is apparently my real self? The latter describes a process that you probably won’t know is taking place, like growing into that bra you bought in a moment of overconfidence with your friends. Personally, I like the idea of becoming yourself, it takes a lot of the pressure off. I’m never going to wake up one day, look and the mirror and be like, “Oh! There you are!”. Life is not a chick flick, no matter how much we try to make it or imagine it to be like one. every-chick-flick I’m not the same person I was freshman year, but I haven’t found myself, I’ve just become more of myself. And I plan on continuing to grow–I have small boobs, trust me, I have lots of time. I have no idea what my future will look like (okay, well, I plan on graduating college, but after that all bets are off), but I do know that change will be a constant. I plan on taking one day at a time and one day when I look back in 20 years I’ll laugh and shake my head at all the things I got wrong. But in 20 years I will not be the same, I will just be more myself. And that sounds like a great plan to me. What do you think about “finding yourself”? Are you more about the process or the destination? Looking back at your younger self, what is one thing you’d tell them about your future self? Leave your answers in the comments and have a great week!

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie

To congratulate myself on surviving the week I took a trip to Barnes and Noble, which is one of my favorite places. The smell of a good paper back, mixed in with a waft of coffee and ink, is one of the best smells.

Pic by me
Picture taken by me

My favorite section is the fantasy section. I love dragons and goblins and magic. But not only is fantasy a fun genre, it is a genre that should be taken seriously. It is a sad fact that most people see fantasy as a “lesser” genre than fiction or non-fiction. While there are a lot of…poorly written fantasy novels, it shouldn’t rule out fantasy as a solid, adult genre.

In order to create a “good” piece of literature, author’s need to engage their audience. Tolkien says that, “part of the magic [the fey] wield for the good or evil of man is power to play on the desires of his body and his heart”. For any piece of literature to be appealing it must speak to the desires of its reader. Fantasy authors not only create plots and characters that are relatable and touch on basic human desires, but they also create new worlds in which these scenarios take place.

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Art by Josephine Wall

Creating worlds is a huge task for anyone, let alone a writer. The genre of fantasy gives its readers precise and colorful worlds that enchant and delight. But while the world may seem all about the entertainment value, it also causes the readers to change their perspective and look at everything differently than they would if the plot was playing out on Earth. This enables authors to present scenarios that you might find touchy if written about via fiction. In different worlds with different people, readers can put ideas such as race or sexuality in a different light and come to their own conclusions. Fantasy calls for its readers to expand their minds and broaden their perceptions of what is and isn’t reality.

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In fantasy, magic is a key element (and my favorite element) of what makes a world fantastic. Tolkien says that no matter what the aim of the story is, be it “satire, adventure, or morality”, the one thing that will break the fantasy aspect is if the magic is made fun of. In order for the tale to be viewed as literature for adults the “story must be taken seriously, neither laughed at nor explained away”.  When I read fantasy, I love getting sucked into new worlds with strange new people and ideas. It takes me for a wild ride and leaves me breathless, wondering how I could have ever been satisfied with mediocrity.

Picture taken by me
The book is called Dies the Fire by S.M. Sterling–Picture taken by me

I bought a new book at Barnes and Noble today–I hope it leaves me breathless and excited and exasperated with normality…and the best part: it’s a series.

Do you have any favorite books/genres that leave you breathless or books you’re excited to read? What makes your heart beat fast with anticipation? Leave your answers below in the comments!