Friday, May 30, 2014

Erudite (with pictures this time!)


"Those who blamed ignorance became the Erudite." -Divergent






 In Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy, Erudite might be the most controversial faction. Because in book one, they're the enemies. . . or so we think.

Some of them are decent people who do not understand what their faction has done, but if their entire building collapsed in on them before my eyes, I might not find it in myself to care. - Insurgent
          You might have my head, but- I kind of like the Erudite, in some ways.

          In the book the Erudites are shown as arrogant, unfeeling, power-hungry, know-it-alls. A lot of them were. Jeanine Matthews, yes. But not all of them. I sometimes wonder if some of the people in the factions adopt the faction's cliched vices just because it was expected of them. Anyhow, the people of Erudite are committed to gaining knowledge. If you're a naturally curious person, you'd feel right at home there.

I should have known that the main Erudite building would be a library.- Divergent


I think a true Erudite would look like Caleb.
No concern for physical appearance; it's too
illogical when you have better things to do,
like research.
           What I don't like about the Erudite is that some of them do tend to arrogant. They think anyone who isn't an Erudite is beneath them in intelligence.  But the Erudite often seem to confuse intelligence and knowledge. Intelligence isn't about what you know; it's about your capacity to learn and think independently and make decisions and actions based upon what you know. Their snobbery isn't right. I will say though that it's kind of hard not to be a smart mouth when you are, uh, smart. . .


His brown hair is tousled, his shirt buttons in the wrong buttonholes. He is handsome in a careless way, my brother, like he has no idea what he looks like most of the time. -Insurgent by Veronica Roth




           Many also thought believed Erudite was prone to being power hungry. Knowledge does give you power. If you withhold that knowledge from other people and make them reliant on you, you will definitely have a lot of power. In light of that, it wasn't the best idea to give one faction control over the vast major of knowledge and scientific advancement. The other factions were kind of asking to be controlled and overthrown, in a way.

"Valuing knowledge above all else results in a lust for power, and that leads men into dark and empty places." - Tris' father, Divergent

             I can see how they can turn unfeeling. They're scientists who run tests on animals and people all day. If their work becomes too important to them, they begin to value the test results more than the human life in the experiment (kind of like the Bureau in Allegiant?). They stop viewing people as people and instead they're just another way to gain knowledge. Another thing to take apart and learn how to control. Is it a good thing? Most certainly not. It's what a lot of superhero movies are about: Don't go trying to take the human out of humanity.


          

          Here's what I do like about the Erudite, they're intelligent, they ask questions, they want to know things, they love to learn. I like to learn. I tend to be curious about things and people for the most part. I like to think for myself. And it always makes me sad when I see people who dislike learning and all their curiosity has been killed by bad schooling experiences. Learning is so much more than textbooks. Thinking has nothing to do with memorizing tests answers. It's about asking yourself questions about life, about people, and examining the world around you to find the answers. Generally speaking, to do things, you have to know how to do them, and sometimes it's not so simple. The world is such an interesting place. The more you know, the more you can do. The truth will set you free.

His eyes are wild with new information. Not all the Erudite are power hungry and devoid of conscience, like Jeanine Matthews. Some of them are like Caleb: fascinated by everything, dissatisfied until they find out how it works. - Insurgent
(Caleb may not have been the best comparison there. . .)


          And I think that's where Erudite went wrong. Originally, I think, Erudite was created to gain knowledge and then share it with the other factions, to keep the other factions from being ignorant about their world and the potential it has. Like the Erudite working closely with the Amity to advance in agriculture; I'm sure they helped the Dauntless create better weapons and security systems; they may have helped Candor with the psychology of the human mind, how it reacts to truth and lies, and how to detect when others are lying; they *could've* helped the Abnegation with organizing the factionless and population counts (Evelyn was a former Erudite. . .). But when Jeanine Matthews became the leader of the Erudite and found the Prior video, instead of sharing that knowledge, that truth, with the rest of the world, she withheld it. And everything that happened in Divergent (to a certain extent) was because she withheld knowledge from the factions.

