Unpacking Manuel’s Tavern: A Final Reflection

My analysis began with the deconstruction of New Belgium’s artwork.  A meticulous observation of the painting reveals a strong, implied message: the pure enjoyment of life amidst desolation and bleakness. This implicit analysis parallels the mission of Manuel’s and thus the overall controlling idea of my review: the use of camaraderie and merriment associated with drinking as a means of social change. This social change can simply be cathartic, a cleansing of past burdens and hardships, or a significant milestone, such as the formation of a new relationship. The addition of a central idea that ties in closely with the Tavern’s promise to supply grounded and fruitful conversation between individuals from all backgrounds made my final draft much stronger than my initial one.

This particular assignment helped me better understand writing as a process. Drafting was never really a concept I incorporated fully in my writing process, making this assignment quite unique. I found that drafting is quite beneficial in terms of outlining ideas and formalizing structure. Researching Manuel’s Tavern, New Belgium, and even the watercolor artist was undoubtedly interesting and heavily informative. Revision and editing were particularly emphasized in this project, skills that are always useful to bolster even though they come natural to my writing process.

Unpacking Manuel’s has been an eye-opener for me in numerous aspects. Through meeting with Professor Morgen I have learned to establish a central idea that allows my work to become much more cohesive instead of having multiple ones scattered throughout the piece. Visualizing Unpacking Manuel’s as a whole instead of simply focusing on my object through close reading was the most fruitful part of this project for me. Linking numerous components in order to compose a single, significant whole is an extremely useful analytical asset to master.





Manuel’s Tavern Final Reflection

Ocean Race Map

Much like the complexity of the legs and the length of the journey during the yacht race, the writing process for this piece was much more difficult than expected. Source image from Skip_49

This tavern piece focused largely around the theme of collectiveness and universality. More specifically, this piece focused on how the history of the tavern isn’t confined to the walls of the tavern, describing events from all around the world. Also, there is a sense of unity, as the poster describes an event that is powerful enough to bring together so many contrasting cultures and nationalities to compete for one common goal collectively. Not only is the tavern’s history vast and rich, it invites any individual to come enjoy the history for themselves, no matter who they are or where they come from.

From all the close readings on the yacht race, it was clear that this event wasn’t catered to a specific country, unlike sports such as American football. The sheer scope of the event is quite extraordinary: not only are there over 20+ nationalities competing, the race also has legs that dock in every continent (excluding the the Arctic areas). So I really wanted to cater my piece to this idea of universality, because events such as this race are extremely unique (another comparable event is the Olympics, but on a much smaller scale). I feel this version of the piece focuses much more on global outreach and impact, as well as nuanced lessons the poster can teach. The piece evolved to be less about just how the history is super broad and global (like in the first draft), but more about fundamental human ideals such as cooperation and teamwork that are often overlooked. To me, there is a deeper meaning the poster tries to instill, making the tavern feel more open and accessible, as well as promoting a healthy and friendly milieu.

The way this piece evolved really helped me appreciate the tavern more, because I finally started to see why its walls and history are so heralded. My draft felt more like fact spewing in the beginning, focusing very little on any deeper meanings and nuances. But, as I began re-editing and thinking about the tavern itself, I realized that the poster and the race could symbolically represent ideals that are extremely paramount. My writing really progressed as I continued the process of 1) taking all the facts I knew, 2) compiling them holistically, and 3) applying them to unearth the essence of the poster. Eventually the piece became much more powerful and intriguing to read.

I think this piece would be a great opening introduction piece to the tavern. A topic such as universality and unity can really help coalesce all the artifacts on the tavern walls into one beautiful art piece. I’m quite proud with how the piece turned out, especially considering how hard I struggled in the beginning to discern any meaningful connections from this poster to the tavern. Overall, I think the steps I took in my research and writing became more and more effective as the assignment progressed, especially looking at the poster from a holistic viewpoint. Pieces like these are much more engaging than a typical analytical essay, due to the fact that it requires introspection more so than evidence-based fact spewing.

