Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Reading Incentive

What’s the difference between blogs and published writing? There is a difference, and many people don’t seem to realize it. Besides the fact that blogging is new to the writing world, blogs offer a new style of writing, compared to published articles, columns and books. Blogs particularly seem to have their own style of writing and attitude. It’s a style of writing that people seem to enjoy reading, but why do they enjoy it?

What makes blogging so popular is the freedom of writing. Freedom meaning writing in any kind of format one enjoys to write in, along with attitude, arguments, or even writing from a mood someone may be in. Most anything will get someone’s attention, but keeping it is what is hard to do when it comes to blogs. Some readers seem to like blogs short and to the point, and some would even argue that 1000 words would be to long. Therefore a blogger must ask themselves the following question: what can I do to keep a reader reading? Along with it being a freedom of writing, blogging is a form that keeps readers’ interest, the most when using humor, irony, and personal experience that people can relate to. Readers enjoy this and it makes blogging unique to other forms of writing.

Every writer has their own attitude or tone they enjoy to write in. Some range from a more serious attitude with a professional tone, others may write for fun and not care about how it sounds. These styles are either liked or disliked by someone. Because of the independence with blogs, people tend to find a favored style they enjoy reading. Once the people are drawn to a blog; the hard part is to keep them hooked to the reading. The reader may lose interest faster when reading a blog, so the writer must put in something to keep their attention, to keep their minds entertained. Examples would be: a change of topic, tone, emotion, and style. What kind is up to them, but some work better then others. Out of all of them, emotion is the strongest of them all; it is the most personal and descriptive. This is what writers tend to incorporate into their blogs.

Like all writers, bloggers use multiple writing techniques, which reflect to their topic. In comparison, writer’s blogs, tend to have a greater sense of humor than published writers. In fact there are bloggers who only write in a humorous style, like Uncle Bob’s post, “Never Threaten to Eat Your Co-Workers.” Uncle Bob takes us through an eventful day at work when everything goes wrong for him. His style of writing is a personal narrative, which he writes as if he were telling it in person. He writes as if we begged him to tell us what happened. Looking back at his blog online, he has many different posts with this similar style. He also uses attention grabbing titles like: “There Oughtta’ Be a Law against Bran Muffins” and “Global Warming Can Kiss My Sweaty Behind.” This is a unique form of writing which attract readers. He tends to go off topic on small tangents, explaining his surroundings, to give the readers a total understanding on what is going on. At the end of the post, there is a hidden point to why he wrote this, but it can be hard to recognize because sometimes his titles don’t relate to his text. In all, his posts can be very funny. There is no meaning, nor lesson, so he wrote this blog for his pleasure and for the reader’s pleasure. Why people may read this would be to just laugh, to have a fun read. People go to blogs like this because it is rare to find a read similar to it outside of the blogging community. Bloggers write like this because readers want a fun read, they like to see humor in writing every once in a while.

Some bloggers are dedicated to write with humor, but there are others who do in different ways. These writers, they write for a known topic, but they may incorporate different styles in their writing. How this differs from writing outside of blogs is the use of narration in blogs, to tell a story. It is still very common to see most bloggers write as if they are telling a story in person. It seems though if they want to have a serious attitude in their writing, they have to be wiling to have a joking attitude as well. To write about a topic and staying on track, but throwing in the fact that they have a joking side as well. In “What the Hell Is a Weblog and Why Won’t They Leave Me Alone,” by Derek M. Powazek, he explains his journey into blogging. He stays on track, explaining how he got into blogging and how it has affected him. Throughout his post he doesn’t hesitate to throw in some of his personality, some over exaggerated statements like: “So I did something dreadful. Something despicable. Something so horrible and evil I couldn’t stand the sight of myself in the mirror in the morning. I started weblogging.” A statement like this makes the read easy, enjoyable, and fun. The use of irony and humor in this context makes readers want to read more.
Personality is key when it come down to writing. Writing has to have its own life to give to readers. I learned that by blogging myself. I try to put a piece of my personality into my writing. I try to give the reader an idea of who I am like as an individual, even if they don’t know who I am. Though I try to do this in all of my writing, but it just seems to be more appropriate for a weblog. Why is this? I feel that blogging is a type of an informal writing style without any limitations. Because it has no limitations, blogs can be written in any way. Now why people choose to write with humor or about a personal story is because people enjoy reading it. People enjoy relaxing reads, along with entertainment, put those two together and you get weblogs.

