Sunday, November 27, 2011

Feed Part 3

They all returned to Earth and everything seemed to go back to normal.  They all talked to each other on the feed again, had a debate whether a guy should lie to a girl when she asks if she looks fat.  The girls made it clear they should and the guys think that if she asks their opinion they should tell them.  Quendy was having a party at the end of the week because her parents went out of town, this was the first time Titus would see Violet since they left the moon.  They had some time to talk on the way to the party which was when Titus learned that Violet has never been to a party before because she’s homeschooled.  Their hands touched and when they were driving she rested her arm behind his head and Titus could feel the warm hair from her arm on his neck.    When they get to the party Link and Marty are playing a video game, which is real life moving and you are the only ones that see what’s going on because it’s in your feed.  Violet goes over to talk to Calista and Titus chats with Quendy who asks Titus if he and Violet are going out and he replies that they are.  That’s when she says that Calista says that Violet is stuck up so Titus chats Violet to make sure everything is okay.  When he stops for a moment to look around he realizes that absolutely nothing has changed, they went back to exactly how they were before.  It’s as if their brains were never invaded by the hacker.
Titus went upstairs after the party watched the movie and the guys were up there doing the “mal” or a trip.  Titus didn’t want to do it because he didn’t think Violet was okay with it.  When he came down him and Violet went outside to talk where she told him that something was wrong with her feed and they think that it’ll stable out but it hasn’t yet.  She said that they didn’t know what it was but they were trying to make adjustments.  Titus was freaked out but hid what he was thinking from her and he wrapped his arms around her and felt like he was protecting her already.  The stood there for awhile looking at each other and kissed and just enjoyed the synthetic breeze.
                That night Titus had a dream.  He dreamt that there was a site where you could get all of these games for free, all of them, anything for free.  So with this he downloaded checkers and when he did someone was nudging his feed, when he asked who they were they asked if he was one of the victims of the hacking and he replied yes.  They said they were the police and just doing some checking, when he said they weren’t the police he asked who they really were.  They just gave him free games and said not to worry.  He didn’t remember this for awhile but he did know that when he woke up he couldn’t find any of the games, or the lizard or gloves.
                Titus and Violet meet at the mall after Violet asks if he wants to hear her new experiment.  They go to the mall and go to all of the stores and ask to see all of these weird things but don’t buy anything.  Violet explains that she wants to become invisible to the feed, she wants them to not know how to advertise to her so they just don’t.  He drops her off at the feed doctor’s office pinching her elbows standing there until Titus drives off.   Titus chatter her that night and he could tell that she was crying but she didn’t answer why instead just saying she wished he was there.  Then she showed him how her feed was going crazy because of everything they looked at at the mall.   Titus loved spending time with Violet, although she was smarter she still hadn’t done a lot of the things that he had because of how she grew up.  It seemed that everything they did together was something new and they did it hand in hand.
                Sometimes Titus did worry that he wasn’t as smart as Violet though.  She mentioned how the country wasn’t actually a democracy it was a republic.   Titus suggested that they just have everyone vote from their feed, to which she responded that only a certain percent of people have the feed in the United States.  At another conversation Violet said that everyone who grew up with the feed were stupid and dumb until she realized that Titus had always had the feed and she tried to continually apologize but Titus was visibly hurt by it.  When he got home that night his mother could tell something was wrong.  The next day he got home from SchoolTM where he didn’t do good on an exam.  Violet said she couldn’t talk that day which was okay with him because you could still tell he was hurt.  That’s when his parents tried to make him feel better again.  They told him of how he got his looks, from a movie star that didn’t end up getting any big rolls.  By the end of the conversation they told him he was getting his own car, and all of a sudden he didn’t feel so dumb anymore.
