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In Macdonalds.

Just to prove that it can be done. I am sitting in a Macdonalds 'family resturant' typing on a diminutive laptop whilst connected to the internet. Technology has come quiet a way from dial up. I mean look! No wires!
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Week 12 English Lit. Shakespeare.

Ok, in my last post I said I felt like my Live Journal had suffered, well now it's time to make up for it.

The performances this week were great. I really enjoyed seeing A Midsummer Nights Dream and the Tempest. Henry IV was pretty good, though I'll admit I was a tad distracted at the time. I brought my wife along (you may or may not have noticed) and she helped me become Falstaff.
It was interesting having her there in the audience watching everyone. There were a few times when she had to ask exactly what was going on. Which is fair enough. I mean, Shakespeare has some heavy dialogue and it's easy to get lost. So, I'd tell her who that character was and the basic gist (or is that jist?) of the speech. That sort fo thing. It really helped me see how far I've (and I don't doubt all of us) have come in my (our) ability to understand Shakespeare and his language.

It really is a joy to read and see Shakespeare once you can grasp it.
Like 'jewels in your mouth' someone said earlier in the term.

It took twenty-five years on this earth but I feel I have finally come to appreciate Shakespeare. I may not understand everything he wrote (and who does?) but I like everything of his I've read.

Anyway, once again the performances were awesome.

I suppose, as a way of making use of this final post for the semester I'll try a little something here... 

Thoughts come unbidden.

Every now and then, the thought occurs that all of life, everything in existence, is somehow absurd or ridiculous. There seems little reason for much of life and what happens. The answers I have seem too fantastical. Too odd to be true.
Yet if they're not true, if life is just oddities, then life is less meaningless. If there is no rhyme, no reason, no beginning or end. Then life is not only meaningless but cruel and horrible. There is no justice or peace. There is nothing but what we can claw and scratch from others. Our good comes only at the expense of others and in the end there is no rest.
Every now and then, the thought occurs, life is absurd.
The thought that always follows is that death is far more absurd.
Life ends, death lasts forever.

That's just some random stuff I wrote in my Commonplace book (a little edited) that I was thinking someday.

Anyway, our revels now are ended. Till next semester, have a good holiday and don't waste your life :)

Final comment for the semester here:
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Week 11. English Lit. Shakespeare

Well, it's official. My discipline has slipped completely, I haven't written in my common place book for a week, I haven't annotated anything and I continue to post LJ entries late. Such depravity!

So, late again and not much to say. It's odd, I feel that live journal has become secoundary to the common place book in many ways. Where I used to have a cool (at least I thought so) idea, I would save it for my LJ, now it goes into the commonplace book.

When it comes to Live journal, well I've already written it, just in a different spot. Do I dare repeat myself? well on occasion, yes I have. Indeed one of the great things about LJ is getting feedback, (quick aside, thanks to all those who have commented, I appreciate your thoughts) so when I write a commonplace entry and wonder "how would others view that?" I can post it on Live journal.

This (big word approaching) interconectivity (oh, it wasn't that big after all) of LJ and CommonBook should lend itself to greater and more unbounded writing, both creatively and analytical. The possibilities to write whatever springs to mind (and I have quite the springy mind I assure you) and then to post it online (After some heavy editing) for feedback from my electronic contemporaries.

So why, pray tell, have I slipped so much? Why am I not taking full advantage of these resources?

That's a tough one....

This Weeks comment:
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Week 10. English Lit. Shakespheare

So, The Tempest.

I am no Caliban, for he has affinity with Nature.
Nor am I Prospero for he is learned and wise.
I cannot be Miranda for she is innocent. 
Fernando is not I, for he is brave and virtuous.
Alonso, Antonio, Sebastian all powerful or wanting to be so. 
Gonzalo both powerful and kind.
I am none of these.
Trincolo or his sodden friend? I think not.
So who is there left to be?
Not Ariel, that ruler of the air or any apparition that serves him.

No I am the tempest.
for I am not under my own control,
I am turmoil within and without
Never truly visible or truly powerful
Only strong with the strength given me
just a storm in a teacup
I am the tempest
and I am no more.

the End.

This weeks comment can be found here. It seems there are those who understand tasks better than I. Not surprising given my penchant for half reading questions. Still it's a good piece of writing (hers not mine.):
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Week 9. English Lit. Shakespeare.

So, once again I've left it a little late, but I figure I'll post tomorrow and be back on schedule.

