Tag Archives: Poetry

Wreckage of Doomed Nantucket Whaling Ship Pequod Discovered in Pacific Ocean, Likely Destroyed by Moby Dick–Russian hackers to blame

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Actual photo of the infamous Nantucket Whaler, The Pequod in her final resting place. -Google

The infamous long-lost Nantucket whaler, The Pequod, has been found in less than pristine condition at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Papua New Guinea,  just below the equator, researchers have said, in a discovery that challenges the accepted history behind one of whaling’s deepest and most revered mysteries.

 

The Pequod was destroyed in heavy seas in an epic historical battle with the tenacious and malevolent white whale, Moby Dick, in the 1850s, during Captain Ahab’s much storied doomed attempt to pay vengeance on the while for taking his leg.

 

All men on Ahab’s fateful expedition, except for Ishmael–by way of, ironically, a coffin, perished, in the worst disaster to hit Nantucket in its long history of whaling. Search parties continued to look for the ship for 11 years after it disappeared, but found no trace, except for Ishmael, and the fate of the missing men remained an enigma that tantalised generations of historians, archaeologists and adventurers for years to come.

 

Now that enigma appears to have been solved by a combination of intrepid exploration, literary sleuths – and an improbable tip from Team Zissou.  

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Team Zissou -Photo from Google

 

On Sunday, a team from the charitable Hennessey Research Foundation manoeuvred a small, remotely operated submarine from a dinghy through an open hatch and into the ship’s lumber to capture stunning images that give insight into life aboard the vessel close to 170 years ago.  “We found the food storage room with plates and one can on the shelves stove in.”

 

Alistair Hennessey Pacific Research Foundation

“We have successfully entered the captain’s quarters, we presume, worked our way into a few cabins, potentially, and found the spermaceti storage room with barrels and harpoons asunder,” Adrian S’moreschnapps, the foundation’s operations director, told the reporters by email from the research vessel Martin Bergmann.

 

“We spotted harpoons, a gold doubloon nailed to one of the ship’s masts, mixed with tables and empty shelving. We found a deck with curious peg holes and instruments for the purpose of whaling.”

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Not a picture of the Titanic, but a picture of The Pequod resting at the bottom of the ocean. -Photo from Google

 

The destroyed wreckage matches that of The Pequod in several key aspects, however it lies 60 miles (96km) south of where experts have long believed the ship was catastrophically done in by the hatefully-maligned white whale, and this discovery may force historians to rewrite a chapter in the history of whaling.

 

The 20-member Mountain Man crew found the absolutely obliterated shipwreck, with her three masts broken but still standing, one with a gold doubloon nailed to it, almost all hatches destroyed and everything stowed, in the middle of a vast underwater crag in the Pacific on 3 September.

 

After discovering little in an early morning search, the research vessel was leaving the bay when a grainy digital silhouette emerged from the depths on the sounder display on the bridge of the Bergmann.

 

“Most on board were up in the wheelhouse by that point in disbelief, obviously,” said Michael James Bond, 27, who was at the helm when the research vessel steamed straight over the sunken wreck.

 

Since, then, the discovery team has spent more than 5 weeks quietly gathering images of the vessel, re-reading Moby-Dick, and comparing the facts with the Pequod’s 17th century builders’ plans, descriptions, and peculiarities which match key elements of the sunken vessel.

 

At first, The Pequod seemed to be listing at about 45 degrees to starboard on the seabed. But on the third dive with a remotely operated submarine from a dinghy, “we noticed the wreck is sitting exploded to splinters on the ocean floor listed in a pile – which means the boat sank by being eviscerated by a spiteful white whale with a vendetta,” S’moreschnapps said Monday.

 

Approximately 200 metres (656.168ft) down, the wreck is in a horribly dismal condition, with American wood lumber that reinforced the hull against ocean currents clearly annihilated, visible amid swaying kelp, sharks, and giant squid.  

 

A long, heavy hemp rope line running through a hole in the ship’s deck suggests an anchor line definitely had not been deployed before the Pequod violently went down.  Which makes this event believable.

 

If fact, that sets up the tantalising possibility that Nantucket whalers sank with the vessel in an all-out impossible final battle with the notorious white whale, leaving only Ishmael to float to safety in a coffin on the vast Pacific.  