                Titus and his father picked up Violet at the mall on the way to go get a new upcar.  When they got there and were test driving them Violet kept trying to convince Titus to get something other than the upcar, “resist the feed” she would say, but he didn’t.  There was the Dodge Gryphon which showed Titus a picture of a party with people in bikinis in his car and there was the Swarp showed him pictures of him and Violet driving alone along a mountain.  Violet asked if this was a gift, Titus said that it was more like a reward for having to go to court and give evidence.  Violet looked at him confused and finally told him that the man was dead, the police had beat him to death.  He died the day after the club from the beating to the head.  Titus bought the Dodge.   That night his family and Violet had dinner together.  His mother asked if Titus was going to take Violet out in the new car and they said they were going to go on a walk tomorrow either to Jefferson Park or beef county.  Titus’ father said it would have to be beef county because they got rid of Jefferson Park to make an air factory which Violet was upset with because trees make air and Titus’ father and Violet got into it for awhile.  When dinner was done Violet couldn’t get up yet because her foot was frozen, as in it couldn’t move.  She explained it had happened a few times since the hack.  When she got up Titus took her to the mall parking lot to drop her off with her father, he fell asleep that night looking up things on the feed about how people could go to sleep together and wake up together.
                Titus picked up Violet at her house and met her father.  He believes that the language is dying so he uses big words and a lot of hidden meaning so that no one can simplify what he’s saying.  He talks about how and where Violet meets most of her boys, though she doesn’t bring many home.  They spent the day in the country and loved it.  By the end of the day Violet asked how he wanted to die and he said with sense overload, ending by asking if she would be the one to pull the plug.  It took her awhile and then she got very happy and said if he wanted her to she would.  He dropped her off and when he got home he could sense his whole family around him.  His brother was asleep with the feed saying things to him and his parents were going mal.  That night someone nudged Titus’ dreams again and he saw images that were frightening and scary.  He woke up to Violet asking if he had been in her head.  He said no so she called tech support which ended up being an automated voice who tried to help her make decisions on buying things.   She had to cuss at the automated voice to get her to leave her alone.  They said goodnight after Violet got off with tech support and when Titus fell asleep he had much better dreams.
                There was a coke promotion going on that if you talk about how amazing coke was 1,000 times you got a case of coke.  Titus’ friends got together to talk about coke and try to get a lifetime supply of it.  Violet said something that “got them knocked points” and was quiet for the rest of the night until the group wanted to go to a store and get coke.  That’s when Calista and Loga were talking about their riot clothes while walking to the upcars and Violet asked what happened in a certain riot but the girls didn’t know and looked at her weird because she used “big words that no one understood.”  At this point Violet wanted to go home because all of Titus’ friends thought she was weird.  When they were driving they got in a fight where it finally came out that something was wrong with Violet.  She explained that because her feed was put in later than others’ it’s more susceptible to malfunctioning and because the feed is connected to everything it could affect anything, her heart, lungs, limbic system, entire brain really it could even be fatal.  After revealing this she said she could go back now but Titus didn’t want to and they went elsewhere.  Violet stayed for dinner that night after they sat at Titus’ house to talk.  She made him realize that she didn’t have much time, that it could be anytime.
                One morning Titus goes to school and Loga has gotten a large fake lesion implanted on the back of her neck.  Titus chats Violet to tell her about it and she gets a kick out of it.  It comes up how Link is an exact clone of Abraham Lincoln which is why he isn’t as good looking as all of the other guys.  Titus asks if Violet wants to go to a party with them on Friday and after some convincing she says yes. 
                At the party everyone seemed to be having a good time until Calista came and everything went quiet.  She was cut from head to toe trying to outdo Loga.  Titus takes Violet up to the attic and talks to her about when they were younger they would play sardines and all of the good friends would go up there and laugh at those who didn’t know about the secret place.  Then they talked about walking in the hallway and that exact moment when you realized you’re alone although you’re not alone, you’re surrounded by people.  Then they found old pictures, black and white with no smiles, of Link’s relatives from a long time ago.  They went downstairs and the group was playing spin the bottle so they sat down to join, though Titus could tell that Violet didn’t want to play.  When Marty got Violet she went crazy yelling about how everyone had become the feed they didn’t have the feed in them, they are the feed.  They’re all food raised to be animals for the feed, she yelled that there were starving people in the world and they were there being the feed.  This happened right before her body failed and she fell to the ground and Titus was holding her and her body went limp, though her heart was beating she couldn’t move.  When Titus went with the women in the ambulance the feed was whispering to him about malpractice and suing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Where the Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein

Let us go to where the sidewalk ends.  They will follow the arrows to where the sidewalk ends, leaving the asphalt flowers and where the road bends and turns.

