Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tortoise and I

Sooo...I've been a lazy blogger again (but busy person)...I have some post ideas brewing like my coffee, but I have a paper I'm working on at the moment (which may double as a post if I end up liking it) so I'm going to go to my file of last year literature assignments and scrounge up something to pass as remotely interesting...

This was a little assignment of re-writing The Tortoise and The Hare in first person...that's all I got...
Tortoise and Hare 1st person

It was a warm sunny day. I felt the sun beating down on me, the fresh air moving through me, and my adrenaline rising in me. I wanted to race. I was an undefeated champion. I choke on the word ‘was’, for although I am prideful, I am not dishonest. I was surrounded by many of the meadow dwellers, the Raccoon, the Fox, Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel, all my little niece and nephew bunnies, and a few other faces which I wasn’t quite acquainted with. I shared with them my legends of triumph, while assessing each member of my audience as a potential opponent, or a potential threat. Soon after slight hesitation about the fox’s athletic abilities, I convinced myself that I should not be worried. After all, I am a champion. I then offered a competition, “I have never been beaten,” I announced, “when I go full speed. I challenge anyone here to race with me.”

                “I accept your challenge.” I heard from a meek voice. I was a bit nervous and perplexed, for this quiet yet confident voice seemed to come from the Fox. But I soon was relieved, although further surprised, when the fox stepped aside, and revealed an old Tortoise as the owner of my future opponent’s voice. After the brief moment of shock, and staring at my volunteering competitor who was undeniably no match, I burst out into laughter, “That is a good joke! I could dance around you all the way!” Then that dumb, old tortoise had the audacity to say to me, “Keep your boasting till you’ve won. Shall we race?” That was it. If that over-sized turtle wanted to challenge me, then so be it. “It’s not like I could possibly lose,” I said to myself, “I’ll show that tortoise.”

                A course was planned out, and I took my place at the starting line, while waiting for the tortoise to join me. I rolled my eyes. As the fox raised the branched and yelled, “GO!”, my strong hind legs launched me through the air and off to a remarkable start. “Too bad I don’t even need this incredible lead,” I speculated as I sprinted, “that sluggish tortoise is probably still plodding along back there. I might as well take a brief break, since I can already see the finish line in the distance.” I laid my handsome, furry self in the long, cool, green grass. “How nice it is to relax.” I sighed. When I woke up refreshed and ready to finish, I rubbed my eyes, and faced the finish line. I couldn’t believe it! Just short of the finish line was the tortoise! I shot off as if dynamite had just exploded underneath me. “He can’t win! He can’t!” My mind yelled, my feet flew, my heart raced, my lungs starved. I tumbled past the finish line. I was greeted by cheering mobs. I thought, “I did it!  and proceeded to take my bow, but I was interrupted by clamorous chants of “TORTOISE! TORTOISE! TORTOISE!” My arms lowered, jaw dropped, and heart sank. I, the swiftest, had been defeated by the slowest.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Natural Law/Morality, C.S. Lewis, Blame...

I've been reading some works masterpieces of C.S. Lewis (yes, he did write more than Narnia...really hoping you knew that...) for religion class, and am just...loving it.

Below are some thoughts and reflections which came to my head (and therefore in pen to margins and empty spaces in between his insights) while reading Right and Wrong as a Clue to The Meaning of The Universe [Book I, from The Case for Christianity of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis].

Here is a link to the book:

Once on the pdf, click the link to "Book I. Right and Wrong..." OR put "11" in the page box on the top bar, next to the two blue arrows.
It may seem like a lot to read, but I promise you, it isn't. You only really need read the first chapter, page 11 to 13. But I HIGHLY recommend reading to the end of Chapter 4 (page 21). (I'm not focusing on chapter 5, though by all means feel free to keep reading).

Do I really think you'll click the link and read it? Am I just going to assume you didn't and give an explanation as I go? no. [at least I am going to try not to.] Why? because I want you to read it!! I absolutely "couldn't say it better myself" than C.S. Lewis (of course)...and even if I gave you a summary of what he was saying, it would give it no justice and you would miss sooo much.
I DARE YOU. For once- don't click the little 'x', don't minimize, don't 'favorite' for later...go make some tea, and read it. [hey, you don't even have to search for it, or get it from your library- it's ALL RIGHT THERE!]

I will be writing this assuming that you HAVE read it.
As proof, I'd be ecstatic to find some comments and/or discussion regarding this, in the comments section. Not only because I often wonder if my audience is imaginary...or just those Russians and Germans who always come up in my stats (if you Russians are really reading this: Вы удивительным. пойти съесть печенье. Germans: Sie sind genial. essen ein Stück Kuchen. To my new French friends: vous aussi êtes génial. aller manger un témoin. and to my homeschool friends: te stupenda es. Nescio quomodo dicere "cookie" in latinae. Sed bonum cibum edi.)
[^got distracted there...i admit it]
So please go read it and start/join some conversation...I'm missing The Big Bang Theory re-runs to write this!

