Reading Notes: Alice in Wonderland (B)

  •  I very much want to know why a raven is like a writing desk. I’ve been wondering that since the first time I read Alice in Wonderland
  • Honestly, I’m less interested in Alice’s adventures in Wonderland than the Cheshire Cat’s. I feel like he would be a very cool main character
  • It seems interesting to me that this is a dream. I think it would be interesting if, instead of dreaming, Alice actually was crazy, and her adventures in Wonderland were actually her life in a psychiatric hospital

Bibliography: “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carrol. Web Source.

Image: Alice by Danny PiG. Source: Flickr

Reading Notes: Alice in Wonderland (A)

  •  I’ve always wondered what it was that the Rabbit was late for, and why he was late. What was he doing in the regular world?
  • I understand that Alice is a child, but she doesn’t have a very good grasp of logic. I wonder if a logical mind would have made her adventures in Wonderland easier or harder.
  • I don’t think it really makes sense that the “eat me” cake and the “drink me” liquid changed Alice’s size proportionally, but the bits of the mushroom don’t.
  • I wonder why Cheshire cats grin. Is that ever explained?
  • This is my favorite part in the book! “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” It’s not a direct quote, but I still like it.”
  • If she must be mad to be in Wonderland, I wonder what’s happening in the real world.

Bibliography: “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carrol. Web Source.

Image: Cheshire Cat by thethreesIsters. Source: Flickr

Growth Mindset: Cats to Keep me Going

Today I decided to get on Pintrest and find some Growth Mindset cats that inspired me. It definitely worked. The first one I found (at the top of the page) is what I want to be in my life. I love the idea that all it takes to do something is to believe that you can. Of course you still have to work hard, but if you already believe that you can do it, the work isn’t so bad. Some people have told me that I’m spoiled because 90% of the time, I get exactly what I want. And, while I may be spoiled (thanks dad!) I’m not in this way. When things go exactly the way I want them to, it’s almost always because I made it happen that way through hard work and believing in myself.

The second kitty cat I found is all about perseverance.

Going along with what I said above, when I’m trying to get stuff done, I tend to mess up a lot. I never get things right the first time, which is is totally fine, as long as I eventually get them right. I’ll probably have to change some things to make everything work out, but change is good. It means you’re growing.

My third cat friend is kind of my worst case scenario.

Obviously things don’t always go my way, and I’m constantly working with myself on accepting things that I cannot change. But as long as I tried success isn’t really the most important thing. That’s something I need to remember more.

Cat 1. Blogspot.

Cat 2. Blogspot.

Cat 3. Blogspot.

Learning Challenge: The Happiness Jar

As I was browsing the class website I managed to stumble across an article about the Happiness Jar project. Basically the idea is that, every day for a year, you write down one thing that made you happy. At the end you can open your jar and see all the awesome things that happened! I think this is a great idea, especailly for college students. College nowadays is extrememly stressful and that, along with rising tuition prices, can sometimes make finding something to be happy about a challege. Also, if you’re happier, than you should have better motivation to get things done and do them well!

So I’m going to be trying a Happiness Jar project. I’m going to start with a week, so next Sunday I’ll write a post with my experiences. I’m going to use a real mason jar (so that the one on my desk will stop looking so sad and empty) and just see how it goes. I’m going to try to do it at the end of every day, one per day, and I’m going to try to limit it to things that happened, instead of people. For example, I’d rather use “I saw the most beautiful sunrise today” rather than “I got to spend time with my friends” because I want to focus on things that I might not normally think about. Finally, I’m going to try to be specific in what happens so that at the end of the week I can remember what I wrote about (and hopefully share them on here!).

So those are my ground rules. I’m excited to give this a shot and see how it goes. Who knows, maybe at the end of this week I’ll decided I like it so much that I’ll try to go for the whole year!

Image: Joy by TheVirtualDenise. Source: Pixabay

Wikipedia Trail: Noir to Nazis

I decided to start my Wikipedia Trail at Noir Fiction, because that’s the style of writing I’m trying to emulate for my project, and I wanted to refresh my memory as I keep working on it. In the article there was a section describing different variants of Noir, including Mediterranean, which linked to the Mediterranean Sea.

