Monday, February 24, 2014

Hello From Hell

Metaphorically, of course.

We started our Inferno unit this week. I actually am enjoying it, and my canto is fortunately not very gory or particularly exciting. Well, it's pretty cool. It's the one with false counselors, like Ulysses and Diomedes. It's a little funny, because Dante put these two myths (AKA fictional characters) in hell, when he doesn't even know if they're real. Much of his hell is Greek mythology, but still. It doesn't seem right to put possibly nonexistent characters into hell, but since his hell is also fictional, maybe it makes more sense that way. If the place is fictional, then why not use pre-made fictional characters to go in it? Although one might also argue that if it is your fictional realm, then you should populate it with your own fictional characters. But in order to make it seem universal and be more relatable to everyone who read it in his time, then using familiar legends and even real people would help get the message across better. Who knows. It was a very long time ago, and Dante himself is not alive to tell us what he was going for.

The project is going fairly well. I don't have to present until March 7th, which I am very thankful for, and I'm kind of hoping I get pushed back so I have more time to work on it, but that probably won't happen. I'm not overly concerned, I've still got a lot of time to work...but I have projects due fairly soon in every single one of my classes except History, which is plenty time-consuming on its own. I'm getting very stressed about all of them, but hopefully I will be able to manage my time well enough to still be okay...sigh. Anyway, I am Canto 27, and basically the entire thing is Dante listening to this guy in a flame complain about how he doesn't belong there and someone else was the one who condemned him. Also, this guy in the flame has no idea what's going on in the outside world since he's been burning in hell for quite some time. To be honest, I'm glad I got one of the actual "burning" cantos, since there will be plenty of images for that. It's also kind of fun to have the canto that is as stereotypical "hell" as it's going to get, what with the burning and the fraudulent counselors and whatnot. So I'm hopeful for the project. I think I'm gonna make it. Maybe.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I Guess I'm A Pretty Good Mirror

I do a reflection post every week. And apparently it's not actually supposed to be random thoughts or about the past week, but rather an in-depth reflective analysis thing for the coming week in Language Arts. My apologies for my earlier confusion on that.

Anyway...we are starting a new unit this week. Dante's Inferno. Should be interesting, if not fun. Fortunately my mom purchased a large supply of jellybeans, so I will have a rainbow of colors and flavors to get me through hell. But actually, the idea of the afterlife and different beliefs regarding what happens after death has always fascinated me. It probably shouldn't. After all, you only find out what happens after death when you die, and I definitely don't want to die anytime soon. I just think it's very interesting to see what different religions and beliefs think. In Judaism, there is only heaven. In Christianity, there is most definitely a heaven and a hell, but different sects believe slightly different things. In Greek mythology, there are the Fields of Asphodel, which is where everyone who wasn't extraordinarily good or bad goes. I personally think that's a bit unfair, to be cursed to wander an infinite Kansas wheat field just because you weren't exceptional. So few people are truly good or bad that very few people would actually get special treatment. And, hey, you're already dead. Whoever is running all that, who I suppose would be Hades in this scenario, should cut them a break.

But actually, I'm excited for the new book not only because of the interesting point of view but also because it connects to History class. About a month ago, so fairly recently, we went through the Renaissance and then Dante was mentioned because he wrote in the vernacular. I think. Like I said it was kind of a while ago. Anyway, it connects to one of my other classes, which made me realize that this book is old. I had no idea how old this book was. And it was originally Italian. Italy is just really cool in general. Yes, they tend to surrender in wars and whatnot, but pasta. And art. Come on. I'm very excited to read Inferno, and I do believe that I will like it. I don't doubt that I will be offended at some point, but now that we are out of the satire unit to a point I think I'll survive. I also think that I have been gifted with the ability to laugh at myself, which would explain quite a few personality traits of mine. But that's off-topic. My point is simply that I'm excited for this book and I'm glad I am getting the opportunity to read it.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Welcome to My Personal Hell

Hell, to me, doesn't really exist. Since I am Jewish, I do not believe that there is a hell because that is what my religion says. However, I do believe that torture exists, especially of the mental kind, and that any one person could suffer the same amount of pain as any level of hell simply by thinking too hard. So hell does sort of exist, but it is all internal. Within each of us, there is a hell. But as a whole, I don't really think there is anything.

