Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Intro/Reflective Essay

       Having a combined year of 114 level English has taught me a lot. 114A was able to help me get the general feel of writing. Out of high school, I was not a big fan of essays and I was not really capable of writing a professional essay. By the end of the first semester, I got the hang of writing very well. It seemed like it was second nature to me. I would not get irritated or stressed when I had a thousand word essay due in one week.
Come the start of second semester, I was already curious as to what I would be learning in 114B. I was tired of the typical prompts we had to write the essays. I guess I felt this way because it was the same way since high school. As the professor started introducing the new course to us, I was getting more and more excited. The reason being because it actually involved using a lot of my perspective and opinions and just analyzing everything very thoroughly in a personal way. This intrigued me a great deal and from that day it was safe to say that it had turned into one of my favorite courses.
A week or two into the course was where things really started to take off into the direction I was hoping for. We drifted away from the typical prompts and instead had a lot of options to write about things we personally wanted to. I liked this a lot and it gave me much more freedom to express myself. And from what I have learned, I write better when I am writing about a topic that I am interested in. Rather than writing about what the professor told me to. 
I started exploring the spaces around me and analyzing and determining why everything is in a certain way. I started questioning a lot of things and I started coming up with my own solutions to everything thus making me a more independent individual. This class had a lot of self teaching incorporated into it as well and that is something you can use throughout life, not just in one class. 
I have used all the lessons I learned in the class to write my essays. I feel that If I did not have the 114B class, I would not be able to write my 114A essays because it just would not click. For my recent essays, I analyzed every single detail to a dime before I put it on paper. 
The entire English 114 course taught by Professor Dinsmore was something I would be able to incorporate into every day life and that is exactly what I am going to do. It was a bridge into the real world for me and I will never forget the things I have learned in this class. It changed how I think as a person and it also changed how I will make future choices. 