As for week 9.
MG suggested writing about our own moments in Darma, the roles we've played and that sort of thing. It's a good idea, but I myself have done little drama. With the exception of being forced to do it for Lit assessments I haven't done any. So, perhaps I'll have to make it up.

A slight tremor passed through my body. Was it excitement or fear? Rubbing sweaty hands together left the answer clear. Fear it was! Swallowing a few times helped calm me, though my mouth tasted odd. Like flour that's been left damp for a few days.
I can't remember my cue... It's supposed to be "Where is Devlin" or "What's the matter with him?" one happens now, well soon, and the other is in act 2. Thank goodness I'm only a minor character, three lines and a 'shocked' reaction are all I have to do. Just that, easy as. So why am I nervous? Seriously, man up! It's not like anyone watching will remember the performance of 'Organ grinder 3' for very long. It's not an important part, that's why you volunteered remember! easy role, no problems... Wait, what did he just say? oh crap did I miss my cue??? No, that's right, dramatic pause. Not yet, take it easy.
You've done this sort of thing before, no need to be afeared, just three lines. No problems... "I'll do so immediately sir.", "A penny fer ya toughts? or maybe somethin' for the music?" and "He looks like 'is in luv sir. tricky business being in love sir." just say them a few times. No problems, a few deep breaths and I'm ready.
Straighten your hat, coast straight... stop sighing, breath normally, in and out, in and out. That's my cue!

How can anyone forget so much so fast without suffering a serious blow to the head?
Stood on the wrong mark, stammered the wrong line from the wrong scene, dropped my prop and stood looking like a right fool.
Well... could have been worse, I got plenty of laughs... would have been nice if I was meant to. well, that's drama for you.
Next time a none speaking part, something like 'mutey the mailman'. That's stupid after tomorrows performance (if they still want me in the play) I'm giving up drama. There is always lion taming, Taxi driver or professional writer, those are similar enough to acting.
Hands aren't sweaty anymore... stupid play anyway, what kind of a play has three organ grinders!


Well that was a giggle, If anyone knows of a real play with three organ grinders I'd love to read it :)

This weeks Comment is on Nancy's LJ and her thoughts on the Tempests many 'illusions':
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English Lit. Week 8. (technically)

Ok, I know this is a late entry but I have an excuse. I was planning on posting a poem I've been writing in my common place book. The problem is it's rubbish. It has gone through three writings and I'm still far from happy with it. I cannot rhyme and find the words tend to trip over each other.

So having not managed a (good) creative piece I'll write something else!

I was watching a DVD my librarian mother-in-law gave me for christmas. It's a history of the English language. It's really interesting but you've got to be in the mood. Anyway it traces English from old english (Beowulf and "summer is a couming in") through to our modern global (commercial) English. The episode I was watching was on about Shakespeare, apparently he added something like two and a half thousand words to our language. How cool is that! can you imagine being in a time where a language is being invented/expanded? I mean these days every new word is just a technology of 'hip' word. There are no new words that express real meaning. I think it would have fascinating to be reading these works as they were written and having to learn words that were new, not just to me but to the world!

It really is interesting, on a more related note, the presenter guy (name alludes me) told of a theory where in the tempest, Prospero is not so much a Shakespeare mirror but that his Staff is to be seen as Shakespeare's quill. It may not seem like a big distinction to what MG said but I think it's telling. Prospero is a bit of a tyrant who looks down on Caliban, which as MG said wasn't really Shakespeare's attitude to 'native' peoples or the 'wise' fools in his plays. So Prospero is Prospero but his staff can be directly linked to Shakespeare's quill.

Anyway I've prattled on enough.

A week late,
a weak post,
my own work
another's words
but it'll do.

This weeks comment (kinda) is on reilly's LJ:
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English Lit. Shakespeare Week 7.

So the Discussions are on again. I've got to say there didn't seem much of a gap between discussions this time. Not that I see a problem with that, I could use all the help I can get with Henry the IV (even after an impromptu performance).

I still can't seem to decide my feelings towards the characters in the play. King Henry seems a blood thirsty sort, Prince Hal a wasteful double faced youth and Falstaff a rolly-polly thief. Admittedly there is more to these characters than these limited definitions but still, I find little in them to like or admire.

This is why rather I prefer Hotspur.

