Monday, August 30, 2010

Journal #2

Tommy the Turtle was lost. He was taking a daring journey from his humble abode in the Washington Street Creek, finally venturing out into the dangerous world. The problem was, neither he nor anyone in his family had ever gone on this venture before. Therefore, nobody could really tell him what was out there and how to get there. Basically, Tommy the Turtle was the Columbus of the turtles. He had set out three days before, and he was enthralled with all these new sights. There was more out there than his little creek! The flowers were so bright! The trees were so tall! For the first three days, Tommy the Turtle was just in a haze of excitement. He just had to return home to tell all his friends and family about this new world! He turned around, determined to make it home in record time. All of a sudden, his step fell short. He realized he had absolutely no idea how to get home. He did not know in which direction the creek was. He could not recall where any landmarks were, and he did not remember where his last resting place was. Alone and terrified, Tommy the Turtle did not know where to go.

Tommy the Turtle sat down, defeated. He did not know what else to do, so sadly, he laid his head down and fell asleep. Two hours later, he awoke, and decided that he should probably start walking and maybe find a place he recognized. He set out across the green pastures, and started to build hope. All of a sudden he came to a rough, gray surface. He had never seen anything like it, but decided he had to cross it. All of a sudden, a huge roaring thing bigger than even the bears in the woods came ripping across the horizon towards him. Some giant black rolling things holding a big shiny, colored box was trying to kill him! Tommy shot into his shell as the thing rolled past him, missing him by centimeters. Tommy was so scared. All of a sudden, a huge bird landed next to him. The bird said, "Hi! I am Barbara. Your mom was afraid you would be here." With no further explanation, she fit his shell into her huge beak, started flying, and dropped him off back at his creek.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Journal #1

I do not know very much about Native American culture. Basically, everything that I do know about their culture comes from movies, such as Disney's Pocahontas, or fiction novels, such as Things Not Seen by Jodi Picoult. I know that they were very nature friendly, and instead of going to supermarkets for food and stuff like that, they grew their own food. They also generally would wear loincloths or clothes made from animals they have skinned themselves; they would hunt for food and clothing instead of having someone else do it for them.

I tend to get a little confused, as I imagine many others do as well, with the culture of Native Americans today as opposed to the Native Americans from the time of Columbus. When somebody says the phrase "Native American," I immediately think of animal skins and and war paint. I think of teepees, of wooden sticks with spears made of bone on the end, and feathered head decorations. However, I really have no idea if the Native Americans today live like that as well. I imagine that, like any culture that has evolved, there are the more traditional Native Americans and the more contemporary Native Americans; maybe some of them are still living in cabins shut away from society. However, I think nowadays many young Native Americans are probably living just like any other family would, with houses, store bought clothes, and normal trips to the grocery store.

Like I said, I really do not know very much about traditional Native American culture. Every summer, my family goes up to Wisconsin on vacation to stay in a little cabin on a lake. In that cabin, there are pictures all over the place of Native American people and teepees and things of that nature. When I think of Native Americans, I really just think of how they have been portrayed to me through media and pictures. It is definitely not good that a high school student does not even know anything about the important people who lived on this country before we did, but sadly I do not know very much at all.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Symbolism Journal

I felt that there was a significant amount of symbolism in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. While it may seem unlikely that Bradbury did this specific example of symbolism on purpose, I think that the Giant Hound symbolizes technology and how it is becoming a crutch for some people. The firefighters used it as their crutch; when they did not want to do the dirty work themselves, they set the Hound out on the job. The make the Hound capture and kill anything they do not want around. Because of this, the firemen are becoming lazy. They also use it for pointless entertainment. When Montag rebels, the firemen send the Hound out to catch him. In my opinion, the firemen are beginning to rely too heavily on this piece of equipment, and it shows how their society has become even worse; instead of doing jobs themselves, they rely on the Hound. Since Fahrenheit takes place in a futuristic setting, I think this Giant Hound symbolizes the rise of technology and how it is beginning to get out of hand.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Finally Done!

I just finished reading The Grapes of Wrath. I am kind of a mix of emotions right now. I am extremely psyched because after this blog I am completely done! I am sad though, too, because of how the book ended. I am really upset about Rose of Sharon's stillborn child; for some reason that upset me even more than the family's problems with work and whatnot. I am also kind of weirded out. The Grapes of Wrath had a very unique ending that is not exactly the norm. I guess it just goes to show how great of a family the Joads truly were; even though things sucked for them, they were still going out of their way to help others. Nursing a man back to heath though... That is just kind of weird. I am glad they did the right thing and the man lived, but I think that just kind of be an awkward situation.

I thought parts of this book was really predictable, such as there not being work once they got in California. Honestly, I was kind of surprised that they even made it that far. Once they got there though, I thought it was dumb that they had expected there to be a ton of work. They saw all the people heading to California; they should have realized that jobs were being taken left and right. I respect them for how they made their life work though. Instead of become incredibly upset and going crazy, they did what they had to. They found a house, even though it was not exactly ideal. They got jobs, even though picking cotton in California was no better, really, then picking cotton back at home. I felt really bad for them since they had expected so much more, but I was happy that they kept pushing right on.

Rose of Sharon's stillborn child really upset me a lot. Even though she was not necessarily one of the main characters, not as much as Tom anyway, I had kind of connected to her and I really wanted what was best for her. Plus, anytime I hear of a child being born stillborn it breaks my heart. I really want kids someday, and I would just completely be crushed if it happened to me.

Overall, The Grapes of Wrath was not necessarily a terrible book. I would have much rather been reading something else, like a Jodi Picoult book or something, but it was not a big deal. I kind of like how weird the ending was; it makes it memorable. However, I am so very glad to be done with all my summer work.

Missing Eyes and Legs

I only have two blogs left! I am so super excited right now. I knew I would be able to get them all done, but I was afraid I would be crunching for time. However, that is obviously not the case! This will be my last blog for now, because I am going to put on my thinking cap and read the rest of the book as quickly as possible and then do my last blog over the entire book. In other words, that blog might be published tomorrow morning; we will just have to see.

So, my plan was to read Chapter Sixteen in about ten minutes tops, have this blog done by the fifteenth minute, then spend the rest of the night reading. That plan was shattered when I realized Chapter Sixteen is twenty nine pages long. It took me a little longer than I planned to read it, and then I just ate dinner. Now I am finally about to do this blog, and then I will do my last blog once I finish the book!

A lot happened in Chapter Sixteen. One of the cars broke down, so that had to be fixed. Tom and Al went to a car place that was basically just a junkyard for old cars and stuff. They met this strange guy that was missing an eye. The way Steinbeck described him was disgusting; he said that when the man would move one eye, you could see the muscles in the empty eye socket shifting. Steinbeck also aroused a question in my brain. If you do not have an eye, can you still outwardly cry from that eye? I mean, if your tear duct is still intact, I think it is possible, but my brother said he thought the tears would just go inside the empty socket. That is just something to ponder. Tom was really rude to the man though; he basically shut him down and told him to stop complaining because no one cared. He then told a story of a whore with only one leg who charged extra. I really do want to know what was going on in Mr. John Steinbeck's mind.

Car Crash

I thought Chapter Fifteen was actually pretty interesting. It was kind of random, but it was certainly interesting. It was about two people, a married couple I believe, named Mae and Al. They owned a greasy little restaurant joint, or maybe it was a bar, but it was like a classy bar. They talked about how they loved when truck drivers came in because they would always buy meals and they would usually leave a tip. One of the truck drivers told Mae a really funny joke about a bull, and I actually laughed out loud when I read it. What a surprise, it was pretty darn inappropriate; I told you John Steinbeck was a dirty man. It was funny though, so I have no complaints.

One thing that worried me when reading this chapter, however, is that Mae and Al spoke of a car crash they had just seen happen on the road. It was between a nice vehicle going at least ninety miles and hour and another vehicle that was not so nice. They described it as one of those sawed off cars with stoves and plates and chickens and children everywhere. Then Mae and Al said that a little boy died. This concerns me because the Joad family was obviously traveling in a vehicle that could be described that very same way, and they had a young boy. I am going to be extremely sad if one of their little boys dies, even if it is Danny. I sure would not wish death upon that young child, even if I do think he is very annoying and needs to keep his mouth shut. The good thing is that many, many vehicles are sawed off and stacked with tons of random things since the darn government was making so many people relocate, so hopefully that was just a random accident they were talking about for no reason. Maybe John Steinbeck was just trying to show how the road was dangerous. I sure hope that was the case.

Funny Signs

One of the signs mentioned at one of the bars in The Grapes of Wrath struck me as quite funny. Actually, two of them did. One of them said, "Ladies May Smoke But Be Careful Where You Lay Your Butts." That one is funny for the obvious reasons. Plus, one time in the Ozarks I saw a little bowl thing kind of like that and my brother and I got a picture sitting on it. The sign that struck me as the most funny and creative read, "IITYWYBAD?" When I read that, I was confused. To be honest, I figured it was probably something sexual. Do not get me wrong, I do not have a dirty mind of anything, it is just that Steinbeck seems to talk about that kind of stuff a lot. Reread the story; it is true. Anyway, I wanted to know what all of those letters meant, and luckily it had a little number next to it which meant its definition was in the back of the book. I flipped to the back of the book, and lo and behold, there was the definition. It means, "If I tell you will you buy a drink?" I do not know why I find this so funny, but I do. It is really quite creative, as a bartender, to put this up, because people with a good sense of humor would probably go right on ahead and buy a drink just because of that. I know that if I grew up and owned a bar like Mr. Scropos used to, I would make a sign that said that. Some people would probably get annoyed by it and not find it funny whatsoever, but I mean hey I would not want those downers in my bar anyway. I would want the fun, easygoing people who would understand it and laugh their heads off like I did, and then they would buy a drink from me so I could earn a good living. That way if I was ever forced off my land like the Joads, I would have enough money to go to California in my trusty little purple Honda, which by that time would probably be about forty years old. It would be a grand life.

