Rice Essay

Cringey essay for rice from 2016?

Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve. You can type directly into the box, or you can paste text from another source. (250-650 words)

It’s hard to extricate the personal from the academic. Empirical sciences interpret the world through approximate models while literature imputes argumentative value through the realm of the subjective and aesthetic. A dichotomy emerges that manifests itself in the schools of higher learning, e.g. schools of liberal arts and of natural sciences. Of course the areas available to study today convolute this one example of higher learning’s equivocal function. Other conflicts can be drawn from the explanatory/philosophical, to the highly practical/mechanical: the debate between theory and practice. The lines further sharpen and bleed into one another as aspects of a subject appear inevitably linked with the definition of another, as when the question of interpretation in empirical sciences exchanges paradoxical glances with the empirical weight of literature in anthropological studies. Out of this mess of distinctions and indistinctions emerges some loose definition of higher learning’s function- a university’s function. However loose and amorphous, the definition encapsulates my reasons for transferring and the concomitant goals therein. 

I believe that the purpose of a university is to teach its students how to proceed through life. 

-deep sigh-

An accompanying shaking of the head in disbelief would be appropriate, but I reiterate nonetheless- universities guide students through the process of life. It sounds utterly banal and commonsense, the fodder of commencement addresses immemorial. Could an accompanying poignancy be latent? I have to ask, what is life? It’s the seed of germination, the chicken and the egg, the cause and effect- personal and academic, the individual and the family. What is life? When I considered it fully, I never saw myself concluding what I did: that life was inextricably everything- a concert of contradictions that makes the Gordian Knot look like a simple shoelace tie. 

All these crossed lines and bloody contradictions might suggest higher learning provides students with sharpened wits as to cut, like Alexander the Great’s sword, through the mick-mash of obfuscating life. But I believe the opposite is true, that universities hold the tools to see these lines and somehow help students embrace them as a homogeneous whole- in other words, that universities help students study life. This life includes the personal and academic- together.

This life includes the family and individual- together. This life exists in between the lines, is made up of the lines and as a whole has no lines at all. 

When I looked at life at my college, I realized that I had, in a major sense, been running away. The contradictions of the self and family peeled like salty brine at my insides, so I threw myself in the lukewarm solace of isolation 1,600 miles away, away from the problematic.

Unfortunately in life the problematic is also usually essential. What I did at my school newspaper I saw myself doing anywhere- writing is always going to be a part of me. Still, the newspaper gave me a chance to see myself in print for the first time and exposed me to the impact of college newspapers (e.g. the debate issue and Sigma Pi hazing piece proliferated nationally), but ultimately I’m not essential to the team, to the university.

I’ve meshed the academic and personal for most of my life. I remember sharing the details of Saturn and Jupiter to my father in between clothes racks too tall for my head to clear. I hope to continue meshing the personal and the academic in the process of learning how to live life. I hope to understand the implications of a life necessitated on each individual part of its gestalt, a life with self responsibility, familial responsibility, academic vivacity and the incessant progression of ideas.


Summer 2019

Summer 2019 has, in unceremonious fashion, unofficially/officially ended for me. Near the mid-point of the twenty summers past, I usually forget my goals. Motivation phase-shifts into lethargy and even that soon fades – days drag by in a limbo state and I wait, meting out the possibility of less and less change.

At this point I usually ask myself what I did over the summer. I .. mostly chill. I apply to things without applying myself. I get lost a lot. I think of these words like a bad commercial. For a phone. Or unnecessary wearable tech gadget. That’s also edible. We work. We strive. We.. sit on the toilet.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle-NOT FINISHED

