Saturday, April 30, 2011

Title Page

Pablo Barajas
Prof. Plattner
Eng 101
April 30th 2011

Formal Three Reflection

Pablo Barajas
Eng 101
Final Reflection

I have honestly never taken a class like English 101 before. It was a completely unique writing and learning experience. I feel like I grew so much from the beginning of the semester to the end. One of the hardest things for me is trying to connect my writing to another author’s ideas from their own essays.
Formal 3 was one of the harder essays I’ve written. I believe it was because of the connection I had to make to Didion. Thinking about connecting Didion to Stewie Griffin was definitely a daunting task. Compared to Formal 1, I believe my connections were deeper than they were writing “Human Zoo”. Personally I didn’t enjoy or get as much out of Fromm and Thoreau as I did Joan Didion. I really liked and felt more connected to her writings.
One thing I wish I were able to do better is being able to make clearer thought transitions. I feel like mine are just all over the place. I write on sentence that I could probably write a half of a page on, but all I get out is one sentence, then I just stumble into another idea.
One thing I feel like I don’t have too much trouble with and that I am happy with in Formal 3 would be my analysis. I feel like I gave a thorough analysis of who Stewie is as a person and what his goals in life are. It made it easier also to analyze someone that you’re interested in as well.

Formal Three

Pablo Barajas

English 101

Formal 3
                                                             Diapers of Domination           

Stewie Griffith from Family Guy is a walking terror. If he’s not bent on his plan to take over the world, he is plotting the murder sweet mother, Lois. Don’t let his diapers or dimples woo you, he is one of the brightest babies you will ever encounter. He has his ray guns, his knives, and his brain—he’s ready for anything that may get in his way.
Stewie’s hatreds are quite clear, and most of them are focused on his family.  He is straightforward with his actions and he holds no regrets. He has some form of respect for his family, but not much. After all, he wants to murder his mother. He calls his father “the fat man.” He doesn’t even acknowledge his sister Meg’s existence. And so, we are left … with the family dog – Stewie’s best buddy. His hatred towards his family is shown in almost every episode. He always has a scheme under his sleeve to hurt his family. He hates his family’s values. He hates that his mother is always constantly trying to be a mother figure. He just wants her eliminated. He hates when his father is constantly an idiot. It always seems that every time Stewie goes somewhere with his father, Stewie will constantly get hurt. For example, in one episode, Peter took Stewie out to the gold course on a hot summer day and he had put Stewie in an over the shoulder harness type sling without sun block. Stewie ended up getting extremely burnt, and later developed a cancerous mole. Even though Stewie was upset for a while, he embraced his new tan lifestyle.  He is also easily forgetful. When Stewie was making new friends and hosting all these posh parties, he eventually forgot about his father’s stupidity and just went of basking in his newfound popularity from the suntan. Stewie also has the highest level of sarcasm of any character on the show. He always puts down anything anyone will say. He always has a witty comment to say that will usually entail an insult to a pop culture or historical figure. Stewie is all about putting people down. He attacks at the most inappropriate times.
Stewie’s true mission is world domination. He thinks he can do it, but in the end he always ends up failing. In one episode, Stewie believed that he was getting soft, so he created a machine that would enhance his anger and hostility. It ended up backfiring when the machine created an evil clone of Stewie, leaving real Stewie the same. In the end he ends up having a showdown with his evil clone. At the very end we see them both striped down to diapers fighting for their lives. Then it is up to Brian to choose the real Stewie. Fortunately Brian knows exactly what to say to trick the fake Stewie, in turn revealing the real Stewie.
 Stewie knows that he can outsmart anyone that comes in the way of him and his goal. He really does not care whom he has to step on to reach his goal. I do believe that he will remember whom he cares about when he is on top. I believe he’ll always provide for Brian, because they truly are soul mates. In Joan Didion’s essay, On Going Home, Didion explains how people back in her hometown of Sacramento, were self contained and only concerned about their own self-image. She would see Stewie Griffin as being like one of her hometown residents that are always in their own little bubble, only caring about their own self-growth. Also, Didion is very connected to memories and historical connections. I can definitely connect that to Stewie as well. He constantly has flashbacks to being back in the womb and remembering plotting his plans for world domination in there. Although he is not even one, he has numerous flashbacks off all that has happened in his life.
Even though he pushes Lois down the stairs, he still does truly love her. His love for specific family members is different every episode. For example, in one episode he believes he has finally killed Lois after shooting her numerous times with a machine gun, but in reality this is all a dream sequence. In another episode, Lois saves his teddy bear and love his life, Rupert from a vicious dog. After Lois’s chivalrous and brave attempt of saving Rupert. Stewie is forever grateful to her, and will not leave her side. He becomes obsessed with Lois in this episode. I believe he is bipolar with all his mood swings and split personalities, as a viewer, you see him going through. He truly wouldn’t gain anything out of Lois’s death. She is the only nurturing person in his life. You rarely see Meg or Chris helping Stewie. Sure Brian would help him but for how long? The only person who can truly handle and take care of him is his mother.
On the flip side of his terror, he is truly a good-hearted spirit. Ninety percent of the time, Stewie’s actions can be justified, in the other ten percent I believe he is acting on impulse and usually anger accompanies those actions. I believe that anger is what actually motivates him most. He is quite the angry child. He doesn’t really fit in with his family and he does not have many friends. I believe the closest person in his life is the family dog, Brian. They constantly have adventures together and are close, despite their differences. There have been countless times that they have both loved and truly despised each other. My favorite moment that really describes the relationship between the both of them is when Stewie creates a machine that can travel through different dimensions. Stewie and Brian both end up traveling through all these hilarious dimensions but the best one would have to be the Dog/Human reversal dimension. We see the tables turned as Brian is being forced to put Stewie on a leash and pick up his poop.
One of Stewie’s greatest traits would be his communication skills. He is far beyond his years when it comes to his knowledge. He knows how to play people. He can be the sweetest little child in the world just to get what he wants. In the show, there are moments where as a viewer you aren’t sure if the adults in the episode can hear Stewie’s true words. The one person in the show that can always understand Stewie, is Brian. Stewie’s humor really creates a dynamic personality for himself. His comic timing in the show is perfect. The reason he is so funny is the reason why so many are in love with him.
In her essay, Marrying Absurd, Joan Didion talks about how people who get married in Vegas are all about “instant gratification.” She would probably consider Stewie’s reckless attempts to take over the world, are absurd. She would connect him to the couples in Vegas are all about a no waiting period. Stewie can’t seem to wait as well. He needs what he wants and he needs it quickly.
In her essay Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Didion brings up the fact that many young people during the 60’s in San Francisco, had no sense of home, and believed that they had no roots and no past. Stewie is somewhat similar to those junkies in San Francisco, because he could really care less if he had to totally drop his family and friends on the spot for world domination.

