Sunday, February 22, 2009

Assignment and Exercise

Print out and read Thoreau's essay "Walking" and Stegners essay "Wilderness" (in letter format).

Write an essay comparing and contrasting, with paraphrasing, the two works using quotes from each work. In addition, include a Works Cited page, providing correctly formatted attribution to your sources.

Bring pre-writing or essay draft on Tuesday.

10 most common logical fallacies

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cardiac Obliteration - Introductions

In 1984, he crossed the United States. At least 10 young women were abducted and raped. He murdered seven. This is her story. (sensational detail)

April was cold that year and the day was overcast, cooling the silver light to shadow even before its rays fell upon the ground. The desert, normally alive in the warm spring air, was still and somber. A world waiting, it seemed, for her next breath. (setting)

You spend years teaching your children how to be safe. They listen and they learn, you hope. “Look both ways before you cross the street.“ “Don’t put your hand on a bare burner.” “Don’t talk to strangers.” Everyday maxims of common sense, lived by rote each day until, one day, they are forgotten. Safety is pushed aside, and danger takes their hand. (narration)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Here are my three introductions. I don't know what one I like the best! I know we will be reviewing these in class but here they are!

1. When Jessica was younger, the summer months were her favorite. She would lie in the green grass and make the clouds look like silly shapes with her imagination. She would race her brothers on the hot cement. If she ever tripped and fell, her daddy was always there to pick her up and kiss her skinned knee. That would make everything better. (anecdote)

2. "Don’t cry honey, it’s just a skinned knee,” her father said softly as he scooped her up off the pavement. His strong arms carried her small body inside the house and set her by the couch. The tears still streamed down her cheeks. As his lips met her knee suddenly the crying stopped. All the pain she felt was gone. Her daddy could fix anything. (Quotes)

3. Why is the pavement so hard? Jessica was crying hysterically. Her knee was skinned, a very minor injury. But Jessica was 6 years old. That magnified the pain and severity of her injury. Help was on the way. Her father had come to the rescue. Softly pressing his lips against her knee he asked her if it felt better. She nodded yes. (Question)

4. When people skin their knees, antiseptic and a bandaid is usually needed . The antiseptic is needed to clean out germs and bacteria from the wound. The bandaid is needed to keep germs and bacteria from entering the wound. But when little Jessica skins her knee all she needs is a kiss from her daddy to make it all better. (funnel)

To Turn In On Tuesday 3/17

2 copies or your essay draft; 2 copies of your e-tutor report; 2 copies of your completed essay; 3 (identified) introductions to your essay; 2 copies of your essay with each sentence labeled (Simple, Compound, Complex, Compound/Complex).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the performance

The performance:
He was just sitting there knowing it was coming, thoughts running through his mind of what he was going to do for a whole minute, he hardly even notices as the teacher asks him from a chair away if he is ready to go. As people turn to listen to his answer looking to embarrassed him as he gives a whimpery reply Yeah sure... He rises from the chair slowly wishing it was over and he was returning to his seat. Pulling his instrument out he moves forward slowly the whole world is resting on his shoulders and he is showing it. He tries all of the crap they tell you to calm you down, the deep breaths, the picture of everyone in their underwear he stops for a second when this idea takes shape in his minds eye. Looking around at a picture of everyone in their underwear isn't exactly appealing to him. He feels what was left of the blood in his face drain to his feet. He feels an imaginary kiss of heat as he sits in the "hot seat" Thinking of a way to forestall what he knows he must do he rises with pain in his eyes
"Right I forgot to say my stuff... he starts.
"You don't have to if you don't want to." the teacher says in his most reassuring tone. "I'll do it anyways." he says in response he knows what he wants to say but the works won't seem to come out.
"Okay what im going to be playing using the force of his will he gets the final words out.
Is a bunch of stuff that just sort of goes together and hopefully sounds okay.
He hears the snickers of the people two rows ahead of him as they joke about his little speech. With a bitterly cruel thought he knows they were being careful to be just loud enough for him to hear their comments but subtle and quite enough for the teacher in his old age to not be able to hear them. He looks at the instrument in his hands alien to him for that second. It almost hurts as the click of his memory of the past weeks of learning this fall back into place. Taking a deep breath and closing his eyes he almost wishes he had a god or something to pray to for strength. He feels the eyes of his peers washing over his whole form. Opening his eyes he knows its now or never. As the jittery tempo starts in his mind, the follows to his mouth.
"One and Two and 3 and Four and..." he whispers to himself.
He starts by matching the tempo he is counting to himself with his right hand moving it exactly where it needs to go. He slowly adds his left hand, it coming so naturally he makes him jump a little causing his tempo to falter a little. Shaking his head he gets his tempo back in a hurry accidentally speeding it up a little bit. His feet have decided to take the tempo from his mouth. For a moment he got lost in his beat and it was perfect, just as he had practiced. Then one slip occurred. Unanticipating this he stopped suddenly trying to get the part to work out slowly as the teacher had taught he tries, once, twice, three times. He hears his breath get caught in his throat. The sound that escapes him is an unfamiliar cross between a moan and a sigh. Looking up he starts again slower than before. Resuming the rhythm he had before he improvises around the part he can't do. Thinking it has been long enough he slows to almost a complete stop. Looking up he forget he needed an ending. On the spur of the moment he jumps out at the first thing that comes to mind. Playing it as loud as he can manage the pure sound of it makes him visibly jump. Beginning to raise the applause begins slowly and dies almost as fast as it starts. Keeping his eyes to the floor he lets his feet guide him back to his seat, hoping to fade into the faceless crowd. He lowers himself into his seat and falls back into it. The teacher complements him on a good job improvising when he needed to. Blocking out the rest of the world he closes his eyes and the world around him falls away.


