Monday, April 23, 2012

Early One Tuesday Morning...

...I decided to write another blog post. There's really not a whole lot for me to say at the moment, other than that I am progressing on my unschooling project. So far I've procured a folder for personal studies, life and otherwise, and I wrote down some German words and conjugations so that I may reference them with greater ease than before. This is intended to be what I think I actually need to know, not what someone tells me to learn, and so far it's gone splendidly! Glad I am, but this is only the beginning, if you'll pardon that cliched phrase there. However, I mean it in the most positive of ways and cannot wait to continue my path to liberation.

- Lewis

Deshi, Deshi, Basara, Basara

In case I did not mention, I recently watched the two preexistent Batman films of the legendary Christopher Nolan, that is, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. This summer (2012) Mr. Nolan will release the third and last installment of the Dark Knight epic: The Dark Knight Rises.

This looks amazing. If it is not obvious, I am extremely excited for the film. That is all.

Poem: "The Prisoner" (First Draft)

We are not equal, you and I.
You lowered yourself beyond return.
As free as you seem, you are not,
Because you are my prisoner.

You are on a leash, unbroken
By your mad dashes for freedom.
You cannot see it, but it's there--
In the back of your mind, I think,

You know I will not release you.
Your every step is weighed down
Because the locusts are within,
Eating you until, but a husk,

You fall to your knees and confess.
The chains of the mind are hardened;
Sooner than you know, you've fallen
To the mercy of your own soul.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

"When the power of love overrules our love of power, we shall be at peace." - Something I read somewhere but forgot the source; paraphrased


This book, to my knowledge, was way ahead of its time. Herbert George Wells' nameless time traveler explains some of the ideas I first encountered in the more recent Hyperspace by Dr. Michio Kaku. Said ideas include that that time is the fourth dimension; the measure of duration is just as valid as those of length, width, and height. The time traveler ventures from around 1895 (the year of the novel's publication) to the distant-but-approaching year of 802,701. He finds two races, the Eloi and the Morlocks, both of which are derived from humanity, a two-pronged fork of human evolution. The Eloi seem perfectly at peace, harmonious with their surroundings, until the time traveler finds that the second race, the Morlocks, live underground and have evolved away from any form of brighter light, are carnivorous and prey on the helpless Eloi. It becomes apparent that these two separate populations are the product of humankind's over-eagerness to progress. In creating their own perfect surface world, the Eloi have no need of defensive strategies...until the Morlocks come to devour them. But the Eloi have no knowledge as to what is happening to their lost members and continue to exist in pseudo-safety. Reminds me a bit of Orwell's Animal Farm, actually. The time traveler goes so far ahead that eventually all life has been reduced to lichens and slime. This is rather a depressing thought, but can also serve as a warning to all of us.

Final grade: A

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Asheville, April 2012: A Recap

As I said I would, I went to Asheville this past weekend. Truthfully, it's a great city, but I don't know if I'd want to live there. Not entirely sure why; it just seemed to have more creepy people this time. At one point I was walking the streets late at night, feeling awesome and independent, when an old lady approached me and asked in a distorted sort of voice if I could help her. She admitted she was extremely drunk and said she needed to find a restaurant. Knowing the whole stranger-danger thing yet worried for the woman's sake - she didn't seem trustworthy but she did seem to severely need help - I led her along and made absolutely sure to stay in the light of the sidewalks. When she asked me my age I replied that I was eighteen (technically I am, if you include my fetal months); then for some reason she wanted my first name and then my last, so I gave her a mixed alias (technically I do go by several names, so my truth-conscience is clear there as well). Finally we found a restaurant and I explained the situation to a waitress (or maybe hostess, I don't really know) who stood outside. To my dismay, the younger lady listed all of the great beers they had, which was when I went back to the hotel and ordered a Papa John's pizza, which arrived at one in the morning. Yum.
We went to the nature center and saw local wildlife (in captivity), from white-tail deer to mountain lions, snakes to black bears, otters to owls. It was a fun experience, to be sure. They even had goats, which were adorable. Someday I want to own goats and chickens - gods be damned if I would eat their meat; I just want to own them as pets - but that chapter of my life has not yet been revealed.

