Overview of Writing Assignments for 214: Second Year Written Composition, Focused on Digital Literacies

Overview of Writing Assignments for 214: The Electric Word!

Topic Selection (1000 points): In 750-1000 words, describe the topic that you have selected for the Inquiry Series and the Sustained Argument and explain your interest in detail, specifically when you first became interested in the topic and why you are interested in it now. Who is the topic important to (target audience) and why does it matter (purpose)? What doesn’t the average person know about your topic, but should know to understand it more fully? What questions do you have on the topic that you would like to answer eventually?

Continue reading “Overview of Writing Assignments for 214: Second Year Written Composition, Focused on Digital Literacies”

A Distant Voice, Part 1: Contact

(Click here for the first part of this story: A Distant Voice: Preface.)

The day Auntie Azra realized that she had probably found traces of extraterrestrial communication, I was bored and lonely. No one to play with, no one to talk to.

I was alone, as usual.

Continue reading “A Distant Voice, Part 1: Contact”

A Distant Voice: Preface

When we made contact, it was not an earth-shattering meeting. It was not an invasion, nor an offer of friendship. It was not even contact. It was a whisper overheard in the darkness.

We were eavesdropping on a conversation that had taken place 90 years before. It would take 90 years before our ecstatic greetings reached Kepler 266f and another 90 years before we could hope for a reply.

Yet that distant voice changed everything.

image_1864_1e-Kepler-186f

Image credit: NASA Ames / SETI Institute

Continue reading “A Distant Voice: Preface”

Guest Post on Save the Bay Blog: Biodiversity and Ronosaurus Rex’s Walk Around the San Francisco Bay

Save the Bay, the organization that did actually save the bay from plans to fill it in 60 percent to become a narrow shipping channel, invited me to write a guest post for their blog. I wrote about the biodiversity I saw–and didn’t see–on my walk around the San Francisco Bay. Check it out!

The Furies, Part 4: The Gracious Ones

(Click here for The Furies, Part 1: Spite.)

In silence, they drove down to Colma, a bright, high fog pouring over the freeway. Holding Ellie’s hand tightly, Alex tried to ignore the leering faces of the harpies, who kept pace with the Volkswagen, the tips of their wings ticking against the side of the car. Sometimes one would turn in the wind and rise out of sight.

As soon as he began to hope it had flown away, it would drop from the fog ahead of them, swooping for the windshield. Alex braced for impact, but the harpies would pull up at the last moment, their talons skittering across the rounded roof.

Continue reading “The Furies, Part 4: The Gracious Ones”

The Furies, Part 3: Endless

(Click here for The Furies: Part 1: Spite.)

He woke to light, searing light, life-destroying light. He struggled to hide his face, but something was holding him down, pinning his arms to his sides. “The light!”

“Alex,” Ellie said gently. He felt a pressure on his hand. “Alexandros, they have strapped you down. They thought you were trying to kill yourself. What else could they think? They didn’t see the window break. They didn’t see you rise up like that girl in The Exorcist. They didn’t see the scratches appear on your body. I–I saw it happen, and I still don’t know what to think.”

“The light!” he said. “Why is it so bright?”

Continue reading “The Furies, Part 3: Endless”

The Furies, Part 2: Vengeance

(Click here for The Furies, Part 1: Spite.)

Ellie pulled up across the street from the box-like house they had lived in until their family fell apart, the house he now lived in alone. “Whatever happened to Candice?” she asked abruptly.

“What? Why are you asking about her? Jesus, what timing! What does she have to do with anything?”

“I liked her a lot. I think she was good for you, you know, helped to ease your anger. Seriously. Maybe you should call her.”

“She left me. End of story.” He shrugged. “I should never have let her disrespect me. I should have shown her who was boss. Dad would never have taken her shit. Sure, I taught her a few good lessons, but it wasn’t good enough. I just wasn’t strong enough to keep her.”

Continue reading “The Furies, Part 2: Vengeance”

The Furies, Part 1: Spite

“There is a place where terror is good. It should remain enthroned as a guard over the mind. If citizens and mortals do not nourish some dread in their hearts, how will they honor justice?” –From The Eumenides by Aeschylus

(Photo by Omar Rodriguez Rodriguez)

As he stepped out of Lucky 13, he heard a flurry of wings behind him and twisted in time to see a gray bird settle next door on the drab Victorian. He couldn’t see it clearly in the deep twilight above the ragged leaves, but it was huge. What the hell was it? San Francisco had peregrine falcons living on a skyscraper downtown, he knew, and probably hawks and owls in the parks and the Presidio, but this bird was much too big.

And its curved beak seemed to be pointing directly down at him. Was it glaring at him? No, that was unlikely. Why would it be interested in him? What could it possibly want with him?

Continue reading “The Furies, Part 1: Spite”

Crissy Field and the Presidio: A Favorite Place on Ronosaurus Rex’s Bay Walk

13539949413_c6a16bf422_o

(Andy Goldsworthy’s Wood Line, Photo by Ronosaurus Rex)

Walking through the forested Presidio, it’s easy to imagine that San Francisco was once covered with trees. Not so! Its sandy, shifting soil supported mostly low, ground-hugging plants, such as dune strawberry and lupine. One of the best places to see what San Francisco looked like before its transformation is the tidal marshes of Crissy Field, the first of my favorite places in my walk around the San Francisco Bay.

Continue reading “Crissy Field and the Presidio: A Favorite Place on Ronosaurus Rex’s Bay Walk”