Monthly Archives: April 2012

Making Sense of the World through Short Stories

“As human beings, we have a craving or a compulsion to find order amidst chaos, particularly when the world seems the most difficult to understand. To make sense of our lives and find a shred of hope to help us carry onward, we establish-or attempt to establish-order and reasoning to cope. This tendency was especially prevalent during the Modernist period, with daily existence is characterized by disintegrating societal relations due to brutal warfare and man’s own inhumanity. When the entire human race is struggling to find meaning amidst shifting social, moral, and political values, what happens when literature abandons the ‘normal’,  well-organized traditions of the classic novel in favor of writing styles that mimic the upheaval of daily life? Should readers follow their natural instincts and still search for unity in purposefully fragmented genres such as the short story sequence? Rather than merely seeking qualities of surface-level organicism in the short story sequence genre, both readers and critics alike need to embrace the tension and recognize that, as Rolf Lunden argues: ‘the greatness of …short story composites is not diminished blanked, monolithic objects of art. The disruptive elements-the gaps, the ignites, the contradictory chronology, the absence of recurring protagonists-are not flaws; they work either to subvert or reinforce the author’s message. A larger pattern is often thereby established, one that makes room for both order and disorder’ “(55-56).

Introduction paragraph of Celeste Lempke’s paper Faulkner’s “Pantaloon in Black”: The Necessity of the Fringe Story.

Work Cited: Lempke, Celeste. “Faulkner’s ‘Pantaloon in Black’: The Necessity of the Fringe Story”. The Sigma Tau Delta Review: Journal of Critical Writing. 9 (2012): 55-56. Print.

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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Mother Knows Best

Last night, I got a surprise visit from my mom. Which was the best thing ever. Considering the week I have been having it was nice to give her a hug and be loved on for a while. She also brought me a treat from back home. Homemade peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies from Tiff’s Treats in Austin and a free coffee coupon from Starbucks. I loved that she was able to take time out of her busy schedule to come and visit me. Actually, she came to College Town to visit my grandfather who lives here. They were driving to Texas A&M to visit my sister and to bring goodie bags from the Aggie Mom’ club. Since, she missed the one for Private University it was only fair that she bring me a little treat.

Yummy cookies from my mom.

She came up to the room and we talked about school. I told her all about my presentation and how it went really well. We also discussed my eating habits. Which I just eat when I am hungry usually just snack foods. She reminded me to take my vitamin pills, that I hate taking and a reminder that I am not getting all my food groups from just eating bagels. She said that I was looking a little on the thin side and that I needed to eat more.

The thing is I do not really use my meal plan. I am a picky eater, sometimes I skip meals or do the whole eat an early lunch then not eat anything till 8 that night. Yet, I drink a lot more liquids then real food. I love my coffee and starbucks tea.

We talked about Sarah and Elizabeth. We also talked about Winston and how not to bring him up because he has been sick so just to let it pass until this weekend. There is nothing I can do about it. Sometimes I just need a little slice of home and my mom. I am not afraid to admit that.

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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Kite Runner research and high school papers: A reflection

I would like to declare that I successful presented my research over the novel, The Kite Runner today. I felt my presentation went really well. Also, I had a great title “To Become Good Again”: Finding Redemption in The Kite Runner. I also had a great thesis and introduction as well:

The events happening throughout Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner reflect a time of experimental democracy followed by a dictatorship. According to Mir Hekmatullah Sadat, war and conflict play an important theme in Afghan diasporac literature, thus allowing history to act as a guide for different Afghan novels such as The Kite Runner. In Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, the idea of losing one’s innocence and betrayal mirrors the social and historical events happening at the same time in Afghanistan. This idea plays an important role in the formation of the main character Amir’s guilt after he betrays his friend and servant, Hassan. Even after leaving Afghanistan, Amir must face the conflict of whether or not to return to Afghanistan in order to make amends and save Hassan’s son in order to “become good again” and to find redemption.

I am proud of my work. Even there were moments of doubt and walking over to do my presentation. I had this moment where I declared that my research was wrong and that I was all wrong in my analysis. I kept watching my professor during my presentation. It was hard to tell what he thought, I am not really good at reading people that well. I did finish in exactly ten minutes, totally rocked that part. I made sure to cut out the trailer before hand. That was an added thing, just in case.

I am looking forward to getting my paper back and my presentation notes as well. I should get them back on friday. The paper maybe later next week sometime. I feel like the amount of time that I spent of this paper and wanting to change my topic multiple times. I am glad that I stuck with the novel and really put a lot of time with the book. I never what to see it again and I doubt I will read it again.