           If the truth will set you free, than lies and the absence of knowledge will put you in bondage (sometimes known as mind control).

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Unbirthday to The Notebook Sisters!

          Cait and Mime at the Notebook Sisters are celebrating their 3rd blogaversy Wonderland style. I've decided to join the fun with a tag.









1. Just Alice: What book cover(s) has made you super curious?

Recently? Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast by Jane Yolen. I've yet to read it, just checked it out from the library because 1) the title, 2) the cover, and 3) Jane Yolen, people! She wrote The Commander Toad children's series.


2. Mad Hatter: List the craziest character(s) you've ever read.

-Orma from Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (the delightful and charming kind of crazy)

-Giovanni from The Knight by Steven James (the literal and criminal kind of crazy)





3. Red Queen, Off With Your Head! What book have you felt like beheading?

Once when I was, like, fourteen I read one of those American Diaries books. I don't remember which one; it was about an immigrant family on a train. I was so angry at that book, I didn't finish it and still wanted to throw it out the window.

4. White Rabbit: What books or series have been insanely popular but you've been "late" to pick them up?

- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
- Allegiant by Veronica Roth (still need to 'review' it. . .)

5. Caterpillar: What's the most confusing book you've read?

I really can't recall one that was too confusing. More than likely though I didn't finish it.

6. Dormouse: What was the last book that sent you to sleep?

I tried to read something called Guitar Boy. No offense, by from the title, I kind of already knew it was a long shot. I never finished it.

7. Cheshire Cat: Book that made you laugh and smile?

Most recently, Abolished Impractically by Jack Lewis Baillot. I just finished it a few days ago. The characters are the best!

But also The Princess Bride by William Goldman and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (there are happy parts, I promise)

8. Knave of Hearts: Most recent character who stole your heart?

First, I have to say both Tris and Tobias from Roth's Divergent trilogy will always have my heart, especially Tobias since I now better know how he thinks.

But recently, it would have to tie up between Singur (I know, I still call him that), Tony, and Isidore all from Abolished Impractically.
And Hans Huberman is the best in The Book Thief, sorry just had to add that. :)

9. Jabberwocky: Best villain you've read this year?

Let's skip the 'this year' part and just speak generally. Giovanni from Steven James' The Knight. If you like terrible villains or need pointers on how to write villains, read Steven James' thrillers. It's some pretty scary stuff.

10. Down the Rabbit Hole: What's the latest book/series/author that's completely swallowed your interest?

Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy, of course! :)  The books, not the movie. The movie was just- I really don't want to talk about it. But the books are amazing! Read them. You must!


source

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Amity (the pictures)

"Those who blamed aggression formed Amity."
The Amity exchange smiles. They are dressed comfortable, in red or yellow. Every time I see them, they seem kind, loving, free. 
- Divergent by Veronica Roth



           I know Amity has a few screws loose sometimes. . . Actually it has to do with whatever's in the bread. But I've always liked the Amity in ways. There's something beautiful in their simple, peaceful lifestyle.

          You know, as long as you're not into adventuring.

I always forget how considerate the Amity are until I see it for myself.- Insurgent by Veronica Roth

           And don't mind wearing yellow everyday. Ugh, yellow. . .



           The Amity's manifesto is made up of four conversations. These conversations are between family members confiding in each other about their problems and giving each other peaceful solutions. It's a very neat concept for a manifesto, I think. The four conversations are titled Trust, Self-Sufficiency, Forgiveness, and Kindness. There was once a fifth conversation that was later omitted; it was titled Involvement. Taking this out of their manifesto is where I think the Amity first went wrong.

. . .the Amity recognize no official leader- they vote on everything, and the result is usually close to unanimous. They are like many parts of a single mind, and Johanna is their mouthpiece.- Insurgent by Veronica Roth



          When I saw this pendant it made me think so much of the tree in the Amity compound. I'd love to see a tree like that.

          It sounds weird calling the Amity headquarters a compound though. Certainly that's not what they called in the book. . . still it sounds odd as 'headquarters' also.

           In the book, Amity is described as orchards, large greenhouses, and rough, unpainted living quarters with large windows that make it feel like you're still outdoors.

