Monthly Archives: May 2011

John’s Portfolio

I feel I have learned a lot in English 100 this semester. Even though it wasn’t my first attempt at this class I learned some new techniques with which I had not been familiar.  The sentence variety handout comes to mind, as well as subordination techniques. I believe I will carry these tools with me in whatever I write from this point forward.

The dream of Racial Equality

As this post was almost 250 words I did not have to to much in the way of adding to it. Most of the editing involved style and concision.

The Dream of a Better Social Life

In this post the most significant change was adding a quote from Allmendinger and responding to that quote.

The Dream of Arcadia

I feel this is my strongest post. I added a quote from McClung and I feel that this post has some good stylistic qualities

The Dream of a Traffic-Free Commute

The original post was my shortest of the four. I had to add much in the way of how I relate to the scene. I also believe I incorporate the quote better throughout the paragraph.




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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


Racial Equality

The Rodney King riots of L.A. in 1992 showed that, in spite of the vast array of races and cultures in southern California, the dream of racial harmony remains a long way off. Much of this chasm between dream and reality can be attributed to the relationship between the L.A.P.D. and the long-oppressed Los Angeles minorities. Few songs address this divide better than The Day the N*ggaz Took Over, by Dr. Dre. The day King’s badge-and-baton-wielding attackers were acquitted sparked the 20th century’s worst American urban riots. Many saw the acquittal as simply a reason to loot, as Dre alludes to when he’s “got a VCR in the back of my car.” At its root, however, the riots were the volcanic release of pent-up rage directed at, specifically, the mostly Caucasian LAPD. Police in L.A. have had a well-documented history of brutality over the years. In the 1940′s they made efforts to ensure racial segregation by such methods as preventing a Benny Goodman performance because they “feared interracial dancing among the band’s white, Filipino, black, and Mexican fans”(Lipsitz 164). L.A. and California as a whole would do well to learn from its racially diverse music scene. It incorporates music from half a world away, like the Philippine folk music Kulintang, and Samoan via Tokyo hip-hop (Lipsitz 166).The music of Dr. Dre fits right in as part of this California mosaic. Then again, the answer to the discord may lie in the words of that cocaine-addict-turned-marytr Rodney King: “Can’t we all just get along?”

Lipsitz, George. “Music, Migration, and Myth: The California Connection.” Reading California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000. Eds.        Stephanie Barron, Sheri Bernstein, and Ilene Susan Fort. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. 153-169. Print.

Dr. Dre. “The Day the N*ggas Took Over”. The Chronic. Death Row, 1992. CD

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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


Dream of a Traffic-free commute

The opening scene in Office Space laughingly reminds us to accept the fact that the dream of a smooth automotive commute may rarely be possible. In the scene the protagonist is seen on his way to work in the middle of a traffic logjam. All of the gridlock cliches come into play, including performing a lane change only to have his previously occupied lane move faster. Throughout the scene an old man using a walker strolls along the sidewalk eventually overtaking our hero. Though the main character in the scene is certainly not amused, we as viewers can relate with laughter, as opposed to rage. It gives us what Carle referred to as “grin-and-bear it advice for avoiding road rage incidents.” (163) Also, the scene’s deeper meaning conveys resignation to the uncontrollable and unavoidable nature of automobile traffic. Therefore, the cumulative emotional energy which Californians devote to it becomes wholly unnecessary. This does not make gridlock enjoyable by any means, but this scene asks us to at least “sigh-and-bear it” if not “grin-and-bear it.” Unfortunately, when such advice goes unheeded, road rage can ensue. Then, what was only an inconvenience turns into something much more consequential, perhaps deadly, as road rage often leads to violence. Simple habit makes traffic more bearable as well. I happen to have a daily commute of an hour which, if the roads were free of traffic, would probably take thirty minutes. I should remind myself of Office Space to calm down when entangled in it, or just leave my house earlier.

Carle, David. Water and the California Dream: Choices for the New Millennium. San Francisco:
Sierra Club Books, 2000. Print.