To get into my hell, you don't have to be truly terrible. It's a bit like jail, except that nobody is capable of escaping the prosecution and it's not actually possible to weasel your way out of a sentence. Everything about your existence is basically projected up onto a big screen. Like, absolutely everything. All the good and all the bad. Then you are judged and sent to hell for a certain amount of time. Since nobody is perfect, everybody will go to hell, but the nearly perfect people will only be there for a short amount of time. I forget which mythology it is exactly, but in one of the Greek stories (I think) you can work off your time depending on how terrible you were, and your punishment depends on that. But in my hell, nobody gets off scot-free if you were bad at any point. I wish I could be more specific, but everyone has done something, therefore there are no specifics. Everyone who deserves a punishment gets it.

The punishments depend on the crime and, of course, the person. For everyone is would start by being humiliated and embarrassed by their entire lives played out on the giant screen in front of everyone else. But it would mostly be a highlight reel of all the worst things, and then everyone would laugh at you. The next thing would be utter isolation. Not just being put in a room, but basically being dropped into black hole. You won't know which way is up and which way is down, if you're ever going to land, where anything is in relation to you. Utter blackness and disorientation, like Tartarus. The Greeks had the right idea with that one. Then there's the real torture. Not pain necessarily, because people can get used to pain, even though that would still be up there. For me personally, it would be the sound of hundreds of keyboards typing away irregularly, and dozens of nails tapping a plastic table, the scratching and tapping of pencils writing away, and the sensation of fingernails bending backwards, feelings so awful they send shivers up your spine and layers upon layers of pure asymmetric noise with no way to block it out and no white noise to wash over it. For everyone, it would be facing their worst fear combined with their worst nightmare.

Hell's appearance would be as customized as the punishments. For some, it would be teetering on the edge of a railing, adrenaline surging as they almost fall again and again. For others, it would be creeping away from something they can never quite see but are sure is there. Maybe standing in line forever, inching forwards but never quite reaching the front. Or perhaps slowly crawling along in bumper to bumper traffic, or following a clump of slow-moving people that are impossible to move around. The reason why all of these are mobile is because you would only really get the chance to look around and appreciate (or curse) the interior decorating is between punishments. Almost like school, you would be punished for an amount of time that you know and can only hope to make it through (which would likely be somewhere in the dozens of years range for an average person) and then brave the hallways to get to your next class...or, um, punishment.

Everyone escapes eventually. Hell is just a cleansing process, and there are obviously no relapses. Who would want to face all that again? Almost as a reward for all the good things in your life, you spend your time in hell and then are rewarded by spending the rest of eternity in heaven. It's only fair, after all. And even the worst of people can change. I truly believe that. After being subjected to the worst thing there is, the absolute worst, there will be no relapse. And eternity is a really, really long time. Though someone may spend most of eternity in hell, they still can make it to heaven eventually. It doesn't matter if you're in hell for 148,025,797,359,720,957,280,197,648,021,605,812,604 squillion years, you still get to go to heaven after that. After that long, though, time might have ended. So if time ends and you're in hell, it basically just sucks to be you. Sorry. I didn't say it was a perfect system. Time is relative, anyway. So it kinda can't just end. But anyway, once you are cleansed by hell, you get to go to heaven. Because just like everyone has something bad they've done, everyone has something good they've done as well. And if you have one good thing, then you have the potential and the ability to be good for the rest of forever.


A symbol to represent my hell would be a maze. A really hard maze. It takes you ages, you hate doing it, it's really dangerous, but eventually you make it out. Like the Harry Potter maze. Except you don't get zapped to Voldemort instead of making it out. You actually just get out. And after getting through the maze, even though you feel awful and like you died again (which you already did once, how else would you get to hell in the first place?) you still get the satisfaction of making it all the way to heaven. Everyone can make it to heaven, and that is a good thing, just like everyone can solve a maze even if they hit some dead ends. My hell would be something deceptively simple like a maze but actually be really difficult to solve, even though everyone can do it and has to do it.

