Friday, November 14, 2008

The Odyssey

This years schoolwork assigned me the reading of the book the Odyssey, by Homer. Here is my review of it:

The background information: Ulysses leaves his wife Penelope and their infant son, Telemachus, in Ithaca, and journeys to Troy. His men are lost after a series of misfortunes and he alone remains. The goddess Minerva has made him her pet, and she has managed to preserve him. Ulysses is being held captive by a beautiful goddess, who wishes to make him immortal. Minerva has just convinced her father, Jove, to let him be released, and has managed to get him started on the way home.
He has been gone for twenty years when the story opens. Here we see their son a young man, and Penelope, the grieved wife, convinced of her widowhood. Ulysses estate is being squandered by a group of young men. These young men are in the "prime of life," sons of prominent people in the city. They are trying to convince Penelope to marry one of them, and are plotting to kill Telemachus and divide the estate amongst themselves.
Penelope has succeeded in fooling them for several years, but will not say whether she will marry one of them or not. In the meantime, the men are eating the best cattle, drinking up all the wine, and making a general havoc of the estate.
Minerva comes to Telemachus, and convinces him that he must go and search for news of his father. So Telemachus leaves the scene for a short time.
Through many trials and things, Ulysses arrives home again, but he is disguised (by Minerva) to appear as a poor old beggar. He is received by his faithful swineherd who rambles on about the sad misfortunes that befell him after his dear master, Ulysses, left. In the middle of their conversation, in which Ulysses declares he shall tell the truth of his history and proceeds with a dreadful lie, Telemachus enters, just returned from his journey. He has learned enough to expect that Ulysses is alive, but in captivity.
When the swineherd leaves the room, Ulysses reveals who he is to his son, and the two plot about their revenge on Penelope's suitors.
The long and short of it is, Ulysses and his son gather a few faithful servants, and sneak into the house where all the suitors are feasting. They kill all of the suitors, and succeed in convincing Penelope that Ulysses is, in fact, Ulysses.
The problem now, however, is that the suitor's parents are all mad that their sons were suddenly wiped out of existence. They wage war against Ulysses. Minerva and Jove make plans to have the war go on for a few hours, so that some, but not all of the suitor's parents are killed. The war ends with Ulysses making peace with them, and thus the book ends.

This book was hard to read in that the noble characters were not so noble. Ulysses is hard and bitter of heart towards the suitors, and sleeps with any number of women. You are left wondering if he is really great and strong, or if Minerva is the strong one who keeps helping him out because he is too weak. When in disguise, he tells people he is going to tell them the truth, and rambles on in a fearsome lie, in which, he has always met Ulysses and finds him to be the greatest man on earth.
Penelope is sly and deceitful, yet in, comparison to her husband, is a nicer character.
The gods and goddesses are stupid and confusing, always changing shape, and acting very immorally. Minerva is convinced Ulysses heart needs to be hardened considerably more against the suitors, until you are quite annoyed with her.
Telemachus and two of his friends, I think, are in all the best of all the people, in that, they merely followed Ulysses around and helped him with his scheme. They were not exactly plotters themselves.

The hopeless attitude of the story makes one weary and at last, when the story is done, you feel quite like throwing the book out the window; the gruesome descriptions of the hacking off of noses and thrusting through with spears of the battle against the suitors, and the seemingly total normality of seeing and smelling blood that Ulysses has is ugly.
I would advise avoiding the reading of this book unless you have to.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Christmas! Whoa, that came fast!

I sit in the living room and hear,
A joyous shout and yell....
I sigh, it's that time of year,
When store begin to sell:

Millions of plastic, glass and wood,
Cardboard, paper, scissors rocks;
Anything worthless they could:
A host of printed, colorful socks.

My sister decided to come to me,
Jumping around; They've got a bed,
A doll-bed! White! Look, see!
In this catalog," she said.

I take the catalog with a sigh,
We go through this every year,
And now I'm wondering, "why?"
The answer falls on my inner ear:

If all is in vain, like the Preacher said,
Yet, he urges us to toil with joy,
We can rejoice in doll beds,
And take delight in many a toy;

Yet let us not lose sight this year,
Of why we can have delight;
'tis because Christ was here,
He who was the true Light.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

An Introduction post

I looked at the note in my inbox yet again. Was I seeing things? Or had someone actually invited me to join management of this blog? I smirked mischievously, and grinned wickedly; what things I could now post on here! But the feeling of exhilaration disappeared as soon as it came, as the weight of greater responsibility settled on my shoulders.
I knew that when one is invited to these things, they ought to try to leave it better then before they came. I immediatly began planning a bright pink and purple background with blue-striped titling. Yes, that would definetly add to it, but I think that with a blog, one wants to encourage readers with their content firstly and formostly. Appealing backgrounds come in due time....
So this is me... (who cares if it's from 1892?)
As the other contributors read this, their hands begin to sweat, and they scan hastily for a "delete this contributor" button. So why did the original authors choose me, after seeing the things I post on my own blog?

