Monday, December 4, 2006

Reflective letter with artifacts

This semester in English included many different activities and techniques that I have never used before. Most of the changes came in the developmental stages of each paper. The brainstorming techniques and assignments were all new experiences and the majority of them helped me write better papers and excel as a writer. Among these activities there were a few that helped in particular. The reflective commentaries were the most significant artifacts that helped me because it made me actually go back and think about my paper. I learned about my paper from answering the questions and it made me realize some things I might have forgotten. The Q-H-Q was an artifact that was only presented to us in the last unit, but I believe that it helped me develop a lot of information that I probably would not have come up with otherwise. I found unit three to have the hardest topic to write about and the Q-H-Q exercise helped me extract the information in my head with out even knowing it. The artifact that we used the most during the semester was the freewrite activity, and I think it was a very effective way to help me choose my topics. There was no pressure behind writing them and it brought about ideas that were kind of in the subconscious mind. The last artifact that I felt was very useful was the peer reviews. It is one thing to hear what a teacher has to say about your writing, but it his really helpful when someone your own age and mindset gives their opinion on what you write. Overall there were many good things that came out of this semester and I think I will walk out of this class a better writer.

1.Reflective commentaries for all units
2.Q H Q exercise
4.Peer Review
5.Notice and Focus

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Personal Discussions about Unit Papers

all my reflections for my essays can be found commented by me, at the end of each paper. i dint make it clear but if anyone was wondering that is where they are.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Unit 3

Maxx McDonald
Eng101 unit 3

The Secret Spot

Everyday there is a constant rush and chatter of people around the Arizona State University campus. With so many students attending, one could only expect to see a crowd wherever they go. The Memorial Union is no exception. There are always tons of students pouring in and out of the doors and going to numerous places throughout the MU, and lunch time is probably the peak of its activity. There are a couple dozen places to eat at inside the MU, and most of the time the line for any of them is long. However, the crowded lines are the least of my worries. The seating capacity at the MU is not only less than needed, but the amount of noise, activity, and commotion that goes on inside creates a negative and uncomfortable eating experience. With so much going on in the busy schedules of ASU students, a nice calm place to eat where seating is abundant should be mandatory. The eating environment in the MU needs to be changed because there are too many students wanting to eat there, and too little room to accommodate them.
When I eat lunch I like to enjoy my meal, eat slowly, and have a nice conversation with a friend or my girlfriend. Those three things should not be too hard to ask for but when eating at the Memorial Union that hope is totally crushed. The noise factor alone makes me not be able to hear my own thoughts, let alone listen to some one else. The constant hovering of other students hunting for a seating place is not too pleasurable as well. Arizona State University has over 60,000 students that are enrolled, the second most in the country. With that many students there is no wonder why a focal point of campus (MU) is so popular and alive. The MU has the largest selection of food restaurants on campus. Thousands of students flock through the complex every day leaving no room for relaxation or rest. This amount of activity is rightfully unavoidable and not much of a problem for students going about their business and purchasing food. However, it is a problem when it comes to consuming the food purchased and I believe that something needs to be done about it. To me, these very uncomfortable eating environments are unacceptable and are in great need of change to ensure the happiness of many students. These factors have lead me to think outside the box, and go beyond the convenient walk of fifty paces to get to a lunch table.
There is a small walkway just west of the Memorial Union that connects the administration buildings (A and B) to the student services building (SS). This place is magical, and has a calm and soothing feeling to it. The sidewalk starts at the MU fountain and leads straight to the student services building. It splits in the middle of the administration buildings, making a triangular patch of grass, and reconnects right in front of the SS building. There are trees all around the sidewalk and they create much needed shade from the Arizona sun. The vegetation all around gives the feel of a small forest. It seems as if there is always the soft chatter of birds, unnoticeable unless you want to, that adds to the organic experience. Pick-nick tables and benches are scattered around the perimeter, 20 in all, but none are too close together. The crowd that usually resides there is either reading, studying, relaxing, or chatting quietly with a friend. The noise level is dictated by the surroundings and there is never a time when someone is being rude and obnoxious. My girlfriend, Kayla Wallace, and I discovered this place simply by taking a walk around campus.