          But really, at the heart of it, when I think of what Amity looks like, I picture home. Maybe that's were I'm at peace or something like that.






"The Amity are meeting in a half hour," he says. He quirks his eyebrows and adds, with a touch of melodrama, "To decide our fate."- Insurgent by Veronica Roth




Friday, May 16, 2014

Quote time

Having eyes like his mother wasn't bad, but still, it wasn't very manly to go through life with pretty eyes.

-Haphazardly Implausible
by Jack Lewis Baillot.

I was rereading this so I can finally read the sequel, and this (and all the scenes with Hogan :) had me laughing out loud at midnight. Hope I didn't wake anyone up. . .

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spiderman 2 not really a review

        This really wasn't my first intent when writing this post. But if you ramble long enough, you eventually strike on a subject you can actually use, right? ;)

         
          First off, they need to have Spiderman one of the Avengers movies. I've been informed that he's not really an Avenger, but still. . . I think he should be. It would be hilarious. :) As always.

           I could actually do a real review (phft, what is that?), but I would have a lot of spoilers. So. . .

           "It was an amazing movie. See? Amazing Spiderman, amazing- okay, never mind. I definitely recommend it. Spiderman is the BEST!" - Ahem. End of non-spoiler review.

           I thought about just talking about my favorite scenes (aka: spoilers galore). But then this would be a very long post.

           So I'll just give you some good reasons why you should go watch the Amazing Spiderman 2. Forigve me if most of these reasons are characters.
    
         
1. It is hilarious! Seriously. Peter Parker has the best sense of humor out of all the Marvel heroes.

2. Electro (the villain) had depth. Granted, he was a bit on the loony side, kind of obsessive. But there was more to him than the general Mwahaha! type villains.

3. Gwen. There are a lot of things you can do wrong with the hero's girlfriend. Especially when the hero all out adores her. The main question is: Is she worth adoring? And, yes, Gwen Stacy is. She's smart, strong, determined, and, what I really love, she insists on standing by him through everything (villains don't scare her) but she still follows his lead. And I love their banter together, it's hilarious:

"Aw. Gwen! This is a storage closet."
"So?"
"So it's the most cliched hiding place ever-"
"Well, I'm sorry I didn't take us to the Bahamas of hiding places!"

4. Aunt May. Is. Amazing. Really, she is. All the Saturday morning cartoons have her as the sweet, nice old lady who tries to set Peter up on dates and who gets hospitalized from shock (not from the dates, thought I should clarify). Here, Aunt May is working in the emergency room trying her best to save other peoples lives! She's always there for Peter, and you kind of wondering if she knows. She has to at least suspect.


5. Peter Parker. He's my favorite superhero because no matter what happens, even if it's devastating, he always gets back up, and keeps going. No matter how bad his real life is, no matter how much people talk down about Spiderman, no matter how impossible the fight, he always does what's right. He's hilarious and full of energy (as Peter and Spiderman; he doesn't have this personality shift between his alter ego like Batman seems to, yeah, so maybe I just compared Marvel and DC. . .). He can't stand the thought of one person getting hurt when he could've been there to save them. He fights all these supervillains, and the mobsters and such, but he still takes time to save a kid from bullies (that was one of the best scenes ever!), and to stop petty store thieves when he's sick. Even in his normally life, he really cares about people, whether he's worrying about his Aunt May working too much, or going to comfort Harry, his long ago friend-but-might-as well-be-a-stranger. You know that saying about how hard times can either break you or make you? Some pretty tough stuff happens in Spiderman 2, and even though it may get him down for a while, Peter decides to let it make him a better person. He gets back up and when he does it makes him stronger. He still fights for what's right and finds something witty and cocky to say in the mix. And he always keeps his humor about him. :)

           I guess I'm really writing this because I'm trying not to be disappointed. I'm trying to convince my brother to have a Sherlock marathon with me. Because he has not seen any of season 2 or 3! It's just wrong, and shouldn't go on any longer. But for some reason, my brother cannot comprehend exactly what a movie marathon is. You're supposed to watch all the shows in succession, you're supposed to stay up all night, and you're supposed to eat ice-cream and skip going to the gym. (and I recently found out that the concept is foreign to my mom also.) If you don't do this, then you deprive yourself of having the full movie marathon experience. Still he refuses to understand, and so I write about Spiderman instead.

