December 31, 2006

A Year Behind

This year was the happiest and the saddest of my life.

This year was the busiest and the most introspective of my life.

This was the year I got a job and a drivers license.

This was the year I went to Greece and met Norwegians.

This was the year I looked ahead to life and found myself small and inadequate.

This was the year I looked behind to memory and found strength.

This was the year I had a Christmas in Curacao.

This was the year I looked at my friends and found goths and nerds and druggies.

This was the year I listened, and felt the words of others.

This was the year I spread my wings, shook them out, and folded them again.

This was the year I lied and snuck into a bar.

This was the year I walked the city of Mainz alone and without English.

This was the year I stood on a stage without shaking.

This was the year I won a sports trophy.

This was the year I twice loved and was twice wounded.

This was the year I couldn't count on a smile.

This was the year I felt the sunlight.

This was the year I faltered from my path.

This was the year I kept walking.

The Parking Lot

I love you and I hate you as you come out of your huge SUV with your Supersized Burger shouting curse words into your cell with a smile, filling the cool air of a winter noon with the sight of your enormous red coat and flushed cheeks.

I love you and I hate you, you teenage girls with skinny, shapeless forms and five-colour-highlighted hair, whispering and smirking and staring and pointing, congregating for half an hour before you leave in a savvy hurry.

I love you and I hate you, you are my family and you are strangers. I mock you and then I follow you into Quiznos.


I went to Borders today for the first time in a while. I was planning to buy more than I did, and I had the money too, but I figured I had to save some for the rest of the week in case I go out. I really wanted Teach Yourself Finnish, but it was about 30$, and I only had 90$ total. I ended up buying a European Phrasebook (with Finnish, German, Norwegian, Spanish, and some less important languages all bundled into a TINY little Berlitz book), another all audio Italian course (I finished the last one... the first foreign language course I've ACTUALLY finished?), and Eragon (for some mindless, clean reading).

I had to park a long way from the mall, as it's still Holiday season. That was fine walking in, the weather was really pleasant. It's very cloudy lately, with muted, colourful sunlight, which makes for absolutely gorgeous skies. When I came out, however, it was pouring down rain, and I ran all the way to my car. It was a good thing I had brought my grocery shopping bag to fill with books, because it rebels water a little, but my jeans and shirt were absolutely soaked. Still, I was happy, which goes to show that personality, circumstances at a whole, and some mysterious X factor have far more to do with mood than comfort and other fleeting things. I sang the approximately one-fourth appropriate Dido song "Thank You" and dreamed of a nice hot bath on the way home.

Scary Movie Night

Work Yesterday was a little meh, I need to get back into the rhythm, I guess. The hardest part about working in a library is that it leads to lot of sneak peaks at cover summaries, and sometimes if there isn't a cover summary you're forced to flip through the book, and even if you resist it leads to daydreaming... Oh well, I sped up towards the end. :P

Mr. Mina is in Egypt, so there was no Arabic Church and Maddy and I took the opportunity to have our scary movie night. I was really proud of myself - I drove to her house on directions. My first time driving on directions, actually!

We watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre first. It wasn't brilliant or anything, but I guess it served as a decent introduction to the genre. I thought the best part was the ending; a blurry still frame of the killers face that produced a far more effective after image than the girl getting away or even the last moments of the chainsaw guy chasing her.

After that we watched Frailty. The movie goes on for most of its duration with a man telling the story of his childhood, when his father suddenly started claiming god was sending him messages to kill 'demons', who were ordinary people. God then sent him 'magic weapons' and lists of names. The boy resisted and tried to tell the sherrif, etc, the dad locked him in the celler for two weeks until he pretended to have a vision from god and go through with his dad's plan. He turned at the last minute and killed his dad. This was all alright, but the most interesting part of the movie was the plot twist at the end. In short, the demons were real, secretly murderers and rapists, and the little boy in the story was also a demon who later became a serial killer.

After that we were considering watching What Lies Beneath or The Ring, and I wasn't tired yet. BUT, I had to drive home, so I didn't want to wait until I was tired. So we watched a couple episodes of Laguna Beach... awful. They were so real... I hated them all. :P Who would want to watch something like that? Of course, it seemed even more shallow in juxtaposition with the horror films. Then we talked for about an hour, and then I drove home in the rain and the dark and didn't crash and die. ^^ Yay!

December 21, 2006


I saw Eragon the other day with Christina, Gwen, Sabrina, and Stephanie. The best part of the movie was hanging out with them, of course. It wasn't absolutely terrible, either. The bad guys were HORRIBLY acted... at points I was close to laughing out loud at them. The ending was terrible, too. But, I didn't mind the main charector, even if most people say he's acted blandly and always looks blank. Hey, he's a teenage boy, so it's realistic. And hey, he's cute, so it's forgivable. One minor thing that did bother me was the dragon egg... it sounded really metallic and hollow, looked dull, and basically reminded me of a huge jelly bean left out for a year and glazed over.

Honestly, though, the movie was passable, if quickly moving and stereotypical. The scenary was gorgous, somewhere between The Lord of the Rings breathtaking vistas and the Thomas Kincaid Panoramas of The Chronicals of Narnia. And, it won points with me with the language being the focal point of magic. Everyone says the book is better, so next time I'm looking for a clichéd and mindless fantasy read, I'll pick it up. It can't be worse than Urshurak...

December 19, 2006

December 18, 2006

Layla and Harvard

I haven't posted since the crap with Layla really started. I guess that dates both things.

Anyway, I was really depressed and sad today, because I waited with Layla and listened to all of her angst rants and I was so worried and hopeful about her getting into Harvard. Well, she did. Yay for her. Party!

But I was the last one to know... Even the Principal knew first... and I couldn't hug her or anything... I could barely just smile and say, "Congratulations".

Life is Hell. Humanity is Hell. Pride is the lowest level of Hell.

Mail to Finland

Never send a Christmas Present to Finland. I don't care how nice the person is, or how perfect the present is, or how cheap the present was, or how much you owe the person, or anything. Just don't do it.

I considered grabbing my babysitting money from a few weeks back, but decided the ten in my wallet would cover postage. I show up with this little bitty pound-and-a-half package, and they're like,

"Finland? Oh boy, Finland and Russia are expensive..."

Yeah, I was digging coins out of my ash tray.

December 02, 2006

Killer Dolphins!

November 28, 2006


I want to write a post about everything I'm thankful for. Or, more accurately, everyone I'm thankful for. I have so many wonderful friends, and I have a great family. You guys are my life. ^^ Well, you and languages. :P

But yeah, you definately deserve a post. And someday you'll get one...


Yeah, so I'm shrinking. I don't know where it's coming from. Hopefully I'm not losing height. Or bone mass. At any rate, between Racquetball, School, Work, and Gym Make-ups, I've been losing weight. Also not having time to eat is probably a contributing factor. I'm at 87 pounds now. 39.55 Kilo, if I'm not mistaken. Also, my shoe size has fallen to 2 and a half, Kids' sizes. Don't ask how that happened.

I'm shrinking! Muaaa!


"Hey mom, could you sign this form for me, so I can compete in the NVC? Yes, I got time off work. No, I don't have a Racquetball Game that day. Yes. Mhmm. I'll fax it tomorrow. And I just have to bring my permit and some pencils. Hmm? No, I haven't eaten since breakfast. I'll get a sandwich or something. No, that's fine, I'll make it myself. No, I have to finish my essay first. Wait, I think I already submitted it. Whatever. Math homework? You're kidding, right? Chemistry... yeah... I'll stay after for tutoring tomorrow. And I'll study for Gov at lunch, with Layla if she's not still angry with me. Otherwise alone. Yeah, it's fine. I don't have to start working the bookfair for a few more days still. God, I've got a killer Spanish test Thursday. I guess I'll find time to study tomorrow. Yes, I'll go in early to do my Gym make-up. Yeah, I'll shower in the morning. Yes, I'll let Tidbit out before I go to bed. Good night. Sleep tight."

November 26, 2006

General Listening

Music Picks for a General Listening CD:

Anima Libera
The River
Andre Som Jeg
Ormurin Langi
Tasogare No Umi
Arabic Track II
Hijo De Hombre
If I Never Knew You (Thai)
Move Along
Avec La Foi
Ohne Dich
Desert Rose

Cocina Española!

This is the big one. The one we've all been waiting for! Miranda has to plan, prepare, and serve a five course Spanish meal. Plan:

1. Pan Con Tomate

2. Sopa De Pescado

3. Paella

4. Ensalada

5. Helado con Granada


Day One: Plan Menu

Day Two: Shop for Ingredients

Day Three: Make Ensalada and Sopa

Day Four: Make Paella and Pan Con Tomate. Serve.