I was hesitant to write anything about this book because there seems to be an overwhelming amount of adequate and often incisive reviews already posted about this book. Obviously there are varying opinions, but it seems like the majority of reviewers here are ready to jump out of their socks for Murakami’s prose/sympobolism/intricacy. 95% liked it at least, and I’m guessing all the 5 stars are the raving fans previously mentioned? I don’t know where I fall, but I definitely liked it. Only having a day to simmer in the aftermath of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I’ve not completely consolidated my wildly dispersed ideas on this considerably large book. Still, I need to write down my thoughts before they drift away, like fragmentary dreams, which compared to Murakami’s books, aren’t all that different. So, what does it all mean? That’s a stupid, but honest question. Uncertainty is what makes Murakami’s books both wonderful and frustrating. Yea, it really dictates everything about his writing. He draws in his reader into the often icy and always dark pool of his story with strange characters/situations set in even stranger settings as his hooks and line. Sometimes it’s not so bad, and you feel like you’re drifting, but other times the author’s approach is more akin to violent drowning, holding off easy answers like the depravation of oxygen. These put the reader into a hyper-aware crisis mode where any and all details matter tenfold, because in all his genius, Murakami frequently incorporates incredibly mundane happenings into surreal and significant events. Personally I relished in the mystery, stumbling across each new connection was fun, albeit rare…  
  I guess I should note here that it took me about 2 months to finish this book, and I know that meant my brain gradually lost bits and pieces of information as the days passed by before I would pick up my Kindle again for another attempt. Granted, I was reading Dune at the same time, it still took long, even with my snail-paced reading -_-. So in answering the question ^^ what does it all mean? I’m sorry, future Daniel (the only reader of this shitty “review”), if I recall things mistakenly.
  What was it with the Cutty Sark?
Before Creta Kano’s extensive backstory, I was sure I had at least a bit of the whiskey explanation sorted out. My initial story went along the lines of the whiskey being a immorality-intoxication and you know, it was a bad thing. Mr. Honda’s package of an empty Cutty Sark box closed off the first book of the novel right? Well this would go along with his warning to “beware of water!” or something. Cutty Sark’s empty container was a repeated warning and premonition for all things ruinous. Whenever Toru visited the dark room with the mysterious lady, a bottle of Cutty Sark always seemed to be there. Maybe I’m oversimplifying things (or overconvoluting?), but it seems like Cutty Sark is a representation of Toru’s passive attitude in life (something mentioned by everyone’s review) and his failure to take initiative/inability to take initiave- like an incredibly drunken, almost disabled man. Near the end of the book, the whiskey is said to be nearly out, like someone had been drinking it, and we know Toru isn’t drinking enough to finish the whole glass bottle. Instead, I thought that the gradual disappearence of Cutty Sark indicated a realization on Toru’s part regarding his passivity and not-solidness. What’s the opposite of solid? Liquidness? That would work out. Toru initially is very liquid-y, a formless man who possesses no personal convictions about the on-goings of his day to day life. As we first meet him, we’re informed of his existence before the page 1, Toru was an office-man (what was his job again?) who came home on time and owned a home with a cat and a wife who (normally) also came home on time, and they would have dinner together. Normal, ordinary, and organized, these seem to be the defining characteristics of Toru Okada’s life before the disappearence of his cat, Noboru Wataya*. <Side note: Noboru Wataya’s (the cat) disappearence out into the world and out of Toru’s insular world, brought into Toru’s world an until then, out in the world Noboru Wataya (the human).> As the book progresses, we witness Toru encounter increasingly bizarre circumstances that throw a seemingly ordinary man into the indeterminate flows of the world. Crazy right? Well through the turmoil, as far as I know, Toru emerges a stronger, more solid person. The toxic liquid has escaped, possibly being expelled/consumed by the Man with a Knife, an entity that’s probably the human Noboru Wataya. His identity doesn’t really matter, just the idea of Toru’s siphoning of (his)darkness into the void matters. I guess without the liquid, all that remains is the glass, clear and transparent, free of surreptitious deceptions, and while fragile, it remains strong in its representation of virtue. But that might be stretching it. 
  What was it with the blue mark?
Okay so this is one of the harder questions for me. What was it with the blue mark? What did it matter? And why? I didn’t want to think about the mark because along with the bat, it bothers me (as the most impenetrable symbols)! I hope to myself that they don’t mean anything and they’re just meaningless details, put there to add a little pizzazz to the story, but I mean it’s Murakami, almost everything has a purpose, let alone recurring pairs of images. Ugh. So what does the blue mark mean? First, I can trace back the beginning of the mark with Toru’s first stay in the well and his first visit to the dark room (I think). I remember a kiss with tongue, a tongue that warmed his right cheek as he passed through the gelatin-y wall. Looking back, maybe the mark was Kumiko’s way of protecting, or warning Toru of something. The mark did set off a chain of events that eventually led to Toru (kinda) owning the Miyakawa’s property with the well, ensuring future visits with the mystery lady in the dark room*. <Often interpreted as the inside of Toru’s mind.> So if this theory if even remotely on it, Kumiko would have to have powers of precognition. I mean that wouldn’t be uncommon in a book that has sisters with psychic abilities. The mark also gave Toru powers, the power that Nutmeg also possessed, a curative ability that seemed to pull at an inner something that resided in all human beings, as Nutmeg explains. The blue color might explain this specific connection, blue indicating spirituality and emotive themes. Beyond these two measly conclusions, I can’t speculate much more without completely bullshitting. If someone could answer, what do you think the mark showcases? 
  What was it with the bat?
Jumping right in with issue number 2 of relative hardness. The bat encompasses the jarring amount of destructiveness humanity has in its capability. Not just plain old violence, but voilence as conveyed through acts of cruelty and demonstrations in mercilessness (right spelling?). Murakami even gives us an instance where the bat might have been a part of an unconscious attack, although psychologically, on a person, hinting at an inherent voilent nature that leans towards death and murder even without us knowing. Now that’s a scary notion. Maybe the bat represented an unrestrained savagery present in all makind as when Toru ruthlessly attacks the Man with the Guitarcase. Tangent: sorry but now doing the whole capitalizing thing twice now, I realize  how stupid it looks….still fun.




This review was never finished. I had cut a limb from the beast, promising to come back soon to finish the job, but instead, several months have passed and I’ve simply let it bleed out. By now it seems pointless to even attempt a revival. Instead I’m here to end this weeping creature of a review’s life in order to ensure any excess suffering is stifled without wait. Incredible book! Read the WUBC! 

Leon: The Professional

Hmm. I thought I wrote something for this. I guess not.

So this is a movie that I read about afterwards to substantiate my feelings, because I didn’t want to feel unsure about what I thought. It wasn’t phenomenal. The action is thrilling, haha it’s a Luc Besson thriller, shouldn’t have expected anything less. I gave it 3 stars. I guess the late night Ebert review obscured my memory, I did NOT write anything about this movie. Partly because I didn’t want to just critique. Praise is so much easier (see my obscene gushing over Whiplash below), but dislike should engender greater introspection. Scary quesiton: Is part of my dislike derivative of some kind of repressed xenophobia? Jean Reno, the actor who plays Leon, is wonderful as the naive, but also deadly hitman looking out for the crafty, but also vulnerable Mathilda, played by a young Natalie Portman. Reno’s portrayal of the immigrant’s struggle to adapt in America instigated a possibly childhood resentment towards my own parents’ immigrant struggles at assimilation. Each blunder represented a backwards step away from what my mind desired completely: conformity to an advertised American ideal. Although I’ve long since discarded that artificial ideal, I guess lingering sentiments still cling in my subconscious. Leon’s flaws don’t exist solely in my subconscious though. Watching it, I often felt that the film lacked a foundation or purpose in its developments. The acting was great, and so was the directing. Most conspicously offputting was the relationship between Mathilda and Leon. It wasn’t interesting enough to observe objectively because the movie was so blunt in what it told the audience, leaving no room for interpretation. God I’m idiotic as fuck because there is some nuance to their relation. Just not enough for me to pick up on. All I saw was a little girl with an Electra Complex and a lonely older man who takes up this little girl to fulfill some kind of gap in his heart. Y’know, the honorable desire to father a child or whatnot. 

Increasingly distasteful.  

Making Murakami

From the consulting firm of hard-edged experience and near-death encounters, comes the inspiration needed to get this beast going. Maybe all that glancing and static observation wasn’t for nought. Is that a word? 

Coming soon, frightened expectations and prevailing circumstances (my overall youth and naivete) make for an often disturbing reading and writing time. I can’t know what I’m doing, and I know exactly what I’m doing.  

And we continue. The most basic necessity: a topic. So I’m writing about 1Q84. Books recently browsed. “Browsed” because “read” suggests comprehension and retention.

 1Q84 is a very very recent book by Murakami. It was released around 2009-2010 and the English publication came out in 2011. Murakami writes about the past so well that I believed this was one of his earlier novels. Norwegian Wood felt modern, like it was written in this decade. Ironically it was released in the 80s while 1Q84 which has that feeling of past eras was written in the early 2010s. 

I’m hesitant about going on about the book because I will pause for….ever and never get on with any points. I’ll write about unrelated fodder and delay close eye-to-eye analyzation with the story. I feel weak like a floundering trout. Or bass. Clown fish. Finding Nemo, Dory Ellen Shows Netflix Marathon Breast Cancer Marathon Drugs Chemo Love Hair Loss Bald Walter White Breaking Bad Trailer Money RV Comedy Love Fat Love.