Everybody wants to be "good" or more so "decent" (with the exception of your average phsycopath-criminal). This decency is driven by a vast variety of motivations over the  diversity of individual characters. For many it is to be liked, accepted, to earn respect/job/money, and for some it is to please God.

We can't stand being accused of being "bad" or "wrong" and we try to justify our actions if ever challenged on their 'decency' or 'correctness.'

Now, the Natural Law -or standard which everyone tries to meet, point out when others' actions do not meet, and justify why some questionable actions do meet- is no longer a definite line between black and white. The two are getting incredibly smudged, and the gray area is becoming larger and larger.

I picture this as a wooden table with a deep, straight line carved right down the middle. On one half of the line, the table is covered in black sand. On the other half of the line, the table is covered in white sand. Some people and actions begin to cross the line, dragging their feet in the sand as they cross. Some on the white side may drag into the black, which confuses both sides, and all the sudden they are pushing and shoving where behaviors lie on the entire table [either picture a ginormous table, or little army-figure-sized people]. The definite carved line still exist, but no one can clearly see the line since it is all covered with the gray sand, caused by the confusion between where each grain of black sand and each grain of white sand belongs.
[That is the analogy that comes to my mind, though I know there are probably 100 easier and better ways to visualize it... if you have one- share your analogy in the comments! ...not that i'm, uhh, desperate for comments or anything...*cough*
No, but seriously, I am really interested in other analogies for this.]

SO. Most aim to stay within and keep this Natural Law, whether or not they consciously acknowledge its existence.
But none of us truly keep it. We all, of course, get lost in all the gray, and sometimes even deliberately step into that black. But when we do, we are so quick to make excuses as to why we broke that line of Natural Law, or why under certain circumstances we weren't really breaking the line...

If something gos wrong, its because of the weather, lack of sleep, so-and-so was late, couldn't find your shoes...

But if something goes right- we don't "blame" others (well, sometimes we thank others and give them credit, but I'm guessing for most of us...majority of the time we don't think of it) we simply take the glory for it.

And when we can't blame another human being, who do we blame? We blame God (again, I'm using 'we' in a general sense...if you make a conscience effort not to- *high-five*) So many people claim they don't believe in God until- cancer, death, poverty, bad grades, break-up, job loss...
Now...where was God? Why did He do this to me? [see suffering.]

But when something goes well, it's "only because of my hard work" and "who needs God, I can handle this on my own."

And how about the times we don't even know about? Perhaps God didn't let something happen. Perhaps in your rush to get to that doctor's appointment (you know, because you couldn't find your keys, and traffic was just horrendous...) God deflected that car you cut off (well...he wasn't paying attention...the light was green) ...but how would you know? It's like the story of the little boy learning to walk with his father. The father saw some stones his young son would trip on, and so he -able to see farther (and further) down the path than his son- walked a little farther and moved them.
Does the father say, "Oh, look what I did! I moved those stones. You would have tripped and fallen if I hadn't." No. He just quietly moves them.

But we ask- what about the times he didn't move the stones? Jesus fell three times. [<LazyBloggerMe: not going to expand on that. mentioning Jesus should be sufficient for you to chew on. expand yourself.]

Perhaps the Father saw further down the road, something far worse than the stone you tripped on, or a struggle you endured. Perhaps while you endured that struggle, or frustration, or were being delayed and kept safe from something else. Such as the man who was very late for work one day, stuck in horrible traffic, sirens going all around, questioning why God let him be so late...only to see the sky be swallowed by thick black clouds, and realize that the tower his office was in- was collapsing to the ground. That September morning, he rushed just like any other late morning...

But most times, we don't see what God protected us from. He doesn't point it out to us. He just quietly protects us from it, while we accuse Him for leaving us, and have the audacity to tell him our little stones and delays are pointless.

Last Chance for Onion Rings

So I just came across this literature assignment I did last year. We were supposed to write in a somewhat crowded area, what we were experiencing and sensing...seeing/smelling/hearing/feeling...etc. I had forgotten about the assignment so that's why it's at a fish fry.

Mainly I'm posting this because I felt-
  1. that I needed to post something
  2. lazy.
so I was trying to scrounge up something from my computer that could pass for remotely interesting...

---(over a year ago...)

