Saturday, April 24, 2010

Error in my last posting...

For some reason, YouTube did not post my last video correctly. The public project is the following:

If there's any problems, email me. Thanks.

FINAL POSTING... The last for now!

Last, here is the last multimodal essay, the Public project:

Hope you enjoy!

FINAL POSTING... still going strong until the end!

Well, here is the next video, and the link posting for the Professional multimodal project. Here is the link:

Hope you enjoy it!

FINAL POSTING... how sad.

Well bloggers, this is my last post. I have constructed the three videos, and uploaded them to YouTube. The first link is for the Personal multimodal essay:


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rhetorical Analysis of Artifacts...

So our assignment this week is to get a hands-on feel for artifacts and other materials that belong to our country.

Well, this isn't difficult as much as it is a challenge to find worthwhile material to share.

I think to start off first, I'd like to share a link, which is as follows:

This picture, which is from the link above, is a "print screen shot" of the video.

Geraldine, who is my girlfriend's roommate, was kind enough to show me this back in December. I decided to dig it up and use it again, because it's interesting to discuss and makes for a fascinating point.

Basically, this link is for Belgian customers who pay broadcasting fees for radio and television programs. It belongs to Radiotjanst, and this link was sent to several customers in show of appreciation for their contribution and dedication.

Now, while putting together a web video that can be sent anywhere and used by anyone seems a little too simple, or ordinary, it had me question Belgian ethnos, archon, and techne.

I can only surmise that the company determined making a web clip for customers would inevitably trickle down to potential strangers interested in Radiotjanst, and in return, promote itself through appreciation. The fact that I can see my face on two billboards, on a clipboard floating in a space station, and in a little girl's wallet and being redeemed by the world as a hero has boosted my ego, and made me more curious about the company.

And even if one's curiosity ends just at utilizing this nifty link, it still involves someone, anyone, passing this on and keeping it moving to others who might be interested and want to learn more.

Now, while American commercials and advertisements dare us to try products and foods, there is little incorporation of the consumer. Most notably, Dominoes did change their recipe, ingredients, and more to improve themselves, but this was more out of dissatisfaction than appreciation. The way Radiotjanst communicates with the society around them is intriguing, and the technological promotions and advertisements they use seem to be a world in and of itself.

As for my second artifact, I'm going to have to stretch it, because we haven't delved deeply into conversation or other forms of media and interest. I can offer information about the types of chocolates they eat, and I will probably include this if I can fit in some of the different eating habits compared to that of America.

After Christmas, Geraldine was kind enough to bring back chocolate that passed Customs and much to our surprise, it tasted very... bitter. The texture and flavor was rich, but for American taste, it lacked sweetness, which is what gets us by day to day when we eat Hershey's, Snickers, or a Twix. Surprisingly, chocolate over there is usually 60% to 85% bittersweet, especially cocoa. A noticeable example of this is for Valentine's Day, I made the mistake of buying this (and other) kinds of chocolate for my girlfriend, she was forced to give it up to Geraldine because it was too bitter for her or myself.

I know I have limited time to actually conduct my interview and to show proof of personal, public, and professional, I think food is a strong role, especially when considering how Clemson in the South compares to New York, California, and Delaware, and her impression of food in general. There is no doubt products that we take for granted are different, such as Coca Cola and Pepsi, milk, and other products.

Well, this is all I have for now. I look forward to posting next week, as normal, about my plans and my progress. I shall see you all back here, same time, different week.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Interviewing: Not as easy as it looks on TV...

Well, this week, I'm supposed to incorporate the content from this section into planning for my final project interview component.

This, I believe, will be rather easy seeing as how a good chunk of my project will lie within interviewing roommates and friends around the Clemson Exchange Community.

Notably, I hope to rehearse and prepare accordingly over the next few weeks with questions and materials in an attempt to shape the main points of the final. This will involve narrowing down my questions, and choosing a format in which questions will come from. At the moment, I am stuck between using the same questions for each person, and just cutting from one person to the next to the next, or using different questions targeted specifically to my personal, professional, and private.

As it stands now, I will be having my roommate and my girlfriend's roommate interviewed as my personal. For professional, I believe I will get my residential assistant to help, and as for professional, at the moment, I do not have any idea. Perhaps I could interview American students such as myself who are volunteering their living arrangements and time to be around people from other countries. Or I can interview someone who is in charge of the numbers of the C.E.C. program, possibly someone who's involved in housing, and get some input as far as if exchange students are increasing in size and what is being done to advertise Clemson to the world.

