Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wuthering Heights: An Overview

Hey there. This is a preface. I promised that I'd post this now-semi-infamous review of Wuthering Heights. I am in my first week of school, so I don't exactly have time to post the original content this Friday (considering I'm announcing for the Golden Cougar Marching Band this fall). So, I'll give you the following. If I find time, I'll post more. I am also going to answer some of the questions my teacher had at the end. The <<number>> denotes the placement of these comments.

For the original Journal in its entirety: click here.

So I recently finished the novel Wuthering Heights.

If I were to describe it in a few words, it would be summed up as a dark love-story in reverse. I can see how this was hailed as a classic because for its time, this love-story-in-reverse is a revolutionary idea.

I guess I should explain why it is a love story in reverse. It seems that the only time everyone was truly happy was in the beginning of Mrs. Dean's tale. As the novel progressed, all of the characters seemed to get angrier in countenance as their stories and injustices deepened.

This novel basically follows the life and times of the (extremely) evil Heathcliff, incited by Lockwood meeting him, and asking Mrs. Dean about him.

If I were to assign a generic theme to this novel it would be: Don't be a Heathcliff. However, I don't think that serves as a theme as much as it serves as just good advice. So, I guess in a broader sense, a theme could be that love can prevail only if both parties pursue it.

Another could be along the lines of that of Romeo and Juliet, where the inevitability of fate <<1>> plays a rather huge role. It seems that every character is realistic in the sense of how they are their own person, and organically make decisions of their own accord without realizing how it affects one another.

Love plays a role in this novel in complicating itself. (I need to explain this...) Heathcliff loves Catherine I, and that's plain as day. However, because of his three-year absence, Catherine I moves on and marries Edgar Linton, writing Heathcliff off as escaped and possibly dead. He comes back, and is essentially told "you snooze, you lose" and he cannot find it inside of himself to move on. His life's mission is avenge this doomed love.

It appears that Heathcliff was doomed from the start with this love, after all, why couldn't he have just written her off as a sister, and loved her in that sense? <<2>> It probably would have made him less a devil and less a tortured soul. (Remember that in this universe, it is apparently okay to marry your cousin?)

I have been looking at this novel through the eye of a high school sophomore in the United States in 2012. My guess is that some of the goings-on in this novel would make more sense to me if I were a fifteen or sixteen year old living in the late 18th century. Nevertheless, it stands out to me as a reverse love story which Mr. Lockwood played as a vessel, and not a pivotal piece (I am still a tad bummed about that part...). <<3>>

I see love as an understanding between two people that there is something more between them. Love is this concept one cannot quantify in mere words, but rather through this mental understanding. There are ways of showing this love, but in the end the love itself is this understanding of one another. It seems that neither Heathcliff nor Catherine I ever understood that part.

Q&A Time:
1) (see note above): Is it Fate? Or is it social class conventions?

A: So I wrote "fate". Just looked this up, the dictionary definition is "The development of events outside a person's control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power." However, it appears that I was wrong in it, but rather it is a percieved fate. They controlled most of their own life, that is Heathcliff and Catherine I. The only event that is fate in this sense is the fact that Catherine I died. Had she married Heathcliff, I don't think she would have lived any longer, but that is one man's opinion. As for social class issues, I don't think that anything other than Heathcliff's lack of last name qualifies for a class difference. If they were meant to be, love would probably conquer...

2)Because they are soul mates!

A: I am not qualified to answer this comment, but I'll give it a whack. I'll define soul mate officially as "A person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner." (google ftw!). Analyzing the traits of Catherine I and Heathcliff, they kind of are soul mates. If you consider two overly bitter people compatible. I don't know love. See my next post.

3) But why is Nelly telling him the story? What role might he play?

A: Simply, Lockwood asked. He plays the role only as the realization of the dream of Heathcliff. Heathcliff wanted to destroy Edgar Linton's happiness. He wanted to have Wuthering Heights AND Thrushcross Grange, only to keep one and rent the other out. The latter is the role Lockwood holds. I kind of thought that he could have written the next chapter, and maybe changed Heathcliff, or maybe saved Catherine II. I don't know.

