Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
I miss you guys! But I'll be there tomorrow and we'll catch up, hear the last Presentations, and review for the final on Wednesday.
I'm sure you guys are glad to be mostly done reading here now and you can just review the novel and the stories we've read since the Mid-term. I appreciate all the work and for being gracious to the visiting teachers as well.
On Tuesday, I'll bring my Wuhan University students and we'll have a US/China trivia set up and some conversation and an Open House with free lunch about 11:30.
This class has flown by, it seems. Kathy, we can read that flash fiction of Hemingway's in our textbook during class tomorrow and that will go nicely as a short text to accompany your Presentation.
Good luck and see you in the morning.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
One of the more humorous lines is when he encounters bad guys and either disarms them, is caught, or gets the last laugh.
[Marlowe]Somebody's always giving me guns.
[Marlowe] My, my, my! Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains! You know, you're the second guy I've met today that seems to think a gat in the hand means the world by the tail.
[Canino] What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a gun before? What do you want me to do, count three like they do in the movies?
[Marlowe] I can do what? Where? Oh no, I wouldn't like that. Neither would my daughter.
[Marlowe] I hope the sergeant never traces that call.
These are my favorite lines, I also tend to think the filmic conventions used to try to get us into Marlowes head are interesting, such as when we see him trying to keep track of Geiger in the bookstore across the street. his actions are very literal and interpretated i could see the book narrating this scene as I was watching.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Vivan, Sternwood's daughter, goes to see Marlowe with some nude pictures of a woman and these pictures offer an important clue to Marlow becuae the woman on those pictures is Carmen. Tracing the blackmailer who has Carmen's pictures, Marlow is led to Joseph Brody's apartment. Talking to Brody, Marlow finds out Brody wants to take over Geiger's porn business, but he denies killing Geiger. Ironically Brody is shot by Geiger's lover. Now Mr Sternwood's case is closed and Vivan meets Marlow in order to give him his check. Their meeting leads to the second story.
Marlow's professonal sense tells him that Vivan is hiding something from him. Regan, Vivan's former husband, have disappeared for a few months and it's said that he ran away with Eddie Mars's wife. Marlow starts from Mars' casino. However, Marlow is unable to get any information about Ms Mars from Mr Mars. Harry Jones, who knows where Ms Mars is located, finds Marlow and tries to sell the information to him. Canino, Eddie's boy, poisoned Harry before Marlow's able to make the deal with him. Now it seems the clue is cut off, but the girlfriend of Harry, Agnes, is able to finish the deal with Marlow. Marlow then drives to the auto shop where Ms Mars is held. In the shop Marlow is knocked out by Canino. When he wakes up he sees Ms Mars and Vivan.
After a long talk with Vivan, Marlow figures out what's bothering Vivan. Marlow and Vivan then return to Geiger's house. Fallen in the trap created by Marlow, Eddie is shot by his own boys. Marlow then reports to the police like this: Eddie killed Regan although he knows it's Carmen who really killed Regan after being spurned. The ending is romantic when Vivan challenges Marlow by saying, "Nothing you can fix."
The plot of the movie is not easy to follow because it's a complex story and have several herring (something that draws attention away from the central issues) characters. For example, Geigle appears dead on the floor and his death is still a mystery. It is hinted that Taylor killed Geigle but the motives are never shown. Carol kills Brody for his "lover" Geigle without any background introduction and hints. These characters are portrayed in a very minor way, but they offer clues to Marlow and keep the movie going. In the book all these questions are probably answered. However, due to time constraint, the movie just can't cover all of it. Frankly a complex story like The Big Sleep doesn't fit the big screen too well.
So I kept having a running theory that the two sets of murders were separate but related through Harriet, that Martin was involved somehow in Harriet's disappearance and had an accomplice. The reason being was that he was immediately thrown out as a suspect because he was in Upsalla.
plus Cecelia was either a witness or an accessory. I can't figure out whether Harriet is alive or dead.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Then I moved my focus to the heroine Salander the girl with the dragon tatoo (Is she really the heroin?)and tried to figure out if there's any relationship between Salander and the Vangers. The only connection I found is the sadistic guardian really belongs to the old Vangers' camp! Right now it seems Harriet is more like the heroine. Should a woman who suvived all those tortures be more interesting to the audience? Comparing Harriet's suffering with the Salander's, maybe Harriet would gian more sympathy. However, I thought the novel was about the girl with a dragon tatoo...