As for my interview location, I will probably be using my apartment. Depending on the time, I will probably use the couch and the table in the apartment, and with any luck, use the fluorescent lights that hang on the ceiling. I do not know how this will determine the camera lighting, but I will be certainly testing this out. As for scenery in the shots, I will most likely incorporate anything that is unique; for example, my roommate is not a fan of the food here in America, so he orders food that is very similar to what is consumed from India. The same thing applies with my girlfriend's roommate, and anything that can be incorporated in to making her comfortable here in the United States. As for the remainder of my films, I plan on relying heavily on recording the areas around Calhoun Courts to show the life and treatment that a college student endures through the fun and challenging times.

As for the public, I imagine I can use shots of Tillman Hall and the mountain, and specifically distinctive points that classify Clemson as the ideal campus and reveal what is alluring to others who have never been here.

But first, and foremost, I have to attempt to find a camera, and secure one for at least three days in order to get the filming correct and elaborate. This will be the most difficult part because cameras are only allowed to be checked out for one night, and the chances of arranging a check-out three days straight is slim to none, so managing my time for this final project and my other classes may be a little challenging. However, it will just take focus and detail. At the moment, I don't know how to splice videos, but I will be checking into that soon.

I hope all is okay with everyone else and that you all are staying focused and enjoying the time overseas.

I will probably post a final result tomorrow night, so stay tuned as I ask my interviewees if they are willing and able.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Plans For My Final Project...

Well, for those of you who have been following me, you may notice that this blog is being posted on Friday rather than Saturday on the day that it is due.

Tragically, I will be unable to post any blogs and such because my one year anniversary is tomorrow/today.

Shout-out to Valerie. :)

Now, down to business. To be honest, I have been having difficulty trying to decide in what way I will be portraying my final project.

The point of this class is to immerse ourselves into another society, another culture, and literally that of another world. With that in mind, it's challenging to imagine producing a documentary-esque film of American quality because it would be pointless. We all, after all, are Americans. We have been exposed to the internet, media, and certain social standards all of our life, and we would gain no insight or knowledge looking at what we take for granted for everyday.

This leads me to contemplate exactly how to carry out this project, because unlike my fellow classmates, I am not in another country participating in cultural activities that are taken for granted by the locals and not available here in the United States.

But thankfully, I have an idea about how I can possibly carry out the final project without having too much of a struggle, and I would like as many opinions about it as possible.

The concept of my idea revolves around what this class is based on. And that, namely, is cultural exploration. Since I am living in the Clemson Exchange Community, I have the advantage to students who are visiting here for one semester.

So, my plan for my final project is simply to gain perspective of other students. In a sense, I'm still taking culture from my surroundings, like the international students, but instead of summing up one culture, I'll be interviewing various students who make up the portion of Clemson.

I imagine that taking the time to see what culture is integrated into our own is an important part to better Clemson's role in international planning and responsibility. What is the reason that they chose the United States? Why did they decide on Clemson compared to other colleges in America? What were some of the beliefs and ideas they had going in compared to the reality of the situation?

More importantly, I believe I have the opportunity to see how interaction is made between integrating foreign customs and beliefs into new opportunities, new adventures, and new chances to try the "American way of living".

Because my major is Psychology, I am hoping that this will further my own ability to understand reasoning, conceptual thinking, and behavior trends regarding different cultures. Because when it comes to defining "culture" in Clemson, we cannot just promote the Southern way, or those who are born here. We have to include everyone who plays a vital role on all levels, including those who journey back to Australia, China, Europe, Asia, so on, and so forth, and relate stories of the time they've been here.

As to how I will accomplish this, I believe interviewing at least two people would prove useful. Unfortunately, meetings for the C.E.C. have slowed down, and there has been little to no chance to participate in cultural diversity on that level. This means that I need to get new perspectives, and think outside of the box and decide how to create a project that sums up my one and only year as a C.E.C. resident in a way that encourages others to either participate with the C.E.C. or travel abroad and promote culturiosity (that's culture and curiosity, as defined by transfer students coming into Clemson).

Well, that is all for now. Perhaps if I have some down time Saturday or Sunday night, I'll check back in but in the meantime, stay tuned for more.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The True Tropos of Photos

So it turns out that I went in the wrong direction with the whole tropos situation. I was observing more on authenticity of my subject than the story of the photos and what I was trying to convey through the pictures.

A cultural identity can often be found close to home. After careful consideration, I realized my girlfriend's family had a typical, standard home. They are descendants of Cubans, not actually born in Cuba, or raised there. There would be no distinction or difference in perceiving cultural diversity because I myself am Caucasian, and there house typically looks the same as mine.

The restaurant is ideal because it examines culture specifically and the traits that prominently separates Cuba from the world.

Cigars, dominoes, and coffee. These words seem so simple, but after seeing how important they are, I delved a little deeper. The Cuban lifestyle is all about taking time to enjoy leisurely pleasures. One thing I have noted is compared to most typical families, eating together at meals and visiting is a definite requirement because it's about the little things that keep us together.

Smoking, no matter how unhealthy it is, was still a time for people with the same similarities to unwind, indulge in a habit, and relax. Throw in coffee, and dominoes, and you have the perfect excuse to waste a free Saturday afternoon with family, friends, and neighbors.

I wanted to include in each frame the habits of Cuba. Yes, it is an island. It is tropical, and it has much to offer, but the appeal of relaxation and comfort still holds the attention of the locals.

Of all people, they are not to be excluded from the fun!

When it came to excluding certain things, I wanted to omit the tables, drink area, and the overall appearance of the store.

Anything that might have displayed a shift to American "modernism" is something I wanted to avoid. Yes, Jose and Suzie adopted certain traits in order to function in a business-like state, but the signs they've hung in their building, the wood-carved map of Cuba actually made in Cuba, the many different packages of cigars and the commodities of coffee and the flavors sought after.

The tropos of the shot helps tell my story that these are people who enjoy good food, getting together, and generally operate on tight-knit communities and hangouts. The pictures displaying the culture of the beach, the maracas hanging around the pictures, and the general feel of tropic paradise is what I wanted to capture.

And when it comes to food, I find it hard to name just one culture that throws parties and festivals specifically to bring together multitude of people. When considering different races, the fact that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated widely and Halloween, or the "Day of the Dawn", is quite popular is not a coincidence. Now, yes, there is a difference between Latin America and Central America... quite noticeably, the unique details of each separate country and custom.

But for Cuba, there is no confusing the wonderful atmosphere of pleasant comradery that I only dared to hope to capture.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Tropos of A Cuban Restaurant...

Well, this week, I was asked to look back over my material, and the pictures, and to go into more detail about why I chose particular angles, imagery, the appearance and size, and most particularly, the story I'm trying to convey to others.

When I look over these pictures, I cannot help but feel that this place separates itself by creating an identity. Thinking about McDonalds and Olive Garden and all of these other places that serve food, it's weird to think how they are merely decoration and aesthetic attention-grabbers.

From these pictures, you can tell that the Cuban Restaurant is authentic. That, if you walk in through the doors, you're guaranteed to be greeted, and any questions or topics about Cuba and the like will be treated with warm stories, humor, and laughter as well as great food, drinks, and an interest in you, not specifically your money.

I think that that is why there was no particular skill at taking these pictures. There was no prior preparation, skill, or finesse. These pictures were all taken on my camera phone, on the spot. And I think that is the beauty of them. They are original. It sparks originality, and uniqueness. Like if you walk into a Japanese restaurant, you expect there to be some tokens of Japan, reminiscent of The Great Wall, feudal ages, and samurai, emperors, and the like.

Now, that is not to say that America fails to have an identity. If you were to walk into a McDonalds overseas, you would see the same key elements there that you would here. Quality, cleanliness, efficiency, and food that satisfies hunger.

But McDonalds, like other American businesses, aren't interested in chatting or conversation. About getting to know people on a personal level, and cooking for the general satisfaction rather than expectation.

Now don't get me wrong. We are all attuned to different standards and different levels of cooking. But food, like it or not, is diverse and what we'll call, culturious. It does not discriminate, it brings everyone closer together, and more importantly, it comes with a proud label of heritage, age, and respect.

During our last visit, when my girlfriend and I took the pictures, we conversed with the owners, Jose and Suzie, Val's cousins, about another restaurant they had tried.

Suzie, hearing of another Cuban restaurant, visited the so-called authentic business while she was in the area. Upon sitting down, she ordered toast. The first red flag was when the waitress offered her a choice of white bread or wheat.

Now, for those who aren't fortunate enough to date a Cuban won't know that wheat or any bread other than white is considered inauthentic and borderline-insulting to the way of Cuban cooking.

