Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Word of the Week

adj: impish, whimsical

With a turned-up nose and shock of red hair, Lambert has a puckish appearence that contrasts with his courtly manner.

Did you know?
We know Puck as a mischievous sprite who changed shapes, caused milk to spoil, and frightened village maidens in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Bard drew on English folklore in casting his character, but the traditional Puck was downright evil. In medieval England, this nasty hobgoblin was known as the puck, pucke, or pouke. To the Irish such a creature was the pooka, and to the Welsh he was pwcca. But it was the Bard's characterization that stuck, and by the time the adjective "puckish" started appearing regularly in English texts in the late 1800s, the association was one of impishness rather than evilness. -Merriam-Webster's 365 New Words Calender

First fairy/Moth (who Erin plays as in Midsummer Night's Dream)
Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Called Robin Goodfellow. Are you not he
That frights the maidens of the villagery,
Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern,
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn,
And sometime make the drink to bear no barn,
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that 'Hobgoblin' call you, and 'Sweet Puck',
You do their work, and they shall have good luck.
Are you not he?

Puck Thou speakest aright:
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likness of a filly foal;
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl
In very likeness of a roasted crab;
And when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her withered dewlop pour the ale.
The wisest aunt telling the saddest tale
Sometime for threefoot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum. Down topples she,
And 'Tailor' cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole choir hold their hips and laugh,
And waxen on their mirth, and sneeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.

-taken from A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare



Who slammed Doors for Fun and Perished Miserably

A Trick that everyone abhors
In Little Girls is slamming Doors.
A Wealthy Banker's little Daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to this Furious Sport.
She would deliberately go
And Slam the door like Billy-Ho!
To make her Uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild:
She was an aggravating child.

It happened that a Marble Bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the Door this little Lamb
Had carefully prepared to Slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!
It laid her out! She looked like that!


Her funeral Sermon (which was long
And followed by a Sacred Song)
Mentioned her Virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her Vices too,
And showed the Dreadful End of One
Who goes and slams the door for Fun.

-Hilaire Belloc

Hilaire Belloc wrote a book called Cautionary Verses, in which other poems, like this one, show the fate of those who do things they shouldn't. I find them all rather humorous. :)

Friday, July 29, 2005

Poser 6

Animation has always been of interest to me, as has also been movie making. Instead of spending alot of money on a nice digital video camera, sound equipment, lighting, and all the other odds and ends needed for making high-quality videos, I have decided to test my skills at animation.
Just recently, I have come into contact with a guy (Ryan Myers) who also wants to make movies, but is more into getting live footage, and so has already spent two or three thousand on video equipment. This Sunday, we will be filming part of a short film together that will hopefully be submitted to a film festival in Texas this September.
So (back to animation), in future videos that we do together, I am wanting there to be some really good looking animation and great special effects. I just ordered an animation program off the internet (after looking around for the best), and came up with Poser 6. It was moderately priced, considering how good it really is. The pictures below are actual photographs of what other users of Poser 6 have created. Poser 6 has been nominated "Best Animation" by many companies around the world.

Horses- Poser 6

Hunter and his Horse- Poser 6

Eurocar- Poser 6

Hampton Court Palace, London

Since I mentioned yesterday that we visited the 'other' Hampton Court near London, I thought I might as well write about that one today! This palace was the home of many monarchs, including Henry VIII. It was fun seeing different historical things "come to life." The wide strip of grass leading up to the palace gate was rather imposing!

The Inner Court

The Statues

In front of the main entrance to the palace there are four carved statues. In the beginning of the movie, A Man for All Seasons, (it's about Thomas More) these statues are shown. It was fun seeing them in real life! Looking at the river next to the palace, we could almost imagine Thomas More riding in his boat to have audience with Cardinal Wolsey. ( . . . the movie is much recommended!)

Statue 2

The Gardens

Here's me and Brady in the gardens. The rows of trees were all cut so perfectly!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tree Swing

Oops! I forgot to include this one earlier with the other pics of Hampton Court . . .
Lastly, we went on a River Walk---a peaceful, relaxing walk through some tall trees. At the end of the path was a fun tree swing!

Hampton Court, Herefordshire

Here we are in front of Hampton Court, Herefordshire. Not to be confused with Hampton Court near London, which was Henry VIII's residence! Although we couldn't go in the castle (it is privately owned) the gardens were beautiful. (Probably my favorite gardens that we visited.)

