Unit Reflection and Response

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Unit Reflection and Response

  1. Include the link to your blog here: www.aaronthewriterng.wordpress.com

2. Which of your pieces was the most challenging to write? Give three reasons and explain.

I think that my college essay was the most challenging to write. First, it was really difficult to pick a topic that I wanted to write on because many of the topics were really broad or random. Another reason I thought that this essay was challenging was because I had to practice writing by showing rather than telling. This wasn’t easy for me because I am used to writing essays for previous courses that required facts not stories. The last reason is that I didn’t know how I could make the essay really stand out; the type that would guarantee me an acceptance from any college I apply to.

3. Which of your pieces was the most enjoyable to write?  Give three reasons and explain.

Without a doubt, the restaurant review was a piece that I most enjoyed writing. We had to research and take a look at many different reviews online to get a taste of how a review should look like. Through that process, I was able to discover many new restaurants that I would like to visit in my free time. Also, it gave my family and I an incentive to go out and enjoy some expensive, mouth-salivating food. That then led to an amazing dinner at a Korean restaurant in Tsim Sa Tsui. So through all this I was able to learn how to write a review, discover new restaurants, and try new food.

4. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?  Explain.

I may not be the best at writing, but I think that a strength I possess as a writer is that I have the ability to create a smooth and fluent sentence. Whether I am proof-reading my own essay or my friend’s essay, I am able to reconstruct sentences to sound less chunky or strange. However, as I have discovered at the beginning of this course, I do not have the ability to incorporate stories into my essays. My teacher and peers have constantly reminded me that I should show rather than tell what I have to say because stories are more gripping and interesting to read.

5. What have you done to develop your strengths and minimize your weaknesses as a writer? How successful do you feel you have been?  Explain.

Since I was kid, I have always been told that reading helps your writing. So during the course of this semester I have been reading a bit here and there whenever I have free time in hope to improve my writing. To develop my strength in sentence fluency, I always double check with my peers to see whether or not a sentence sounded alright, because a second opinion is always better. As for minimizing my weakness of telling rather than showing, I have attempted writing my essays with more voice, scenarios, and stories to make a stronger point. I am still a little unsure whether I am successful at minimizing my weakness because I get different opinions from my peers and teacher. The grade I have received from my teacher in all my essays has been constant through the year and has not shown any improvement. However, through my peers’ comments, I noted that people have begun to notice the increased amount of showing rather than telling scenarios in my essays. Therefore, I think that I have improved my weakness, but just not yet to the level that satisfies my teacher.

6. What kind of future career or field of study are you considering?  What kinds of writing might be important in this career or field? Explain, giving specific examples.

A future career I am considering is business consulting. Unlike some types of writing submitted in high-school courses, business consulting requires the consultant to write in an advising, professional, and to-the-point manner, instead of describing stories or scenarios. When reviewing financial statements, evaluating business competitors, or analyzing business practices, the consultant has to give feedback with facts and statistics. Having said this, I think that my essay “Success: Just an Act of Courage Away” is a type of writing that I would use in my future career. I will be required to back up my opinions and statements with facts and evidence that I discover through research, calculations, and historical examples.

7. What advice would you offer the College Writing teachers as they plan this unit for next year? What might be some additional pieces of writing to add and why? How was the timing and pacing? Did you receive enough feedback? Did you receive enough instruction and input so you knew how to do each assignment? You can make specific comments about specific assignments here. What did you like or not like and why? What would make this unit more student-friendly, provide more learning, or make it more interesting?  Explain.