The second breaking point was when Suzie tried to order a tortilla and was again, given a choice of cornmeal or flour. Even I was caught off-guard but it turns out that a tortilla is a type of Spanish omelette where eggs, potatoes, and other foods are added for a quick meal at any time. The offense here of course, miscommunication; specifically that of offering just a tortilla of a wrap-like quality, or an actual dish called the tortilla.

And that is ultimately what I'm getting at. Looking at these pictures, food included, you can see that there is no boast or need to challenge the authenticity. The arrangement of the pictures is natural. It didn't require some person to come in, research the Cuban lifestyle and habits, and then import relics and similar objects that hold fascination. These are people who live the traits, who are proud and represent who they are through their food.

I think one of the best pictures I took was the arrangement of the dominoes, the mini-palm tree, and the packet of cigarettes. If you were to travel to Georgia and go to the counter of this establishment, rest-assured, you would find these elements.

And I think that that is the most important lesson pulled out of photography. Of course we can ask people to participate, to fake, or show parts of a story that we want others to see. But photographs aren't just about weddings and birthdays. It isn't just the happiness. It's about life. The natural misery, frustration, sorrowful moments that make us thankful for what we have.

And the tropos of the pictures are exactly that. The stories of each item beg for a question that will be followed with comfortable leisurely conversations and a profound interest in the Cuban background.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Scenes From A Cuban Restaurant...

So, the assignment this week was to take pictures of "culture" and to more or less spark the interest of our culture.

Thankfully, loyal readers, my girlfriend is Cuban! xD

(In case you didn't know that, the flan in the YouTube video should have tipped you off. It's a specialty of Cuba. And the title of this blog, for those who don't grasp my dry wit, is a play on of a Billy Joel song... that's all the hint I'll give.)

Tonight, I ventured once again to a wonderful little restaurant called, "Cuban Restaurant". Now, before you think it's just another copy or attempt at generating food, it is, in all sense, owned and operated by Cubans proud to make and serve the food.

This trip, having been my third, resulted in having to take pictures of the aesthetic scenery. It had to be done. To prove how wonderful the people, who treat me like family are, and the tasty food that cannot be found anywhere but Cuba.

The first picture is of the counter. I know it looks like empty space, but on the contrary, this is the biggest part of the restaurant open to the public. The corner actually doubles as a karaoke bar, full of English AND Spanish songs that allow the customers to feel more at ease.

This is actually a poster from Cuba, brought back, showing the peaceful life and paradise, possibly exaggerated of course.

This sign, of course, is for the Men's restroom. I found it fascinating that a little bit of the culture even appeals to here compared to restaurants in Japanese steakhouses and Chinese restaurants.

This picture, I believe, captures the "spirit" of Cubans everywhere. To take this picture, I wanted to take a shot that utilized the "tropical" air of the island and the local pastime of "dominoes". A pack of cigarettes lies nearby, always handy for anyone interested, and believe it or not, this was not my arrangement. This can be found there, exactly as is, pending nobody has a dominoes match going on.

Here, you can see the menus along with authentic cases for smokes and other goods, along with another picture exported from Cuba. The natural feel is obvious, as well as the apparent use and upkeep of the restaurant side of the business.

As for each of these pictures, I apologize for the size on some of them. These items are more than decorations. They are stories in and of themselves. It was important for me to angle the camera correctly and include in each a reasonable size and frame of the material. We have pictures and boxes of cigars, a wooden replica of Cuba, actually made in Cuba, and of course, coffee galore.

To summarize in short, the articles and videos truly helped me realize the importance of capturing pictures properly. They show a story, a truth to what we see and perceive around us. It is with pride that I can post these because it was with careful consideration and attention to detail and my surroundings that I can truly appreciate the atmosphere as well as the food.

Last, but not least, I posted some pictures of the food that was offered. In case you are hungry, or in need of something to eat, I have them below the text as a fair warning. They are as tasty as they look, and they include the Media Noche, which is a Cuban sandwich on sweet Cuban roll, pickles, mustard, ham, and a type of cheese. Next to it is Yuca con mojo, a type of potato root cooked at just the right time and temperature, and yuca fries, and black beans and rice, a local favorite, and of course, bistec empanizado, which is breaded and covered in parsley and onions.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Rhetoric Not Included in the Happy Meal

After viewing the McDonald's Site, I was surprised at many different things. Mostly, the ease and clutter-free that was on each webpage, and how easy it was to navigate.

