More Moods...

5 comments

I just can't seem to get out of mood-writing. So, here's a story this time, instead of a poem. Jowy, I want you to know that I wrote this story long before speech class. :D First, here is a little background information:


Born on June 6, 1755, Nathan Hale received his diploma from Yale College when he was eighteen years old. He became a schoolteacher first in East Haddam and then in New London before joining the Continental Army when he was twenty. Hale showed himself to be both patriotic and brave and soon rose to the rank of captain. Meanwhile, General George Washington, desperate for information, asked for a volunteer to spy on the British. Hale was the first man to step forward. Posing as a Dutch schoolmaster, he mingled with the British and gathered information. The night of September 21, Hale was stopped while trying to return to the Americans. Incriminating evidence was found on his person, and he was immediately condemned to die the next morning. At the gallows, Hale is reported to have said, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." On the morning of September 22, 1776, Nathan Hale was hanged, but his heroism has been remembered and honored by Americans ever since.

I realize that some of the facts in the following story are not historically accurate, but they have been changed for the sake of the story mood and imagery. Any comments you have would be greatly appreciated.


~~~~~~~~~~


The Night Wind Blows


The warm, fall breeze wafted softly through the room, rustling papers as it passed. The distant sounds of the sentries made their way in through the windows. The sounds of the sea were carried softly, yet always present, on the night air. On the smooth, shiny desk, a candle burned, sending forth a warm glow and flickering a little when its bright flame met the evening breeze. Working at the desk was a man, General William Howe, Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in America. His dark hair shone in the candlelight, and his brow furrowed in concentration. His pen scratched across the paper of his letter. The soldier outside his door stared ahead unblinking. Like the waves in the ocean, the gentle breeze flowed through the room, then receded.

A scuffle broke sharply across the peaceful night, and then suddenly a horse was heard galloping away at a great pace. Several sets of hoof beats joined it, and a shot rang out. Silence fell once more.

The general glanced up when he heard the sounds and ceased to write his letter. He stared hard into the darkness outside his window but was able to see nothing. The soldier outside his door blinked and wondered what had been the cause of the shot. The evening breeze gathered strength and swept into the room, shifting papers and threatening to extinguish the candle. The general rose and shut the window until only a small crack allowed the night air access. Striding slowly back to the desk, the general paused as a new sound caught his ear. Several horses stopped outside the door of the house. He made his way to the window and strained to hear what the soldiers were saying, but the night wind whistled through the window crack with an eerie sound that carried away the soldiers' words. Sighing, the general made his way back to the desk and sat down. His letter outlining his battle plans on Manhattan lay before him. He signed and sealed it and set it aside.

A knock at the door startled him, and the sentry at the door let in two soldiers with a young man. One soldier guarded the young man while the other stepped up to the general's desk with a packet of papers.

"We found him outside camp. He was carrying these papers, sir," the soldier said.

The general took the papers and glanced up at the young man. The breeze coming in the window ruffled his blond hair, and he stood straight and tall, his blue eyes gazing ahead with strength and resolution. A moment only the general paused and then fell to examining the papers found on the man. Nathan Hale he was and a schoolmaster with a diploma from Yale. The general tore open a carefully-sealed packet of papers and looked to see the man's reaction. No fear was there in the man's blue eyes, but still there was that same confidence and resolution.

The general started perceptibly as he read through the papers. On and on he read, his astonishment and confusion growing by the second. Hale's account made the letter he had just now signed and sealed seem like old news, like yesterday's newspaper. The precision and attention to detail of Hale's writing stung him when he thought of how carefully he had planned and how secretive he had endeavored to be. He gazed into the man's clear blue eyes and for a second, wavered. Hale was only twenty-one. He had served his country loyally. Was he now destined to give up his own life? Would he now sacrifice the greatest sacrifice of all for his country? Hale's strong, steady gaze shamed him. Had Hale gone to his death kicking and protesting his innocence as the general had seen many men do before, he would not have such doubts. Hale, standing before him, seemed to personify all the ideals he fought for, and those the general could not argue with.

