Greetings, Students!

Welcome to our Blog for English 123, Rhetoric and Composition I. This website will lead you to all the important information you need this semester. Before we can get started on what is sure to be a very exciting course, there are a few documents you need to read and become familiar with. Please read these documents carefully, and e-mail any questions you may have about them to me, as you are responsible for following the rules and regulations they cover.

Important Documents:

1) Course Policy and Procedures

2) Our Virtual Classroom: Fall 2009

3) Blogging and English 123, A User’s Guide

4) The Great Coffee Experiment!

Best of luck!

Assistant Professor Adam Crowley


Days 7, 8 and 9 (of 14)

So, I’m heading into the home stretch now, and I can pretty safely say that the psychological — as opposed to the physiological — effects have been the most profound. I really do not need coffee in any physical way. I can get up in the morning, go to sleep and night, and all of that without the coffee. I do not need it to keep headaches at bay, because I no longer have headaches.  However, what I do have is a desire to drink coffee out of habit. And this has forced me to ask what I think is a pretty important question: What else do I do simply out of habit?

What do you do out of habit?

Adam

Day 5 and 6 (of 14)

So, I made it through the weekend and into the week without any coffee. Tomorrow will mark seven coffee free days. I am finding the following changes:

  • I wake up later
  • I am generally hungrier
  • I think about going to get coffee, but not as much any more
  • Soda is a poor substitute for coffee, and this has taught me a lot about both coffee and soda
  • It has had no real impact on my general sense of well being. I run just as well now as I did when I was drinking coffee, better actually.

The biggest issue, really, that I’ve had to face so far is the issue of what I will do with the time that I want to spend getting or drinking coffee.

How are things going for the rest of you?

Day 4 (of 14)

This post is a bit later this morning because I was running errands around town. As I was doing so, I really wanted to get coffee, but did not. The basic physiological effects of the caffeine addiction seem to be fading away. I no longer have a headache, and yesterday I was able to go for a 45 minute run without feeling too tired.  I was a bit slow at the start of it, but was able to plow through it anyway.

However, I’m now facing the psychological side of things, I think. I want coffee, and am eager to drink it – even though there is no real reason for me to do so. It seems to be a pretty irrational desire on my part, as I can’t find anything to base it on, really. I just “know” that I would be happier if I had some coffee to drink. Of course, I won’t be doing this, but that does not mean that I am not thinking about it.

I’m also finding that I am hungry all of the time. I’ve been snacking more the past two days than I usually do, and I’m wondering if this is related to the coffee drinking, or lack there of. I think it is, and if so it could have interesting implications. From a nutritional point of view, there is virtually no benefit to drinking coffee – so why am I hungry? It’s not like I’m missing anything in my normal diet.

Day 3 (of 14)

Well, another morning without coffee. Today was not as bad as yesterday, though I did sleep later than I normally do. Perhaps this was because I knew there would be no coffee to wake up to? Man – I hope that’s not the case, because that would be pretty depressing if it’s true.

Anyway, the headaches have gotten much better, so that’s good. A few more days of that pounding and I would have been kicking down the door at Tim Hortons – and I_ hate_ Tim Hortons coffee. It tastes like candy to me for some reason.

In other news, my concentration is still not quite up to par. Generally, I feel scattered and am having some difficulty focusing, but – again – it’s not as bad as yesterday. Most days, I’m sharpest, or at least feel sharpest, between 8 and 10 in the morning, but for the past two days I don’t seem to really get “on-line” so to speak until around 2 in the afternoon.  Unfortunately for you guys, I do all my class planning before lunch.

Now that I am no longer drinking coffee, I am finding that my routine is changing. For example, in the morning I have a full 20 to 30 minutes that have suddenly become “free.” I’m not sure what to do with that time yet. Usually, I run in the afternoons, but now that I have that extra half hour in the morning (I was drinking a lot of coffee) I may be able to use that time for something else, something more productive.

This weekend will pose different challenges, I think. I do a lot of my writing on the weekends, and typically I drink coffee when I write in the late afternoon, as that is the time of day I normally start to crash.  There are a couple of stories I’m working on that I’d like to wrap up this weekend, so I’ll be writing – but I won’t be drinking coffee. This will put me in a bit of bind, as I tend to be pretty ruthless about doing what has to be done to get my writing projects completed. But I promise not to throw this experiment “under the bus,” even if I find I can’t concentrate long enough to produce so much as a paragraph.

Good luck to those of you who are also giving things up. This weekend will probably be somewhat more difficult for you if you have more free time on your hands than do you do during a normal week.

Day 2 (of 14)

So, the headache showed up around 1 o’clock yesterday, right in the middle of class. It stayed for the rest of the day. Around mid-afternoon, I thought I would try to “fix things” by drinking a Coke. This only made things worse, as the sugar set me on edge.

From a nutritional point of view, when I tried to fix my coffee problem with a Coke, I went way, way, way overboard. Look at this:

Nutritional Information for a medium Starbucks coffee:

Coffee:                               16 (oz)5 (calories) 10 (mg sodium) 1 (protein)

Coke of equivalent size: 194 calories 66 mg of sodium 0 Protein.

My efforts, then, netted me a whole bunch of extra calories and sodium that I usually would not get, as I do not drink much soda.

I think there are two interesting things to notice here. First, do you remember yesterday when I was talking about how concerned I was with where my food money was going? Well, that argument went out the door when I threw down 1.25 for a Coke. Coke is one of the world’s largest and most profitable companies, with a reach that far exceeds Starbucks’ reach. So my moral argument is not going to be enough to keep me from drinking coffee, it turns out.

