Comp I - Classification

Classification Essays


Chris Anderson

Iceland is known as the land of “Fire and Ice,” but it is also a land where Vikings still roam and natural beauty abounds.  Imagine a sentinel of sheer rock cliffs over a hundred feet high meeting the attack of never ending waves crashing in from the North Atlantic Ocean.  The smell of salty sea air and the distant shriek of a gull greets each new day.  Imagine people lost in time; true Vikings directly descended from those who first arrived on longboats hundreds of years ago.  This is a land as highly diverse and foreboding as anywhere on earth.  This is Iceland.

The island country of Iceland sits atop the northern part of the mid-Atlantic rift.  Much of this gash on the earth’s surface runs beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean like a zipper from north to south.  The only section of this great rift that is actually above the surface runs right through Iceland, meaning it is one of the most geologically active places on earth.  There are many volcanoes and the land is spreading apart at the rate of a few centimeters each year.  To illustrate this continuous spreading, there is a walkway bridge that goes over the exact area where this pulling apart is happening.  On one side of the bridge a person is in Europe, on the other side, North America.  This bridge must be lengthened every few years as the gap grows.  Due to its location so far to the north, glaciers also make up a large portion of Iceland.  Sometimes the glaciers cover dormant volcanoes until they reawaken, sending torrents of muddy water down to the ocean to destroy everything in their path.  Geology has been, and will continue to be, the biggest player in shaping Iceland’s history.

The people of Iceland, especially those that work the sea as fishermen, are as rugged and windswept as Iceland.  Shaking their hand is like grasping onto shoe leather.  Their language is virtually unchanged from the first Viking settlers who arrived from Norway in their longboats hundreds of years ago.  Even as Norway inhabitants evolved their language, the Icelanders did not.  Journeying through the streets, I was amazed at the length of the street signs and building names – not to mention how difficult the language was to try to learn!  Thankfully, most Icelanders speak English quite fluently, but it was my attire that usually melted the ice for me whenever I would go downtown.  During the two years I lived there, I usually wore some sort of Minnesota Vikings clothing whenever I would go downtown or to a village.  My attire would always catch the attention and curiosity of the locals, causing them to approach me and ask questions.  I would tell them that there are many people of Scandinavian descent that live in Minnesota and that in a way we honor their heritage by calling our football team the Vikings.  A sure-fire ice breaker!  The Icelanders have found a way based on their proud Viking heritage to become one with this harsh land.

Iceland’s beauty is sometimes hard to see unless one looks at it mostly as a stark beauty.  In many areas, rocky lava fields cover the land, giving it an almost moon-like look.  The aforementioned rock cliffs and the crashing waves also have a foreboding yet awe-inspiring aspect to them.  There are truly beautiful sights to behold as well.  Iceland has many waterfalls, one of which rivals the size of Niagara Falls.  Geysers, some shooting as high as Old Faithful, shoot jets of hot water high into the air.  Some of the beaches are jet black as the volcanic rock is ground into surprisingly soft sand by the relentless, pounding waves.  Huge pastures covered in a green moss-like grass can be seemingly endless in size.  The rich-volcanic soil and high amounts of moisture tend this garden of green.  When a person walks on it, it feels like soft pillows, and the sheep absolutely love it.  The native horses, majestic in their own right, actually get “furry” in the wintertime as they grow a thick layer of hair to protect themselves from the Icelandic winter.  Their natural gait is so smooth they are said to be the easiest riding horses on earth.  Iceland is a one of a kind place that truly shows that beauty lies within the eyes of the beholder.

Iceland is definitely a land of extremes.  Geology is constantly sculpting this island nation.  The people are strong, proud, and vibrant, as they must be in this challenging land.  They are beholden to the heritage and history that first brought them here.  The beauty is stark in some ways, magnificent in others.  This is an amazing place where the fire from earth’s belly meets the icy cold grip of glaciers advancing from the frigid north; a truly one of a kind place that befits its namesake:  the land of “Fire and Ice”.


Housekeepers at Larsmont Cottages 101

Ivie Brooks


“Ok, I give up! I’m quitting!” I complained loudly. “Yeah we all know that’s not going to happen!” Amanda laughed. We had just walked into the grossest room ever at Larsmont Cottages; it was completely trashed with beer cans, cake, and confetti everywhere! “Jeez, these people were big partiers!” Megan said. “Yeah let’s just get this room done. I want to go home.” I said. Some people can sure be messy. I have been working at Larsmont Cottages as a housekeeper for four years now with two of my closest friends, Amanda and Megan. We are a team of three, and we clean the rooms in the exact same routine, which makes us the quickest team there. Housekeeping duties aren’t always fun, though, and I have come to separate out the most common types of messes left by the guests.  The rooms at Larsmont Cottages can be classified into three groups: Coronas, Stinkers, and Retirements.