I HAVE: Olive Oil, Vinegar, Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Laurel Leaf, Chicken Broth, Short Grained White Rice, Lemon Juice, Oregano.

I NEED: Loaf of Italian Bread, Five Tomatoes, 500 gram Codfish, 500 gram Assorted Seafood, Two Small Onions, Chopped Parsley, Two Chicken Thigh Fillets, Fourth of a Tablespoon Saffron, One Canned Pimento, Twelve Medium Shrimp, Two Tablespoons Sweet Paprika, A Half Cup of Peas.


Se ponen las rebanadas a tostar. Cuando esten un poco tostadas
(no mucho) se corta un diente
de ajo por la mitad y se rasca por la rebanada.
Se corta también el
tomate por la mitad y se restriega por encima del pan
hasta que quede
suficientemente untado, y se le añade finalmente aceite de
oliva, sal
y si se quiere un poquito de vinagre.
Se suele comer con embutidos


  1. Poner el bacalao a remojo en agua fría, sin cambiar el agua.
  2. Calentar el aceite y echar la cebolla pelada y picada, hasta que se dore.
  3. Añadir el tomate cortado en trozos, sin las simientes. Freír todo durante 15 minutos, machacando los tomates.
  4. Pasar la preparación por el pasapurés y reservar.
  5. Echar en una olla el pescado y los cangrejos. Cubrir con agua fría, echar sal y la hoja de laurel.
  6. Cocer a fuego vivo y cuando esté hirviendo durante un par de minutos, retirar del fuego.
  7. Colar el pescado, eliminar la hoja de laurel y reservar el agua de cocción.
  8. Poner el pan en remojo en un poco de caldo del pescado.
  9. Eliminar las espinas y la piel del pescado y del bacalao. Pasarlos por el pasapurés con el pan.
  10. Quitar el caparazón a los cangrejos y pasar el cuerpo y el interior de las cabezas por el pasapurés, con un poco de caldo de pescado.
  11. Echar en una olla el tomate y luego el pimentón. Rehogar con una cuchara de madera. Añadir el pescado y el pan. Cubrir con el caldo de pescado.
  12. Rectificar de sal, si fuera necesario. Echar pimienta molida.
Cocer durante 10 minutos y echar en una sopera.

Heat pan, add two tablespoons olive oil, diced chicken. Season with salt and pepper, brown throughout. Remove chicken to bowl. Bring chicken broth to boil in a saucepan while browning onion, red pepper, and garlic in remaining olive oil in paella pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add rice, broth, oregano, and saffron to skillet. Boil on high heat, then remove. Arrange chicken and shrimp over rice. Scatter peas throughout. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until liquid is absorbed by rice. Cover with a kitchen towl after removing, let sit for ten minutes.

Salad and Helado are very easy. But this is still a lot of cooking for Pobrecita Mira! :D

November 25, 2006

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe...

I've been feeling I should read it for fairness' sake. But I'm too old now, and it would be boring. So, I decided to read it in Spanish! It's an... okay... story, but I am learning a lot of very Quaint and British Spanish. See?

Sin Embargo - Anyhow
Gozar - To have, take pleasure in
Repisa - Ledge, Shelf, Mantlepiece
Desempolvar - To Dust
Sordo - Deaf
Pañuelo - Handkerchief, Scarf
Rincones - Nooks
Una Lechuza - Owl
Tejones - Badgers
Zorro - Fox
Peldaños - Rungs, Stairs
Abrigos - Cloaks, Overcoats
Colgado - Hanging

This is Amusing:

Thanksgiving Break

This break has been wonderful - and very needed. After two blessed days of sleeping in, I still have a headache and I'm still fatigued, which goes to show how badly I needed them. Or something. Family crap just gets reshuffled- more happy times, more angst. Blah blah blah.

Thanksgiving was nice. We ate outside. In t-shirts. It's so warm it's like summer - I wanted to go swimming just for the hell of it, but the water was actually cold - like, spring water cold, and I didn't think my parents would approve, and I didn't know what would happen to me in water that cold, having never experienced it. So, without supervision or experience, I merely stuck my feet in.

Beautiful, albeit early sunsets, very blue skies at noon, amazing stars at night. Orion was blazing, and Cassiopeia, and Leo... Ah... you could even see the milky way. Words came into my head - I struggled to brush them away. You know how bright the stars are... and the Northern Lights. Feelings burn over my mind like a brief, rushing flame, and fall apart.

"Don't waste your emotion..." My dad says to my mom, fuming over the new next door neighbors at the lake. She's taken the opportunity to inform us that once THEY'VED moved in we won't see the stars so well. Don't waste your emotion is right... I'm so sick of living in a dream that will never come true.

I run inside, Tidbit runs up to me, the smells are all of Turkey and Pumpkin Pie, we break the bread as picturesquely as the famous tamale pictures... we don't fight for a little while... it's only an awkward time.

And the next day is thanksgiving... all the rich food in the courtyard, surrounded by cedar and pine. The lights play on the lake, white aspens surround the waterside, ducks drift across and hawks above... Tidbit growls at them from her bed, looking to us for protection. The air is strangely, unseasonably warm. I like it day to day, although it unsettles me...

Carl the exterminator comes by to brag about the deer he finally shot... 30 meters, he whispers, like it's a big secret. A feral cat looking suspiciously like a bobcat slinks around beneath a trailer. Cottonwood sheds flowers like snow over the hillside, as even the wind is warm on your back. Jackie wants to tell us all about peanut butter fudge when mom calls us in...

November 22, 2006

Stress And Turkey

Right. Forty Nine Emails later, we're done with our Government Report.

The only mistake, that we know of, may not even be a problem, is mostly my fault, and is a result of miscommunication. So yeah, not that bad. Layla thought we needed in text citations, I had no idea; I've only used them once in my life. So I threw them all in at the last minute... and...

00:27 me: dies
00:28 gwen: beat you to it. i'm already dead.
me: Oh my god
We just had the Gov thing
gwen: yeah?
me: Layla and I bandied over 49 emails about it
gwen: o lord
me: and then I find out twenty minutes before turn it in time that I need in text citations
So I'm adding those and sending, adding and sending
Finally I compile it all into a master file and send it
00:29 gwen: yeah
me: But she freaks out and just wants to submit
So she ignores it
We don't know how much she got
And so we emailed Chazen and we're like
We're missing anywhere from 2-10 in text citations, but we think we have 95-100% of the bibliography. :D
gwen: lol
hopefully it'll turn out ok
me: And it's totally my fault and I'm an idiot
And it's Layla, for God's sake
So I can't even be like
00:30 Haha, remember the time you...
gwen: oh no worries - it's not like she NEEDS the grades.
me: Oh, but she DOES
She's cutting that grade closer than she's ever cut a grade before
She told me
gwen: lol
me: She's been sweating blood
gwen: difference between A and H?
me: What are you up to?
:P Yeah
gwen: an A won't kill her
00:31 i just finished that english essay
me: But hey, I sweat blood over it in Spanish, and I still have an A, and I'm still alive.
I should have donated it..
gwen: i did it all in one sitting
me: Let's see!
gwen: ugh it's awful
but it's done
me: (Chazen should have given us until 2 am)
I did mine in one sitting, too
Not tonight
gwen: later, definitely
but i'm off to bed
me: Yeah
00:32 gwen: i'm exhausted
me: Me too
Love you, Gwen
Have a happy Thanksgiving
gwen: love you more!!!
gwen: eat turkey

November 21, 2006

My Friends

I'm just flying. My fingers won't stop typing. Emails. Essays. Deadlines. Blog Posts. And my feet won't stop moving - Babysitting, Work, Racquetball, Service Hours..

I'm so busy I don't have time to stray from my default into dark and nasty thoughts. So I'm happy, exhausted, burnt out, rambling, wandering into walls and falling into wells, but happy...

And I love having Layla around.

I need Layla, see. I'm ashamed and I don't want it to be too obvious, but she's guiding me. Sometimes it may seem the other way around, and sometimes it may appear that we're walking hand in hand, but she's guiding me. I'm following her footsteps through the crowd, hoping to come out on the other side.

And Billie - As Layla said, you are our happy environment. Always be Billie. I know you're human... But please, be Billie. For all of us. :D

And I can't give anything but Cookies, so... I'll just keep bring those... I love you...