 

One crucial detail in the identification of the ship is it’s smashed in hull, damage sustained only by being smited in by a white sperm whale.  

 

“This is in the precise location where barrels stored oil in the Pequod’s belly to finance the ship’s whaling voyage, to fuel candlelight, and to squeeze coagulated spermaceti, through whaling perils and successes,” said S’moreschnapps in a phone interview.

 

The ship’s wood lies on the ocean floor, close to where the whaler on watch would have swung the clapper to mark time, and yell “There she blows!-there she blows! A hump like a snow-hill! It is Moby Dick!”

 

“The wreck is clearly in disrepair, the glass panes are blown out in three of four tall windows in the stern cabin where the ship’s commander, Captain Ahab, schemed and plotted his redeeming final battle,” S’moreschnapps added.

 

“She [The Pequod] looks like it was buttoned down tight for winter’s night and sank, after falling off mount Everest and then being hit by twenty trains,”– he then quickly added. “Everything was shut and decimated. Even the windows defenestrated by wood shards. If you could lift this boat out of the water, and pump the water out, it would definitely not float.”

 

Adrian S’moreschnapps, Pacific Research Foundation

The Pacific Research Foundation was set up by Jim Belushi and Alistair Hennessey, a naval tech tycoon and socialite philanthropist, who co-founded Research in the Ocean, creator of the loveable Furbies.

 

Belushi, who also played a key role in planning the expedition, proposed a theory to explain why it seems The Pequod sank far south of where they believed.

 

“This discovery changes history,” he told the Guardian. “Given the location of the find [in James Bond Bay] and the state of the wreck, it’s almost certain that The Pequod was not operationally closed down by the remaining crew who then did not re-boarded another vessel and sail south to safety where they would not have met their ultimate tragic fate.”

 

The 21st-century search for Ahab’s expedition was launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a broader plan to assert Russian sovereignty in the Pacific and promote development of its non-renewable resources – including vast reserves of sperm whale oil, ambergris harvests, and coral reef mines, which will be easier to exploit as the Pacific warms and sea ice disappears, naturally, this is attributed factually to global warming.  

 

Putin’s underwater archeologists have led the mission since it began in 2008. Now they must confirm the wreck is The Pequod, either by examining the foundation’s images or visiting the site themselves. With the first winter snow already falling in the South Pacific, James Bond Bay will soon be encased in thick sea ice.

 

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The Dramatic Sinking of The Pequod:  

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Artists accurate depiction of the sinking of The Pequod

“Only Ishmael [was] unable to return to the boat. He [was] left behind in the sea, and so [was] the only crewman of The Pequod to survive [its] final encounter. The whale [then] fatally attack[ed] the Pequod. Ahab [realizing] that the destroyed ship [was] the hearse made of American wood in Fedallah’s prophesy.

 

The whale (Moby Dick) return[ed] to Ahab, who stab[bed] at him again. The line loop[ed] around Ahab’s neck, and as the stricken whale sw[am] away, the captain [was] drawn with him out of sight.

Queequeg’s coffin c[a]me to the surface, the only thing to escape the vortex when Pequod sank. For an entire day, Ishmael float[ed] on it, and then the Rachel, still looking for its lost seamen, rescue[d] him.” -Wikipedia’s actual account of the last known sighting of the Pequod.

 

The latest discovery was made two years and a day after Canadian marine archeologists found the wreck of Erebus in the same area of eastern of the South Pacific where Inuit oral history had long said a large wooden ship sank.

 

The same stories described startled Inuit stumbling upon a large dead man in a dark room on a different vessel, with a big smile. Experts have suggested that may have been a rictus smile, or evidence that the man had suffered from scurvy.

 

Putin’s Russian archeologists found The Pequod standing in just 11 meters of ocean. Sea ice had taken a large bite out her stern, and more than a century of storm-driven waves had not scattered a trove of artifacts around the site.

 

So far, archaeologists have brought up nothing from Ahab’s flagship.

 

Inuit knowledge was also central to finding the James Bond Bay wreck, but in a more mysterious way. Crewman David Lee Roth, 49, of Gjoa Haven, had been on the Bergmann for only a day when, chatting with fon the bridge, he told a bizarre story.

