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Biography: Swimming with Some Wildlife

I'll be the first to say that I've lived a privileged life. This is not me trying to brag or even to be self-effacing or humble or anything like that. It's just the truth. My parents are both physicians and that's really meant that life growing up for my sister and I was really...easy. That being said, the main focus of this story has everything to do with the amazing opportunities afforded to me by my family's money. I accept that. But it still leads to some fun stories.

My family loves to travel. Sometimes I think that my parents only suffer through their jobs in the medical field just so that they can continue traveling whenever they get the chance. They take several trips every year to various spots around the globe. My sister and I, restrained by our mutual need to attend school during the school year, did not get to share in these adventures that my parents took quite as often. But even with this limitation, we probably traveled more around the country and ar…
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Coyote's Got a Bad Rap || Reading Notes: California and the Old Southwest Part B

But maybe he prefers it that way...I like that all we learn about Duck from this first story is that she was:CreatedSmallShe died almost immediately because she got some mud in her beak.An interesting origin story for El Capitan. I wonder why the boulder was growing in the first place.Why did the boys sleep so long?Could these be things to explain in a retelling?So the boys turned into agave? reason?Could explain this in a retelling.Interesting story with the father testing them so much.So the next story has a youth become a god.He learns dances and songs from around the world?And takes them back to his people to teach them.They wear masks during the dances to represent the other gods that danced with the youth.I feel like the Raven and Macaw story is an explanation of why different some parts of the world have four seasons and why some only have two (wet and dry).The Raven people stay in the north and have to toil to grow crops and winter comes every year.The Macaw people …

Fire and Flood || Reading Notes: California and the Old Southwest Part A

Some cultures seem to have an origin story for fire that involves it being stolen from elsewhere.i.e. coyote steals it from "somewhere in the west"Prometheus steals it from the godsThey also include a flood story that seems to eliminate everyone but just a few people.Is this indicative of a similar series of floods that may have actually killed many people a long time ago?The sun made of ice. What an interesting concept.Now a great fire instead of a great flood.Also, that guy was a real jerk.Couldn't get the girls so he decides to literally light the entire world on fire.It seems like there are three major creation animals in most of these myths:CoyoteSpiderEagleInteresting explanation for why the moon is not as brightThe reeds were wet and did not burn so wellWhat if it was explained as just being smaller?...were there lions in North America?Apparently, sort of?They lived until like 11,000 years ago.Still not sure where the lions from this myth come from.Here we see a b…

Week 9 Story: The Dreams of Sun Wu Kung


I've been asleep for so long.




I cannot tell.

What else can I do trapped beneath a mountain?

I sleep. And I dream.

I dream of my life before this imprisonment.

I dream of the day that I emerged from a stone, high atop the Mountain of Flowers and Fruits.

I dream of the simple life that I had among my ape brethren. Of the days of joy before they made me their king.

I remember the day that I became the King of the Monkeys. I remember the great waterfall and the secret cavern behind it.

I wish I knew back then where my ambition would lead me.

Most often I dream about immortality. I dream of the fateful day when I decided that I would not be constrained by the mortality of a living being.

I remember it clearly. Too clearly. It always brings me pain.

I remember how, on that day, I witnessed the deaths of my friends for the first time. I saw the pain and misery on their families' faces. That day I made a vow to become immortal. And what pain and mise…

Give Him a Hand || The Monkey King Sun Wu Kung Part B

A really, really, big hand...Gosh darn it. I knew that Sun was generating too many complaints to the Lord of Heavens."I had just been thinking I ought to pay Heaven a visit some time..." What a sentence.I guess it's a testament to Sun's power (and arrogance?) that he thinks he can just casually visit Heaven?He's definitely still excitable.The Lord of the Heavens seems to be a rather patient person.This is another instance in which Sun has yet to learn the rules of a polite society. He may soon regret that.So why exactly does Sun take so well to every task that he attempts? He learns them really quickly and (for the most part) seems to excel at and enjoy even the more mundane things.Sun is very prideful and he knows what he wants. When he saught immortality, he rejected the lessons of the master until he could learn the secrets of immortality.Now he is face to face with literal gods and can't help but to demand a better position or more affluent title or role…