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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


The dream of Arcadia

Genaro Molina’s photograph of the Bricault house in Venice promotes the dream of a modern-day Arcadia, but also caricatures that same hope by showing the extremes to which it drives people. Marc Bricault’s brother, Paul, had visited the Hotel Pershing Hall which had a similar architectural theme. When he told his brother about it, Marc was convinced that it would be the way to remodel his own home. Bricault is certainly no fan of the modern Utopic homes of upper-class L.A., which “in its purest form … would be a spaceship” (5) Instead, this house would like the observer to see it as living, with plants lining three of the four walls. It is as close to the Arcadia, or “a found natural paradise” (McClung 5) which drew many to California at the dawn of the 20th century. Moreover, the house embodies the same principle behind “the plate labeled ‘Tropical Plants and Historical Buildings’ from an 1880s brochure.” (McClung 24) Both convey the belief that plants and man-made structures belong alongside one another for maximum aesthetic value. However, the structure also gets its share of odd looks and outright laughter, some of which the Bricaults must witness firsthand when they invite acquaintances over. Plants and structure may be best viewed in juxtaposition, rather than an outlandish melding of the two as in the Bricault house. It could be the extreme contrast between that plant lined fence and the basketball hoop behind it which make the view somewhat oft-putting. The onlooker comes to realize that, when taken to this extreme, laboring toward Arcadia becomes a laughable endeavor.

McClung, William Alexander. Landscapes of Desire: Anglo Mythologies of Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of         California Press, 2000. Print.

Molina, Genaro. Bricault House. Home Tour: A Venice Addition Made of Three Living Walls. N.d.           Web. 18 Feb 2011.

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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


Dream of a Better Social Life

The Billy Joel song “Los Angelenos” demonstrates that traveling to California for dreams of an enhanced social atmosphere can be a wasted effort. Moving out west from, let us say, a remote mid-western town to find a more eclectic group of acquaintances motivates many transplants. Joel opens up the song with this observation, stating: “Los Angelenos all come from somewhere, to live in sunshine, their funky exile.” “Yet every dream, it seems, has a similar sequel, one that spells disillusion.” (Allmendinger 113) This disillusionment stems from the type of people who come to California seeking an elevated social atmosphere. As they reach their destination, the aforementioned hope of a more varied group of friends is lost because, ironically, their new friends mirror themselves. They all came in search of the same thing, and were likely unable to find some magical Californian clique that met their expectations The above scenario only works, however, if the transplant happens to find a job that can afford the lifestyle of being socially active. If you don’t happen to have a gig as a screenwriter or actor lined up upon arrival, you would need to find something immediate with which to support yourself, much like Chester Himes, who “took odd jobs when he was unable to find employment as a screenwriter.” (Allmendinger 122) A few years of that can disillusion even the most starry-eyed dreamer. Soon, aspirations of a better social life take a backseat to the daily grind for simple survival.

Allmendinger, Blake. “California Through the Lens of Hollywood.” Reading California: Art, Image, and Identity,             1900-2000. Eds. Stephanie Barron, Sheri Bernstein, and Ilene Susan Fort. Berkeley: University of                     California Press, 2000. 113-128. Print.

Billy Joel. “Los Angelenos.” Streetlife Serenade. Columbia, 1974.LP

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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