I feel like this is talking about going somewhere where life is not ruled by time, where you need to be and the modern world that we live it.  They want to go to where the children are, in a world that is free and beautiful. You notice the beauty and your surroundings where the sidewalk ends, but when the sidewalk begins you must pay attention to society and the asphalt and all of the sophistication that comes along with being an adult.  Going back to where the sidewalk ends seems to me like the speaker wants their childhood back, the innocence that childhood holds. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Reconstruction Work" by Bruce Holland Rogers

This is a story of a man at a funeral home of a wealthy woman.  He was standing at her casket when her granddaughter came in.  He wouldn't leave, even when the granddaughter waited at a distance.  Finally she walked up and he told her how he knew her grandmother.  He said that her father doted on her, which the granddaughter disagreed with and said that he did things to her, her grandmother told her so.  The man said that the father was a gentleman when gentleman actually meant something.  As the man walked away he knew that the granddaughter might still believe what her grandmother had told her but he had planted a seed of doubt.  That's what he does plant seeds of one kind or another about that father since he had died and he would do so until the mortuary endowment runs out.

It took me awhile to get this at first.  I didn't know if this man was the grandmother's father, but then I thought about how old he would have had to be.  I truly had to think and then I realized the title of the work and how the speaker talks about how he doesn't do plastic surgery but another kind of reconstruction work.  The mortuary was paid to have people say good things about the father in this story and until the money ran out that's exactly what these people would do.  They planted seeds of doubt of every story that people had heard about him to make him look a little better.  What truly happened was that this father, Francis Fordham, was a bad man.  He didn't do things that people would want to remember him in a good way.  To this day people want to be remembered positively they don't want people to think poorly of them.  People want this so badly that they'll pay a mortuary to have people plant seeds of doubt in those who do know the truth.

I find it strange that people would rather lead a terrible life and pay someone to lie about them once they're gone than to lead a wonderful life and be remembered for who they REALLY were.

Louise Erdrich

There are two Indian boys, Henry and Lyman, who buy a red convertible on a bit of a whim one day.  That summer they take the convertible all over and never have any plans really, they just live each day for the day.  When they got back is when the Army seemed to remember that Henry had signed up, though when he left he was a Marine.  He was gone for three years, in the Vietnam war and Henry was taken by the enemy.  When he returned he was different.  Lyman took care of the red convertible while Henry was gone but he didn't notice.  When Henry first got home he would never sit still, but when he watched the color television that Lyman had gotten he sat still.  After awhile Lyman got an idea and beat the convertible up, when Henry noticed he yelled at Lyman about it and Lyman left before Henry could notice that he spoke.  Henry made the red convertible his project and almost froze working on it around the clock until it was finished.  One day Henry asked Lyman to take it for a drive to the river.  The boys seemed to enjoy the ride, feeling a little bit like old times.  When they got there they made a fire and noticed the current was high and strong.  Henry gave Lyman the keys and said he could keep it for good now but Lyman refused.  They got in a fist fight about it until it ended in laughter.  When the fight was over Henry said he needed to cool off and headed into the river.  When Lyman looked up Henry had gone a long way, knowing that he hadn't swam there but the current had taken him.  That's when Henry went in.  When Henry got out he went to the car turned on the lights and drove it directly into the river, got out and stood on the bank and watched the car as it shorted out.  Then it was dark and quiet and all you could hear was the river.