Podcast Reflection

Once you and your co-producer have each completed your podcast episode, you should each write separate reflection posts, published to your own sites. Embed the Soundcloud episode in your post (if I haven’t published the episode yet when you publish your post, just edit the post later to add the link once I have).

Your refection should be 250 – 500 words and should be in the form of an essay with complete paragraphs, not as a list of bullet point answers.

Reflection Questions

Include a brief description of your process for developing the podcast. How did you and your co-producer divide up the tasks involved and how did you structure your collaboration? In what ways does your episode respond to the other episodes in the series — in other words, compare your episode to the ones before it, explaining how you gained inspiration from, adapted, or resisted something that your peers did in their episodes.

Please describe your primary goals with the episode that you produced and explain the strategies that you used to achieve them. You’re producing these episodes under a number of time and technological constraints, so it’s likely that there will be some goals that you just cannot accomplish within those constraints — address what challenges arose for you and the choices you made to meet them and/or describe what you would have done differently had you more time/resources available for your episode (in other words, what are some aspirational goals that were perhaps unrealistic given the constraints of the assignment but that you would have liked to have tried to accomplish if circumstances were different?).

How do you see your work on the podcast episode helping you to achieve the learning outcomes for this course? Link to the specific learning outcome posts that applied to your work on this assignment, and explain how you met that outcome with your work on this assignment.

Make sure you address the sets of questions above and then also consider some of the questions below and address them in your reflection (you definitely won’t be able to answer all of these, so go through the list and pick some that seem to be most of interest for you and write about them):

  • Were the strategies, skills and procedures I used effective for this assignment?
  • Do I see any patterns in how I approached my work on this episode? How was producing a podcast similar to or different from writing more traditional essays?
  • What have I learned about my strengths and my areas in need of improvement?
  • How am I progressing as a learner?
  • What suggestions do I have for my peers as they go about working on their episodes to come?
  • How can I apply the skills I used in crafting this podcast episode to future writing projects? Where can I use these skills again?
  • What are you most proud of about the episode that you created?

Gone Home Reflection

Editor’s note: If someone ever asks you to chaperone a high school band trip, don’t do it in the winter when everything gets canceled because it might snow or you’ll end up working very hard to occupy a group of kids trapped in a hotel room. Just fyi.

As you play through Gone Home for class on Tuesday, please try to pay attention to your own thinking and emotional reaction as you play and take notes as you go. If we were a little later in the semester and you were more comfortable with publishing to your sites, I might have asked you to liveblog your game play — feel free to try that if you’re willing.1 Probably most of you will choose instead to play through the game, taking notes of the things you notice, and then when you’re finished write a blog post with about 3 paragraphs worth of reflection on the experiences.

Pay careful attention to the start of the game. How does the game begin? How do you feel at the start? How does the game establish setting and time, both at the start of the game and then throughout? How does the game establish character? Especially think about how the game establishes character given that there is only one person present in the narrative and it’s the first person narrator–without dialog and other traditional methods of defining character, how do the game designers go about doing so? Finally, your first larger writing project will build from our discussion of Gone Home towards thinking about how games make use of objects and descriptions of those objects in order to shape narrative, so pay particular attention to all the various things that you pick up and examine and how the writing frames the meaning of those objects.

You do not need to address all of these questions. You do not even need to answer any of these questions, to be honest–if there is a different pattern that really captures your attention and you feel a burning desire to explore it in your blog post, then do that instead of answering the questions in the paragraph above.

  1. There are a number of different ways that you might liveblog game play. If you want to try it but aren’t sure how to pull it off, my suggestion is to open up your site in a tab and then launch the game. Just look around at the start point of the game for a minute or two, then write a blog post in which you announce your intention to liveblog your experience playing the game and then write a couple of sentences about the start point and publish the post. Then whenever you notice something interesting or worth commenting on as you play, leave a comment on the post with your observation. Boom, liveblogging.