Special Thanks to Ms. Oravitz for playing along!

For the original Journal in its entirety: click here.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer 2012: A Review

So I am on the eve of that day that ends the summer. I don't particularly like people who tell me "summer isn't over until the middle of September" or something like that... because I define the end of summer as the day school begins.

So I thought that I'd review and recap the summer that just happened. This summer to me has been like an awesome freefall... You get the rush in the beginning and then you just kind of cruise along.

In a Bullet list, here's what I did from the beginning of May through this evening:

  • May 5th 2012: Ran marathon Scout Camp, Re(imagiNATION) contest, then greeted the bishop the following day
  • Finished Great Expectations which never met mine
  • Two Marathon weeks of scout camp (two separate camps)
  • Spent 10 days in the non existent land of DelMarVa
  • Re-vamped a video lab
  • Reached 6,000 views on this site (THANKS AGAIN!!!)
  • Participated in TWO flag ceremonies
  • Spent many a weekend at my grandparents' camp.
  • Drove at least two miles on my bike...
  • Drove a lot farther in a golf cart.
...and no doubt did a bunch of other stuff that I'm too lazy to write.

This is the point in the review where I give my personal opinions on some things. I visited Delaware's Bethany Beach and loved walking the boardwalks there. I didn't particularly enjoy the more crowded Rehoboth Beach, but loved the view from atop an outlook tower in Cape Henlopen State Park. I also enjoyed the ability to google something one day, and visit it the next. Such a case is the Fenwick Island Lighthouse, which produced both the artistic bit to the left of the above text.

In essence, Summer 2012 for me was a time where I spent bettering myself through training, living partially in the outdoors, and above all, trying to live as much life as I can.

Monday marks the end of this fantastic ride, and I really hope, for my new school year's resolution (I'm not sure if that's a thing, but whatever!) that this year can be a fantastic ride also.

Song of the Summer:  Finding Something To Do by hellogoodbye on Grooveshark

So with this, I end the "Summer" tag until next year :(. Thanks for riding with me.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Devil In The White City: An Overview and Blog

Okay, so I just finished the final book (of 3... hear this one, Education Dept? Nope? Okay...) assigned to me for this summer. Granted, I have 4 days to spare. I consider myself somewhat of a procrastinator... which is a bad trait.

Nevertheless, one of the things I had to do for the one was keep a journal. Which I did on a parallel site, but due to issues I am not publishing the whole thing. I am going to just post the overview on my main site, next Friday. So, technically the following is the second written, first in a series of book reviews I want to do on this site. It's one of the new format ideas I have, and I'm going to see how this works. Here goes nothing.

The Devil In The White City: An Overview

So I recently finished the novel The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson. 

The author's note is unlike any other author's note I've read... I'll quote it:
"However strange or macabre some of the following incidents may seem, this is not a work of fiction."
This alone intrigued me.

The basic premise of the novel, is alternating chapters. Half of it tells about Daniel H. Burnham, an architect that rose to fame by being one of the key figures in the creation of the Chicago 1893 World's fair, and the other half is devoted to the serial  killer (just blocks away from this fair) living under the alias H.H.Holmes.

I was warned ahead of time that parts may be boring. I found quite the opposite to be true. The whole book was up in the ranks of books that I've read... almost to the level of Jay Scribble.

The Architect's adventures start at being a small Chicago firm, and then arranging all of the best architects in the nation at that time to combine powers to build over 200 structures... with a timespan of less than three years.

This adventure gave new meaning of "down to the wire". But once completed, this world's fair was one of the defining moment's in our nation's history. And it seemed like an awesome time to be alive.

Alive, that is, if you aren't a beautiful young woman seduced by H.H. Holmes. He'd seduce women into working for him, and in some cases marrying him. The marriage count, at my last count, was like 5 wives... with no formal divorce ever finalized...