A Fall Reading Snack

This is a reading snack update for the fall:
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Raisins
  • Peanuts
  • Candy Corn

I tell you, candy corn with raisins is amazingly tasty!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Request

The man stood undecided.
What was asked of him
had indeed divided
his thoughts.
It was no whim
but a true request.
He must sink or swim
at once.
"Very well, at your bequest
I'll renounce my all,
my riches, my horse, my best,
all I own."
The man now stood tall.
"I'll take up the pannier
and follow you with all
I am."

Written using three words pulled randomly from a dictionary: request, horse, and pannier.
Copyright 2008, Kirsten T.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A short story about a mushroom

Once upon a time, there was a mushroom. A red mushroom. And it sat on top a small green hill. There were lots of blades of grass on the hill. And also some worms. And some stones.
But no other mushrooms.

One day, a bird flew over head. It was a Shwifee bird. He was large – at least two feet long – and had sixteen claws, eight on each foot. He waved his purple plumes in the air and called out with a loud “shwi shwi!”
The mushroom slunk up together in an effort to go unseen. He distrusted this loud green bird with the purple plumes. If he could have, he would have uprooted himself and rolled away down the hill. But he couldn’t. So he stayed.
The bird flew over and then over again. Clearly, he was looking for something. The mushroom hoped it wasn’t himself. The bird paused in the sky…and dived.

A clump of daisies stood together under an oak tree. They sang softly to themselves as they watched the sun travel the sky. Suddenly, a shadow fell over them, blocking the sun from their sight. A chill breeze blew up. The daisies closed their eyes tight. When they opened them again, the shadow had gone, and so had a friendly turnip which had been growing nearby them.
The daisies shivered and sang sad songs for the poor turnip who had disappeared so swiftly.

The mushroom perked up again after a bit. He wasn’t squashed of crunched or flying through the air. Therefore, the strange bird must have left him alone, he reasoned. He surveyed the skies but saw nothing of the bird. He decided the bird had gone.

A week later, the mushroom still sat on top of the small green hill. A mole had joined the worms and the stones and the blades of grass. The mole dug holes into the hill. But there were still no other mushrooms.

A loud noise sent the mole scurrying into a recently dug tunnel. The mushroom looked around.
“Shwi shwi!” the loud noise came again. The green bird was back again. He looked larger than before and greener than ever.
The mushroom would have covered his ears and cowered to the ground if he had ears to cover or could cower. Instead, he got as small as he could and hoped his red color had faded somewhat.

The tomatoes scarcely even saw it happen. They were busy growing as large and as red as they could. There were five of them together. Then a breeze sped through them and there were only four tomatoes left.
The four remaining tomatoes stared at the empty place on the vine where the fifth had just recently resided. They forgot to grow for a whole hour because of the shock.

Two days later, a great downpour of rain fell. The mushroom sat on the hill and let the water run over his sides. He enjoyed the sound the great drops of water made when they fell on him.
A tiny mouse ran by. Then the mouse returned. He shivered in the rain and asked humbly for shelter from the mushroom.
The mushroom agreed with the condition that the mouse did not nibble at him. mouse looked shocked. He declared he would never nibble at the mushroom. Did not the mushroom know he was poisonous to little creatures?
The mushroom was surprised. He had not known this. He wondered why he had not known this. But only for a short while.
The rain stopped and the mouse, thanking the mushroom, ran off. The mushroom sat deep in thought.

Three days later, the mushroom was larger and redder than he had ever been before. He still sat amongst the blades of grass and the small stones. The mole had chased the worms, but the worms were cleverer. There were more of them than there had been five days ago. But there were still no other mushrooms.

“Shwi Shwi!” The horrible bird soared over head once again. The mushroom crouched down between the blades of grass. The mole paused in his worm chase. The worms paid no heed.

Fifteen heads of corn were bobbing in the sun. Their yellow tassels shone gold, proclaiming their ripeness. They felt proud of their full kernels which were becoming larger with each passing day.
The sun paled and twelve heads bobbed golden tassels in astonishment. Then indignation overtook them at the desecration of their pleasant field. Three full heads had disappeared.

