Monthly Archives: November 2013

Rapunzel: Hair Extension Edition

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a little girl named Rapunzel who lived in a lovely home with two devoted and caring parents. Although Rapunzel’s home was in a beautiful neighborhood, her neighbor was an evil lady who was feared by everyone in the land. The evil lady, who remained eternally nameless, was a shriveled and scrawny old woman who always wore animal print and never smiled. She was never seen in pure daylight, but occasionally could be seen in her home through Rapunzel’s kitchen window, which looked into the evil lady’s living room.

One day, while Rapunzel’s mother was in the kitchen washing dishes, she noticed a flickering light coming from the evil lady’s living room. Squinting her eyes, Rapunzel’s mother realized that it was a diamond necklace—a very beautiful and expensive diamond necklace. For the next few days, Rapunzel’s mother became fixated having on the diamond necklace, becoming paler and more miserable every day she lived without it. Rapunzel’s father became alarmed by his wife’s melancholic complexion and asked, “What is wrong?”

“Ah, if only I could have the evil lady’s diamond necklace! I feel like I am going to die without it! It would pair perfectly with all my outfits!” his wife wailed.

Rapunzel’s father, who loved his wife very much, thought, “I shall do anything to get this necklace and make my wife happy again.”

Thus, that night, Rapunzel’s father clambered over the evil lady’s fence, opened her window, hastily grabbed the diamond necklace, and turned back to see the evil lady facing him.

“How dare you enter my house and steal my necklace? You shall suffer for this! I will call the police and have you imprisoned immediately!” the evil lady thundered.

“No! No! Please, have mercy! My wife saw your diamond necklace from the window and felt such a longing for it that she will die if I fail to bring it to her! Please!” Rapunzel’s father whimpered.

The evil lady allowed her anger to soften and offered, “If what you say is true, I will let you take my diamond necklace to your wife, but only if you give me your child, Rapunzel.” The man, paralyzed with terror, consented to the evil lady’s demand. The next morning, Rapunzel was brought to the evil lady, who shut Rapunzel into a tower that had neither stairs nor a door and was located in the middle of a forest, where no one could find her. As Rapunzel grew older, her hair golden hair grew magnificently long with all the hair extensions she had put in  to hoist the evil lady up the tower when she visited on occasion.

One day, the king’s son was riding through the forest when he passed by the tower and heard the sound of sweet music. Rapunzel, who had learned to sing to pass the time in the lonely tower, sung beautiful melodies. The king’s son, finding no entrance into the tower, rode home, but made sure to return to the tower everyday to listen to Rapunzel’s music. After a few weeks, the king’s son returned to find the evil lady climbing up Rapunzel’s hair extensions. So the next day, he tried the same and climbed up the tower. As he clambered through the window, Rapunzel was petrified, as she had never seen a man before, but as the king’s son gently spoke, Rapunzel befriended him. Over the next few days, the king’s son visited Rapunzel everyday while she sang. Captivated by her sweet voice, the prince asked Rapunzel to come back with him to his castle.

The evil lady, who had been spying on Rapunzel, became aware of the prince’s plans, for which she was more than willing to thwart. That night, the evil lady climbed up Rapunzel’s hair extensions, took a pair of scissors, and chopped off all of Rapunzel’s hair amid her cries of panic.

“Serves you right, you wretched girl! Cheating on me like that and having unpermitted visitors! You shall never see you beloved prince again!” the evil lady threatened.

Rapunzel sobbed the remainder of the night while the evil lady slept with a deep smile on her face. The next afternoon, when the prince came for his daily visit, he realized that Rapunzel’s hair was gone. Alarmed, he called upon Rapunzel, who explained everything in vivid detail through the window. The prince, who was often labeled as dull, suddenly had an idea to rescue Rapunzel. He mounted his horse, galloped back to the castle, and returned to the tower with a ladder. He leaned the ladder against the tower, hoisted Rapunzel down (who was mildly upset that the prince failed to think of bringing a ladder earlier), and agreed to marry him.