On Monday, having arrived back home the night before, I began my art instruction under the wondrous Jenny Eggleston. This is going to be fun, and I also hope to soon start guitar lessons and resume my education in the art of piano. There's a place not far from one of my homes that does both, and I've a gut feeling that I can swing it if I can properly fit them into my schedule.

Now, a drawing and some writing both await me. Not to mention homework.

Au revoir!
-- Lewis

Friday, April 6, 2012

Asheville's Impending Approach

"People don't come to Asheville very often, and they don't know I'm there. I enjoy it. I like it." - Jules Shear

Asheville. The city of peace, love, and all of that. The city to which I may be traveling this weekend. It is one of my favorite places so far, and not only is it a calm atmosphere: it is also an artistic place. Full of visual art, music, and other such things, it is one of my dream homes. While I do not know if I shall have wi-fi at the hotel, I am considering leaving my laptop here in the hopes of writing by hand and fully enjoying my stay. This blog can wait. Trust me, it has waited much longer.

I love you all, and should have a post upon returning.

--- Danny

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On Bruno Coulais

This is another post about relatively little-known musical artists. In the past I have covered, I believe, Medwyn Goodall, the Herb Moore Trio, and Adrian von Ziegler, plus possible others whom I may have momentarily forgotten. Today our subject is Bruno Coulais. He is European, I believe, but I'm not sure where in particular. His score for the awesome Henry Selick film Coraline (based upon a novella by Neil Gaiman) was relaxing and beautiful, and at times downright creepy (like the film itself). On iTunes, one of the artists was the Hungarian something or other. He also scored Babies (which I have not seen or heard) and a film called Himalaya, whose tracks on YouTube are listed in French, so I'm guessing that was made in a French-speaking country. I'm currently listening to "Karma," of whose origins I am uncertain, and which is oneiric and beautiful.

Basically, whoever likes relaxed, thoughtful, downright dreamlike music ought to check this guy out.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Movie Review: The Hunger Games (2012)

I saw The Hunger Games on Friday, March 23 (opening night here in the States) with a sense of excitement I had not felt since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. I had wanted to go to the midnight showing, but I had school the next day and it would not do to fall asleep during a lesson.

I had a fairly good idea I would not be disappointed (if anyone mentions the Eragon movie from 2006 I shall weep for humanity) and I was right! They stayed as close to the book as reasonably possible - one of the closest adaptations I've seen of anything - and did a great job with censorship. They only showed as much of the horrible violence as was necessary to get the point across without making a graphic, disgusting mess. And that, to me, makes things all the more disturbing.

The plot of the film (and the novel), in case anyone somehow has somehow not heard it already, revolves around Katniss Everdeen (played with perfect precision by Jennifer Lawrence), who lives in the nation of Panem, which rose from the ashes of North America after a devastating war in the distant future. There are twelve districts and the Capitol. District Thirteen was destroyed by the Capitol's forces long ago. Every year, the youths of each district are required to submit their names for a lottery drawing in order to determine who receives the "honor" of representing their districts in the dreaded Hunger Games. One submits one's name once when twelve, twice when thirteen, and so forth - and they add up. Therefore an eighteen-year-old will have entered twenty-one times, and one can volunteer one's name more times in exchange for more rations of food.

The twenty-four tributes - twelve boys and twelve girls - are trained in combat and survival before being sent into an arena to fight to the death until one competitor is left.

Katniss' younger sister Primrose (or "Prim") has just turned twelve and is terrified of entering the Games. Katniss comforts her by telling her how slim the odds are of being selected when one's name has been in the lottery but one time. And - what do you know? - they pick Prim. By the way, whoever played Effie Trinket - the lady who does the drawing - was portrayed in such a creepy, clueless, startlingly perfect way by Elizabeth Banks. Katniss volunteers to take her sister's place and is whisked off to the Capitol to begin training...and to prepare for her nearly inevitable slaughter.