“It is not hard to find but it is enough out of the way that not to many people really know about it or visit it regularly” Wallace said in an interview I had with her.

“The positive and quiet environment it provides is worth walking an extra hundred yards from the MU to eat there. When we eat lunch at the MU we always take it to go.”

Although there are many tables and benches outside the south entrance of the MU that are good for sitting if you want to get some fresh air, they are always as noisy as the inside. The walkway I have referred to, or the “secret spot” as I call it, is always the destination for my girlfriend and I when we pick up something to eat from the MU. When I am at the secret spot I feel relaxed, collected, and free. There is no commotion, no pressure to eat fast so someone else can sit down, and best of all no crowd to make things hectic. When we walk over to the spot, we always know that there is going to be a seat with our name on it. There is no waiting for other people and it really makes you feel like you are in a different place. The best activity for lunch in our mind is to bring a large array of little snacks, lay them all out using the full table space, and slowly enjoy each other’s company as well as our meal. Other frequent visitors can surely share the same feelings towards the spot, and one student in particular most surely does. Ryan Riedy, a regular at the secret spot, concurs with my statement in an brief interview I had with him.

“I come to this spot all the time to read my novels. Sometimes it is hard to find a place that consistently gives a peaceful and quiet environment, other than the library, but no matter what time of day I can always rely on coming here to relax and get some reading done.”

The overall consensus about the secret spot, in my findings, is a positive one. It would be hard to believe that even people, who on most occasions like crowds of socialization, would not appreciate the beauty and calmness the spot provides. The feeling is one that you might receive in the wilderness or a garden, let alone at the ASU Tempe campus. To me this environment is so great that I would be willing to sacrifice the limited knowledge of the secret spot and let all the students of ASU experience the same wonder. At the same time, the argument could be made that there is nothing wrong with eating in a large crowd and that is common among college campuses to have a crowded central food distribution center.
What is the big deal of having to wait for a seat? Being surrounded by people is what the college experience is about. Socializing and meeting new people are often goals of some college students. It is possible that there could be many people that enjoy eating around a large crowd and having a lot of chatter on all sides. It would be wrong to think that everyone in the world wants to sit in a quiet place all the time and be secluded from people. Traditionally, lunch time is the best break in the day for any student, in any grade. It is time to replenish the body with well needed vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates as well as time to talk with friends and not think about school. However, these activities can almost certainly only be enjoyable in comfortable conditions. To me, the Memorial Union is anything but comfortable and something needs to be done about it.
One could think, or maybe expect, that a reasonable proposal would be to expand the confinement of the MU or even build an alternate building in which food can be purchased. A feat of that nature would easily cost millions of dollars and would most definitely decrease the problem of the crowded eating space, in turn making many students satisfied. However, I am not like many students. I propose that the ASU administration, or a related body of management, should market and advertise alternate culinary destinations and/or highlight the existing spots around campus, in the close vicinity of the MU, that are favorable alternates to eating inside. Any type of mainstream ASU sponsored media that would most likely be read by ASU students would help a great deal in spreading the news. This proposal could potentially extremely inexpensive, if not free. The Web Devil, ASU’s newspaper, could certainly reserve a spot for an article on this topic at no costs. Another idea would be to post flyers in and outside of the MU containing information about prime options for places to eat within a quarter mile perimeter, which would also be potentially very cheap. Some might not wish to walk that far just to eat lunch, but there are surely enough that would go that distance to have comfortable eating experience. In personally doing field research, I discovered three existing spots (not including the secret spot) equipped with enough room to fit over 100 students at the same time. These three spots are conveniently located no more than 200 yards away from the perimeter of the MU and are perfect examples of places to go in order to get away from the crowd. Being so close, there is no reason in the world for students to not utilize this space and help better the MU.
If my proposal is not accepted, or even considered for that matter, it will not matter to me the slightest. The MU will stay the same and no one will be hurt nor privileged by the current situation. The purpose of this proposal was to benefit students and faculty of Arizona State University that are taking or teaching classes at the Tempe Campus. I am already fortunate enough to be one of the few that utilize my secret spot almost everyday, and that in itself is rewarding enough. The only loss will come at the expense of the people who eat lunch inside the MU day after day, wishing that the crowd will pass, but never does. This proposal will not only be beneficial to everyone at ASU, but also to ASU as a campus. There is no need to have one place on campus be so busy when there are so many others that can and should be used. ASU is a large campus and I believe that it should be in full function, with not a spot empty.

