Decide To Drive

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This magazine article is for a group project from school over the topic of distracted driving and texting while driving. Our group used a survey to show the information we collected and used it In our argument. Distracted driving is a reoccurring theme in today’s society and results in the reoccurring outcome. Distracted driving can lead to deaths.. That is something you don’t think about every time you text and drive or be careless and put your attention on something other than the task at hand. When driving put your attention on the road! Don’t make your family have to live the rest of their lives without someone they love! We hope from our magazine you learn a few tips and even facts that can keep your focus on the wheel.

By zdurham14

How I learn Best

With my Senior year nearly halfway over, I have been presented the question, “How do you learn best?” Throughout the years I have experienced teachers that have helped me tremendously, and some who have not so much. Nothing bad towards those teachers, it is just their teaching styles did not accommodate my learning styles.

The teaching style that helps me learn best has to be when teachers help me learn hands on. For instance, my physics teacher had an activity today where we shot a mini cannon and measured the angle at which it was shot, comparing it to the distance in which the cannon ball traveled. I liked this activity because It helped me see the correlation between the angle and distance. That is just something you can not understand by being handed a packet and expected to complete it. I like seeing what I am learning first hand, not in writing.

Another teaching style I learn the most from is when the teacher gets involved with my classmates and I. I like when the teacher meets with us and explains to us what they think we can improve on, and how to improve it. For example, my English teacher my sophomore and junior years developed a relationship with the class. She met with us and went over all of our papers and assignments. She told us what ways we can improve our work and how we can work on it.

Overall, in my experience with Campbellsville School System I have been presented some amazing teachers. Every single teacher I have had has helped me in some way from Kindergarten on. I appreciate everything all of my teachers have done for me. Some may have taught me more than others, but all have helped one way or another. These are just a couple of ways I learn best.

By zdurham14

Veterans Day Extra Credit post

 I personally want to give a big THANK YOU to all veterans and those who are serving still today! The world would not be where we are today without people protecting us and gaining our freedom. I appreciate the sacrifices that veterans have made for myself and my family. I could not imagine being away from my family for sometimes years at a time. Those guys had enough guts to risk their life just for the betterment of our county. For that I want to Thank You! God Bless.

I specifically want to give a shoutout to family members of mine who have served for our country. Thank you for sacrificing yourself, spending time away from your family, just for so many people of our nation that you do not even know!

 

THANK YOU!!

By zdurham14

School Lunch that was..

Anybody else remember when school lunches were actually edible? The past couple of years Mrs. Michelle Obama took over our lunch menus, and the food quickly went downhill. From the Spaghetti with extra meat, to the Spaghetti with nothing but water. From the Uncrustable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the “Sun-Butter” and grape Preserves sandwich on stale wheat bread. What would it take to get something edible back? I’m not the only one who would rather starve than eat some of the garbage we are provided.

Personally, school lunch is not my only meal of the day. But for some less fortunate kids, what they receive on that lunch tray may be all the food they get for the day. Is saving money and cooking healthier food really benefiting the consumers? In my opinion, no. Kids are going home even hungrier. I see people on a daily basis refuse to get a lunch tray, myself included.

What are the kids that have practice and games after school forced to do? Nearly starve. My football team does not get off the practice field until about 5:45.Is one little square of pizza, a scoop of corn and a milk supposed to fill our stomachs until we can get home? There is no way! We are growing teenage boys who burn what calories we do consume at lunch during workouts. I have seen several teammates throughout the last couple of years get lightheaded or sick during practice. The food we receive is just not enough to last us.

All that being said, I believe something should be done. I know I am not the first to complain about the new school lunches, but I certainly won’t be the last either until somebody makes a change. I understand what the objective of the healthy school lunch deal is, I just think it has been taken a little out of hand. Give us something we can eat, not some questionable meat.