Understood Verbs and Useless Nonsense

Wow, my last blog was four hundred and six words long. If that is not considered super over achieving, I do not know what is! Today is the day of my dad's birth, but instead of being a nice, caring daughter and spending time with him, I am sitting here doing blogs and reading the Grapes of Wrath. I mean, I only have three hundred pages left, so maybe I will get to spend a couple minutes with him before the clock strikes midnight. Or maybe not. My brother Timothy James, T.J. for short, is sitting in the room with me doing Honors English homework too. Our situation is not good, since my poor dad is left alone with a television and my mom. My other dumb brother is at the fair. He obviously has no moral values whatsoever.

Is there such thing as an understood verb? I read aloud the first sentence of Chapter Fourteen. It reads, "The western land, nervous under the beginning change." I said to T.J., this is stupid. It is not even a complete sentence. T.J. told me that there is the understood verb, is, and therefore it does make sense. I have never heard of this in my life but I guess it makes sense.

The rest of Chapter Fourteen is just weird. Steinbeck is dumb and mixed up his ordering of the dumb chapters versus the normal ones, so now I guess the even numbered chapters are going to be the pointless ones? This chapter was about results or something; honestly I could not understand what he was saying very well in the first half of the section. The second half of the chapter was about companionship and not being alone, which is all well and good, except Steinbeck did a pretty awful job of saying it. Basically I read that chapter as fast as I could, just so I could get on to the next chapter and stop reading nonsense.

Grampa is Dead

Grampa just died. When I read that, I exclaimed inside my mind, "What the heck?!" He was my favorite character. Now he is gone. Who is going to make this book funny now? I mean, Granma is a pretty funny lady, but now she is all sad because her husband just dies, which is totally understandable, but now this book is going to be so incredibly boring. I hate to say it, but it was probably the Joad family who killed him. When he would not leave the house, they made him drink that medicine. Has anybody read any of the magazine headlines lately? People try to kill themselves by overdosing on medicine. Grampa probably had a pretty good overdose going on right there, and, mixed in along with his old age and screwed up joints, it probably killed him. Maybe it did not; maybe it was just his time to go. But the fact that he never really woke up out of his little drug haze that had been going on makes it a little suspicious.

I would be really sad if my dad or my grandma died, obviously. It would make it even worse to have it happen right as I was getting ready to start a new, more glamorous life. Plus, they buried him in the ground. Like, they tied him up in a blanket and straight up buried him in the dirt. If I was in their situation, I guess I would have done the same thing because there was really nothing else they could have done. I would be super incredibly sad, though, because it seems like he did not even matter. That would suck a lot.

I think it is smart of the Joads and the Wilsons to combine forces. To continue their journeys separately all the way out to California would probably be impossible, but with the two families working together, it just might be possible. For some reason, just now I could not type the word "possible." It took me like six tries. That was really weird. Anyway, I want to know what is up with Sairy Wilson. She is in some kind of pain that is obviously very strong, yet she has not let anyone know why yet. This adds some suspense to the book, which is good. Now I kind of actually want to continue reading in order to find out what is causing this pain.

Quality Summer Reading

Oops, I am kind of dumb. I just combined Chapter Twelve with the first half of Chapter Thirteen. I am halfway done with Chapter Thirteen, and I guess I forgot about that and just assumed I had finished one chapter. Technically I think I had a right to be confused, since for the first time there is actually a storyline going on in an odd numbered chapter. Gosh dang it John Steinbeck, stop messing with our brains. Just get on with your darned story so I can enjoy the last eleven hours of my summer.

My brother just asked me a question. He is reading Great Expectations for Freshman Honors English, and he just asked me if Magwich was hiding in the woods or something like that. To be quite honest, I have no idea what he is talking about. I do not recall a character named Magwich, and I have no idea why he would be hiding in some woods. I actually read Great Expectations too instead of Spark Noting it like most kids did. I am proud to say I have never been on Spark Notes in my life.

Anyway, my point is that I do not really think these summer homework assignments really do any good. I obviously do not remember anything about a book I read only two summers ago, and I even had to do like three hundred questions over that book. There is no way I will remember what The Grapes of Wrath is about a year from now, especially because it is so boring and so far has not captured my interest one bit.

Maybe it will get better, though. Yesterday, my boss called me to see if I could work, and I had to tell him no because I was doing this. He asked what book I was reading, and I told him I was reading The Grapes of Wrath. He told me that was a really good book and the ending is super sad, then he warned me not to cry. Hopefully this means the book will actually start getting decent. I am looking forward to this.

An Understandable Title

Wow. I just realized something. I will probably sounds super extremely dumb for writing this, but I am just pumped write now. This book is called The Grapes of Wrath. The Joad family is going to California, where they plan on picking peaches and oranges and grapes. Grapes. The GRAPES of Wrath. And wrath usually means anger or something bad, so these grapes they are going to pick are the grapes of anger or unfortunateness or something. By the way, I just made up that word, unfortunateness, and I realize that, so I do not think I should get points off just for trying to be creative. Anyway, that totally makes sense, because this whole book is about their struggles and stuff leaving their town and going to California. I love when everything finally makes sense.

Too bad Mildred never made sense in Fahrenheit 451. She was just dumb.

Anyway, a lot happened in Chapter Twelve. The family got on the road, and they experienced many troubles. Their tires suck, the springs are flat, and they left the water jug at home so everyone is thirsty. Little Danny is quite an annoying character. All he does is let everyone know he is thirsty every two minutes. It is like, dude, we get it. But we do not have any water. Chill out little man.

One thing that I think would be so frustrating is that the vehicle goes so incredibly slow. They said something about going a consistent thirty five. I do not think I ever go thirty five, except when I am coming to a stop or if I am in my neighborhood rounding a corner. That turtle they mentioned earlier could probably beat them to California. That is pretty embarrassing.

I thought it was sad and gross when the dog got hit on the highway. Why did nobody try to stop him? What did they think? Oh, it is fine to let our dog sniff the highway where there are cars whizzing by every second. Even though he has never seen a highway in his life, he will probably understand not to cross it. They were obviously wrong to think that, since he got hit and died. Poor little guy.

I Hate Pointless Chapters

Chapter Eleven was another one of those dumb, ridiculous chapters that have no significance and should just be taken away. The first little section of it was about chemistry. It is as if John Steinbeck (not Steinwart) read a biography about me and took notes on every single thing I disliked in the world, and during his odd numbered chapters would write about them. Cars, dust, chemistry... I swear, if he writes about Spanish I am going to burn this book like those Fahrenheit 451 kiddos. Again, I do not mean to offend anyone who lives in Spain or anyone who necessarily speaks Spanish; I generally have no problem with them. Especially Miguel, he is my pal. But the language itself is just not on my list of things I enjoy. Actually, it is probably very, very near top of the things I hate list. Spanish and Chemistry are just awful.

Anyway, so this chapter was boring. I was glad it was only like three pages, or else I probably would have just skipped ahead to Chapter Twelve. The second section of Chapter Eleven, otherwise knows as the second two pages of that chapter, were about a vacant house. Using context clues, I believe it is the Joad house, but they never actually say so I cannot know for certain. It talks about mice and plants and cats and stuff. Of course, it also talks about dust. I did not expect anything less.

I wonder what John Steinbeck was thinking when he wrote his book. Was he even thinking? I mean, we all know that Ernest Hemingway got a little help from the bottle, and he probably had no idea what he was writing when he wrote The Old Man and the Sea. That is probably why that book makes absolutely no sense and has no meaning. I heard the song "Alcohol" by Brad Paisley the other day, and I laughed when Brad sang, "I've influenced kings and world leaders; I helped Hemingway write like he did." I finally completely understood that line. I wonder if John Steinbeck was sober when he wrote The Grapes of Wrath. He was probably lost in some dust field; that would make sense.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Leaving Home

For some reason, Chapter Ten seemed kind of sad to me. I am not exactly sure why. Maybe it is just because it really shows how the government was forcing people to completely leave behind their old lives or something. I cannot even imagine how I would feel to know it was my last day at my house. I did not even build my house or live in it my whole life, and I would still be upset about it. These people have lived in the area since they were born; they cleared the land, they built the houses, and they started families there. And now, just because of the government and money purposes, they were being forced to leave. I think that is so sad and not fair at all.

I decided that I really do like Joad. At the beginning of Grapes of Wrath, I thought he was stuck up and conceited, but now I do not think that at all. He has actually been a great help to his family, and it seems like he is so grateful for everything they have to offer. He is really nice to Casy too, even though he obviously does not have to be. I think it is so sweet of the Joad family to offer to take Casy along, since they were already so incredibly crowded. Heck, my van feels crowded when it is just my two parents, my two little brothers, and me. That is only five people. They have like thirteen people in this vehicle, traveling for thousands of miles. That is absolutely ridiculous. Especially since Rose of Sharon is pregnant and will need more luxuries than a normal person would. I want to know why she is called Rose of Sharon though. It is probably really obvious but I do not get it.