Unit 2

Maxx McDonald
Eng. 101 Term 1
Living Art

Skin piercing needles, ink of every color, and a talented artist are all one needs to permanently decorate the human skin into something unique and meaningful. Tattooing is an ancient art that has recently become a widely accepted practice. It is a form of self-expression and a lot can be learned of a person by their tattoos. There are specific groups in specific times that were more likely than others to get tattoos. Tattoo’s have a long history of uses and meanings and has evolved into a phenomenon that wide varieties of people endure, and are acknowledged to be a part of everyday life. With many different reasons for getting tattoos, there will always be a special quality about each and every one. Some tattoos have a symbolic or personal meaning, while others could just be favorite designs. Although they are more accepted today than ever, there are still negative attitudes toward the art. Tattooing is a legitimate and beautiful form of self-expression that should be recognized as an art form and accepted worldwide.
Dyed hair, tight jeans, boots, armbands, and music are all a small fraction of the infinite ways people express themselves. Clothing alone sends a gigantic cultural message to the people around you. The brand of clothes can send different messages just as much as the color or style. Tattooing sends much of the same message as any other form of self-expression. A man wearing a polo shirt with khaki pants and dress shoes can come off totally different if he has elaborate tattoos all over his arms, even though he would be the same person with out any of his apparel or body art. A bride in a flowing white wedding dress tends to be beautiful and radiant, but may strike people different if there are markings on her back and arms. I believe that tattoos amplify personal traits and overall show attitude and tell a lot about that person. People have to right to view beauty in any shape and form that they wish and just like discrimination of race, discrimination because of tattoo marking should not be tolerated. With all the hate in the world it is silly to have another reason to unfairly judge a person just by their looks. Discrimination is inevitable, but there is no reason for it to exist for body marking. The ones opposed to tattooing have the right to own an opinion as well, but what is so different about an image on a body and an image on a t-shirt? The answer is obvious, of course. Tattoos are permanent and a t-shirt can be taken off.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of a tattoo is the practice of making a design on the skin by pricking and staining. The “pricking” and “staining” that the definition refers to is permanent, which clashes with moral issues for some people. In some cultures tattooing is seen as defiling of the body but in others is a tradition that dates back to ancient times. Most widely popular in the areas of Polynesia, tattoos were a part of cultures all around the world. In New Zealand, indigenous tribes sported tattoos which were called “moko” that showed tribal affiliation, among others (LaFee). A majority of ancient tattoos claimed status and rites of passage but there has never been a universal reason for tattooing. Modernly a similar concept is still held when choosing to get a tattoo (or what tattoo to get) but there is not as much community-oriented influence. Culturally there is a huge influence mostly brought about by the media. Rock stars and Athletes in the media, for example, make tattoos more acceptable and liked. The nature of their business allows tattoos to play a role in their persona and sometime demands it. But if it is acceptable for celebrities to have body art then why is there discrimination against other individuals? The working world is the number one place where having tattoos can actually inhibit the types of jobs that can be held, and just as importantly can cloud the vision of an employer choosing its staff.
The way the manager or boss of a company views tattoos can highly vary between people and though now it is not as big of a deal as in the past, it can still be unwanted especially if the job description contains customer service (Gerencher). It takes common sense to know that a person with visible tattoos having the same exact qualifications if not more than a person without tattoos will be less likely to be hired at most job opportunities. At the moment at least, the job market forces employers to sometimes look past the unwanted physical attributes such as tattoos. If the market should change however, then it could easily give the hiring companies discriminating powers (Gerencher). There are some circumstances in which a tattoo can be socially unacceptable but for the most part they are artistic views of the person that dawns them.
Having a tattoo can bring attention, wanted or not, and it cannot always be positive. The main reason people get tattooed is to express themselves and not to offend. Tattooing is a legitimate form of self expression just as much as any accessory or action. The human body is the worlds only live canvass and the art that is put on it by tattooing is just as beautiful as any painting. The first tattoo I received is an Aztec warrior band. I drew it with influence from Aztec and Mexican art. The center is a circle with a temple on the upper half and the sun on the lower half. The sun rays extend throughout the circle and in the middle of the sun itself holds my girlfriend’s initials. I put her initials in the center of the sun because she is the light in my life and I love her and hold her higher than anyone else. The temple was used as a religious site as well as an accomplishment and monument in Aztec culture. It symbolizes a higher power and faith. The sun was the staple of the Aztec culture, as well as in many other ancient cultures. The main Aztec god Huitzilopochtli was the god of the sun and war and was higher than any other god in the Aztec culture (Brotherston). Connected to the circle on both sides are traditional Mexican/Aztec block style patterns of a swirl. They connect to a different animal head on each side. On the front is the head of a jaguar, drawn with Aztec influence in the structure and lines used. The jaguar was seen as a symbol of agility and intelligence. Connected to the other side is the head of a bear, drawn in the same fashion, which symbolizes strength and courage. Altogether the tattoo is a symbol of me, and the qualities I love and believe I possess. I think it is the greatest accessory that I will ever wear, and I will wear it forever. More recently, I have had more ink added to my arm.