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I had fully expected that Rick would give himself up, be shot, or sent back to the concentration camp as the plane took off. I was shocked when Rick shot the Nazi officer and became business partners with Louie Renault ("Louie, i think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."). this seems to go back to Ricks' shady line of business and the fact that he's good at dealing.
Louie seems to have regained his pride as a Frenchman and seems to want to keep fighting for the french rather than peace with germany (as indicated when he threw the bottle, of Vichy champagne in the garbage.)
I don't think that this movie should be remade, but if there was a movie that was with similar themes, made into today's world. it would have to focus on national pride, loss, and the idea that even a criminal can have national pride and fight for his country.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
The character that meant the most to me was Captain Louis Renault because front he very beginning he was always honest about his intentions and even shared that he was a romantic with the audience and the characters in the story. He also tried his best to stay neutral as far as picking sides which to me showed just how much war had affected him that he would go so far as to say that he took only "the winning side". When it came to close encounters with some of the more hostile members of the Nazi party like Major Heinrich Strasser, his impression was not completely loyalty, nor was it completely disloyal.
Both Leroy and Norma met severe troubles in adjusting to their lives after Leroy's accident. Suggested by his mother-in-law, Leroy decided to take Norma to Shiloh, Tennesse. At Shiloh Norma eventually told Leroy, "I want to leave you." Walking around the battlefields, Leroy gained inspiration and courage form both the Confederate army and Virgil Mathis, a policeman Leroy used to shoot pool with. Therefore he decided to quit building the log house and start over. Norma's attitude toward Leroy was ambiguous at the end of the story. She "waves her arms" toward Leroy, but "she seems to be doing an exercise for her chest muscles." Howerver, at least she was waving, not just turning away.
One of my favorite lines is in a conversation between Rick and Ilsa. They were reminiscing about the day they met. Ilsa asks Rick if he remembers the day. Rick responds "Not an easy day to forget; I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray. You wore blue."
There are so many examples of clever dialogue, but I won't go over every one. However, another favorite of mine would be the following. When asked "What is your nationality?", Rick responds "Drunkard."
The screenplay for Casablanca was not adapted from a book, and several writers are credited (and uncredited) with creating the screenplay. I think this makes the achievement even more surprising.
Ironically, the most well-known "quote" from the movie is in fact a misquote. "Play it again, Sam" is not in the movie.
The second reason this movie is a classic is the characters and the choice of actors to portray those characters. Nobody else could have played Rick. No other actress in the world could have played Ilsa. This is one of those magical moments where the right actors combined with the perfect screenplay created an unforgettable movie.
And we must give kudos to the supporting cast as well. Peter Lorre as Ugarte, Claude Rains as Captain Renault... the list goes on and on.
If I have to choose one character it would be Rick Blaine. Bogart's portrayal of Rick gave the character an emotional depth found in few fictional characters. Bogart's eyes broadcast a thousand emotions, yet his face remains inscrutable.
Casablanca will always remain on my list of classic movies.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
Rick Blaine's character meant the most to me. Rick is a smart and bold man who appears to only look out for himself. Then you see he has a softer side of Rick when Ilsa comes back into his life. He sacrifices his desires and need by giving up going to America because he loves Ilsa. That is true love to give up your freedom and let the women you love leave to live the rest to her life with another man. How can you not like a man for making such an ultimate sacrifice.
Norma Jean is the wife of Leroy in this story. She fills her time with hobbies like working out, and schoolwork from the local community college. She comes across as dissatisfied, depressed and dull. She faces the conflict of a mediocre life that is heading nowhere because of her lack of ambition. Her husband is out of work and has little to do beside smoke joints and make wishful plans. When I reflect on my thoughts of this character I feel angry, it is growingly irritating to not only see characters, but the people in my life as well be dissatisfied with their life, but have no determination to change it. You will only receive what you work for in life, and it is the people that become depressed and commit suicide that want what they aren’t willing to work for.
