|Posted by Maddie on December 24, 2011 at 12:25 AM||comments (0)|
Cheeses on My Christmas Wishlist: This is what I chose to be served at my family's dinner party.
2. Robiola Due Latti
4. Rogue River Bleu
7. Rush Creek Reserve
8. Fourme d'Ambert
Enjoy the holidays! I'll be in Hawaii next week so I hope to be trying a ton of new restaurants with large cheese carts!
|Posted by Maddie on December 11, 2011 at 1:30 PM||comments (11)|
Cheese Plate #1
From Left to Right: Pyrenees Brebi (+1) Pleasant Ridge (+2) (AMAZING) Sottocenere (+1) Ginepro (+0) Rogue River Bleu (+2)
Cheese Plate #2
From Left to Right: Ginepro (+0) Mon Enebro (+1) Harbisson (+2) (AMAZING) Sweet Grass (-1) Caruchon (+0) Rogue River Bleu (+2)
Deep in Thought: Intensive Cheese Selection
|Posted by Maddie on December 11, 2011 at 9:45 AM||comments (1)|
|Posted by Maddie on December 7, 2011 at 10:50 PM||comments (6)|
Proud to be the owner of ALL of Emily Dickinson's poems -- at least the owner of the 770 page book! -- my american heritage dictionary look less grand sitting on the bookshelf
Let's be honest here: Dickinson Comes Before Dictionary...Dictionary Comes Late... reminds me of Dickinson's "Victory Comes Late" www.poemhunter.com/poem/victory-comes-late/
Best money I've ever spent... well it's a tie between this and a pound of Robiola Rocchetta. =]
|Posted by Maddie on November 29, 2011 at 2:35 PM||comments (1)|
Inspired by the Chinese holiday. In Chinese, you cannot make characters "upper-case," so the personification Dickinson frequently uses, would not accurately be translated. Similarly, while I used alliteration in the Chinese version of the poem, those who cannot speak Chinese cannot catch the alliteration and homophones used here.
|Posted by Maddie on November 28, 2011 at 12:05 AM||comments (2)|
"The Deal on Those Wildly High Price Tags"
Apparently, the most expensive cheese is $428 per pound.
|Posted by Maddie on November 17, 2011 at 9:45 PM||comments (16)|
Reruns by Maddie G
Forever is felt this way.
The drum regulates the rhythm
A thought in every beat
And reminder in repeat.
I can't help but feel like the sky.
Towering over a city of lights
Pierced by skyscrapers' grandeur;
Memories are the backdrop of
My very own reality TV show.
A rerun disguised.
Probably the fate of my demise.
|Posted by Maddie on November 17, 2011 at 8:35 AM||comments (2)|
Describing cheese requires skill. And I'm not yet an expert yet either, but I'm learning from one: Max McCalman. Max McCalman is a James Beard Award recipient, author of 3 successful reference books on cheese, Dean of Curriculum at Artisanal, won the "World's Best Book on Cheese" Award, and is NASA's go-to guy for all questions cheese.
I thought I would compile a list for you so you can describe cheese like the professionals do.
Pillowy, Creamy, Dense, Chewy, Elastic, Velvety, Toothsome, Pasty, Sticky, Crumbly, Dry, Creamy, Dense, Chewy, Elastic, Pliable
Barnyardy, Beefy, Grassy, Gamy, Earthy, Herbaceous, Tangy, Buttery,
Earthy, Nutty, Mushroomy, Sharp, Stinky, Pungent, Smoky, Caramelized
Now, all you poets can use these adjectives in your poems about cheese! Email firstname.lastname@example.org your poems, or comment below!
|Posted by Maddie on November 15, 2011 at 10:50 PM||comments (6)|
Friends come here,
Play with me.
We are happy,
It is fun.
The sun rises.
I go play in the park.
In the park there are trees.
In the trees, there are birds.
I say, “Hello.”
I woke up,
And ate breakfast.
Under the tree there are presents.
On the tree there are little lights.
The whole family goes to sleep.
The whole world has water.
I look out from my window,
And see a river.
In the river, there are red fish.
I feel at home.
Everyday I learn,
I learn a lot
School is in my head
I learn how to live.
There is a book on the desk.
I want to live in the book.
It’s pretty and happy.
I love the book’s people,
I love the book’s trees.
But, I can’t go.
The winter has gone home,
Now there are not cold winds.
I went outside to walk,
And saw a little tree.
Everyday I saw it,
Before there were no flowers,
Now there are white flowers.
I hear a song
Blowing in the wind.
The flowers sing songs,
Songs of reawakening.
I look up at the sky,
I think, “Today the world is sad.”
There are no green trees, no flowers.
Corpses are falling to the earth.
The wind has blown away children’s laughter.
Vultures circle my head.
A tear falls into the ocean,
I will find it when summer comes.
My hand is like a graveyard.