My second tattoo depicts the moon and the sun inside two glaring eyes and is located right above my first piece of art. The images themselves are the pupils in each eye with stars surrounding the moon in one and rays extruding from the sun in the other. I drew and chose this design because I believe in the balance of life, or more commonly shown as a “ying yang”. The sun and the moon both give life and are both crucial to existence on earth. The sun represents the good and lighter part of life or a person while the moon shows the darker, mysterious evil in us all whether it may be a little or a lot. I believe that everyone posses’ a balance in their life of good and evil and to me it is important to personally understand both parts in one’s life. I chose to put the images inside a pair of eyes because to me it is an original and unique way to represent what I wanted to show, and at the same time can been seen as an intimidating factor universally. In nature for instance, the peacock butterfly has natural eye spots on the back of their wings that scare away predators (Vallian). Overall, one could look at my tattoos and see artistic designs and nothing more. I would not expect anyone to interpret my tattoos the same way I see them but that is what makes them special to me, and I would graciously share the meaning I had in mind when drawing them to anyone. I plan on getting more as my life goes on, depending on when I am ready and have more to add to my story. I do not think that there is anything that a person can wear that can express their personality or life story any better than a tattoo. Although I feel so strongly about tattoos and I think that they are beautiful and meaningful, there are always examples to show that even something that is meant to be great can be bad under certain circumstances.
When chosen wrongly, a tattoo could be someone’s worst nightmare. Usually cliché tattoos are the most commonly regretted ones. Tattooing of someone’s name for example usually has bad news written all over it. A tattooist by the name of Rebecca Cherry (Ontario, Canada) calls this type of tattoo the three month curse (Lorrayne). She claims that she has received patients who have ended their relationship with the person whose name was tattooed and have come back to find ways to erase, hide, or alter the image a mere three months after the tattoo was administered (Lorrayne). There are certain exceptions to this rule where the person going under the needle does in fact love and stay with the person whose name they tattoo on their body but for most it is a risk. Rarely regretted name tattoos are ones of family members such as children or parents, and show deep love for them. In my opinion, someone could never go wrong with a tattoo of a heart with the name “mom” inside. Having a tattoo for the wrong reasons can also take away from the art of getting one and be a regretful thing. Some people find tattooing appealing, but are into it solely for looks. This can lead to stupid tattoos or designs that have no more meaning other than the recipient thought it looked cool. For people trying to look “tough”, a popular tattoo is one of barbed wire around the arm. To me this is the most cliché tattoo of them all and I can not find any deeper meaning than is on the surface. Another style of tattoo that has become popular is the tribal design, which can be drawn and placed in many different ways. This is also a tattoo that is received more for looks than for anything else. However, to say that every person with these tattoos has no reason or meaning to get them would be contradictory. There can always be someone, who rightfully or not, can claim to have reasoning to get these images and therefore can be seen as justified. For the most part it is easy to tell when tattoos are valued and have deep meaning behind them. The tattoos that can arguably be the main reason for strong tattoo discrimination are the ones depicting offensive material. Whatever it may be, different tattoos can offend different people. Usually the tattoos chosen are meaningful to them and than naturally do not contain material that if seen by a person of any age or gender would not be offensive. However, there are people in the world with racist, sexist, and have other types of negative views and some choose to express them in the form of tattoos. Sadly as it seems these offensive images fallow every aspect of the tattoo that others think about when getting one, but are not politically correct and will offend certain crowds. When looking at the number of people in the world with tattoos, the number of one’s with offensive content is presumably low but they still can affect the image of tattoos and the art of tattooing as a whole.
For every reason in the world to receive tattoo art, there will always be a reason to not receive it. People have different views about everything. Some views are the same and that leads to grouping. People with similar views will flock together and support each other, and there are always the ones with opposing viewpoints that try to bring them down. Tattoos bring happiness to some and melancholy to others. No matter what the subject of debate is, there will always be two sides to an argument. For the most part, this is a good thing. Tattoos are not for everyone, and rightfully so. If every human being in the world had a tattoo, the beautiful and unique qualities of the art would not be as special and everyone would look the same. Tattoos are meant to stand out and describe their owners, not to become something everyone has. Most importantly, the world would be an extremely scary place if everyone (especially older men and women, and also children) had elaborate tattoos all over their bodies. This point brings me to the meaning of the eyes tattooed on my upper left arm: for every ying, there is a yang that balances it out, and in my mind this concept is crucial to the existence of this world and for everything to be as it should.