Well, I will have to just continue reading in a little bit, because I am going to go hang out with people now. Hopefully it does not rain, although it definitely looks like it is going to. We are supposed to be swimming. Oh well! I am sure it will be fun either way.

Getting Ready to Leave

So, Chapter Nine actually was not so bad. It was just kind of weird. It was basically just a jumble of thoughts or something; I think they were Joad's thoughts but I might be mistaken. I mean, I might be mistaken about them being a jumble of thoughts, too, but that is just how it came across to me.

I am happy right now because I am finally getting somewhat close to finishing these blogs, and Grapes of Wrath is not too bad to read. I am also happy because I just ran my brother to Dairy Queen, which is where I work because I am a cool kid, and we got Blizzards. So now I am full off of a Peanut Buster Blizzard, I am doing well on my assignment, and I will be going to meet Kirk and then hang out with some people later. Plus I even made time to go for a run earlier! This was a decent, productive day.

Anyway, back to the story. It appears that the Joad family are taking the final steps to leaving. They are packing up all of their important belongings and burning the rest. I do not understand really why they are burning everything else; I feel like if they just left them in the house maybe they could come back for them in a while since things were evidently left untouched in the Joads' original home. Another thing I do not understand is that I thought Joad (as in the main character) had said in one of the earlier chapters that since he was on parole he could not go outside the country. Yet here they are, getting ready to go to California. Maybe I just misinterpreted what he was saying earlier; it was like the second chapter or somewhere around there. Maybe it was the fourth. I do not recall. I really thought he said he could not leave the state, and he would have to check in to some officers every so often. I guess that is not what he was trying to say? I do not really know. I am stumped.

The Joad Family

I actually enjoyed reading Chapter Eight of Grapes of Wrath. It sort of reminded me of Little House on the Prairie, but it is like the outlawed version or something. I liked reading about Joad's family; they are all really quirky and cute. Grampa is my favorite. He is hilarious. I picture him as some silly looking older man, lean and wrinkly but able to do whatever he wants. He would definitely make me laugh all the time if I was with him. Granma seems really funny too. During the dinner prayer, she keeps on shouting random praises, and it reminded me of like how a Baptist church used to be or whatever. Except for the fact that she really did not know what was going on. That made it even more funny though. Noah seems kind of strange, but I bet he is super smart or something; I am going to make a random prediction right now that he will somehow help everyone out in some huge way. I am probably completely wrong, but if I was John Steinbeck and I was writing this book, that is what I would do. I really like Al. He seems like a typical high school student who is basically not thinking with his head but is still nice enough and fun to be around. He also does not seem to be full of himself or anything, which makes me like him even more. Joad's mom and dad both also seem really nice. His dad seems funny; when Joad arrived, his dad wanted to play a trick on his mom about Joad's arrival. That sounds exactly like something my dad would do to my mom, which makes it even better. Joad's mom seems like a sweetheart. The way she reacted when she realized Joad was home was just so heartwarming.

Oh boy, time for me to start Chapter Nine. It will probably be one of those super exciting chapters like Chapters One, Three, Five, and Seven. Basically, I am super stoked.

I Don't Care About Cars

John Steinbeck did not disappoint with Chapter Seven. Actually, he did, but I was referring to the pattern of the chapters. Chapter Seven was about cars. There is some used car lot, and I think they are kind of ripping people off? I honestly do not really know. I could not care less about cars. To me, a car looks cool or it does not. I mean, gas mileage is good and stuff, but I could not look at a car and tell you its gas mileage like some people can. Personally, I think cars are overrated. I know people who are obsessed with cars that can tell you every little detail about any car they see. While I think it is cool that they are so smart about it, to me it seems pointless. I have never been one of those people who obsesse over nice cars or wants a certain car; if a car will take me from point A to point B, I am happy. I am sixteen, and a couple months ago I got my first car. It is a 1993 Honda Civic. It is older than I am, it is kind of rusty, the air conditioning is broken, the interior is basically carpet, and the little mats that go under your feet are kind of gross looking. But you know what? I am happy with it. Sure, a cute little convertible would have been nice, but honestly I do not think it really matters. Oh yeah, and my speakers are blown out. That is kind of annoying, because I like to listen to my music loud, but it is really not a big deal. I like my little purple car. Matt named it Gayle.

Anyway, I found that whole chapter boring and pointless, because, as you can see, I do not care one bit about cars. I would almost rather read about that dumb turtle crossing the road again because at least I like turtles. What is funny is that I almost ran over a turtle the other day in my little Honda Civic. How is that for a coincidence?

Thank You, Anatomy Class

This book is not actually that bad. Yeah, there are a lot of useless descriptions and stuff, but it is kind of interesting. I do not dislike Joad at all anymore; he is actually kind of cool. Casy is a whack job but he seems like a nice guy who just has to straighten out some things in his mind. We just met Muley, who makes me kind of sad. Since the bank tried to run people off the land, Muley decided he would never leave. Just because of his stubbornness, he has lost everything. They took away his house and his land, so his family began to starve. His wife then decided to leave and she took the kids with her; they headed out west where life would be better. So here is Muley, this man who is just doing what he thinks is right, and he is so lonely. When he first comes across Joad and Casey, he just cannot stop talking. He said that he had not had anyone to talk to in the longest time, so they should just let him talk. I think that is really sad, just because Muley seems like a funny guy that should not have to live like that.

An interesting part of Chapter Six was when they were preparing the rabbits for dinner. I thought it was kind of cool how Steinbeck (I just typed Steinwart again, this is becoming very annoying) described everything Joad did while preparing the meat. I was in Anatomy last year, so I had to dissect the fetal pig. For some reason, I actually loved that project. I thought it was so interesting. So when I read about how Joad skinned the rabbits and everything, I felt really smart because I understood exactly the process he was going through and what it would look like to do it. I do not know why I am so amused by the thought that him and I have both experienced skinning an animal in almost the same method, but I am certainly amused.

Banks Are Not Robots

So, I am beginning to see a pattern in Grapes of Wrath. It is like every other chapter we will read something interesting, and those chapters in between are about things that have no value to us yet. However, Chapter Five was not as bad as Chapters One and Three. I just like reading about Joad and characters that are interesting, not some random people or animals. This chapter was not too bad though. I am beginning to understand more of what is going on; it is like the land is so bad, families are beginning to be evicted. The bank is trying to clear all of the land so they can sell it and make money off of it, or something like that. However, the people that live there are obviously not happy. Since this is such a little country farming town, these houses have pretty much all been built by hand, and generations of families have lived in them. So when somebody tries to just straight up tell the families to leave, they are obviously not happy at all. I do not blame them; what gives the band the right to just make everyone change their entire lives?

I think it is kind of weird how they view the bank, even though I do understand that people in this small town are not very familiar with big city banking and stuff. However, they call the bank the monster and act as if it is its own self. This is pretty much how the men who are evicting the families refer to the bank, and I just think it is kind of odd. Banks are run by people, it is not like this is I Robot or something where the machine takes over and goes insane. Plus this is an old book, so that concept probably was not even considered.

Now it is time for me to get started on Chapter Six, which is a good thing because, if the pattern proves true, this chapter will be about Joad and therefore will not be boring or dumb or pointless. Hopefully.

Self Defense and Preachers Getting Lucky

Reading Chapter Four was a huge relief. It actually involved characters, and it contained some actual action. The truck driver guy drove away, so I guess his appearance in the book was not really a big deal. Joad is mainly focused on. The turtle from last chapter is still in the book; Joad picks him up and wraps him in his coat, which I think is weird but hey, whatever floats your boat. The turtle peed on him, which I think is kind of funny. However, I do not dislike Joad really anymore; he actually seems like a pretty cool guy. I do not understand why he is was in prison though. Yeah, he killed a guy, but is that not considered self defense? The dude had a knife in Joad? Whatever, the law is screwed up.

So, we meet this new character, a man named Casy who used to be the preacher. I really like Casy. It is annoying, however, that his name is not spelled like "Casey" like it normally would be spelled because I keep typing it wrong. Oh well. Anyway, so Casy is this guy who used to be a great preacher and fill people with the spirit and stuff, but now he does not really believe anymore. His problem is sex. Apparently after his really good sermons and stuff, he would find a girl from the congregation and have sex with her. Does anyone else find this a little weird? I mean, hey, if you want to have sex with someone, go right ahead, I can't stop you. I just think it is weird that giving great sermons would give him that urge, and that the girl would be so willing to do it with him. Given his physical description, he does not exactly sound like model material. Actually, he reminds me of like an older, dying Randy Travis or something. Yeah, that is not exactly attractive, but I guess the girls dig it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dumb Turtle

My last post was about the beginning of Chapter Three. Little did I know that Chapter Three was about two pages long; maybe I would have made it all into one blog instead of two. Oh well, this just makes my work easier.

Alright, so I just read an entire chapter about a turtle. It was not even a story, like the turtle and the hare story, where the two race and it is all exciting and interesting? No. This chapter was about a turtle crossing the road. Hey, guys, why did the turtle cross the road? To get hit by a truck. But wait, it did not get smashed, it just got knocked all the way across the road! So really, there was no reason for that joke, since there was no reason that the turtle crossed the road. Wow, that is a coincidence! There was also absolutely no need or reason for that entire chapter! John Steinbeck, what the heck is wrong with you. You must have had an incredibly boring life or something, if all you did was spend your day writing about dust and turtles.