Field Guide

Formal One Reflection

Pablo Barajas
Eng Reflection

The Reflection of Formal One

     The biggest challenge that I faced in this writing process is one that I always face

with new work, and that is getting my ideas in order. I have a huge organizational

problem when it comes to getting my ideas onto paper. To me, it feels like I have my

ideas on a constant movie like loop in my brain but I just cant get what I’m seeing in

my mind to the paper. That is definitely one habit that I would like to break free

     I attempted to over come these challenges by trying to make my self an outline to

help me lay out my ideas more clearly. I feel that without an outline, I get easily lost

and wrapped up in ideas and I get the feeling that I will never be able to complete

the assignment.
     I feel my successes in the paper would be my personal stories. I’m proud of how I

laid them out throughout the paper. I feel I was fortunate enough to catch all that I

did that day at Target.

     My biggest disappointment is that I ran short of ideas. I truly did. I could not think

of anything else that I could put in. My mind was a blank page. I wish I could have

had more information from Fromm and Thoreau in my paper. Unfortunately, I feel I

definitely lacked in that section of the paper.  I learned that no matter how much you

think you don’t know, you really do know once you start getting your ideas down,

they all connect with each other in some way or another in your paper.

I definitely feel I could have used some more research in my paper. I had a lot of

experiences at Target, but once I looked back on what I had wrote down when I

experienced it, it really wasn’t that huge or impacting enough to me.  I also feel that I

may have generalized many of my ideas in my paper. I definitely want to be able to

improve my power to back up my claims in my own paper. Sometimes I feel I may

have thrown in some information just for the sake of it.

All in all, I did have a nice time with formal one. My only wish is that I would have

put some more feeling in to it and been able to back myself up more confidently. 

