Friday, July 27, 2007

Koi are Considered Lucky in Japan, and Symbolize Love and Harmony

Although my last entries may imply that all I’ve been up to of late is reading and going to films, this is not quite true. My family (read: my mum) got the idea that we needed a small fish pond complete with little waterfall in our backyard area, so it fell to my father and myself to design and build the thing, which included not a few shovelfuls of clay on ninety-degree days. (That was a joy, let me tell you.) But, at long last, we’ve managed to dig out a kidney, cover it in the necessary plastic, fill it with the necessary waters, coat it in necessary rock, and finally add a water lily and five amazing fish, all of whom I’m naming. We also ended up with a freeloading frog, who is absolutely a delight to watch swimming about and lounging on the lily pads, but my father insisted on naming either him or one of the fish the ever-so eloquent name of ‘Bubba,’ and I relented, not wanting a graceful fantail goldfish to endure such a lovely title.
Recently the Good Guy’s car show rolled through Columbus, filling central Ohio’s roads with classic cars from several decades of old. Though I did not make it down to the official event, my family and a few family friends did go down to enjoy the evening of cruising that occurs on Saturday night. The police were out in full force, but a few of the car hobbyists still could not resist showing off their rides with a few burnouts and screeches from tires, which gained them a quick ticket in addition to the cheers from the people-packed streets.
Car fans and anyone looking for an excuse to come and see Ohio Wesleyan’s beautiful campus should be sure not to miss out on this Saturday, seeing as the annual Delaware car show will be rolling into town, filling campus with cars that I’m sure not a few professors could fondly recall driving in their own college days. I’ll be making the event, and I highly suggest at least a short gawk at the cars, if only to relish the oddity of seeing Grey Chapel sitting solemnly behind cars with names like ‘Sha-Boom’ that fling flames.

German Word: Since we got a pond, it’s important to know what those cute scaly things swimming about in it are! Fisch means fish in the singular and is pronounced the same, but to talk about multiple fish, one says Fische (fish + uh ). If one has a happy little frog, he is a Frosch, which is pronounced as it appears.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Food Dish Known as Ratatouille Originated in Nice, France

A few entries back I offered up a humble review of the film Love Actually, but it’s been a while since it hit the theatres, and I would not like at all to imply that the college-goer is bound solely to the films in one’s own and one’s friends’ DVD collections; quite on the contrary! The Strand theatre just off of Sandusky offers the avid film-goer a good variety of the newly released variety in a beautifully restored historic theatre. OWU also uses the theatre to show films for the university, including the three shown for the annual National Colloquium, which, in a very broad manner of speaking, is a class/program the university puts on in which a general theme is selected, and the speakers are invited in to speak on it in addition to a few films pertaining to the matter being shown. Last year’s theme was ‘the citizen scientist,’ and I believe that this coming year’s has to do with cities and urban sprawl, but I am not entirely positive on that.
Speaking of recent films, I have had the excellent opportunity to see two films that are still out in the theatres: Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End and Ratatouille! The latest addition to the Pirates series delivers an interesting end to the situation set up in Dead Man’s Chest, and even leaves an obvious hint of the next adventure that Jack, Will, Elizabeth, and company have in store. I, however, did not flock to see Johnny Depp as many a fan surely did, but rather cheered for Bill Nighey, the brilliant British screen actor playing the role of Davy Jones. In the previous film Nighey’s character was presented always fully digital, but a human form of the usually octopus-faced, pincer-armed Davy gets a few seconds of a fully human form. Overall a satisfying watch, and despite the blatant fan-service, it still managed to keep attention, and I give a nod of approval for all of the hat-tipping to true pirates of the day. Ratatouille, the latest in the growing pile of highly praised Pixar films, easily lived up to my expectations before deftly surpassing them. My personal favourite of the film is not the cute, fluffy star, but rather the tall, gaunt food critic Anton Ego, a.k.a. “The Grim Eater.” Ego strolled on screen and immediately won my heart with his dour personality and gorgeous animation; he may have the most beautifully stylized and animated fingers and hands that I have ever seen. Funny, inventive, and well executed, Ratatouille is definitely a must-see as far as movies of 2007 go.

German Phase: Das kommt mir Spanisch vor! (mostly pronounced how it looks, but say the ‘v’ in vor like it’s an ‘f’) A simple and useful phrase that is most accurately translated as ‘It’s Greek to me!’ However, when this good old Shakespearean phrase hits the Deutsch, Spanish is the language of choice to show how impossible to understand something is for one!