I am about to start on Chapter Four, and I am not excited about it. So far, this story is dumb and not exciting at all. I would rather be reading some book that is upstairs in my room; I just got a ton of new books from Barnes and Noble and I would much rather be reading those right now. Maybe if Grapes of Wrath was not rambling about turtles and heat and dust, it would be a little better, but as of right now I am just not very happy about it.

It does not make this boring situation better by having my little brother Johnny right next to me. He just got a cell phone and for some stupid reason he has a ringtone for text messages instead of it just vibrating or something normal and not ridiculous. So, to my enjoyment, as I am trying to force myself through this misery, I keep getting my trains of thought interrupted by rap music. Wow, I am just living the dream. I should make him sit down and try to do this, maybe then he would have some sympathy for me. Actually he would probably just laugh because he is a jerk.

Steinbeck's Obsession with Nature

So, I just started reading the beginning of Chapter Three. I think this John Steinbeck character may have been slightly obsessed with nature. I mean, I love nature; I would most definitely rather be outside than inside on any given day of the year. However, when I sit down to write something, I do not waste pages and paragraphs and unnecessary sentences on nature. At least, if I do write about nature, it will be something extremely interesting, such as some huge praying mantis or a beautiful double rainbow. By the way, that YouTube video of the double rainbow is quite hysterical. If anyone has not watched that yet, they should. That guy must have stoned out of his mind or something, because his reaction is not quite that of the reaction of a normal person. Him and John Steinbeck probably would have become great friends. The entire first chapter of Grapes of Wrath basically described this weird dust and dirt that is in the air, and then there is some storm, and then it is really hot, or something like that. I was pretty much just trying to get that chapter done and over with because it was really incredibly boring. Then Chapter Two was decent, and now here I am, at the beginning of Chapter Three, reading some nonsense about sheep's wool and some spindle-ey thing; I basically have no idea what he is talking about. I just know it has something to do with grass or bugs or animals or something in nature. John Steinbeck, (that is the sixth time I have started to write John Steinwart; this is getting very frustrating), maybe you should have just enjoyed all that nature in your head instead of putting it into your book. Grapes of Wrath would probably be about sixty pages long then. That would have made my life quite a bit easier, considering I have four hundred and forty one pages to go until I am done, and I have two and a half days to do this. I love my life.

Country Boy Drivers and Joad the Toad

Thank goodness that the second chapter of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath is better than its first chapter. Dang it, I started to typed Steinwart again. This is going to get annoying. I also started to type "graphs" instead of "grapes," I do not really know where that came from. Anyway, we actually meet characters in the second chapter; it is not just a bunch of nonsense about dust and storms and the sun. That was unnecessary, I believe. So, the book appears to take place in some little country town, judging by the way everyone speaks. The waitress, who I think is probably some tired woman who is tired of taking crap from men, seems pretty cool. I have no idea if she was just a passing character or one who will actually have meaning in the book; I guess we will just have to find out. The truck driver, whose name we never learn for some reason, seems like a nice guy. Personally, if he was one of my acquaintances and not just some guy I was reading about, I would probably find him annoying. He does not seem to know when to stop talking, and he asks a lot of dumb questions. However, as of right now I do not really have any problems with him. Joad is kind of a sketchy character, though. First of all, his name is Joad, which reminds me of toads. Now, I love toads and frogs and all those guys, but I do not really like thinking of a toad every time I read his name. It is not exactly the most glamorous thing to be associated with. I actually liked Joad at first, until he opened his mouth. Once he got in the truck and started kind of acting like a jerk, it made me a little weary. I have only known Joad for about ten minutes now so things might change, but as of right now I am not exactly a fan. Actually, as of right now I am not exactly a fan of the entire book. Hopefully this will change.

A Fine Start to Grapes of Wrath

Wow, I have a ton of work to do. So much for having a good ending to the summer; it appears that I will be doing this and reading Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck for the rest of the weekend. I am not a fan of typing this author's name because of the fact that his last name starts with "Stein" and my last name starts with "Stein," therefore, I just accidentally typed John Steinwart and had to delete it because that is not the author's name. What is ironic about that is that my younger brother is John Steinwart. However, he is certainly not old enough to have written this book, and he is probably not smart enough. For example, right now he is singing "All I Do Is Win," which is some dumb rap song, while he chats with people on facebook. Welcome to America.

Anyway, tonight I started Grapes of Wrath. I always read the back of a book immediately before I start reading the book itself, and let me tell you, reading the back of that book did not give me a good feeling. For starters, in the little highlighted section at the top of the back, it uses the world "galvanized." I have never heard that word in my life, and I am running too short on time to actually look it up. If the book itself uses words like that, I am going to be in quite a bit of trouble.

After that little flash of optimism, I read the first chapter of the book. It may have been the most pointless piece of a story I have ever read in my life. That entire chapter could have been summarized into, oh, about one paragraph. It would have been a really boring paragraph, too, which just goes to show that that first chapter was pretty much awful. Steinbeck used a lot of colors, I noticed, to describe things. The words "pale" and "red" were used about twenty times each it seemed. All I really got out of that chapter was that it was dusty. Oh boy, this is going to be a fun book to read.

The Return of the Old Man

I seriously did not like reading about the old man after he gave up. It made me so sad. I really like that old guy; he is the kind of person I hope to be like when I am older. He was out on the ocean for like three days just trying to catch one fish. He was all alone; he was old; he was aching. He still pushed on, and then he finally got what he wanted. As soon as he managed to become successful, that success was taken away from him, and there was nothing he could do about it. It is just plain sad.

I had forgotten to mention how the old man was clearly in pain the entire journey. At one point, his whole hand cramped up to the point where he could not even move it anymore. He had a bad back, and his bones and muscles were obviously not in proper shape to be using them nonstop for seventy two hours. There were many points in the novel where he would mention how much he hurt, but that never stopped him from pursuing the prize. He got creative; he would sleep with the fishing line hooked around his body and lightly looped through his hand, so if the fish pulled it would wake him up. He ignored the obvious discomfort just so he could succeed. That is the sign of a true man. While he would mention the pain, it was never in a whining, complaining matter. He was, simply, stating his discomfort. My heart went out to him, and I realized he truly was a strong person in his heart and in his mind.

It did make me happy to see how the people reacted to his return. He, as soon as he got back to shore, went up to bed and fell asleep with just the bare skeleton of his fish tied to his boat. The next morning, people saw the skeleton and were amazed. They all realized that this old man was not just a waste of a body; he was a true fisherman and deserved respect. The boy, who had been worried and looking out for the man the whole time, also made me happy; he was so caring and considerate to the old man.

Sharks are Mean

As soon as they mentioned the chunk being taken out of the fish after the first shark attacked, I was like, oh boy, here we go. Everyone knows that sharks are attracted to blood, and I am pretty sure that when a chunk is bitten out of a fish, there is a lot of blood. There is also blood when a shark is harpooned and killed. Basically, there is a lot of blood in the water, and I have heard that just the smallest amount of blood can attract a shark. Talking about blood and sharks reminds me of Finding Nemo, when that one big shark smells the blood and goes psycho trying to catch Dori and Marvin or Melvin or whatever his name was. That scared me a lot because if the shark killed Marvin or Melvin or whatever, he would not be able to find Nemo, and if the shark killed Dori, the movie would no longer be hilarious. Thankfully, sharks are dumb and Dori and Marvin/Melvin got away. That is such a great movie.

As I predicted, soon after the first shark attack came another one. And another. And then another. I felt so bad for that poor old man. He had just spent the past two and a half days trying just to catch that darned fish, and as soon as he finally got it, stupid sharks start eating it like they're at a buffet and the fish is all theirs. The old man impressed me with how he managed to fend off the first five or six sharks. He harpooned two, but then lost the harpoon. He made a spear out of his knife and an oar, but lost that. He resorted to just trying to club them, but then his club broke. I felt terrible for him when he finally just sat down and gave up. I lost no respect for him at all; the fish was basically gone by that time, and there was literally nothing else he could do. It made me want to cry.

Shark Attack

I have never been on an airplane. I was going to go on one once, but dumb things happened and then it never happened. I have two little brothers, and therefore car rides are not very fun. Oh, do not get me wrong, they are quite fun for my brothers and I. We get along very very well. They are not fun for my parents, who have to drive the whole way and listen to us being loud and obnoxious. Basically what I am saying is that I have never been to an ocean. This bums me out quite a bit; I have always wanted to swim in the ocean. If I ever did though, I know I would be scared to see a shark. You always hear stories about how, whoops, there was a shark in a place it was not supposed to be, and there goes a girl's arm or a boy's leg. I would prefer to have all my body parts, please. So if I was in a little boat, all by myself, a long way away from any civilization and I saw sharks start to circle my boat, I would freak out. Tears may be involved. I have no idea how the old man remained as calm as he did, but he certainly handled the situation well. He just waited until the shark was close enough, then stuck the harpoon right into his noggin. Unfortunately, the shark had already taken a chunk out of the big fish. During this time, I was wondering again why the old man did not just pull the fish into his boat for like an hour until the shark went away, but then I remembered that this fish was kind of like a small car, and therefore was not exactly easy to pull out of the water and into a boat. I also realized that sharks have attacked boats before, and I would probably rather have a shark attack my fish then my boat and then eat me for dessert.