At least at the start of the play, impetuous and short tempered, barely holding diplomacy. The sort of man who finds it difficult to deceive because the world is plain to him. I'll admit he lacks vision and as MG said he is 'limited' but so far, I agree with him the most. Perhaps it's the old Irish blood in me that sees the English as oppressors and unjust rulers. Enforcing their rule on all the British Isle. Now that I am a naturally patriotic chap but I can't help but side with the 'little guy' the 'underdog'.

So I am left unsure about the play and how it sits with me. I'm hopeful that a few more days discussion will sort me out.

In the meantime I wrote this little bit in my common place book the other day. I figure I'll share it cause I enjoyed writing it, though looking back it's tad snarky. I flicked open a book the other day and read the first half a page. It was dialogue and heavy handed character exposition. The poor craftmanship of the writing led me to write the following.


"Why do you suppose so many stories start with a dialogue?" Asked Frank Drake.
"Don't really know, but it always irks me how the characters are given their full names right away." responded Johnny Wakefield "you know, like it's the first thing you need to know and yet their last name is never mentioned again."
"Yeah, it always seems forced, like how an author will make a 'casual' reference to their job through some 'innocuous' aside." Frank noted as he finished marking yet another students essay.
"Yeah and how the location of the story is just thrown right in the readers face." Johnny looked around the staff room at the old chairs and worn carpet "There is just no subtly in writing these days.".


Like I said kind of snarky, It's easy to pick apart others writing than to write yourself.
Thanks for reading (if you did)
John M.

P.S. this weeks comment... hasn't been written yet so, I'll get back to you!

Ok, so a few days later and I've written a comment. It's on Elise simply stunning poem mirroring Ovid's Four Ages. I struggled to find something critical to say about it as it is magnificently written. God grant me half her ability with verse!

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Week 6 English Lit. Shakespeare.

Having yet to fully grasp Henry the IV part un (or any part of him for that matter) I feel compelled to write a creative piece, whether it turns our creative or not we shall have to see.

The Thing in the Classroom
(A subject provided by Jesse Kants)

Inside every classroom there is a Thing. It is only a small Thing. It is not ugly, though it chooses to hide itself. It is not stupid but it remains silent. It is always felt to be there though no one can say where. This Thing has no name. It is impossible to describe. It is the Thing in the classroom.

Think of a classroom you've been in, any classroom. The chairs, desks white/black board, can you see them? What about fans or air conditioners? Are they in the classroom? The feel of paper, the smell of chalk; are they there too? What about the teacher/lecturer the one who educates, is s/he there? Think of every detail you can, every detail, down to the chip in the desk and the mark on the carpet. Do you see the classroom? Do you see the whole classroom? Do you really see every facet of the whole classroom? Every crack, dust speck, window, door, discarded penlid, ceiling tile, waste basket and scrunched up paper?

If you can really see a classroom as clearly as that, well done, you have quite a good visual memory.
If you can't see the classroom, that's ok, just go to a classroom now and have a look then come back.

We'll give those without great visual memory a few moments here...
Ok, everyone back yet? No? sorry...
My apologies to those with visual memory capabilities, I would be one of those looking in a classroom so please, bear with us...
Ok, all back now? good

So hopefully we all now have a very clear picture in our minds of a classroom...
there are always a few stragglers, hurry up please...
Ok, right, OK!
We all now have a clear picture of a classroom. Did you see the Thing in the classroom? If you did stop reading, I can't give you anything more than you just got. If you didn't, don't worry, I couldn't see it the first time either. 

So, look again at the classroom, Have you ever gotten that feeling when the teacher/lecturer is looking at you and expecting an answer that you don't have. You know that feeling? Right there, that's the Thing. you can feel it right behind you, feel it hanging over your head. It's right there in those moments. You may wonder why no one else notices it during these times but that is the strangeness of the Thing. It lives in the classroom, it is always there. Even when the classroom is empty and there are no teachers asking questions or students with answerless eyes, the Thing is there. There may be some readers who now think I am creating something from nothing, making a simple case of 'drawing a blank' into a boogey man. For those who have felt it though, surely you can agree, the Thing is there. I don't believe that it is 'nerves'. It is too universal and too common to be only me. The Thing is there and we've all felt it.

I really want to help people see the Thing for what it is. How can we know? Well, some have already left this post because they saw the Thing. Others I lost at 'facet'. To those who are still reading, who haven't seen the Thing but have experienced it I have only one tactic left.

Look behind you! There! There! the Thing is there, right there! I'm pointing at it look. Oh, you just missed it!

The End!
(it's not Jesse)

This weeks comment can be found here: