Posts Tagged ‘religion’

What’s The Point?

(January 25th, 2010)

Dear Planet Earth,

This weekend was a tough one for the books. Luckily I didn’t have too much stress since the finals were over. I felt trapped inside the house all weekend because I couldn’t get out and do anything. Usually I pass the time by playing Dance Dance Revolution. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option this time since I had gotten a splinter from a small piece of glass… or something… that I stepped on. It was the tiniest thing, but I couldn’t walk afterwards since the bottom of my foot would start stinging with every step. On Sunday I did manage to get out with my family though. I stopped at Borders and picked out a new book. Gosh, I can just never get enough of books anymore. This whole weekend I just felt like browsing a bookstore and seeing what interesting stories I can find. I’ve started to look at the adult reading section… I know! How mature of me! I felt so warm inside when I was scanning through the shelf at that Borders in the literature section, thank you very much! I’m just not used to the reaction that my parents give me… ever since I started *reading*. Anyway, the book I picked out today, Breakfast With Buddha, is about a normal man out in the world who encounters a religious monk. His wife tells him that he should go on a trip with this spiritual being to the place of his childhood. I haven’t really gotten that far into it, but that is what I know of from the summary on the back. I don’t know why it appealed to me, I guess I’ve just been into religious readings recently ever since I took religions last year. I had a bad experience when I was trying to read it last night. I was in my bed with my night-light on when I heard my parents start arguing in the room on the other side of my bedroom wall. It felt like the arguing went on for hours… I just couldn’t concentrate on the book. My mom and dad have fought so often now and me and my sisters are upset to our stomachs having to listen to it. They just don’t love each other, and I can’t really do anything to change that. I wished I could just get up and out of the house, but I couldn’t walk on account of my splinter. I couldn’t drain out their noise with my iPod because my ear was bleeding like crazy last night. What could I have done?

With music still as a topic of thought, my life has grown a lot more musical ever since my sister handed me an iPod one day… for free! Recently I’ve written songs that I am familiar with to put on it. I still have to use my sister’s iTunes account since apparently it doesn’t work on my laptop (according to her). So I have to resort to bugging her every second of every day to put more music on. Any free moment I have is one spent listening. In fact, I’m listening to it now as I am typing this during my free period. I never knew what I was missing out on until now! Whenever the idea of music came to me, I would always just shoo it away, thinking that I didn’t need such a thing in my life. Especially with my music-adoring friend, Trevor. In the past I’ve been irritated with any reminder of music because of him. I am sick of his wild guitar and any other instrument he plays.

It has gotten warmer out lately??? I know! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that the snow outside was gone! I stepped outside on Sunday and the air actually tickled my face with its pleasantness instead of beating it up. Apparently, it started snowing again today. Gosh, these little heat waves are so short!

I’m just so glad that all of my stress from school is at a minimum level again.  Finals were… well… easy I guess. So far I am satisfied with my grade in Pre-Calculus and Physics. I realize now that I have the highest grade in my Physics class now, which makes me want to do a happy dance! I feel so honored. For my Pre-Calc final I only had one question wrong, which kind of bothers me because I was so close to a perfect score. Consumer Economics was a real painstaking class. I am just glad to have that over since it was a huge contributor to my stress. The day before the final I had some idea that I had to complete a final project for the next day. I spent at least two hours working on a goal statement as a consumer, thinking that it would have to be turned in the next day. Apparently, I hadn’t received the memo concerning the cancellation of the assignment. The minute I turned it in to the teacher she started laughing at me! I was so embarrassed, yet proud since I had gone above and beyond. I am praying to god that she gives me some sort of credit for my pointless work.

Second semester started today. I just walked into school with a smile on my face. I don’t know what it is, I just adore change to my normal routine. It might not even be as great as last semester, I just love that it is different. In Physics we started learning about impulse and momentum. I received my grade back from the roller coaster project. I got like 101% on it… somehow. I don’t even think that there was extra-credit on it. Spanish was a pain. I’m just not doing so well in that class as I used to. We started off class by talking about what we did over the weekend… and it basically grew worse from there. She announced that we had to start with Diarios again with the topic that we have to talk about someone else in our class. How exciting! Especially because I am somewhat anti-social. She then announced that we were starting a new short story, and lastly that we would be studying South America next. Gee, I really have to get back into the stream of things with that class. I was so excited when Computer Science came up in my day. I walked in, happy to get back into the swing of JavaScript and HTML when I realized that the entire format of the course was redesigned. Apparently, everything I had learned last year was pointless since we started off with a completely different markup language. I was baffled to find out that there were other people who were in the same class as me last year that were in the AP level now. I feel so behind now, gosh! Anyway, I hope I grow to get used to this whole new format.

Apparently my domain will be ending on February 19th, 2010. I hope to pay it again, I just wonder whether I should buy a new domain for my site rather that renew this one. Any ideas for website addresses?

The Real Deal On Advertising I

Hello everyone! This is Clonez, admin of skydays147 .wordpress .com. I decided that I wanted to give everyone a sample of my real-life writing. I thought this one up in a dream I had, and I was dieing to put it down on paper. I know it isn’t about what I usually talk about, but I hope you enjoy it:

Advertising has always fascinated me when I was little. It is one of those things that are simply unavoidable. They are found on billboards, in magazines, in the form of a commercial, and now they are posted all over the internet.  I used to wake up at six in the morning to watch television before going to school. I would come down in my pajamas and sit in front of the television while I was eating breakfast. It wasn’t just the show that I was watching that I cared about, it was also that five minute commercial in between them. Did you know that the average American child today is exposed to about 40, 000 television commercials a year? That is about 100 commercials a day.(1) This makes me think how crazy it is that one of them does not stick in our heads for the whole day like an engrossing song we hear on the radio.

Anyway, I would then go out to the bus stop; it was about Fifth Grade, and a few kids on the bus would always ask me to recite an entire commercial that I saw. I was literally known on my bus as “Ad Boy” because I had memorized most of the commercials on the television channel that I watched, and the kids were crazy. They wanted to hear ever single one of them, for humor, of course. There was this one song for a commercial that I had memorized for macaroni and cheese, and they would repeatedly ask me to thing that one as a “special request”. Now that I look back on it, no doubt about it, I was wasting my time and looking immature in front of everyone. I might still remember a few little songs to commercials nowadays, but I have mainly moved away from that.

A couple of years later after I had moved away from my recital of commercials, the most fascinating thing had happened to me. It started on a cold, winter morning in Seventh Grade. I came to school early because I was taking Choir, which was almost every day, and there was a sign on the door that said that it was canceled because the teacher was out. Like everyone else who was in Choir, we all went to the library. I decided to wander around, and I supposed that I could check out the nonfiction section for a couple of reading ideas. To my surprise, I had found one of the most moving books I have ever read on advertising. It was called Made You Look and I learned so many new concepts that are used in advertising. I felt like all of the pieces of the puzzle were coming together on why us kids are victims of advertising. In 1983, the amount of money spent on advertising for kids was only $100 million. (2) Now, advertising of kids has jumped up so high that those big, chubby businessmen at the head of the big corporations now spend $15 billion on us. (3)

You probably know someone who is a victim of advertising. What I have always wanted to know is, why do we fall for it? What makes it so that we “have to have it” ? There has to be something that goes on in our brains whenever we look at a billboard, a magazine, or watch a television commercial. That is the one thing that the Made You Look did not get at. I know a couple of my friends who are victims of advertising, especially the ones in commercials. Whenever I go to hang out at my best friend’s house, I notice in his pantry a lot of junk food items that have been advertised on television a massive number of times. They are all brand-name products like Goldfish Crackers, Oreos, Cheese-Its, and Chips Ahoy. One day while he was eating, I asked him, “Why do you only buy snacks that have a brand name?” For some reason, and I am still confused by this, he said, “Because they taste better”. First of all, how can he taste the difference between the no-name brand and the named brand when he hasn’t even tried both foods? Ladies and Gentleman, this is a victim of advertising. It is a person who does not give up their addiction to named product. There are other reasons why people might fall for advertisements. According to a national survey commissioned by the Center for a New American Dream, in 12-13 year-olds, 62% of the people say that eating named-brand products will make he or she feel better about themselves. Remember those days when you were five-years-old and you sat in the front of Mommy’s shopping cart? When you go down that cereal aisle, you say, “Mommy! Mommy! I want the cereal with the tiger on it!” You probably don’t even like Frosted Flakes, you just want it because it makes you feel better about yourself: that cartoon tiger. You scream and pout until you get what you want. When you are a tween, you don’t even bother looking at the generic brand cereal on the bottom self. Why would you want a product that doesn’t have Toucan Sam on it? I learned in Made You Look that there is a reason why they place things in a grocery store on the shelf that they are on. They put all of the brand name products on the shelf at eye-sight level and all of the generic brand products at the top and bottom shelf so that nobody will see them. Try it the next time you are at the grocery store.