This whole project, reminded me of my Prayer for Owen Meany paper that I wrote almost a year ago. I argued about fate and freewill. I liked this project a lot because I had a lot more freedom. I felt like in high school, I was limited just to Alder’s list of themes and that my teacher, even though I loved the class, he wanted me to really be on topic and stick within just the idea of fate. Which can be frustrating when you are trying to argue that fate does not exist and that everything was just mere chance within the novel. I remembering looking a lot at Aquinas and Augustine’s ideas about fate and predestination. Except for the fact that I was wrong because when we studied Aquinas and Augustine in religion class this year. I also think that it was a lack of understanding what they were writing about. Even though, Aquinas is my favorite theologian and I enjoy reading his prayer for a student.

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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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FAQs about Being a Triplet: You were always curious

So a couple of weeks ago in English class, the roll call question for that day was: What is the worst thing we have done to our siblings? My answer was the time that I knocked my sister’s baby tooth out with the back of a chair. We were playing a game with these giant arm chairs that we had in our living room. We no longer have those chairs not sure what happen to them. I think we were playing exploration and we were exploring the mountains. We would climb up the front part of the chair and then jump off the back. No idea where my parents were. From what I remember, my sister, Sarah and I were on the same chair and she went over the chair first, my footing was off and the chair fell forward and hit her in the jaw.

I just gave a brief summary of this story. So after we finished roll call questions and moved into the actually discussion for that day. Katherine turned to Lauren and asked if I was a twin. Katherine then mouthed across the room if I was a twin. In which I responded, “No, I am a triplet.” Then Katherine pointed across the room and announced to the whole class, “Rachel’s a triplet.” In which, then I confirmed the statement was true. Everyone got excited for a bit and then I got asked the five hundred questions that I am normally  asked. Which yes, it gets old after a while. Then we moved on with our lives, mostly my professor was like let’s move on.


Baccalaureate service at Austin High School (2011)
Taylor, ME, Elizabeth, Sarah (start from left)
All of us in our fancy graduation attire

Background Information

Not really sure how much background information is need because I do not really keep track of common questions that people ask. It is seconded natured, it is not something that I lose sleep over. I guess some family history on my other sisters.


Elizabeth studying hard for finals in high school.

Elizabeth (also known as Boo): The oldest, was referred to by our Grandmother as “the little dear”. Growing up she was the quiet one, even more quiet then I am. She is currently studying at the CIA (right now she is on externship in Williamsburg, VA.). By the end of it she should have a Bachelors of Science (?) in Baking and Pastry Arts. She also shares my love for coffee but loves the more fancy Starbucks drinks. She prefers more mystery novels, Terry Pratchett and Agatha Christie. She also loves Weathering Heights and Jane Austen. Elizabeth hates being touched or hugged/ loved on. I been pushed away a lot. Random Fact: She is deadly with a kitchen knife and can slice apples really thin. I also hit her in the head with a baseball bat on accident when we were six.


Sarah studying hard for a pre-cal test.

Sarah (Also known as Bitty, Bit or Bitty-Love): The middle one, who is also known as the editor or friend. Sarah is the social one and life revolves around people. If she is not doing something with somebody she is usually up to no good. Sarah is my consent cuddle buddy and loves giving hugs/ making people happy. She is at Texas A&M University (whoop!) where she is studying English Literature with a focus in children’s books and young adult fiction which means she gets to read all the cool fun books. She is also studying sociology. She loves reading (I think we all do), she loves anything by Jane Austen, Bronte, and everything that I do not like. She is active in her bible study group/ support group which I hear about all the time. She is also in the honors liberal arts program at A&M. She got to go to Vienna over spring break (super jealous). Random Fact: She edits all my papers and has a cool fish named Winston.

School LIfe

Sarah, Elizabeth, and I were in the same class till around 3rd grade and then Elizabeth and I were the same class. Then we were in different classes all throughout Elementary School. We went to public school and were always threaten with private school. We were always too established in our classes to make the change. In middle school, we had teams so one of us would always be on the same team. For example, if I was on B team with Sarah. Elizabeth would be on C team. In high school, we would all be in different classes there are very few teachers that can say they had the three of us: My sophomore English teacher,  my AP Macroeconomic teacher, and my AP US history/ Government teacher. The only think that I really love about having another sibling with the same teacher is that you can compare homework and talk about assignments together. Physics with Sarah was the best thing ever.