He looked down upon Hale's papers with wonderment, and the hint of a smile curled the strong lines of Hale's mouth. He had done his duty to the very end, and now it was up to the general to do his. With resignation he addressed Hale.

"I surmise you know your fate?"

Hale nodded.

Assuming as business-like a manner as he could muster, the general instructed the soldiers, "See to it at dawn."

"Aye, sir," the first soldier said, and the two soldiers escorted Hale out of the room. Watching from his window, the general saw Hale striding between the soldiers as they turned the corner.

That night a terrific wind storm battered the town, and all night the general worked on revising his battle plans. However, as hard as he worked, he could not forget Hale, his confidence in what he had done, his clear, steady gaze. As the wind howled around the house, the general fought within himself, trying to justify Hale. In the early hours of the morning, he finally made up his mind. Hale had done his duty, and he must do his own. Of all men, Hale would not resent his actions.

At dawn, the general rose from his desk and stood at the window. Despite the strong breezes that still blew, he opened the window wide. He heard the drum roll and took off his hat, an indication of the deep respect he felt for Hale. A volley of musket fire echoed over the island.

The wind stopped, and all was still.

Cookies Galore!

8 comments

Guess what I did all week?!

Yep, Mom gave me a week off of school to make Christmas cookies. Of course, I'll have to do that school farther into the summer, but I'm very short-sighted and don't really care at this point. :D

So, I started out on Tuesday with my trusty cookie book.






















Actually, I didn't use it right away. I began everything by draining some maraschino cherries - you know, those red things you pick off the top of your ice cream sundaes and try to pass off on your younger siblings. These cherries were for chocolate-covered cherries which I actually don't really like, but our neighbors rave about them every year, so we have to make them.

















I then used some of those cherries to make Buried Cherry Cookies, a chocolate cookie with a cherry on top smothered with frosting.

















Wednesday came, and I covered the dry cherries with a white concoction which I'm sure is something kin to the white stuff inside Oreos. (that comment is for Beth)






















Next I rolled out peanut butter balls for Buck-Eyes.





















This looks like something out of Tron. Can they steer their motorcycles between the big blobs?

















On Thursday, I started some sugar cookies that I was going to decorate. My recipe called for Ammonium Carbonate, also known as baker's ammonia. Don't ask me why we put it in cookies, it doesn't sound like something that belongs. (It's actually a very unique leavener.)

Its smell didn't help, either.




















The comparison was striking.






















Lighting a candle to cover up the ammonia smell, I rolled out, cut, and baked 87 of these little things.

















"Evaporation is a cooling process. Evaporation is a cooling process."

That's what I think every time I wash warm cookie sheets.
















Chocolate...
















...and wax...





















...meet heat, and an exchange of energy takes place.

In other words, time to cover the cherries with chocolate.

















This is called "what you do with left-over chocolate."

















This is when I finally stopped ignoring the clock, and started thinking how it had been 6 hours since dinner and how there were 6 hours until when I was supposed to start practicing piano.

I got to bed at 1:40.




















Friday afternoon, I started frosting my sugar cookies, and I frosted all 87 of them for a long, long time. I had my first encounter with making and using Royal Icing. It turned out fine, and actually reminded me of tightened meringue. The only problem was that the recipe made maybe a little more than four times more icing than what I actually used.





















I'm glad Sally came to pay me a visit.




















Next, at maybe about 10:30, I made Oatmeal Scotchies, oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips.

















Then after that, I made Rudolf's Antlers.
















Then at 12:00 I started dipping the Buck-Eyes in chocolate.
















A few guys came to get a tour of the process and were fascinated.

















Fortunately throughout the tour, there were no casualties... except for this poor soul.
















I did meet a few strange characters, though.


















Somehow a Muslim got mixed up in the group.

















One of the Beatles came too.