Second, notice that I had no real understanding of how I could reasonably manage my caffeine addiction. I didn’t reach for something that was chemically similar to coffee – like tea, for example – I reached for something I presumed would do the job precisely because it was overloaded with the very same content I thought I was missing out on by skipping the coffee. Because of the minor inconvenience of a headache, I willfully reached for a “nuclear” option to mitigate it. That’s poor reasoning on my part.

So what have l learned by day two?  Basically this: if I am going to successful, I will need to arrive at a much better idea of what it is in coffee that I want and why it is that I want it.

Day One (of 14):

So, I admit it. When I woke up this morning, I thought for just a moment that I could keep on drinking coffee. I would just tell you that I was not drinking it any more. Who would know, right? It would be a perfectly honest white lie, I thought. But as I thought about it some more, I realized it would be a pretty dishonest thing to do – so no coffee. Honest. We’ll just have to trust one another about that.

One of the ideas we can take away from Ancient Futures is that we can supposedly be happier if we simplify our lives in meaningful ways. Coffee is something many of us drink without thinking much about where it comes from. For example, I drink Starbucks coffee. Check that: I drink a lot of Starbucks coffee. This product is produced by a major international corporation that impacts the lives of not only jittery Americans, but also thousands of workers in Central and South America and Africa, too. When I spend 7.00 dollars on a bag of their coffee, that money – well, some of it anyways – gets funneled back into that corporation.

So one question I might begin to ask myself is the following: When I drink coffee from Starbucks, what am I supporting? First and foremost, I’m supporting myself, right? I’m using coffee to ease an addiction, and thus am in some way “helping myself” by drinking this stuff. That’s all fine and good, but the next question to consider is what, exactly, the consequences of my actions are when I do this. Is Starbucks the kind of corporation I want to be supporting? Who am I giving my money to, anyway? 7.00 dollars is a lot of money. It’s a movie or a paperback novel.

The question of who we support with our food money is perhaps more important than we realize. Right now, Americans are as fat and unhealthy has they have ever been. The situation is so bad, in fact, that your generation is predicted to live for a shorter period of time than your parents’ generation. Think about that! And all because we can’t control what we eat or overcome some of the basic routines in our lives. Don’t think this applies to you? Well, yesterday when I asked you all to give something up, virtually no one was willing to give up anything, anything at all.

What are we so reluctant to change?

Feel free to repond to these posts if you like, and to add your own stories or accounts of what you are giving up over these next two weeks.


Unit One:

Understanding Others in a Shared World

Week One, Aug. 31 – Sept. 4: Introduction to academic discourse

Week Two, Sept. 7 – 11: Categorization and analysis

Week Three, Sept. 14 – 18: Illustrating by example

Week Four, Sept. 21 – 25: Theme to Thesis

Week Five, Sept. 28 – Oct. 2: Using the Writing Process

Unit Two:

Understanding Our Place in the World

Week Six, Oct. 4 – 9: Basic Narrative Structure

Week Seven, Oct. 12 – 16: Narrating an Experience

Week Eight, Oct. 19 – 23: Description, and Dialogue

Week Nine, Oct. 25 – 30: Using Plot to Develop Theme

Week Nine, Oct. 25 – 30: Using Plot to Develop Theme

Unit Three:

Making Connections in The World

Week Ten, Nov. 2 – 6: Argumentative Structure

Week Eleven, Nov. 9 – 13: Developing Thesis Statements

Unit Four:

Letter to the Reading Committee

Week Twelve, Nov. 16 – 20: Supporting Thesis Statements

Week Thirteen, Nov. 23 – 27: Academic Conventions

Week Fourteen, Nov. 30 – Dec. 4: Drawing Conclusions

Final TBA

Week Fifteen, Dec. 7 – 11: Evaluating Evidence

Week Sixteen, Dec. 14 – 17: Finals Week

ACADEMIC CALENDAR 2004-2005

Week One, Aug. 31 – Sept. 4: Introduction to academic discourse

Week Two, Sept. 7 – 11: Categorization and analysis

Week Three, Sept. 14 – 18: Illustrating by example

Week Four, Sept. 21 – 25: Theme to Thesis

Week Five, Sept. 28 – Oct. 2: Using the Writing Process

Week Six, Oct. 4 – 9: Basic Narrative Structure

Week Seven, Oct. 12 – 16: Narrating an Experience

Week Eight, Oct. 19 – 23: Description, and Dialogue

Week Nine, Oct. 25 – 30: Using Plot to Develop Theme

Week Ten, Nov. 2 – 6: Argumentative Structure

Week Eleven, Nov. 9 – 13: Developing Thesis Statements

Week Twelve, Nov. 16 – 20: Supporting Thesis Statements

Week Thirteen, Nov. 23 – 27: Academic Conventions

Week Fourteen, Nov. 30 – Dec. 4: Drawing Conclusions

Week Fifteen, Dec. 7 – 11: Evaluating Evidence

Week Sixteen, Dec. 14 – 17: Finals Week


ACADEMIC CALENDAR 2004-2005

9 SECOND DRAFT PAPER FOUR due; Editing and Proofing Workshop

11 Final Portfolio due; last day of classes


ACADEMIC CALENDAR 2004-2005 7 Final portfolio assembly


Class Thirty

25Jun09

ACADEMIC CALENDAR 2004-2005

2 Reflecting on the course goals.  Portfolio assembly

4 THIRD DRAFT PAPER THREE due; Portfolio assembly


ACADEMIC CALENDAR 2004-2005 30 FIRST DRAFT PAPER FOUR due; Peer-Review Workshop