I am not an expert, but I think that College Writing teachers should include more essays that students will most likely receive in college. Practicing these kinds of topics will help students in the future to cope better with such tasks. For the timing and pacing of essays, I think that they were pretty good. Essays were not given one class and due the next, there was a step-by-step process that the students had to go through, such as rough drafts, peer-editing, reflections, and so on. This usually took a week or two, which gave students adequate amount of time to cope with the essay being written and other subjects’ assignments. However, I was one of the many victims that were given an essay assignment that was due the day after a school concert. This made it hard for students to finish their essay with the limited time available that night. It is also stated in the handbook that homework should not be turned in the day after a concert. Other than that, most of the timing was good and gave students enough time to finish an assignment. Through the peer-editing process, I received many critical and helpful comments and feedback. But I don’t think I received enough feedback or advice from my teacher. In my opinion, the teacher should review each student’s rough draft and advise what to do next. I believe that this will thoroughly develop each student’s writing and help them in their future colleges, when only final drafts are turned in. As for the teacher’s instructions and input on each assignment, I believe it was good enough that students were able to complete assignments. Any questions that the students had were answered by the teacher, which helped students get a better idea of what the teacher was looking for. An assignment that was not posted on this blog was the resume assignment. I think that this assignment was given with good instructions, ideas, and advice by the teacher, but not for the final product. What I mean by this is that the teacher did not give me any feedback when I turned in my rough draft, and thus, I later handed my rough draft in as my final copy, thinking that my resume was okay. Only after I received my final grade for this resume assignment, was I told what I was missing in my resume. For future assignments, I think that this class should include more declarative types of essays that require students to effectively portray facts, rather than tell stories.

Reflection: This is Who I Am

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1.  What were the strengths of your paper?  What did you do particularly well, what do you have to be proud of? What are the best elements that you could build on?

After I read some of my peers’ essays, I didn’t think that my paper was exceptionally unique. However, I think that I did particularly well on my sentence fluency and mechanics. I was able to establish sentences that got my points across and also at the same time, made sense. I also noticed a repeating pattern in my teacher’s and peers’ comments that little mistakes could be found in the mechanics area of my essay. Although mechanics isn’t always something that people are proud of, I am elated by the fact that there aren’t many observable mistakes in my paper. Mechanical errors was something that I use to struggle with, therefore, it is a personal accomplishment that I was able to write an essay without many mechanical errors.

2.  What are some weaknesses in the paper that you could address?

After I reread my essay, I was shocked by the way I “told” a lot of my stories, instead of “showing” them. A weakness that I think I should address is disability to merge my voice and personality into my essay. Therefore, I wasn’t able to add liveliness into my essay because of this weakness. Another weakness my paper possessed was that I didn’t transition my paragraphs well enough. I need to work to improve transitioning my paragraphs well enough so that it makes sense to the readers.

3.  If you had a chance to start this assignment over from scratch, what might you do differently and why?

If I had a chance to start this assignment over from scratch, I think that the two major things I would do differently about my essay is adding transitions and changing my style of writing. Those are my two big weaknesses that really harmed my essay and I would want to fix that first. I want to be able to use smart transitions that make my essay flow smoothly and easier to understand. I would also change my style of writing into more of a story, filled with emotions, voice, and engaging words.

4. What have you learned from this assignment that you could use to be a better writer on future assignments?  Choose ONE area of improvement that you really want to focus on for upcoming assignments. What is it? Explain how you can improve on this element of your writing.

To be honest, as I prepared myself to write this “Who Am I?” essay, I didn’t know where to start. It is the first time I had written an essay for school in over two months.  However, after Mr. Nollan graded our essays, I was able to catch a glimpse of how essays should be written when he showed a few examples to the class. An area of improvement that I have already mentioned is changing my writing style. This is an area of improvement that I really want to focus on for upcoming assignments and can be achieved by writing in a more story-like style that produces a more lively and interesting paper. I was in awe and envy after reading the examples that were shown to class because they were actually really engaging and fun to read. I think I can improve this more by showing my emotions and voice, rather than just stating it and telling the readers.

Final: Environmental Essay

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Silent, but Deadly

Holocene extinction, soil contamination, and global warming are just a speck among tons of other environmental problems that are harassing the world today. However, many people have yet to step up and fix the problems that are commonly found on a day-to-day basis. Words that aren’t put into practice are just words and if I am not bothered to “walk the talk” then who would? I believe that a problem that is personally attainable at the moment would be to reduce my foodprint. Food waste is another environmental problem that is still affecting the world today; it is an everyday, occurring problem that is slowly chewing away at the world’s resources. The decisions we make in organizing and saving food will bestow upon us the consequences or benefits of our actions on a world-wide scale.

