Geode of a Fractured Earth and or Student

To consider the array of subject matter and momentum throughout the semester feels both daunting and ominous when revisiting much of the material I have written down within the caverns of my notes, the archives via my blog posts, along with the inclusion of the thinkING essay and class discussions among many. The whole essence of reflecting on the course as a whole, as previously mentioned – is daunting. I say this not only due to the peculiar thematic elements present through the reading material during the past few months, but areas where I’d otherwise not think to consider viewing or providing any attention towards the content in question. To start the class off through a talk of paper made from rocky minerals and the pondering question of whether or not a geode is a rock brought forth an incertitude where I was quite unfamiliar with. In some instances, I am still unfamiliar, but in a rather alternative form of unfamiliarity. I do not see myself becoming well-acquainted with geological elements and terms in the coming future, but I am more of an acquaintance now than where I was originally. Whether that is a good or bad thing is debatable, and I suppose that makes for an interesting challenge.

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Blueprints & Re-reading

(Insert poetic dissonance here) Looking back to the starting points when originally starting the thinking essay back in October, there was a need to try and read a great deal of material  – whether I actually read them or not. This also includes revisiting ideas and topics that I may have explored and attempted to develop further. Since it’s the past tense, clearly there wasn’t much in the concluding department.

This may have been an issue when considering the large amount of abstract ideas that come to mind when thinking. Of course, the whole idea of abstract ideas feel congruent when originally conceiving the thinking essay (in and out). Another idea would be the possible inclusion of a geological source. This feels relevant when revisiting the peculiar definition of geodes, the significations of rocky materials and substances throughout Jemison’s trilogy, and of course the very parallels of how imperative the content of these materials are when given relation to that of our own world. This encourages a lot of thinking, which of course may or may not be the point for both inspiration and the sort.

One idea I was considering was the comparison of prologues, the context of characterization, the change of ambition and inner turmoil present through both the literature and the relative media we were shown throughout the semester. The concluding factor is that there is a great deal of thinking that gives us a lot to consider (something I’ve said too much by now), along with the powers to figure out whatever we’re going to conclude our reflections on. So I suppose this is another post that ensures both hope and a chance at maintaining sanity by the time the finals hit us all.

“So let’s get to it.”

The Stone Sky’s final line is a fairly uncomplicated thing, a term we often hear shortly before we begin our tenure into an objective, obstacle, so-on. I’m very well clinging for final reasons to fill the white space on a post, but the line itself is a clear-cut statement of motivation and the like. The line in question also provides some resolve in wanting to get things done. Although I am still of course terrified all the same.

Looking back on several of my posts have me truly wondering if any of those posts were out of genuine merit and curiosity or just to fulfill an obligation. The line alone “So let’s get to it” still resonates as an necessity despite whatever intent there may have been. The same can be said for the very foundation for education and the (incredibly) daunting task of obtaining the general license of said majors in order to in extension – obtain a career. No matter the title of this post, it’s still rather daunting all the same to give so much time, effort, and finances to produce the degrees we are highly sought after. This issue has been a stalemate in my own educational progress for a very long time now, which is in itself amazing that some of us are willing to put so much of ourselves towards something we generally have no idea what shall come of it.

With all of that meandering said, I’m reminded of a section on p. 229 of Jemison’s third book – “You know the end to this. Don’t you? How could you be here listening to this tale if you didn’t? But sometimes it is the how of a thing, not just the endgame, that matters most.” What I suppose I could be saying is that the getting to it all brings a great deal of pressure. Getting to it is easier said than done, and I am rather cynical of the whole “fake it ’til you make it” idea. At the very least, there’s no shame in failure as long as we’ve learned something. In a far less detrimental example, caring about a post or not caring as much may be no different, as long as there is something to grasp in the meantime. Essentially this may count as a long-winded “hang in there” for those who may need it.