I decided to head over the the Mediterranean Sea for the sheer randomness of that link, as well as the fact that some of my favorite places in the world are in the Mediterranean. The wiki article described the history, among other things, of the body of water, including the fact that the Romans used to call it the Mare Nostrum meaning “Our Sea” in Latin. Kind of presumptuous of them, in my opinion. But this caught my eye because I actually learned about this from one of my favorite book series. Apparently Mussolini tried to bring the term back during World War II, but we all know how well that went over for him. There was a link in the article to Mussolini’s good friend Adolf Hitler though.

Once I got to Hitler I basically called it day. As interesting as it was that I could get all the way to his wiki biography from Noir Fiction, I really had no desire to read about him. There are just some things I don’t want to read about I guess.

Image: Servizio fotografico by Paulo Monti. Source: Wikimedia

Famous Last Words: Just Keep Swimming

I did it! It is Sunday afternoon and I am not desperately trying to play catch up on all of my school work that should have been done this week. Why? Because I already did it! It feels so great to now have a tight ball of stress sitting in the pit of my stomach. If I can just keep this up for the rest of the semester I think I’ll make it through finals just fine. I’m a little nervous about Microbiology because I haven’t been applying myself properly. I definitely could be working harder. I’m also nervous about Geography of Wine, just because there is actually a lot of work that I still need to do for that class. But I am really enjoying this semester!

I’ve started getting ready for next semester and it is intimidating. Since I’m a dual degree student, I kind of bounce back and forth between taking engineering classes and international studies classes. Next semester though, it’s going to be all engineering all the time, which takes a certain level of perseverance. I know I can do it, but I’m trying to psyche myself up for it as much as possible now, rather than have a rude awakening later.

But, before I have to deal with next semester, I get to go on vacation. Ever since I studied abroad the first time, I’ve had such a strong case of wanderlust. The less I travel, the stronger it gets. So, over Christmas break I’m going to Seattle for a week with one of my close friends from high school (we’re still friends! Isn’t that awesome?). We’re going for no reason in particular, so it’s sure to be amazing. After that I’ll be heading to Houston for a weekend. I have two more trips planned, but they won’t happen until summer break. It’ll be a little something exciting to see me through the semester. I just have to remember to keep on going on!

Image: Just keep Swimming from Finding Nemo. Source: Giphy

Reading Notes: Native American Hero Tales (B)

  • I feel like the father in the Lodge-boy and Throw-Away should just stop telling the boys not to do things when they obviously won’t listen
  • I appreciate that Wemicus’ son-in-law was able to outsmart him at every turn, but Wemicus must not have been much of a trickster if he was that easy to evade
  • The story of the jealous father was good, but honestly I just want to know what happened to the step mother. Was the father right? Or was it just an excuse? Or did the woman cheat on her husband and blame it on her stepson?
  • I always like stories like Dirty-Boy, where people are rewarded for doing the right thing. The younger daughter did not go back on her father’s word, and ended up getting more than she ever dreamed of. The older daughter didn’t do what she was supposed to. She took what she thought was the next best thing, only to find out later that she made the wrong choice.

Bibliography: “Tales of the North American Indians” by Stith Thompson. Web Source.

Image: Spring Bird by jill111. Source: Pixabay


Week 11 Story: The Man who could not tell a Lie

Once there was a man who could not tell a lie. It’s not that he wanted to lie, but no matter what he did he would always tell the truth. He was terrible at keeping secrets, and no one ever told him about surprises they were planning. But as people the people in his town knew him longer, they came to accept and even appreciate his unwavering honesty.

After a few years living in the village, he married a young woman who loved the fact that he always told the truth. She knew she could trust him no matter what happened, and she loved the honest way he lived his life; he couldn’t lie with his actions any more than he could lie with his words and, because of that, never tried to cheat anyone of what they were due.

The two lived happily for a time, the husband maintaining his honest ways and the wife preventing anyone who was less honest than her husband from taking advantage of him (sometimes the man forgot that not everyone was as honest and good natured as he was). Eventually the wife became pregnant and the two were overjoyed that their family was going to grow.

However, not everyone was as happy as the two of them. There was one woman who committed a crime in the village and the man who could not tell a lie reported her wicked ways. She was locked up because of it, and harbored a deep hatred for the man and his family. The evil woman knew that the man losing his wife and children would hurt him far more than anything she could do to him, so she escaped her imprisonment and tried to kill the pregnant wife. She did not succeed, but vowed to keep trying until the wife and children were dead.