After doing a bit of research, I’ve realized that Hong Kong isn’t so much of the “Pearl of the Orient” as I thought it was. I was disgusted by the outraging statistics I came across in my findings. 3,200 tons of food are sent to a landfill every single day and a third of all solid waste in Hong Kong is simply, food. Globally, a third of the food produced is lost, which is about 1.3 billion tons of food. I don’t know about you, but these figures are simply just too shocking to see. The aim and strive for economic success has short-sighted many people from seeing the bigger picture, that little things, such as not finishing those last few grains of rice on the plate for dinner, is affecting the community as a whole. Waste is still waste, no matter how big or small, because in the end, the effect remains the same, food is wasted.  This shouldn’t be an excuse for the damage and harm that we are inflicting upon our futures, our children’s futures, and even our descendants’ futures a hundred years from now.

Recently, the consequences of food wasting has been brought to my attention through a movement that is my school has been trying to encourage. I was informed of all the steps my school was willing to take in order to help create a healthy educational community. Reducing, reusing, and recycling were given as solutions in order to help guide students in the right direction. Students would pranced towards the bins, food is poured out plate after plate, as if they were too busy to notice, too important to care, or just too guilty to comprehend the amount of produce they are wasting. After witnessing food being thrown into the bins of the cafeteria day after day, I am relieved to see that my school is willing to make a change.

Now I, a student myself, has found myself on a journey that begins at a crossroad where a decision has to be made. A decision either to put my pride aside by reminding other students of the amount of food they are wasting, or to take the easy route and continue my life as a student focusing on my own personal gain and accomplishments. Honestly, I would rather enjoy taking the path where I do not have to worry about anyone but myself. But after all, what is the point of striving towards a life of” success” in the world, when there might not even be much of a world left to strive for. I have decided to take this problem by the scruff of its neck and make it one of my goals to help the world in solving this ever-growing problem.

I believe that it is essential, a responsibility, for a member of this planet to nurture it back to health at its time of need. If 6.9 billion people were able to contribute a miniscule amount in sustaining this problem, I’m sure that eventually the world will be able to take a hold on the reins of this problem and point it towards the right direction.  Before it is too late, we must smack the problem at the back of its head now and prevent any possible further manifestation of its growth in other parts of the world before it is too late.

Rough Draft: Environmental Essay

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Just Another Problem of the World

Holocene extinction, efficient energy use, global warming, soil contamination, and genetic pollution are just a speck among tons of other environmental problems that are harassing the world today. But what is the world doing to fix these problems? Actually, scratch that, I think that the better question is, how can I as an individual, help to minimize and rid the world of these problems?  I believe that a problem that is personally attainable for me at the moment is reducing my foodprint. Food waste is one of the other environmental problems that are affecting the world today; it is an everyday, occurring problem that is slowly chewing away at the world’s resources. The decisions that we make in organizing and saving food will bring upon us the consequences or benefits of our actions on a world-wide scale.

Hong Kong isn’t so much of the “Pearl of the Orient” as I thought it was after all. After doing a bit of research, I was disgusted by the outraging statistics I came across in my findings. 3,200 tons of food is sent to landfill every single day and a third of all solid waste in Hong Kong is food. Globally, a third of the food produced is lost, which is about 1.3 billion tons of food. I don’t know about you, but these figures are just simply shocking to see. The aim and strive for economic success has short-sighted many people from seeing the bigger picture, that little things, such as not finishing those last few pieces of rice on the plate for dinner, is affecting the community as a whole. Waste is still waste, no matter big or small, because in the end, the effect remains the same, food is wasted.  This shouldn’t be an excuse for the damage and harm we are inflicting on our futures, our children’s futures, and even our descendants’ futures a hundred years from now.