November 20, 2006

Anima Libera

Anima libera,
ti senti candida,
lassù nel cielo volerai
Anima libera,
sempre mi illumina,
nel buio dei pensieri miei
Anima libera,
sovente e magica,
sei la speranza dentro me
Anima libera,
leggera e unica,
nel cosmo azzurro brillerai
E non lasciare che,
paure inutili,
nascondano la luce in te
Io non ti scorderò,
io ti celebrerò,
col ritmo di questa canzone...

- Anima Libera, EMI

(Beautiful song, even more beautiful language. :D)

Whoohoo, It's Midnight!

Yay! I made it! I stayed up until midnight! Still going strong! Break out the Champagne!

Sham... Sham-pain for your real friends, and Real-Pain for your, your sham friends. Ha. Hah...

Right. It's not the New Year. And you finished your essay. Go to Bed, Miranda...

November 19, 2006

End to Understanding II

Not so great yet. Then again, not too terrible for a rough draft. I think I might be supposed to mix up the scarlet letter - crucible examples more. At any rate, here it is, feel free to ignore - I post it only for reference as it's supposed to be THE ESSAY of Junior Year... Hey, wouldn't it be funny if found this site and said I was plagiarising from myself? :P

An End to Understanding

One shows us a community torn asunder with raging and impassioned allegations of the occult. The other tells the tale of two lives irreparably scarred by the ironfisted ruling for a brief moment of lust. The Crucible by Arthur Miller, and The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne, tell two different stories with one ardent message, which stands today to warn us against the dangers of law untempered by both reason and human emotion. In both cases this admonition follows a simple arc of corruption and eventual failing over man’s judicial authority, beginning with an unbalanced influence of reason and emotion over the ruling of the court, molded by the strict puritan lifestyle. These unjust rulings extend to squander human lives and good intentions until ultimately and chaotically overthrown by either surrender or growing disregard of their magisterial power.

Humans are fundamentally flawed creatures. Prone to error, they have two forces at their disposal which, used in tandem, can lead them on the course of justice. These forces are those of reason and of emotion, each of which must be tempered with the other, or they may just as easily lead to ruin. Such is the sad case of the Crucible and the Scarlet Letter. In the Crucible, reason is at fault. In a panic fueled by a growing mass hysteria, the long repressed emotions and selfish motives of the people of Salem come to surface with deadly consequences. The Putnams, for example, take advantage of the madness to feed their own greed. They have their daughter testify against a neighbor so they can take his land. As Giles explains, “If Jacobs hangs for a witch he forfeit up his property – that’s law! And there is none but Putnam with the coin to buy so great a piece. This man is killing his neighbors for their land! (101)” Abby, the orchestrator of the confessors, has her own ulterior motives. Having once had an affair with John Proctor, she believes he would marry her but for his wife Elizabeth, and summarily moves to dispose of her. As Proctor turns increasingly against her, she shows no hesitance in taking him down as well. Cold and calculating, she knows that as an ‘innocent’ young maiden, she will be believed. “And if they ask you why Abigail would ever do so murderous a deed,” she fairly asks Proctor, “What will you tell them? (158)” The irrational court that the hearings are held in allow lies to fester and spread like wildfire. Hale, the learned judge, is originally overeager and ambitious in his judgments, thrilled at some level to put his years of study to test on the field. The other judges, Hathorne and Danforth, are equally partial and unyielding of their control in the court. Spectral evidence, now considered an oxymoron, was fair game in the Salem Witch Trials, as the witnesses would testify to spirits visiting them at night or advancing upon them in the court. If Salem, then, was host to a courtroom turned circus, the Boston of the Scarlet Letter is home to one of ironfisted damnation, bereft of human tenderness. The inhabitants there condemn Hester to a lifetime as a pariah for a moment’s lust, and call it mercy in the face of the gallows she might as easily have faced. Perhaps they are desperate for a scapegoat, thirsting for someone to take notice away from their own petty sins in a society where no transgression is too small to warrant the gaze of hell. Perhaps they are simply jealous of the young, beautiful Hester Prynne, who with her skilful embroidery looks so different from their own “broad shoulders and well developed busts and… round and ruddy cheeks. (46)” With whatever cruel motive born from a strict and cold life, Hester’s neighbors advance on her ruthlessly, hurling towards her every weapon of humiliation in an attempt to break her spirit.

Sprung from a thousand cruel motives and envenomed by bitterness, the unbalanced and barbarous rulings of Salem and Boston could only ever bring about evil consequence. In their own time, both waste innocent lives and squander good intentions, transforming the pure and good to corruption and decay. In the Scarlet Letter, the judgment of man leaves a child to grow up fatherless, a woman to live in pain, a minister to lead himself to death with guilt, and a physician’s heart and soul to blacken with vengeance. Each would have had much to offer the world, if treated by it with more clemency and understanding. Instead, Pearl, the child of lust, grows up in a broken home to be a wild and strange child, forever separated from the companionship of others her own age by the sinful past that precedes her. Her mother Hester is a beautiful, clever, and kind woman who grows old before her time wandering in constant pain from the guilt and ostracism she endures. She may have given great happiness to a man and many children as a wife, or even to society as a giving and talented embroiderer. Instead, she is long ignored and avoided, and takes to wearing her hair pinned up in a cap, turning grey and lifeless before the eyes of Boston. Dimmesdale, her partner in sin, is also relentlessly tormented. Never strong, he lingers on in bad health and unimaginable guilt for years, tortured by the physician who subtly draws out the effects of his own poisonous emotions. A brilliant speaker and holy, god-fearing minister, Dimmesdale nonetheless realizes that if his congregation only knew of the sin he had once committed, he would be cast out and made nothing before them, unable even to repent through good works and service. The physician, Hester’s thwarted husband, is also cruelly affected by the judgment even as he is part of it. He is made to feel as though Dimmesdale has committed a crime against him which is grievous beyond reckon and utterly unforgivable. His mind is twisted to madness with dark thoughts, and is increasingly compared with the Black Man, the Satan of Puritan society, as he sinks further and further from his roots as a gentle scholar. In the Crucible, the waste of life and love is even more lucid, as throngs of innocent people are incarcerated, many even killed. Children are made orphans. Women are made widows. Men are made to live in their guilt for the remainder of their wretched lives. Rebecca Nurse, a saintly woman all her life, is excommunicated and hung. Giles Corey, an old man a bit rough around the edges but kind at heart, and well loved in a begrudging sort of way, is torturously pressed with stones in an attempt to force a confession from him. Even long after the bloodbath has settled, unpleasantness haunts the town. Few participants ever rest in peace, some losing family members to death and illness, others doomed, it seems, to wander in search of employment or contentment.

Such destructive and wasteful judgment can not, and does not, continue forever, although by the time the wounds have been staunched they have left indelible scars. In some cases, the overthrow of the law, or the events that set it into motion, are dramatic and violent displays of false surrender. Dimmesdale confesses his sins at last, before the eyes of God and his beloved congregation. Freed from his guilt at long last, and finally safe from the poison of the physician, he dies in a sort of peace. Proctor uses his last words in a desperate attempt to rally Salem and expose the madness and hypocrisy of the trials. He sends himself to hang, with multiple chances to surrender to the hysteria and save himself. He refuses to condemn others, or to lie about his own sins, but stands at last clean before all. “I have found my honesty, (158)”, he says, finally finding a cause worth confessing, and dying for in the lives of his wife and his neighbors. He goes on to the gallows, but he has made his peace and is, as Dimmesdale, somehow content. Not all shake off the law so furiously, but time, the great healer, brings many of them to break it in their own slow and steady way. They become numb to its decrees and begin to turn against it, and the law in turn falls without support. The townspeople, after a time, cease to see the red A that burns against Hester’s bosom. They explain it away as meaning “A”, for “Able” and begin to appreciate her talents and her strengths. The witch trials swiftly but quietly dissolve, and as the years go by slow amends begin to be made. These are little enough atonement, and pale beside the transgressions they seek to allay, but they are made nonetheless. In its own zealousness, the law had burned too brightly and too ardently, and in the end died away with a bang and a whimper.

The Crucible and the Scarlet Letter are sad stories, drearily hopeful at best, which illustrate the worst of human nature and of the institution of law. They serve, however, as a warning, not an epitaph, and to some extent this warning has been heeded. Today we learn about the Salem Witchcraft Trials in school, refuse to admit spectral evidence to our courts, and pledge never again to let such injustice rule our minds. Whether or not we have been successful, of course, is debatable, but our court system is different for having that particular dark smudge on its past. When we read the Scarlet Letter, we close it having a slightly different opinion on judging others and the good in others. Perhaps it makes us better people, perhaps we continue to go about our lives as before, but the warning stands, and it would be wise to heed it.