The Orangery

Shown here is the entrance to The Orangery Restaurant. (It's the little building in front of the castle.) We had tea here: cream tea with warm, moist scones; homemade jam and whipped butter. It was a delicious treat! (By the way---this castle is for sale! Around 10,000,000 pounds . . . that's only $20,000,000 . . . anyone interested?)

A view of the gardens

A (small) portion of the magnificent gardens.

The Maze

This is my favorite part of the gardens---the maze! Very tricky, with lots of twists and dead-ends---I like this maze better than the one at the 'other' Hampton Court near London. Brady and I went throught it tons of times---Dad even timed us once. If you look closely you can spot us zipping through!

The Sunken Gardens

When you reach the Gothic tower which marks the finish of the maze you go through a tunnel and come out in the Sunken Gardens. You can go behind the waterfall---like you can see me and Brady doing here. The bit of spray from the waterfall feels refreshing and cool after a run through the maze.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Windsor Castle

This castle is the oldest castle in Europe that is still lived in. The Queen (Elizabeth II) calls this castle her home and Buckingham Palace in London her office. When we visited Windsor Castle, the Queen was in Edinburgh, so we weren't able to see her. The inside of this castle is filled with armories, great halls, galleries, bedrooms with amazingly high ceilings, and the Queen's state apartments. In one room was Queen Mary's dollhouse. Erin could've been in that room for hours, looking at all the miniature furniture, etc. There were even little hand-written books by famous authors (for example: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a short story especially for Queen Mary's dollhouse's library).

The Gardens

The Queen's State Apartments

Gargoyles of Windsor

These gargoyles on this section of the wall of Windsor Castle are from the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Aren't they neat looking?

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Ludlow Castle

I remember this castle in England being one of the most fun to explore. Ludlow has high towers to climb, winding stairways, huge banquet halls, a bridge across a now dry moat, and tall stone walls surrounding the castle. Since this castle is in ruins, you could go anywhere you wanted to. Notice the round tower in the Inner Bailey picture (below). On top of the highest tower (pictured here with an English flag flying on top), you could gaze far out over the city of Ludlow to the lowlands of England.

Ludlow's Inner Bailey

Thursday, July 21, 2005

You Spotted Snakes . . .

In "A Midsummer Night's Dream", the Shakespeare play Brady and I are taking part in this summer (only a couple weeks left of rehearsals.....aah!!) the fairies (that's including me) sing a lullaby to Titania, the fairy queen. The music director at our church wrote a really pretty melody to it which unfortunately I cannot include here. Here are the words: (I am First Fairy. Yes, that means I have a solo. Eek!)

First Fairy
You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen.
Newts and blindworms, do no wrong,
Come not near our Fairy Queen.

Nightingale with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby,
Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby.
Never harm
Nor spell nor charm
Come our lovely lady nigh.
So good night, with lullaby.

First Fairy
Weaving spiders, come not here;
Hence, you longlegged spinners, hence!
Beetles black approach not near,
Worm nor snail, do no offence.

Nightingale with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby,
Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby.
Never harm
Nor spell nor charm
Come our lovely lady nigh.
So good night, with lullaby.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Carreg Cennen Castle

I thought that it was about time to post a picture of a favorite castle that we visited. Though in ruins, this castle in Wales was very fun to explore. What was especially neat about this castle, was that a special tunnel was created so that when the castle was under attack or about to be overrun by the enemy, the towns people could escape (through this tunnel) into vast natural caverns which probably housed provisions for many days. We rented a torch (flashlight) and made the journey down into the dark caverns. The farther we advanced into the lightless caves (you couldn't even see your hand if you put it right in front of your face), the more I wanted to turn around and go back up. I was thinking, "What if the flashlight were to go out? We might be stuck down here for days!" But finally having reached the end, we turned back, and I sighed with relief when I could see light again. It was fun to experience what the townspeople in medieval times probably experienced more than once.

A magnificent view

This is the view from Carreg Cennen Castle-

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Fish Story

I enjoyed this fun, 'summery' poem from a poem book (title: Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle) and I thought y'all might like to read it too.