The laughing of the knights, the sizzling of the fryers, the cool breeze carrying the distinct scent of cod to my nose while throwing my recently brushed hair across my face as I briskly made my way up the wide cement path to the building. I had two things on my mind: I am slightly late and onion rings. My exhausted feet were walking on rocks, and yelling at me to sit down after all the previous walking at the mall we did. Good thing I’m a supervisor* today. No need to do much walking. I felt pressure on either side of my eyes. Why didn’t I take an ibuprofen for this headache? I caught sight of my brother’s dark brown hair, and caught sound of his laugh near the kitchen.

Letting him know I was here, I approached him, whetted my lips, and requested those delicious, warm, fried, craved onion rings. They were gone. With disappointment of not tasting what I had longed for the past two weeks, I reluctantly worked my way around the large round tables, to the back of the dining hall. I seated myself at the cluttered manager’s table, while being greeted by Caron’s kind smile. I, along with three other teen managers, began scribbling and scratching out names, while puzzling how to resolve the situation of four scheduled, needed, but absent, volunteers. The piano of Beethoven, or was it Bach’s? quietly, yet noticeably, sang through the speakers and into the background of voices.

 I looked up to anything but the cure to my headache, to see a blinding sweatshirt. Whoa! I squinted my eyes. Recognizing the sweatshirt which I had been greeted by earlier that morning at physics, I swiftly stood up and gave the glowing figure a hug. “Emmie!” I excitedly welcomed my friend whom I had not seen for hours.

 The fried fish was finally finished. Standing in line with friends, I reached down for a tray while listening to Jordan sarcastically demand I use one. Ewww! My left thumb felt a sticky, putty substance. I looked down to find a small, white, wad of gum on my plastic, green, marble-patterned cookie-sheet, which may have actually been popular fifty-some years ago. I reached for the napkins, handing one to Emily, and keeping four of the square paper cloths for myself. “Baked or fried?” my ears observed the friendly voice of the knight. Unhealthy fried, of course. “One fried, please, and some of those famous, homemade chips.” Passing the mushy, green broccoli, my taste buds begged for the refreshing, red coca-cola that was sweating from its frozen state. Balancing my meal on my unclean tray, I returned to the crowded managers’ table.

CRUNCH! My crispy chips were salty. POP FIZZZ I sipped my carbonated drink. Taking a bite of the freshly fried fish, my eyes glanced onto the floor beside my chair, where I saw my homeschooled friend’s notebook. SIGH, well isn’t that a surprise, I completely forgot about my notebook and literature project. With permission, an empty page waiting to be scribbled upon was torn out of the green notebook, and I wrapped my fingers around the coveted mechanical pencil. I see fish, taste fish, smell fish, hear fish…just kidding. A line of hungry diners began to form at the front of the dining hall near the kitchen. My finger pressed the round button on my cell phone which read OK, as I checked the time. 4:02pm. The crowd is getting here, but where are the other volunteers?

 I lifted my face to see the face of a second friend, with partially red hair, carrying two large containers, one which was labeled ‘sour cream’. I didn’t know Alaina was coming. As she approached, the distinct aroma of vinegar encountered my nose, and it was apparent the misleading plastic jars held pickles. My neon companion welcomed our colorful companion. Alaina was disappointed. Just as the crispy onion rings disappeared without me, she had been on a fruitless search for nachos.

                 During the dinner, I waited on a familiar, friendly, elderly couple, and was humbled from my ‘supervisor’ position, to cleaning filthy trays similar to the ones I had been so disgusted with earlier. I did these simple tasks until the temporary restaurant was closed for the night, and the time had come to prepare soapy water, assign cleaning jobs to countless number of questioning volunteers, and scrub sticky tables. My sore hands held the distinguishing scent of bleach, which contributed to my returning headache, along with the swarming youth whom finally could release their three-hour bottled-up energy.

I positioned myself at the front of the hall, observing the entire room. Most of everyone had worked efficiently, and the dining room duties were completed. I reached up and pulled off my mandatory, gray baseball cap. Although I could feel the horror my hair displayed, after being bound by a band and shoved under the hat, it could finally relax on my shoulders. That was it. The last fish dinner had been finished. With a bulky box of supplies in my arms, my body pushed against the glass doors of the building, my feet walked down the same cement path I traveled earlier, my eyes focused on the car I could rest in, and my nose indulged in the fresh air. I fell into the ‘shotgun’ seat, and turned up “I’m Comin’ Home” on the radio. I’ll have to get my onion rings next year.

*we have a volunteer system with managers and supervisors. if you didn't figure that out yet.

sad thing is...I totally forgot about the onion rings this year until the very last fish dinner (again) when a knight (of Columbus...not in shining armor. too bad. that'd be really cool to have fish made by tin men with swords.) walked out of the kitchen with a plate...bearing... THE LAST ONION RING!!

...oooh...I'm totally getting a "Lord of the Onion Rings" idea... no. I really shouldn't even go there.

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