Thursday, January 31, 2008

On becoming two decades old

I now have to update my profile.

But that is not all. I have at last reached my tweens, "the irresponsible twenties between childhood and coming of age at thirty-three". And I expect to have a good time too. Then I shall settle down comfortably until I reach my fifties at which time I shall then leave for exciting adventures.

Now, enough of this.
This year, I am really learning about "Our Greatest Friend and Our Greatest Enemy".
What are these, you ask?
The Elves and Sauron?
Actually not.
'Tis Humility and Pride.
You find this strange?
It was not I who gave them these titles.
I have picked up a book called Humility: True Greatness
by C. J. Mahaney.
It has been sitting on my shelf waiting for me to find the right time to look at it.
It is he who gave these titles to humility and pride.

I have been reading through Isaiah. And yesterday, I read a chapter from my book about humility and there was a piece from the very chapter I had read earlier from Isaiah. So it goes hand-in-hand. Which is always nice.

And that is the end of my birthday post.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Couples (not thermal couples, though)

Have you ever had dinner and played a game with two pairs of love-struck people?

I have.
It is...interesting.

There were only myself and two of my roommates around for dinner tonight, so we invited one's fiance and the other's boyfriend. And I was the person in the middle, or perhaps the chaperone.

The difficult part is that you keep feeling like you should discretely leave them to themselves, but one does need to eat dinner after all. The game made a nice after-dinner thing that let everyone move off without feeling too awkward. And I won.

You know they are all love-struck when the one roommate and her boyfriend start "thumb wrestling" with pens and tickling each other to get an advantage, and the other roommate's fiance hums loud music and stops when looked at by said roommate.

Anyways, I'd advise you not to try except that it can be most amusing, so you may wish to do so just to laugh.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I perceive that I have not lived up to my expectations exactly.
To be honest, I completely forgot I had ever planned on writing after coming back from class.
But I have been a little confused and tired this past week because of an ear/sinus infection I caught the week before classes and because of all the antibiotics I've had to take since then.
To be sure, by Thursday I was in a much more coherent condition, but I'm not sure even yet how much I have totally recovered.

So the important thing I wanted to mention about my critical thinking class is as follows:
My professor has said that one of the key things a critical thinker must do is abstain from making a decision when there is not enough information.
A critical thinker considers claims and beliefs and uses arguments to come closer to the truth. Sometimes, one simply does not know, and therefore, they need to be able to admit that. Most of us, however, dislike doing this. For one thing, we hate uncertainty, so there is a temptation to just choose an opinion or belief even if one does not have enough to decide on. For another thing, our social status demands us to know things. If we appear unsure or unable to decide, we are thought to be incompetent. Those who seem to know what they are talking about, very frequently are respected as knowing what they are talking about. So admitting that one does not know whether something is true or not can be harder than you might think.

I find this idea most interesting. It is like I went to class and had the professor tell me I needed humility. That is not heard in classes all the time. It is a different experience.

So, may you all learn humility this week, or at least, come a little closer to true humility before God.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Critical Thinking

This is an important thing to cover no matter what you are studying.
My class, which is studying this, starts in about 25 minutes.
So I do not, I am sorry to say, have the available time to write anymore about this topic.
At least, not at the present moment.

But I hope to do so in the near future.
Meaning in about 2 hrs. plus the 25 min.

To tide you over, you may all contemplate this:

X= Xo + Vo t + 1/2 a t^2

which is the formula for finding the position of a particle in motion, assuming a (acceleration) is constant. I am sorry it is such bad form. I hope to put it is better form soon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


My first real design class started today. Our mini project, due in four weeks, must make dorm life more comfortable, safe, or fun. This is a slightly more challenging task to myself, seeing as how I never actually lived in a dorm. But perhaps I can cull ideas from my roommates at my apartment. Or perhaps I will even think of something useful for my own small room.

Either way, it should be an exciting class.

And for those of you wondering, those are celery pancakes, a "design project" I helped to make last semester for a party.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I have published both my reading list and several book reviews on Corantolavolta. They are reviews of books I have read this past year.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Reading List 3

This is the third part of my reading list:

Dyke Darrel the Railroad Detective by A. Frank Pinkerton (pseudo.)
Five Thousand Dollars Reward by A. Frank Pinkerton (pseudo.)