Formal One

Pablo Barajas
Eng. 100

Right On Target
    Going through those glass revolving doors is easily the point of no return, because

once you’re in, you’re in. Target draws you in like a moth to a flame. It could be either

the “sale zone” right past the entrance, the smell of Starbucks coffee brewing in the

corner, or maybe it’s the huge sign of a life size bucket of popcorn that makes you never

want to leave. This foyer is the first thing a person sees and feels when they enter. It is

their first impression to the store. You mind is thinking about the endless possibilities of

what you could be leaving with when you exit through this foyer and hour later. To the

left you will notice the ATM machine. This is Target’s first tactic from the plan on

having you leave with an empty wallet and hands full of shopping bags. Target seemed to

be it owns little world within a world when I entered. I felt like a mouse in a maze. I

visited the store right when it opened so all I could smell when I walked in was pine sol

with the faint odor of plastic. New things. That is exactly why we go to these mega

stores, because many people are just downright obsessed with having the newest of the

new. Thoreau would vomit at this claim. He would never want to buy new things, he

would keep what he has and fix if it ever broke. He is also pro identity. He would hate the

fact that 10 people walked out of the store, each purchasing the same blouse. How is that

pro identity? It’s all conformity. Which is another thing Thoreau is not so keen about.

     One of the first things I heard was a conversation between two employees preparing to

stock the shelves with summer goodies, which you can always find a superstore doing

around this time of year. The conversation being held between these two was as casual as

it gets. They both went on about life, relationships, plans, pretty much anything that had

nothing to do with their job duties. It was just interesting to see how disconnected they

were with the store, it was like they were having a Sunday afternoon conversation over

brunch. I don’t hold anything against them though, because I also work at a retail setting

and I know how difficult it is to keep personal conversation to a minimum while doing

duties around the store. Could this pair of workers also represent their greater employee

community? I think so. I am sure there are many dedicated employees at Target, but there

are also the employees just itching to take their uniform off at the end of the day and

breath outside the eyes of the public. I found a particular employee who I could just tell

was ready to leave for the day. As she was weaving her way through the aisles and

through clusters of customers, her word of choice to make people around her aware of her

movement was “scuse”, not excuse me, just “scuse”. It made me stop and wonder how

many times that poor girl must have to say it day after day that it made her so tired to not

even make a whole statement anymore.  Her demeanor made her look more of a customer

rushing through the store to pick up what they came for so they can get the hell out as

quickly as possible. She was not the only person who was moving fast that day. I felt like

I was the person that waves the flag after the 3-2-1 countdown at a race right before the

cars zoom by. There was a kind of madness with the way people moved in the aisles.

They had no regards for anyone around them. They would stop their carts in front of

other carts, cut each other off, and even the occasional cart dinging another cart through

the traffic. It was difficult to even walk around with just the tiny basket full of berries and

tv dinners, while worrying about hitting someone with it. I could not imagine having to

make my way through that madness everyday as a worker there.
   Speaking of the mass amounts of carts, Target is the only place I’ve ever seen to give

their carts an escalator. My jaw dropped the first time I saw a special escalator just for

your cart. Who even knew that was possible? This is exactly why this Target can be

deemed “super” because with convenience like this, who wouldn’t want to visit the upper

level where the majority of the high sale items are held, ready to be ripped off the shelf

and purchased.

     It is difficult for me to make sense of how much this one store must make in profits

daily. Hundreds of thousands are sold in everything from plungers to pickles to PS3’s. 

Society loves to have everything under one roof. With everyone’s ridiculous schedules

how could someone possible visit the super market and Bed Bath and Beyond in one day.

The answer is that they cannot. They need places like Target to always be there for them

for their retail needs.

     Not only can you just shop at this Target, but also you can dine. Genius. Just genius.

How smart of Target to place a Pizza Hut and Starbucks in their establishment. While I

was there I was actually surprised at the amount of people actually sitting down for a

meal. You think it would be just considered fast food and be grab and go, but people

want to actually enjoy their yummies under the same roof where they just bought their

items. This amenity is such a draw for shoppers. Society eats this shit up. I know it works

for me and makes me want to shop at target more often! I myself love enjoying a

personal pan pizza while shopping for bathrobes, snacks, and video games.

     How did a store come to this? I believe it ties in wonderfully with Eric Fromm’s idea

of arguing against the “Mega Machine”. Because you can eat and shop at the same time,

you should.  It’s like our class conversation on milk. Its natural, processed, becomes a

product and it sold for a profit. Target is all about profit. They want their items constantly

on the shelves because they know it will be purchased. Fromm hates that convenience has

to be the number one priority in people’s lives. He argues for growth. There cannot be

much growth unless someone actually works for their goals instead of just inserting a

quarter into the vending machine of life and having all your troubles taken care of for

you. Fromm is also all for contact with other humans. Even though there are humans

working at Target, it may not be as easy as it seems to actually build rapport with one and

get all the help you need. From my personal experience, I feel rushed and forgotten by

the workers around me. Targets evil step sister, Wal-Mart is a perfect example of non

human contact. It’s almost near impossible to receive help there. While shopping there, I

just have to stop and laugh about the fact that it says, “How may I help you” on the back

of their blue vests. I never see faces, I just see those signature words on the backs and

they scurry away from any needy customers.

   Just when you think its safe to bring your cart to your vehicle parked out front. You

thought wrong. Target personally attaches locking mechanisms on each cart so that it

may not leave even 2 feet past the foyer. Those wheels lock making it impossible to

move the cart even and inch without heavy force. Talk about paranoia huh? Why would

Target go so far as to have lockdown on their carts? It all ties into profit again. If they lost

carts, they would obviously have to purchase more and use their funds for that, which in

their eyes does not seem very rational.

    How do all of Targets tactics affect us as humans? I believe they do in many personal

ways. One specific way is that Target has the potential to destroy small businesses,

particularly the "mom and pop" stores that make communities unique. This can bring

down local morale and cause problems such as poverty or even depression. Target may

also cause people to spend more money than they really have. Their sale tactics are

compelling at the store. Their wonderful marketing strategies is another thing to just draw

customers in like a moth to a flame.

     Another thing I notice while shopping at Target is how impersonal the shopping

Experience is. I know for me when I shop there I feel like a I have absolutely no

connection with Target at all. I feel as if I’m being a nuisance on the employees if a I ask

a question. I feel that they really do not want to get on a personal level at all with their

customers, which is unfortunate really because some customers hold great confidence in

a store where they can shop and know that the staff is always beside them in any

shopping needs or questions they might have. Target gives me a form of uneasiness when

I am there. It could just be the mass amounts of people giving you no room to breath, or it

could be the stifling temperature in there that does it. Also, I feel that Target solely relies

on advertising to get their customers attention, but I believe they should be focusing more

on staff to customer relationship to bring the customers back into the store time after

time without the worry about not being assisted or ignored. Don’t get me wrong there are

plenty of helpful employees at Target! I was actually assisted by a very nice man when

my cart was stuck in the cart escalator halfway through its drop from the second floor to

first. I have seen this problem happen once or twice. When it does happen, it’s a quite a

sight to watch. So first the carts will get stuck in the middle of the escalator and its funny

because the customer rides along next to it on the human escalator and when a cart stops

it makes a huge crash noise and all you can see is how distraught the customer looks

when they still move down but their cart does not. That’s a great example on how much

we as human beings rely on technology. Without these cart escalators, the only

conceivable way of getting a cart up a flight is an elevator, there are only 2 at this Target,

so I do not think that would be a viable form of transportation, keeping in mind how

many people travel between the floors on a daily basis. This dependency of technology

connects greatly to Fromm’s idea that technology is a tool that always will have problems

and that we must find ways of coping. Fromm would much rather appreciate the store to

be just one level, or maybe he would appreciate it not even existing at all, considering his

feelings on economics and product consumption. His thoughts about conformity and

power may not help with his feeling towards Target too. Target is definitely a power

business. With super stores like that it all comes down to income and power. Target

wants to be the top dog, they are just a little further behind their competitor, Wal-Mart,

but they definitely are reaching there level soon enough. In conclusion, entering Target is

like entering an unknown abyss of spending. There is almost a hypnotic feeling upon

entering to some people that just feed their craving of impulse buys. Target and many

other superstores just go to show how dependent people really are on these places. The

must shop here because of convenience for themselves. That is definitely a viable reason

but how much longer until these mega stores are the only stores that exist? Will they

cause all other businesses to fall and parish? Only time will tell.