Unit 1

Maxx McDonald
English 101
Unit one

When I have a bad day it seems as though everything terrible, nothing goes as I planned, and all I wish is to do is win the lottery and retire at age 18 with my girlfriend on some exotic island drinking beers all day. Well as bad everything seems, things could be a lot worse. Living in a poverty-stricken country, for example, with low paying jobs and no welfare or sympathy for people who cannot make it on their own. Mexicans immigrate illegally everyday in search of higher paying jobs and a new future. To many of them, coming to the United States is like winning the lottery. There are many Americans that want to put a permanent stop to any Mexicans trying to gain citizenship in our great country, legally or illegally. I for one think that if they can make it here and establish a job then why not welcome new cultures into our country. There are many good arguments on the issue, such as illegal “aliens” take up taxpayer’s money. Others say that the immigrants take up American jobs because they accept lower pay. The bottom line is that these people are getting here one-way or another, and they will keep coming. There are so many people coming in our country for the same freedoms and lifestyles that we take for granted almost everyday. Many come by themselves in hope to find higher paying jobs to send money home to Mexico to provide for their family. There are so many jobs that Americans look down on. A fact is there is probably no fast food restaurant in Arizona that does not have at least one Mexican employee. Mexicans on a whole are very hard working people. Mexican people value money differently than Americans because a majority of the ones coming here are not used to a lot of money, or even a substantial amount to provide for their family. It is said that they take away jobs from Americans, but last time I checked there are not a lot of people that want to work in fast food, or want to go out and work hard labor in the sun for regular amount of pay. I think they balance our economy very well. There is a need for people to work these jobs and sad it may be but Mexicans will take the unwanted ones.
Being Mexican-American myself, I sympathize with these people. I would not be here if it was not for my great-grandparents immigrated to this country. There is a strong bias against these people from many Americans, totally based upon the fact that they are not American, and should stay where they came from. With political and economical issues aside, there is no reason why these people should not be able to come here in order to live a better life a free citizen of the United States. Now of course if we let anyone and everyone in, we would have a highly overpopulated country. So who decides who gets invited and who does not? The waiting list to get a green card and citizenship to our country is so long that if one were to sign it now, they would most likely be dead by the time it is their turn. The alternative to waiting on the list is to come here illegally. Hopping the border or being guided by smugglers called “coyotes” are common ways of people getting across. In the desert there is no fence separating the boundary of Mexico and the United States, and there are simply not enough border patrol to effectively stop the flow coming in. I believe that this is one issue that does not have an answer, and whatever results from it will have lasting effects on how we live our lives.
When my great-grandparents decided to migrate north from Mexico in the late 1800’s they received enormous persecution from the people in the new world they were integrating into, as well as most others that made the same journey. They had relatively no money, and my great-grandfather came looking for whatever work he could get in the United States. They settled down in a Town called Globe, Arizona. There he found work in the copper mines. It was a dangerous and grueling job but it paid better than most. He worked hard, as well as other Mexican workers, and received minimum pay for a hard labor job. He worked for about 13 until he was killed in an accident in the mine. They continued to pay my family for the loss, but there were so many children and it just was not enough. They lived in a two-bedroom house with 10 children surviving