Count this among my heartfelt wishes:
To hear a fish tale told by fishes
And stand among the fish who doubt
The honor of a fellow trout,
And watch the bulging of their eyes
To hear of imitation flys
And worms with rather droopy looks
Stuck through with hateful, horrid hooks,
And fishermen they fled all day from
(As big as this) and got away from.

Richard Armour

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Splinter Cell: Stealth Action Redefined

Recently, I have borrowed this amazing computer game from a friend. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell has been nominated "Console Game of the Year" and, after playing it for just ten minutes, I could see why. You experience the best in Nintendo Gamecube graphics when you play this game (the picture is a little fuzzy). This screenshot, showing an undercover agent known as Sam Fisher (whom you play as), is taken from actual gameplay. The movement of the characters is what really caught my eye. There are many ways to evade guards and successfully complete your mission such as: leaning against the wall, hanging from pipes on the ceiling, climbing ladders, creeping along the floor, using night can do practically anything. In the "9 pulse-pounding stealth missions from the world of Tom Clancy", you are to find out who is behind the uprising in Georgia, Soviet U.S.S.R., and "you have the right to spy, steal, destroy, and assassinate to ensure that American freedoms are protected. And if you are captured, the U.S. government will disavow any knowledge of your existence. You are a Splinter Cell." I have thoroughly enjoyed this game and highly recommend it to all computer gamers. Rated TEEN for blood and gore (of which I have seen none) and violence. Words in quotation marks and picture are property of Nintendo and Ubi Soft Entertainment.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

little to BIG

Here is a humorous picture I found in a magazine the other day. Erin

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Contest-winning Photo

Here is the picture that won us our Apple mini ipod! I am on the roof of Ely Cathedral, next to the octagonal tower. The stone stairs leading up to the roof are steep, winding, and very narrow. Our history/lit teacher, Dr. Grant, who hosted the photo contest, had said in one of his lectures that Ely is his favorite cathedral. The contest was for his students all over the country who use his curriculum. He asked for unique, creative or historically interesting photos of his students. Erin

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Tribute to London

"Oh London Town's a fine town,
And London sights are rare,
And London ale is right ale
And brisk's the London air." -John Masefield (1874-1951)

Looking towards Big Ben
Piccadilly Circus
Royal Telephone Booth
Statue of Richard the Lionheart
The National Gallery
Tower Bridge

We're praying for all of those who have lost family members or were injured in yesterday's bombings.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Independence Day!

On June 9,1776, the Continental Congress accepted a resolution of Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee, appointing a committee to draft a declaration of secession from the dominions of the English king and parliament. On June 29 the committee--composed of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston--presented their draft for debate and a vote. On July 4 an amended version of that draft was accepted. The war that had been raging for more than a year had finally driven the reluctant revolutionaries to sever all ties with their motherland. -The Patriot's Handbook by George Grant

We often quote the first and second paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, but today I will quote the last one.

"We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Wells Cathedral 2

Here is another view of the magnificent cathedral of Wells (looking at the north transept). The center tower rises up magestically in the brightness of the afternoon sun. -Brady

The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles are carved in stone high up onto the front of the cathedral in the middle. Look at the amazing detail that was carved into a once block of stone, especially the folds in the garments and the facial expressions. -Brady

Monday, June 27, 2005

Wells Cathedral

This cathedral in Wells, England was so amazing - almost every inch of the front had some sort of carving of a statue or design on it. The twelve apostles were carved into the top/middle section. Inside the cathedral in the North Transept (all cathedrals are shaped like a cross - the North Transept would be the left hand side of the cross) there is a medieval clock. Every quarter hour, mechanical knights on horses come out and "joust." There is also a small circle in the middle of the clock which gets full of gold as the moon gets fuller.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Victory

This is Admiral Nelson's ship from the Battle of Trafalger, October 21st, 1805. It sits by a dock at Portsmouth Harbor, England. The ship had four gun decks with around 100 guns total. The back of the ship was mostly glass where the Captain's quarters were. It was fun to see a strictly sailing vessel before the age of steam. This picture only gets about half of the ship, but that shows you how large this frigate really is! Portsmouth Harbor has now restored this ship from the outside because it took heavy damage in the battle. But most of the inside wood on the decks is original. The main mast is some 250 feet above deck and the Victory housed 830 sailors.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Confederate Soldier- by Henry W. Grady