Know this for our Mid-term
How to Begin and End an Essay

Skinned Knees

Kelly Burns
Dr. James Hepworth
English -101-06
February 10, 2009

Skinned Knees

When Jessica was younger, the summer months were her favorite. She would lie in the green grass and make the clouds look like silly shapes with her imagination. She would race her brothers on the hot cement. If she ever tripped and fell, her daddy was always there to pick her up and kiss her skinned knee. That would make everything better.
She had the most loving family. Her parents loved each other and their kids. Her brothers, although they teased her, loved her infinitely. The only care Jessica ever had to deal with was if she would wake up in time to watch Saturday morning cartoons.
Her childhood was just like anyone else’s. She played at the park, and tried hard to be better than the other neighborhood kids at sports. No matter how much she loved playing games, she loved school tenfold. Her favorite subject was science.
As she grew older and eventually went to high school, science got harder for her. She had to stay up until almost one in the morning every night just to finish her homework. She always did it because getting into a great college and having a great family like her own was always most important to her.
One night, when she was deep in her studies for a mid-term test, a ghastly sound met her ears. Her father and mother were fighting. She thought to herself that her mom probably forgot to pay a bill or something. What happened next made Jessica’s stomach flip-flop.
Screaming. More screaming. The screams escalated into the sound of a dish hitting the wall. Yelling. More yelling. Then she heard a final scream from her mother and all was silent. What happened? She wondered, possible scenarios ran through her mind. She didn’t know what to do.
The front door slammed. She walked out of her room, down the hallway, and into the kitchen. Her mother lay in a heap on the floor. She ran over, asphyxiated at the sight. She saw her mother had a black eye and was extremely incoherent.
“MOM!” She frantically cried. If only her brothers were awake, she kept thinking to herself.
Her mom awoke and groaned. Jessica stared in awe at her mother’s battered figure.
“J-… Jessica?” Her mother wheezed out with immense effort. “Go back to bed honey, you have school in the morning.” Jessica stared into her mother’s eyes. She asked herself how she could leave, with her mother in so much pain.
“Go… Go now!” Her mothers said in a firmer voice, bringing herself to her feet. Jessica didn’t know what to do. She obeyed her mother’s orders, on her way back to her room she glanced at her mother one last time before shutting the door.
The next day at school she tried to remember everything she had studied the night before. But when she searched her memory all she saw was the vision of her mother lying on the floor. She wanted to know everything that had happened, and why it had happened.
Jessica was so mad at herself! She had been so preoccupied with school, and her friends that she hadn’t noticed her parent’s relationship falling apart. How could she have been so ignorant? Where had they gone wrong?
Later on at dinner she began to notice things about her family she hadn’t noticed before. Her mother would never look her father in the eyes when they talked. His tone was always harsh and condescending. Her brother’s never wanted to be at the house. How could this have happened? How could she have missed the fact that her family was crumbling around her? The more she thought about it, she realized her parent’s conversations were not as positive as they once were.
It was a somber thought, knowing that her mother was trapped in such an abusive relationship. Jessica was so angry with herself. She tried to get a word in with her mother. She acted as if she was preoccupied, and continued to chop vegetables. Jessica tried to look at her mother’s eyes, but she continued to covert them sheepishly. Why? Jessica wondered.
“What’s the matter kiddo? You didn’t do so well on your science test?” Her father asked her over dinner.
“Well she-“ her mother started.
“Well nobody asked you,” her father snapped back with a glare.
Jessica tried to speak but no words came out. She looked at her mother, who was now staring at her plate of potatoes. Then she looked at her father. Her eyes welled up with tears and she ran from the table. She slammed her bedroom door and buried her face in the pillow.
If only her father had been the man he used to be. She wished so bad that he could come in and take all the pain she felt away. But how could he when we was the main source of it? She thought back to the man who had picked her up off the pavement.
Her father knocked on the door, one… two… three times. Jessica searched for the words to answer him with. She couldn’t speak. It was only then that she realized that skinned knees hurt far less then a broken heart.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cardiac Obliteration

April was cold that year and the day was overcast, cooling the silver light to shadow even before its rays fell upon the ground. The desert, normally alive in the warm spring air, was still and somber. Waiting, it seemed, for the world to take its next breath.