Suffering from old age and hatred, the evil lady passed away in the days to come while Rapunzel and her prince lived happily ever after.

Ted Talk Reflection

I’ll admit, it was a rather unpleasant and uncomfortable experience watching my Ted Talk, especially during the times I faltered. Nonetheless, I think there are many things I can learn from my talk, which I can hopefully address in  future speeches.

1). I realized that I have a tendency to flail my hands a little too much, especially when I looked nervous or forgot what I had to say. While I think hand gestures are important, I may have diminished its effectiveness by overusing them. In the future, I think I should practice in front of a mirror or a small audience more often to overcome my uneasiness and hopefully keep  my hand gestures to a minimum.

2). My eye contact with my audience was poor, especially since I turned around multiple times to look at my visuals. I think I may not have been as familiar with my speech as I had thought. The next time I give a speech of the same nature, I think I will certainly practice more and make sure I am familiar with the order of my visuals so that I do not need to constantly turn around.

3). I am not sure if everyone observed it, but I did forget some of my speech towards the last two minutes and spoke impromptu. And while it was not as gracious and fluent as I would have liked, I am happy with what I was able to string together in a mildly cohesive manner. As a future note, I think I should learn speeches on the basis of bullet points as opposed to memorizing a three-page speech. Memory can fail all of us at times, so I now feel that “memorizing” may  not be the best way to give a speech. Instead, it may be beneficial to give a speech based off a rough outline.

4). A quirk that I realized about myself is that when I am nervous or drawing a blank, I cross my legs. It happened multiple times during the talk and while the video does not show my legs, I can see myself swaying side to side. As in my previous comments, I think one of the best solutions is repeated practice.

Overall, I think I had a decent speech, but there were certainly many things that I could improve on for the future. Hopefully as I gain more experience in public speaking and continue to critique my work, the quality and delivery of my speeches will continue to improve.

Ted Talks

Since its launch in 1984, Ted Talks have become a highly effective platform for the sharing and spreading of new ideas and innovations. By coupling ethos, pathos, and logos-based appeals with a conversational oral presentation, the ideas presented in Ted Talks are easily received and easily understood by a wide audience. Because Ted Talks have also grown in magnitude over the past couple of decades, it is now possible to find a Talk on virtually any topic. Even more, the accessibility of Ted Talks through the Internet enables the messages presented in Ted Talks to reach a global audience. Lastly, Ted Talks are generally given in a short time frame (i.e. three to fifteen minutes), which prevents audiences from losing interest and becoming inundated with too much information. Under the slogan, “ideas worth sharing,” Ted Talks are an effective method to introduce new ideas in a short, condensed, and simplified manner in which audiences across the globe can very easily understand.

Like any speech, however, the effectiveness of Ted Talks depends on the speaker. While the idea of Ted Talks is powerful and valuable, the ability of Ted Talks to convey an idea to an audience ultimately resides in the effectiveness of the speaker. Furthermore, Ted Talks generally lack visuals, which I feel are an important component in explaining and sharing ideas. In many instances, visuals are often more useful in explaining phenomena that words cannot express. Since Ted Talks rely heavily on the oral aspect of presentation, I feel that the lack of visuals may be dampening its own effectiveness.

While I believe that the popularity of Ted Talks is increasing, I do not think that it is necessarily a new rhetorical development. Although Ted Talks are effective, I feel that they are simply a modern adaptation of a conventional speech—the only difference being that the presenter is able to reach a wider audience and more easily share his or her ideas.