There are several reasons that attribute to why this film is such a classic, it has the perfect balance of romance, comedy, tragedy and even includes historically accurate information. Also, this film takes place during a war that was going on all around the world, so it was a very popular subject, even when it came to an end. The thing that immediately caught my attention once the movie was over was how many twists there were at the end, the least expected occurred and I had not seen it coming. Perhaps this is why this is such a great film, because it sends the message that there are bigger and more important things than our own self-interests and ourselves.
The character I was most interested in was Captain Louis Renault; he added comic relief to this tragic story. He also did not abuse his power as the others did in the film. He allows nature to take its course and places his chips with the highest bitter, when he finds himself in difficult situations. The way this character won me over for good was when he let Rick go, after shooting Strasser directly in front of him and holding him at gunpoint for the previous hour. This is a clear American classic, and once viewed it is easy to see why!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
When Rick met Ilsa at Casablanca, although Ilsa was still as beautiful as she was in Paris, she was not free any more. There's a guy standing beside her all the time, which is her husband, Victor. Rick couldn't move his eyes from Ilsa, but his mind was filled with anger and confusions. Later he found out that Ilsa didn't show up in the train station because her husband was found out alive and sick. Rick finally forgave Ilsa when he realized that she's still madly in love with him. At the end of the movie Rick could just put his name on the visa letter and fly to America with Ilsa, but he didn't. Instead he transfered the opportunity to Victor under the danger of sacrificing himself, only because he thought that was the best for Ilsa.
The presence of Victor to some extent generates dislikes since Rick and Ilsa looked so happy in Paris. However, Under the background of war, Victor was thrown into the Concentration camp and disappeared for a year. It was during his absence when his wife fell in love with Rick. Nobody can blame him if he chose to be bitter, but he didn't. He chose to believe Ilsa and didn't ask her any questions about Rick. This is his way to love Ilsa.
Most war movies are so tragic, however Casablanca is definitely not one of them. People are so small facing a war, but they still can manage their lives by making the right choices as what Rick and Victor did.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
A horn blares, tires screech, children scream and onlookers gasp. This is how I spent one fateful lunch period of my elementary school years. Attending St. Peters elementary growing up had its positives and negatives just like any other school. Positives being good teachers and lots of friends; negatives being uniforms and having to walk three downtown city blocks to the cafeteria located not a hundred yards away. We were more excited than usual for lunch that afternoon, being that it was Friday; pizza day. The last bastion of hope for a disillusioned third grader. As we jostled each other to make it to the front of the line behind our teacher, Ms. Millie, she abruptly stopped us at the curb and waited on the light to change so that we might cross the street to the cafeteria. Being extra hungry that day I had managed to make it to the front of the line with my friend Seth. Both of us waiting in agonizing anticipation for the signal to go; like two thoroughbreds’s anticipating the gunshot that would set them free. Jumping the gun Seth darted out a split second before the light changed and was rudely introduced to the front fender of an old cutlass. A screech and a thud and it was all over, and me with a front row seat; and to think, pizza day was supposed to be the best day of the week.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
For the first time in his life, Danny was in a state of fear. He had been startled, frightened and scared, but never before had he felt like this. It was a week before the most important basketball game of his high school career, and he was bout to throw it all away. Grant, a fellow classmate who lived across the neighborhood was having a party, and as all high school parties do, it was busted. Knowing the consequence would involve being suspended from the game he loved, he took off through the back door.
Three strides out the door he heard two cops yelling for him to stop, however do to the lack of light behind the house, he knew if he were to escape it would be unlikely he was identified. As he ran through the neighborhood his adrenaline increased greatly, he could hear the footsteps of the cops chasing him down. He then turned on his final gear and separated himself from the officers, as the sound of the footsteps faded, Danny knew, he had gotten away.
On one particular day, Susie was the waitress and my friend Sheri and I were the customers. We were out of crackers, so Mom let us use potato chips instead. In those days, potato chips came in a big can, very similar to the gourmet popcorn cans you see at Christmas. The can was big enough that a child could sit comfortably on the can.