After reading "Gods and Generals" by Jeff Shaara (now a motion-picture), I remembered having read this essay which goes perfectly with that book-

The speaker has drawn for you of the North, with a master's hand, the picture of your returning armies. He has told you how, in the pomp and circumstance of war, they came back to you marching with proud and vicious tread, reading their glory in a nation's eyes! Will you bear with me while I tell you of another army that sought its home at the close of the late war-- an army that marched home in defeat and not in victory, in pathos and not in splendor, but in glory that equaled yours, and to hearts as loving as ever welcomed heroes home? Let me picture to you the footsore Confederate soldier, as, buttoning up in his faded gray jacket the parole which was to bear testimony to his children of his fidelity and faith, he turned himself southward from Appomattox in April, 1865. Think of him as ragged, half-starved, heavy-hearted, enfeebled by want and wounds; having fought to exhaustion, he surrenders his gun, wrings the hands of his comrades in silence, and, lifting his tear-stained and pallid face for the last time to the graves that dot the old Virginia hills, pulls his gray cap over his brow and begins the slow and painful journey. What does he find-- let me ask you who went to your homes eager to find in the welcome you had justly earned full payment for four years sacrifice-- what does he find when, having followed the battle-stained cross against overwhelming odds, dreading death not half so much as surrender, he reaches the home he left so prosperous and beautiful? He finds his home in ruins; his farm devastated; his slaves free; his stock killed; his barn empty; his trade destroyed; his money worthless; his social system, feudal in its magnificence, swept away; his people without law or legal status; his comrades slain; and the burdens of others heavy on his shoulders. Crushed by defeat, his very traditions are gone; without money, credit, employment, material, or training; and beside all this, confronted with the gravest problem that ever met human intelligence-- the establishing of a status for the vast body of his liberated slaves.
What does he do; this hero in gray with a heart of gold? Does he sit down in sullenness and despair? Not for a day. Surely God, who had stripped him of his prosperity, inspired him in his adversity. As ruin was never before so overwhelming, never was restoration swifter. The soldier stepped from the trenches into the furrow; horses that had charged Federal guns marched before the plow; and fields that ran red with human blood in April were green with the harvest in June. Never was nobler duty confided to human hands than the uplifting and upbuilding of the prostrate and bleeding South,-- misguided, perhaps, but beautiful in her suffering; and honest, brave, and generous always. In the record of her social, industrial, and political evolution we wait with confidence the verdict of the world.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Word of the Day


*a devotee of motion pictures; also: moviemaker

*Ralph, after winning the annual film festival, became a famous cineast in his hometown.

The Little White Horse

Here is a favorite poem of mine by Elizabeth Goudge. This is from her book (also called "The Little White Horse") that I really enjoyed too. -Erin

The Little White Horse

It was under the white moon that I saw him,
The little white horse, with neck arched high in pride.
Lovely his pride, delicate, no taint of self
Staining the unconscious innocence denied
Knowledge of good and evil, burden of days
Of shame crouched beneath the flail of memory.
No past for you, little white horse, no regret,
No future of fear in this silver forest---
Only the perfect now in the white moon-dappled ride.

A flower-like body fashioned all of light,
For the speed of light, yet momently at rest,
Balanced on the sheer knife-edge of perfection;
Perfection of grass silver upon the crest
Of the hill, before the scythe falls, snow in sun,
Of the shaken human spirit when God speaks
In His still small voice and for a breath of time
All is hushed; gone in a sigh, that perfection,
Leaving the sharp knife-edge turning slowly in the breast.

The raised hoof, the proud poised head, the flowing mane,
The supreme moment of stillness before the flight,
The moment of farewell, of wordless pleading
For remembrance of things lost to earthly sight---
Then the half-turn under the trees, a motion
Fluid as the movement of light on water . . .
Stay, oh stay in the forest, little white horse! . . .
He is lost and gone and now I do not know
If it was a little white horse that I saw,
Or only a moonbeam astray in the silver night.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Classic Mini Cooper- London, England

These cars are everywhere in the United Kingdom! After our England trip in September 2004, I was almost tired of seeing them. But now, six months later, I get excited again. Mini Coopers are the ideal car in the U.K. because the roads are so narrow. I think I saw only one pick-up truck the entire trip and now I know why.

Classic Mini Cooper