Monday, April 20, 2020

Week 12 Lab: Stories and Friends Story Lab

TED Talk Videos

1st TED Talk: "The danger of a single story" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I believe the best TED Talks are the ones that make you uncomfortable and restless. These TED Talks make us aware that we are being ignorant over something instead of mindful. The talk "The danger of a single story" pointed out my mistake of believing in a single story. Even if we hear different versions of the same story, it is still a single story, just repeated. This TED Talk caused me to think how many times and how often do I believe in the single story. As we are in a pandemic, the news is always on my family's TV. However, the news is always from the same channel. While I was aware that certain news channels lean towards a political party and we did not get both sides of an argument, I never thought of it as only listening to a single story. There is a depth in everyone that we unfortunately won't see. However, if we try to recognize the many stories of those that we have the opportunity to meet, then we can at least see the depth in them. In the end, we will always realize, that no matter who you meet, we are more alike than different.

Above is a screenshot from the TED Talk "The danger of a single story" which caused me restlessness and motivated me to change.

2nd TED Talk: "Imaginary friends and real-world consequences: parasocial relationships" by Jennifer Barnes

I highly respect the talk by Dr. Barnes. She spoke about why we spend so much time with fictional characters and what effect does it have on us. As she pointed out, as humans, we spend a vast amount of time with fictional characters. She defined fictional characters as both the made-up characters from the books we read and shows/movies that we watch, as well as celebrities that we know but who do not know us. Dr. Barnes spoke about the reasoning she found for why we spend so much time with fictional people. She found that we almost get the same positive effects to our cognitive work after we interact with a "real" friend and a "imaginary" friend. However, I want to propose another reason. Sometimes people just needs an outlet or a way to escape. When we pour out our energy towards a celebrity, maybe it is because we do not have someone like them in our own lives. For example, I feel like YouTube has greatly grown within the past decade. These YouTubers are like "celebrities" but are sometime closer to our age, more relatable, and lives an, arguably, normal life that is very similar to our own. More so, anyone can be a YouTuber - you do not have to be born into a certain family or wealth. Therefore, YouTubers seem to be just like us. For some, it is watching these vlogs that some feel like they have a family or place where they get positive encouragement if that is not something they get in their reality. This is just another reason I wish was explored to explain why we spend so much time with fictional characters.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Week 11 Story: Perspective

Updated story found on Portfolio.

"AHHHHHHH!" thousands of fans screamed as he headed towards the stage. Performing on stage was his favorite part of his job. He smiled from ear to ear as he stood back and listened to the entire Wembley Stadium sing back to him his lyrics.


Ava thought that the man standing before her, singing his heart out was the coolest person. She has been his fan since his first post on YouTube just singing a cover of a song in his room. Ava even went to his concert when he was just performing in small college auditoriums. Now, she saw him performing in one of the largest stadiums in the entire world. Honestly, she would do anything to  meet him.

Every time Ava would go to his concert, she would come back and talk nonstop about it to her friends. Nick, one of Ava's friends, could not wrap his head around what the big deal was with this singer. Ava would show Nick pictures from the concert as well as the songs she sang along to. Still, however, Nick was not impressed. Rather, Nick thought of him as an untalented celebrity unworthy of the fame he has achieved.


Earlier that evening, Natalia was in her flat. As she crossed her living room to go to the kitchen, she caught her roommate change the channel of the telly from her ex-boyfriend's televised stadium concert to the food channel. Natalia hated him so much. It had been two months since they broke up but everyone in her life was still tiptoeing around her when it came to him and his fame. She regretted having him in her life as she thought of him as a player who played with her feelings.


Right by the stage at the concert stood Ashley. She was happy to see her friend perform in their hometown. Ashley looked at him, then to the crowd, then back at him. She could see her friend so happy as he did what he loved.

