Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review of College Pressures by William Zinsser

Why are we so determined in life to stay on one track without steering off that track?

I like to steer off track, which is evidenced by my last review, and take you somewhere else. Life is a journey, and so should our writing.

That's why I liked the essay called "College Pressures" by William Zinsser.

Zinsser poses the question better than I do: Why are we so determined in life to stay on one track without steering off that track?

This is one of the many questions that this essay posed. To me, it's the poingant.

People are afraid to fail. They want a secure life.

They want to live the perfect life that Zinsser suggests: get good grades, find a job,  have a family, and then die.

If the world was like that there would be nothing of interest to speak about, and the uniqueness that everyone produces would forever be lost.  

Zinsser’s purpose of this essay is to discuss in a sympathetic, and factual way all of the pressures put on a student by their parents, professors, peers, and themselves.

This is accomplished by starting the essay off rather humorously to let the reader relax and enjoy a giggle, but then he smacks the reader with the seriousness of the subject.

The pressure that the student puts on themselves is the greatest, because it is a combination of the other three.  Zinsser also compares and contrasts a liberal education against a specific education, and gives his opinion that a liberal education is better by emphasizing this throughout the essay.

I agree with mostly agree with his ideas, because I think that the only way to actually learn anything is through experimentation.  While experimenting with many different courses you will end up as a well  rounded person and the variety will be there, because it is inevitable that one will change careers often in life so why not be prepared for it.

If only limited to of one discipline there will be opportunities missed that could have been taken advantage of.  However, I think that a general education is needed, but a little emphasis on a subject that there is a strong interest in is also needed.

I do not want to dominate myself into one discipline so I have taken a variety of courses, but I have put a little emphasis on drawing courses.

The representations that he uses are at a different standard than most colleges.  Part of the pressures still relate to any school, because   the parents want their son or daughter to succeed and that is emphasized to them.

The student  expects too much out of themselves, because they do not think that they will get a good education or job if they do not go to some highly sophisticated school.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Art of Writing Reviews: Fathers, Sons, Guns, Hoppe's #9, and a Reloading Press

We're all about the arts here but love to just do what I like to call the review ramble and take you down journeys that you may never go down. Did you read the book or see the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth?

Do you remember how Arne Saknussemm says there's a passage via Snæfell in Iceland? Well, Iceland is not the place to be; I don't care if there's a passage or not.

Gotta love the Northern lights
Photo by Image Editor CC BY 2.0
My dad grew up there and he was always telling me these crazy stories about reindeer and the Northern Lights and guns.

I always thought he was crazy as a kid because I could never see these things. (My parents emigrated to England before I was born.)

Well, the guns I saw. They were in our house and I remember more about him cleaning the guns on the kitchen table.

I always remember a bottle of Hoppe's #9 -- a bore cleaning solvent. My dad use to use this to clean his rifles, and I remember the smell of this stuff being horrible. (He use to say: This'll put hair on your chest. Yeah, dad, and give you cancerous tumors, too.)

Anyway, I never like the smell of it. He'd pull out his big old range bag, then get to work cleaning and lubing rifles after we were at the range.

After I left home, I did not exercise my right to bear arms -- until just recently.

I lived in a small, rural town -- about minutes away from a larger city of about 50K. The need to protect myself with a weapon was not needed because the crime rate is super low.

There was no firing range within a 30 mile radius of me so I just never bought one.

Fast forward 25 years and I still live in a rural town but I'm now in the country. (Forget that rural city living crap.) I'm also pretty close to a firing range and want to teach my son how to handle a weapon.

So, we've been going to the range about once a week. He likes it And I find it a good time to bond with the boy -- just as I did with my dad while cleaning, lubing, and reloading his guns.

This now means I needed a way to clean and lube the rifles after practice. (We even bought one of the best reloading presses on the market as a way to bond in the garage.) And that brings us back to Hoppe's 9.

I bought a bottle of it -- what else was I going to use -- and don't think it smells bad at all. It has a fruity smell to me nowadays and I don't remember it being like that when I was a youngster.

Anyways, it still works great at cleaning powder and rust. My biggest complain is the child-proof cap. It's more like adult-proof to me!

I don't know if Hoppe's changed the formula and smell of this stuff or I just did not have good memories of it before. Oh, well.

I did end up reading reviews of gun cleaning kits before I purchased one. I bought an Otis kit, which was around $50 bucks.

It's a deluxe model that cleans rifles and pistols. I don't have a pistol but there's always an option.

It comes in a nice little carry case that fits in my shooting range duffel bag. The Otis model is a little different than the Hoppe's kits.

Otis uses cables instead of long rods. I like the cables a little better because they can be wound up compared to those long rifle rods.

Many of the gun cleaning kit manufacturers sell wooden boxes with their kits, which are just too big.