Portfolio Essay 1

Games vs. Reality

       After watching “The Gamer”, I was shocked that the human population is projected to be in that state of mind after a certain amount of years. Its a pretty obvious fact that todays lifestyle is much faster paced than it was ten years ago. Everything seems to be happening so quick and in order to reach your goal, you need to put more effort into it. Back when I was young, I was the happiest kid on the block to even have a game boy. But nowadays we see eight year old kids walking around with iPhone’s and iPad’s. And in my opinion THAT is the reason why life (at least in America) is projected to turn out like that. To put it short, I feel that this modernization and the very quick advancement of technology is the reason why people are slacking off and doing things in unorthodox ways compared to lifestyles five, ten, or even fifteen years ago.
Take business or big corporations as an example, typically what I see these days is a big chunk of them go on a video conference call when they want to have a meeting. What happened to actually going to one anothers offices and using the actual conference room? I guess its these advancements and all this spectacular technology that made society too “comfortable” where they are and keeping everyone in their little nest. Everything is done online these days making face to face communication almost close to none and this is why I can understand what Kable’s “owners” bedroom was modeled after. Almost everything is at our fingertips these days. We no longer have to call our stock brokers to buy or sell shares, we can simply log into our account and do everything ourselves. In my eyes, life is turning virtual day by day and we do not notice it because of how comforting and convenient it makes everything for us. I can see a lot of this from the gamer who was playing “Society”. In my eyes he was portrayed as a slob who does not do anything productive even if his life depended on it. And the funny thing is, that his life was actually behind a television screen and his controller to his avatar.
Its not only adults who take advantage of this modernization. I constantly see young children using their new devices or playing on their gaming systems. Back when I was a child, playing consisted of going outside and riding my bike around the block, playing catch, and hide and seek. These days I only see kids playing angry birds or using the hottest new apps. Another example that is very common presently is young kids having Facebook’s or being members of other social networking sites. I see a lot of internet rage memes mocking 9 year olds on Facebook and why they need one in the first place. I for one totally agree with this. Just looking around myself on a regular day shows me how fast were moving. How fast were growing up, how fast our lives are going. What I see happening to children starting so young these days is the same thing that happened to children in the fifties and sixties. Back then, the product was tobacco and the targeted market was adolescences because once they hooked someone at a young age to use their product, they’ll have a customer for life. This is what I feel is going on with technology and convenience of everything. They are hooking children with the hottest new product and the company has one more consumer under their belt. What I feel is that it is a part of globalization and it is simply business.
Thorough research done in 2009 showed that children are being more and more exposed to technology and they are becoming more dependent of it. Tests have proved that they are becoming to attached to social networking sites and text messaging that they are having difficulties developing basic communication skills with people outside of their comfort zone.
Ultimately, I think that I am not the only one who feels that we are not living the lives we use to ten or fifteen years ago. Back then, even for adults, things seemed respectively nonchalant. My parents and relatives are the only people I need so I can rough idea of how things have changed. Since both of my parents are employees versus being employers, they feel more pressured doing more work in a less amount of time. So people are being pre-programmed in a sense, just like a machine.
The only thing that I would have to strongly disagree about the movie is how violent, narrow minded, and disgusting we were portrayed to be. In the film we were portrayed as people who do not mind killing another person in a “virtual” world even though the characters are real people. Even though our lives are turning fast paced and our lifestyles are changed, it does not give justification as to why we would turn into such cruel creatures. We still care for human life and no matter how bad conditions may get, there will always be a force that brings us to a medium between good and evil and that is what I feel will not allow us to do such things. We may turn into a less productive race as a whole, but at that point, the ones who are productive, are the people who are in control (in this case the owner of “Slayers”/”Society” in the film). The entire idea of “Society” can also come into play. I understand that its a real life version of The Sims but that does not necessarily mean that we are going to be narrow minded. All you would see in Society was people wanting to have sex and just doing disgusting things in general. People who actually play The Sims do not even go that far. What you would do in life, even in a virtual world, comes from who you are as a person and what kind of background and mentality you have. These people in the film seemed like they escaped out of a mental institution or they were some sort of molester and it is truly sad that we as a human race are perceived to be so low and naive. 
Does Technology Stunt Children’s Social Development?” Realtruth. 06 Mar. 2009. Web. 
13 May 2012.