That cold and sunny winter afternoon, we set up our restaurant in the living room. Sheri and I were sitting at our table, enjoying our meal of potato chips and water. Our waitress (Susie) pulled the can of chips over near our table to sit down. She must have forgotten that the lid was off, and her bottom slid into the can and made a funny sound. We laughed and yelled “You farted in the chips!” Susie denied it vehemently and blamed the sound on the can flexing as she fell in. Sheri and I were laughing so hard it was difficult to say a word. When I managed to catch my breath, I jokingly told Susie she was not a waitress but a “fartress”.
To this day, 40 years later, we still share the joke of the worst waitress in the world. We laugh just as hard as we did that day, and I cherish every moment with my sister, the Fartress.
I roll past the school yard, headed straight for Derrick’s house. A boy my age stops shooting basket ball and calls my attention. He looked immediately familiar and in seconds I realized he was one of my past class mates, who had changed schools last year. “Hey, what is that for?” he asks, pointing at my tin bowl right after we exchange greetings. “This is for Beyblading” I reply assuming that every kid on the block had to be familiar with the battling spinning tops imported from Japan. It even had an amazing cartoon to go along with it.
His face lit up in a way that only someone with a similar understanding of boyish and nerdy expression could understand. He either new exactly what I was talking about and played with Beyblades, or had yet to do get one himself. Suddenly, Derrick’s house had become miles away, as my past classmate Tevin said “I have one too! You should come over my house, so we can play!” From that moment on, the friendship of two mighty Beyblades had slowly began to form. Derrick was to later join us in an unstoppable force. This pivotal moment in my childhood was a fertile ground that bred the greater aspirations of what I am today. A gladiator.
The time has come to move into my own place. I loaded up the truck with everything frome clothes to bed, TVs to refrigerator. But most importantly my big blue couch, I love my big blue couch, it served many perposes. A place where all of my friends could sit, no matter how many there were. Or as simple as a bed for when I feel asleep watching TV on the weekends.
I had finally made it to my new home. I unloaded all of my belongings and it seemed as though everything was in place. Now I only had one more thing, my big blue couch. It was meant for a room upstairs and would make my house perfect. However, the darn thing wouldn't fit. So I had to come up with some way of getting it upstairs. I tried pushing and pulling, I even tried the window, but it just wouldn't fit. So I decided to unstaple the cloth, and take it a part. It finally made it upstairs. The only thing now was it wasn't as couch it was a pile of wood with a big blue piece of cloth.
It was the Lunar New Year again. Mom and Dad invited auntie Wang and her families over for dinner. Auntie Wang has a daughter and a son. Ying, the son, was five years old. Although I was six years older than him, I was never able to tame him.
Mom spent the whole morning in the kitchen preparing for food for the guests. My mouth was filled with saliva when Mom set the jumbo pork meatballs in front me. After Dad give a simple New Year’s toast, everybody started grabbing food by chopsticks except Ying. Instead he was looking at his mom and waiting for the food. My eyes were locked by a juicy meatball. I reached out my chopsticks and tried to pick it up. Unluckily it slipped from my chopsticks since it was huge. The second time I stuck my chopsticks into the meatball. Right before I pulled it up, Ying started yelling at me, “It’s mine. It’s mine.” My hand froze in the air for a second, then I heard Mom’s voice, “Guang, you’re the big sister. Give that meatball to your cousin.” “Ma,” I insisted, “There’re so many in the plate. Why does he just want mine?” Mom stood up, walked over to me. She snatched the chopsticks from my hands and dropped the meatball in Ying’s bowl. Ying smiled at me with his little slanted eyes. Although auntie Wang then picked the biggest meatball for me, my appetite was totally gone.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
For movies, my all time Favorite is Fight Club(have yet to read the book) then the rest are the good ones i've seen in the last 5 years. Donnie Darko, Weird Science, anything Quentin Terrantino, Inception, Forbidden Kingdom, Clive Barkers: Nightbreed, Let me in, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Akira.