The Coronas don’t seem to realize that things cost money. Also, they need to learn how to use a garbage can. For example, one afternoon we were headed into our last room to clean, and as we opened the door we thought “This one looks pretty clean”, until we started to walk down the hallway. In the kitchen laying all over the floor were beer cans that had overfilled the garbage can. I looked into the living room, “Holy cow!” I yelled. On the floor, above the TV, and all over the window sills, were beer cans flooding the room! Amanda came out from the bedroom and said “Yeah, you should see the rest.” I walked into the bedroom and bathroom: beer everywhere. “Ugh, I give up. Clean up your own garbage, people!” I complained as I headed into the kitchen to start grabbing the garbage. It usually takes out about a minute to clean up the garbage, but now it took the whole time we were in the room! Cleaning up the beer cans was like playing hide and seek. Coronas also leave us scrubbing floors for hours. For example, I had just taken the garbage out of a room with beer and wine bottles. I began to wipe down the kitchen counters and noticed they were quite sticky. I thought, “They were so drunk they couldn’t even pour in their cup anymore!” I laughed to myself a little bit until my shoes were stuck to the floor, making the sound of Velcro ripping as I walked. I looked down and saw a huge dried up red pool of wine everywhere. I quickly yelled, “I am not mopping this one!” Megan came out and looked. “Yeah, same here.” She replied. As I began dusting, I looked on the carpeted floor and saw red wine stains. I had to call my boss, and she had to come down and clean them up. Cleaning the floors in that room took about double the time, and I was not a big fan for scrubbing on my hands and knees. Corona rooms remind me to leave my own hotel rooms clean.

The Stinkers define the terrible twos. These rooms are covered in food. For example, one day we tiredly opened the door to our first room and took a step in. Suddenly we heard a “crunch” beneath our feet. “O crap, they had kids in here”, Megan said.  As we walked in farther,  we saw crumbs everywhere. The blankets laid all over the floor, and hand prints were scattered over the windows. “Hey, I’ll buy you guys a snack if you clean this one without me?” I asked Amanda and Megan. “Yeah you wish!” They replied. I just smiled, “Well the inspector might have to do a lot of cleaning.” I grabbed my rags, sighed, and walked away. In addition, Stinkers can have nasty smelling diapers! For example, one day we opened the door, and we instantly were hit with a wave of dirty diaper odors! We covered our noses quickly and turned around to run away from that room. We were yelling in disgust, “Ick, I am not cleaning that!”  But we had no choice, so we tied rags around our noses to hide the smell and we stood outside the door looking like we were about to go to war. “3, 2, 1 GO!” I yelled. We ran into the room grabbed all the garbage and threw it outside in about 15 seconds. We opened the windows and cleaned as fast as we could. Stinker rooms make me reconsider parenthood.

Retirements are the most generous of all guests because if they don’t need it, they won’t use it. A lot of times they won’t use a bathroom, or kitchen. For example, one time we found sticky notes all over a room! I grabbed one off the bed and it said “Bed not used.” “YES!” We thought. “One less thing to do!” We went around and searched for more sticky notes wondering what else they didn’t use. We found quite a few, including a whole guest room and kitchen not used! “Break time?” I asked. “For sure!” replied Amanda and Megan. We sat there for about 15 minutes. “Well that should have been enough time to clean all the unused things.” Amanda claimed. “I guess so. Let’s get this room done.” Megan said back. So we all got up slowly and finished the room. Retirements also give like housekeepers are their grandkids. For example, it had been a long day at work and we about had it we were so tired, but then we walked into a room that had barely been used. Megan went into the kitchen to see if there was anything the guests had left. “Hey guys, look what we got!” She yelled. Amanda and I looked around the corner and saw her holding up a twenty dollar bill! “Now this day is worth cleaning for!” I said. “Yes, I’m eating well tonight!” Amanda replied. We then split the tip and after work I can home with a few extra dollars in my wallet. Retirements probably don’t know that their few kind actions can go a long way!