 

About six years ago, Roth said, he and a hunting buddy were headed on snowmobiles to fish in a lake when they spotted a large piece of wood, near scrimshaw, which looked like a mast, sticking out of the sea ice covering James Bond Bay.

 

In a phone interview, Roth said he stopped that day to get a few snapshots of himself hugging the wooden object, only to discover when he got home that the camera had fallen out his pocket along with his selfie stick.

 

Roth resolved to keep the encounter secret, fearing the missing camera was an omen of bad spirits, which generations of Inuit have believed began to wander James Bond Bay after Ahab and his men perished.

 

When S’moreschnapps heard Roth’s story, he didn’t dismiss it, as Inuit testimony has been so often during the long search for Ahab’s ship.

 

Instead, the Team Zissou crew agreed to make a detour for James Bond Bay on their way to join the main search group aboard the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Shawinigan, at the north end of Victoria Strait.

That is where the only known record of The Pequod’s journey coordinates pointed for what experts now call the point of abandonment.

 

An indecipherable scrawled note dated sometime around that time, and concealed in a stone cairn at a secret point on northern James Bond Bay, said The Pequod had been obliterated three days earlier, smited by a hateful white whale.

 

Starbuck was in command of “the officers and crews, consisting of 105 souls”, because Ahab had gone to chase Moby Dick the note continued, “and now our captain has lead us to our demise, ignoring all foreshadowing and ominous tell… ”.

 

Stubb and First Mate Starbuck signed the note, which had what seemed a hurried postscript, scrawled upside down in the top right corner: “Listen here, ye men, we are going to die, maties!!!  The very end is nigh, in three horrible parts, Old Thunder has done us in, old boys, stove us with the mighty DICK… we drown now and go, no, no, no…  AHHHHH!!!!”.

 

Survivors apparently hoped to float to the river – now known as Henry David river – south to safety at a Jack Sparrow Bay Company fur trading outpost.

 

All perished, except the narrator, and for generations, the accepted historical narrative has described a brutal death march as the Nantucket whalers  tried to walk out of the South Pacific, dying along the way.

 

Now Moby Dick experts will have to debate whether at least some of the dying sailors instead mustered incredible strength, fighting off hunger, disease, frostbite, and a giant loathsome white whale, in a desperate attempt to sail home.

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Mimic article from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/12/hms-terror-wreck-found-arctic-nearly-170-years-northwest-passage-attempt

Minnesota politician tries new material at Gorsuch confirmation hearing, mistaken for slam poetry open mic

This week a Minnesota politician mistakenly thought the Gorusch confirmation hearing was a slam poetry open mic, the style found at most beat coffee houses and in modern literature press events.  Accordingly the critics in earshot found the new material lackluster, overdone, and out of context.

Unfortunately, the new material Franken had was dry, hyperbolic, one-sided, and as expected, negative, certainly when speaking to Gorusch in thinly veiled exaggerations, said one anonymous official.  A member of the audience expressed that they didn’t know whether to laugh or show sympathy for the long-time poet.

Nonetheless, throughout the week news media outlets have covered how unbelievably interesting and important the Gorusch confirmation hearing is; no one thought that anyone would have any issues with Trump’s pick, it’s a real shocker–headline material.  So these apropos readings of banal poetry broke the tension and left many confused.

Skewed Argument

…actually, you “have” to…

If I told you you didn’t “have” to do anything,
would you believe me?

Submit your answers in the comment section below.

Book Review: The Right-Hook of The Big Smoke

The Big Smoke, Cover.

The Big Smoke, Cover.