You may perhaps remember my week of mishaps for which I laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of Dyke Darrel and his thrilling though impractical adventures. Anyway, I did enjoy reading these books. A. Frank Pinkerton is a pseudonym for somebody, but I'm not sure who because there were, apparently, a number of people who used this pseudonym. Allan Pinkerton was a famous detective who founded Pinkerton Agency, a detective agency in the U.S.

Happy Pollyooly by Edgar Jepson

This was a fun little book. The chapters occasionally seem disjointed, so I am assuming it was written and published in a magazine. A number of stories used to be written in that way where each chapter had to sort of stand on its own for each issue. I tried to find more stories about Pollyooly by Edgar Jepson, but there was nothing online. It seems like there should be more to the story, but perhaps he just never finished it.

Stolen Treasure by Howard Pyle

Howard Pyle was a Quaker, I believe, but he wrote some of the most exciting stories about pirates and mysterious adventures. This was one of them. Another one I really enjoyed was The Ruby of Kishmoor but I did not read that one this past year.

The Slim Princess by George Ade

An amusing book. This is the only book I've read by George Ade so I can't say that I recommend his works. This one was funny.

The Ice-Maiden: and Other Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

This book had some sad stories and some happy stories in it like many written by Hans Christian Andersen

The Little Colonel: Maid of Honor by Annie Fellows Johnston
The Little Colonel’s Chum: Mary Ware by Annie Fellows Johnston
Mary Ware in Texas by Annie Fellows Johnston
Mary Ware’s Promised Land by Annie Fellows Johnston
The Little Colonel’s House Party by Annie Fellows Johnston
The Little Colonel’s Holidays by Annie Fellows Johnston
The Little Colonel’s Hero by Annie Fellows Johnston
The Little Colonel at Boarding School by Annie Fellows Johnston
The Little Colonel’s Knight Comes Riding by Annie Fellows Johnston

Annie Fellows Johnston is one of my favorite authors. As you can see, I read a good many of her books. Some of them were written better than others, but even the less well written ones can be enjoyable to read.

Purple Heights by Marie Conway Oemler

I do not know anything about Marie Conway Oemler so I cannot say whether her books are good to read or not. This one was okay, though I think there were some issues that occurred that may not be suitable for younger people to read. But the ending was funny and fully rewarding.

T. Tembarom by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This is like Little Lord Fauntleroy only about an older boy. It is perhaps more amusing too. Some of Frances Hodgson Burnett's beliefs in the goodness of man are evident in this book, but a lot of her Eastern religious ideas are absent.

The Golden Slipper: and other problems for Violet Strange by Anna Katharine Green
The Bronze Hand by Anna Katharine Green
A Difficult Problem by Anna Katharine Green
The Circular Study by Anna Katharine Green
The Mill Mystery by Anna Katharine Green
Initials Only by Anna Katharine Green

Anna Katharine Green wrote thrilling detective novels. Yes, my reading degenerated thus far by the end of the year. But they were exciting. I think the one about Violet Strange was one of the best.

The ‘Mind the Paint’ Girl by Arthur Wing Pinero

I wasn't sure of this one at first, but it turned out quite fine. It is a play, like many of the other things Arthur Wing Pinero wrote, but it did not turn out to be immoral like I almost expected. I am sorry, but I do not have a very high opinion of plays. Hopefully, my views will change.

The Boy Scout Camera Club, or, the Confession of a Photograph by G. Harvey Ralphson

Unrealistic, impractical, improbable, but grand fun. G. Harvey Ralphson wrote other stories about the Boy Scout clubs which I am assuming are in the same vein.

A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag by Gordon Korman
The Contest (Everest series) by Gordon Korman
The Climb (Everest series) by Gordon Korman
The Summit (Everest series) by Gordon Korman

Gordon Korman writes humor, so some of this is teenage boy humor, but actually a lot of it is not. A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag is hilarious. One of the characters believes "they" are out to get him; "they" being some type of higher up persons like gods or something. But apart from that, it is well worth reading.