Overall, Coronas will never be fun to deal with. Sometimes I just want to say, “Try picking up your own stuff for once and help me out a bit!” Stinkers are smelly and add a lot to cleaning, and Retirements are my favorite because they go over the top even when they don’t need too. Although some of these rooms are tough to handle, they are what make up a hotel. Working at Larsmont Cottages has taught me to clean up my room at a hotel because through my experiences, I know that a semi-clean room can make a housekeeper’s day a lot better than a trashed one.

The Indecisive, the Clueless, and the Repetitive:

Average Photography among the People

Gwen Fifield

Too many times, I’ve gone on Facebook, only to find that “Tiffany” posted yet another duck face picture taken with her iPhone or that my brother posted more pictures from the weekend… with at least ten identical pictures of the same tree. It’s surprising how many people don’t even seem to know how to use a digital camera when asked to take a picture. I’m the daughter of a photographer, and maybe that makes me a little more knowledgeable and/or critical than the average person when it comes to photography in a non-professional setting. However, I know that I am not the only person who feels the way I do. These people I’m speaking of are all around us…and they fall into three categories of “photographers” who really make me want to slam my head against the wall: The Indecisive, The Clueless, and the Repetitive.

The indecisive ones drive me crazy because the truth is simply that nobody cares enough to spend thirty minutes looking at someone’s photos. It’s when there are multiple repeats of multiple photos … that is when someone really doesn’t care. The cherry on top of this sundae is that in most cases, these photos tend to be poorly taken and unfocused. Looking at these photos, most people would probably say that it is all right if someone wants to take multiple photos of things – but the purpose in taking multiple shots is to change things slightly, such as the angle or a setting on the camera. After a person looks through the pictures that they’ve taken, generally some editing should be done followed by the weeding out of the pictures that aren’t as good, or vice versa. These people are “indecisive” because apparently they cannot decide which pictures aren’t as good as others. The Indecisive ones need to learn how to pick through their photo albums. Perhaps if they did, knowing that they wouldn’t have to look through so many repeats, people would actually take the time to look through their photo album.

The clueless “photographers” don’t drive me crazy, but they do make me feel like I’m talking to a child. By the year 2012, most people should know how to use a digital camera. To begin with, sometimes when someone is given a camera and asked to take a picture, they look at it and ask, “How do I take the picture? Do I take it with this button?” As Dane Cook has said in his comedy routines, “It’s on the right side… where it’s always been!” It’s unbelievable! Another thing that clueless photographers do is ask where the flash is. While this is slightly less ridiculous than asking where the shutter button is… it is still ridiculous all the same. The average person’s camera had to evolve from the disposable camera at some point. A clueless photographer would also be clueless about how to upload photos onto a computer even though when someone purchases a camera it does come with a manual that explains exactly where all the buttons are and how to upload pictures. The “clueless” ought to stop asking their friends constantly how to do these things and take a class or read the manual!

The ones who are responsible for frequently causing headaches when going on the internet would be the repetitive “photographers.” Certain people, usually teenage girls, make it their daily routine to take pictures of themselves with their cellphones and post them to Facebook a.s.a.p. because everybody really wants to see that. These photos tend to generally follow the guidelines of; the same three or four poses, some sort of clothing variation, and some variation of location. Poses include “duck face,” flashing the peace sign, sticking out the tongue, or obvious angling to emphasize cleavage. The most likely locations tend to be the bedroom, the bathroom, anywhere in front of a mirror, and from time to time; the car. These people are crying out for attention but mostly only succeeding in making the general population roll their eyes. Photos like the ones they take are acceptable at times. For instance, to show off a new hair cut or vacation spot –  but that is all. People out there need to be more honest and get to the point with their repetitive friends; that what they’re doing seems pretty shallow. Maybe then the rest of the population could stop feeling embarrassed for them.

Everyday people are frequently exposed to “photographers” like The Indecisive, The Clueless, and The Repetitive. It has become so normal that sometimes they’re hardly even noticed. The indecisive must learn to practice decision-making in their finished photo albums, while the clueless should take some photography courses or read “Photography for Dummies.” And above all, people must practice being more honest with others who fall into either the category of “repetitive photography” or one of the other categories. It does not seem necessary or acceptable to put up with these behaviors when they could be easily fixed.  If more people were to act out on their repressed feelings toward these “photographers” and some changes were made, there would be less of them. I feel strongly that, without photographers who are among “The Indecisive, The Clueless, or The Repetitive,”- it would be a better world.