Throughline Through Rocks

While many of us try to put forth a final effort in fulfilling the remaining posts, I’d be lying if I felt super confident when conceiving the building blocks for the reflective essay today. The benefits of starting now are sure to be a blessing for brainstorming. The brainstorming also gives way for me to look at some of my earliest notes – as far back as the visit to the ISC building. It’s been a while since I’ve remembered how fondly the Welles building felt in late August, and even more of a while since I’ve looked at rocks for class. Geodes forever, right?

As for the ISC, I’m looking back and noting the “geological mind” aspect of minerals and sedimentary material that makes up a great deal of the great rock, and noting the previous depth of ones whom consume rocks and things that erode really give a shape as to what may come together. Would it be fair to consider this assignment as a means of heavy erosion, development, and a thorough representation of the rocks we have been musing on? I’m especially referring to the rock paper we were given so long ago (to which I still have mine, actually). I remember writing down the line from the professor speaking with us: “There’s constant recycling, and the rocks are persistent.” While the ties in whatever we may be writing about or the context of our literature need not be exclusively tied to geology, their similarities speak a great deal of things when revisiting the parallel designs of our world and that of the fictional one we’ve been acquainted with.

Seeing a number of these fascinating images of the world may not encourage me to become a geologist anytime soon, but the assimilation of the world around us may be no different than assimilating our own material into a profound piece that concludes all that we’ve studied so far. Just a thought.

Cluttered Desktop, Multiple Tabs

I’ve long gotten used to how much nonsense (educational or otherwise) takes over my laptop and seeing around a dozen tabs often looks no different than my unmade bed these days. In other ways, I’m also reminded of the cluttered moving chairs in class and my mixed feelings toward them.

Is this post literally gonna be about chairs? Well…

I certainly find a great deal of freedom with wheels, enabling me to move. The size of the desk feels underwhelming. Then soon enough I’m looking through my notebook for more examples to fulfill a blog post and then I’m revisiting The People’s Century – 1933 Master Race (this part in case one has forgotten since then). This was the same time we viewed the piece on the Jim Crow Museum, and to follow that with this particular video certainly brought about an obvious unpleasantness for me. One particular line that I felt compelled to write down was “A sea of swastikas” along with the growing unemployment rates in Germany shortly before the dictatorship occurred. The very top line on my page was a consideration in writing about revanchism or eliminationism. When considering the views and ideals of those under power at the time – or even those who promoted and embraced the questionable material in the Jim Crow video, I’m wondering how some of those people may have viewed themselves. Were they making some effort in reclaiming some form of history, power, or reputation? Or were their ideals simply in heavy opposition towards others, and they responded with horrible decisions and outcomes.

I suppose – what I’m trying to say is, am I trying to reclaim a sense of solidarity, memory, or control with keeping track with all these tabs? Seeing them grow and grow and me being unable to put forth enough attention towards all of them without going a little haywire? Or am I just afraid of what would happen if I were to close a few of those tabs? Well, to return to seriousness here – How many groups of people considered themselves revanchists or eliminationists? Do some people even realize the nature of their intentions and understand the consequences? Do certain people from Jemison’s work also carry a little parallel with the aforementioned subjects? Am I really trying to keep track with all these tabs, or am I just losing track of the whole point about using bookmarks or really considering if some of these things should stay open or not? Am I just trying to recover some aspect of power by maintaining these things, despite how crowding they are turning into, along with what sprawling amounts of attention I can provide? How many question marks can I put out? Regardless, is this kind of parallel a thing to notice before any kind of haywire happens? Are there any examples to support this?

Personal Granite

This may come off as a nonchalant rant, and I’m willing to accept the consequences of that (if any). I guess I could also say that due to the inevitable insanity I’ll feel when officially working on that particular essay that I’ll try not to talk about (muahaha), a little rant may be cathartic . This post primarily deals with the beginning of today’s class and the reaction I had when reading Yusef Komunyakaa’s “Facing It”.

The contrast between the blackness of a black man’s face disappearing through black granite is without a doubt poetic, and at least to me – purges racial intensity before fully becoming immersed within the memorial. That of course is my view of it (and a view that I hope is relatively close to Komunyakaa’s intention). Further imagery working within the lack of tears but instead a stone-like exterior, followed by a brief reprisal of eyes. Relating them to birds of prey seems rather appropriate when considering the time period for the memorial and that of the individual having seen granite. Then we’re revisited to the stone, thereby distancing the aforementioned intensity and refocuses to the primary intent behind this memorial – to be a memorial.

With all of that said, it may sound dangerously simple through face value, at least until the heavy number of names is provided for us. Even the idea of finding one’s own name is rather ominous. Although Komunyakaa himself is a Vietnam veteran, so I can (at least) try to imagine the weight that must be, having so many names listed – some of them likely friends or acquaintances, and that understandably shouldn’t require an explanation as to why. Of course, we are then given a conflicted image via Andrew Johnson, along with a rather violent yet-eloquent response to a lethal trap and those unfortunate enough to come across it. The following imagery of a woman’s blouse, the flashing brushstroke, and the wings of a red bird may very well be a light personification of the American flag as I see it, with Komunyakka’s eyes crossing paths with it. This idea is reinforced by the guise of a plane and a veteran sans one arm, whilst Komunyakka is essentially the window and the reflection of black granite leaves one perhaps overwhelmed, then shortly coming unto realization.

As for this relating back to class…I suppose it gives me a slight reprieve when being reminded of personal stories being valid in academic work. Admittedly, my thoughts on the matter have varied from empathetic to downright cynical. So in a way, I suppose this poem brings out the former in me, which is likely something I’ll need in regards to that particular essay.

What Can Or Cannot Be Maintained

Having been a little invested with the parallels of our world and with that of Jemison’s, I’ve been the most fascinated by the environmental distinctions. While they are rather different in the plains of reality and tangibility – they draw upon similarities in regards to natural disasters and the occasional indignities via the lovely human race. Much emphasis on lovely.

My primarily thoughts as of this moment pertain to the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia that my group has been been working on. Admittedly I was rather aloof upon the initial delving of tsunamis, and particularly that of a country that I’ve never seen or had the interest in ever seeing. While I am of course empathetic towards tragedy via natural disasters and those who become affected by them. It has and still is a tragic focal point when furthering discussion on the environment, yet it is one of the very raw parallels that fascinate me when considering Jemison’s fictional world and how far off of reality it is, yet at the same time it is not much different when considering the indignities of a damaged world. The circumstances are by no means comparable, yet considering so many lives being easily taken away due to natural disasters (with California being a recent instance), regarding the hundreds of lives lost back in Indonesia is in a similar vein to the destructive power we have become witnesses to in the literature we’ve been reading (pg. 384 in case you wish to skip this next paragraph).

One passage pertains to how much the world – or in this case, the Obelisk Gate can maintain. The overwhelming amount of history this planet has been accustomed to would have me wonder how much is too much? If not that, how much is this world worth? How capable can it be, and the natural disasters that come with it – how much of a disaster is it really? Before I go on a tangent about world peace and or free coffee, here’s the passage: : “It is a stalemate that cannot continue. The gate cannot maintain its connections forever, and the onyx cannot contain the chaos of the rifting forever – and two human beings how ever-powerful and strong-willed. cannot survive so much magic for long.”

Despite the powers that be via the primary characters, how much can be taken? Could this be no different than the typical college burnout, or with that of how the world may react when a boiling point erupts. As with one particular character who believes in the destruction of the world, one may wonder how valid such a belief can be. The world goes through devastation and brings about devastating consequences, and that is quite daunting. Can there be some notion of balance? Is such a thing tangible sometime in a few decades? Free coffee?

That “Solarpunk” Thing

Due to my increased curiosity with the term and without enamored me and my group was with it…and in my trend of getting sick again before class, I’d feel that this would serve as a perfect excuse to keep talking about/another excuse to ramble on about how cool and mind-blowing it sounds.