Portfolio Essay 2

Is Bigger & Stronger Better Faster?
Ever since the late 1970s, Americans have been slowly getting more and more obsessed with their self image. Take the G.I Joe action figure for instance, when it came out in the late 60s it had the body construction of a average male of the time. As time went by, and as newer editions of the action figure came out, it seemed to be getting more and more built and buff. When we compare it with the action figures of today, it is like day and night. I looked into various things to figure out what set off this sudden jolt of having the need for the perfect body. Throughout my research, I watched a documentary on body image, I interviewed friends and gym trainers who I have known for a while, read handfuls of articles, and even visited numerous gyms to see if the location had an effect on the clientele and demand of results.
Through my studies, I learned that the obsession over body image begun when Arnold Schwarzenegger started doing body building competitions in America and getting more and more popular with the people. He would always say “I wake up every morning and train at the Venice Beach Golds Gym” along with all the other body builders. Spectators liked what they were looking at and the body building industry took off. Everyone wanted to be a part of the action, everyone wanted to be the biggest, baddest, strongest person in their gym. This is where the craze of body building all started.
Along with massive demand for the same thing, comes competition. When everyone starts wanting to be the biggest and strongest, that is going to lead to people doing whatever it takes to outdo one another. This is where the market for supplementing started. Whether it is off the shelf products or whether it is steroids and human growth hormones. Anyone whose into body building whether they want to get lean or want to get buff took supplements at one point or another if they were serious about getting the results they were after. Supplements of today definitely give the consumer the motivation to work harder because mentally they believe that whatever they are taking will make them bigger, stronger, faster. Only by looking at body builders of today and comparing it to the ones of the 1970s and 1980s will provide a clear image.
Taking into consideration that ONLY supplements are a twenty-four billion dollar a year industry in America, that should show how badly we want the best when it comes to those who actually feel the need to achieve the highest possible. Along with having that large of a supplementing market, as a country we are also the greatest consumers of pills in general. Whether its medicine, vitamins, supplements, etc. There will continuously be a lot of controversy and arguments politically about drugs and body enhancements but that definitely will not stop the person who is dedicated to get their hands on a certain product.
From what I have learned, people started supplementing because they wanted their bodies to be the best it can be. Personally, the reason I take supplements is because I am not satisfied with the results I get the natural way. For me, it takes too long and it simply does not make me happy. The mentality I have is due to seeing all the monster guys in my gym who are on steroids or other extreme supplements. When I spoke to my friend who is a trainer at my gym, he told me the same thing that I was thinking. He said “All the guys I see coming in here expecting to get built or cut the natural way, usually end up supplementing because of all the peer pressure they feel when they see others getting the results they want in a faster and bigger manner”. He also told me “I have trained a lot of people who come in here with no set intention to supplement or even having any knowledge about it but they just end up getting sucked into it”. 
This all seemed a bit overwhelming for me so I laid back for a second to try to absorb what is going on around me. I felt even more confused when I took into consideration that I go to the gym at least 5 times a week and I do not see any of this in person. It all seems to be done under the table. When I stepped back, I thought I should visit a few gyms around me to see if the environment changed the goals and the attitude of the clients. I visited three gyms; one being the SRC on the CSUN campus, the second being LA Fitness in the center of Hollywood, and the third being 24 Hour Fitness in the heart of the NoHo Arts District which happens to be the gym where a lot of famous people go to. Our SRC is a pretty mellow, innocent, recreational place. I feel that it is somewhere you can go to hang out with a group of friends compared to a hard core gym where you would see built people left and right. When I visited the LA Fitness in Hollywood, the place seemed pretty run down and shady. I guess the reason for that was because memberships are usually twenty five dollars a month and probably because of the “diverse”  crowd of people you would see in Hollywood. I did not seem to spot anyone with the body of someone who supplements. The explanation for that might be because the clients over there were lower income and probably can’t afford the pricey supplements. Finally, going to my favorite gym of all, the NoHo Arts District 24 Hour Fitness was like a breath of fresh air. This place is my all time favorite gym. I can eat and sleep there if the amenities permit. A lot of famous Hollywood stars show up at the gym and its a pretty typical thing. Due to the higher class of the clients at this gym, you tend to see people who strive for more because financially they can afford to. At the 24, its rare to see someone WITHOUT built arms or have a nice body definition from head to toe. Apparently money does play a big role body image. 
When it comes down to it, I am one hundred percent for supplementing, no matter what it is. Whether it is off the counter products, things you can only get online, things you need to be over the age of eighteen to purchase, or even steroids. But what I am against and always will be against, is supplemental abuse and use of substances in professional sports. Personal and recreational use are the only ways which I will support these products. This is what causes all the controversy when it comes to the subject. This is what can cause damage to the human body. I feel we are all responsible for what we put in ourselves but we need to have control over it and do everything in a responsible manner. In America, the demand for being the best will never go down. This is just the way we are as a country. When I link this to body image, it only adds up to us gym rats taking more and more supplements and just getting out of hand. What I hope for on the other hand though is that people get more and more educated on the subject so they will not hurt themselves in the long run.
  • Bigger Stronger Faster. Dir. Chris Bell. Magnolia Pictures, 2008. DVD.
  • “Supplement Articles.” BodyBuilding. Web. 25 Apr. 2012
  • Sargsyan, Kevin. How The Gym Rat Thinks. 25 Apr. 2012.
  • “Research Roundup, Vol. 2: Breaking Insights In Training, Nutrition And Supplementation.” BodyBuilding. Chris Lockwood, Ph.D. 04 Apr. 2012. Web. 
27 Apr. 2012
  • “Ask The Doc: Expert Answers To Your Nutrition And Supplement Questions.” BodyBuilding. Flex. 02 Nov. 2011. Web. 28 Apr. 2012.