Or maybe it was just a guy who needed a haircut.
















I got to bed at 3:00.



Here they all are on Saturday morning.





















Peter counted them all as Ab and I were arranging them on plates for our neighbors. He came up with 437 (more or less). My only disappointment is that I didn't make any really light cookies,
like Scandinavian Almond Bars.

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Oh well, if it hadn't been 3:00, I would have made them too.
Anyway, that's a somewhat brief review of my week. (Yes, it's brief compared to how long it was in real life.)
-rjentina

A Day in the Life of Benzo Traverston Jr.

13 comments

Here is a video!!!

Yippee!

The boys keep bugging me about it, and now I finally have a video on my blog, so they can stop bugging me.

This is a little video for Ben, to remind him of home. *sniff, sniff* (or maybe he doesn't want to remember some things)

Sorry for the bad quality; it was only taken with Ab's camera. Thanks to the boys for their help and to Jacob for editing and messing with the video so that it would fit on my blog. Yep, I'm not smart enough to do it myself, so I had to get my eight-year-old brother to do it.

Ben just pretend the camera is you. In spite of your weird voices, height, and hands.

video

Moods are funny things...

7 comments

I love moods.


I don't love being in them because usually that means I'm grumpy.

Moods are neat because they are mostly feelings, without a lot of facts set in concrete.


Consider, for example, this painting by Claude Monet.

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Claude Monet was a major Impressionist painter, and this painting is a good example of an Impressionist painting. In the painting, you see an impression, not an actual, detailed picture. You get a certain feeling when looking at the painting; you don't say, "Wow, look at that cool bridge." You say instead, "Look at the light on the water, look at the light as it filters through the clouds, look at the faint suggestions of structures beyond the canvas." This painting makes you want to see farther into the picture. You want to see what is beyond that bridge, and you want to feel the damp chill of the fog that surrounds you. You want to listen to the fog and the river that flows past you. You want to be there.

I love Impressionist paintings (as if you couldn't tell), and I love the music of Impressionism too. I'm playing the Debussy Estampes right now, and for one, I love Debussy and always have. It lies well on the piano and just feels good to play. Sure, it has its share of "technical difficulties," but for some reason they don't bother me like they do in Romantic music. I'm also playing the Grieg Concerto in A minor right now, and it's a bit to chew on! (I have to admit that my strength is definitely not in technique but more in musicality.) I did find it very inspiring, though, when I went through the first movement, especially the cadenza, and analyzed a lot of the chord progressions. Suddenly, the cadenza took on a shape! Instead of it being a series of hard variations on some of the main themes of the movement that are somehow supposed to sound made-up, it had a line and a flow. I found it very helpful and inspiring (to analyze the chord progressions), and it helped me when I played it, to give the movement a sense of "wholeness" and continuity. Also, focusing more on the musical gestures actually helped all the technical stuff. Ok, enough about Grieg, back to Debussy. I love to listen to all the tone colors and sounds in Debussy. He had such a way of capturing feelings and moods. In the third movement of Estampes, Jardins sous la pluie (Gardens in the Rain), you can hear and see the rain-shower as a whole as well as individual little droplets detaching themselves, from the edge of the porch roof perhaps, and falling heavily down to the rain-puddle below. When the droplet touches the puddle, it makes a little, musical plink. Debussy has such a way of creating pictures in your mind!

As you might have guessed by this point, I love literature with moods. I mean, the Hardy Boys are great, but you don't get much of a mood out of them (even with all the big words; it seems that the authors decided not to use any words twice; thus for "said," you get: replied, answered, remarked, commented, added, teased, pointed out, cried, shouted, warned, etc.). I like poetry that gives you a strong mood when you read it. I once read Walter de la Mare's "The Listeners," and I was fascinated with the feeling he created with his choice of words, the rhythm, and the sound devices he used.

Ok, enough of other people's moods, it's time for me to make my own. Let me know how effective my moods are and the feelings they give you. A lot of times you have to read through the poem a few times to really let it sink in.

Here is the haiku that should have won the weekly haiku contest (instead of the dumb haiku I wrote that did). And no, haiku aren't supposed to rhyme.