An End to Understanding

Alright, so... has anyone noticed a pattern where, the more homework I have, the more I blog? But I'm tricking it, see, this blog post will be homework.

So my essay, which I'm thinking about calling "An End to Understanding", because the two choices for style in Essay Titles are "Technical and Cold" or "Lame", and I like to go with "Lame" because I'm what the English teachers call "Creative". So my essay. I'm going to examine where, when, how, and why the law went terribly astray in The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible.


The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne and The Crucible by Miller share a common theme: A gradual corruption and eventual failing of the power of the law. In both cases this starts with an unbalanced influence of reason and emotion over the ruling of the court, extends to waste and destroy innocent lives and good intentions, and is ultimately overthrown by surrender or growing disregard of their magestrial authority.

The Court was Over-Eager in Judgement in both cases. In Crucible emotion ruled, without reason. In the Scarlet Letter law ruled, without human tenderness.


Coldness of Society, Self Righteousness - Women in Scarlet Letter, Judges in Crucible.
Need for a Scapegoat - Society at Large, Both.
Greed - The Putnams wanted land, Abby wanted John Proctor.
Jealousy - Hester was pretty, young, and skillful.
Mass Hysteria - Everyone flips in Crucible.

RESULTS: These judgements made in haste bring undue mental and physical punishment, a waste of innocent lives and good intentions.

Guilt - Hester and Dimmesdale feel extraordinary guilt, guilt is aftereffect of cruelty for Salem judges, witnesses.
Prejudice - People judged Hester at first sight due to her Scarlet Letter, people saw witches in every corner.
Condemned Innocents - Innocents went to the gallows or were pressed to death in Crucible, in Scarlet Letter Pearl was outcast and Hester and Dimmesdale felt more guilt than they deserved.
Waste of Goodness - Good people were killed, ending their potential for good permanantly. Town society destroyed, waste of much good. In Scarlet Letter Hester's goodness was only slowly recognized, Dimmesdale felt his own goodness would be nil if he confessed.

DOWNFALL: Eventually the extreme injustice of the law brings about it's own downfall as the rulings gradually lose their sway over the society or victims are driven to confess or surrender, breaking it's power.

Confession or Surrender - Dimmesdale Confesses to Adultery, is safe from Chillingsworth, is right with God. Proctor confesses to Lechery, weakening Abby's hold.
Eventual Acceptance - Time Heals all wounds. More peacefully, people give in and reaccept people, reversing ruling - Hester's A means Able. Witchcraft Trials shiver and die.

CONCLUSION: Unjust and short-sighted law, fueled by an imbalance of stark reason and tempering human understanding, brings about disasterous consequences for all those involved, and ultimately for the law itself through nullifying surrender or popular disregard.


All my working and juggling has not been in vain! I'm at an all time low weight of 40.45 kilos. ^^


Yeah, to relax and et cetera, I took a shameless photo shoot.

Location: My Office
Camera: Cheap Web-Cam
Lighting: One Lamp, Sun Down.
Clothing: Lumpy Red Sweater
Hair: Lazy Pigtails, Unbrushed
Accessories: Earrings
Make Up: None
Props: Book, Coloured Pencil, Mother's Glasses

This Weekend

This Weekend I'm running like my feet can't bear to stay on the ground.

Friday, Racquetball game. Immediately after school. Opponent's a sour natured girl, who won't shake hands properly and frowns and whines and tells all her friends I'm cheating for having good positioning. I go from this to Babysitting, no time to change. They jump on me and want to play tag and have milk and dinner and the little baby wants to poop and scream and run around and Grace wants to jump from furniture to furniture, that's not allowed...

I sing to Nate as I rock him to sleep, I sing "Into the West", it's what comes into my head, and he falls to sleep in my arms and I kiss his little face on his soft cheekbone, and a little eyelash is there. It's dark and long; not from a baby's eye. So the wish is mine, and I wish that someday...

Memory fades out, I dream of the National Vocabulary Competition, and making Sra. Altadonna a ball of stress and nerves, and we get there just in time, and sit together, Laura and Christy and I, as it all begins, and up on the stage there's bright lights and dry ice and a noise like thunder and the first girl goes up, and it's not even Vocabulary but Geography, and I don't know if she even get's it right - what does that buzzer mean, after all?

It means wake up, up I get, I shower, go down and shove a strawberry crepe down my throat and take the highway to work, barely get there ontime, half asleep and with an arm throbbing from Racquetball and Baby-Changing and forty new dollars in my pocket and it's payday and I get a 400$ paycheck, so now I'm rich but I have to shelve books all day...

Home again, it's out the door, to Arabic Church - I've turned it into my Government service project as well. Little kids climbing and kicking and screaming, Alleh, Daniel, Daniela, Eva, Evaline, Mary, and a new little girl, and we watch the service, it's interesting, and we eat some food, and we're home again, the house is cold and empty without Mom or Dad or Melissa or Tidbit.

Asleep - for longer, but not long enough. I skip Racquetball practice to write the Government essay, Angie hasn't even done it, for all that. Due on Tuesday at midnight, I want to get my English essay done tonight, perhaps it will happen. Lovely times at Layla's house, such nice smells and golden colours and a bird hits the window and whirls about with a wounded wing scattering decaying leaves about it.

Dark and Deadly Kaos, Smooth and Simple Peace... I look forward to Thanksgiving, and to Christmas, and to next year being a Senior, and College, and seeing the world, and meeting someone I want to spend my life with, and having adorable little dark haired children, and then quite suddenly I don't want to go forward any more - the tunnel plummets onward to the end of my life. So I sit back, and concentrate on the minute - what do you have to do RIGHT NOW, this very minute. What's due in the next? What's important?

And I decide blogging. :D

Brief and Burning

It's November, so the sun is completely set by about 5:00, and most day's the weathers nasty so it's dark from about 3 onward. But my, when the sun comes out, is it bright! Looking out the window is like looking straight at the sun, and the street just glows. But not in a good way. And it gives me a headache. ;)

November 17, 2006


"Miranda, quick, what's a language that starts with a D?"
"... Danish?"
"Yes! Okay, do you speak Danish?"
"No... Why?"
"Because I was online searching for something, and the little preview thing was in English, and then..."
"Ohh... I can read Danish, if that's what you mean."

(She hands me a paper)

"First off, Kelling, this is Swedish. Second of all, it's not the story, it's the history of the story. See, here it tells you about the translation..."

November 15, 2006

Snapshots from Bitter November

Me stuffing my face, fresh out of the shower, and a little hyper after the poetry slam, in that order.

Poetry Slam

The Second Annual, First Biannual Poetry Slam was today. That is to mean; last year we had the first one, and, with the incentive of extra credit, it was a resounding success. So this year we mean to have two. Today's was barely worthwhile, but barely does rightfully imply that it was worthwhile all the same. The Open-Mike was a neat addition; Layla read "Tech Support" and took the slam - not as powerfully as Haoran did last year, but it wasn't an original piece. Haoran also scored again; as did Alex, Angie Gao, Connie Tsai, and Billie Liao. There may be a rule that no white people can win. No, I don't mean just to whine by saying that; although there are only two or three white people who entered. Ah, well.

I got nice comments on my poem, but didn't score to well from the judges. That's fine by me; my poem was short, snide, sarcastic, biting, pointed, composed in less than ten minutes a year ago, and thrown into the competition at the last minute to even things out. It also probably didn't help that the group it made fun of and cut down WAS poets, teen-poets to be specific, so it's less than ideal to enter into a teen-poetry-slam, if you want to be pragmatic. I'm sure I've posted it before, but here it is again to freshen memories;

I wear the mask that grins and lies,
It lies to hide my awful eyes,
It grins to mask my pitted skin,
The sight of which kills lesser men.

I may look sad, I may look cold,
But if the mask were backwards-rolled,
I'd stand still changeless before thee -
In dear-bought truth, the mask wears me.

First Snow - St. Louis Style

In summer I've spoken of how the water comes off the river and raises our heat indexes to the roof with the humidity levels. Well, the moisture takes a few breaks in fall, but comes back again for the beautiful St. Louis November - which is here in full force after a strangely warm day last friday (we're talking hiking-in-tanks weather).

What I mean is - wet, and quite cold. Not VERY cold, for if it was any colder of course we'd have snow, but it FEELS colder because it wraps around you even as water, and it's raining, and it's very windy, and it all sort of permeates you to the point that when you go inside, you're amazed at how fast you warm up until you realize that's because you had imagined yourself thoroughly drenched.

But yeah, the forecast is snow tonight or tomorrow; may not stick, but should be there. There have also been reports of snow today; little flurries amid the freezing rain. May or not be true, and is far from picturesque, but it's there.

November 13, 2006

Icon Picture

My Icon pictures doing something creepy when downsizing so that one of my eyes is all white and kind of scary. I'm replacing it with a blacked out eye. Sort of equally creepy to think about it, but not if you don't. ^^

No reprieve

I admit, there is no crushing pressure anywhere. Not from grades... to be honest, I care more about them now, but they are the same as they've always been - satisfactory. Not my best, but satisfactory. Work is going swimmingly, and I like it. Tidbit's alive, and on the mend. My family sucks, but they're not like abusing me or anything, and they love me, they're just loud and angry and 'used up' or whatever. I REALLY need to get my license, but that's hard to manage - Racquetball can quietly take the backburner and that's life...

So no, no crushing pressure. But no reprieve, either. Nowhere to hide. Not in free time or immaculate grades or in friends or even in family. That's what's cutting into me.

Emails are really the only thing I have. And that's little enough - and a guilty pleasure in reading.

November 12, 2006


When all that is left to us are memories. They are not faded, but vivid and fresh as the day they were conceived, and painful and bitter.

New Picture

I've replaced my profile picture with this years official school picture:

P.S. - It may seem as though I'm being emo in my latest posts. I am NOT. I am MOST DECIDEDLY NOT. That would totally be breaking my promise to self. ^^ That is all.

Snake Agent

I'm reading an interesting book right now, called Snake Agent. I don't think the titles all that amazing, but at any rate I'm almost through it and it's... refreshing. Very creative and different and all that good stuff. It's got a somewhat a-christian-morals view on Heaven and Earth and Hell and all that, but still manages not to feel like an entirely guilty read, and I think the main charectors hearts are in the right places. I know they are; they try their damnedest to do what's right.

And it's just so much fun... the descriptions are amazingly vivid, and the world is strange, but so confidently laid out you don't quite feel frightened. Which was a problem in Snow Crash, a somewhat similar book I read. You were never at all at ease in the world... you were somewhat in awe of the charectors who were. But Snake Agent's just a tad bit more approachable... and that makes all the difference.

I'm also reading "A Child's First 1000 Words - In German". It's very useful, but the designs the same as "A Child's First 1000 Words" (In English), so I get some funny looks toting it about. Ah, well.

I love my job! I can find so many books there. ^^ I think one must use a library the same way one uses a Thesaurus - if you don't remember, as I think that was a blog post from a year or more ago - that's by looking just for looking, and not to find anything in particular. Otherwise you will likely be disappointed, but if you just explore, you find all manner of goodies. ^^

Reflections from the Backwaters

How quiet the lake is this time of year... how still the water, bright the sky, and the stars, and the campfire, and the sun on the waves moving beyond the pines. And how sharp the pain, I wake to rediscover every clear morning, when there is nothing but calmness and stillness and a different sort of pacing to keep you from it. I may live in the hopeful future, or in the nostalgic past, in it's combined pulchritude and putrefaction.

I'd rather not live this way, but I've only found so many ways of changing it - stress or business or the dearest, brightest joys.

And something else has changed... I was watching the stars, and I wanted to drift off again. I could feel the heavens calling me, like times before when I've sat within myself and felt as though I was going off into the edges of the world, seeing the sand falling in Africa, and the rivers of Russia, and the Yellow Sea, and the waterfalls and parrots of South America, and felt rooted to the earth, and so inexplicably happy... this was blocked from me.

So I stop watching the stars, and I stop tending the dying fire, and I go inside and turn on Springsteen, and my mind whizzes off, buzzing with the imagination so strong this time of year. And I want to write... how I want to write... about the things that are important; like honour and bravery and love... not about the dust my own emotions have become. I can write and become something bigger than myself...

I'm not proud of my depression, you know...

November 10, 2006

It does hurt less

It does hurt less... every day it hurts less. But it still hurts a hell of a lot.

It's hardest waking up.

November 08, 2006

Conversation with Self

Better Half: Don't be emo. You have the puppy; she came home; she's on your lap. You're going to the lake this weekend. Besides; you're strong, you can juggle work and r-ball and school, no problem. You're grades will be fine.

Worse Half: But they'll YELL at me... ;_;

Better Half: Well, keep blogging about it. That helps every time.

Worse Half: ...

12 Weeks

Time limps by like the winner of the special olympics. I've been in school for 12 weeks. That means it's emo grade time. My grades have taken a hit from Greece. Not an irreparable one, but a noticible one for this grading period. I think I can bring my parents over to that idea at the lake. Unless they see it here first... but I don't think they read my blog.

And I always get the funny idea that if they did, they'd understand what I was getting at and my point of view and everything, probably because I just write it exactly how I feel it with almost no censorship. And thats mostly names, and when something would be equivalent to starting a rumour.

But yeah. I don't need there pressure. I'm pressured enough myself. And super stressed out. And a little depressed. I thought it would go away when family problems calmed down. Maybe that was just a mask. Gah, I feel a bit trapped. But yeah, I know how important grades are. Exactly so. I don't think they're all important or worthless. I actually think I have a pretty good idea, and I worry, and work hard, and stress, and study, and cram, and cry, and all that.

So yeah, I don't need the parents angst on top of it, not when it's half founded in doubt, and not when I have a good idea of the situation and am reasonable confident I can bring the grades around by the end. Besides, I always do. ;)

Notwithstanding, Grade Guesses:

English - B, because of Essay weirdness. Should get back to an A.
Chemistry - B, nice and solid. Hit mercifully not applicable.
Math - C, nice and solid. I had hoped to bring it to a B. I can do it on the final, I know I can...
Government - B, should be solid and stress free; and that's the goal.
German - A, nothing to say here.
Spanish - A, but is it high enough for an H? I've done well on projects and tests, and participation, but I've missed a homework assignment. O.O, today, actually, and it was a horrible accident.


I'm two and a half away from goal. That's not impossible at all. I can do this. :D

State of the Union

Life's been queerer than a clockwork orange. I permit you to read between the lines...

I've fought my family. I've sort of won. We're acting a little warmer again. I've come out of my school slump. It's in time for science, not for math. I've gotten invited to several youth leadership conferences everywhere from good ole' Washington to Russia or China or Slovakia. The Democrats took control of the House. No one knows what's wrong with Tidbit. But she's come home. Layla's admitted she desperately wants to go to Harvard. Billie's fighting the assumption that, as an asian, she'll do pre-med. Racquetball's started and mixed lovingly with my job and school like Hummus and Saffron and Oatmeal go together. It's getting colder, slowly. It's very wet. I've heard the Democrats took the Senate, too. There are still a ton of leaves on the trees for this time of year. Today it was randomly 70 degrees. I wore my Norway! Shirt. Britney Spears is divorcing Kevin. Agnese laughed at my Italian. Walaa smiled at my Arabic, Amelia at my Aramaic. Bush admits the losses are all his fault. Layla's sick of studying. Charles won't admit defeat. Erin brought bagels for our Chemistry class. Rumsfeld resigned. Sara was practically doing cartwheels. We knew before the Government teachers. Or our parents. We've been studying the fall of the Berlin wall. I've shelved "Raising Bison for the Broken Heart", and "The Ugly Truckling", and "A Mind of It's Own: A History of the Penis". We're on Revelations in Bible Study. In Spanish we study food for two hours right before lunch. But we got to try Pomengranate. Stem Cell Research passed... despite the lies about cloning. The Cigarette Tax did not pass... life limps forward. I've forgotten more Latin than I think I ever learned. The sky is blue, the leaves drift across like... dry leaves. There's not always a metaphore.

November 05, 2006

War of the News

I've got major major Tidbit-related bad news, so I'm going to clutter up my life with a few points of minor good news for now.

A.) I'm out of my math-science slump. I would call it a grade slump, but I never really slumped in Spanish or German, and I'm still slumping as mildly as before in English and History. But no, I get what's going on in Math, and I went to tutoring*, and studied with Stephanie for the Chemistry test, and hopefully did pretty well on it.

B.) Arabic Church last night was fun. I think I'm actually learning some things! Not much, but a little. I know about 7 words now, and I notice them when they come up, and can sometimes guess the context. And I started learning the alphabet, because right before leaving, I opened my book and learned "m", and then I was delighted to recognize it. Then, as we had to draw thanksgiving oriented pictures with the kids, I managed to write "Shokran" or "Thanks", in Arabic! I was so proud I showed it to everyone.

* - This was fun, as I'm a member of the organization that was tutoring, and I show up and they're like, "Alright Miranda, go find someone (stupid) to help..." and I'm all like, "Yeah... About that...."