Graham, Alan, and Bonnie Burton. Never Threaten To Eat Your Co-Workers. New
York, New York: Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., 2004.

Rodzilla, John. We’ve Got Blog. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2002.

“Uncle Bob’s Diary O’ Chuckles.” Uncle Bob Fat and Bloated In Alabama. 27 May
2007. 31 May 2007 http://unclebob.diaryland.com/index.html.

Friday, June 1, 2007

A Rowers Guide to College

Everything has a start and an end. In almost all cases the start is the hardest part to overcome. The start is the most stressful part, and it takes time to get past it. Starting out as a freshman in college, there is a lot to get used to; many things to change and to be aware of all at once. Being aware at the start is the most important. You must be aware of everything so you don’t miss your stroke, the most important stroke, the one that starts you off.

Once you’re off you can do anything but stop, you can’t stop, if you stop you fall behind and catching up is a hard battle to win. Remember though not to run yourself thin. Learn to pace your battle and conserve your energy. There are plenty of things in life, and we need to enjoy them while we still can. Stay focused at all times though, catch water and pull, don’t stop until the finish.

You can’t see your finish, but you see all that is going past you, pay attention to the white buoys, when they turn orange your stretch is about to begin. The coxswain yells “300, this is what we worked for gentlemen, take it up.” Now it’s here to the finish line, every bit of energy comes out on these last 30 strokes, quitting is not an option. The people on the shore are chanting your hometown and boat name, you want to look but you can’t. “Power 10 guys,” 100 meters to go, our hardest gets even harder. It starts to hurt more and more, stroke after stroke. 10 strokes seem like 10 years, then you finish.

Everything has a finish, but you decide how.

“You notice one thing at the finish line, the boats that lose look tired, but the one that worked harder, looks like they can row back and do it again.”

Head Coach of The Westerville Crew Rowing Team.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

An Interview With David

What inspired you to write about crew?

If I had one thing to say about crew, then that would be crew was my beginning. Crew was responsible for making me break out of my shell; it made me into a better individual. I feel that if you make yourself a part of something then you will go to better things. So I wrote this blog for people like me, before crew. I want to show people how something little can make a great impact in someone’s life.

I also want to show people who are or were involved in an activity, that they were probably changed as well. It may not be as much as my experience, but regardless, a change is a change. People may not realize this, they may not notice the true friends they have, how their personality has changed, how they may have changed physically. I noticed and I wanted others to see as well.

I think that everyone should be involved in something, no matter what it is, that’s up to them. It can be a sport, activity, or a hobby, anything that makes you happy. As I write this blog I can see how I have changed, also it brings me back to those good old days. In the long run I want this blog to be for me and for others.

What has been the reaction from people reading you blog?

This blog is available for anyone to look at, but it is mainly subjected the members of my afternoon English class. Though just a small amount of people have been reading my blog, I have been getting good feedback. I tend to get comments from people mentioning an activity they remember doing. Its great to read about people who have been in the same position as me, how something helped them along. The class will be over soon, but I hope that my blog will get discovered by others. I will check and continue to post periodically, maybe over a different topic, I’m not sure yet.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Popularity Always Wins

In high school, there were a variety of sports and activities to choose from. Almost every school has its football team, along with baseball, soccer, basketball, you name it. There are too many to choose from, but what I have noticed was that many of our school sports were always talked about. This was because of the people who were on it, the “popular” people of our school. What I’m trying to say is that no matter the sport these people were on, the sport became one of the schools main sports.

That was the complete opposite from my team. We were the least talked about at our school, in my opinion. I don’t care because I loved everything about it, I made my life friends because of it, even though I have been off the team for a year and a half. I also got a best friend out of it, Alexa to the left of the picture. Now back on topic, when we were talked about, all they had to say were negative things. This was from the people who were not involved, so I feel that don’t really have an opinion towards us. The thing that would always get me was how people said that what we did was easy. I’m not going to compare difficulty to other sports, but easy was not in our vocabulary.

What people need to realize is that all sports are difficult, not easy, maybe in some ways but overall. Dealing with anything, not just sports to. Now just because your friends are in a certain sport doesn’t mean that all others are worthless, this is what the people in my school didn’t realize.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Stressed Overachievers

Stress is a part of our everyday life and is one of the hardest aspects of life to overcome. Whether work or family stress, people handle it in their own ways. Stress is very common in college students now and days. The average college student will have a job alongside with schoolwork. There are also students who are in programs, sports, and extracurricular activities which tend to have more stress put upon them. Would it be easier if all stress were taken out of their lives? Perhaps, but the everyday stress that is put upon overachieving students is healthy for their personalities, along with teaching them needed skills to handle stress. These few essentials are good qualities to have and it contributes to becoming successful individuals.

In S. L. Kim’s article, Springtime Thoughts, she talks about the stress put on athletes in college. Now an academic advisor on a college campus, she talks about here past years of rowing. Being a past member on her college rowing club, she experienced a great amount of stress as an athlete and student. Kim rowed every year in college, but decided to quit half way through her senior year so she can concentrate on school. Happy with her decision, she still missed the sport, but she also thought about all the opportunities she missed because of crew. Later, becoming an academic advisor, S. L. Kim deals with students that are in the same situation as she was. These students will give up class and work to make it to practice or to a competition. In Kim’s article, she is upset with the coaches who put this on their students, knowing that it conflicts with their school work. Thus this brings up her argument in her web log. Her main focus is her students and their careers as students, but she “can’t help but get angry at the nameless and faceless coaches who put seemingly unreasonable demands on my students’ time and energy.” Though she is upset with the coaches, she doesn’t understand why some students don’t quit their sport and concentrate on school. Kim realizes that anyone can quit but she understands how hard it is to quit.

S L Kim feels that her student’s coaches put to much stress on them. She also thinks that her students will do much better if they were to quit their sport or organization. S. L. Kim does not realize or perhaps has forgotten that students get a great deal out of sports or organizations. Not only can students express themselves, but they improve themselves mentally. It does however put a great amount of stress on the students, having them keep up with their activity and their schoolwork. Stress should not be looked at as a negative though. In order to overcome stress, one must learn methods to handle it. Such methods are managing time, setting priorities, making commitments, and being responsible. These skills are very useful to have practiced at a young age. Reinforcing these skills will make future stresses easier to overcome.

S. L. Kim mentioned that when she quit crew, school became much easier to handle. She could concentrate on her work and take a further interest in the class. Through personal experience, quitting crew helped with school greatly, but what helped the most were the skills learned from managing multiple activities. These skills give a student an upper hand over others. Having the ability to cope with multiple stresses makes dealing with one much easier. In order to be successful in college, and in an organization or activity, you must develop these skills early. What the author argues is that the stress is brought on by the coaches. The coaches put unreasonable demands on the students, which ultimately can result to doing poor in school. Kim wonders why students put themselves through that kind of stress, also why they don’t just quit their activity and concentrate on school. What needs to be done is this: if the student is capable of doing the work and activity, what needs to be done to help them improve. In other cases, if the student is not capable, then possibly consider concentrating on schoolwork rather then the activity.