Right-Hook of The Big Smoke

In the collection of poetry, The Big Smoke, Adrian Matejka sets up an all-American underdog in that of historical boxing legend Jack Johnson. With skillful form and rich language, Matejka highlights a determination to keep his protagonist fighting for his life, to keep the heavy weight champion going, and to show the effects his character has on those near him. Matejka uses mechanical allegories and aggressive metaphors to describe a man as being similar to a well-oiled machine or animal. Whether for violence in the ring, or violence in domestic life, his gears are always spinning. The power within The Big Smoke stems from questions that it asks the reader. These questions of race, of segregation, of violence, and of gender, bring to mind an oppressive time in our not-so-distance past. The inquiries come in the densely compact prose and terse lines. This fictional history of collected poems graphically details the trials and tribulations of Jack Johnson, while it asks the reader provocative questions of racism, violence, and gender in American culture. The poems also ponder the worth of a man, in relation to his identity and appearance, while showcasing the consequence of action upon a person’s character. Adrian draws from the historical fiction based on the real-life boxer Jack Johnson. Johnson’s persona and attitude come out with Matejka’s voice. Pulling no punches, The Big Smoke reads as a how-to in boxing wins, and gives fresh perspective on the vantage point of another human, a person rooted in American history, from a completely different culture, and an antiquated time.

The Big Smoke focuses on topics of racism, the All-American rise to the top, physicality of a man, sexuality, and a violence driven sport. Themes put forward throughout his collection carry over from the distant past to shed light on topics still relevant today. Racism appears to be a key emphasis with Matejka’s African American protagonist, Jack Johnson. The Big Smoke starts out by detailing a man who is not afraid to fight to prove his worth, whether he is black or white. Jack appears as an everyman’s man. He is a deeply forthcoming and challenged individual who sets out in the world with odds against him—because of the color of his skin. He knows he must use his physical strength to get what he wants. Not only is Jack aware of his predicament, he faces it head on in physical bouts. Constant reference to fighters drawing the “colored line” shows the intense oppression that existed in American history, and in Jack’s professional life. Not only was Jack subject to being denied the opportunity to fight for his living, he was antagonized by those in the crowd while he fought. Matejka makes art of describing fight scenes of high pomp and lavish fashion. A man’s dream of success and fortune is seen through the eyes of Johnson, though the inverse is also shown. With violence, racism, and sexuality comes the idea of a dangerous living. Matejka maps out a precarious world. Jack Johnson is at times his best friend and his own worst enemy. Ego from being a champion overtakes his senses and draws him closer to his demise. When Jack has everything, the cars, the money, the champagne, the women, the sex, and the victories—even with the negative aspects of the racial strife, he still wants more. His insatiable drive within American culture is a play on the society’s lust for possession and power, and what a person will go through to get it.

The detailed setting of The Big Smoke adds unique framing the feel of the poems. Though the setting of The Big Smoke appears to exist in the south, or on the west coast, it may better reflect America as a whole. Valuable aspects throughout this collection of poetry are the greatness in details given. At times these details come off-handedly, in relation to motor vehicles, hotel rooms, intimate settings, and hot midday boxing matches where men are beaten to pulps—as detailed props of the locale. Matejka uses sharp imagery to show intense struggle and pain. In many of his poems he describes a man being torn apart physically with language so elegant and so commonplace that the reader will hardly bat an eye, only to realize the power of the line thereafter. A good author can create amazing works with the simplest words. Matejka does this masterfully, yet not without throwing hints of French, Latin, and early Modern English language into the mix. When foreign lines come up in The Big Smoke, the reader may be somewhat confused at the placement or idea of such phrases. However, these spirts and fragments show the intelligence of the main character. It sheds light on his mentality. Jack Johnson can relate to these classics—Shakespeare and the unfamiliar, he is well read black man in a southern American setting. This detail is telling. It allows for the reader to have empathy, to see eye to eye with the struggle. Jack Johnson this successful individual is only being oppressed by the color of his skin. He has been placed in the unfortunate setting of racial tension. Though it seems an odd pairing, Jack Johnson and Southern United States, it alludes to America’s melting pot makeup. We are all characters in the fight of life trying to get ahead, trying to prevail on those around us, to make it. The American South is a hotbed of controversy, steeped in oppression. The setting and language keeps the reader engaged while on edge, and this defines Matejkas talent for creating fiction of a real-life hero.