After the concert, they grabbed Nando's as this was their favorite restaurant. Time would pass them without a single notice. Ashley's side ached as she laughed all night because of how goofy he was. Her favorite thing about him was that he always made time for his friends. She knew he was tired from performing, yet he was still there in front of her, engaged in conversation, and spending time with her. He really was one of her truest, kindest friends.


Each person is entitled to having their own opinion based on the unique lenses they wear. Ava, Nick, Natalia, and Ashley all viewed the famous singer with very different perspectives based off the history and interactions they had with him. Some thought of him as good, while others hated his being. We cannot control how others view and think of us. Rather, we can only control ourselves, our own attitude, actions, and words. In a world where it is so easy to criticize as well as too feel put down, we must remember to disregard the "noise" the world may put around us and be our authentic selves.

The image above is of a packed Wembley Stadium, like the concert described at the beginning of the story. 

Author's Note:
My story is loosely based off of the Jataka Tale, "The Red-Bud Tree." In this tale, I found the lesson to be: A single thing can be seen from different perspectives. When we view a single person or thing, we are all looking at it with our own unique lenses, whether it be at different times, the same time but at different angles, or the same time and angle but with different mindsets due to past history and memories. In the original story, there were four princes who saw a Red-Bud Tree at different seasons of its life. Each prince saw something different from the other princes when looking at the tree.

Therefore, I wanted to use this lesson about perspective as the foundation for my own story. In my story, the Red-Bud Tree is replaced by a famous celebrity, while the four princes were replaced by four people who knew the celebrity (but in different capacities). I wanted to do it in this way because I wanted to incorporate a lesson about remembering that we have no control of others but only ourselves.

I chose to write the story using third-person language, because I wanted to have a helicopter view of the entire situation in order to acknowledge the different perspectives of the four people on the famous celebrity. I also chose not to name the celebrity. I feel that all readers are a fan of someone, and this celebrity portrayed in the story can be replaced by whoever the reader is a fan of. Lastly, I chose not to give the perspective of the celebrity. I wanted to keep the celebrity as a single item, like the Red-Bud Tree, who did not have a verbal role in the sections where another person's perspective is being described. This was to further enhance the message that we cannot control what others think about us.

Bibliography: "The Red-Bud Tree" from More Jataka Tales, Part A. Author: Ellen C. Babbitt. Illustrator: Ellsworth Young. 1922.

Reading Notes: More Jataka Tales, Part B

by Ellen C. Babbitt

How the Monkey Saved His Troop
  • As tomorrow is Easter, I found this story quite fitting for the season. The Chief Monkey said "Do not fear; I will save you." Then, he sacrificed himself (by becoming a bridge for his troops to step on) to save the troops. Jesus had the ultimate sacrifice when he decided to save us when He died for our sins. Therefore, the story "How the Monkey Save His Troops" reminded me of Jesus's greatest sacrifice. 
The Hawks and their Friends
  • Lesson: The strong bond of friendship is greatly reliable. "Friends in need are friends indeed."
The Brave Little Bowman
  • Lesson #1: Do not doubt the strength and skill of the little guy. (Your physical appearance does not define your inner strength.)
  • Lesson #2: When it comes to a life/death situation, care for those who were mean to you (or your enemies). 
The Foolhardy Wolf
  • Lesson #1: Do not be cocky. 
    • The wolf thought he was as strong as a lion and thought he could in a sense "trade places" with the masterful lion. However, when he did this, he got killed. Turns out, he is not as strong as the lion. 
  • Lesson #2: Be grateful to those who provide for you.
The Stolen Plow
  • Lesson: You cannot get away from a lie. 
The Lion in Bad Company
  • Lesson #1: Listen to your elders. 
    • I believe there is a fine line in the phrase "listen to your elders." Our parents, or elders, have experienced greater years of life than us and are likely to have good recommendations for us since they want what is best for us. However, I believe that there is a line where we cannot always listen to our parents or else it will feel like we are living our lives for them, rather than for God. The simplest example I can think of is picking a major. If we listen to our parents's pick for a major we will pursue, we might not enjoy and would feel a sense of regret towards them. More so, they are not the ones to purse the major. They are not the ones who will put in the hours of work, take tests, find a job, etc. 
  • Lesson #2: Beware of bad friends.
    • The wolf just left the lion when the lion was in trouble, even though the lion was the one to provide him with good food and risking his life for the food. The wolf never tried to help the lion when he was being killed, instead he just turned away and went home. 
The Wise Goat and the Wolf
  • Lesson #1: It is okay to help others; however, if you have that gut feeling where you are uneasy about the situation, be aware of the surroundings and cautious.
  • Lesson #2: The bad people never win. 
Prince Wicked and the Grateful Animals
  • Lesson #1: Keep your promise.
  • Lesson #2: If you are able, save who you can - poor or rich.
  • Lesson #3: Care for the weaker first. 
Beauty and the Brownie
  • Lesson: Listen, pay attention, and follow instructions. 
The Elephant and the Dog
  • Lesson: Best friends should not be separated. 
This image is from my favorite story of the collection, "The Brave Little Bowman." It embraces the theme that no matter your physical size, you can have great inner strength. 