College Football Playoff System

The college football world was turned upside down by the news that they will finally have a playoff starting in 2014. After years of controversy from the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) and before that the Bowl Alliance, the winner will finally be determined on the field. There will be a 4 team playoff with the 4 best teams getting into the tournament, the AQ (Automatic Qualifying) status that was used in the BCS will not be used in this new format. Meaning that you don’t necessarily need to win your conference to qualify for being one of the four teams selected. If this format was used last season, the four teams selected would have been LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, and Oregon.

It would work as a regular tournament. The number 1 seed would play the four seed and the 2 would play the 3. They would bid to one of the major bowl games and play one of the semi-finals on New Year’s Eve and the next on January 1st. Then the winners of both of those games would play the following week and play for the National Championship. This solves a lot of the controversy. With four teams playing it would allow an equal opportunity and won’t diminish the regular season. What makes college football the best sport is that every week counts. Going to four teams makes the regular season that much more critical because in order to be in national championship contention, teams will still need to finish in the top four.

There will be a committee of 15 members that will decide how the rankings will be determined. The committee will be comprised of college presidents, athletic directors, former coaches, and one prominent member of the media. As with every system there will be pros and cons. Will members of the committee try to help their particular school or conference? You can bet that as long as this happens there will be politics and it will clearly benefit the power conferences. But in terms of where we are currently with the BCS this system is a step in the right direction and gives a better opportunity for the champion to be played out on the field and not decided by a computer.

Strength of schedule and margin of victory will be taken into account. If teams finish undefeated from a power conference they are likely to be ranked in the top four. The only time that a team from a power conference went undefeated during the BCS era and was shut out of the National Championship was Auburn in 2004. The problem that remains is when there are multiple 1 loss teams that are in contention. When thinking of this problem 2008 comes to mind as one of the messier years when multiple 1 loss teams could have argued for the national championship.

The top 2 ranked teams in the final BCS that ended up playing for the national championship were Florida and Oklahoma teams from AQ (automatic qualifying) conferences. That year in particular there were multiple teams from the Big 12 that were unfairly shut out of their own conference championship game because of the new rule. Under that rule a tie breaker occurred and the team with the highest ranking by the BCS would go to the conference championship. In 2008 Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech all finished the regular season with an 11-1 record. The BCS had Oklahoma as the highest ranked team. They went on to blow out Missouri in the Big 12 Championship Game and went on to play Florida for the national title.

USC also finished the regular season 11-1, the one game that they lost during the regular season was a road contest to Oregon State by 6 points. Utah from a non-AQ conference, the Mountain West went undefeated with a 12-0 regular season, Penn State from the Big 10 finished 11-1 and won the Big 10. That year a 4 team playoff wouldn’t have helped. In fact it would make the outcry that much stronger for more teams to be included. With the exception of this one example, almost every year in the BCS since its inception in 1998, a 4 team playoff would have avoided the contention.

It’s not a perfect system, nothing will ever be but the more you keep trying to tweak it and add more teams. Is that really what’s best for the student-athletes who are competing? Just for argument’s sake, if they were to go from four teams to eight that would mean the two teams that play for the National Championship would be playing 16 games. How are they supposed to get the best grades when they have such a long a stressful season? Four teams allow for greater opportunity and makes the most sense in trying to solve the national championship in a fair manner. I expect that this system will run the course of its 12-year contract. Everyone should be in celebration since college football has done what the fans have clamored for all these years … a playoff.

Works Cited

Alder, James. “BCS vs. Playoff System.” About. 13 November 2008 <http://football.about.com/od/bowlchampionship/i/bcsvsplayoffs.htm&gt;.

“BCS Bowl Facts.” Fox Sports on MSN. 3 December 2008 <http://www.bcsfootball.org/bcsfb/facts&gt;.

“BCS Selection Procedures.” Fox Sports on MSN. 29 October 2008 <http://www.bcsfootball.org/bcsfb/eligibility&gt;.