She stood in the grass, its brilliant green muted in the gloom, and she pleaded with her mother and father to understand. Countless hours of photographs and makeup and cattle calls had led to this chance to pursue her dream beyond the borders of Las Vegas. Seeing their faces in the audience of fashion reporters, magazine photographers and modeling agents would make her nervous.

She smiled, one dimple appearing and vanishing like a fleeting thought, and swept a stray tendril of long golden brown hair from her face. Seventeen Magazine would make certain she was protected. She would be careful; she wasn’t a child any longer. They could rely on her good judgment to bring her home, safe and sound. She was 18 years old. They had to let her grow up. It was time.

On April Fool’s Day, 1984, her mother and father reminded her to be careful, wished her good luck, and waved as she drove from the quiet suburbs into the raucous city. They would not be there to watch.

But he was there. Watching. Smiling. Plotting.

He met them after the show, paying particular attention to four or five of the models. She, and a few of the other girls, agreed to meet him in front of Caesar’s Palace. She must have been the first to arrive, because the other girls waited for an hour before deciding to abandon this particular quest for fame. They returned to their homes, safe and sound.

He was a photographer. He wanted to hire them. He could make them famous.

He was a liar.

Her mother and father waited late into the dark night and into the early hours of a new day. Before the pale, morning sun had crested the horizon, frantic phone calls were placed. They spoke with friends, teachers, and her boyfriend. All of whom had made the promise as well. She had not been seen.

Her friends and family waited, helpless and impotent in the face of a fear they could not, would not, force themselves to name. One day passed, then two, and their surreal terror and heartbreaking sorrow was barely held in check by thin bonds of hope.

Three days passed, and a brown Camaro was found parked in a dark, secluded area of the McCarran International Airport parking garage. The Nevada plates read, “TOMISH”. Her father had put those plates on himself, before she was handed the keys on her sixteenth birthday, just over a year earlier.

He was placed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.

Days and days of searching, the lonely desert ringing with the echoes of her name, called endlessly, yielded no prize. She was strong, and smart. She would hold on until help arrived.

Thirteen long days were gone when he was shot by the FBI near a small gas station in New Hampshire; cardiac obliteration.

Still they sought her, in dark caves and by overgrown trails, near muddy shoreline and rocky ditches, in overloaded landfills and salty swamps. They struggled against biting wind and through slicing rain to find her. They each carried a blanket and water; she would be cold and dehydrated when they found her. The offer of help from Psychics was accepted; she was under something blue, she was thirsty.

Weeks turned to months. Mother’s Day. Her Graduation. Father’s Day.

She was found in a ditch, near a Rest Area sign in the Angeles Forest of California. Badly, badly beaten, she appeared to be dead when he left her there, face down and naked. Too weak to raise her head from the soil, she suffocated and died, alone and cold.

Sixteen weeks later, they buried her.

There is an empty wound that stays with each of them; cardiac obliteration.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On Choosing What I Believe

Beliefs are, by nature, absolute and, as such, very few are manifest in my life. There are more fingers on my hands than things I believe. I suppose I fear binding myself to restrictive codes that neither accommodate for the needs of others nor recognize the value in diversity. Yet, I cannot sail through this sea of people, and leave it better in my wake, without these bearings, by which I navigate.

In the midst of anger and hurt, I can choose to hold tightly to the anchor of blame placed with those I find at fault, though I believe that if I am unwilling to extend forgiveness to others, I cannot be forgiven for all the hurt I have caused. And so, I choose to forgive.

In the depths of misery, I can drown in despair though I believe that to deny hope is to disallow the dream of improved circumstances for myself and others. And so, I choose to hope.

Confronted by another’s seemingly unfathomable choice, I can ridicule their morals and customs, though I believe that we all face choices with less than palatable options. And so, I choose to empathize.

Awash in prejudice, I can foster the acceptance of ignorance, though I believe that knowledge can ease the fears born of the unknown, and will yield tolerance. And so, I choose to learn.

Faced with hate, I can forever abandon the author of each callous deed, though I believe that I can love someone in spite of their flaws, and without agreeing with their actions; for this is how I am accepted. And so, I choose to love.

Spouting religion, I can condemn others for not adhering to the tenets of men as fallible as I, though I believe that it is better to have a relationship with God than to be religious. And so, I choose relationship.

My inner compass, momentarily jarred by waves of conflict or distress, will, more often than not, right itself before those around me suffer too much damage. Given time, I rally against the cross-winds of emotion to choose a response that runs contrary to my own selfish, human reactions. Love, forgiveness, hope, empathy, knowledge, relationship, and tolerance serve as the stars by which I chart my course. Should I run aground in the shallows of selfishness, I will endeavor to take a new tack. And choose what I believe.