The Kairos of McDonalds is very broad and indefinite. You can find support for the Winter Olympics... you can find a corner for kids, such as activities and games, a place for adults, such as health-related information, and careers, a shop (which actually is surprising, considering all of the items), and a lot of "time-wasting" material that relates to promotions, advertisements, and updates on McDonald's activities.

On the Logos level, the rationality of the website seems very practical. There is no clutter. Hardly do you have to scroll up and down to take in the information, or read articles and paragraphs. Likewise, there are usually more pictures and videos than there are anything else. Thankfully, there are no major "third-party" advertisements, although it appeals to the typical American by offering to join through FaceBook and Twitter.

The Pathos level seems to exhibit constant happiness. Simple colors, organization, each section appeals to the point of that area. If you're looking for a job, it names opportunities, locations, information, and positions. If you click on Food, Nutrition, & Fitness, you have complete access to every bit of food that McDonalds produces instantly, without having to search or type in anything. The emotional aspect of this eliminates any frustration or confusion, and the entire site radiates comfort and ease.

The Ethos appeal seems to try and include a little bit of everything, as is American custom. Even when watching the commercials for McDonald's over the last eighty years, you can see movement from the typical family outing to "a little bit of everything", from the atypical music to targeting kids specifically with Ronald playing with children, to the repetitive repeat of a guy going to different businesses asking what he can purchase with a single American dollar.

The topic of the website seems upfront and forward. If you want McDonald's information, visit our site. Look on the specific link, and then look through the webpage for the specific bit of data. As far as I can tell, a "third-party" built the McDonald's USA website, but certain links warn that you are navigating away while other links seem already there. Again, the purpose of the site seems to be for American customers of all ages and ethnicity. It appears online of course, and based on a hunch, I assume it is the site that is linked through all McDonald's advertisements. The site seems to have been made between 2005 and 2010, probably being updated with new recipes, ingredients, and food items. I assume that the site will not be revamped or altered majorly until after this year, and may not look the same in 2011. As for how and why, the website is probably framed through extensive feedback and user's opinions, and it was written for anyone wanting to get online and inquisitively search online.

Although I am not out of the country at the moment, I will be asking friends to send my pictures of various McDonalds from around the U.S. I hope this makes up for not being able to contrast a "host" site with the United States site.

I'll keep you all posted...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

< {} /\/\ |> |_| + € Ѓ $ (Computers) & € \/ {} £ |_| + ! {} /\| (Evolution)

Well, here's another post, and hopefully, an equal opportunity to boggle the mind and perplex the cerebellum.

And other assorted-various parts of the brain.

To begin, I was very surprised how much of an impact of technology plays on humanity. In modern times, we consider any improvement or positive change to benefit us as individuals and as a society. Oftentimes, the only choice we have to make is between competitors of the same product. But was it always that way?

In relation to any improvement, what are the consequences to each advance? Doesn't each advance, from writing to blogging now become an effective mean in which to project creative thoughts and ideas?

More importantly, hasn't each innovative breakthrough been a way to make things easier? I mean, technically, we can blame the wheel for taking away physical stamina and keeping humans from becoming obese. Likewise, we can say that the commodity of packaged foods eliminated any need for population control and the fight for survival.

However, in comparison to technological advances, we see that we are replacing one means with another. The wheel hasn't taken away from the fact that we still need to exert some force or effort to travel. Even though we can carry more, we are still accomplishing the same goal we set out for. As for food, we aren't replacing one with another, we are simply taking away from having to gather.

But the problem is too diverse with the internet. We are mass-producing a single unit in which we can do multiple tasks at a single time. Our phone has the ability to call and text. To use a calculator, to chat, to use the internet, to tell time, to play games, to search for information. Even audio players, such as the Zune and iPod come included with multiple features. Even more startling is the transition from paper to stored data.

There is no doubt that in an office, one would rather have a computer with patient's files stored on it than filing cabinets cluttering space (although during a power outage, I believe that we would prefer the paper!).

In regards to the Friedrich Nietzsche case of buying a typewriter, it poses an interesting question. Nietzsche didn't altogether eliminate the need for paper. He replaced writing by hand for the ease of deft agility and processing his work faster.

So why was there a noticeable change in his work when his friends and family viewed it?