`````

Candlelight diffused,

Like mist, covers, envelops,

Yet illuminates.

`````

Here is a poem I wrote last year. It doesn't have any meter that I can find (you'd think I'd know), but it does rhyme. (Wait, I just realized that each line has seven syllables, if that helps. Seven...what a random number.) (Don't pay attention to any of that when you're reading it, though.)

`````

The night breeze wafts to and fro

Round dark shapes. Softly it blows.

The moon, pale silver sliver,

Sheds its light. The grass shivers

In the sweeping trail of wind

Which whispers of where it's been.

The silent moon bathes in light

Pools which reflect moonlight bright.

Softly, the night wind goes on,

Blows, departs, and it is gone.

`````````

Moods...

....fascinating.

Sorry, Steve. If this post was a little too dramatic for you, I'll have to do a lighthearted one next. The only problem is that I haven't written very much lighthearted stuff...

~rjentina

3 comments

My favorite sports teams are the Colorado Rockies and anyone who is playing the Red Sox.


Yep, baseball, that's all. I'm determined not to start following anything else; I already waste enough time keeping up with baseball.


I'm beginning to think that my support is a curse to any team, though. Look at what happened to the Rockies... and the Rays, for that matter. Yes, I abandoned my loyalty to the National League and went for the Rays in the World Series. Face it, cowbells are cool, right? Well, I also have to point out that I wasn't into baseball last season, and the Rockies got to the World Series. See what a corrupting influence I have? (Let that be a warning to all of you readers:D)






















Nice picture, right? Whenever I see this picture, I always think about how artistic it looks, almost as if it were posed. I guess it's just a case of being at the right place at the right time. (I bet that photographer got a raise:D)

Now you're probably wondering, "What in the world does all this have to do with your writing and poetry and other dumb stuff?"

Would it surprise you if I said that I wrote a poem about the Rockies? Ok, you probably think I'm a complete nut, but then, about everyone does and don't tell me I didn't warn you.

Ok, here's the scoop. I saw an announcement for a contest hosted by yourhub in which seven winners (selected periodically throughout the season) could win twelve Rockies suite tickets. All you had to do was write something about why you like the Rockies, or something to that effect. I immediately thought, "Ha, ha! I'll write something for the contest, and if for some reason I win, I can bring our whole family to a baseball game." (You have to keep in mind that at that point I had never been to a Major League baseball game.) I thought I had nothing to lose. Nothing to lose but time, it turned out. Four to eight hours later, I emerged from the office with a sonnet, no less, about the Rockies. Actually, it was two sonnets, only I didn't like the first one, so I wrote another. And by the way, that four to eight hours wasn't quite all in one chunk, and I can't remember exactly how long it was; it was probably more than four hours, but no more than eight hours. Anyway, all that to say, it took a long time. The sonnet I entered in the contest, in my humble opinion, "worked." (Most of the things I post will be things that "worked.")

I didn't win the contest. *insert sarcastic laugh and rant about how much I "respect" journalism* That's ok, though, because I actually did get to go to a baseball game this season, and it was a blast. The Rockies won 4-0!

Ok, this post is longer than I was anticipating, so I'd better get to the good stuff. (I know, I can hear your groans from here.)

Now, I know this is pretty dramatic, but it was good enough for the contest. Enjoy!..or not.




"Ode to the Rockies"

The Rockies, one with mountain peaks in fame
Which steeply rise midst valleys and dry plains
And are concealed oft by portentous rains,
They struggle to play worthy of their name.
Each player toils, and yet they lose the game;
Each man dejected walks away, hope wanes,
While nemesis rejoices o'er his gains,
Forgetting he has oft played much the same.
What matters it? Let trials and troubles come,
For they precede the glorious victory.
Did not Odysseus triumph through his woes?
And Theseus the Minotaur o'ercome?
So e'en if Rockies' triumphs hidden be,
There's hope when Rockies players swing and throw.




You know, there's no telling how badly the Rockies will play after I've written a sonnet about them.

Maybe I should start cheering for their opponents...

¿No habla usted inglés?

11 comments

Ok, I admit it; I'm tired of Spanish...especially since I can't read it:D No offense to our border-hopping buddies, of course.


Beth, you are not allowed to tell me how bad my Spanish was.

Beth, you are allowed to tell me how bad the free translator was.



Ok, I have to admit something else. Yes, I got sucked into the whirlpool of the blog world, only hopefully I can manage to stay along the outward fringes of it. Ok, wait, that's not going to be a problem. I'm not even going to pretend that I'm going to post more often than once every three months. Sure, like many new bloggers, maybe I'll post twice in the first three months! You can be sure, however, that I will not get around to posting very often, though. After all, got to keep those cookies coming. That's the only thing that's keeping me off the streets of Denver. So either I blog or I make cookies. It's that simple; only if I decide to blog instead, please send me a good, dirty, bedraggled piece of cardboard. After all, that's what everyone needs in order to beg on street corners.



I guess the main purpose of my blog at this point is basically to play host to some of the things I've written. Yup, poetry, short stories, and the like. NO essays, though. As much as I like to write, essays do not put that little happy spot in my day. What I would really appreciate is some good feedback. What you liked, what you didn't like, that sort of thing.


And now, I shall begin to prove my weirdness. Here is a disturbing picture.




















Yes, it's me; I don't know whether that's fortunate or unfortunate.

Next, here is a poem I wrote a couple of years ago.




The clock has struck the quarter before,
The butlers are standing at the door.
The time draws near
In this building here.
Two bitter enemies will meet
(For neither will admit defeat)
And hold a parley
Over barley.

The chef with host of waiters grave
The dish into butlers' hands he gave.
Then step was heard,
A voice, one word.
Two bitter enemies have met
And come to prove the other's debt
And hold a parley
Over barley.

The doors are shut and butlers wait
For signal from the leaders great.
The hand is waved,
The dish is raised.
Two bitter enemies agree,
It is an awful thing indeed
To have a parley
Over barley.


















Yummy, yummy! :D




-rjentina






Go, Rays, btw.

2 comments

Hola, otra vez.


Esto es un mercado en Buenos Aires.














Algunos plátanos...

Necesito para dormirse...

~rjentina

Anuncie primero...

2 comments

Hola, bloguea mundo.

Acabo de diseñar esta página.

Anunciaré pronto.

~rjentina