This is the end of my reading list. It is quite long I know, but I had fun reading all these books. And I have started this year's reading list.

Reading List 2

This is the second piece of my reading list:

The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne
First Plays by A. A. Milne
Second Plays by A. A. Milne

A. A. Milne wrote some plays I really enjoyed. One of them was about a young woman who wished for a knight or prince to come to her, but found the ordinary more romantic after all. Another was of two brothers, one who had everything and the other who had nothing. Although the latter brother gains one's sympathy at first, it is the former who surprisingly has the most nobility.

Etheldreda the Ready by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
A College Girl by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
Independence of Claire by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
Betty Trevor by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
Big Game by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey wrote some pretty amusing stories. The only one I disliked was Etheldreda the Ready because the main character never seemed to learn her lesson. The rest of the stories were quite good, except they sometimes ended without satisfactorily finishing the side plots of the secondary characters. Big Game was the best of them all, in my opinion.

The Kitchen Cat and Other Stories by Amy Walton

I actually don't remember this one, unfortunately. But I think Amy Walton wrote young children's stories. And this one was one of those. It was okay, I think.

Mariel of Redwall by Brian Jacques
Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques
The Angel's Command by Brian Jacques

Brian Jacques wrote some really great stories. Those last two books are based on the legend of the Flying Dutchman, a ship cursed to sail the ocean until the end of time because of the blasphemy of its captain and wickedness of the crew. The stories add another two characters, a young boy and his dog, who are cast off the ship and wander around the world helping people.

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl

Fun. Roald Dahl writes nonsense, and that is that. I bought this book at our library's book sale for very little money, about a couple quarters, I think.

The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson

This is another of the ones I bought at the book sale. John R. Erickson wrote this book like it was the dog telling the story, complete with all his "reasons" for doing things.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Avi has written some good stories, but I personally disliked this book. Some of his stories get a little boring too.

Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum

I enjoy reading L. Frank Baum's books occasionally. They are usually full of descriptions of really wacky things.

The Lady of Blossholme by H. Rider Haggard
Jess by H. Rider Haggard
Queen Sheba's Ring by H. Rider Haggard

I have read some of H. Rider Haggard's books that were better than these. At least, the first and the last ones had happy endings, unlike the middle one. So that was nice.

Dorothy Dale: a girl of today by Margaret Penrose

Margaret Penrose was actually one of the pseudonyms of the company that commissioned Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Dorothy Dale was another of their series books.

This is the end of the second part of my reading list. There is still one final part to come.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Reading List 1

I have completed the list of books I have read this past year. It was such fun to read them all.
I post them below in categories of the authors:

Penelope’s English Experiences by Kate Douglas Wiggin
The Romance of a Christmas Card by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Bluebeard: A Musical Fantasy by Kate Douglas Wiggin
A Cathedral Courtship by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Polly Oliver’s Problem by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Penelope's Scottish Experiences by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Timothy's Quest by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Kate Douglas Wiggin wrote some good stories. I enjoyed reading all of her books. My favorites were Penelope's English Experiences, Penelope's Scottish Experiences, and A Cathedral Courtship.

The Well in the Desert by Emily Sarah Holt
The Maidens’ Lodge by Emily Sarah Holt

Emily Sarah Holt's books were not quite as exciting as Kate Douglas Wiggin's. She seemed to use an easier sort of style, like for younger children. They usually had several lessons in to be learned in them, but they were pleasant nonetheless.

Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennet

I disliked this book I read by Arnold Bennet. He was too wordy and did not tell the story as efficiently as he could. Plus, the story seemed improbably at times and did not end nicely.

Pippi Longstocking

Jeff Benson by R. M. Ballantyne
The Rover of the Andes by R. M. Ballantyne

R. M. Ballantyne is a favorite author of mine. He is always so alive to the glories of creation around him and expresses them in his writings. His characters also are alive and are not perfect, but they are likable and amusing.

Emil and the Detectives by Kastner

This has got to be one of my favorite books ever. Kastner wrote this book in German and it was translated into English. It is funny and exciting and so bright and cheerful it makes you laugh until your sides ache. We actually read this one together as a family.