The man who could not tell a lie and his wife were very frightened about this and they agreed that the wife should go into hiding until the evil woman could be caught. They also agreed that the husband could not know where his wife was hiding, because if anyone were to ask him, he would have to tell them.

As they had agreed, the wife went into hiding. As she was leaving the village she was chased by the evil woman. The wife ran as fast as she could and got away, but she never looked back. Unfortunately, the reason she successfully got away was that the evil woman tripped and fell on her neck, killing her instantly, which meant the wife no longer needed to hide. But she didn’t know that, and hid herself as well as she could.

Not long after this happened, the man who could not tell a lie found the body of the evil woman and knew that his family was safe. He set out to find his wife and tell her, but didn’t know where to start looking. After years of searching, he finally found his wife and, to his surprise, their twin sons. The family returned to their village and lived a happy life for a while.

Eventually, as the boys grew, they began to explore the world around them and cause trouble, as children do. Their father would tell the boys places they should not go for their safety, and that is exactly where they would go, as soon as their father turned his back on them. They sometimes got scrapes and bruises – once a broken arm – but they hadn’t gotten seriously injured. Yet. Their parents worried constantly about the boys.

One day the man found a dangerous ravine close to their village and asked his wife to tell the boys to stay away from it. The wife agreed, but then forgot to pass on the message and the boys spent the day playing in the streets of the village. When the man returned home that night, he asked his wife what she had told the boys to convince them to stay away. She confessed that she had forgotten to tell them about it, and together they realized that they couldn’t go to these dangerous places if they didn’t know about them.

The man who could not tell a lie was worried – of course he had to tell the boys, he couldn’t lie to them. But his wife had a plan. Every time he found somewhere dangerous he told his wife. She made the decision on whether to tell the boys or not. After that the family lived happily together for many years.

Author’s Note: This story is loosely based on the Native American Hero Tale “Lodge-Boy and Throw-Away,” in which there is a man and wife who are expecting twins when the wife is murdered, and the boys are thrown away. Eventually the father is reunited with his sons and they “wake up” their mother. The boys then go to various dangerous locations that their father tells them not to go. Every time they do this, however, they fix whatever the problem is. When I read the story, I thought the obvious solution was to just stop telling the boys about things. I also changed the wife’s fate, because I thought it was weird that she died and then didn’t. Finally, I made the man unable to tell a lie, so that he had a reason to keep telling his sons about the places he found.

Bibliography: “Lodge Boy and Throw-Away” by Stith Thompson. Web Source.

Image: Twins by Free-Photos. Source: Pixabay


Reading Notes: Native American Hero Tales (A)

  • I liked the story of the unnatural uncle, but I think I’d like to rewrite parts of it with more detail. What was the boy thinking each time his uncle tried to kill him? Or when he dropped his uncle into the sea? Did he really enjoy living with the eagle people? Or maybe I could rewrite it from the aunt’s point of view and give her an opportunity to do more than just warn her husband of the potential downfall of his actions.
  • I think the story of Bluejay and his companions is pretty funny, but I don’t understand why they ran away from the last challenge. It seemed to me that they had beaten the people at their own game.
  • I am really confused by the Dug-From-Ground story. Everything happened so fast, and with so little detail, that I don’t really know what the story was about. Maybe I’ll take the basic plot points and make something up myself.
  • The attack on the giant elk and the eagle didn’t seem to be the whole story. It felt unfinished to me. The story also had a strange relationship with the number four, that wasn’t really explained. I wonder what was so important about that.

Bibliography: “Tales of the North American Indians” by Stith Thompson. Web Source.

Image: Archer by PaulSBarlow. Source: Pixabay

Reading Notes: West Africa Folktales (A)

  • I always like the stories about tricksters! I love that they accomplish tasks in such an out of the box way. I think I’d like to write about a trickster who helps the hero, but the hero takes all the credit and everything falls apart when people find out that the hero is actually kind of incompetent
  • I like that the story of Anansi and Nothing ends with that little pun. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be funny, but I think that it is!
  • I’ve read another story similar to Thunder and Anansi before, with a magic pot, a magic stick and a magic purse, but I don’t remember much of it. It was a really cute story though
  • I liked Anansi in the first story, but now he seems like an awful character. In every story he is greedy and mean.

Bibliography: West African Folktales by William H. Barker and Cecilia Sinclair. Web source.

Image: West Africa by NASA. Source: Wikimedia