A Super Buff Old Man

I was really excited for the old man when he finally managed to bring the big fish in. I was shocked at how big it really was though! He said it was probably around eighteen feet, and it was over a thousand pounds! That is giant. It was truly a monster fish. This old man pulled it in all by himself, too! Granted, it took him around two and a half days, but still. He must have had so much patience. For an old man, he must have been in pretty dang good shape to pull that in, too. One time I caught a fish that was sixteen inches long and about weighed about three pounds, and it took me like three minutes to pull that sucker in. It put up quite a fight. I literally had to use all the strength I had just to get it up into the boat. The old man's fish was quite a bit bigger than my fish. Actually, it was probably like a hundred times bigger than my fish, and I am not even exaggerating. He managed to do it all by himself after barely eating or sleeping for two days, and there I was, having just eaten and taken a nap, pulling in a little three pound fish with the help of my dad. That must have been one super buff old guy.

I thought it was really cool how he harpooned the fish; I have never seen a harpoon, let alone know how to use one. Then he had to tie the fish to the side of the boat, which my little arms would have probably never allowed me to do, even though I am youthful and healthy. It kind of confused me as to why he tied it to the side of the boat instead of just flopping it into his boat, but then I realized it would get dried out since he had a one or two day journey back to shore. Plus that thing probably would have taken up the entire boat. That reminded me of Life of Pi again, except it was a big fish taking over instead of a mean tiger.

The Tough Old Man's Tough Old Hands

I do not think there is anything worse than having a big cut on your hand. It ruins everything. You use your hands for basically anything you do, like lifting things, or holding things, or even touching things. One time, in sixth grade, I was on my way to softball practice. I got out of my mom's car and tripped over my softball bag. Yes, I am so smooth. That was when the middle school softball field still had those white rocks in the parking lot, and since I am so graceful, I fell onto those rocks and caught myself with my hands. One of the rocks went into my left hand. I am talking really deep, to the point where one I pulled it out it would not stop bleeding. That just happened to be the one day of the year where Mrs. Greer was late to practice, so after dumping my entire water bottle over the wound and ruining my shirt, I just stuck my glove on and played catch while we waited for her to arrive. To this day, there are bloodstains in my glove. It is really cute. Anyway, I ended up getting six stitches and I could not use that hand for like a month. It sucked.

In The Old Man and the Sea, the old man's hand gets absolutely ruined from the ropes. Instead of stopping to take care of it, he stuck it in the saltwater until it stopped hurting and then pretty much just ignored it and tried not to use it very much. That is ridiculous. It is incredible. I had a little one inch cut, and I was not able to use that hand for a whole month whatsoever. The old man was like, who cares, I have a fish to catch. He had a huge cut across his entire palm, and he did not let that stop him from what he was doing. That is absolutely remarkable. I gained a lot of respect for him when that happened.

Big Fish in the Rain

What a dreary day. I just got back from lunch with Kirk, and the sky is like straight up gray. It looks like it is about to rain, although thankfully it cooled off quite a bit. That is a good thing, considering I am going to go running in an hour and twelve minutes.

This makes me think of how the old man must have felt though. He mentioned at one point how the sky kind of looked like it would rain in a couple days. I already shared my story about my dad and I when we got rained on on a fishing trip, and let me tell you, it was not an enjoyable experience. To be elderly, in the middle of an ocean on just a small boat, and surrounded by sharks and the like, I would not be very comfortable. I would probably be scared out of my wits. However, the old man was just like oh well. He had seen it all. I bet his life while he was growing up was pretty eventful, since this single fishing trip seemed like a huge deal to me, and he regarded it as nothing too unusual.

I thought it was really cool the first time the old man saw the fish he had caught. The way he got really excited and described it made it seem very realistic, as if I was actually there on the boat with him. I also learned a lot; the old man wanted the fish to jump out of the water because then air would get trapped in the fish, causing it to not be able to go deep under the surface anymore. While seems pretty obvious to think about, I myself had never actually considered it. I told my dad the whole air theory one time when we were out fishing right after I finished the book, and he was like, cool. Now shut up and reel that fish in. I love my dad, he is my pal. That particular fish I had been reeling in while I told my dad that ended up to be a pretty decent guy, too, although compared to the old man's fish it was like plankton. That made me feel less proud about it.

Mapquest and Life of Pi

I just popped an Atomic Fireball into my mouth to distract myself from the pain in the eye. Now I have a sore eye and a burning mouth. It is really quite enjoyable. Although it seemed to work, my mouth is going crazy but I am not even thinking about my eye. Except I am sort of drooling which is kind of gross.

So, when the old man catches the big fish, I got super stoked for him. I mean, he had been fishing his entire life, so if he thought it was a big fish I completely trusted him that it was probably a monster. Especially because a dolphin was nothing to him. Except the dolphin does not come until later in the story, but whatever. So the old man caught this giant fish, and it started dragging him deeper. I was like, okay, this is good, it will get tired and then the old man will row back. But then the dumb thing kept going farther and farther out, and I started to get worried. How would the old man know how to get back to shore? Maybe it is just me, but I would be so lost. I am absolutely horrible at directions, I get lost all the time when I am driving. I did not even know how to get to school until I was in eighth grade, that is how bad it is. It is horrible. Thankfully, I just got a Blackberry, so I have mapquest on my phone. I doubt the old man had a phone with internet and directions though, so I became worried for him. What if he fell asleep and woke up and had no idea at all where he was? What would he do then? An ocean is a big thing. This is when the book started to remind me of Life of Pi. That was quite an interesting book, except the first half sucked. Luckily, The Old Man and the Sea was way more interesting than that book.

The Old Man and the Boy

I think it is ridiculous how the old man catches a dolphin and it not even a big deal. If I caught a dolphin, I would stuff it and hang it in my room. I mean I guess it is normal to be catching dolphins for him, but still. I think that is just awesome.

Wow, I have something in my eye. It hurts so bad. I just took precious blogging time to go up to my bathroom and inspect my eye, but I found nothing. I had to just pop my contact back in and pretend it is not killing me. It would be a lot nicer if I could put my glasses on, but due to the fact that Matt Vermeersch's head stretched them out and then one of the side things fell off, I do not think wearing those would be of much help. This sucks.

Anyway, back to the story. I really liked the old man. He was just so darn determined! I mean, he had not caught a big fish in so long. Fishing is actually one of my hobbies, but it is not exactly fun if you do not catch anything. The fact that he went out day after day without catching a thing is remarkable. Plus he just seems like a cool guy. I would have befriended him. The boy's parents were jerks for trying to keep him away from the old man. Most parents try to get their kids to help out the elderly, not push them away! They seem stuck up and Mildred-like to me. Those are certainly not good traits to have. It is a good thing their personalities did not rub off on the boy. I definitely know that the boy is probably what kept the old man going many days. He was the the old man's hope and inspiration, even if the old man did not realize it. The boy's eagerness to help and his positive personality probably influenced the old man to become more positive and optimistic. I mean, if I were a little old man going out fishing every day all by myself without any help and then not catching anything, I would definitely need a person to keep me going. That boy was a good little kid.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Poor Old Man

If I were that old man, I think I would be scared to go out fishing all by myself. Granted, he had been doing it his entire life, but still. He was old and not quite as strong as he used to be. What if something happened to him, like he had a stroke, and he just had to lay around floating on a boat until he died or a shark ate him? That would not be a pleasant way to leave this green earth. Or blue earth, however you look at it, since I guess the world is mostly water or whatever. I am actually not sure if that is true, I suck at geography. I also suck at history, and chemistry, and Spanish. Oh boy do I despise that language. Good thing my new Spanish friend Miguel actually has a cool Spanish accent. I would ask him to teach me Spanish, but I think I would rather drink soap. I would probably even rather drink Mr. Vermeersch's hot salsa, and let me tell you, that would be sheer torture.

I started to get worried even more for that dear old man as he set out for the deeper waters. I absolutely love the water, and although I have never seen an ocean, I have spent a lot of time on lakes. Being alone in a little boat all by myself way far away from the shore though might not be so fun. I remember one time when I was younger, around the age of nine or so, my dad and I went out night fishing on a little rickety canoe in Wisconsin. There was this big dark ominous cloud that I pointed out to my dad, and he told me not to worry about it. Well, lo and behold, as soon as we got to the complete opposite end of the lake, it started to downpour. I am talking buckets and buckets. Keep in mind we were in a little canoe and since I was little I could not row. My dad had to row us a few miles in this absolute ruckus all the way back to our cabin, and it was terrifying. What if that situation fell upon the old man? He was not young and buff like my father, so what would he had done? Chances are he would have drowned, and he seemed like a nice old man so that would be bad.

Beginning The Old Man and the Sea

When I first picked up The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, I was kind of psyched. I was like, yes, this is a tiny book with huge lettering; it looks more like a fifth grade novel than an eleventh grade novel. Do not get me wrong, I love reading. I went to Wisconsin a few weeks ago for five days and I read seven and a half books. Assigned reading is usually not quite so fun though, unfortunately.