           I did finish reading Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Yay. . . I'll 'review' it. . . later.

           What is this thing with excellent, but sad story plots? And why is it that I have to like them so much? Maybe I'll just go into mourning for a couple of days .

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Clogging Post

You remember when I said that I clog? Well, I thought I might expound upon that and actually tell you what clogging is.

Everyday
source
So maybe I've done that before. . .

 Clogging is like tap dancing in that it's a type of dance in which you have taps on the bottom of your shoes. But the taps are different. Often times, cloggers (because that's what we call ourselves), use a buck tap. A tap with a second tap on it so that there is two sounds: the metal on the floor and the metal against metal.

It's rather loud. My instructor once said we sound like a team of Clydesdales.

source


A few of the basic steps are similar to some tap steps (a double step and a shuffle, a rock step and a ball change, at an advanced level we use the crimp roll too. . .). But normally clogging is choreographed very different. Tap dancing tends to appear more relaxed, while clogging can be very high energy (can be, not always. Depends on the level of the dance and the tempo of the song, recently I taught a beginner dance to a very slow song).

Clogging is technically a folk dance since it has no written history. It's derived from many different dance forms. It's a bit of a melting pot of dance forms, and is always changing. There are also many different styles of clogging.

Here's a video about the different styles. It's rather funny.


                                        


Unlike most dancers, cloggers usually start on the left foot. So I found the below a little amusing. :)


when you spend forever trying to get a step down and have to do it on the left #danceproblems
source
           
Cloggers also put duct tape on the bottom of their shoes to keep from slipping.
 That really is just my understanding of it though. If you want to know more here's a link to an article by Jeff Driggs who's really delved deep into the question: What is clogging? (He's also a pretty good instructor.)

This is Gary Larsen's performance at the 2013 TCC Rally in Waco, Texas.


              


And that's clogging.

Clogging.....
source

Friday, May 2, 2014

Amity

The Amity are the peaceful people.

They're the hippies. ;) Kidding. . . though. They do drug their bread. . .

It's taken a while to get this post out because, for me, the Amity are a controversial faction. I like them, but in the book they made a lot of bad choices. So this might be a little rant-ish Sorry there are no pictures. There'll be a catch-up post later. :P

 In the world of the book the Amity are viewed as ridiculously happy people who play banjos, pick apples, and sing songs all the time. Happy-go-lucky. No worries. Who cares? Hugs and love. Life is fluffy without a serious point in it. Though I have to remember we are viewing the Amity through Tris' eyes, and Tris tends to be a very analytic, serious person. If it doesn't makes sense to her then it's foolishness, and in a lot of ways the Amity don't make sense to her.

In reality the Amity promote peace and strive to find a compromise when different opinions or struggles arise. They don't want to argue. They aren't antagonistic. They are probably the faction that can work as a team best. They appreciate the stability, unity, and harmony that living in peace with one another can bring. I see them being the third arbitrary party during the compilation of a peace treaty between two factions.

They aren't as fluffy as some people may think. When faced with a tough situation and decision like in Insurgent, they take it seriously. They don't mess around. I don't agree with the decision they made. But I don't think they made the decision they made because because they wanted to promote peace. I think they made that decision because they were afraid of getting involved. In a way, it is very selfish. And, I'm sorry, but it is near impossible to truly never take a side. It makes me angry, to think that they decided to not help anyone and thought that it would all blow over and they would be unaffected. Ha! They will still pay some price for war even if they remain neutral. What makes it worse is that Involvement used to be a part of their faction manifesto.

The Amity avoid conflict.