Burton, Price “College football playoff? Why this system is better.” 5 July 2012. CBS Local. http://cwdetroit.cbslocal.com/2012/07/05/college-football-playoff-why-this-system-is-better/

Carey, Jack. “Man behind creation of BCS pleased with results.” 8 December 2007. USA Today. 29 October 2008 <http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/bowls/2007-12-06-bcs2-football_N.htm?csp=34&gt;.

Drehs, Wayne. “BCS figures new formula makes for a better title game.” 12 July 2001. ESPN. 29 October 2008 <http://espn.go.com/ncf/s/2001/0712/1225482.html&gt;.

Fréchette, Guillaume R., Alvin E. Roth and M. Utku Unver. “Unraveling Yields Inefficient Matchings: Evidence from Post-Season College Football Bowls.” Rand Journal of Economics (2004): 1-29.

Guidry, Phil. “Mythbusters: Minus the “playing”.” 6 November 2008. Sports Illustrated. 10 November 2008 <http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/sioncampus/11/06/mythbusters/?eref=T1&gt;.

Schlabach, Mark. “Current BCS system a hit with most conference commissioners.” 30 April 2008. ESPN. 3 December 2008 <http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=schlabach_mark&id=3375723&gt;.

Staff. “Experts Discussion … BCS vs. a Playoff.” 10 July 2008. College Football News. 13 November 2008 <http://www.cfn.scout.com/2/768444.html&gt;.

“The BCS is …” Fox Sports on MSN. 1 December 2008 <http://www.bcsfootball.org/bcsfb/definition&gt;.

Walsh, Christopher J. Who’s #1?: 100 Years of Controversial National Champions in College Football. New York: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2007.

 

By zdurham14

Getting Warm with your Prayer Life

Today I want to review with my fellow bloggers about the sermon I heard at church this morning. Last week we started a series called “The Cure for the Common Cold” which is looking into a cure for those times that we lose our passion for God. Most of us Christians have had those times when we are “on fire” for God, only to be back to normal in a few short weeks or sometimes even days.

The first “Cure for the Common Cold” starts with getting reacquainted with our bibles.  But Reading our Bibles is only part of the equation. It would be like only exercising your arms and never working out the rest of your body. You would look a lot like Popeye, the cartoon character. Your body would be missing out on its full potential. There are many other ways to work out our “spiritual muscles” and one of those is prayer. 

Prayer has always been a vital part of the Christian faith. Not long and lengthy prayers like you might hear in a church today, but simple prayers. Early Christian monks from the 2nd and 3rd centuries would take short verses of scripture and make them into prayers that they would repeat all day long.  The most famous of these early monastic prayers was the Jesus Prayer and it goes like this: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

They would take that short little prayer and repeat it all day long as a way to stay in constant contact with God. The reason I share that prayer is because it illustrates the simplicity of prayer. Prayer is one of the most misunderstood things today in the church. People think they have to be well educated and able to come up with poetic prayers that last for 10 minutes, but in all reality, prayer is a simple heart felt conversation with God. 

But some of you may be wondering what I mean when I talk about prayer. We all come up with different pictures in our heads when we mention the word prayer, from sitting Indian style to Gregorian chants filling a huge cathedral in Europe to little kids with their hands together and head bowed. 

We all face times when we are up against something that is too big for us to handle, This is just one of the times we should stop and have a conversation with God, or pray! Prayer is also misunderstood today because of the prevailing attitude that it is asking God for favors. The idea is that we ask God to bless us here, and bless us there, bless us everywhere..

Prayer is to accomplish God’s plans here on earth, not to accomplish our own plans. That does not mean that we should not pray when we have a hurt or need, but we are not to view prayer as a means to a new car or whatever we need God to do at that moment. Simply put: prayer is conversing, or communicating with God in which we align ourselves with God’s purposes. When we pray we are talking with the creator of the universe, sharing our thoughts and feelings both out loud, and in our minds. It is a dialogue, or a two-way conversation in which we talk and listen to God. Prayer is a tool we can use to further know the heart and mind of God. 