Bibliography: More Jataka Tales, Part B. Author: Ellen C. Babbitt. Illustrator: Ellsworth Young. 1922.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Reading Notes: More Jataka Tales, Part A

by Ellen C. Babbitt

The Girl Monkey and the String of Pearls
  • Lesson #1: Don't be too proud.
    • The reason the Girl Monkey got caught with the queen's string of pearls was because she became too proud and felt the need to show it off to others. The Girl Monkey's own arrogance is what trapped her. 
  • Lesson #2: All lies will become visible. 
    • The Girl Monkey stealing the pearls was a lie unhidden by the end of the story. 
The Three Fishes
  • My thoughts: This story reminded me of Finding Nemo, with Very-Thoughtful as the dad, Marlin, and the Thoughtful and Thoughtless both being Nemo. Both Very-Thoughtful and Marlin analyzes the situation they are in. When they both foresaw danger, they recommended to the others to avoid that dangerous area. Nemo, Thoughtful, and Thoughtless just wanted to listen to themselves which caused them to enter danger.
  • Lesson: Listen to the wise ones around us. 
The Tricky Wolf and the Rats
  • Lesson #1: Do not deceive others - you will be caught.
  • Lesson #2: Do not doubt the strength and wisdom of the little guy. 
    • Even if the rat is much smaller than the wolf, he was still able catch the wolf in his deceitful act as he outsmarted the wolf and was even strong enough to kill him.
The Woodpecker, Turtle, and Deer
  • Lesson #1: There is great strength in true friendships. 
  • Lesson #2: It is with teamwork that we can succeed. 
The Golden Goose
  • Lesson #1: Do not be greedy. You will get nothing from being greedy. 
  • Lesson #2: While it is good to be giving and caring, make sure people don't abuse your kindness by being naive. 
The Stupid Monkeys
  • Lesson #1: Do not give your work to another.
  • Lesson #2: Ask questions when you are unsure about how to do something instead of proceeding on your own where you might mess the project up entirely.
The Cunning Wolf
  • Lesson #1: Do not consume all your goods without knowing where you will get your next goods from.
    • This could be related to money. It is important not to spend everything we earned at one time, without saving some for later or for emergencies.
  • Lesson #2: Do not lie to get what you want, because you never do. 
The Penny-Wise Monkey
  • Personal note: I really do not agree with the theme/lesson of the story. The story's lesson is: you will loose much when you try to gain a little. When this is put in the context of the Catholic Bible, there are many stories where Jesus leaves the majority of the lamb to find the single missing lamb. I think that everyone/everything has value. So, if this story was replaced with people instead of peas or islands, then I feel like it would be wrong to turn your back on the single person because you already have the majority. 
The Red-Bud Tree
  • Lesson: A single thing  can be seen from different perspectives. 
    • I think this is a very interesting story. We must all remember that when we view a single person or thing, we are all looking at it with our own unique lenses, whether it be at different times, the same time but at different angles, or the same time and angle but with different mindsets due to past history and memories.
The Woodpecker and the Lion
  • Lesson: Ungratefulness really bites.
The Others and the Wolf
  • Lesson: Do not argue for the "best part" when it is already split in half and you get one. Getting one-half is enough. 