There was this one time in Seventh Grade, in Sunday School, our class took a field trip to a grocery store. We were supposed to do this project in which we bought items at the grocery store for a homeless shelter. Each group of five people had to solve the enigma on how to feed a family of 5 people for a week, and under 50 dollars. By instinct, the first shopping items that our group picked out were name brands: bad choice. We went over our quota by a ton of money. The reason we had the instinct to buy named-brand food was because that was the food that we ate in our own household. We had to put everything back and start over from the beginning and choose cost-efficient food items. You probably do not realize it, but name-brand food is drastically over-priced. We do not realize this because normal people do not even bother looking at the price tag on things. Just because something is more expensive does not mean it is better for you. Most of the time, even, there is less food in a package that is advertised. One food that I enjoyed when I was little so much was called Kid Cuisine. It was an individual-sized dinner. On the television, the product looked like it was worth the money to purchase. What I realized when I read Made You Look, was that there are special ways that food advertisers use to make their product look more appealing to the public. For example, in a hamburger advertisement, they might stick a few slabs of Styrofoam in between the bun and the patty to make it look bigger. They also might put a glaze of glue on the bun to make it shinier. Yet the consumer does not realize that the product is fake because we think it is “to good to be true”.

There is one last example that I would like to give from my life. I decided to take a class on Religion this year in high school. In the class, we just started studying about Taoism. The teacher had everyone for homework go home and draw a picture that goes along with a reading that was handed out. It was of an old man fishing in a river between some mountains. (If you want to see my version of it, it is on my other website). Anyway, the next day the teacher taped our drawings up on the board, and right next to it she posted a Chinese landscape painting. There were many differences between them. I felt like in our drawings that it was influenced more by the media world. For example, the old man was in the foreground, signifying that man is more important than nature. The other thing that was different was the mountains in the background. Every mountain in our drawings were almost perfect. They look like an upside-down “U”, which is what we were born into thinking. I mean, I have been to a very rocky area before and I have seen a mountain. I know that mountains don’t look like that, but for some unknown reason, why did I draw that very media-based mountain? It might have been because I had an instinct to do that. The point I am trying to get is that advertising masks everything. What we see on billboards and in magazines is just blocking our vision of nature. The only place where advertising does not exist is in nature. I know when you think of some place like the Himalayas, or the Rocky Mountains, you do not picture all these billboards hanging off the side of the cliff or something. Nor do you see a giant television in the middle of a dense, dark forest.  I remember seeing the commercials for Wal-mart. It always showed these overly-happy people, and as the audience, you are supposed to believe that that is what life really is. The thing is, when you walk into a Wal-Mart, you aren’t going to see smiling cashier-people. You aren’t going to see that cartoon smiley face as their mascot, bouncing around the aisles. We have become over-dependent on advertising to show us what this “real life” is.

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(1) American Psychological Association, “Television Advertising Leads to Unhealthy Habits in Children; Says APA Task Force,” February 23, 2004,www.apa.org/releases/childrenads.html (accessed March 8, 2006).

(2) Juliet Schor, Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture (New York: Scribner, 2004), 21.

(3)Susan Linn, Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood (New York: The New Press, 2004), 1.

Edited By Dublanous1