I think that is what the Amity are looked down on for most. And I can see why. Being an individual with your own ideas and beliefs is important (though that is the concept behind being divergent, so really it is not the Amity who take away individualism it is the whole structure of the faction system). It is important to have a voice. To be heard. To not back down when you know what you're doing is right. To fight on and not give in. But sometimes it's strong to give in. Sometimes it's strong to let go of your will. Sometimes it's brave to admit you're wrong. Sometimes it's selfless to compromise and not be the only one who wins.

And in reality, people generally do avoid conflict on a daily basis. I promise you, they do. Not always, not 24/7. But very few people are willingly to confront others. We beat around the bush. We make small talk. We pretend like everything is fine, but under the surface the bomb is ticking to explode. Because we don't like conflict. It's stressful. It's unhappy. It's inconvenient. So I can't really blame the Amity for avoiding conflict, because I, myself, do it everyday.

Now there are some people out there with antagonistic personalities. I would never believe that if I hadn't met some. Why you would want to disagree just for the sake of disagreeing is beyond me. And like any good Amity, I try to be nice and friendly to antagonistic people, but I am far from understanding them.

The Amity make me think of something Connie said on an early Adventures in Odyssey episode, "But why can't we all just get along?" (if you know what I'm talking about, you had an awesome childhood :) ). I agree in many ways. But people are too different, and there are too many gray areas to always agree. Sometimes to keep the peace you just have to agree to disagree. You can't become mortal enemies with everyone you disagree with or you'd become a very lonely, angry person.

But I still like Amity. I say that about all the factions. But there is something to admire in each one of them. For the Amity, it is peace. The thing that makes them so weak, is the same thing that makes them so strong. They have a strong connection to each other. There is very little division. In Dauntless, they can have division, and a fight would break out, then a riot, and everything could go down in total chaos. The Candor I'm sure disagree all the time and, knowing them, I doubt they ever agree to disagree. The Amity have a calm unification and stability to to them.

The Amity are the only faction that allows creativity. Of all the factions, they would be the patron of the arts. They sing, make music, dance, draw. . . you know all that frivolous, and illogical stuff that the other factions don't have time for or simple consider petty amusements. I'm a creative person. It would be really hard for me to fit into a faction that wouldn't allow me to express myself creatively.

The Amity are also into nature. For the most part (you know, aside from drugging their bread and their faction members when they cause trouble, both of which I disagree with), the Amity are the most nature faction there is. They live closest to the outdoors. They're agriculturally inclined and they use science (this is where they partner with Erudite) to be more efficient in agriculture. I love the outdoors. Trees are so beautiful, and I love to take walks. Nature is very inspiring.

The Amity are more prone to making friends than any other faction. The Candor are rude and that doesn't really attract friends. The Abnegation are to focused on selflessness to confide in anyone. The Dauntless are can make friends, but they can also be violent if they disagree. The Erudite, I'm sure, can have friends, but they probably don't feel inclined to make friends. The Amity are all about getting along with other people so they are initially social and if they commit to getting along then making friends is pretty easy. Now are they always sincere with each other? Probably not if they refuse to disagree. The first person to speak is probably who everyone else will go with.

 And in a way, since they tend to avoid conflict, they can be selfless like the Abnegation. They surrender their own individual will to agree with someone else. Not that this is always a good thing. If it's over something like, "Oh, what are we going to eat for lunch?" That's not important enough to argue over. Honestly, I don't understand people who have to (want to) argue about everything, even things that don't matter. But "Do we get involved in the coming war?" Yeah, that's rather important. And if you can't come to an agreement, I think it'd be best to divide and go your own way like Johanna did in the end of Insurgent. I don't like her original decision, but I admire her for breaking away and doing what she thought was right in the end. That was brave.


If all of society worked like the Amity, I think it'd be too good. The first person to suggest something would be met with little opposition. But if his idea was wrong. . . everyone would still go with it. People would have little knowledge about how to defend themselves if necessary. They would be even less inclined to stand up for themselves and for what they think is right. People talk about world peace, and that sounds really nice. But it's impossible. Very ambitious, but the world is too big. Even the Amity have troublemakers, and drugging them (taking their free will away) is not a good option to keeping the peace.

The next faction post will be over the Erudite. Another controversial faction.

What do you think? Why do you like or dislike the Amity?