"The Red=Bud Tree" was my favorite story because it pointed out a great lesson about perspective. Embracing the realization that everyone has different perspectives but that they are not wrong is an important lesson I want to keep close to myself. 

Bibliography: More Jataka Tales, Part A. Author: Ellen C. Babbitt. Illustrator: Ellsworth Young. 1922.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Biography: Graduation Postponed

"Graduation Ceremonies. The ceremonies are postponed....." This was what I read in an email from the OU Interim President, Joseph Harroz, and a tiny tear slowly went down the side of my face. I was not going to have a graduation. Sadness filled my heart as I prayed, yelled for my parents to tell them the news, phone called my big sister, and started texting my friends. It was ironic because one of my Portfolio stories talked about graduation. It mimicked how I felt towards graduation as it said, "The constant long nights of studying, the thirty-plus pages of lab reports, and the anxiety-filled time during test preparation always seemed worth it, as long as they were able to enter the Maturing Forest for their own graduation." I felt that as long as I got to cross that stage, all my hard work would feel validated. However, my reality was that I was not actually going to have a physical graduation.

It sucked. 

There was really no other way to describe the situation. I found it very important to acknowledge how I felt about the entire situation. However, this was different than dwelling in the feeling. I had to acknowledge that I was sad and the situation sucked, because my feeling are valid. However, I did not dwell in it too long or else I could find myself in a bad place.

More so, there were definitely bigger concerns around the world that I began to be thankful for what I did have. I also began to look at my situation with a new perspective. I am stuck at home with my parents for a couple of weeks. I used to say, "I peaked in high school." While since I have said this, I have found college to be another great peak, I realized this was a time for me to live my life in a way like I was in high school. I realized what I enjoyed about high school and they were: (1) Spending time with my family; (2) Playing the piano; (3) Dancing ballet. Therefore, I thought it would be great time in my life to implement these three activities in order to feel like I have "peaked" again. 

Overall, graduation was postponed. As a senior, this was hard to hear. However, in a time where we cannot control much in this world pandemic, we can control our attitude. 

Oh, how I miss campus! 
(The above image is of the building I spent most of my senior year at.)

Author's Note:
In my biography story, I wanted to describe an event in my life when I expected things to go one way, but instead they went in a very different way as I expected. I wrote it in past tense because I wanted to show reflection on the situation as I have learned valuable lessons. I wrote it in first person because I wanted to acknowledge my feelings through the process. I wrote this story because I found that there were many lessons to it and it is a good reminder for my readers, including me in the future, that we can only focus on what we can control, and that is our attitude on any situation - even situations where unexpected events happen. 

Reading Notes: Jataka Tales, Part B

by Ellen C. Babbitt
The Wise and Foolish Merchant
  • Lesson #1: Don't trust people so easily.
    • Personal note: I feel that it is good to have faith in people. People are born good. However, there might be people who want to purposely trip you and that is when we have to be cautious. Trust your gut.
  • Lesson #2: The good, observant being always wins. 
    • We must always remember to look outside of ourselves and recognize what is going on around us. 
The Elephant Girly-face
  • Lesson: We tend to listen to those around us. So, surround yourself with those who make you better and guide you in a good direction. 
The Banyan Deer
  • Lesson: Others before self. 
    • My favorite quote is "People change people: How can 'us' help 'them?'" This tale is a representation of how one king deer helped out another deer in need. 
    • Personal note: Also, I have recently been watching the news a lot as I practice social distancing. I have watched a lot of Chris and Andrew Cuomo and I watched a video honoring their late father, Mario Cuomo. He taught people that one is defined by how they take care of others. I think this correlates very well to the tale. 
The Princes and the Water-Sprite
  • Lesson: Know what the good do and also be kind.
The King's White Elephant
  • Lesson: We should always help each other.
The Ox Who Never Envied the Pig
  • Lesson: With patience comes good things.
    • Personal note: Sometimes, we want to rush things, in order to get to the finish line or the top faster. However, we all have our individual path. We must be patient. 
    • Sometimes rushing things will lead us in dangers places.
Grannie's Blackie
  • Lesson #1: Recognize the constants in your life.
  • Lesson #2: Do not forget to thank those who have helped you. (Thank others in the way you deem appropriate for the situation.)
  • Lesson #3: There is greatness in a life of simplicity. 
The Crab and the Crane
  • Lesson #1: Analyze your safety in any situation. 
  • Lesson #2: Take precautions for your safety. 
Why the Owl is Not King of the Birds
  • Lesson: If you try to knock another from the top in order to get there yourself, neither one of you will win. 