Anyway, so I started to read. I was really surprised how easy the book was to read, although it was kind of basic and not very deep. At the same time, though, it was interesting. The old man just seemed kind of sad to me. I wanted to be his friend. I think he needed a hug, that would have cheered him up and helped his achin' bones. I guess the boy was good enough. That boy made me smile. Even though times have changed, the fact that a growing boy was still compassionate and caring enough to stick with the old man was just so touching to me. I cannot picture my brothers helping out some old man. If my parents made them, they would, but the boy in the story actually went against his parents wishes in order to help the old man! I just think that is so honorary and incredible. I would like to give that boy an award. I would give him a hug too.

The beginning of the book did kind of throw me off, though, it was sort of boring. I was like, what is the point of this story? Why do I care if the boy is going to get him trout? It is good information to know, but they seemed to focus a lot on petty unimportant things instead of clearing up things such as the old man's background and why he did not have his own family.

The Fire is Done

The end of Fahrenheit 451 went by really quickly for me. It got extremely interesting during the chase, although I have no idea how that giant hunk of metal did not find Montag. I mean, Montag is a clever guy and all, but I really do not think he is smarter than a computer with huge robot legs. Anyway, I thought it was smart of Montag to use the river to erase his scent, but I got really scared for Faber because I just like that old man. He kind of reminds me of Santa Clause, except real. Well, technically he is not real either but come on, it is a book, we have to pretend he is real. I am glad Faber got away safely, to say the least.

I am glad Mildred did not get away safely. She was a dumb lady who probably should not have even been in this book, although she certainly did add effect. At the same time, though, she was annoying and I do not for the life of me understand what Montag ever saw in her, even if she did use to be young and hot, which is highly doubtful.

Okay, what is wrong with the end of this book, though? You get all excited, yay Montag got away; he's such a hero. Then, boom, the whole dang city is gone. I actually reread that section to make more sense of it; that did not help. I am sure there is some symbolism or hidden meaning or something going on there, but all I really see is a big question mark hanging all over the pages. Do not get me wrong, I did like the book. I just do not like how abrupt the ending is. It is kind of like, well, here is the story, whoops now it is time for an ending, okay give me thirty seconds while I type one up really quick. It just did not seem right to me.

Liquefaction and Sparkling Vampires

You have no idea how excited I am right now! I was so inspired by that dumb dying scene and the word "liquefaction" that I decided to look it up to see if it was a real word. GUESS WHAT?! displayed seven whole results for that gosh dang word. I am psyched beyond belief. Sadly, my computer is dumb and is taking forever to load, so I am going to use context clues to predict what it means and we will see how close I get. Well, I imagine for some reason that it has to do with liquefying or melting something, or the process of something become not solid. The word "terrible" is used right before the said word so I imagine it is not a good or happy thing. Let us go see if my dear computer has come up with a result yet.

Wow. I am a master. I am not kidding. Straight from "1. The act or process of liquefying or making liquid." I should probably write my own dictionary just right off the top of my noggin. Dang I am good. told me that that word is often confused with the word "evanescence." Hey, that is a band. I do not know what that word means and I would look it up but that requires way more work than necessary so I am not going to. Props to you, Ray Bradbury, for finding the most unique and fun word out there. Liquefaction is now going to become an everyday word for me. The only problem is that I keep spelling it wrong, and that is quite annoying. Oh well, I will learn.

Although Ray Bradbury can be pretty easy to predict some times (until the ending, what the heck?), he does describe things very well and has quite a way with words. When I read a book, which I do extremely often, that is something I really like. I cannot stand the Twilight books; Stephanie Meyers is a terrible author and I think I could have written those books in like sixth grade. She uses no interesting descriptions; they are all bland and dumb. Ray Bradbury actually knows how to use his brain and a dictionary, therefore creating a book that was not about sparkling vampires.

Hooray for Good Descriptions

I have to say, one of my favorite paragraphs in the entire story is the one Ray Bradbury wrote to describe the death of Beatty. Now, do not get me wrong, I am not one of those sickos who enjoys that kind of stuff. From a writer's point of view though, the imagery is amazing; it really gives the reader a clear cut view of how it is happening. It is like Bradbury had an image in his brain, video recorded it, then transferred the video into words. The only problem is that for some reason it made me think of the Wicked Witch of the West and her whole "I'm melting" scene for some reason. That kind of took the drama away from Beatty dying. Just read this incredible scene, though.

"And then he was a shrieking blaze, a jumping, sprawling gibbering mannikin, no longer human or known, all writhing flame on the lawn as Montag shot one continuous pulse of liquid fire on him. There was a hiss like a great mouthful of spittle banging a red-hot stove, a bubbling and frothing as if salt had been poured over a monstrous black snail to cause a terrible liquefaction and a boiling over yellow foam."

That is genius. It is so incredibly well written; this scene is played out perfectly in my mind. I am not even being one bit sarcastic right now; this little paragraph shows that Ray Bradbury definitely knows his stuff. The only part I do not care for is the yellow foam line. Why the heck was that included? He should have just ended with the snails. I used to help my mom do that to snails because they would eat her garden. I hate the yellow foam thing, though, that reminds me of a sponge, which reminds me of SpongeBob, which just totally gets me off track. Plus I really want to know if the world "liquefaction" is a real word, because it is awesome.

Taking a Stand

Montag became a man. He did something for himself that went completely, totally out of his comfort zone. He killed a man. It was not just any man, but it was the fire chief, his own boss, Captain Beatty. That man sure deserved it, though. I cannot believe he was ever a protagonist in my eyes. No, that man is a straight up antagonist. He is a bad guy, and he causes agony to everyone. What a jerk. Him and Mildred can go meet up in Heaven (nah, they probably will not be going there) and get married or something and have evil little children who everybody hates. Oh wait, Mildred is not dead yet. The world is not quite at peace just yet. Dumb Mildred. All this is her fault. Well, except for the whole corrupt government and whatnot, but that is beside the point.

I really do respect Montag for killing Beatty, however sick and unhealthy that sounds. Is it not odd that when I refer to that statement as "unhealthy," it sounds weird and like it does not belong, but if I use the word "sick," it makes sense? English is such a weird language. It is way better than Spanish though, no offense to all those great Spaniards out there. That language is just a catastrophe though. It should probably be destroyed along with Beatty and Mildred, but that is just my opinion. I mean that in the nicest way possible.

I need to stop getting off topic here. I do respect Montag for killing Beatty because he is actually standing up for himself. After years of letting people walk all over him, Montag is doing what he wants to do. He is also trying to save Faber as well, which makes me respect Montag anymore. Killing Beatty was not a selfish act, but an act of defense and honor. Plus I mean Montag had already killed people before so it was nothing that new.

Burn Your House Down

As I said in my last blog, Montag is a straight up idiot for telling Mildred and her friends about the books. I mean, I understand feeling the urge to let people in on your feelings in order to feel understand and whatnot, but dear Montag. This is Mildred we are talking about here. I would rather be married to a stuffed animal; at least then it would do whatever you wanted and would never complain. It would also never call the fire department about the books you had hidden secretly for all these years. Your wife is such a little sweetheart, gosh I wish I will be just like her when I am older! Just kidding, heck, if I ended up as dreadful as her, I would probably try to kill myself too. I do not really mean that, that is nothing to kid about; I was just trying to relate to the story. I figured I might as well clarify that for all my hundreds of readers.

It is really hard to type blogs when you are tired and have a cute little dog snuggled next to you and have a new phone that is super nice that keeps vibrating because a foreign boy keeps texting you. How is that for a run on sentence?

Anyway, Beatty is a much meaner man than I thought he was. At first, I thought he was cool; yeah, he destroyed books and all, but he was decent towards Montag even when he found out about the one book. However, when he takes Montag to burn down Montag's house, Beatty reveals his vicious, psycho side. At least we know that Montag was not just going crazy when he thought he heard the Hound outside his house. Beatty is a jerk. I would sure not like him as a boss. If I were a boss, I would never make one of my employees burn their own house down. Although, now that I think about it, if it was a person I truly despised, I would probably be kind of mean to them. Burning an entire house down seems pretty extreme, though.

Montag is Smart

So, I am supposed to be in bed right now, but due to the fact that I am redoing my room and there are pictures, picture frames, awards, books, hammers, and nails scattered all over my bed and couch, technically I cannot possibly be in bed. I guess my parents should say to me from now on, instead of "Go to bed!" they should say, "Nikki! Go to couch!" since I am sleeping on a couch in my computer room. Just something to think about.

Something I did not have to think about is the fact that the firemen would go to Montag's house. Why did I not have to think about that? Let me tell you. I did not have to think about that because it was so blatantly obvious. I mean, Bradbury, you get points for grammar and usage, but Mrs. Blemler would give you a zero for content. Creativity in that section of the book was just gone. Actually, he would probably get a zero for grammar and usage too due to all the comma splices, but I do have to say that they added to the effect and therefore should not cause him to lose points in the book of Mrs. Blemler, whom, by the way, I see zooming around in her cute little car all the time since she lives behind me. It makes me smile.