He'd have these women move into a building of his own design. Once she got too needy, Dr. H.H.Holmes kicked in and, well, killed her. His "Murder Castle" was home to a gas chamber, dissecting table, and of course crematorium.

He admitted to 27 killings, and only 4 were ever confirmed, with one estimate reaching 200. If you're as fascinated in this, I'd highly recommend reading Wikipedia about it...

I highly recommend the book... get it from a local library or something.

So that's all for now... Have you read the book? Comment!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The 38C to Downtown, and Other Adventures

So I kind of want to start a series along the lines of Rick Sebak's "Stuff That's Gone" video but I don't want to do it in video form, so I think I am going to do that in blog form. And I think I'm going to call it "The 38C" but I think I need to explain what that means.

I started writing a novel a while back, and it opens with a scene where the main character goes out lays on his front street. This pays homage to a game of chicken that the neighborhood teens would play on our front street when I was growing up. The idea behind this was to lay down, and run out just before the bus would run you over.

Yes, I do realize this was stupid. The important part is the next scene, where this main character realizes that bus no longer runs on his street.

This is a semi true story, minus the fact of lying in the middle of the street.

Once upon a time, there ran a bus line right in front of my house, the 38C Greentree Express that from an island at the end of the street, you could get a bus that would take you to downtown. They cut that entirely in August of last year.

If you ask anyone from Pittsburgh for directions, a true Pittsburgher will reference points/landmarks from things that aren't in existence anymore. We're not being mean, we just don't adjust to change too well.

Moving on, the first installment of this probably is my adventure with a few friends from school a few days back. We traveled through the back woods of Carnegie Park and found our way to a patch behind Chioda Field where there used to be a makeshift dirtbike pathway/obstacle course.

Apparently no one cared enough to fix up the old place after a little bridge was broken by some muggles, and it has been in ruins as a sort of paper trail ever since.

I plan in the coming weeks to do another one of these things, and I also want to publish a book-review esque thing, but I cannot due to some issues right now on my end. I want to, next time I feature this, look at Chartiers Avenue and Dawson Avenues: Local Paper Roads.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lights Will Guide You Home: Quoting Songs for Blog Titles

Why Hello There! My guess is that you forgot I existed, due to my recent absence. Strangely enough, I have been experiencing somewhat of a writers block.

I guess I should start by explaining how I get the ideas that become these blog posts, and for that matter, all of my adventures and projects. I usually just decide "hey, it's Friday (or Thursday), why not blog" and immediately all of my thoughts flood into my fingers and as a result, the page in front of me. I am an idea person, I come up with about 100 ideas for a post per week, and only ever use one because I rarely finish a thought. I have had four draft posts in my queue to finish writing, but I almost never finish those in favour of creating a completely new one.

On an unrelated note, I have been out and about recently with my not-as-footprinted-on-the-internet friend Greg. He informed me about six months about this thing called Geocaching. It's basically a worldwide treasure hunt that requires a GPS (Which he has).

If you are interested in the trend, check out If you get a membership, check out my personal profile here: I am, unoriginally, The2015Blogger.

Railroad Trestle: Built Circa 1901...
Taken with an Android Phone.
So we went on an adventure through the backwoods of Crafton on our adventure this past Monday. We were off to find a cache that required climbing like a 20% grade up this crazy hill and into an old coal quarry. However, we did get to see this awesome railroad trestle on our way back. 

Anyway, it quickly got dark as we walked through the woods and the entire 1.8 mile stretch all the way back to his house.

I guess a good question to ask is Why? I think I fell victim to that human urge to explore outside of what we know. I think that in the end, we are all bonded by this curiousity as to what lies on top of a hill. Without this geocache, I would never had seen this trestle, and never been able to see what Chartiers Creek looks like from a MUCH higher elevation.

Curious? The Cache is Called "You'll Find More Than Coal" and you can check out its listing here:
Tell them The2015Blogger sent you!