Cinderella: Bookerella Edition

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a very astute and shrewd girl named Bookerella who was always found studying her books (as her name would suggest). Bookerella was the most intelligent woman in the land, boasting an impressive IQ of 173 and carrying knowledge of multivariable calculus since the age of five. Despite her intellectual acumen, Bookerella lacked the social skills and beauty that her two stepsisters possessed. The two stepsisters were not very fond of Bookerella and constantly teased her with their pranks and derisive name-calling. They always snatched Bookerella’s heavy and thick-rimmed glasses and hid them in tiny nooks while laughing at Bookerella’s futile attempts to find them.

One day, one stepsister said, “Why should Bookerella be able to sit with us at dinner? She’s hideous and she’s ruining my chances to be asked out to prom by Bradley. He’s so perfect. Ugh, Bookerella isn’t good enough for us.” The next day, the stepsisters had Bookerella’s clothes taken away from her and dressed her in a battered gray smock and scratchy socks. “Awh, look how cute she looks now!” they laughed as they led her into the kitchen.”

From that day on, Bookerella made her residence in the kitchen corner and worked tirelessly from morning to evening, carrying water, making the fires, cooking, washing, cleaning, and doing chores for her stepsisters, who sadistically did everything to make Bookerella’s life miserable. They would deliberately spill food and water on the floor so that Bookerella would have to clean over and over; they would constantly complain that their steaks were under or overcooked so that Bookerella would have to cook for hours; they would purposely stain their clothing with the most pungent and visible dyes so that Bookerella would spend days washing them. After the day ended and everyone fell asleep, Bookerella fell by the kitchen hearth, shattered in tears.

The following morning, the king of the land called upon a royal order to have a ball in which all the beautiful young girls in the land were invited for the king’s son to select a bride for himself. When the two stepsisters received a text that they too were invited, they became euphoric and scrambled to find the perfect dress, shoes, and jewelry. They called upon Bookerella without rest—“Bookerella, brush our teeth and comb our hair! Tailor our dresses! Polish our shoes and jewelry! Make us low-fat and low-carb smoothies so we don’t get fat before the big day!”

As always, Bookerella reluctantly obeyed, but she too wished she could go to the ball. She earnestly begged her stepmother, only to receive a scornful scoff of contempt—“You? You want to go to the ball? Why, you don’t even own a dress or a pair of shoes!” Bookerella kept begging, but to no avail. Before hurrying out with her two daughters, the stepmother turned to Bookerella, adamantly declaring, “You are not coming with us. You don’t have the clothes, the looks, the shoes, or even know how to dance for that matter. We would be so ashamed of you.” With that, the stepmothers and stepsisters pompously entered their carriage, leaving Bookerella in tears.

Suddenly, however, a white pigeon appeared and draped Bookerella in a glimmering and magnificent silver gown and glass slippers. The white pigeon warned Bookerella to return to her house by midnight, for the charm would only last until then. Bookerella obliged and hurriedly left for the ball.

At the ball, the prince approached Bookerella and danced with her for the remainder of the night, discussing Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and the Big Bang Theory along the way. As Bookerella soon discovered, the prince was as much an intellectual as she was. Unfortunately, midnight was coming upon them and Bookerella abruptly left and ran away, dropping her glasses along the way. The prince failed to find Bookerella and instead came upon her glasses, declaring that no woman shall be his wife except for the lady to whom the glasses belonged.

The next morning, a valiant trek across the land began with the prince visiting every house in the land. He instructed every woman of the residence to wear the glasses and read a passage from his favorite book, “The Hunger Games.” Even after entering hundreds of homes, no woman seemed to be able to read with the glasses. Alas, right before the prince was going to give up, he arrived at Bookerella’s house. The stepsisters, recognizing the glasses and threw Bookerella into the closet. Despite their efforts, the prince heard Bookerella’s whimpering from the closet, opened it, and had Bookerella wear the glasses. He placed “The Hunger Games” in front of her, but Bookerella did not need it because it was also her favorite book and she had it duly committed to memory. The prince smiled and he and Bookerella embraced. The stepsisters and stepmothers cried hysterically as Bookerella and her prince lived happily ever after.