Personally, I believe that typing for Nietzsche, like everyone else, allowed one's thoughts to be conveyed much quicker than one can process. We see quality on paper. We see quantity on the computer. When we write on paper, we express creativity and ideas. We write because we are inspired, because we are already underway through the thinking process. When we sit down in front of a computer, we oftentimes complete our papers, stories, and ideas instantly. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the average time we spend on a single link is less than five minutes.

There is no depth in anything technological that replaces one means with another. In fact, we take away from the appreciation. How fast can we go through audio music when listening to music? And when we listen to the radio after our battery is dead, how many times do we catch ourselves looking to shuffle or change it because we're bored?

We lack the appreciation. The internet shouldn't replace books, or anything else. In fact, I believe we'd regain the "depth" we once attained in adventures with dragons and battles in starships in outerspace if more papers forbid the use of the internet. If we actually researched atoms and cellular structure, along with everything else we needed to learn, would the information stick better?

I believe so. Or at least that's my opinion. I think that no matter what, one should always have pad and pencil ready. One mustn't run dry the well of thought, and to put off retrieving the depths of our own ideas, we push away the true meaning behind our motivation.

At least that's what I think.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Way of the Jimmy: Not Just A Cult Favorite!

And... I'm back. I figure I'm kinda wordy, so I'll shorten my stuff or post additional blogs. Which, some people may enjoy.

Anyways... onto the next question.

"How do you identify 'your people?' How is this identity formed by the considerations of ethnos, nomos, mythos, archon, and techne."

Well, my identity is something that I've long pondered myself. My people, specifically my family, is complex. We believe in strong family bonds, and yet, my parents are not on great terms with their family. Yet, their own failures only strengthened a new beginning. I was taught family dinners and supporting each other was important. I've taken classes in ROTC and have been trained on how to follow, and lead, but I prefer to avoid any responsibility because it tips balances and scales. I love to write, but I'd rather have a career in psychology and talk to people.

Ethnos is a little challenging because there is no specific way to measure it. I am open-minded, and love reading and writing. Through this, I hunt down old books, participate in learning everything I can get my hands on, and strive to enter new worlds at every opportunity. I like to think that music defines me, and that my genre of music is broad, like my goals and ambitions. An example of this would be that I've gotten my hair cornrowed and I wear slinkies as a sign of fashion style. This holds no relative meaning to nobody but me, and I enjoy this.

This identity is tragically not formed by nomos in any way. This is partially because my family cut all ties, in a sense, to create new ones. I realize that I am the first, as far as I know, to go to Clemson, to enter into Psychology, and to strive towards writing. This can be challenging at times having no specific help or advice through family, but I have support and that is good enough for me.

Mythos is actually a motivator for me. My mother and father aren't specifically bound by standards or roles. Both of my parents cook, both of my parents participated in raising my brothers and I, and each one has had various backgrounds in government jobs, traveling, making new friends, so on, and so forth. They have taught me that I should try to pave my own story, and to make a difference in my own way.

Archon is another one that is challenging. If you were to research me, you probably wouldn't find very much. It is true that I have a MySpace and a FaceBook account, but if you were to view it, you wouldn't find very much. I don't have any albums of music or photos posted. I don't have any stories or tales, and honestly, I would much rather be making the new adventures and creating stories than to be documenting and archiving tales of exaggerated feats. My life is something others have to choose to participate in. It isn't enough for my "friends" to sit on the sideline and comment on it.

Last, for techne, this is a bit problematic. All I own are my personal belongings. All I have is between my home and here at Clemson. And all I that I will leave behind are in the process of becoming "something". If you were to travel to Green Sea Floyds, you would find that I was a Battalion Commander for two years, and the only one who attained the level of Cadet Colonel. Unfortunately, this was in a school where my graduating class was eighty-one, so my legacy doesn't really live on.

Overall, I am not really complicating, I'm really simple. Complex insight may be required, but it's only to look at different angles. Why I get there isn't as important as how I get there.

In the meantime, stay tuned for next week's posting and enjoy this picture from my past. Not many people get to see it.


The Way of Jimmy: It's a Pyramid!

So the assignment to tackle this week is actually something up my alley, thankfully.


"Imagine that I am hosting exchange students who have never visited the U.S. What particular things about "your people" (your culture - national, regional, local, familial) would you need to explain during their visit - and how?"

Basically, I would inform the students about three specific topics: Morals, Ethics, and Laws. Specifically, these three topics can be looked at as a pyramid.