off of two tortillas per meal, per day. Soon my great-grandmother found work as well as most of the older siblings in the family, one of them being my grandmother. They overcame this hardship and most of the kids ended up living long and prosperous lives, with my great-grandmother living to the ripe old age of 96. My grandmother is still alive and in great health, only 82 years old. She has many great accomplishments and raised three children, one of them being my mother. I would not be here today if it was not for my great-grandparents leaving their home country, trying to find a better place. I would like to think that the majority of America would not be here if it were not for their ancestors, however near or distant, coming to this country looking for a better place. The United States of America has its problems, but it is and always will be the land of opportunity where people can live “free” and choose their own destiny.
People fear the unknown. A dark room can contain a number of things, good or bad. Whether you steer clear, reject, or accept it is what is most important. With 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States and more coming, it is wise to take a new approach in accepting Hispanic culture and people (Will 1). Some people have racial issues against people they hardly know. They let stereotypes and other forms of grouping to make up their mind on the whole population. Mexicans are made up of the same atoms and materials that any other human being is (Maxx 1). The same people who discriminate against these people are the ones paying them to landscape their yard. These are also the people that are in favor of putting up a wall across the 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico. Talk about stealing taxpayer’s money. Ideas like these are ones from people who are afraid of the unknown. They do not want to know what is in the dark room and want to seal it off in the form of a wall forever. Shutting them out is an expensive quick fix that will eventually fix nothing. The point is no matter what we do to try and keep them out, they will eventually find an alternative route to come here and do the things that they should be entitled to.
The people that have learned to accept this immigration and new culture arising in our country are the smart ones. So much rejection will cause nothing but a headache and a frown. America is a melting pot of cultures where people of different races come together in harmony. There are pros and cons to every situation and in most cases finding the best in everything will get you ahead. There is no stopping immigration as well there should not be. Years from now there will be no talk about where someone is from and what race they are. Mexicans are seen as threats to society, when all they want to do is live in peace and do the things that any person would want to do. Sure there are bad people in their race, as there is in every race in the world. The sooner people realize the good in every situation and conflict, is the sooner where our world will be a better place.


so... i dont remember doing a freewrite that "gives your statement as a writer" and i cant remember when we were directed to do it. im just going to wing it, and do my best of what i think my statement as a writer is. personally i never find my self writing outside of school (occasionally poetry...seriously) but just through this semester i have found that i enjoy it more than i have before. i think in highschool i was limited to what i could write or write about, and thinking back i did not do much writing in highschool at all. the definition of ethos is the voice, tone, or spirit of someone or something. The way i think has not changed this past semester. i have the same beliefs and morals that i did at the beginning of the year, and that i have had for most of my life. i believe in all three papers that i had the same ethos while writing them, but it is difficult to compare with three different topics. i think my ethos is one of fairness, justice, and equality and i think i displayed those three traits my papers. i am a laid back person that is open to all opinions, but i have strong beliefs in different things and i think it showed in the papers because i wrote about three things i care about and believe in.