Pictures! A quick shot of the front of the Rave movie theatre in Polaris, a pic of Anton Ego, a capture of my 87 year-old neighbor trying his hand at archery for the first time on my long bow, and even a view of the Strand’s welcoming board thinggummer!

Ginnie Wade is the Only Documented Civillian Death During the Battle of Gettysburg, Shot by a Stray Bullet While Making Bread

At the beginning of the summer, I mentioned that I was reading professor Olmstead’s latest book, Coal Black Horse. It’s been a while since I actually finished the novel, but I’ve been wondering how exactly to go about posting a blog entry on such an intense and deep novel without failing utterly in doing it proper justice, and I still believe that I won’t quite get this right, but I feel it important at least to mention either way. Professor Olmstead takes his readers on a journey with Robey, a young man who starts a boy, but, through his experiences on the road and in the chaos and brutality of the American Civil War becomes a man, but it would be a gross understatement to label this novel a coming of age story, because Professor Olmstead has stitched together a tale with a variety of threads, touching on subjects as ranged as religion, women’s experiences, and the truth about what war really is. An intense read overall, filled with gruesome details that often make the skin crawl, but definitely a good one as well. If one loves war novels, deep reads, and particularly if one is interested in studying English at OWU (specifically creative writing in this case, since Omstead is basically chief of that) I would suggest picking up a copy.
I’ve also had time to complete a few of the other books I mentioned, as well as one from my pile of ‘definitely read these as soon as you either find time or remember to, because these are guaranteed to be amazing and three quarters.’ Phillip Pullman’s final installment in his Dark Materials series did not disappoint, but next to my blatant love of Douglas Adams’s The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, it stands no chance of getting any more pixilated time on this blog. (Apologies, Mr. Pullman, but it’s just a hard act to lead into or to follow- even great books pale next to novels by favourite authors that do not disappoint!) First of all, if one has not heard of Douglas Adams, please stop reading this dribble and take a few moments to at the very least Google him before skipping off to the local book shop or library to procure a copy of any one of his brilliant works. Otherwise, join me in celebrating the sheer brilliance that is Adams. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul exudes hilarity and cunning in every word, and I found myself hooked even before a check-in desk in London’s Heathrow Airport explodes in what is finally deemed an act of God. “But… what god? And why? What god would be hanging around Terminal Two of Heathrow Airport trying to catch the 15:37 flight to Oslo?” (see page 70) Now try adding that mystery to a homicidal eagle, a Coca-Cola machine, a traumatically dirty refrigerator that lurks in Dirk’s kitchen, and the mystery of Dirk’s very recently deceased client, whose head was found this morning revolving on the hit record ‘Hot Potato,’ and one has *quite* the delightful conundrum.

German Word: Animals are great and also a standard staple in most German students’ learning regime. One popular animal is the horse, or, auf Deutsch, Pferd, pronounced ‘faired.’

Pictures! Below, a shot of the haunting cover of Omlstead’s Coal Black Horse as well as a few shots from a recent family trip to Roscoe Village, OH.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Lapsang Souchung is a Chinese Tea Traditionally Dried With The Burning Old Fishing Nets and is Quite Good With Sugared Ginger

Well, the end of July brought with it the excitement that is the Delaware car show, and I was definitely in attendance. The cars were amazing as usual, and even the intermittent rain that had auto enthusiasts squeegee-ing and whipping down their cars vehemently did not keep them away entirely. I perused the cars, snapping the occasional photo, being sure to capture a few of the entire street to show the entire of Deleware transformed. (A large chunk of Sandusky street and several side streets are all shut down for cars to park and cruise along; it’s a massive car show for the small town, but it is frankly premium.)
I also took the time take a walk about the campus itself, which, unlike the boisterous street of Sandusky, was pristinely quiet and nigh a world of its own. I must admit that I missed the paths and trees and campus not a little despite living so near, and seeing the familiar fire station and park where MARRCA meets was quite enjoyable. (The lack of someone to rondel or practice 8-point with left a disappointing pang, but that will be solved in a few weeks when we meet anew to recruit fresh blood for our battlefields!!)

German Word: When one misses someone or thing, one uses the verb vermissen. For example, to say ‘I miss Delaware’ one would say ‘Ich vermisse Delaware.’

Pictures! The streets of Delaware abuzz with car show action! Even the Corns building donated its front stairs as the main stage for the staff of the show, but University Hall and the rest of campus was as tranquil as ever.