This image is from the Jataka tale "Grannie's Blackie." This tale was my favorite from Jataka Tales, Part B. Even though it is not a lesson in the forefront of the tale, I felt that the life Grannie and Blackie lived were simple, and that there is strength in simplicity. Grannie and Blackie really were the best of friends and really loved each other, even if it was never said, it was inferred through their actions. I want to live a life like this. 

Bibliography: Jataka Tales, Part B. Author: Ellen C. Babbitt. Illustrator: Ellsworth Young. 1912.

Reading Notes: Jataka Tales, Part A

by Ellen C. Babbitt
The Monkey and the Crocodile
  • The Monkey outsmarted the Crocodile. 
  • The Crocodile believed everything that the Monkey told him. 
    • Lesson: One should not believe everything that is told to him/her.
How the Turtle Saved His Own Life
  • The Turtle outsmarted those who were about to kill him through reverse psychology. 
    • A proposed way to kill the turtle would actually save the Turtle. So, the Turtle complained about that specific way of "killing" him. Therefore, the men "killed" the Turtle in that way and the Turtle lived.
    • Lesson: Reverse psychology works (sometimes).
The Merchant of Seri
  • Lesson: Greedy people never win. 
  • The grandma was the sweetest in this story. She would give up her only physical remembrance of her late husband to make her granddaughter happy with a gift. 
  • The greedy merchant said that her bowl was not worth much at all. 
  • The kind merchant said it was worth more than everything he had combined. 
    • The kind merchant got the golden bowl.
The Turtle Who Couldn't Stop Talking
  • Lesson #1: We have to know when we should keep our mouth shut. 
    • My thoughts: Every person has a voice. We have the right to use our voice to speak our minds and to make positive change in this world. However, if what we will use our voices for will insult another, we should keep our mouth shut. (Insulting another did not happen in this tale; however, it is a reason why we should keep our mouth shut.) However, I would like to point out there is a difference between keeping one's mouth shut to prevent someone's feelings from getting hurt and keeping one's mouth shut to not insult another.
  • Lesson #2: Don't listen to other people mocking you. Be you.
    • Children were mocking the Turtle which caused him to open his mouth.
The Ox Who Won the Forfeit
  • Lesson: Be kind. Even if you are in a higher position than another, still, be kind. 
The Sandy Road
  • Lesson: Don't every give up. 
The Quarrel of Quails
  • Lesson: When find strength in working with each other.
The Measure of Rice
  • Lesson: Honesty is the best policy.
The Foolish, Timid Rabbit
  • Lesson #1: Do not automatically assume. Check the facts first.
  • Lesson #2: One cannot believe everything they hear. 

The image above is from the World Health Organization's website. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our entire Earth, we need to find strength in working with each other, rather than against. The story of the Quarrel of the Quails reminded me of this lesson. 
This link provides other tips to help us during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic from the World Health Organization. 

Bibliography: Jataka Tales, Part A. Author: Ellen C. Babbitt. Illustrator: Ellsworth Young. 1912.