Picture a phone conversation that even when you are done, you do not hang up the phone, but instead you leave it off the hook so that the conversation could begin again at any time. 

I hope that you have learned what a great privilege and blessing prayer can be, and that it is a lot simpler than we make it out to be many of times. Remember to pray clean, pray in faith and pray constantly. If you have never prayed before or just need some guidance, I leave you with this quote from Thomas Merton ” The great thing is prayer. Prayer itself. If you want a life of prayer, the way to get it is by praying.. You start where you are and you deepen what you already have.”

Pray with me:

God, we thank you for the chance to talk to you. May we never take this awesome privilege for granted. I ask that you turn each of us into people of prayer. Give us the desire to pray and give us guidance for what to pray for. Help us to be able to listen and hear you clearly. We love you God. Amen. 

 

 

Dracula: Then and Now

 

            Wolfgang Iser once said, “A text can only come to life when it is read, and if it is to be examined, it must therefore be studied through the eyes of the reader.” This quote relates to Bram Stokers’ Dracula very well. Stoker uses first person accounts throughout the story to give better visual images to the readers. It really makes the text seem like it is “coming to life.” The novel Dracula has been able to withstand the test of time and earned a name as a classic piece of literature. Readers’ responses to the novel from 1897 through today continue to make Dracula a timeless tale. The next few paragraphs will take you back in time to see how readers viewed the novel Dracula upon production, and even how new readers interpret it today.

            It is quite fascinating how one single piece of literature can adopt numerous morals, meanings and hidden messages depending on how it is analyzed. It is then left up to the reader to extract what he or she believes to be correct. Over time, readers have taken away different opinions on the tale after reading. In 1897 when Bram Stoker produced Dracula, readers viewed the book in a completely different perspective from what they do today. The time period and the people were different. Everything was different besides one thing, the story. Yes, Dracula plays and movies have been edited to fit today’s society but one thing is for sure, that the novel has been the same since production.  “Invasion literature,” or literature that had to do with monsters invading the British Empire (which, at that point, still covered a lot of the world beyond the British Isles), was ridiculously popular at the time. However, at the time of his writing there was not much writing on vampires. Stoker only wrote novels to pay the bills. Honestly, he would probably be astonished at the lasting impact Dracula has had on popular culture. At the time it came out in 1897, it was popular and well received, but hardly a blockbuster hit. It was not until later in the twentieth century, when film versions of the novel started to appear, that the novel’s popularity really skyrocketed and its impact on popular culture became clear. When you read the novel, you really can get a good feel of what the Victorian era was like. For example, sex and lust were controversial topics during the era. They both played big roles in the piece of literature. This could be why some passed on reading at first. They did not want to be judged by others for reading a “dirty” book.  In addition, there is a scene in the book where a female was “sexually assertive.” “The fair girl went on her knees and bent over me, fairly gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck, she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white, sharp, teeth” (Stoker 50). This was unheard of during the late 1800’s to 1900’s. Women had little rights before the suffrage movement took place in the 1900’s. Women were expected to refrain from showing sexual attraction. It was “unnatural” and “Inappropriate.” As you can tell, times were different when Dracula was first published. Readers had a different interpretation that what we would have today due to the impact society has on people. Their reaction to the literature was shocked due to their interpretation of the text.

            Readers of Dracula interpret the text different from those of the early 1900’s. Today’s society does not mind the sexual innuendos like the past did. The Victorian era that the story is set in does not represent today’s society, but it gives readers today a feel of what it was like. It gives that “mental image” to the reader. Another difference is that in today’s time, there are lots of other books, movies and plays about vampires and evil creatures. Back then, there was not a lot of background on vampires. They were almost scared to read into it. The evil demons are not as big of a factor to readers today. Readers today are certainly not scared to read Dracula. The reason there are not a lot of Dracula readers out there is that today’s people would rather lay on the couch and watch the 2-3 hour movie instead of taking a couple of nights to read the book. If people today would take some time to read it, they would truly enjoy it. The reactions would be much more relaxed.