On the bottom of it, you have morals. These are on an intrapersonal level; only family, relatives, and friends are affected by this. Is eating together for dinner important? Are group activities such as family reunions and get-togethers a necessity? What kind of virtues and values are worked towards, and what do they tie into? For example, is missing a family outing frowned upon? Or is having a streak of independence a sign of approval?

Above the base, you have ethics. This level specifically is the on-start of the interpersonal level; more so, ethics on the standards of the general public. Like the word itself, these are the grey area... or is it gray? Regardless, they are the actions and words we use to interact that may be encouraged or frowned upon. Is helping an elderly across the street acceptable? What level of sexual innuendo can you engage with the opposite sex before it becomes inappropriate? Sarcasm and the level of humor is something that needs to be adjusted regularly because each individual within a culture operates on different standards.

Topping the pyramid of course, is law. Last, but not least, this is interpersonal but unlike morals and ethics, law is definite. It is final. And it is unchangeable. What is the drinking age in this country compared to where the students stay from? Are certain drugs and activities legal here compared to their home? What is the driving age, and are there any curfews restricting traveling abroad or locally?

Of course, this information isn't supposed to be filed in a PowerPoint presentation. Mostly, I would communicate this in two days easily. Family interaction, activities, bingo. Morals are covered. Setting times, meetings, and appointments, while allowing submersion into the culture by their self, it's liberating and guided. Ethics are up to date. And last, outings, informative snippets of things that are and aren't allowed, and careful warnings ahead of time at the right time would be done as they occur. Laws complete, checklist secure.

Because this is long and I don't want to bore all of you reading, I'll end it here and give anyone who needs one an intermission.


If not, continue on over to the next one...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cultural Literacy... A Pass-or-Fail Deal For Sure.

Well, this is the third week in this class, and I'm still chugging away. *Grimly* Tragically, I don't have any films or videos this week, but I will keep you posted, because I will be conducting some sort of interview soon.

As for what knowledge has helped me improve cultural literacy, I would have to say it's general curiosity. Many people will say it's about being open, but it isn't enough to say you are up for the opportunity. One needs to actually pursue the option of learning and utilizing the information in the most effective manner necessarily.

I can remember being accepted in the Spring of 2009, and attending Clemson. My housing was through the Clemson Exchange Community, and I roomed with two Americans, one from South Carolina and from Maryland, and another from Montreal, Canada.

I can think back and remember going to basketball games with John, Brian, and Dan... I can remember having cookouts in our apartment, watching games, playing video games, and partying. Even more so, I gained inside knowledge of cultural opinions and how the world outside of our "American bubble" views a major nation.

Through my own initiative,I'd like to think I've benefited greatly. My girlfriend and I met through one of my trips off-campus to the store through my roommate; we are actually going to celebrate our first one-year anniversary in March, thank you.

As for filling in the gaps in other locations, the answer is simple. When you come to a cliff and you want to access the other side, what will you do to get to the other side? What means are you willing to use in order to achieve success and understanding? Is it pointless and worthless? Should the high road be taken, or settle for looking for a lower pass? In the sense of not sounding cliche or stealing quotes from Robert Frost, life is but one journey in which we often forget the destination isn't what is important.

And knowing that I can't just "reset" my life at any point is enough motivation to enjoy and learn as much as I can. To those of you out there who are in other countries, I encourage you to say yes (reasonably, of course,) for me. Say yes to every choice you're given. Ask questions, go down different roads and into random buildings, if it's nothing more than to look at a painting through a window you've seen while in passing, or trying new food that looks totally disgusting.

As for ethnos, nomos, mythos, archon, and techne, I do believe it's interesting to see such terms. I was impressed to see a rating scale for different dimensions, and it's weird to see that other countries view the equality between sexes differently than us. And even more challenging is to ask, who is right?

But overall, I think that that is what it boils down to. It's not about who is right or wrong. It's about experiencing certain things, leaving your comfort zone, and trying for different things (of course, this isn't at the sacrifice of your morals).

Thankfully, the different dimensions and the concept of "stolons" is something I am thinking I will apply heavily to my interviews. This will give me an equal opportunity to learn about them as much as they've learned about us.

Stay tuned next week you all.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Unshrouding of Online Communities...

Unfortunately, I feel like I'm going to disappoint all of you online fans who are trekking to my site.

For those who don't know me, the many can vouch that when it comes to online involvement, I do not participate in anything.