Poor little Montag was not smiling when he arrived at his house that night with the rest of the firemen. He is so stupid. He told Mildred about the books, and he told all her friends. They are not going to just ignore it. I mean I really had been rooting for Montag but that was just a dumb move on his part. He seem to be in such utter shock when he realizes the house they are at is his own. I laughed. Dude, how did you not see that coming? A small child could have guessed it would happen. My dog Simon who is asleep right next to me could have seen that coming, and his eyes are shut. Montag, my man, get with the program!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Angry Ladies and Ear Chips

I think it is hilarious when Montag shows the book to Mildred's friends. They got the shock of their life, and the way they responded was so typical. I had viewed them all as rich, stuck up women, for some reason wearing silk and velvet dresses with curled hair and red lipstick. I have no idea why that is what they looked like in my head, but I cannot change the way my brain works. The best part is that they all left the house, leaving Mildred alone. She deserved it. Ray Bradbury did pull a sympathy card on her though; every time something bad happens, she starts popping pills like there is no tomorrow. Instead of feeling bad for her, however, I just feel sick. Some people need medicine to actually get better; they pop pills in order to be healed. She takes medicine whenever life is not perfect or going exactly how it should be going. That is life, sister. Bad things happen. Yes, some things might be worse than others, but you become stronger by persevering through the bad times, not conking yourself out so you do not have to even think about it any more. That is a sign of very weak person in my eyes. Usually, I would have sympathy for someone who is too weak to even bear going through life, but I despise Mildred, and she is pathetic. I feel no sympathy for her character whatsoever.

I do, however, feel much sympathy for Montag. I no longer dislike him one bit; now that he starting standing up for himself he has become a much more interesting character. I especially think the little ear chip is phenominal. I do not understand how people do not notice it, though. While I understand that it is small, I would think that people would notice a little black chip wedged into one's ear. Either way, that device is fascinating and seems to be extremely useful. I think Montag should have listened to Faber when he was shoving the books in the women's faces, though. While that was funny, it probably was not the best idea if Montag wants to stay alive.

A Revolution

I was very happy for Montag when he met Faber. Well, techincally he had already met Faber, but I was happy when they reunited. Faber, in my opinion, is like Clarisse all grown up. He had actually lived his life the way he wanted, and although he had almost lost his battle a few times, he kept pushing on. He reminds me of one of those gentle old men with the long white hair and beard. He was scared to death of firemen, but at the same time, he did not care what people thought. He was wildly intelligent; that is what reading will do for you. When he first saw Montag at his door, he became terrified because he thought Montag was going to burn down his house. Once he realized why Montag was really there, though, he became excited about this new adventure.

Faber was a bit of a comforter to Montag. While the rest of Montag's world was falling to pieces, here was one guy who really understand what Montag was trying to do and was willing to help. He was also way better company then Mildred, but I mean a dead field mouse would probably be better company then Mildred.

Faber gave Montag a new light inside of him. He put an idea in Montag's head, the idea that this horrible and corrupt society could be changed. While previously Montag had only thought about this concept in his wildest dreams, Faber made it realistic, made it seem possible. Even if the plan had been completely, one hundred percent impossible, the fact that Faber convinced Montag it could be done changed Montag's life. Montag now had something to live for! Beforehand, Montag had nothing. His wife did not need him. His job did not need him. He was useless. Now he was the beginning of a revolution! He felt like he was important for the first time in his life, and that changed everything.

What a Wonderful Wife

I seemed to have been mistaken in one of my blogs. While I had thought Mildred found out about the books previously, I guess being the dumb, selfish wife she is, she had not even realized what Montag was shoving under his pillow. She actually found out about the books by finding it a few days later, while he was talking to the fire captain. She is so dumb. She reminds me of a combination of Dori from Finding Nemo and one of the sisters from Cinderella. She is stupid and in her own little world like Dori. However, Dori is cute and lovable because of her vulnerability. Mildred is just sickening. The sisters from Cinderella were hateful and thought only of themselves, which caused troubles for other people. That sounds just like Mildred, except Mildred is not necessarily hateful, just stupid.

Mildred just continued to infuriate me. After Beatty left, Montag went to go talk to her. He informed her of the fact that he was not happy and did not enjoy living. Instead of trying to comfort or console her husband, Mildred just beamed and exclaimed how happy she was. I wanted to slap her in the face. When somebody tells you that they are not happy with their life, you should go out of your way to try and make their life happy. You do not, absolutely do not rub it in their face how much you love your own life. Do you think that makes them happier? No! It would just make them feel worse. Mildred then proceeded to call Montag's ideas "junk." She is quite the quality wife.

When Montag finally shows her all his books, she starts shrieking and crying as if her life is over. For some reason, all this nonsense has been seeming to make Montag actually start to love his wife. I do not understand the logic behind that at all. Montag, in order to soothe his crazy wife, told her that they would burn all the books together and never have to worry about them ever again. This is ridiculous. He has been risking his life for quite some time now, but just because Mildred is psycho he is willing to pretend it never happened. I sure hope I am as good of a wife as her someday.

The Great Life of Montag

Montag's life basically sucks. After Clarisse had been gone for four days, he brought it up to Mildred. At first she kind of ignored him and tried to go back to sleep like a typical lazy, spoiled, selfish woman, but she then realized what he was talking about. She then informed him that the whole family was gone, but Clarisse was dead. Clarisse had been run over by a car. Montag went into denial at first, saying that could not possibly be true, but when Mildred turned over and went back to sleep Montag realized Mildred had not made it up. The only person that had ever understood Montag was gone. She was dead.

That made me feel a lot of compassion for Montag. Yeah, he is not my favorite person ever, but come on. He hates his wife, he hates his job, he hates his coworkers. Clarisse was the only thing he had going for him. Although sometimes she did make him feel bad because of how terrible his life was, she was the only one who he could truly talk to about everything. She was his best friend. Then all of a sudden, when things were starting to get even worse, she was killed mercilessly. If my best friend died, I do not even know what I would do. I would have no one to talk to; I would never get to have interesting conversations where neither of us censored information; I would have no one to turn to. Plus I would probably spend every day crying, which is not a very fun way to spend a day in my opinion. I can only imagine how Montag felt. He did not even have his wife to console him. She is a jerk.

To make matters worse, that same night he thought he heard the Mechanical Hound outside his window. The presence of that thing alone, even without have hearing devestating news minutes before, would terrify the living snot out of me. It shook Montag up pretty badly too, but he just tried to ignore it and went to sleep. I am sure his dreams that night were probably really pleasant.

The Perfect Couple

The night after Montag told Mildred about the books, they had a very interesting conversation. Montag was trying to think back to how they had first met, and he could not remember. He asked her how they met, and she could not remember either. When further questioned about it, she replied, "It doesn't matter."

I think this really shows the depth of their relationship. It was about as deep as the shallow end of the kiddie pool. They had been married for ten years, and ten years is not a lot of time. After only ten years, they had both forgotten how they had met! They were a married couple! Heck, I remember how I met random people ten years ago, and I was only six years old. To not remember how you met your husband or wife is unfathomable to me. In my opinion, you should be married to the person you love unconditionally, and maybe I am mistaken, but I sure think if you love someone even a little bitty bit you would remember how you met.

Another thing that I think is messed up in their relationship is the fact that Mildred does not even seem to care that she can't remember. Montag was shaken up about it; it definitely upset him a good deal. Mildred, on the other hand, just kind of shook it off and went to bed. Granted, she did start popping those sleeping pills like they were candy, but due to the fact that she already had a random overdose I would assume that was nothing new. I feel bad for Montag; he clearly at least wants to start a personal relationship with his wife, but Mildred just does not seem to care at all about anything except for herself. While Montag does at times annoy me, Mildred infuriates me. She is a selfish, spoiled woman, and I hate those kind of people. Maybe if she showed a little compassion every once in a while, Montag would actually enjoy being around his own wife.

Boldness and Bravery

Things start to get a little more interesting in Fahrenheit 451 after Clarisse "disappears." As if given a shot of boldness and bravery, Montag begins questioning the duties of the firemen, and he steals a book. Readers then learn that he has been stealing books for years from the houses they burn down. Montag decides to finally let his wife see that he has been doing this, and she freaks out.

I think the disappearance of Clarisse gave Montag a little bit more bravery for some reason. Instead of just hiding in the corner all the time, he started to actually let his opinions be known. He was kind of dumb about it, though. He would bring up questions about the origins of firefighting right in front of his entire fire squad, when he probably should have just talked to one person. If you bring up something sketchy in front of a lot of people, it makes the issue more known, and more people get to sit back and think about it. Therefore, there are a lot more people who may be against you and can gang up on you. In a society such as Montag's, that would be enough to get you killed.

I also think it was extremely dumb to tell Mildred about his hidden forbidden books. I do not know if he was trying to somehow make their relationship stronger or something by sharing his darkest secret, but it obviously did not work. Mildred was against the whole idea; she was one of their community's most brainwashed citizens. I do not understand why Montag felt the need to tell her! The two barely got along anyway, so why did he even trust her? I sure would not have. He did not love her, he did not trust her, he did not care about her, yet he let her in on his biggest secret, one that could also get him killed. Good move, Montag.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Glass Is More Full Where the Grass Is More Green

Personally, Montag is not one of my favorite book characters of all time. For starters, I always think of him as "Montague" instead of "Montag," thanks Romeo and Juliet. I do not know exactly what it is about him, but he just seems kind of pitiful. Yes, I understand he is not satisfied with his life and things do not go well for him. At the same time, though, there are people like Clarisse who live under the same government, the same community, and the same leaders! You do not see her moping around because she had a lousy day. Instead, she is running around like a maniac, making her life fun! That is what I do not understand. If you are not happy with something, change it. You have to be the change. Granted, there are some situations, such as depression, in which is really is not the person's fault. This is not the case with Montag though. He is just a fun sucker. I do respect him for trying to step out of his comfort zone, but all he ever does is complain and come up with more complicated situations to get himself into. He does not want to burn books. Okay, so stop burning books. He wants to live freely. Dude, live freely then. While people might look down on him for those decisions, they are still options in his life that he pretends do not exist. I do not hate the character of Montag, he just makes me kind of gloomy. I wish Clarisse was the main character instead, I think that would make for a much more upbeat and interesting book. Too bad she gets run over by a car later in the story. At least I think she does. Like I have said many times before, Fahrenheit 451 is confusing. It certainly was not boring, though, which adds on many bonus points. I just wish Montague was not such a Debbie Downer about every little thing. The glass is more full where the grass is more green. In other words, Mr. Guy Montag, if you want your life to change, it is up to you to find a way to make it better.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Be Nice to Metal Dogs

When I first read about the Mechanical Hound, I was so incredibly confused. Then I became frustrated. Then I grew weary. The whole book had been confusing, which frustrated me to no end. When I read a book, I prefer to understand what is going on. However, in this novel, I had no idea. I had to just sit back and keep truckin' along though, but by the time I read about the Mechanical Hound I was ready to just give up. Ray Bradbury, where on Earth do you get your ideas? I consider myself a writer, but I have never once considered the idea of a Mechanical Hound. You are one strange but intelligent man.

