Monday, April 22, 2013

Favorite Exploration, Joshua Graves

I feel that out of all of the explorations that I have written the best one is number 6, part of the reason why I like that one so much is due to the subject of Wendell Berry. The first paragraph is largely uninteresting but the other two analysis's of Berry's writings are quite good in my opinion. His ideas were definitely a source of interest for me, I found them to be fascinating and thought provoking. His criticisms of the problems facing the global economy and the apathy that the world shows in dealing with these problems caused me to come to the realization that I was guilty of many of those problem causing attitudes that he discusses. The idea of playing a more active role in the economy is something that everyone should consider, it would go a long way to a reform that will lead to a higher quality of life for everyone and a better future for the next generation in this country.


When I first heard of the attack I was in the middle of class then all of the sudden people started to go out into the hallway. I was unsure of what was happening and everyone looked unsure but the teachers were all scared for a reason that at the time was unknown to me. The next thing I remember is being sent home early and my parents were already there which was odd because they were not supposed to be off at the time. That is about all I can honestly remember, the entirety of my day was then spent doing other things while my mom and dad worried about the attack and I did my own thing.
            Some of the positive effects of this event were that people came together more, nothing unites a people like a common enemy, all the little differences get swept away and it’s suddenly us versus them. The impact of the event has changed the perceptions of the people as they now view the world as a more dangerous place, which in truth it always has been but now it was forced into their faces. The United States had not dealt with a direct attack since Pearl Harbor back in WWII and it inevitably shook the entire country up quite a bit.
            “National self-righteousness, like personal self-righteousness, is a mistake” I was enthralled by Wendell Berry and his ideas about how our vision of the world was changed and how we reacted to the event. None of his ideas made me mad but they did get me thinking about how no one really liked into the idea that the more we traded technology some was inevitably going to wind up in the hands of those who would use it for cruel purposes. Also his idea that we should not simplify the enemy like we have always done and instead learn about their culture and who they are as a culture and a people. What happened instead is what always happens, the enemy was dehumanized and Muslims became pariahs in the USA and in many ways still are.

Favorite Exploration

 This was exploration 5 and wasthe most fun to write about because it was almost as if I was reliving my experience by writing it.

 It was a frigid night in the first part of January. I was sitting high up in a tree looking through the snow covered woods along side a little river. My eyes were fixed on an "island" in between the river that is a couple hundred square foot and thick with trees and brush. Soon enough, just as I had expected, a nice buck walked into my shooting lane. I pulled up my gun, found him in my scope and let off a shot. Confident in my shot, I went to get my cousin to help me retrieve the deer.
We grabbed a canoe and marched through the woods to a place where it would be easy to cross over to the island. The only problem was that the river was high and running very fast. We placed the canoe in the water and made it across safely.
"He oughta be layin down near by...... I don't miss" were my confident words that I told my cousin as we began walking through the thick shrubs in the freezing weather.
As we get closer to where the deer was standing as I took my shot, I see it plain as day......... My sabot (bullet) had splintered a small tree around the entrance hole. I had missed the deer! Very uncharacteristic of a great hunter as myself. But anyway we headed back to the canoe. The canoe is old and very unstable, on top of the high and rough flow of the river. I got into the canoe first and my cousin was attempting to when he put too much weight on one side of the canoe.
There I went into the river. I was fully equipped with my winter hunting gear as well as my muzzle loader and knife. The coldness of the water immediately took my breath away as I fully submerged into the water. I threw my head out of the water with the rest of my body in complete shock. I thought to myself "I'm not going to make it". Since I had on so much clothing and gear I could not raise my arms to take breast strokes toward the island where my cousin was standing dry and warm.
"Just stand up" says my cousin knowing the river can't be that high form it's normal level. But when I try to stand up there is nothing below my feet and I go down again.
"I...I...I...I...'t....tou...tou..touch" I whisper out shaking like crazy. By this time I have told myself I will have to let the current pull me down to a place where I can attempt to grab a hold of something. But I tried to doggy paddle to my cousin, against the current, anyway. Eventually after what seemed like years of being in the water I made it to the bank and grabbed a hold of my cousins boot and climbed on out. I was sitting there shaking and my cousin, who is more like an older brother, is worried and asks me if I'm alright. Even though I was freezing and still trying to catch my breath, I knew I had to let him know I was okay. So I looked at him, smiled, and said "That's an awful lot of shit to go through for missin a deer, huh?"