Rachael’s Portfolio

Another Beautiful California Night

English 100 with Jim Sullivan has been my first English class here in America and it was my joy that its subject manner revolved around California Dreams, which I found so intriguing because I was just beginning to start my CA dream. Everything about the quality of the class work was top notch, and I especially liked the work book with its varied outlooks on the dream, which I annotated vigorously, and it is something I will keep with me for a long time. The classwork has opened my eyes and made me think in a whole new light, when I look back in reflection to my original analysis on essay writing skills. Because of the class I feel confidence in many new things about my writing, such as: I write more fluently with the help of new vocabulary, style and conjunction words are now part of my writing, I have learned MLA formatting which helped me in all my other classes, also I learned how to set up and integrate ideas (and to not introduce ideas without support to back it up), I’ve developed how to use active voice, and can overall write sentences a lot better. As a result, with all these new skills I can now create a decent college level essay, I am proud of. Although it all took plenty of effort to get to where I am mentally today, I am so pleased to have chosen English with Jim, as I absolutely enjoyed everything about the learning process. My favorite post would be “Getting Rich Quick”, as I believe my recount and interpretation of the evidence from the “Psycho” scene worked perfectly with my dream, and I also found it the most enjoyable to write about.

My four posts of two movies, a photo and a collage together give examples of celebration, derogation and contradiction to different Californian Dreams today.

Getting Rich Quick

Psycho” was my most recent post of the four chosen, and my best. Repetition of ideas was a problem for me that I worked through with this post, and the others. From the original post, I improved my commas and concision in many places, throughout its entirety. I really liked how I wrote the details in the shower scene description, and the overall E/I was thorough, thus why it was my best post to date. Finally, I came up with a clincher sentences I liked that both tied the dream back to California and actually made sense!

Arcadia and Utopia

This photograph of the Schnabel house inspired me from the beginning to contradict the dream of Arcadia and Utopia and I enjoyed writing about it. I definitely worked hard on the details of the house in this post, using them for evidence to support the contradiction. Concision was another factor, where I fixed grammatical errors, worked on commas, and narrowed down sentences to get to the point. I liked how I tied the quotes in early on, and I actually deleted quotes so to have half the paragraph dedicated to support, with no new introductions of ideas that I did not cover. Also sentences variety was a factor I incorporated throughout the post.

Californian Spirit

I definitely liked this dream of working hard, and although it was an early on post I worked to get it to a stage, where I thought was very thorough. Analysis wise, I thought my E/I was decent but I worked to improve the details about the film techniques, to tie it all back to the protagonist. I changed active voice in parts, and integrated a new clincher sentence from the original to complete the ideas.

Golden State

With this post, first off I changed the introduction sentence to better suit my ideas in the paragraph. Also, I had many quotes for this one and deleted some to only add the necessary ideas. Furthermore, I used subordination and conjunction adverbs to better increase the posts style. I increased E/I details so it suited the art piece more directly, and reshaped the clincher to add the contradiction to the dream. I really liked writing about this art piece, and think it is overall, fairly good.

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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


Lara’s Portfolio


I have to thank our Professor for giving me so many clues, hints, chances, extra chances, throughout the semester, but above all I will retain forever the tricks on how to start a paper. I always thought I should have all the content in my mind before starting to write, and only then “brain dumping” at once without ever retouching it, but I was wrong. The technique of first writing a topic sentence (any kind, you can always change it later) is the best way to break the ice and put some words on paper, the rest follows magically. The rewriting is also a great way to improve, because you can see with different eyes what you might have thought as good, and find flaws all over it. I’m still struggling with my barely adequate English, and I regret not helping my classmates with their papers as much as I should have, but luckily I received help from them all the same, for which I’m very grateful. My favorite post is the one about the paradox of multiethnic California, for what it means to me as a student of East Asian cultures, but also because I used a tool I never tried before: see how movie techniques can translate stereotypes.


The post on the famous Greased Lightning dance on cars was dramatically changed in the way I wrote it first. I made the connection to the work cited more central and the language more smooth to read.

I didn’t change much the contents on this post about the The Joy Luck Club, but I added a few lines to make it more understandable to people that never saw the movie and wouldn’t otherwise grasp the meaning of it all.

My post on Blade Runner changed a lot both on writing style and contents. As I was reading it I thought of totally different ideas to put in that didn’t match the old ones, so I sacrificed the old post for an almost new one.

In the Baby Albatross post I basically rearranged the contents starting with a description of the picture that was put last on the old post for no reason. It was my first real post, so had to give it a lot of touch ups, especially on the language form.





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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Uncategorized