Elizabeth and her knife skills

We all have different interests, I feel like that was the most common question that i got asked was did we all do the same things? The answer to that was no. I was involved with Student Council, Photography club, and Orchestra. Sarah was involved in mostly dance, she is an excellent Ballet dancer. We both did yoga together. Elizabeth was involved with culinary arts mostly and had an internship working in a cafe at a church in Austin.

We are all different, as Elizabeth once told me, “I am your third, but I am still an individual.” We just happen to share a birthday and nothing more. We are close and often times huddle together. We keep each other’s council and fight like any other sibling. We are close because we have always been together,  Forever and always. I will always be my sister’s keeper.

Hands on a snowy day


New’s year with apple cider. Elizabeth being like “whatever, why am I here look”

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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


The Golden Age of Psychosurgery: HM Case Study

” He knew his name. That much he could remember. He knew that his father’s family came from Thibodaux, LA., and his mother was from Ireland, and he knew about the 1929 stock market crash and World War II and life in the 1940s. But he could remember almost nothing after that” (New York Times)

HM or Henry Gustav Molaison is one of the most famous cases in Neuroscience and one of my favorites. At 9 years old he banged his head hard after being hit by a bicycle rider in his neighborhood. At that time, MRI and PET scans were not available or even in existent. HM had started to develop seizures and by the time he was around 27 was suffering from devastating convulsions and could not hold a job. He found himself in Dr. William Beecher Socville’s office, a neurosurgeon at Hartford Hospital. After tests and treatments that were not working. Surgery was planned, details would include removal of the hippocampus, amygdala, and both frontal hemispheres of the brain. Socville took more out then plan due to the fact that he could not see really what parts he was taking out. This would leave HM stuck in the year 1953. HM though could learn new things without awareness but would not know how he learned these tasks that he was given. He would live with his parents for the reminder of their lives, then with a relative, later he was placed in a nursing home till his death in 2008, he was 82 years old. His brain was given to science to be preserved and sliced so that we may have a better understanding on what it was like to be HM.

The reason that this case is so important is because it shows what happens to the brain when you remove important parts that store new memories. If I was unable to remember things such as what my homework was for the day or what classes I had there would be no way that I would be able to be a productive member of society. This case raises the question on why memory is so important and that even when we are unaware to our surrounding we are forming new experiences. HM was unable to do that, everything was new to him all the time. Every interaction and every day was a new day as if he were waking up from a dream.

Bringing this to an idea that I have on why we tell stories is because it is through our daily interactions and conversations that we are able to form some type of story. The reason books are so important is because they show us what life is like or could be like. They paint together pictures of the past, present, and future in order for us as a human race to move forward.

“We must turn our backs upon the horror of the past. We must look to the future. We cannot afford to drag across the years that are to come the hatred and revenges which have sprung from the injuries of the past.” – Sir Winston Churchill 

Links: (Watch some cool brain slicing done by University of California at San Diego) (What happens after the brain is sliced, they have to be extremely careful when laying the brain on the slide, nobody wants to look at a ripped brain.)

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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Define: Music

My favorite thing about Google and possibly the best thing that I have discovered is that I just have to type in the words Define: [insert whatever I need to look up]. Sure, I am eliminating the need for a dictionary.

I have been thinking a lot of about music lately and how the lyrics tell a story. I have been really into folk music as of late, Mumford and Sons and The Head and The Heart. So I asked Google as I like to do to define music, what is music? Music is in fact a noun, pointing out the obvious. Definition: 1. The art of science of combing vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion. 2. The vocal or instrumental sound produced in this way.

In my own words, Music is the art of combing both vocal and instrumental sounds to produce emotional response through the form or in the harmony. I like Word Press tag definition the best: “We’re melodic creatures, responding emotionally and physically to the lull of a siren’s heartache or the strum of a guitar.”

I have spent a lot of time at music festival, not really. I have been to a least two or three mostly Austin City Limits but I have been to a variety of concerts. I love the atmosphere, I love how everyone is gathered together to here one band play or see their favorite artist in real life. Here are some of my photos from experience raw live music.




Austin City Limits 2011


To Far away to see, thankful for giant screens


First college campus concert


Home is where the music will never stop playing


If the music is good,  you listen 


Lead singer of Switchfoot

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Posted by on April 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


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How do I love thee?

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

Secret Love


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Posted by on April 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


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