October 31, 2006

Letting Things Lie

Once, when I was little, I fancied I saw something buried in my wrist. I dug, with a fingernail and a paper clip, layer by layer, until I couldn't see it for the blood.

Once, when I was little, I fancied that when I twisted my arm about, an unsightly pocket of air came to surface in the crook of my arm. Out came the safety pins, and I don't think it ever really popped.

Once, when I was older, I misspoke - I said "På" for "For", and I wouldn't forget it. It haunted me for two days, until I remembered where I had learned it, burned it out from that very source. "Vent på meg..." never meant "Wait for me..." but, "Wait on me...". Sweet epiphany.

Once, when I was older still, I couldn't get stewardship and presidential together in my head, opposite taftian and congressional. I followed it to it's source, deep in a mountain of trivia long forgotten, moldered, all for the better, now feeding the mind. The Stewards of Gondor were less than the Kings.

So I'm sorry if I can't let things lie. It's never been my nature.

October 30, 2006

Utilitarian Garage Family

I don't know who to turn to. No, that's wrong. It's really completely off. I have plenty of people to turn to, and the diety of my choosing - that's one blessing. And I'm counting every one right now - not for warm and fuzzies, but because I have to.

Tidbit just drug herself up a flight of steps. Does anyone remember another little puppy who did that? Don't ever get a dachshund. Save yourself the heartache. They're the cutest dogs in the whole world, and the bravest (per size ratio), and the most loyal and sweetest. But you can love a mut just the same. I just want her to be Tidbit again.

Then there's my family. Coming home feels like going out to the garage nowadays. Cold and empty and old and worn out and above all utilitarian. Yeah. That's about it. My mind keeps going back to a day we all went hiking and played frisbee and cooked hotdogs and Tidbit and Tootsie chased each other down the trail as the leaves changed colours.

They're falling off the trees now - right as they've finally turned their brightest colours. The oaks are in full bloom right now, as it were - mom and dad say they've never seen such a bright oak. I took pictures so that when my heart is not as heavy I can enjoy them.

So yeah, Mom, she's still tired. Tired, she says. I don't know what I can do. My god, I'm sorry. I've tried my best. I try to be a good daughter. So, it's bad enough you yell at me. Tell me I'm the reason our family is breaking. Yeah, bad enough. Then you get Melissa in on it.

Go ahead. Tell her I'm the devil. I heard you tell her that I'm what's wrong with this family, that I'm a special needs child and I've taken all you have to give. Go ahead, tell her everything. Tell her if it wasn't for me... If it wasn't for me we'd still be throwing frisbees down by the river banks.

But I won't forgive you for that. I swear it - I'll forgive whatever you've said to me, in time, but I won't forget or forgive what you said to my sister. Not unless you see what you've done and paid for it, or until I've changed and all the world with me, become a better person, the good Christian I ought to be. I guess then I won't be wrecking any families, either.

Layla emailed me. How happy that makes me feel. When the whole world is spinning, I think, a kind word smooths it out and brightens it, too. Thank you, Layla.

My grades are going to hell. I can feel it and I care but I don't care and I hate myself for that too. I suppose my German grades holding up fine, I have no idea about English or Chemistry, never do... Gym I need my make ups, Gov I should have a solid B, and then there are the two I have to focus on: Math and Spanish: Borderline B-C and H-A, respectively.

But Math is hard and I don't have the stomach for it. So I throw myself into Spanish and it holds me for awhile. And food. I like to cook whole loaves of garlic bread and curl up on the couch and read Marianela and cry. Okay, no, I really don't, but I did yesterday and it made me feel better. And I love my Spanish.

No, I won't be emo about it. I promised that much and I won't back down. But if I have to burn that away with anger, I guess I'll have to do just that. And I'll live on emails dropped like rays of sunshine, and hugs from those who care, and my Spanish, and Tidbit in the morning when she first wakes up, and is almost Tidbit again until she remembers.

October 29, 2006

Lack of Activity

Alright, so the reason I haven't posted on my blog or emailed anyone other than teachers or anything all week is that... I've had the most stressful week of my life, to date. But, now almost all my tests are made up and I can start living in the present again... it'll still be pretty rough for a while.

And I know it's gotten to the point of rediculous with sending post cards, but I still will. ^^ Because I'd still like to get them.

Anyhow, I think I failed my math test, but I'm doing well everywhere else, and I did get to go with Kaline to the science center, which was fun. More on that later. :D

And Tidbit's really sick. More on that later, too.

October 23, 2006

Duration of Life

Days are long, weeks are longer, seasons are short, years are shorter.

Profound, I know it.


Right, so Altadonna emailed me back, answering my request for a grade report with:

"I'll let you know after class."

This means:

1.) She has no idea what I have yet.

2.) She is waiting to tell me I fail at life and have to give up until she can see my tears, in person.

3.) She is waiting to tell me I'd have to be the most amazing Spanish student she's ever had if I want a prayer, in person.

None of these tell me anything I don't already know. And I'm still really worried about it. Partly because I've let myself down, and partly because I've made the whole thing quasi-public, so I feel like I'm letting everyone down even though nobody else cares. Oh, the embarrassment!

This is so stupid. My dad says, "Worry is interest you pay on a debt you never owed". I think, maybe you owe the debt, but it's an interest free loan. Or something. Or maybe, "Worry is interest you pay on a debt you may or may not owe, and certainly don't have to pay interest, because interest is a concept that doesn't really extend to all metaphores concerning debt." Longer, but more accurate.

October 22, 2006


Right, so... I didn't get all my work done this weekend, I'm not even well rested, and I'm about to be physically sick not wanting to face Sra. Altadonna tomorrow. I know I did terribly on that test. Gah.

-.- I did post the first three days of my trip. No pictures yet.

To Do List

Yesterday I worked from 8:30-5:00, then had church from 6:15-10:30.

My to do list today? My mom lovingly wrote it out for me.

Sleep in.
Install printer.
Install keyboard.
Go to Racquetball.
Do Homework.
Clean Room.
Sort School Stuff.
Clean White Crate.
Clean Office.
Clean Bathroom.
Watch Scarlet Letter.

Right... you know, just because a Day is technically empty doesn't mean it's infinite...

So far I've slept in, sorted school stuff, cleaned my white crate, and installed the keyboard. It's four in the afternoon...

A Words I Need to Brush Up On:

A few I don't know, most I could read without looking up but need to know more firmly.

aberration n. Deviation from a right, customary, or prescribed course.
abet v. To aid, promote, or encourage the commission of (an offense).
abeyance n. A state of suspension or temporary inaction.
abject adj. Sunk to a low condition.
abjure v. To recant, renounce, repudiate under oath.
ablution n. A washing or cleansing, especially of the body.
abnegate v. To renounce (a right or privilege).
abrade v. To wear away the surface or some part of by friction.
abrogate v. To abolish, repeal.
abscond v. To depart suddenly and secretly, as for the purpose of escaping arrest.
abstemious adj. Characterized by self denial or abstinence, as in the use of drink, food.
abut v. To touch at the end or boundary line.
accouter v. To dress.
acerbity n. Sourness, with bitterness and astringency.
acetate n. A salt of acetic acid.
acetic adj. Of, pertaining to, or of the nature of vinegar.
acrimonious adj. Full of bitterness.
acrimony n. Sharpness or bitterness of speech or temper.
actuary n. An officer, as of an insurance company, who calculates and states the risks and premiums.
actuate v. To move or incite to action.
acumen n. Quickness of intellectual insight, or discernment; keenness of discrimination.
adduce v. To bring forward or name for consideration.
adjudge v. To award or bestow by formal decision.
adjunct n. Something joined to or connected with another thing, but holding a subordinate place.
adjuration n. A vehement appeal.
adjutant adj. Auxiliary.
alluvion n. Flood.
amalgam n. An alloy or union of mercury with another metal.
amalgamate v. To mix or blend together in a homogeneous body.
amorphous adj. Without determinate shape.
ampersand n. The character &; and.
anhydrous adj. Withered.
animalcule n. An animal of microscopic smallness.
anode n. The point where or path by which a voltaic current enters an electrolyte or the like.
antediluvian adj. Of or pertaining to the times, things, events before the great flood in the days of Noah.
antilogy n. Inconsistency or contradiction in terms or ideas.
antipathize v. To show or feel a feeling of antagonism, aversion, or dislike.
antiphon n. A response or alteration of responses, generally musical.
antiphony n. An anthem or other composition sung responsively.
antipodes n. A place or region on the opposite side of the earth.
antistrophe n. The inversion of terms in successive classes, as in "the home of joy and the joy of home".
arbiter n. One chosen or appointed, by mutual consent of parties in dispute, to decide matters.
arbitrary adj. Fixed or done capriciously.
arbitrate v. To act or give judgment as umpire.
arraign v. To call into court, as a person indicted for crime, and demand whether he pleads guilty or not.
arrant adj. Notoriously bad.
arrear n. Something overdue and unpaid.
ascetic adj. Given to severe self-denial and practicing excessive abstinence and devotion.
askance adv. With a side or indirect glance or meaning.
asperity n. Harshness or roughness of temper.
attache n. A subordinate member of a diplomatic embassy.
augur v. To predict.
aver v. To assert as a fact
avocation n. Diversion.
avow v. To declare openly.