Recently, the problem of food wasting and its consequences has been brought to my attention through a movement that is my school has been trying to encourage. I was informed of all the steps my school was willing to take in order to help create a healthy educational community. Reducing, reusing, and recycling were given as solutions to help guide students in the right direction. After witnessing food being thrown into the bins of the cafeteria day after day, I am relief to see that the school is willing to make a change. Students pranced towards the bins, food is poured out plate after plate, as if they were too busy to notice, too important to care, or just too guilty to comprehend the amount of produce they are wasting.

Now I, a student myself, has found myself on a journey that begins at a crossroad where a decision has to be made. A decision to put my pride aside by reminding other students of the amount of food they are wasting, or to take the easy route and continue my life as a student focusing on my own personal gain and accomplishments. Honestly, I would rather enjoy taking the path where I do not have to worry about anyone but myself. But after all, what is the point of striving towards a life of” success” in the world, when there might not even be much of a world left to strive for. I have taken the decision to take the problem by the scruff of its neck and to make it one of my goals to help the world in some way or another in solving this ever-growing problem.

I believe that is essential, a responsibility even, for a member of this planet to nurture it back to health at its time of need. That time is now, and If 6.9 billion people were able to contribute a miniscule amount in sustaining this problem, I’m sure that eventually the world will be able to take a hold on the reins of this problem and point it towards the right direction.  Before it is too late, we must smack the problem at the back of its head now, preventing any possible further manifestation of its growth in other parts of the world.

Peer-Editing: Persuasive Research Paper

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Elizabeth Lee

Ideas/Content/Organization: 4/5

Good start. You have a good quote in the introduction to start off your essay. However, make sure the ideas are connected. After the quote, you should follow it up with something actually about courage instead of suddenly talking about fame. Also, in the second paragraph, you might want to cut down on the history. Some background on Alexander is good, but you want to use the majority of your writing on the persuading part instead of writing up a history paper. The history was interesting though. But make sure you spend more time arguing your case.

Final: Persuasive Research Paper

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Success: Just an Act of Courage Away

 “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway,” answered John Wayne, as the interviewer began to draw the meeting to a close. To many people, courage is building up the nerve to do something that could be risky. But to me, courage plays a determining role in a person’s search for success. It seems that all society cares about having nowadays is fame, money, and success. Human beings have somehow taken this subjective idea of what courage is and evolved it into a word that can only be defined by money, fame, and earthly possessions. Therefore, at some point in your life you will probably find yourself wondering (if you haven’t already) and hoping to answer the question, “What would it take to be successful?” The way Alexander the Great conquered the nations around the Mediterranean, Bill Gates dominated the computer industry, my Asian Studies project group aced our project, and James in the Bible taught us to have faith reveal the most important factor to achieving success: having the courage to act upon an ambitious idea.

Strong connections between success and courage were unveiled and made clear to me in The Greeks: A Great Adventure, by Isaac Asimov, the story of the great and all-powerful Alexander III of Macedon. Born in Pella to King Philip II of Macedon, Alexander was immediately thrown into a world of great riches and power (Asimov 210). Under the wing of his tutor, Aristotle, Alexander fell in love with the works of Homer, especially the Iliad (211). Thus, inspired by the war heroes from his storybooks and pure hunger, Alexander headed out on a conquest to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of expanding his father’s empire. After dying from a fever at the age of 33, Alexander left behind a large legacy; his empire stretched from Macedonia all the way to the edge of India (223). The odds were against him; however, he wasn’t fearful of anyone, not even the mighty mass of the Persian Empire (214-218). Therefore, with a bit of luck and a dash of genius, Alexander was able to win every battle; becoming one of the greatest military leaders of all time.