How long shall this continue? The mushroom thought to himself. This can’t go on, he continued, echoing the cry of many a beast and vegetable.
The mushroom had made friends with the tiny mouse. He felt slightly less lonely now, though there were still no other mushrooms to grace the little green hill. They discussed the inroads made by the great dreadful green and purple bird frequently.

Three days later, the mushroom sat by himself on the hill. The mole had gone to visit some friends and the worms had gone to sleep. The mushroom was contemplating many things.
A cry interrupted his thoughts. “Shwi Shwi!” the bird was back.
The mushroom thought for one second. Then he stood up at his tallest and best. He spread out his sides as far as they could go and let his pleasant aroma fill the air around him.

The hill sat empty. The worms were asleep and the mole was still away. Only the blades of grass and the small stones mourned the passing of the mushroom.

A week later, the tiny mouse came back to visit his friend the mushroom. He had exciting things to tell him. The terrible green bird with purple plumes and large claws would trouble them no longer. He had been found lying on his back with his claws in the air by a little brook. The bird was dead.
The mouse ran up the small green hill. The mushroom, his friend was gone.

But there sat four little round red mushrooms in his place.

Copyright 2008 by Kirsten T.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Puppet Crown

The Puppet Crown. It is a lovely book and a sad one. But though now I am so sad after reading it yet also I am happy for the character died a good death.

The Puppet Crown introduces the puppet king, his beautiful young daughter, and his friend an Englishman and lord. The king came to his throne by way of many complicated politics, but he himself does not particularly wish for the crown. He prefers philosophy and poetry. But he tries to rule his country well.

Next to this small kingdom is a small duchy governed by a duke who ought to have been king because he was the brother of the previous king. But like I said, there was a bunch of political maneuvers and the little kingdom itself could not very well be said to be independent any longer. Austria had taken charge and ordered things about in the manner that they begin in the story. Of course, the duke is not pleased about the arrangements and set in motion a vast encompassing intrigue to take back the kingdom.

The Englishman friend of the king perceives that the king is unaware that his undoing is highly likely. To prevent, or at least delay the fall, the Englishman buys certain loan consols the king made. They will fall due ten years hence and the kingdom shall either be bankrupted if they are collected or saved for a while longer if renewed. The Englishman plans to keep the consols from the kings enemies.

Ten years later, the Englishman is dead, but his son has come to renew the consols. The king is a paralytic now. His daughter is twenty. The duke is also dead, but his daughter, the new duchess shares his ambitions.

The young Englishman enters the small kingdom in disguise. His footsteps have been dogged by spies and he is watched carefully everywhere he goes. His cover is blown, however, when an American friend of his recognizes him and calls his name out loud in public.

Alas, but the enemies had overheard. The American and the Englishman were together captured and taken to the duchy. A battle of wits, cunning, and love ensues. The result: the Englishman has fallen hopelessly in love with the duchess and the American is sent back to the small kingdom to retrieve the consols left there by the Englishman in his hotel room.

The American returns to the kingdom but cannot find the consols. He fights a splendid duel with a traitorous man, picks up a rose dropped by the beautiful princess, and does several other brave and dangerous things.

He returns to the duchy but is accused of turning the consols over to the archbishop (loyal to the king). The duchess has him held a prisoner.

The American escapes and after more daring and brave efforts, returns to the kingdom to warn the archbishop, who is mostly in charge since a recent stroke left the king speechless, of an army coming down from the duchy.

An army is mustered but betrayed by it own men and no fight takes place. The American rides back to the capital of the kingdom to warn the princess. He fights his final duel with the traitorous man and kills the man. But the American is terribly wounded. He makes it to the city nearly dead.

The story finishes with a number of plot twists. But the ending is sad. The American lost too much blood and in those days they did not have blood transfusions.

The entire story is exciting and frustrating and then exciting again. I cannot say whether or not it was well written or if the character development was good or if the plot was strong. I think the plot was good though, or at least decent. The story itself still has too much of its grip on me to analyze it clearly. So I shan't try. But someday I think it would make a splendid movie, and I think I shall even venture to say that I will read it again. But of course not yet.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A good reading snack

Because I'm just a poor student trying to make ends meet, I am always hungry. Well, that is not exactly true...
But I do get hungry in the afternoons or evenings.
And I was tired of eating crackers all the time. Generic crackers with their amusing titles are okay to eat for just so long. So I thought for a long while. Like maybe fifteen minutes.