This story is heart wrenching and sounding so true at the same time.  Many veterans came home from Vietnam and were changed forever.  The fact that getting help for PTSD was looked down upon.  If you said you had PTSD you were seen as weak and crazy and were often committed.  It was not a "manly" quality and you were expected to put up with everything and put it away and not think about it.  This story is something that often happened to those who couldn't work through their experiences at war.  The suicide rates went up after Vietnam because of so many things that the soldiers had seen while they were gone.

To this day PTSD is still looked down upon in the military.  If you admit to having serious problems with PTSD you are released from the military.  There are therapists that the military provides but if you tell a military therapist then they are required to tell the military if you're having PTSD symptoms.  I find this to be counterproductive.  These soldiers gave their lives to go fight for this country and when they come back and say that they're having problems dealing with what they went through we cut them out on their own.  I think that is cowardly of the military because those soldiers weren't cowards when they were forced to go fight in another country, they were willing to give up their lives.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Feed Part 2

He wakes up and no longer has the feed.  He tries to connect to the feed, chat with people, watch shows but nothing works so he opens his eyes.  He is forced to look around, at the walls, at the picture of the boat.  His parents have been notified and they are on their way.  The police tell him that they caught the hacker and that he's one of the worst ones and they're now going through everyone's feeds to get information to use against the hacker in court.  Titus doesn't know what people did before the feed, when the feed first came out it was advertised as an educational tool, so your children could have information closer than their fingertips.  Titus this it's so crazy that people used to have computers that they carried around instead of having them in their brain, he compared to to carrying around your lungs in a briefcase and opening it when you need to breathe.  Titus then tells thinks about how there are different things in your feed that get to know you and what you want, they take it back to the companies who make things the people want, he says there's no use trying to stop the companies because they will always rule everything and that they employ "like everyone" so there's no way the world could get by without them.  They had all gone a day without the feed and were so bored, by this time their parents had probably landed on the moon and would be there the next morning.  That night they were all supposed to be sleeping but when Violet got up to go to the bathroom Titus stops her and says hey, they both sit there for awhile in silence and Titus likes it.  Then he realizes that she's crying and she says she tries to be normal just once and she's screwed.  Titus wanted to say something, but he said that saying the right thing was like brain surgery so instead they just sat there.  He hoped that she could see the smile in the light of his brain waves because he liked it so much. The next morning Titus' father came and looked very business like, like he was going to get some clarity.  When Titus asked his father when he was going to get home his father was talking to someone and left.  Quendy then asked Violet when her parents were coming but she said they weren't at all because they were busy.  No one heard anything for the rest of the day.  The next morning they decided they needed some cheering up so they made up a game.  Titus said this was one of the best days of his life, they played their game and sang a song.  By the time they were eating dinner Violet said that may this was their salad times, their happy times and Titus asked what was happy about a salad, Violet responded, "Ranch."  Violet was off talking to the doctors while the others were playing their game again and when Violet returned Titus knew something was wrong.  She told him she wanted to take him somewhere, she took him to a giant window that looked over what once was a courtyard.  The ceiling was leaking and Titus compared one of the bushes to a Squid, Violet said that he was the only one that uses metaphor.  At that moment they looked at each other and kissed.  Titus was noticing the little details of the world around him, including every knuckle on Violet's spine.    Now they were watching as Marty was making up a new game and they talked about their families.  Violet wanted to know all about Titus' family, his father did some sort of banking but Titus didn't know what it was and his mother was in design.  Violet's father is a college professor and teaches the dead languages, Titus was interested and asked more about it so Violet went to her bag and got out a pen and paper.  Titus was astonished that she wrote, he asked her why didn't she use the feed it was much faster and she replied that she was pretentious.  She asked Titus if he could read and he said some, though he protested it in school because the silent e was stupid.  She wrote some of the language called BASIC and he didn't know how to read it.  That's when it dawned on Titus, he asked her "your father is a professor but he didn't have time to come here when you collapsed from being hacked?"  She replied, "No, but that's what I told you."  They got their feeds back in them and the process that they go through is described.  Titus goes into a room with a nurse, doctor and technician.  They place the feed back into him and at first he doesn't feel anything, but then slowly it comes back and they're all so happy.  The group begins to feel themselves like they never have before and they begin to dance.  Titus and Violet find each other's hands and they dance, hand in hand.