Before rising up to revolutionize the world with his ingenious ideas, the affluent Bill gates started off as an ordinary boy. At just seventeen years of age, Bill Gates had already sold his first computer program (“Profile: Bill Gates”). In the next three years, he and his friend, Paul Allen, designed the world’s first computer language program, now known as Microsoft. Taking an unimaginable risk, Bill Gates audaciously decided to throw away his education by dropping out of Harvard and establishing a company for Microsoft (“Profile: Bill Gates”). Today, Bill Gates is one of the richest and most successful men to have set foot on earth. As of September 2013, he was deemed to have a net worth of 72 billion US dollars (“Bill Gates”). If Bill Gates hadn’t taken the chance to jump in headfirst, as an act of courage towards pursuing his dreams, he would most likely be the ordinary boy, just grown up. Without his various contributions to technology and courageous spirit, millions of us would probably not even have access to a computer.

Ending the 2013 school year with an A+ in Asians Studies was something I had never anticipated. Students enrolled in this course were put into groups and given a topic for further research for an exam grade. The teacher also provided multiple presentation ideas; however, it seemed as if everyone had already chosen subconsciously to create a simple, easy, and dull poster lacking both creativity and ingenuity. I, on the other hand, had a bigger vision for my group.  Feeling a rare sense of creativity burning passion in my bones, I had a desire to make a stop-motion video for my group’s presentation. Stop-motion videos require a multitudinous amount of time, patience, and effort. It was by far not the most appealing option to my group members. However, I persisted with my idea and we miraculously managed to complete this project before the deadline. After a long period of time filled with doubt and nervous jitters, the project was finally graded. To everyone’s delight, my group surprisingly received an A+ for our project. It was only through our courage to seize this challenge that we were able to end the year on a successful note.

James instructs the world to put faith into action in the verses James 2:14-17. He wrote, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (Bible Gateway). These verses prove the truth behind the importance of taking action and running with an idea. There is no outcome or benefit for those who do not act out in faith and courage. If no one is willing to take the risk, then faith is surely “dead”; nothing will come out of something that isn’t pursued. Even if one were bound to fail, he or she would never know the outcome of the effort given if the chance wasn’t taken.

To get the chance to smother one’s face in success, one must tackle an ambitious idea with bravery and fearlessness. This is proven by the stories of the strong-willed Alexander the Great, the vigorous Bill Gates, my audacious Asian Studies group, and the philosophical James, who teaches to act on faith. Therefore, instead of sitting back and watching our mediocre lives race by, we must grasp each opportunity by the scruff of the neck and chase it down as if our lives depend on it. Courage is being scared to death and still saddling up, because without saddling up, we could never ride off into the sunset with the wind in our hair and know what it fully feels like to fly.

Works Cited:

“50 Best Success Quotes of All Time.” Under30CEO. N.p., 24 Aug. 2009. Web. 09 Dec. 2013. <http://under30ceo.com/50-best-success-quotes-of-all-time/&gt;.

Asimov, Isaac. The Greeks; a Great Adventure. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965. Print.

“Bible Gateway.” New International Version (NIV Bible). The Zondervan Corporation, 1993. Web. 01 Dec. 2013. <http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/New-International-Version-NIV-Bible/&gt;.

“Bill Gates.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, Sept. 2013. Web. 08 Dec. 2013. <http://www.forbes.com/profile/bill-gates/&gt;.

“Profile: Bill Gates.” BBC News. BBC, 26 Jan. 2004. Web. 04 Dec. 2013. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3428721.stm&gt;.

Rough Draft: Persuasive Research Paper

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Success: Just a Courage Away

 “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway,” answered John Wayne, as the interviewer began to draw the meeting to a close. To many people, courage is taking up the responsibility to do something that could be risky. But to me, courage plays a determining role in a person’s search for success. It seems that all societies only care about is fame, money, and success. Human beings have somehow taken this subjective idea and evolved it into a word that can only be defined by money, fame, or earthly possessions. Therefore, at some point of your life, you would have probably asked yourself this question, “What would it take to be successful?” The most important factor in achieving success is having the courage to act upon an ambitious idea.  This is evident in the way Alexander the Great conquered the nations around the Mediterranean, the way Bill Gates dominated the computer industry, the way my group aced our Asian Studies project, and the way James taught us in the Bible to have faith.