            Throughout Dracula, Bram Stoker uses several literary elements well. The use of dramatic irony is present to enhance the tone and mood of his gothic tale.  Ex. “It amazed me that I had not seen [Count Dracula], since the reflection of the glass covered the whole room behind me (Stoker 36),” this is when the readers start to recognize that Dracula is a vampire. Foreshadowing is also present in the novel. Ex. “I am beginning to feel this nocturnal existence tell on me.  It is destroying my nerve.  I start at my own shadow, and am full of all sorts of horrible imaginings (Stoker 45).”  Harker’s words foreshadow the grotesque actions performed by Dracula later in the novel. The setting throughout the novel changes, but it is mainly in castle Dracula (Transylvania) or England. The point of view is first person throughout the majority of the novel. There are also several themes throughout such as the promise of Christian salvation, the consequences of modernity and the dangers of female sexual expression. All of these examples of literary elements really help readers interpret the book.

            Bram Stoker’s Dracula was a very well written book and is a great read for people today. It can connect you to the past, and literature history. If you are looking for a book that your great grand-parents got dirty looks for reading, Dracula would be a great choice! As the quote in the opening paragraph says, “A text can only come to life when it is read, and if it is to be examined, it must therefore be studied through the eyes of the reader.” If you still have yet to read the novel, take your time in reading it. Examine all of the little details. Each and every one of them serves a purpose. If you have previously read Dracula, kudos to you! You learned more about history than you probably realized!

 

 

 

Works Cited

Ellertsen, Pete. “Reader Response Essays.” Reader Response Essays. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Oct. 2013. <http://www.sci.edu/faculty/ellertsen/rosenblatt.html&gt;.

“Introduction” Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism Ed. Linda Pavlovski Project Editor. Vol. 146. Gale Cengage 2004 eNotes.com 2 Oct, 2013 http://www.enotes.com/topics/reader-response-criticism/critical-essays#critical-essays-reader-response-criticism-introduction

Podonsky, Amanda M. (2010). “Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A Reflection and Rebuke of Victorian Society.” Student Pulse, 2(02). Retrieved from: http://www.studentpulse.com/a?id=184

Probst, Robert E. “Reader-Response Theory and the English Curriculum.” English Journal March 1994: 37-44.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. 1897. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990

WriteWork contributors. “Literature In Dracula” WriteWork.com. WriteWork.com, 01 February, 2008. Web. 03 Oct. 2013.

“Dracula, Culture And Values From Mediums.” 123HelpMe.com. 03 Oct 2013

     <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=168564&gt;.

By zdurham14

Dracula, Dracula, Dracula

Image

            We all know the main story behind the Dracula novel by Bram Stoker, but most people never notice the small differences between the Novel, Play and Movies. Several different versions of the Dracula play and movie have been produced, most containing minor changes. However, the theme and background of Stoker’s novel always remain the same.

The original story of Dracula came from Stoker’s novel. In the novel, Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to finish a business transaction with Count Dracula. Harker’s diary gives the reader a first-person point of view throughout his adventure.  As the story continues, you learn of Harkers imprisonment in Castle Dracula. Jonathan is engaged to his love, Mina Murray, who is a well-respected woman. Lucy Westenra is Mina’s best friend. She was offered marriage by three different men, but chose Arthur Holmwood. Lucy later fell under a spell, deteriorating her health. Lucy was the first victim of Dracula’s curse, but far from the only.

The most popular version of a Dracula movie was produced in 1992, nearly a Century after the production of Stoker’s novel. The movie travels back to 1462 as Prince Dracula leaves his love Elizabeta for war. His bride, believing him to be dead, flings herself into the river from high above. Dracula returns to find his love deceased, and seeks revenge. Harker is engaged to Mina, just like the novel, and travels to Castle Dracula in Transylvania to settle business. Dracula sees Mina as his Love reincarnated. Dracula takes Lucy as his wife instead. The movie ends with Mina kissing Dracula, and then kills him.