One thing to consider is how young of a term it is, which would very well explain why me and such contemporaries have not heard of it until just recently. I remember thinking “if we need world peace, then let’s Doctor Manhattan the earth!” Of course that would be incredibly unpleasant, and I suppose in a way, that was my (or our) initial thought when looking into solarpunk. Besides reminding me of Vitamin D and Joe Strummer, I was thinking of a rather progressive – yet far beyond that – idealistic world where virtually every single problem has been solved, or is virtually capable of being solved with little to no issue. Another example came about Greek Mythology’s Golden Age via the rule of Titans, which in itself may also refer to the rather powerful hands at work throughout our current reading. One of the best readings from Monday would likely come from this if anyone may be willing to look further into it. Skeptics be damned, like myself. Yet all the more fascinated.

This may also bring about the indifference or uncertainty of such a world. This is especially evident when considering our own realities and the many pros and cons that come with it. The first quoted line in Jemison’s The Stone Sky further brings about that skepticism – yet all the more intrigue – “One person’s normal is another person’s Shattering.” I would not want to exploit the line for this particular purpose, but I feel that this instance becomes further enhanced by the lines “Would’ve been nice if we could’ve all had normal, of course, but not enough people wanted to share. So now we all burn.” This borders less on my sacred cynicism but high school-era Steven’s pessimism. As horrifying as that sounds/was, there is a very rough yet-honest truth in the powers of simply giving way to allocation, let alone contribution for the bettering of society and or the world. One could argue that independence can be rather dangerous if under the circumstances of self-interest or exploitation. Whereas the means of independence as in the means to think and decide for oneself offer a tremendous weapon against blind ruling.

What I’m trying to get here is perhaps the means of independence and individualistic ideals are both important and dangerous if used improperly. When revisiting the ideas and dreamlike scope of a solarpunk society, it seems to encourage both independence but also unity. The latter is of course something we are struggling with virtually every single day of the week and of time itself so far, be it in fiction or in reality. So maybe some of us have become so integrated with such views that consist of a general norm so much that we’ve been (in a way) brainwashed by an alternative form of unity that appears to be work in a somehow ideal way. This leaves me wondering how much of my thoughts consist of my own, or essentially footsteps of something someone else came up with. That itself could be dangerous, as is life…and stuff. Or maybe it could be beneficial in order to begin something in the lines of a solarpunk world? Maybe?

Environmental Doubt?

I suppose I could say that this question grew within my odd mind during class today, and perhaps for good reason. The instance of highly examining the environment and that of other social conflicts and or issues is a spurning obstacle that, as a society, I’m sure we manage to overcome with time and through enough effort. With that said, would it be fair for those who hesitate or distance themselves from such activities hold a sense of doubt?

The same doubt that may question oneself to the extent of how capable their contribution via thinking more carefully about their ecological footprint, speaking their mind in regards to social and or political views? Can the same even be said for those many people who hesitate or neglect the thought of voting (myself included)? Would it be fair to consider that the very ambiance of doubt can bring about uncertainty towards their contemporaries and general environments that they altogether ignore the concept of reminding people that they exist? That their substance is just as valid and as important?

This includes reusing material and throwing trash in their respective bins and actually knowing (and caring) if it’s the right place to put it? Of course, I may be thinking too deeply on this subject but could it be something that any of you – or anyone you may know have struggled with?

The Rock Thing

I’d like to start things off with some hope and motivation, along with somehow avoiding the dreaded “p” if at all possible. My first post in this instance would be the deal (insert Seinfeld quote here) with rocks during our starting class. The first thought I had was that the question McCoy shared with us was more of a trick -a metaphorical one, at that. Family, for example. Sometimes a family is referred to as a rock, a place of solidarity and origin. That, or just a heavy, profound, and sometimes rough and or vexing kind of rock. Mine may or may not be close to the latter, since I only said Igneous because it just sounds friggin’ cool.

As for the rocks, the heaviness of natural disasters (eg. hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc.) also came to mind, or perhaps that was just my weird mind thinking too far ahead in the syllabus, along with my still-present hope that I may actually post nine more of these things and maybe add some genuine desire into them rather than a required means to an end. All in all, I wouldn’t be surprised if family, or the foundations of solidarity may play some role in our future discussions. That, or something that may or may not blow my mind. Maybe even convincing me that Igneous doesn’t sound all that cool…possibly.

Oh, and geodes are rocks.