Best Piece

Grant Gilsdorf is a past high school teacher of mine that I’d barely just gotten to know in the three years of classes I took with him. However, in that short amount of time I realized that he not only taught me how to bend the will of my own art, but my life and the things I was going to face in the future. I didn’t just learn how to draw and take photos. I learned what it meant to actually see the world and be an active part of it. This is just a short passage from the profile I put together after our interview. I think to allow him to talk freely was the best decision I could have made. He answered the couple questions I fit in honestly and spoke the words of someone with a bit too much wisdom for his age- as if he was waiting for someone to listen.

The light shining in through the window gives our new seating arrangement that lazy Sunday morning feel. I can see why he finds it the perfect place to work. There’s a graveyard of coffee mugs on the table and a pair of deer antlers seated next to them. Paint spots just barely outnumber the amount of paint brushes on the floor. Canvases and tripods litter the corners, leaving little space for anything but art. The paintings themselves are all eye catching, a very notable style coming to life in each of them. I want to inquire, but I feel there’s more to Gilsdorf than just what he portrays in his art.
            He sits back on a stool, comfortable despite asserting early on that he never liked the lime light. “I just shut down and stay stupid things.” I don’t think he took a breath the entire interview.
            Grant Gilsdorf works as a high school teacher at Olentangy Liberty High School. But to ask him if he considers it work would bring on a whole new round of conversation. Never once did he express any distaste or even mild boredom with his job. “I can’t believe that I get paid to talk about art, make art and listen to music all day! This is really something special.”
Who am I? That could be very open-ended, I guess. Essentially I am a high school art teach at Olentangy Liberty High School and my name is Grant Gilsdorf. My students affectionately call me Mr. G. But beyond that I’m a person that does what he wanted to do with his life. In high school I was a big time athlete and I had pretty much made up my mind that that was how I’d be going to make a living, that I would just be the next NFL star. Cause’ I figured- I dreamt it in my backyard, then it’s probably going to be true, right? And for a long time, the evidence was supporting that and I was having a lot of success. Then I had a sports injury. I lost feeling in my lower body and had to get carted off the field. I ended up injuring my neck and my spine, very seriously. It was a very traumatizing, very scary time. To the point where it was a very serious conversation if I was ever going to play sports again or not.
            Up to that point, I never really considered my future. My dad, who is a wonderful person and a school counselor, sat down and talked with me. We started thinking about, “What do you really wanna do with your life?” And I think that was the first time the maturity had hit me and I’d gotten past the idea of being just a cool high school boy. And I realized that one of the things I really liked was art. He said, “Why not art education- like teaching people?”
I thought, “Like high school kids? You want me to go back to high school? That’s crazy talk.”
He was like, “Grant, your true talent is people. You’re really good with people.” And I said, “Yeah dad, but I want to make a difference, you know what I mean? I feel like I’m destined for big things.”
So, my senior year, I signed up for six art classes and figured that I’d try it on. I really truly think that I believed I could not fail at anything. “Well I’ll just give this art thing a try and I’ll probably do alright at that. I mean, I love art.” It was just kind of the perfect storm. I think you need confidence and I think you need support. Especially if you’re gonna jump into something. I credit my dad and just having a really good support network around me. I have a very supportive family. I had a lot of confidence in myself because of maybe the success that I had had in sports. It’s easy to feel fear. It’s easy to feel vulnerable. I was really lucky. It didn’t feel like a big jump to me. It was just something I did. It’s been a long process, and one that I’m very proud of.
I want to be the best at whatever I do. I’m a very difficult person to live with in that regard. I didn’t always have that attitude in high school. I wanted to be as good a person as possible, but I didn’t see the value in education or learning. I wish I would have gone back and really made myself a better person. I made up for a lot of lost ground and I still feel like I’m making up for that lost ground.
There are so many kids I see doing that now.
I don’t have any tolerance for it, or lack of maturity. Those things I really value in people: an open mind and maturity. This world’s too awesome to be that closed off to it. I have difficulty with those dudes: underachieving, lazy, close-minded, simple thinking people. There have been other kids that just, you could tell that they’re a little bit too strange to live, a little too rare to die. [Gestures to the studio] But somehow this kind of room made sense for them. You can be whoever you want to be in class. That’s fine. We’re gonna roll with it. We’re gonna find a way to do something you’re gonna be proud of.