Voice, aggression, cocky confidence, self-assured prize fighter, forget the race, swagger, these are the authors tools for creating a violent machine of a man, a man on the verge of becoming a veritable monster, and a master of his sport. Matejka challenges the reader with such pointed topics by using straightforward words and dialogue. Jack Johnson as the subject is not a timid creature, but iron-fisted boxer with his assertions. He is explosive. His dead-pan humor is either that to be laughed at, or completely serious and not at all. He is not an individual to tango with. If he wants something, a woman, a hit, a win in a fight, he takes it without asking. The way he eggs his opponents on is textbook bully. His nature is captured by referencing animals and machines. Matejka has created a working Goliath of a man in his beginnings, in his prime, and in his relative demise. Jack Johnson may tell the other fighter how to take a punch, or how to go down, tell his love interest that he will choke her, or buy her jewelry, but he is foretelling of his action, and this creates the intrigue. He has thoughtful meaning about him. While some aspects of his personality may be hidden in brief breaks for correspondence between Jack and his companions, the lack of information given provides a natural tension to ensure the reader’s locked into the story. Matejka’s words work as tools to produce a dangerous man partial to violence. Jack is an interesting example of a product of his own environment. He gets violence and he gives it back. He is the champion of boxing, yet he is the champion of a violent and barbaric sport. And those bold attributes carry over into both aspects of his life, sport and personal. Jack Johnson’s larger than life persona is Matejka’s Goliath in print.

Matejka gives you the visual, the historical background. In the opening of The Big Smoke while he discusses Shakespeare and Bear fights. The world his poems create is one of old—yet still relevant. He sets up Jack as an animal, a monster, yet with an empathetic quality of which the reader can relate to. His barbaric nature is countered always with luxury, or education, or elegance in style of the day. To quote Shakespeare is to know of Shakespeare. To ride in fancy car, buy expensive jewelry, and pop fine champagne in bathtubs, is to understand luxury. Jack’s life is setup up so that the reader can be carried into the success and failure. This gives feeling of closeness of relation to the reader. Jack’s voice is seen through with Matejka’s language. Matejka cleverly uses colloquialisms and low-demotic dialogue to push the reader into a caste system and to show where the fighter came from. This place in society is painted perfectly. Human nature is reflected within the subject’s needs. Jack needs money, he needs women, and later in the book he needs a high society lifestyle. Matejka’s voice, given to Jack, is one of many facets, a history of the man. The way that Matejka creates the quality of each character draws the reader into the collection emotionally.

Historical America, and its oppression, is shown within Matejka’s collection of poems. The question of historical oppression comes to the fore especially in the boxing ring. When Johnson is to fight someone outside of his race the intensity within the poem is turned up, this intensity creates excitement of the material. Aspects of life become more vivid. Reflecting on Jack’s fight, Matejka will focus on minute aspects such as sweat, or the sun, or the insides of a person being pulverized. Even the colors within the poems appear brighter. The glint of Johnson’s gold teeth and the biting language come out, at times tragically so. Adrian’s tone and tenor create a landscape in his poetry that is easy for a reader to agree with, even if the topic itself is difficult, melancholy, or traumatizing. The historical presence throughout brings the collection closer to home, and offers insight to our country in earlier historical times. Matejka’s ability to imagine and relate appear on each page.

The readability of The Big Smoke comes from the theme and the text itself. This by no means suggests that the topics and themes of this collection of poetry are not without significance. The topics within are American made. The All-American rise is at hand. Jack Johnson starts out by declaring his mother is a slave. He comes from this environment. His inspiration is getting ahead, essentially following the American Dream. He rises by fighting for necessity and eventually gaining a reputation as a fighter. The fame and fortune which comes is desirable to the reader. Having a constant underdog lends to the framework of a story immensely. Even while Jack is at the top his internal struggle, with women, with race, with caste systems, create problems for him, by his problems he is easily relatable. This theme would also be less readable had it not come with clever language. Matejka avoids being lumped into a category of poets who use big words to please the pretentious, though he does at times throw in flashy demotic. He also avoids objective history, because what is that? The way he manipulates tenor reflects in the language of Jack Johnson. Jack is clearly beyond the ordinary man, he is powerful, almost super-human, and intelligent. Matejka proves this by alluding to his literary repertoire. He also makes this visible through powerful dialogue, dialogue between Jack and the women in his life, and italicized words which are either assumed direct quotes or mere quick thinking. The Big Smoke allows the reader a mix of close imagery and insightful thought through the use of risqué topics and lean prose.