The first thing I realized about the Mechanical Hound was that Montag was terrified of it. Well, technically the first thing I realized was that it was mechanical and therefore not a real dog, but I think that goes without saying. Anyway, Montag described the doggy computer as strangely lifelike, having things such as sensory nostril hairs and rubber padded feet. Although it sounded strange, it allowed me to come up with a terrific image in my head of what this creature looked like.

Montag talks about going down to see the dog at the fire station. He talks to it; however, he does make sure it is fast asleep while he is doing so. He said that for some reason he felt as if the dog was out to get him. He cannot help but be fascinated by the Hound, but who can blame him? The giant thing caught organisms within seconds; he would trap prey in his massive claws and release a long, sharp needle out of his mouth like a fang to inject morphine into whatever he had caught. That is one strange character, Bradbury.

Montag had a moment of terror when the Hound woke up and growled at him, but luckily Montag is a smart cookie and got out of there quickly. If I were him, I would try to keep my fascination to a minimum. I would rather stay alive then be eaten by some hunk of morhpine-shooting metal.

Dandelion Love

Wow, I just realized I have exactly a week before school starts and i still have forty four blogs left to write. This could prove to be quite a problem, which is why I'm sitting at my desk at one thirty-three in the morning, eating Ramen Noodles and thinking about burning books. Heck, burning this book does not sound like such a bad idea right now. That was a joke. Although Matt did burn a Jonas Brothers poster in my backyard earlier.

Anway, the next section of Fahrenheit 451 stood out to me as well. Montag goes out into the rain and meets Clarisse, who is dancing and drinking the rain. She picks a dandelion and explains how if you rub it under your chin and your chin turns yellow, you are in love. I remember doing this back when I was in elementary school; my friends and I would pick dandelions and rub them all over each other, but that was mostly just to make our teachers mad. Clarisse, however, strongly believes in the legend of the dandelion and proceeds t0 rub her chin, and indeed it does turn yellow. In turn, she rubs Montag's chin, and it does not turn a different shade of color at all. Montag is deeply disturbed by this, as he very well should be. I mean, here is Clarisse, a seventeen year old girl who has never even thought about marriage, and then there's Montag, a man who has a wife! A wife who, according to the dandelion, he does not even love! I think Montag had thought about that before, the fact that he did not love his wife, but having it said right out in the open really opened his eyes. I think this is when Montag really began to realize how much he disliked his life. Although Clarisse felt horrible for upsetting him, personally I think Montag owes her a big thank you for helping him see in clarity the reality of his situiation.

Happy Endings

A few lines stuck out to me as Montag left his wife to her walls the morning after her overdose. As he was about to walk away from her, overcome with disappointment and sadness, he referred to the script she was reading in preparation of her day with the walls. Like I said, I do not completely understand the whole "wall" situation, but I am doing the best I can to comprehend this strange new world. Anyway, as Montag walks away, he turns back and asks if the script has a happy ending.

" 'Goodbye,' he said. He stopped and turned around. 'Does it have a happy ending?'

" 'I haven't read that far.'

"He walked over, read the last page, nodded, folded the script, and handed it back to her. He walked out of the house into the rain."

Now, as I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, I am already done reading this book. I have actually been done for quite some time. As the great Matt Vermeersch would say, "Curse my teenage ways!" Because of the fact that I know how the story ends, looking back over these words make me see the immense amount of foreshadowing. Montag, looking for the happy ending, reads the ending. He does not appear to be extremely pleased about it, as he simply hands it back to her. Mildred does not seem to care at all; the prospect of a having happy ending verses an unfortunate ending appears to be insignificant to her. The most telling part about this passage, however, is the last line, "He walked out of the house and into the rain." Rain is usually symbolized as sadness, or depression, or general unhappiness. The fact that right after he read the ending of her script he walked out into the rain gives foreshadowing of how Fahrenheit 451 will end: gloomy, unsettling, and kind of leaving the reader confused. Ray Bradbury, you are a clever man.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Overdoses and Talking Walls

Although previously Montag had decided not to tell his wife about her overdose, he later decided it was something she needed to know. Instead of getting upset or remorseful, Mildred straight up denied the fact that it happened.

" 'I wouldn't do a thing like that. Why would I do a thing like that?' she said.

" 'Maybe you took two pills and forgot and took two more, and forgot again and took two more, and were so dopey you kept right on until you had thirty or forty of them in you.'

" 'Heck,' she said, 'what would I want to go and do a silly thing like that for?'

" 'I don't know,' he said.

"She was quite obviously waiting for him to go. 'I didn't do that,' she said. 'Never in a billion years.' "

Obviously, Mildred was either denying the fact that it happened or actually believed that it never did happen. Either way, she chose not to believe her husband. She had no desire to listen to what he was saying or even consider what he was saying. This again shows the weakness of their relationship, and it also shows that she did not care one bit about her life.

At this point in the book, the readers find out about the walls. The walls talk. For about two thousand dollars a wall, a virtual world-typed thing would be installed. Mildred was obsessed with her walls; according to Montag that is all she would do every day. She would go to their living room, sit down, and talk to the walls. It seemed as if the people within that room would communicate with simulated people who lived in the walls. I really have no idea if this is the image Ray Bradbury was trying to portray, but that is how I pictured it. Frankly, I think that sounds psycho and it made me think of Fahrenheit 451 as even stranger than I already had thought.

The Impact of Relationships

Montag had been very upset about the carelessness of the men who were in charge of reviving his wife, but it turned out that there was a reasonable explanation for their lack of intensity. The technicians inform Montag that the reason they acted so nonchalant about the whole ordeal was because this situation had been happening all over the city. Suicide was not even a big deal anymore because of how common it was becoming. When Montag heard this, he became agitated, as he very well should have. It did not seem to bother the technicians though. I think that shows how screwed up their community had become.

When Mildred awoke from her unconcious state, she did not recall anything happening. She did not remember taking her medicine, she did not remember feeling woozy, and she did not remember the men sticking the machine in her. Well, obviously by that time she was unconscious so I guess not remembering them pump the drugs out of her is understandable. However, the fact that she could not remember what brought her to her overdose made things seem a bit sketchy. The morning after it all had happened, Montag awoke to find Mildred up and going, making breakfast. He asked her how she felt and she became concerned as to why she should even be feeling badly. There was no talk of feeling upset or the least bit suicidal; instead, Mildred asked if there had been a big party the night before because of how hungry and tired she was. Montag did not want to bring back any of the feelings she may or may not have had been feeling the night before, so he never even mentioned the overdose to her.

If I were in his position, I do not even know what I would have done. Sadly, they were in the kind of relationship where they were not very close to each other, so it is not as if they shared their feelings very often. I would not enjoy being in a relationship like that; I think that one should be married to their very best friend whom they are completely comfortable and happy with. Since this was not the case with Guy Montag and Mildred, it put a very big strain on their lives and made both of them unhappy. I never want to be in a relationship like that.

The Overdose

Although I finished Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 a very long time ago, I have only written one blog about it. Therefore, I am going to begin with only one week of summer to go. I do not think this is a very good idea; I probably should have done this about two months ago, but what's done is done.

When I left off, I was on page twelve. I was very confused as to what was going on. Things became even more confusing to me as Montag arrived at his house after meeting Clarisse and found his wife unconscious on her bed. Montag found an empty bottle on the floor and realized Mildred had overdosed on her sleeping medication. He immediately called for help, and the emergency technicians stuck some snake-like thing into her and sucked out the drugs.

At this point of the book, I was thinking to myself, "What have I gotten myself into?" I thought this novel was complete rubbish, it made no sense, and I had no idea how I would continue to read the next hundred pages of it. Thankfully, I am no quitter. I kept reading.

I was not the only one who found this scene of the book weird; it appeared as though Montag was having the same thoughts as me. He had no idea why these people were sticking this tube down his wife's throat. To make matters even worse, the "emergency technicians" were just kind of chilling off to the side, smoking cigarettes. I do not know about others, but if I were Montag and my wife had the potential of dying, I would not be too happy if the people that were supposed to save her life were smoking cigarettes and not even paying attention to her. Since he was a kind of meek but curious person, he did mention his discomfort to the technicians but did not pry too much, as that may have caused quite a problem.