The goal is hopefully that they think a little deeper, they react to things a little bit more, they treasure things a little bit more than they used to. That’s what I want, more than the techniques. I don’t really care so much about that. I want them to change the way they think and the way they look at things. I just want to change their mind. I want to give them a new perspective of things. The art’s just kind of the cool bonus.
The kids inspire me. I know that sounds probably pretty cheesy, but it’s true. It’s their spirit. That’s what wakes me up. That’s what keeps me coming. I look forward to seeing what they’re doing and their ideas. And they’re just amazing. Who would ever think that a sixteen year old or an eighteen year old mind would be this dynamic and just incredible, but God, people- there are so many amazing things in us.
            We as human beings- we want to explore the moon; we want to know what all our limitations are. I’m that kind of person too. I’ve always been very aware of where my boundaries are. I like to just pound all over them and step on them and stretch myself very far. I feel much more comfortable when I’m uncomfortable, when I’m a little bit vulnerable. I’m a curious person and I’m constantly improving. I think that approach kind of filters into my students too. Painting is kind of like learning how to ride a bike. You just suck at it at first. It’s an unnatural thing. You hold a pen or a pencil your whole life and it feels very different. [Picks up pencil and presses it to the table] When you push the pencil down on the paper, it touches the paper and it doesn’t move. It’s sturdy. A brush moves. It gives. It’s a completely different tool than we’ve spent fifteen years of our life using. It takes a kind of fearlessness. It takes some tenacity to take on that brush because it’s definitely not a pen or a pencil. I love it. I love those people that go for it. It’s a comfort in your own skin. It’s a confidence.
            Wisdom is really important too. You don’t learn it till you’re older. It’s a passion. It’s a desire. Life experience and wisdom and learning things, you can’t make up for it. You have to want to do well at it. I think you put in the work ahead of time.
I don’t believe in a block. I always hear people say that [they’re] ‘waiting on inspiration.’ Like God’s gonna come down and hit you in the head and say, “Here ya go! Thanks for being patient!” That’s bullshit. That’s fake. I think artists, we don’t turn it off. It’s a way of living. Being an artist is changing the way you see things. That’s what being an artist is. The making of art, that’s the thing you do to get it out of your head. It’s probably that I would end up in an insane asylum with all these ideas and visions and colors and things in my head. They have to get out at some point. It’s how you live your life. Being an artist is how you see things.
It’s a transcendent language of sorts. Images are the most powerful thing on the planet. It predates television, everything like that. Before there was CNN coverage of the royal wedding, there were paintings done of royal coronations. Before there was HGTV taking us on House Hunters International, there were people painting landscapes of exotic locations. Before we could even speak, people were drawing images of buffalo on caves. To me art is, probably, one of the most powerful things, something that’s worth learning. I think that’s what it is more than anything.
There’s something powerful about having this thing in your mind, being able to bring that thing to life and having other people be able to see it and react to it. I just kind of experience things. My wife calls it my compost heap. I spent a long time building that. It’s this decaying mush of all these things you’ve seen in your life and the people you’ve interacted with and the clothing that you’ve touched and movies you’ve scene and sounds you’d heard and somehow it all stews in this compost heap. Then somehow, it recycles itself into something beautiful. That can only come from you. That’s your compost heap. Nobody’s is the same. And that’s why there’s no such thing as totally original. It doesn’t matter where you take things from; it’s where you take things to. I’ve found that happy place. It does take time. And practice. I’m still probably not where it’s going to end up being. But I’m feeling it. Finally.
I want to get those ideas out. They’re too cool to me. I think that’s what keeps me going. The ideas don’t stop. I don’t think they ever will. Sometimes that’s the cause of some of my stress too. Sometimes that’s a very time consuming process. It’s just like any other creative person; there’s so many barriers you have to fight through. There’s an internal struggle that’s both maddening and addicting about it too. The very thing I love about it is also the thing that scares the hell out of me. [Cracks a smile] Art is a son of a bitch. It’s so tender and lovely. Its like- I love it. And I hate it. But I love it.
Again going back to I got into this job, I think not so much just for me to make artists in the world, just to leave pieces of myself all over in people; And them in turn with me. They’ve helped shape me, those people. Hopefully what I’m doing is opening them up to this bigger than thing that exists between us, something that some people choose to just not pay that much attention to. What we’re really doing is we’re drawing as people. I think people are important in people’s life and art is just one thing that really brings us together.