The Name Makes the Man || Reading Notes: The Monkey King Sun Wu Kung Part A

Or monkey as the case may be...These are some long-living monkeys.Even though the Handsome Monkey King fears death, it seems like he's already lived a pretty long and happy life.It's really interesting that there is such an importance of Buddhism in this story, even though Buddhism originated in India and spread to China.The story says that only three beings are exempt from death:The godsThe spiritsAnd....the Buddhas?I guess they're really talking about exemption from the cycle of death and rebirth.I like how the king does not take a large number of subjects or a retinue or anything with him. It's just him on his travels. Very hermit or sage-like.This is, of course, immediately contrasted by the fact that he assaults and robs the first person he sees.But it seems that he learns more or less the "rules" of polite society immediately following this transgression. That naming was kind of anti-climactic. I feel like a retelling could find a more creative way to …

Week 8 Progress

How would I classify my progress in this class? I'm sorely tempted to say "adequate" though that feels a little self-critical. I've done every assignment on time without any real issues. However, I think that the freedom and temptations inherent in an online class have not been good for my procrastinative tendencies. It is true that all assignments have been done by the deadline, but I will admit that many are done unnecessarily close to said deadline. I know that I have the time to actually do these assignments and even work ahead (I have done at least one extra credit), but I find a lack of self-control limiting. This week I am striving to get the majority of the work done today. However, I do not know if this spirit of efficiency will last.

In terms of assignments, I definitely enjoy the readings (although I enjoy taking notes a little less) and I always have fun writing stories for my blog or my storybook. I'm a little less enthusiastic about giving feedback …

Week 8 Comments and Feedback

Feedback feedback feedback. I love it. I hate it. I always appreciate opportunities to learn and grow, but I still find myself somewhat frustrated when I don't quite get things right the first time around. When it comes to feedback in this class, the vast majority of the time I thoroughly enjoy being on the receiving end. It's when I have to generate feedback that I suffer the most. In many ways, I am relieved when I see minor grammatical or formatting mistakes in posts or stories. They're something easy for me to point out and comment on. It's when I need to give deeper feedback about my own opinions and questions about another's writing that I struggle. I'd like to think that the majority of the feedback I leave is helpful, but, in all honesty, most of the time I cannot think of enough things that are relevant or notable to comment on. The in-class exercises have helped this a bit, but I still think that I have a ways to go before I will be confident in my fe…

Week 8 Reading and Writing

Halfway through the semester already! I can hardly believe it! Only half a semester stands between me and graduation! It barely feels like any time has passed at all. Overall, I think I'm fairly satisfied with my progress and work in this class. I know that I'm not the greatest writer, but I'm still proud of the work that I've been producing and I do sincerely hope that some of you guys who are reading it do enjoy it.

In terms of design, I really like my blog. I've always been a fan of the "dark" theme on many applications and I wanted to replicate that a bit in my blog. I also think that the white text on a dark background makes it easier to read and I intentionally made my font a little bigger to aid this as well. Obviously, I want my blog to be a comfortable reading experience and I hope that I have achieved that. When I first made the blog, I added a widget for an NPR newsfeed because I really think that keeping up to date on news is incredibly import…

Week 7 Story: How Anansi Became the God of Stories

Once, there was a man who eschewed hard work. Every day he spent figuring out ways to avoid work. So it happened that, one day, he turned to theft. He went around to the houses in the area, robbing each at night. So this went until he was caught in the act. A crowd gathered and demanded his head for his crimes. He pleaded for his life and promised to repay every person he robbed. With reluctance, the people allowed him to live, but only if he made true on his promise to repay his debts.
The man returned home to think of a way he could pay off his debt. He decided to plant an orchard such that the trees, eventually, would do most of the work in paying off his debt. For once, he worked diligently in planting and caring for the trees of tamarind and dates.

The trees grew well, and, eventually, the time came to harvest. As the man began to collect his produce, a great storm came and blew it away. So great were the winds, that his trees were blown over and shattered.

The man looked around h…