Vegelate and Zorbing

I wonder if American Chocolate does the same? I personally would have chosen; "Industrial Chocolate."

Too bad this apparently wasn't around when they were filming LOTR...

October 21, 2006

Sounds like me and my German Chocolate...

Short Reflection on Death

You don't feel their loss. Not after the first few weeks, at least.

You just don't feel their presence.

It's almost like they could be just around the corner, like if you whistled loud enough, they might come running.

I don't think our minds can truly grasp the enormity of it.

More H Angst

Yeah... so I'm still in knots over the H. And I know no one cares but me. But I've let myself down, and I feel like I've let Mrs. Altadonna down too. But I'm feeling a little bit better all the time. There was a dumb mistake; not 100% mine, but mine in the vast majority. Mistakes happen, and life goes on, but you can't expect an H to withstand them. I shall get an A, and I shall still read the Honours book (unless they like... take it away or something... :S) - I think it will improve my vocabulary and fluency anyway. Next semester I'll kick you know what and take an H, and next year I'll have it in the bag. I'll make Altadonna forgive me by doing well in her Vocabulary Competition. :D

See... it's not so bad. Besides, if there are enough points in the class, it's still technically possible for me to get an H. Until I know otherwise. And, if I put the energy I would have put into the H - or even the energy I've put into worrying about it - into my other classes... who knows what will happen?

Spanish H --- Over?

Alright, so I really shouldn't have tried to take the test I missed today. But, I had to stay after to talk to Mrs. Altadonna, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. BAD idea... She even gave me a chance to back out before she gave it to me. I really should be shot over this.

Yeah. So, I got a C. Yes, I already know. Forget the fact that I knew everything we had covered when I was in class, forget that I think I aced all the culture information, forget the fact that as far as mountains and rivers went, I was all set. Even forget the fact that I learned the Regions and they didn't even make a guest appearance. There was a province map and a city map, and I got about 60% on each of those. Frankly, I'm not even sure how math's contrived against me to make my total grade a 77% if I add in a tiny margin of error (at least that's not in my favour).

Anyhow... in any other circumstance, a C would be... how can I say this? Recoverable. But I don't know how many points the class has in it, and it could EASILY make it impossible for me to get an H. Goddamn. -.-

Let's be optimistic, though... and I need to be, becaus I need the sleep. Lets say I get 80 points out of 81 for my participation every six week period. (what I made last time, I think). Now lets pretend that my entire grade was participation and this test. With just last six week grading period's participation, that brings me to 89.9%, an A, rounded up. Now, I do need a 94% on the next evaluation. Technically, I might get off with a 93, but NO LOWER, and I'd more or less have to ace the final. This scenario gives me... 93 even, so it's possible.

Just for realism's fake sake, lets throw in 200 points worth of homework etc in the first grading period. That scenario would make my current grade 89.5... tecnically an A, rounded up, but nowhere within striking range of my H. But, I do have room before 12 weeks, and I already have a little more participation, (2 weeks?) and a pamphlet project (A). It brings me to a pathetic 90%.

Lets say that as things are speeding up, I have 300 other points this grading period. If I get 100% on that, I get a 94.4%, just enough, but I think I'm being optimistic about the point pool. Even so, thats with participation, so maybe....

And really, I'm thinking too hard and all of this is speculative. I'm going to leave it at this:

A.) It's probably possible, if highly unlikely, for me to get an H.

B.) This is an H we're worried about, after all...

C.) Even if I fail, I still have an A... :D

D.) I can still read the honours book and boost my vocabulary.

E.) There's always next semester and next year for H's.

F.) I always do better second semester.

Will all these nicities help me sleep? Dios me ayuda.... I hope so. :)

October 19, 2006


I haven't had time to write about Greece... so I haven't written at all! I'll get to it... I promise. :D

October 08, 2006

Day Three - Athens City, the Agora

The air was clear when we first woke up, bright and early - eight o' clock in Greece and midnight back home. The air was clear, so we could see then that what we had previously mistaken for open sea was perhaps a bay, or a water so crowded with islands that they ringed us with seemingly unbroken land.

At breakfast the quiet lay upon us still. The banquet hall and porches contain, in full, too many silent seagulls, a very friendly cat, and some exquisitely coloured birds with the most graceful shape, all striking black on white. The waiter is a slightly frightening man with a very square head, perhaps vaguely inspired by Frankenstein. Beyond that our company is nothing, and we had the distinction of being alone in a restaurant, watching trays of fried eggs replaced by trays of fried eggs, twice an hour, like clockwork. It seemed to me a waste, but for all I know they may be swapping the same two trays ad infinitum. What would stop them?

I sample everything and arrive at my favourites: squares of soft bread, warm, in cinnamon and sugar; sesame rings with salami; 'Frutomania!', also known as yogurt for small Greek children, bearing a picture reminiscent of Pokemon, a little boy with his hand outstretched presenting an unusual, star shaped fruit. I found slices of this same fruit and sampled them, but their taste was about as remarkable as that of a pear, and nothing like the yogurt. Still, I wonder who could make the connection between a grape and a grape slushee? I'll have to look it up when I get home... I've also taken a picture of said yogurt.

On we went to Athens itself, taking a cab to the Plaka. Anywhere in that district you can stop and look around you, find no less than one site of ancient ruins, two tourist shops, one taverna, four motorcycles, one random peddler, and a hundred and fifty Greek people. So, while it is a tourist neighborhood, understand that is only because the tourists love it there, not because the Greeks do not.

The tourist shops all have postcards, picture books of Greece, coffee tabled books (invariably Athens, Greece, the Acropolis, Greek Lovers, Greek Islands, and Kitties!... I don't pretend to understand that.) They also have lots of jewelry, lots of realistic looking pottery (my favourites were the salt and pepper shakers), all the little statues, and nice chess sets. There are these little medallions everywhere - blue, with a sort of eye painted on them, which are to ward off the evil eye. For Melissa we wanted a necklace of blue beads with a single, medium sized evil eye medallion at the end, but this was easier stated than followed through on. They had everything but that particular design, and finally we compromised with a bracelet of pretty blue beads and the evil eye every four spaces.

Eventually, of course, we bought the obligatory tourist clothing. My Dad bought a T-shirt of the Acropolis, and I got for myself and Melissa a shirt with the first lines of the Odyssey in Greek. What I really wanted was an entirely non touristy shirt with Greek writing like the natives might wear, but this was better than most. For Mom we bought a "traditional virgins dress" because it was cuter than the "traditional matrons dress", and besides, everything in those stores are "traditional". We picked a deep olive green like pine needles because it goes nicely with our skin tone.

Now this next part was purely destiny. The store had a thousand shirts saying "Greece!" or "Athens!" or "The Olympics!" and exactly one which said, "Norway". I had to have it. I didn't know or care what it was doing in the Plaka of Athens Greece, but I knew I couldn't find them in Ballwin MO, and here they were. It also has a little flag, and the whole shirt is decent quality... embroidered and the like.

At one store a lady was complaining as we entered that the same pottery she once bought for some hundreds of currency thirty years ago was now selling for Europennies in comparison. She was actually still lamenting this bitterly as we left ten minutes later...

"With the exchange rate, that makes almost 300 times!!" Alas for her...

There are an incredible amount of birds, cats, and dogs in Athens. In every olive tree you find a pack of the kitties, all shy and wary, but friendly, too. They snake their way through each ruin, as well, oblivious to signs and 'archeological sites" and "Do not touch the marble!", walking the streets humans once walked.

And on every ancient stone and outlook the dogs gather, many of them no more than puppies. We heard one fight and encountered the one strange dog our first night, but otherwise found them all rather amicable. They frolicked all over the hillsides, through parks filled with pot smokers and ancient statues, jumping over holes as perfect circles, once wells, now communal trash heaps. They even made their way into a few of our photos.