I have never relied fully on staying up on posts and pictures, viewing different web layouts and sparkly, shimmering changes that rivaled the social factions schools designate their peers into.

I can't say that I even joined in forums and groups through the use of Youtube, DeviantArt, or Wikipedia.

It seemed with the birth of MySpace, everyone was looking for ample opportunity in defining the reason of who they were and why they existed.

For love, to be unique, to preach the word, to give their word, to hide behind the words, each person seemed to want to tell the world about them.

And I... I just couldn't get into it. I believed that such attention wasn't necessary. Mastery over words required finesse, and storytelling could be obliterated rather easily when the only meaning to your postings and news were built on exaggerations and lies. Moral compasses get tossed and turned, and one loses footing in the real world. What started out as mere "altered" fabrications of truth turn into extended lies built on top of misunderstandings and denial and lying.

Nonetheless, I am getting used to changing my ways to glimpse into how the world now actively chats. Or perhaps "chat" is too casual a word. Communicating and exploring the depths of the cultures and diversities that we are traveling through hold an important key in understanding the world and solving every particular problem out there.

I propose that by the third week of posting blogs, I will have joined the online communities for the CAAH 120 through FaceBook and I believe, Blogosphere.

And as I mentioned last week, I am not familiar with how to naturally blog and post videos and all that fun stuff. As a pledge to learn a little more about technology as I am our culture, I am posting three videos exclusively through YouTube with my Google account.

These videos are a little rough. I wanted to get used to filming "random" opportunities and did it more for the footage than the film. If it's shaky, loud, or soft at times, I apologize, and reassure you that this is the way it's supposed to be. So make sure you watch them, and let me know what you think!


William Harris

Friday, January 8, 2010

Entering a New Culture... By Staying Exactly Where I'm At!

Greetings and salutations everyone.

I guess I should begin by introducing myself properly... my name is William J. Harris, but I'm most notably called "Jimmy" (and no, the "J." does not stand for that, for those who are curious).

I am a Sophomore at Clemson University, I am twenty-one years old, and I am majoring in Psychology with a minor in Food Science.

To give an idea of my interests, I like reading, writing, and cooking. Notably, I write stories and poetry; also, I am known for drawing and a few sprite web comics (sadly, it is not popular or well-known for those who are aware of what a sprite web comic is) as the inspiration hits me.

After encouragement from Professor Nichols, I have decided to keep this class for the necessary credit and benefits that it offers.

If you're looking for something that will set these blogs apart, I would like to throw caution to the wind on two levels.

*Grimly* The first is that I am not a keen "online" person. MySpace, FaceBook, Twitter... these things mean nothing to me. I tend to kick it old-school with writing letters, phone calls, emails, and the occasional text messaging.

Let me assure you all, that you should look at my posts with a fair degree of... shall we say, amusement? I am learning how to use these "new tools", and trust me, I will learn fast. I know that over the course of this semester, I will grow in postings and abilities, so I ask for a reasonable amount of patience when it comes to quality and ability.

After all, I'm taking this class to better myself.

The second is that I am probably unlike anyone else in this class because while we are all here to learn and immerse ourselves in foreign society and culture, I am... well, still at Clemson University.

Now, you ask, how might I accomplish immersion of any kind?

Well, that answer is simple. I live in the Clemson Exchange Community at Calhoun Courts.

This means that my posts and projects will be a little... different than what you all may be able to post.

I will be creative. I will be unique. And I will participate in activities that CEC residents organize throughout the semester (as my class work and activities allow) in learning how other students are affected by our culture and how they integrate their own influences and beliefs into Clemson.

These will range from brunches to dances to movie nights to karaoke, but overall, my theme is to observe interaction of the majority through the actions of individuals.

Simply put, I will be participating in "themed" events and take advantage of learning culture. Afterward, I will discuss questions with individuals to learn how they feel in regards to Clemson and the American culture.

*Thoughtfully* I suppose now is the time I should reflect upon this course and it's materials. I'm still brainstorming on the final projects, and how I will be using my environment and my situation in order to satisfy the requirements.

Also, obtaining a camera and video recorder at the proper times (for those of you who have tried checking out video recorders at Cooper Library, I share your pain) will prove challenging, but all in all, I will provide pictures and longer, articulately-detailed recordings to make amends.

As always, I'm open to suggestions and advice. And if anyone comments on anything of mine, expect me to give some attention to your own postings as well.

Well, that's it for now. Thank you. And, I shall keep you posted.