As I said, they portrayed everything perfectly (save for the muttations, which were supposed to have the faces of dead tributes - but they were still chilling to watch, so I'll excuse that). Donald Sutherland plays the main villain (President Coriolanus Snow) and, well? What can I say? He's Donald Sutherland! Where can one go wrong? I love Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark) in general, and Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy) was awesome too.

I hear Catching Fire (the second installment) is already in pre-production, and I shall eagerly await it. This is quite possibly the most faithful adaptation of a novel I have ever seen. I think author Suzanne Collins' writing the first draft of the script had something to do with that.

Final grade: A

Sunday, April 1, 2012

To Walk the Land Alone

"The world is my backyard." - Thomas O'Malley (O'Malley the Alley Cat), from Disney's The Aristocats

Lately I've been fretting about what must inevitably come soon: career choices. Or must it? Whenever I realize that while I know the English language very well, and plan to major in it, I hit a wall, so to speak, when it occurs to me that I might not be suited to public education. Apart from waking up insanely early each day and staying awake, I am not thrilled about public schools. Perhaps they are better in other counties, but I much prefer the idea of unschooling (see my previous post). Editing might be a nice job, but I do not want to get bogged down year-round by work and therefore stress. I am no simpleton, but I have an affinity for simplicity. Perhaps I'll freelance.

My aim is to travel the world, preferably alone but perhaps with very good friends. I have not decided yet whether or not I need a "base" - if it is practical enough I shan't; my non-materialistic nature tells me to be frugal, even with living and lodging. I ought to only keep clothes, hygienic stuff, a wallet, and a few other things:
  • Pencils, pens, charcoals, erasers, etc. in a pouch
  • A full-size journal for writing and a mini for ideas
  • A sketchbook
  • Enough reading material to last*
...and that's about it, really. I don't need a whole load of extra crap to accompany me.

*At least two or three thousand pages' worth of it per trip; hopefully that does not create a bulgy bag.

I'm Unschooled!

"Be yourself! An original is always worth more than a copy." - A poster at my school (irony?)

"The least of learning is done in the classrooms." - Thomas Merton

"When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life." - John Lennon

Finally - and not meaning "Finally I am unschooled," but "Finally I realize that I am unschooled." Such a joy! Now, granted, I do attend a public schooling facility - and a rather decent one, considering the county's system - but according to one of my closest friends (who happens to be unschooled), I can still be unschooled. And I am. Many people my age and younger coast along at school and, upon release, do little to nothing in order to educate themselves. I do not wish to be redundant, but I must say that I am who I am by nature more than nurture. My parents, as much I love them, are largely conformists and insist that there is something wrong with me and have made a hobby of telling everyone about all of my flaws - whether said flaws exist or not.

As many times as I've explained the truth to my mother, she wants to think she's right and therefore tunes me out. One mustn't believe I am simply a slacker who doesn't want to work: my motives simply lie in the ability to question the way things are. As stated in previous posts, I don't see why adults have to be addressed as "Mister" or "Missus" simply by dint of having lived a few more years, and why we have to learn certain things at school. Sure, if I am to be a geologist or an architect (probably neither, actually), it would do me well to know certain things, but I think computer science and basic first-aid would be better as "essentials" - and I don't assume that knowing the difference between lipids and amino acids won't be useful someday (I have my doubts, but I don't pretend to be certain) - but when the teachers tell us that we shall have a use for these things someday, I'd appreciate knowing why. My question is, how do the properties of silver alloys make us better citizens? Unless one is either going into a specific field or onto a stupid game show, they should be electives.

Anyhow, that aside, I was beyond exuberant to find out that I am an unschooler in some senses. I feel confident that I can make a life for myself without knowing who discovered China (was it Polo...?). Do not worry! I have no intentions of dropping out of high school. I'll most likely be an English major, but I don't intend to live large, as so many people dream of doing. I want to be able to both relax and have a blast. According to yet another post of the past, I think some stress is necessary for one's psycho-emotional health (such as a drop of the sickness itself in a vaccine, for the immune system). I intend to have a happy medium of stress as I venture to Europe and beyond, but I am like no one you'll ever find. Maybe I'll be a part-time farmhand or work at a bookstore, but I intend to be happy, and that's the best form of success there is.