I like love this like part of the like book.  All of the like characters like struggle with like what they should like do without their like chip.  Even the like doctor isn't like educated and he's like the one that like is in your like brain!

HOW ANNOYING IS THAT?!  I wanted to do it for my entire post but it even annoyed me and I don't have to read it.  The doctor that was putting the chip back into Titus' brain talked like this, as did Titus' father who is an important banker.  Their lack of education is apparent and I want to know how jobs are decided in this world because if I have a doctor that speaks to me like that and doesn't know what's going on I wouldn't let them go near me, let alone my BRAIN!

Let's also look at Titus' illiteracy.  In this world you don't need to read because everything is told to you through the feed, it is you and you think and feel the way the feed shows you to.  There's nothing to read or write anymore because you can just think what you want to happen and it does.  The astonishment when Violet brought out a pen and paper illustrates how foreign reading and writing is.  It also is a crazy idea to Titus that people used to carry around their computers, our laptops.  He compares it to breathing and carrying around your lungs in a suitcase and when you need to breathe you open the suitcase.  The people of this time in this world think that their feed is essential to LIFE!  Yet when we see the feed taken away some of these people flourish and truly get to think. 

The boat picture gets me every time.  That stupid boat that isn't moving and there are no people on it.  It shows that there is no appreciation for the arts either.  This is continued to be proven wit the music that is played and they way that people dress.  Looking at that boat made Titus angry and he couldn't see it for anything more than being a boat with no people.  He said it doesn't make sense because it hasn't been anywhere and isn't going anywhere.  Although he can't capture the beauty in the art, he is still being forced to think about it, which is something that he has never had to do before.

I'm super skeptical about Violet and very interested to see what happens with her.  I want to know more about who she is, what she does and where she comes from.  She's clearly not like the others in the group because she wears cotton clothing, can read and write, and isn't completely obsessive with the feed.  She notices the little things like the plant through the window.  She also lies to Titus about why her parents can't come so that makes me even more interested.  At one point she says "you try to go out and be normal for once and you're screwed," or something along those lines.  Don't quote me word for word.  Anyways, this makes me think about what she's really like if this isn't her normal.  Where does she come from and what does she do??

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

E.B. White

Charlotte and Wilbur were alone in the pen at the state fair grounds discussing their friendship and how each meant so much to the other.  This is when Charlotte revealed to Wilbur that she would not be returning to the farm with him, she was too sick and would soon die.  Wilbur threw a fit and once he realized there was nothing he could do to get Charlotte to return he woke up Templeton and asked him to quickly go get Charlotte's egg sack so that they could bring it back to the farm with them and make sure her children were safe.  Templeton would not agree, saying he always runs errands and always does favors for them and they never do anything for him in return.  Wilbur is quite annoyed and calls him a spoiled child at one point, when he remember how much Templeton loves food.  Wilbur tells Templeton that he will let him eat first everyday when he's fed and he won't go near the food until Templeton is done.  With this Templeton agrees and goes and gets the egg sack and brings it down to Wilbur.  Wilbur puts the sack in his mouth and winks at Charlotte as he is being placed in the pin to go back to the farm, Charlotte uses all her energy to wave back.  Charlotte dies the next day, alone and no one at the fair grounds even noticed.  Wilbur watched the generations of Charlotte's children and grandchildren and so on.  He loved them so much but none of them as much as Charlotte for she was a true friend and a writer, which is not happened upon often.

