Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Reading Diary A: Twenty-Two Goblins

Thoughts from Twenty-Two Goblins

  • The king receives fruit with gems inside of them? I can dig        it.
  • The king cut down a tree and it screamed. And now it’s laughing? Oh… It’s   a goblin. OOOOHHHH It’s gonna tell stories!

  • Oh goodness a love story. This can’t end well.
  • She likes him too! This is starting better than expected.
  • Oh wait. She leaves. Nevermind.
  • Ear-Lotus, daughter of Bite, named lily, hand on heart        means love?… Where is this coming from….
  • This counselor is interpreting all kinds of things from this   crazy girl!
  • And this crazy –signs girl tries to poison the counselor who        helped her husband understand her… ok….
  • And now the counselor wants to get her drunk and steal her jewelry… this is getting even weirder.
  • And now she’s dead…
  • And all of this is a test to King Triple-Victory's judgement?
Image of Lotus Inspired by The First Goblin Story
Provided by Wikipedia

  • King Triple-Victory is intrigued with these goblins as much as I am!  He goes back for another story!
  • This story starts with another beautiful girl named Coral. I’m cautiously optimistic
  • She doesn’t marry anyone because she doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. How nice.
  • And now all three of these poor guys are obsessed with her and pay tribute to her dead body.
  • This poor guy wanders around dedicating his life to being a monk and then this lady throws her kid in the fire. He’s having a tough life.
  • Wait. This guy is a wizard or something? His magic can just like… un-kill people?
  • And now the monk is going to steal the spell book to bring back Coral. What a sweet gesture. And it works!
  • And the three guys are back to fighting over Coral…..
  • And once again this is a test for King Three-Victory.

Image of Coral Inspired by The Second Goblin Story
Provided by Pixabay

Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 10 Famous Last Words: We Can't Stop.... We Won't Stop

Once again, I am asking myself. When does the crazy end?
I have reached the point in the semester when I am fairly certain I am a zombie-just goin’ through the motions hopin’ to get by. EVERY single time I “get my life together” something comes around and throws the pieces around the room again. I guess that is life, but I don’t exactly appreciate it.

This week, I finally came to the hard decision to drop OChem 2 and take it at a later time. It isn’t a pre-req for anything, and I have more than enough time in my college career to take it, but I can’t shake the feeling that I gave up. I know, I know, it was a wise decision and I was spreading myself too thin etcetera, etcetera, but I’m still a little bummed that I didn’t troop through. It’s never a good feeling to realize you can’t reach your goals, even if they were set hideously high in the first place.

That aside, the medieval fair was in town this weekend and a few of my friends and I decided to fight the crowd and look around (even if it was only for turkey legs). It turned out to be a lot of fun! I went last year but was only there for a short amount of time I didn’t get the full experience I did this time. There were tons of venders that were selling anything from animal feet to soap to jewelry. It was really cool! It is definitely something I would recommend if you’ve never gone!

My goals for this week are simple: to finish all of my assignments. Online classes can quickly be put on the back burner when things are stressful and busy. Once again, I am incredibly grateful for extra credit! Lord knows I need it!

Image of Myself With a Beautiful Turkey Leg
Image Provided By Myself

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Week 9 Storytelling: Loving a Crazy Lady

Santanu’s Story

Have you ever been in love? Well, I have, and let me tell you...it is NOT worth it.
You might ask "why?" Good. Let me tell you my story. Let's begin by introducing myself. Hi, my name is Santanu, and I am a hopeless romantic. AA-meeting-style introduction aside, let's jump into my tragedy. 

It all started out swell! I was born as heir to an absolutely beautiful kingdom. I was happy; my people were happy. We were flourishing! Absolutely everything was perfect… except for one little detail of my life; I was single.  In my defense, running a kingdom is really time-consuming! I didn't have time to date! A few years passed and I was starting to realize just how old I was getting and couldn’t help but begin to consider ending my bachelor ways and settling down with a beautiful girl. I wasn’t searching but I definitely wasn’t going to stop myself from finding love if it happened to wander into my life. 

One day, I decided to go on a hunting trip. I absolutely love being outdoors and taking in the beautiful trees and grasses and animals. I get a stupid little smile on my face every time I think about it. It's just so calming!

Anyway, I went out hunting one morning. It was a normal hunting trip like every other trip I've taken. Near the end of the day,I was tired from all the action and decided to go to the river to sit down, take a drink and relax. Just as I was approaching the river, my eyes were trapped on the most beautiful woman I had ever seen! I simply couldn’t begin to think of how my life would be without her. I guess you could say it was love at first sight. As nervous as I was, I walked up to her and began to talk. You know how it goes; eventually one thing led to another and I asked her to marry me! I know, "Yay! Santanu, you're getting married!" But everything was NOT as I planned.

She agreed to marry me on one condition: I would let her do what she wants without questioning it. Okay, yeah, that’s reasonable. After all, I'm not a mean, controlling husband. She should have freedom to do what she wants! I trust her.

Everything was great! She was exactly the wife I was looking for! She was loving, and caring and oh, so kind. She took such wonderful care of me. Marrying her was the best decision I had ever made... that is, until she went absolutely psycho. We finally were going to have a baby, again "Yay Sanatu!" but no. This crazy lady took the baby as soon as she gave birth and ran to the river. And I mean AS SOON as the baby was out, she was gone. Not only did she run to the river RIGHT after giving birth (can I just say ouch?) she DROWNED our child. She MURDERED our kid. I didn’t want to report her. She had been such a wonderful person. She had to have a perfect answer as to why she did such a thing. I wanted to understand, but I vowed to never ask questions. I had to keep my promise! 

I simply put my pain aside and let it be. I grieved and accepted our child's death and kept moving forward. Our marriage soon recovered and things were going well. Or so I thought. It kept happening. Every time she gave birth she would get up and run to the river (again, can I say OUCH?) and drown our baby. WHO DOES THAT?

This happened seven times. SEVEN TIMES before I couldn’t take it anymore. After the birth of our eighth child, I had to confront her. I could not stand being with this crazy lady anymore. I HAD to know why she kept doing this. I asked her why she did it and she immediately went on and on and on with this crazy crap about how she’s the river.

Uhm…. You’re standing right in front of me… how can you be a river? 

We kept fighting and fighting until she agreed to give me the child, Devavratha, after he grew up. AFTER HE GREW UP! She drowned our children and I am supposed to let her RAISE Devavratha? Before I could do anything, once again she was running to the river. She was gone. She was gone with our kid. I was so heartbroken, I didn’t know what to do. I tried my hardest to move on but I just couldn’t do it. She didn't kill him, but she took me away from me. Knowing he's out there somewhere being raised by a CRAZY LADY worried me so much.

Yesterday, fourteen WHOLE years later, Ganga just shows up at my doorstep to drop off Devavratha like this is planned out and okay. And just like that, I had my son back and she was gone forever. Again. I have no idea what he’s like. I don’t even know if we will get along. What if she raised him to be just as crazy? What has she taught him?

Now, guys, I’ve gotta run and get to know my son, but I will tell you this: STAY AWAY FROM CRAZY LADIES. Seriously. Don’t do it. It's not worth it. 

Image of Ganga Running away with their child
Provided by Wikipedia

Author's Note: I wrote this story based on the story in the very beginning of the Mahabharata-the story of Ganga and Santanu. In this story, Santanu fell in love with a beautiful woman who only had one request: do not question her. They were married and had children. Each time Ganga would give birth, she would drown the child in the river. This happened seven times before Santanu questioned her actions and, in turn, ironically still cost him his child. The whole series of events was rather crazy and very quickly discussed in Mahabharata. Upon reading this story I was quite literally shocked at not only the story, but how casually it was told. Narayan's version of the story was told as a bit of background to set the scene. It was such a huge and bold way to begin a book-- I couldn't help but elaborate. I wrote this story in the point of view of Santanu and his thoughts and feelings looking back on the birth, and death, of his children. Being such a dark topic to discuss, I wrote this story in a humorous, dramatic dialogue to lighten the mood without having to exclude information. I found this image earlier in the week and used it, but I included it in this post as well because it so accurately depicts the story in its entirety all in one image. 

Bibliography: Narayan, R. K. (1978). The Mahabharata.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Reading Diary A: The Beginning of Mahabharata or The Beginning of Utter Confusion. I don't Know yet.

Oh goodness another love story… here we go *covers eyes*.
A free-spirited woman… I can dig it.
Or maybe not… Drowning your kids in the river? Uh…
Ohh. She’s the river Ganga.
He gets his son back only to fall in love with another woman who’s children might ruin the dynasty.
Devavratha is so nice. He gives up his lineage to please his father and now new mother’s father.
A half god here, a half god there- these sons are going to be a force to reckon with.
This story so far has been…. Weird. Each sentence is like a completely different thought and idea and it’s just not quite coming together for me. I am so intrigued to keep reading to see if this all makes sense.
Wives, kings, dynasties—it’s all pretty difficult to keep track of. I can begin to see how it is all coming to the story of Mahabharata, but I’m just not sure yet.