The book that I mentioned on the first day of class was Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. A nine year old boy named Oskar loses his father in the 9/11 terrorist attack and is completely devistated in a way that he can not accept it. Upon going through his father's things, he finds a key in asmall envelope in a vase on an unreachable shelf labled "Black". Without his mother's permission, he decides to seek out everyone in New York with the last name "Black" in hopes of finding what this key was for and why his father had it.
The book I choice was King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild. I had to read this for History class. The book is about King Leopold II of Belgium and the crimes he comitted in the Congo, like slavery and human rights violations. This book was interesting to me because its something that really no one knew about back then, and still many people haven't hear of what happened. The writer uses sources like diaries and newspaper articles to give the reader good facts about the time. It also surprised me to learn that even today people in Belgium still praise Leopold as a great man. This is a interesting book and my not be for everyone, but if you have some free time you might try cracking it open and get into it.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
After Tom got off the truck, he met Jim Casy who used to be a preacher in his neighbour. Jim told Tom that he had to stop preaching because he couldn't control his "sexual appetite" towards young women. Also he believes that human spirit is the holy spirit.
Accompnied by Jim, Tom got to his parents' house and met an old neighbour, Muley Graves. From Muley's mouth, Tom found out that people were driven off the land because they were unable to generate enough profit to satisfy the land owners and bankers. Also his parents moved to Uncle John's.
At Uncle John's Tom finally met his parents and other families. They decided to go to California to start a new life by picking fruits. Grandpa refused to go with them. He sat in the front door grabbing a handful of soil.
The overloaded truck with people and little possessions left Oklahoma for Califonia. The Grandpa passed away on the road and was buried nowhere. They couldn't afford a funeral for him. Tom left a note in a glass bottle saying the death was caused by a stroke. The truck got back on the road again.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Once the action starts, this book is a roller coaster ride. There are several intense relationships that are explored and resolved. This book not only kept my interest, I had trouble putting it down in order to get anything else done :)
Mikael Blomvquist is a flawed man and that makes the character interesting. He has his own moral belief system, which seems quite different from the "typical" (is there such a thing?) American Judeo-Christian morality. I think it's because he is European, as is the author. Whatever the reason, I find him fascinating. I want to read more about him - in fact, I have already purchased books 2 & 3.
I'm from Hebei, China. Ok, where's that? It's in the north of China. From Beijing, the capital, it takes about 45 minutes to get there by car. I'm really lucky that the weather at Columbus is quite similar to Hebei, despite too much snow for last winter and too much rain for this spring. Wuhan is in the center of China. It's much hotter and wetter than Columbus. It takes over two hours to fly to Wuhan from Hebei. I have never been to Wuhan, but my dad was once positioned in Wuhan when he was in the national air force. It's too sad that Wuhan is experiencing a flood right now. However, the students from Wuhan University has been positively dealing with it. The picture on the right shows a little bit of it.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
As a way to develop and expand the introductions we did in class Monday, I'll say a few words here.
I'm originally from a farm in southwest Minnesota and was the first in my family to go to college. Before I became a teacher, I was on a road crew and built grain bins in Nebraska, worked as a Schwan's Man (meaning I sold food prouducts door-to-door in Oklahoma), a warehouse manager in Texas, a journalist in Minnesota, and a graduate student at The Ohio State University. At 33, I attained my Master's of Fine Arts in both fiction and poetry, and have been teaching at OSU ever since. I have published a few stories and poems in my days as a writer, and hope to publish a book of stories and a novel in the future.
I really look forward to teaching this class and hope you will enjoy it!
The last good book I read was the novel The Kite Runner. It has also been made into a movie, but I did not see it yet. The book is a coming of age story and involves two main characters who start as young boys in Afghanistan. It is a very good story of the differences in class and race and how this affects them. At its heart it is about a character who has to face some bad choices he has made and the way that these choices hurt others close to him. It has many tragic elements to the story, but the strongest part of the book is the characterizations and the inner lives of the true main characters, plus the relationship between the boy and his father. I'd give the book at 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. The villian in the book was a bit over the top and hard to believe at times.
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