Who is in my hell? Everyone. Everyone is going to my hell. Most people I know personally would make it out fairly quickly though. Some people wouldn't. You know, like molesters and mass murderers and serial killers and stuff. Something interesting about my hell, though, is that good deeds don't get you out any faster. You still have to repent for all of the bad things. There is none of this bail-bond nonsense in hell. Everyone pays with time. Once you get to heaven, the good deeds matter. The best people get to become angels and help run heaven and all that good stuff, and everyone else still gets to go to heaven, which is their personal paradise, so they can't really complain. And this isn't about heaven. It's about hell. But those two are kind of intertwined. Anyway, my point is that everyone goes to hell. But everyone also goes to heaven.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Captain Hammer and Oedipus Rex

Captain Hammer and Oedipus are very similar in terms of being tragic heroes. One of them falls by being overly arrogant, saving and getting a girl, and then killing said girl as well as hopelessly putting himself out of commission. The other...oh, wait. It is hard to discuss "unity of action" without simply summarizing the stories, since unity of action is about how everything in the stories is cause and effect. So instead most of what's here will be about the place of status that the two tragic heroes fell from. But first is a little summarizing. Captain Hammer starts by being the town superhero, almost like Superman, but with no civilian alter ego. Oedipus starts as the prince, and then becomes the king of the neighboring kingdom. Captain Hammer saves the girl, and in saving the girl he gets the girl. Oedipus does the same, but he saves the whole city as opposed to a single person. Actually, Captain Hammer does that as well, but not in this particular instance. Anyway, once he has the girl, Captain Hammer flaunts said girl in front of his nemesis, and that makes the nemesis want to kill him. Oedipus just starts to find out more about how his life is actually organized and also how his prophecy did come true. Then Captain Hammer's annoyed antagonist tries to kill the Captain, and when Captain Hammer tries to fix everything he winds up killing his girlfriend and hurting himself, allowing the villain to run rampant. Oedipus, when he finds out the truth, causes his mother/wife to commit suicide and then scratches his eyes out at what he's done. And those are the very sad stories of Captain Hammer and Oedipus.

Now, the places of status. Captain Hammer is basically the biggest deal. He is the town superhero, everybody loves him, he's fabulous and he knows it. He thinks very highly of himself, but he thinks it's with good reason. He saves people every day, and he prevents the supervillains from overrunning everyone. Oedipus is also a very big deal. Not only is he the king, and well-liked for being a good king, he is the ex-prince of the neighboring kingdom, he saved everyone from the big bad Sphinx and won the queen's hand and the throne that way. So then he is the prince as well as the king. Captain Hammer basically stays the same arrogant person the whole time, but he does sort of start to realize he has problems at the very end when he goes to the psychiatrist. This all connects back to the poster because this is what was portrayed there, the gradual falling of Captain Hammer.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Here We Go Again


Have a Supernatural gif.

Because once again, we are here at a blog reflection on Monday night.

And I really like Supernatural. It's a TV show. And it's brilliant. Don't even get me started I just love it a lot.

My week was, once again, quite nondescript. We watched some more inspirational movies in Health. I made Merlin and Arthur chibi salt and pepper shakers in Pottery as well as a junk sculpture of a wedding dress. We had flashbacks to middle school with histograms and stem-and-leaf plots plus a big logarithm unit test in Math. We've started our nerves unit, had an open-note quiz over cellular respiration, and done an interesting lab that is basically poking your partner with calipers and recording data in Biology, and blasted through the end of the Revolutionary War time into our gigantic Unit Test and the Industrial Revolution in History. And in Spanish, we watched another episode of the hilarious Spanish sitcom (or something, I'm not 100% sure what it is) called Extra in...wait for it...Spanish class. 

Language Arts has been pretty fun. We watched Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog in class (my group did anyway), then watched the devastating bits of Titanic, then worked out all our roles and planned out our poster (which is going to look SO cool). On Friday we had Lydia sketch out the Death Ray and we cut out the little red squares we're using as our backing, and today we painted it, cut out pictures, talked about how the paint looked like blood (there's a lot of red), and then discussed how cool it would be to have a murderer that killed people and used their blood as paint to hide the evidence, which subsequently caused us to receive some very interesting looks for our conversation that was actually quite engaging. Also, lest any judgement be passed upon me too soon, I meant as a character in a book, because I would totally read that book. Turns out I forgot to say that bit out loud, but my friends are cool enough that I didn't have to say it out loud for them to go along with the conversation. On the bus ride home, I actually continued the discussion with my bus buddies and we concluded that the skin of the murdered person could be used as a canvas, and then the blood would be paint, and then they would own a pig or a dog to get rid of the rest of it. 

Sorry. That was a little odd. But wouldn't it make a really cool book? 

Anywyho, that was my week in a nutshell. So I guess I did actually do things.