The lines of my palm tell the story of my past.
|Posted by Maddie on November 14, 2011 at 6:45 PM||comments (10)|
Thought this would be of interest to some followers. This may be my favorite essay, and my English teacher's favorite too. I wanted to explore the 13 unique ways that fashion in Much Ado, but instead found this essay more exciting. Streamlined, this essay is about why Shakespeare uses so many definitions of fashion, and that we should manipulate structure and tradition to our own use in order to be successful in fashioning plans... Enjoy! MG
Shakespeare's Multiple Uses of Fashion in Much Ado About Nothing by Maddie G
Shakespeare does not believe in following rules unthinkingly. He manipulates rules to suit his own purposes and uses multiple definitions of “fashion” to rebel against social convention. His casual word usage reflects his broader philosophy about the limitations of society: he uses “fashion” as a gauge to rate the complexity of his characters’ perspective of the world. With his varying and at times confusing definitions of fashion, Shakespeare hints that the world is more than simple ethics, and that characters’ understanding of the world’s complexity determines the success of their schemes. Much Ado About Nothing punishes the villains for their unsophisticated consciences—a result of upholding social conventions— and praises heroes for seeing beyond such simplistic terms and understanding the complexity of the world. Ultimately, Shakespeare reveals that a comprehension of human nature will liberate us from the limits of society and give us power to control the success of our schemes. Society’s imposing rules cause a blind duty to convention, limits its members by promoting shallow thinking, and makes choices for its members by applying ethics to all the facets that make us human. Villain Don John automatically assumes his status in society, and feels that he should fit and conform to his bastard place. Even when Conrade suggests faking a pleasant face for Don Pedro, Don John says: Being as thou sayst thou art, born under Saturn... I must be sad when I have cause…I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace, and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any… I am a plain-dealing villain… let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me” (1.3.11-34). Don John sees his status in society as determined at birth and reveals that his fated demeanor is to “be sad,” for he was “born under Saturn.” His use of “born” makes it seem that society assigned him a predestined fate and use of “must” reveals his blind duty to following society’s set patterns. Additionally, Don John believes we have to uphold our loyalty to our identity; he thinks adopting a new demeanor, or “carriage,” is unethical because fashion “alters” identities and “robs” emotions. Ultimately, because society enforces strict rules, Don John assumes that there is one implication of fashion— its harmful thievery— and consequently does not realize fashion’s benefits. He uses “plain-dealing” to describe his villainous personality and the underlying simplicity that regulates ethics. He thinks it is “better” to assume his real identity, stating that he does not want to use fashion to cover what he is not, and would rather be a “canker,” than a “rose” because the ugly aspects of nature suit his illegitimate “blood.” Because Don John is accustomed to society’s order in which he must alter himself, he recoils back to his illegitimate status. Thus, Don John’s plans fail because he cannot take command of fashion and put it to a good end as Don Pedro and the Friar do. He says that it is “better” to “fit [his] blood,” which counters Shakespeare’s message on fashioning and manipulating. Shakespeare teaches us that we should fashion our surroundings fit to us, rather than we ourselves mold to our surroundings, which is the reason Don John is eventually captured and brought back to be punished. Shakespeare’s teachings about our role as individuals reveal that the world is always being manipulated and changes from person to person, like fashion, and should not be seen in structured ethical terms because we are supposed to manipulate the world ourselves. Shakespeare suggests the villains’ vision of life is too simplistic because society breeds thinkers to accept one interpretation. Borachio, in his conversation with Conrade, sees fashion one way: he believes that fashion is a thief. When telling Conrade of his immoral actions to help Don John, he digresses onto the subject of fashion perhaps because he was thinking about the discrepancy between clothing and identity when he crafted a plan to have Margaret impersonate Hero. In his conversation with Conrade, Borachio cannot understand Conrade’s point because society limits him to see another view of the same topic. Conrade and Borachio’s conversation about clothing highlights the confusion and limitations that victims of society encounter: Conrade: Yes, it is apparel. Borachio: I mean the fashion. Conrade: Yes, the fashion is the fashion. (3.3.113-8). Apparel is fashion without ethical implications, which Borachio cannot seem to accept because he cannot see the world without structured ethics. Borachio’s submission to fashion traps him to understanding one conventional usage and one interpretation. To him, fashion is a “deformed thief” and “giddily ‘a turns about all the hot-bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty, sometimes fashioning them like Pharaoh’s soldiers in the reechy painting…where his codpiece seems as massy as his club” (3.3.129-33). Borachio views fashion as negative because it “deform[s]” individuals. The act to “deform” is considered to be a wrongdoing because society imposes a strict form and structure upon its members. Borachio observes that fashion makes young people “giddy” because they care about how they are dressed, sometimes copying the fashion of the paintings. Painters can to manipulate the perception people have of others to their advantage, by emphasizing what they want the audience to see by controlling the whole appearance—size, color, and clothing of subject— to the viewer, which is how Shakespeare believes we humans should behave. Conrade replies, “But art not thou thyself giddy with the fashion, too, that thou hast shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion? (3.3.134-37). Conrade