Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thoughts on Classics

I’m reading Lord of the Rings again for probably the 8th or 9th time, which first off shows you I have good taste and second shows you that I’m in a bit of a rut. However, thanks to my mom, I’ve always been an avid reader and thought I’d share some thoughts on many of the classic books that I’ve read. I’ll exclude LotR here, because I think I’ll probably do a future blog completely on it alone. I’ll also define classic as “at least 25 years old” which is really young when it comes to books. This isn’t a top ten list or even a list of the best books ever, just a list of books that have randomly come to mind.

Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (1859)
I’ve heard a lot of negative feelings towards this book, and though it isn’t one I’ll search out to read again, I enjoyed it. I enjoy historical fiction, probably my favorite genre behind fantasy, and this book provides that from the view of people that could’ve existed at the time. I really find the character of Sydney Carton appealing because the distaste I have for him, yet at the same time the devotion he shows to Lucie.

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card (1985)
When I read this book, I couldn’t put it down, reading it in one 24 hour period. It draws you into young Ender’s life, his understanding the world, and the hope for mankind that depends on these young warriors. In a way, similar to Lord of the Flies it magnifies all the things we adults do, but from the perspective of children. The ending is also absolutely great!

Moby Dick – Herman Melville (1851)
I remember watching the movie Moby Dick with Patrick Steward as Captain Ahab and was amazed by it. I immediately went to the library and got the book. It starts so cool with “Call me Ishmael” and all the information about Queequeg. Then it becomes a lecture on the biology of whales, which bored me so much I slobbered on my pillow while reading it. If you want to know the story of Moby Dick, watch one of the movies. If you want to learn about whales, watch the Discovery channel. The two shouldn’t have been mixed into this sneaky book that is short on story and long on blubber.

Mysterious Island – Jules Vern (1874)
This one comes to mind, because it is probably the least known of Jules Verne’s works. It is the sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but for the most part not really. Like many books of that era it is about people that are shipwrecked on an island and how they make do, building contraptions and innovative mechanical things, while trying to survive with each other and without civilization. In my opinion, Jules Verne is one of the greatest authors ever and this is one of his best!

The Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum (1900)
This book is crazy and barely like the movie. The biggest difference between the two is the wizard. In the movie he only appears as a giant head, but in the book he is a giant head and a beautiful lady and all kinds of crazy things in-between. I think this book is worth the read, especially if you are a fan of the movie, but since I’ve read it once I won’t be reading it again.

So there you go, 5 books covering 134 years of literature. You ought to be good to go now when discussing classic books at your next tea party.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cutting Grass

I mowed the lawn (saying lawn makes it sound so much nicer) the other day for the first time this year. I love the smell of that first cut of grass after the spring rains have brought it to life! This could be because from the time I was 12 until I was 21, I cut grass non-stop ever year. It brought a sense of accomplishment and pride at getting a job done. I enjoyed it, though there are times I don’t want to do it. There is something about going out and starting the mower and making a couple laps around the perimeter of what you are going to mow and then making straight (okay, perhaps mine are a tad bit curvy) lines back and forth, systematically removing the tall shoots of green from the ground. I know as the year wears on and I’ve had to mow close to 30 times, and the yard gets dandelions, and then turns brown, and the heat reaches 100 degrees, I’ll not want to mow anymore. That first mow though, the one that lets you know spring is here, will always be something I enjoy. Even when I’m old, I’ll probably sit on my front porch and smell the freshness of it while the neighbor kid cuts the grass for me.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hadahopetep Almost Gets It Done

Last night had a chance to play Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game with my brother (Jeden), Cherry (Kirsche), and Ryan (Ryan). What follows was found in some caves in Scotland along with William Wallace's kilt.

From the Histories of the Scholar Adam.

Early in the history of Civilization four powers rose to dominance. In the North East of the world the Americans, led by Ryan the Hoarder, began to thrive. In the South East the great regime of Hadahopetep of the Egyptians began to explore North, but ran into the Sea of Wet and were repelled back. In the South West the Chinese quickly discovered horseback riding and began a rapid destruction of thatch hut raiding for the culture that is found in all thatch and the name of their leader Jeden was met with fear and trembling throughout the land. Kirsche of the Germans led his people in the North Western realms of Sand and vowed peace no matter how much blood.

During the ancient times it became clear that a deep and thriving hate was had between Hadahopetep & Jeden when there empires immediately began competing over huts and villages in-between their lands. The Chinese though being faster and more powerful early on held the advantage. However, the Egyptians with the famous Colossus of Alexandria and Stonehenge in City #2 were able to catch back up towards the middle ages. Germany stayed in their corner and built building after building year during the ancient times, making some exploratory adventures towards the Chinese, but upon seeing their aggression, turtled back into the North West. The Americans used their vast hoards of spices and cloth to improve the culture of their people and survive great events such as the destruction of thousands of acres of lands outside Alexandria.

During the middle-ages Jeden decided to push and prod Hadahopetep of the Egyptians by moving an army of Archers & Spearmen into the regions around City #2. Hadahopetep consulted with his queen, the beautiful I’mStuck-re and in order to deal with the threat of the Chinese built the Hanging Gardens of City #2, which people to this age say has a nice ring to it. Going using the new armies that flocked to the Gardens, the Egyptians destroyed the Chinese in the Battle of the Small Imps, laying to waste the Chinese and taking culture from them. Mean while, since nobody felt the Germans were a threat, all the powers were giving them trade. The Americans though, seeing the military build up that was occurring between the Chinese and Russians began building their forces, while continuing to hoard all cloth, silk, iron, uranium, spies, and any other type of resource they could get their hands on.

Finally, comes the conclusion of these histories, where many lives were lost and Kirsche of the Germans employed me to write of them. With the American discovery of Atomic Theory, through no overt aggression of the Germans, Ryan the Hoarder performed a dastardly deed and nuked the once great city of City #2 in Egypt. Destroying not only the great Scientist Charlie, but also spraying round up on the Hanging Gardens that were present in that city. This resulted in the Yellow Army of the City of Pancake, which was located just south of the American city of Juniper, advancing to Juniper and a magnificent battle taking place. In this battle the forces of the Hoarder were driven back and the city was destroyed. However, being very aged at the time, Hadahopetep forgot to steal a technology (namely Atomic Theory) and instead just researched on his own at that time. I’m now employed by Kirsche because of this dreadful mistake. Hadahopetep, had he not been so senile and dumb, could’ve gone to space during that year on the back of Computers and Atomic Theory. The seasons advanced though and the day before Hadahopetep and the week before the Hut Pillager Jeden, my master Kirsche developed space flight and ruled the world. However, in a small way Hadahopetep felt good, knowing that he could’ve nuked Landlocked, the American city with no water, if he wanted too.

So as you wander this land and perhaps come upon the ruins of that tantalizing city City #2, remember that Hadahopetep of the Egyptians thought once to rule this world, but anger against Jeden and a long standing history of making widows of his northern neighbors drew too much attention to him, allowing the peaceful cherry picker German to hire me to write history.