What the author is suggesting is that students should concentrate on schoolwork rather then activities, sports, and organizations. I agree that school is more important, but students should be able to express themselves in some way. Personally I was in S. L. Kim’s position when it came to me quitting crew. I do miss the sport but I was relieved by having that stress taken away. Though I did not have an activity to excel on, thanks to crew, I was able to learn skills to deal with stress and deadlines. These skills help me manage multiple activities, and without the stress of someone without these reinforced skills. I considered crew a learning experience; it helped me develop people and time management skills. These will be helpful to have later in life and for my career.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Thank You Web Log

Different people express stress in many ways. For some they let it get the best of them and let it outburst. Others don’t show but they let it sink deep within. These different types of scenarios are not the best way to handle stress for anyone. You have to find a way to let out your frustration and emotion.

For me, I like to relieve stress through physical activity, like going to the gym or out for a run. The funny thing about it is thanks to stress I am in the best shape of my life. Many things about college to me are very stressful. Trying to juggle a job, my quest to become an officer in the Air Force at ROTC, my school work, my social life, and trying to get at most 6 hours of sleep a night if I’m lucky. This is something I was never really used to. To get to my point on how this relates to my Crew topic, I wasn’t doing any type of activity, club, or hobby. When times got tough things got ugly and I mean ugly. I finally joined crew and found my release valve. No matter how bad things may have gotten I would go to practice on a mission. I would pull on that oar with every bit of energy I had; almost as if every stroke was knocking a bit of stress off the top. I would feel great afterwards, even though I had to deal with what was bothering me. I love the fact that I could take something negative and use it to better myself. If you haven’t tried it you should.

It’s not healthy to bottle up stress; it can affect you in many different ways. You should express yourself in any way suitable for you. People may watch TV, exercise, have their favorite snack, and if you haven’t noticed already through blogging. As long as you can give yourself a chance to breath, you’re in good shape.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Don't Think She Heard Me

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment in public? Have you tried to cover it up as best as you could but no matter what you still look like an idiot? For example, tripping forward in public and while you are on the ground do push ups to cover your trip. Even though doing the push ups probably makes you more of an idiot then tripping. Regardless what happens and what you do to try to cover it up, we all fail miserably.

I recall of a time like this at a regatta. It was lunch time and all crews take an hour to refuel and rest. I’m standing in a small group of people talking as my coach volunteers me to retrieve oars for one of our boat going out. I was walking with one of the girls from my crew, a long haired blond and a close friend of mine. Even though the docks are not very far away it takes some time to get though the boats walking by in line. We had a conversation about our all time rivals, the Cincinnati Junior Rowing Club or just CJRC. This crew was the best and always had a step above us. We all had theories joking on why they are so good, some ranging from a motor on their boats to even having their team genetically cloned as hard core athletes. Getting back to the story, a boat was crossing in front of us and I continued and ducked under the boat. Completely oblivious of the fact that my friend stopped for the boat, I continued my conversation with a long haired blond that happened to slide on in where my friend was. I continued to walk with my new friend talking about CJRC. Getting to the end of my conversation I said: “yea I guarantee CJRC has a cloning lab under their boat house where they clone their rowers.” Waiting for a “yea” or “I know”, instead I heard with a very faint, quivered, almost scared voice “oh, ohh… ok.” I look to my left to see a CJRC rower with long blond hair take a very sharp 90 degree turn away from me waiting for me to pass. She starts to scurry away as I yell “sorry wrong person,” there was no way she heard me though. I had a dumbfounded feeling and stopped where I was looking around making sure no one else witnessed my embarrassing moment, but one was enough. My real friend runs up to me and says “sorry I got caught up at that last boat.” I didn’t tell her what happened but I replied “let’s get moving.”

Even though I will probably never see that girl again, I can’t seem to stop wondering what see was thinking, along with that what see told her other teammates. It’s a little uncomfortable to think that some where out there I am labeled as "The Creepy Rower From Westerville Crew."