This story is America in a nutshell.  There are few people who do things for others out of the goodness of their hearts, few true friends that would do anything for others no questions asked.  Charlotte and Wilbur are those rarities that are true friends and would give their lives for one another, as Wilbur mentions in the reading.  Templeton seems to be like most people in America now.  What's in it for me?  Why would I want to do this if I don't benefit from it?  If you take a moment and just step back to observe people this happens everywhere.  Selflessness is so uncommon that no one can truly know what it is.  We're all guilty of wanting something in return, whether we think so or not.

How did America come to this? I think it's quite clear that we have always been like this. There are few people in our history that can say they were truly selfless.  In the beginning of our country we had slaves, people were owned who were not paid and essentially did free work for the white Americans.  There are few selfless acts in our history.

In the bible there is a story of two women who claimed a baby boy was theirs.  They told the two women that they were going to cut the baby in half and let the women split him.  The woman who would give up the boy is the mother because she didn't want her baby boy to get hurt.  I think this is a selfless act in that the woman was putting aside her feelings so the baby would survive, even though she wouldn't see him or get to raise him. The other woman was willing to cut the baby in half, showing her selfishness and that she didn't even care about that baby boy.  It was decided who the real mother was and that is who got the baby, could you imagine the relief to that mother?

The question that lies here is how can we get back to be selfless, to wanting to help other just to help others?  I think that this society has gotten to the point of no return.  There is no way that we, as a society, could ever be selfless because we all care about ourselves too much.  When there's a homeless man on the street we tell him to get a job instead of going to McDonald's and buying him a burger.  Whether or not that man is really homeless is irrelevant because that person who just passed the man doesn't care one way or the other.  Helping someone in need is so rarely done because you couldn't get anything in return, and if you do help someone in need it's almost always because you get something in return.  You say that a lot of people help those less fortunate with nothing in return?  I disagree.  There is always something that someone gets in return, even if it's just a sense of satisfaction.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Li-Young Lee

This is a short poem with the theme revolving around peaches.  It seems very positive and loving, showing the stages of the peaches as they go through until the writer eats them.

I think that this poem reflected life as a parent.  Life starts small in a womb, from blossoms, and as your child grows up you watch them.  You enjoy everything they do, whether watching them fall to learn, to when they learn to succeed.  As you grow older you take the memories with you "O, to take what we love inside, to carry within us an orchard," through everything you always have everything inside.  You carry your children with you forever and where ever you go.  "There are days we life as if death were nowhere in the background," you don't look to when times won't be as good because now you have love and life.  The time it takes to grow the peach, water it, shade it, adoring it and eating it.  You are taking in a living thing and making it you.  You raise your children and they are part of you forever.  They are "impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom," showing they are sometimes difficult, as all children are, but they are still so sweet because they are yours and you love them.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Donald Barthelme

Summary?  There's a class and everything died that was associated with the class. everything. including two class members.  There was always a "lesson" that went along with everything dying, although the teacher doesn't always know why things died.  The students questioned the meaning of life, was death what defined life, the teacher responded that life defined life.  The class then asked if the teacher would make love with Helen so they could see how it was done, he responded no because he would get fired.  Helen came over and he kissed her above the brow, the students were excited until the door opened and the new gerbil came into the room.

So is the moment where she goes over and he begins kissing her kind of like something I want to do before I die?  I don't want to have any regrets?  I find it very strange that the class asked them to have sex so they could see how it happens.  Although I'm not surprised it didn't happen because this all seems to be about death and the negatives in life.  Sex is supposed to be the epitome of human intimacy and love and hope.  Yet instead of that happening the class gets a new gerbil, which brings temporary hope because we all know the gerbil will die.  It's what always happens.

I think that death does define life.  Aren't we moving everyday towards death?  Don't we say we want to do things before we die?  Aren't people lives remembered once they're dead but not really seen when they're living?

So what has this world come to that life is not defined by what we are doing while living but what will be remembered once we're dead?  I'm guilty of this, guilty of thinking I should do something to be remembered.  I have a motto that I want to make a difference in the world, one person at a time.  But do I do this really to help or do I do this so I'm never forgotten?  Isn't that everyone's fear, to be forgotten?