Through the book, The Greeks: A Great Adventure, by Isaac Asimov, the story of the great and all-powerful Alexander III of Macedon revealed strong connections between courage and success. Born in Pella to King Philip II of Macedon, Alexander was immediately thrown into a world of riches and power (Asimov 210). Under the wing of his tutor, Aristotle, Alexander fell in love with the works of Homer, especially the Iliad (211). Thus, inspired by the war heroes from his storybooks and having a hunger to expand his father’s empire, Alexander headed out on a conquest to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. After dying from a fever at the age of 33, Alexander’s empire stretched from Macedonia all the way to the edge of India (223).  Although the odds were against him not once, but multiple times, he wasn’t fearful of anyone, even the mighty Persian Empire (214-218). Therefore, with a bit of luck and a stroke of genius, Alexander never lost a single battle and was able to become one of the greatest military leaders of all time.

Rising to become a person who completely revolutionized the world, the affluent Bill gates started off as an ordinary boy. At just seventeen years of age, Bill Gates had already sold his first computer program (“Profile: Bill Gates”). In the next three years, he and his friend, Paul Allen, designed the world’s first computer language program known as Microsoft. Then taking an unimaginable risk, Bill Gates and Paul Allen audaciously decided to throw away his education by dropping out of Harvard and establishing a company for Microsoft (“Profile: Bill Gates”). Today, Bill Gates is one of the richest and most successful men to have set foot on this earth. As of September 2013, he was deemed to be a net worth of 72 billion dollars USD (“Bill Gates”). If he had not taken that chance to chase his dream, who knows where he would be today. If someone else had taken over the computer industry, millions of us may not even have access to a computer.

Ending the year 2012-2013 with an A+ in Asians Studies was something that I had not anticipated. Students enrolled in this course were put into groups and given a topic. The teacher also provided multiple presentation ideas, but it seemed like everybody had already chosen to make an easy, simple poster. I, on the other hand, had a bigger vision for my group.  Feeling a rare sense of creativity incarnating in my bones, I had a desire to make a stop-motion video for my group’s presentation. Stop-motion videos required a lot of time, patience, and effort; things that didn’t appeal to my group members. However, persisting on with my idea, we miraculously managed to complete this project before the deadline. After a period of doubts and nervous jitters, our projects were finally graded. To everyone’s delight, my group surprisingly received an A+ for our project. It was only through our courage to seize this challenge that we were able to end the year on a successful note.

James instructs the world to put action into faith in James 2:14-17. He wrote, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (Bible Gateway). These verses prove the truth behind the importance of taking up action on an idea. There is no outcome or benefit for those who do not act out in faith. If no one is willing to take the risk, then it is surely “dead” because nothing will come out of something that isn’t pursued. Even if one was bound to fail, he or she will never know the outcome if the chance wasn’t taken.

To get the chance to smother one’s face in success, one must tackle an ambitious idea with bravery and fearlessness. This is proven by the stories of the strong-willed Alexander the Great, the vigorous Bill Gates, my audacious Asian Studies group, and the philosophical James who tells us to do something about our beliefs. Therefore, instead of sitting back and watching our mediocre lives fly by, we must grasp opportunities and ideas by the scruff its neck and chase it down as if our lives depended on it.

 

Works Cited:

“50 Best Success Quotes of All Time.” Under30CEO. N.p., 24 Aug. 2009. Web. 09 Dec. 2013. <http://under30ceo.com/50-best-success-quotes-of-all-time/&gt;.

 

Asimov, Isaac. The Greeks; a Great Adventure. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965. Print.

 

“Bible Gateway.” New International Version (NIV Bible). The Zondervan Corporation, 1993. Web. 01 Dec. 2013. <http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/New-International-Version-NIV-Bible/&gt;.

 

“Bill Gates.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, Sept. 2013. Web. 08 Dec. 2013. <http://www.forbes.com/profile/bill-gates/&gt;.

 

“Profile: Bill Gates.” BBC News. BBC, 26 Jan. 2004. Web. 04 Dec. 2013. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3428721.stm&gt;.