And the result was:
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Raisins
  • Chocolate chips
I couldn't add nuts because I have a roommate who is allergic to those.
But this is a tasty snack which I munch on while reading or doing homework.
Plus, it makes you feel that you are eating healthier even thought you're probably not.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Reading List

This is the list of all the books I read over this past year from Dec. 18, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2007.

• Penelope’s English Experiences by Kate Douglas Wiggin
• The Romance of a Christmas Card by Kate Douglas Wiggin
• Bluebeard: A Musical Fantasy by Kate Douglas Wiggin
• A Cathedral Courtship by Kate Douglas Wiggin
• Polly Oliver’s Problem by Kate Douglas Wiggin
• The Well in the Desert by Emily Sarah Holt
• The Maidens’ Lodge by Emily Sarah Holt
• Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennet
• Pippi Longstocking
• Jeff Benson by R. M. Ballantyne
• Emil and the Detectives by Kastner
• The Baron’s Gloves or Amy’s Romance by Louisa May Alcott
• Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss
• The Trial by Charlotte M. Yonge
• The Lances of Lynwood by Charlotte M. Yonge
• The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
• Murder on Orient Express by Agatha Christie
• Passenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie
• The Harlequin Teaset and Other Stories By Agatha Christie
• King Lear by William Shakespeare
• The Hidden Hand by E. D. E. N. Southworth
• The Missing Bride by E. D. E. N. Southworth
• Miss Marple (it was a large book with two of her stories in it) by Agatha Christie
• The Lost Lady of Lone E. D. E. N. Southworth
• What Every Woman Knows by James M. Barrie
• Dear Brutus by James M. Barrie
• The Tapestry Room by Mrs. Molesworth
• That Stick by Charlotte M. Yonge
• For Woman’s Love by E. D. E. N. Southworth
• The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne
• Etheldreda the Ready by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
• A College Girl by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
• Independence of Claire by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
• Betty Trevor by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
• First Plays by A. A. Milne
• Big Game by Mrs. George do Horne Vaizey
• Second Plays by A. A. Milne
• The Rover of the Andes by R. M. Ballantyne
• The Kitchen Cat and Other Stories by Amy Walton
• Mariel of Redwall by Brian Jacques
• Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
• The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson
• Penelope’s Scottish Experiences by Kate Douglas Wiggin
• Timothy’s Quest by Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin
• The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
• Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques
• Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
• Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum
• The Angel’s Command by Brian Jacques
• The Lady of Blossholme by H. Rider Haggard
• Jess by H. Rider Haggard
• The Carbonels by Charlotte M. Yonge
• Queen Sheba’s Ring by H. Rider Haggard
• Dorothy Dale: a girl of today by Margaret Penrose
• Dyke Darrel the Railroad Detective by A. Frank Pinkerton (pseudo.)
• Five Thousand Dollars Reward by A. Frank Pinkerton (pseudo.)
• Happy Pollyooly by Edgar Jepson
• Stolen Treasure by Howard Pyle
• The Slim Princess by George Ade
• The Ice-Maiden: and Other Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
• The Little Colonel: Maid of Honor by Annie Fellows Johnston
• The Little Colonel’s Chum: Mary Ware by Annie Fellows Johnston
• Mary Ware in Texas by Annie Fellows Johnston
• Mary Ware’s Promised Land by Annie Fellows Johnston
• The Little Colonel’s House Party by Annie Fellows Johnston
• The Little Colonel’s Holidays by Annie Fellows Johnston
• The Little Colonel’s Hero by Annie Fellows Johnston
• The Little Colonel at Boarding School by Annie Fellows Johnston
• The Little Colonel’s Knight Comes Riding by Annie Fellows Johnston
• The Golden Slipper: and other problems for Violet Strange by Anna Katharine Green
• The Purple Heights by Marie Conway Oemler
• T. Tembarom by Frances Hodgson Burnett
• The Bronze Hand by Anna Katharine Green
• A Difficult Problem by Anna Katharine Green
• The Circular Study by Anna Katharine Green
• The Mill Mystery by Anna Katharine Green
• Initials Only by Anna Katharine Green
• The ‘Mind the Paint’ Girl by Arthur Wing Pinero
• The Boy Scout Camera Club, or, the Confession of a Photograph by G. Harvey Ralphson
• A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag by Gordon Korman
• The Contest (Everest series) by Gordon Korman
• The Climb (Everest series) by Gordon Korman
• The Summit (Everest series) by Gordon Korman