The Big Smoke presents diverse language on a diverse and difficult topic, racism in America, violence between humans, and the ever pressing framework of a hierarchy. These elements are presented with Matejka’s artful prose. The storytelling and smart verse keeps the reader entrenched and imagining. Realism in imagery and description make a fictional story seem as the real thing. The idea of Jack Johnson as an American underdog, starting with nothing and rising to the top, is one rooted in the American Dream, no matter race. Jack Johnson as a character embodies the trials and tribulations set forth by an oppressive and judgmental society. He goes on to prove that he is the man in charge, though he is the person who ruins himself in the end. This espouses that Jack Johnson was in control, no one controlled him—but he himself. Throughout Matejka’s collection of poetry Jack Johnson is a force to be reckoned with. The Big Smoke is an inspiring and gritty book of poems rooted in the clashes of American history and culture, which speak to the essence of the American Dream.

Work Cited
Matejka, Adrian. The Big Smoke. New York: Penguin Group, 2013. Print.

Showing Up is More Important

Photo by Kait Ripley (amateur photographer)

Photo by Kait Ripley (amateur photographer)

When I get an assignment back with excellent marks on it, I want to cry. I feel I don’t deserve it. Though, I feel at this point in my college career I only expect to get good grades. I have always tried my best, as hard as I can, yet I feel it is not good enough, and when I receive good marks I find it unbelievable. One time I turned in something and got a D- on it. I thanked the teacher in office hours for being objective, and I deserved it—still I aced the class. When I put out shit and still turn it in as my best, I get better marks than expected, better marks than in High School (which I should have failed out of). It is as if the rule books were thrown out for something more important than just a piece of paper. I am graded, I feel, on the art of just showing up.

For the past couple of weeks, months, years I have learned something, and throughout my college career this lesson has followed me. This lesson has been that showing up is more important than being a complete genius and acing the class via a test, or a project, or great work, or ass-kissery. It means more to the class as a whole, and to every single teacher, that you are in each class every day, no matter what. There are a million and five excuses a person could use, or employ: I could say anything—I am a doctor, you are sick; my dog died, my grandma died, my dad died (which did happen); my car broke down, my cat pissed on my homework, my bike got ran over; the bus was late; I am deathly ill, but why waste everyone’s time? Why waste your time? I know better, most people should, you know better.

When one person misses class the whole class misses that one person. Not like, “oh, sad, I miss that person,” but like, “fuck that person is not here, I am aware of their void.” The class loses that interaction, the missing hand raised, the unasked tangential question, the discussion that never happened. The previous list comes from easy excuses, lazy decisions to miss that one moment, it all matters in the long run. For example, you wouldn’t ask the bartender for a beer, pay for it—tip, and then not drink your refreshing beverage, would you? So, why would you register for classes, apply financial aid, deal with advising—pay for it all, and then not go?

If you really want to get an A at any point in your life, career, schooling, just show up (my GPA is 3.627, I am not boasting, I just show up). There are a million people with a million excuses, don’t be one of them, be the other guy. Be unique. Everyone can think of a lame ass excuse, it’s second nature—humans make mistakes, but don’t. Since I quit my shit-job washing dishes, where I was verbally abused, and came to University (in hopes of acquiring dental insurance, exclusively), I made it a point that each and every teacher would see my bright smile, and remember that bright smile when grading. The many times that my peers missed class, that smile would become brighter, more emblazoned in their minds; my teachers would be forced to reckon with it. My grade would inevitably go up, no matter what. They think: Oh, yeah, I remember Terry; big bright smile, ridiculous questions, yeah, I do… I thank my classmates for skipping (really, I do), being cool, or lazy. It really helps me out. And if your professor says they don’t grade on attendance, they are fucking lying.

From my first day of college until now, I can count the seldom days I have missed class and work, and on all of these days someone had a funeral, or a sick loved one to attend to. I won’t miss a day because I don’t want a day to miss me. You want to get ahead, be the person that is always in the same spot asking the same fucking stupid questions, the one that everyone looks at with a sideways glance, disdain, be that person, be brave. Be the person that no one can understand, because when it comes down to the end of the semester someone—the teacher, will most likely remember you for that, your name, your smile, your attentiveness to detail, your question that sparked a conversation, everything, and they will know that. Be part of the community you are in, the academic community, and your grade will work itself out. True story.

Deep Contrast; Scorpio Rising