Ganga Drowning Her Child
Provided by Wikipedia

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 8 Famous Last Words: Maybe, just MAYBE...

Dare I say it? But I think I’ve finally gotten my life together. 
Now that I’ve cursed myself…..

This week has been so refreshing. Having simpler assignments in this class this week gave me the time I’ve so desperately needed to finally catch up in all my other classes. I had time to crank out all of the work for this class relatively quickly giving me time to study for my two midterms this week. Having classes cancelled Wednesday was really nice as well. While it did force me to have two mid terms on the same day, it gave me so much more time than I would have normally had to study.

Looking back on past assignments is such an interesting idea. I really did not realize just how much I have accomplished this semester, just in one class alone. I actually wouldn’t mind doing this in every other class. It is so easy to get discouraged as students. Our expectations are set so high we often forget that even failure is so much farther than we began. I actually sort of wish all of our evaluation was like that… But that’s a completely different discussion.

This weekend was definitely interesting. With all the snow storms I was starting to go a little crazy. I just imagine my metaphorical body standing at the door screaming “Let me out!” so I did! One of my best friends and I finally decided to get a life and go out, for once. We went to The Mont (which may or may not have been a poor choice to begin with) but it all went downhill from there. We quickly remembered why we were home bodies in the first place ha ha.

But it wasn’t all bad! After an uneventful night, we woke up with one mission in mind…. PANCAKES! Anyone who knows us would be well acquainted with our obsession with IHOP, mainly out of tradition not of taste, and it had simply been too long since we had gone. It was a perfect ending to a really strange weekend.

Here are a couple of SnapChats of my beautiful life choices.

Images of IHOP
Taken bymyself

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Commenting Review Week

Comments are a wonky thing. To have someone look at your work with a critical eye is always a scary but rewarding process. Criticism is SO useful in this setting. We do not have the ability to walk over to a classmate and ask “what do you think about this.” That alone puts us in this cliff hanger of whether or not our work is going to be perceived the way we intended it to be. Each time I see that I have a new comment I get excited and curious to see what someone else thinks of my work. It’s truly a strange process, but it is so wonderful. Other students have pointed out mistakes I've made that I would have never realized otherwise.

I struggle a little with commenting because I always want to sort of chat. I’m always intrigued by the inspiration of other’s work and want to talk about it, not necessarily evaluate it. Another struggle is with the fact that my knowledge of technical grammatical and punctuation rules is sort of pathetic. I can easily identify an error but I don’t always know how to fix it, or why it is wrong. That has proven to be especially difficult in the longer comments. How do you say “that’s wrong but I don’t know why,” In a constructive comment? It’s a little difficult to get your opinion out when you aren't sure how to say it. I am always worried that I will sound mean.

The aspect I like the most about commenting is the exposure. I would have little motivation or reason to explore other student’s blog posts without the assignment and would have missed so many cool and intriguing stories otherwise. The introductions are always the most fun for me to comment on. It’s so cool to see common interest within a random group of students, and be able to make note of it. 

Writing Review Week

          After re-reading my stories I’m amazed at the creativity I have been able to unleash. I came into college with my English credits done and have not really written since then. That’s been a couple years now. Writing was SUCH a struggle for me growing up. In elementary school I always had a very difficult time with not only sentence structure but also the ability to harness my thought into meaningful text. I hated writing. I loved to read, but I could never understand how to write something for myself. That all changed in 5th grade when I had the most wonderful English and reading teacher that realized this struggle and knew exactly what to do about it. It may seem like a stupidly obviously statement, but she told to just write. There is no wrong or right, no points to be given or taken away; she simply wanted me to write and worry about the technical aspects later. In that year alone, with the encouragement of one single teacher, I soon prevailed far beyond my classmates and found joy in writing like never before. I was always excited to get a writing assignment. When most would cringe, I would giggle with glee because this was the one thing I knew that I could do, and could do well.

          I say all that to say that it is so wonderful to be able to simply write for a class again. My thoughts on the readings are never verbalized, but they become something so much more important: stories. Each storytelling assignment, I literally sit down with my laptop and babble until a story is formed. Half the time I don’t know what I’m writing until it’s done. When else do I get the opportunity to babble for class credit?! I really am lucky. I still can’t spell anything to save my life (thank god for Microsoft word) and I have no idea what to do with commas or semi colons or quotation marks other than just sticking them in somewhere that looks right, but that’s what my peers are for right? (ha ha)

          Storytelling has become such a unique way to let thoughts out. I somehow found significance in a little bird that was mentioned once in the beginning of Buck’s Ramayana and make it my own. This creativity thing is really a light that can easily be extinguished, and so often is. The openness of the storytelling assignments lets that creativity light (and apparently my metaphors) grow beyond expectation. It truly is a wonderful, rare, thing.

This image provided by Wikipedia was also a contender for the image I would
use in my story "The Songbird's Fate"
I'm glad I now have an excuse to show this pretty little image. 

Reading Review Week

          It is sort of crazy to take a few minutes to look back on the things I did not even realize I was learning.  I decided to take this class on a whim and I am so glad I did. I have always been a reader, a slow reader, but a reader. I can just remember the summer days where my mom would come make sure I was still breathing because she hadn’t heard a peep from me in hours, only to find me curled up in bed with a book that was the size of my head.

          Upon seeing the reading and realizing what this class was all about, I soon became worried. I always wondered how I was going to manage to do 50 pages of reading in one night on top of my other obligations. Most normal people probably would have thought “Oh, I should do that reading ahead of the assignment day” but that is beside the point. I always found a way to manage. While at times stressful, it has been so rewarding to trek through these stories and read stories I have never read before.

          Ramayana is something I would have never encountered, probably in my whole life, if I had not taken this class. It is such a strange story, but it explains so much about current Indian culture as well as society as a whole. It is sort of funny how our stories can be so similar throughout cultures, yet we still want to argue about religion. (A man born of the gods to come to earth to save the world? That sounds a little too familiar but heck, what do I know?)

          The folk stories I have explored have also been equally if not more rewarding. Again, it is surprising just how much overlap there is within cultures. It may be a different name or situation or place but the root and morals of the stories are always so similar to stories I have heard throughout my life.

          The only problem I have encountered throughout this semester with this class is just the sheer bulk. “Out of sight out of mind” is more than a saying in my life. While rather rhythmic after a couple weeks, it is still easy to forget to do an assignment here and there. Being a slow reader, that has been a struggle for me. I feel as if I want to understand too much when I read. I am constantly looking up words and backgrounds in order to further understand the story and that can sometimes hinder my progress.

          Regardless, I have survived! I hope to get ahead this week and continue another book by Narayan!

Quotation by Mark Twain
Provided by Flikr

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 7 Famous Last Words: When Does the Crazy Stop?

          This semester has been weirdly…… problematic. I’m starting to realize that I may have bit off a little more than I can chew. It seems as if each week is somehow crazier than the last. Each Friday I am sitting here thinking “thank god that’s over” only to be shocked at the craziness of the following week. My dad would call this phenomenon “life”. I don’t like to think that this is my life- one insanely crazy day after another- but maybe it is. Whatever the case, I hope I get a handle on it soon, because it’s too late to do anything about it.  As a friend once told me on a particularly adventurous night “There just ain’t enough coffee in the world for all this crazy.” There has never been a statement truer than that.

          Madness aside, this week has been alright otherwise. The snow has given me an excuse to sit down and have a little time to do nothing and catch up on some reading. I really enjoyed the reading I chose for this week. The stories were so well written and so well explained for someone who is quite ignorant of Indian culture and definitions. I would highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for something to read. I've come to really enjoy these past couple weeks with the un-textbook option. I get to explore topics I would never otherwise as well as learn through other student’s writing whether it be based on another story or story in Ramayana. I particularly enjoy reading other student’s stories about Ramayana because I still get to “read” the book through other people’s eyes. It is quite a fun experience.

Well, let’s get on to goals for the upcoming week. I have two exams and a paper due, so at the minimum I am hoping that I can make it through this week with my sanity. Other than that, I like to think I have reasonable expectations (ha ha).

An Image of Motivation Provided by Pixbay
Because Obviously I need A lot of That.


Typing Test Tech Tip

For this week's Tech Tip I tested my typing skills with TypingTest.com since the RankMyTyping.com website was not working on my computer. 

I averaged at 54 word per minute, which is SAD considering just how much time I spend typing. I have noticed that the majority of my slowness is due to my dependence on auto-correct and spell-check. I don't bother to add apostrophes or correct spelling if I hit a wrong letter because I know my computer (or phone) will fix it for me. Blessing or curse? I still haven't decided.

I am tempted to try to amp up my speed through "typing exercises".

Its interesting. I really enjoy tests like this. It sort of puts things in perspective.