Exploration about propaganda

                One of the pieces of writing that I felt was my greatest was the writing we did on propaganda. I felt that this was one of my better pieces of written because I’m describing what propaganda is and how it works. So if someone was unclear of what propaganda is hopeful they will have an idea after reading what I wrote. So I felt most of the time in the class we were just giving our opinion about a subject so it was refreshing teaching about propaganda to the class.

Propaganda works by Convincing the audience to agree with the message presented and then adopt it as their own belief, thus rejecting the viewpoints of the other side by using deceptive persuasive techniques.
 Propaganda simply put, is the manipulation of public opinion, it is generally carried out through mass media that is capable of reaching a large amount of people and effectively persuading them for or against a cause.
Propaganda is used by many people and organizations, including special interest groups such as anti-smoking groups and safe-driving campaigns, businesses, political groups, government organizations, political candidates and so on.

The first blog

Hi, my name is Nickie Marshall. I am a freshman at Marion. My major is Dental Hygiene. I wish to someday become a dentist. My fun fact is that I have been a lifeguard for three years. I work every summer at a pool near where I live in, Mount Gilead. I graduated from Mount Gilead High School.
            I wrote my poem about my older sister, Sophia. I didn’t know who to write about right away because I haven’t had anyone know recently pass away. When we were younger, my sister and I didn’t get along. We fought about little things like clothes and make-up. As we have gotten older we appreciate each other more. We help each other with school and other activities. I had trouble with starting the poem but after I got a few lines done, it became easier. 
My Big Sister
While growing up I wanted to be just like you,
I’d follow you when you didn’t want me to.
You’ve taught me many things that I still remember,
Important things, like which sorority I shall be a member.
Even though you are just a few years older than I,
You seem to have it together when I always ask why.
You would tell me something I needed to know,
While yelling at me, “it’s time, we gotta go.”
You’d do this so we’d be on time for our special event,
And although I acted mad, you know what I meant.
We’d dress up together and your pretty brown hair would flow,
I tried to be like you, but my hair just wouldn’t grow.
I find myself struggling often times,
To meet goals that appear to be mine.
But I realize that my goals come partly from you,
You have been my inspiration loyal and true.
The profile that has meant the most to me so far is on Moreese Bickham. He had been in jail for thirty-two years when this interview was done. I believe that he is a visionary. He was put into jail for killing to white men in self-defense. He said that “it might have been better if I got killed that night than to go through all I’ve been through.” He makes the best he can out of a bad situation. He has seen men come and go in the jail, but he still has a positive attitude about being sentenced to death.
Bickham talks to a nineteen year old inmate and inspires them by saying:
“You’ll get strong, and you’ll learn to be a good fighter.” I tell all these young fellas, “Maybe your case is different than mine, and you’ll get out.” Give ‘em a little hope, you know. See, hope does something for a man—it makes him hang on to what little he got to get more. But if he lose that, there’s nothin’ to hang on to.