Showing posts from December, 2010

Values in Harry Potter, Twilight, and How to Train Your Dragon

On December 21st, I watched the movies How to Train Your Dragon and Twilight: Eclipse. That is when I thought up a novel idea: Let's take two book and film franchises (Harry Potter and Twilight) plus a stand-alone film, all radically different, and compare some values that I've seen within them.

To begin with, I must preface this by saying that I am no professional literary or cinematic critic, nor do I have a great deal of depth or research behind my understandings of each of these works. I have read all seven Harry Potter books, and I've seen all the movies but the most recent. Concerning the Twilight series, however, my only prior experience was really writing this post - which aside from making general criticisms of the books based on non-content-related criteria was largely a denunciation of Ketchikan's woeful lack of recognition as supreme rainfall capital of the United States. But raininess I shall set aside; I ranted quite enough on that in that previous post.

The Missing Month

I wrote the following on February 17, 2010 - almost ten months ago - entitling the blogpost draft "Contentedness":
It's always disappointing to have a long break in posting, but I believe this last silence has been unprecedented. Tomorrow, it will have been a month since I've written here last. I really need a turn around, or the Publisher is simply going to fade away into oblivion.The truth, though, is that I have been far too content to simply leave my blog be and carry on in my daily habits. In speaking at my high school graduation, I said the following:Graduation [...] is not an accomplishment on which to fixate. Yes, we achieved much in order to make it here. We’ve crossed a threshold, and we’ve crossed out at least a page of tasks in that big book of a to-do list for our lives – but should we be satisfied? No.Graduates: I want you to dream – right now. I want you to aspire. At this very moment, I want you to feel incomplete. I want you to be discontent. As grand…

The Innovation of Prezi

My distraction for the day has been the amazing innovation of Prezi. I've actually been a little disappointed this year not to have given any PowerPoints, but after discovering Prezi, I'm not sure I ever want to make a PowerPoint again.

Basically, the modern slide show presentation, made using PowerPoint or other programs, is limited because it's based on the same old idea of the slide projector - a linear progression of slides. Prezi is entirely different: The presentation consists of a single canvas containing all your topics, points, data, pictures, video - everything you want to present. Then, by determining the size of each of these objects, putting frames around them and creating a path between everything you want to show, your presentation becomes a zooming, flying, dynamic experience with unprecedented potential.

One secret hobby of mine is imagining myself being a teacher. The idea really remains one of my top occupational fantasies, if you will, and usually I thi…

A Great Quote on Secrecy

Many, if not most, covert operations deserve to be disclosed by a free press. They are often covert not only because they are illegal but because they are wildly ill-conceived and reckless. "Sensitive" and "covert" are often synonyms for "half-assed," "idiotic," and "dangerous to national security," as well as "criminal."
- Daniel Ellsberg, the real-life hero who released the Pentagon Papers

A Scheduling Success

It seems a storied tradition has developed on this blog of posting about my different class schedules at Georgetown. Here is the mention of my first preregistration, before I even became a freshman, (a very interesting post to look back on), here's the one for Spring 2010, and then there were several relating to my classes for this semester (this post ultimately being the accurate one).

So, with two semesters of college well behind me and another one soon to be on its way to join them, I now have for you my classes for Spring 2011. I am fairly certain there will be no changes to this schedule; unlike when I got my classes for this semester, this time I got a full courseload right from the beginning. Here it is! West African HistoryAdv. French Grammar and WritingChina’s Evolving Role in AfricaInternational TradePhilosophy of Education I can even start giving these classes acronyms! Acronym-giving is a must in the organized world - at least my organized world. Here also are my predic…

Everywhere is Luxembourg

At the beginning of this semester, I became a little prejudiced against my Comparative Political Systems professor because of his intellectual love affair with Max Weber and after talking to him a little about the infamous Samuel Huntington's ridiculous "Clash of Civilizations" idea - in both cases because he seemed very comfortable with culturist ideas that I find anathema.

Nevertheless, since then I have grown to like my professor more, due to the enjoyableness of his course, lectures, and common references to Canada. All the same, culturist hypotheses seem to have persisted in a few of those lectures. (By the word culturist, I am describing theories that claim to show how general cultural monoliths, such as "Protestantism," "Islam," Catholicism," or "Confucianism" will determine  societies' characteristics.)

I kind of went through a similar process in my opinions of my TA for this course: By the middle of the semester I was more …

Goodbye State Department Job

Uh oh. It looks like my benign support of Wikileaks on this blog may cancel me out of any future working for the U.S. government. (See here.) Of course, this is if my talk about the Alaska Independence Party didn't already disqualify me.

Never fear! Being a blogger definitely has more lucrative prospects, so I'm not going to let myself be shut up about what I believe in. Governments need to be accountable to those who supposedly determine them - i.e. the democratic societies they serve. Especially in war, information on corruption and abuse must be made public so that justice can be served and changes in policy initiated.

WikiLeaks Taken Off Internet

The website is no longer accessible (at least, not easily, at least not in the USA and many other places). This is a website that heroically leaked secret documents, including many related to war crimes, abuses and corruption in US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, is it surprising that the authorities have shut the website down? I guess not - but maybe I thought the government would have taken out the threat to its secrecy a little more subtly.

Let's key an eye out for developments. I, for one, think this is wrong.