After Stoker finished his Novel, he attempted to make a play production based off it. The story was nearly identical, but not nearly as successful. Years later, after the Dracula novel became popular, several different versions of the play were produced. The same story was basically being told, but different adaptations went along with each version. The most common version of the play begins with Dracula luring Mina in to his spell, sucking the blood out of her. Scenes later, Lucy falls under the same spell as Dracula sucks blood from her neck. The Count affects Lucy and Mina’s personalities. They are no longer the caring, loving people as before. Lucy tries to attack the people she loves the most. Lucy was the fiancé of Jonathan Harker in the play.

Out of the novel, play and movie my favorite was the play. The play was my favorite because the action intrigued me. The dramatic effects helped keep me entertained and the actors really did a great job with their roles. They worked well with the audience, and really brought the play to life. As for the changes made to the plays and movies, they have really contributed from them. Times have changed, and the Dracula novel has not. More action needed to be added to suffice today’s viewers. If the play and movie included the same amount of little details that the novel contains, audiences would be put to sleep. The adaptations to each have certainly been worth it. If Bram Stoker were alive, he would certainly have to agree.

Works Cited

McNulty, William. “Actors Theatre of Louisville.” Actors Theatre of Louisville. Fifth Third Bank, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2013.

SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Dracula.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2003. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. 1897. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

By zdurham14

A Performance worth Broadway

dracula

Last weekend my DC English class took a trip to the Actors Theatre in Louisville. The theatre was showing “Dracula”, and it was impressive. This is the 50th anniversary season for the Actors Theatre, and boy did they put on a show. The sponsor, Fifth Third Bank, has contributed a lot to the production. Overall, the Dracula production put on that day was perfect for any drama fan.

The story behind the play dates back to the late 1800’s to a novel written by Bram Stoker. Stoker’s story is told through letters and journal entries. Count Dracula resides in Transylvania where he owns a castle. The count takes hostage a lawyer, Jonathan Harker, whose firm sends him to make a real estate transaction with the Count. Harker later escapes and flees back to London. Count Dracula attempts to find fresh blood and new victims in London, but the Victorians would not allow it. For all of the details and an action packed story, read the book or make a trip to see Dracula performed live! It will be well worth your time!

The atmosphere in the playhouse was great for a smaller audience. Our tickets were second row, but in my opinion, any seat in the house would have felt the same way. The scenery and props gave me a sense that we were in the Victorian era, witnessing live action. The lighting was perfection as well. The lighting displayed the correct mood at the appropriate times. For example, when Dracula would come into the room, the lighting darkened knotting the pit of everyone’s stomach. You just knew something bad was about to happen. The sound effects had the biggest impact on my experience. These background noises contributed to the performance by setting the mood just as the lighting did. The costumes were also very well organized in the production. They represented the setting of the story and gave each character distinguishable traits to let you know who each character is .Count Dracula was costumed to perfection.

The actors were well qualified to play each role. They represented their character well and rarely slipped up on their roles. They all worked together well and created a vibe for the audience. Count Dracula’s actor was Randolph Curtis Rand. If there were an MVP of the performance, Mr. Rand would receive my vote! He acted Dracula’s role beautifully; giving the audience, a real understanding of the type of person Dracula really was. In some ways, I think Van Helsing’s actor underplayed his role.  He failed to give off some qualities that the character needed for the performance. Overall, these actors played their roles in the script to my satisfaction.

This time of year would be the perfect time to go see a Dracula play! With Halloween coming up, it could really be the perfect start to your spooky season! There are several productions of this play around the globe, but to find one as well organized and directed as this production is uncommon. Dracula the play in the Actors Theatre in Louisville is a must see!

 

Works Cited

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. 1897. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

McNulty, William. “Actors Theatre of Louisville.” Actors Theatre of Louisville. Fifth Third Bank, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2013.

 

By zdurham14