The Baron’s Gloves or Amy’s Romance by Louisa May Alcott

This is one of my favorite books by Louisa May Alcott. Each twist and turn in the plot surprises you and the end is hilarious!

Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss

This is a most excellent book. It is not so much fun to read, but more thoughtful. I think it is good to read over again to remind oneself of all the things one learns when reading it. GirlTalk did a series of posts on Elizabeth Prentiss that were very interesting.

The Trial by Charlotte M. Yonge
The Lances of Lynwood by Charlotte M. Yonge
That Stick by Charlotte M. Yonge
The Carbonels by Charlotte M. Yonge

Here is Charlotte M. Yonge. She wrote some fine stories and also so exceedingly boring stories. I think The Trial was one of the latter. But That Stick was more interesting.

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
Murder on Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Passenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie
The Harlequin Teaset and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
Miss Marple (a book containing two of her stories) by Agatha Christie
Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

I really enjoy reading Agatha Christie's books. Since they are nearly all about murders, that can be tiresome after a bit, but some of her characters are just lovely. My favorites were Tommy and Tuppence who appear, I believe though I can't remember exactly, in The Secret Adversary. They have a number of books about them.

King Lear by William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare had to be read at least once this year. I greatly enjoy reading his plays, but King Lear is not my favorite. But then, I knew what I was getting into when I began reading it. It is a tragedy, so of course it could not end happily.

The Hidden Hand by E. D. E. N. Southworth
The Missing Bride by E. D. E. N. Southworth
The Lost Lady of Lone by E. D. E. N. Southworth
For Woman's Love by E. D. E. N. Southworth

These are all written by E. D. E. N. Southworth who wrote some fine stories. The Hidden Hand is one of the best ones. It is a story of a fiery but happy young girl and a number of her adventures.

What Every Woman Knows by James M. Barrie
Dear Brutus by James M. Barrie

These are some plays by James M. Barrie. His plays sometimes have unnice parts in them, but at least What Every Woman Knows turns out alright in the end. When her husband thinks he has fallen in love with another woman, she lets them spend time together until they are positively bored of each other and he realizes what his wife means to him.

The Tapestry Room by Mrs. Molesworth

This is a fun little story of two children going through the tapestry to Fairyland. Mrs. Molesworth captured a little bit of magic in the story so that one could see right what the children were seeing as well.

This is the end of the first part of my reading list. I read much more than just this over the year.

Psalm 127

This is a most excellent psalm for me when I get caught up in a book and do not go to bed at a decent hour. Also, it is especially good for me when I begin this new semester with its eight o'clock classes and long homework assignments.

It is a psalm of ascents and of Solomon.

Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

That is for me as I work to "build my house" with education and work. It is a good reminder to my pride that I cannot do it myself.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.

I think that is most beautiful: "For so He gives His beloved sleep". That is for when I cannot sleep and thoughts of various kinds run through my head, or when I am so strung up because of a book I just read or a movie I watched I cannot compose myself to sleep, or when I am worrying about a particular bit of homework due the next day that I was unable to finish that evening. He gives me sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Well, this one seems slightly harder to apply to myself at first glance, seeing as how I have no children. But I am one myself, so I can say I am a heritage and a fruit to my parents. Which is a good reason to keep in contact with them and to strengthen my relationship with them even when I am not around, because who ever heard of a heritage that wouldn't associate with you? It's not a proper heritage then.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.

And of course, you shall be older when they grow up, so you will throw them better too. But only with the help of the Lord, as the first verse of this psalm implies. This is a verse my parents are fond of quoting to us older ones. They tell us that we are arrows who will go where God sends us. So I guess this is for me when I feel God leading my steps, or when I'm not sure where I am going. He is always leading my steps.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

I think my dad is happy with having six of us. There is certainly no lack of amusement going on. But I suppose what it means is that he will be glad that he has so many arrows that will be shot at the enemy. But is it he or the children who will not be ashamed? Oh, well, I do not understand this piece as well. But perhaps it will be made more clear through the rest of this year.