There are also peddlers everywhere. No straight out begging, but many instruments, trinkets, flowers, and obviously pirated DVD's striving for a glimpse at your wallet. I don't know how many people tried to sell me keychains, roses, or Pirates of the Carribean. From the Monostiraki beside Hadrian's Library I snapped a picture of one of the more unusual ones, an old lady selling cloth.

The place was beautiful. The Acropolis stood golden above it, nestled amoung many other hills, some deep pine green and others shimmering desert-like in the smog. Greek music wafted out of tavernas and down into the streets, and at our favourite store grape vines had grown up the treets and over across to one another, creating a shady and lovely green canopy.

Most of the Greek in the city had a translation, which was a bit of a shame, but what was interesting was that the translation wasn't always in English. There were several in German, a handful in Spanish, Italian, or French, and exactly two (that I saw), in Japanese.

We saw Socrates's prison, Pan's sanctuary, the Fountain of Kalliroe, the Sacred Gate, and more in the hills above Athens, then climbed in a roundabout way through homes carved into rock to the steps of the Acropolis and climbed to the rock of Pnix, where the first democratic assemblies were held.

I thought my prayers had been answered when the refreshments man, having no water, described one of his juices as "lemon."

"My God." I said, "It's Lemonade, in Europe!" But it wasn't meant to be. The juice was, as advertised, straight, pulpy, sour, lemon juice. It actually made me thirstier.

I counted thirty postcards from the cheapest store, at 20 Eurocents a pop. They all show Athens, Santorini, the Acropolis, the Karyatides, or the Tower of the Winds. I may wait until I get home to send them though, sorry to all those who hoped for a postmark. It's too complicated here.

After this I enjoyed some Gelato, a cone of vanilla. It's funny, I can't quite say whether it is more sugary or more creamy or what than regular ice cream, but I will say that it is different, and just as good, and it was what I had in Köln all those years ago.

The ancient Agora is amazing as well. You can see quite clearly where houses have been cut from the soft stone out of the hillsides, where enormous temples once stood. There are bits of rock everywhere, most plain but many with sculpturing: the top of a column, perhaps, and here and there a truly carved piece: a horse rearing to charge, arrested by the stone, half a woman's face. It's eerie in it's own way.

The pride of the Agora is the Hephaisteion, and rightfully so. The best preserved temple in Greece, it actually looks whole, or nearly enough so, though two black pigeons did take the place where the heads of a few statues once sat. Though small and perhaps not quite as ornate as the Parthenon or the Nike, it gives a good idea of what all the temples may have looked like complete.

The whole Agora was shaded, which was nice; I'm glad we did it on the hottest day of our visit. Also lovely viewing from the Plaka area, even if you don't make the climb, is the multi domed Church of St. Marina, patron saint of pregnant women, on the Hill of the Nymphs. I kid you not; the church is pink, a sleepy rose colour with a light red and tiled roof. It looks lovely perched in the trees.

As we climbed over Athens we heard the sound of a flute creeping through the streets and over the hills, a haunting tune that stirred the little yellow flowers that bloomed amoung the ruins. It shall forever be the voice of Greece for me, and there's the irony. Upon chasing down the source of the music at last, we discovered a band of Native Americans...

We saw the sunset from an ancient roadway that looked over the sea, sharing the area with a few other tourists, a college student studying, and a pack of half grown dogs. Back in the city as it grew dark, we got a seat at a table where we could see the Acropolis lit up for the evening. We tried with varying success to get a picture of the citadel shining golden against the sky, but such a thing can't really be captured.

The whole city erupted into furious backgammon playing as we sat and enjoyed some quality father-daughter time. The menu offered Grilled Soloman, which would have been very interesting to eat. Old, a bit gamey, but still good! :D Obviously, it was a mistranslation of Salmon, but strangely enough, there was a Salmon of wisdom, and Soloman was very wise as well. Coincidence? I think not!

We had a hard time getting a taxi, actually. First two didn't want to go all the way to the hotel because they had faster turnover with more money staying in the city. We finally found a guy on smoke break, though, and he agreed to take us provided he could finish his cigarette on the way.

He was an interesting fellow; intensely Greek, the second most Greek person we met. He was quite surprised that I had read the Iliad and the Odyssey. Shocked, really. He quizzed me on them. Of course, this was probably due to the fact that he thought I was 13 or so.

Sleep came quickly. That's never the problem.

October 07, 2006

Day Two - The Longest Day

Now at this point I've missed an entire night. I woke up yesterday and showered and finished packing and ate a loaf of fresh rosemary bread, drank a bottle of Sobe and went into the city. The day passed in planes, and a short night, too. This I sat through sleepless. I find myself in Athens at noon, with only one surefire way to prevent jet lag - I must stay up.

I'm on a buzzy high of excitement at first. It carries me off the plane and through the airport as if charmed. Our luggage comes out first. We have no wait for a taxi. I look around me and find signs full of letters I've memorized, one by one.

I get into the taxi. The air in Greece is warm and still. Faint smog is in the air, lending a haze to far off hillsides. Sleep begins to come over me. Finally we reach the hotel, and I revive somewhat. We check in to the eerie feeling that we are the only occupants of a deserted resort.

Examining the room I find a toilet that flushes with a round handle in the to
p, like picking the lid off a cookie jar. The shower is strange too, the basin long and narrow, the showerhead mounted in the center lengthwise. Curioser and curioser. The shampoos are labeled mint, vanilla cinnamon, and rice. The rice shampoo actually does have that fragrance; fills the room with that smell almost like bread.

The check in ladies do not assume you speak Greek. Everyone else, ναι. I don't know why - perhaps I look the part? If so, that may be a first for me.

We go to swim after showering. It is so quiet here, even the gulls hardly call. When they do, you can hear it clearly, hear the sound swoop over you as they glide on the winds as picture perfectly as a nature documentary. The water, too, makes no sound. There are no waves, even against the rocks that ring the bay.

There are few guests here, as well. I see one woman swimming and several staff lazing about the bar. The woman tells us in a British accent that the water's fine after just a few minutes, so we figure we'll get in soon.

I had a few second thoughts, I admit, when a German couple made their way down and gingerly entered. The woman bounced up and down incessantly once immersed, and
I kept making out the same word from their chattering teeth... "Kalt!" Presently they retreated to a lawn chair.

Finally we did get in, although we feared for our lives after seeing the Germans
and the Brits tested by the waters. We're Americans, after all, and quite used to the Gulf of Mexico. Note that these three guests were the only guests I saw at the hotel in the duration of our stay, excluding of course the other businessmen my father worked for, and possibly one other British woman.

All for nothing, their whining! Cold on the bare skin for five seconds, no more. We
swam over to the rocks on the other side, and there the fun began. Standing on the rock, I began to feel a burning all down my leg and also on my elbow.

"Do these things bite?" I asked of the plan material clinging to my legs. They looked harmless and I guessed wisely that they were unrelated to the sensation. I rinsed them off and Dad and I conjectured that I had scraped my legs a bit in climbing and now the salt water was stinging them. Moments later a small quantity of blood appeared, so we figured the case was closed.

Back in our lawnchairs, I realized said affected areas, having continued t
o sting rather fiercely, were now lovingly swelling, turning puffy, white and red, in little lines. Anemone sting, as it happens. Aren't I lucky?

We wanted to take pictures, but the camera seemed broken; bad luck so far, it seemed.* I'll confess it; I began to long ardently for Germany. I reminded myself that the primary and sole purpose of the day was to stay awake so I could enjoy the rest of my trip, and took another bath, so hot it more or less cauterized the toxin. The stinging, which more or less felt like constantly pouring alcohol on a fresh wound, began to abate at last. I did fall asleep in the bathtub for a few minutes, though... this is not recommended.

After this we went out to Glyfada, a little district of Athens that was mostly unremarkable save in its proximity to our hotel. We had Souvlaki, Pitta, and Ice Cream. There was a chicken going around begging at the tables just like a pigeon would anywhere else. You can also find these in Key West, but I liked this one because it kept closing it's eyes and swaying slightly. Was it falling asleep?

We also had more fun with the local wildlife as a strange dog was lurking around, and charged the two of us and a Greek couple repeatedly, barking and snarling. My Dad had to go after it with a stone. When at last it fled for good, my dad and the Greek man turned to each other at the exact same time with their own equivalent of, "How Strange!” Funny, the four of us laughing, understanding our bewilderment without words.

Back in our nearly private hotel, I crashed, and had absolutely no trouble making it through the night.

* - The pictures did turn out in the end. Mildly gross image warning. ;)