notices that Borachio too is “giddy,” even though Borachio lacks the insight to realize it. Ultimately, Shakespeare punishes the villains because they fail to understand how to have power over fashion without fashion overpowering them. Shortly after his statements about fashion, Borachio is caught by the watchmen and is eventually demoted to criminal status because he sunk to low means for money. The way society nurtures its members prevents them from ever being able to control and manipulate it. Thus, Borachio’s rigid belief and unsophisticated ideas cause his demise. While Don John and Borachio’s schemes are not successful because they are trapped by society’s one-faceted opinions, Don Pedro and the Friar are not influenced by society and can see beyond appearance and unforeseen situations. As a result, these two heroes notice and manipulate human tendencies and expose hidden emotions from their understanding of the complex nature of the world. Because Don Pedro understands human nature, he is able to unite two enemies of marriage. He tells his partners in crime how he plans to craft love between Beatrice and Benedick: I doubt not but to fashion it…I will teach you how to humour your cousin that she shall fall in love with Benedick; and I… in despite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer” (2.1.340-57). Don Pedro’s understanding of complex emotions and human weakness allows him to successfully manipulate his friends. His plan does not require differentiating right from wrong; rather, he concentrates on making two people who may love each other, open about their emotions. Don Pedro suggests using “humour” and taking advantage of “[Benedick’s] quick wit and his queasy stomach” to unmask their love. Don Pedro notes that he and his friends are assuming Cupid’s role of “an archer,” with the weapon being knowledge of valuable insight into his victims’ tendencies. His comparison to Cupid reveals the immense power and control he receives from having the ability to manipulate human nature. Don Pedro’s Cupid-like role provides a contrast from Don John and Borachio’s limited power in society. Becoming the role of Cupid allows Don Pedro to assume a powerful, even god-like s definitions. Like Don Pedro, the Friar too can gain insight about hidden situations and manipulate human nature to aid his scheming escapades. Because he understands human nature and the complexity of people, the Friar creates a plan to reunite Hero and Claudio. his plan is successful because he understands human nature and the complexity of people. When Hero’s reputation is tarnished, the Friar fashions a plan to reveal the truth behind the miscommunication and to instill pleasant memories of Hero into Claudio’s mind to repair their relationship: “What we have we prize not to the worth/Whiles we enjoy it, but being lacked and lost,/ Why, then we rack the value, then we find/The virtue that possession would not show us/Whiles it was ours. When he shall hear she died upon his words,/Th’ idea of her life sweetly creep Into his study of imagination... and doubt not but success/ Will fashion the event in better shape” (4.1.218-35). Human nature is the backbone to the Friar’s plan. The Friar says that humans have a tendency to place little value on what is ours until it is “lacked and lost.” In the same way Don Pedro took on the role of the Greek demi-god Cupid, the Friar assumes a God-like power in this scene in three ways: he is able to bring the dead back to life, erase the past, and instill good memories of Hero into Claudio’s mind. The great power that comes from living without society’s limitations is crucial to the success of schemes. For Don Pedro and the Friar, they are able to see what is hidden or overlooked, and are able to devise successful solutions to unite people and create joy. Ultimately, Shakespeare suggests through his use of “fashion” and these two heroes that we need freedom to successfully create plans and shows us that freedom and God-like power comes from understanding human nature differs greatly from the minimal freedom of an ethics-based lifestyle. Shakespeare tells us that society makes us think that we need to fit a certain standard to gain acceptance. The vague definitions of “fashion’ reflect the complexity of the world; with varying definitions of “fashion,” he purposely confuses us to reveal that there is no specific fashion or trend that exists outside of society because it is up to the individual to craft the world to how they see fit. He molds “fashion” to his writing and does not force himself to use one definition. His vague definitions force us to think harder about its effects on society and human nature, so we are insightful and multi-dimensional people like Don Pedro rather than shallow Don Johns. The successful outcomes of schemes in Much Ado About Nothing are a result of careful manipulation and deep insight into the nature of people. He reveals through Don Pedro and the Friar that if we understand the complexity of our world, we have the power to craft successful schemes, which ultimately illustrates Shakespeare’s philosophy about our roles as humans: the world is up for manipulation and we as individuals have the ability to challenge the definitions of society.
|Posted by Maddie on November 10, 2011 at 5:55 PM||comments (1)|
https://twitter.com/#!/cheeseandpoetry" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">https://twitter.com/#!/cheeseandpoetry
|Posted by Maddie on November 8, 2011 at 11:10 AM||comments (1)|
Thought I would share this again. Such a great clip. Seriously, watch the entire thing, its worth every second!
|Posted by Maddie on November 8, 2011 at 10:30 AM||comments (34)|
...You may like this. For English class, my final term project could be anything. I could have used Google Sketch-Up to create a set design, I could have acted out a scene, or could've wrote a personal essay on a theme that strung through Othello, Much Ado, and The Merchant of Venice. Instead, I chose to analyze a film: my favorite of the three: Much Ado About Nothing. Perhaps it was the beautiful scenery that drew me in, or maybe Much Ado is just my favorite play. Whatever the reason may be, I chose Much Ado About Nothing (1993) to analyze the first scene of. I recommend you watch it and then read my analysis to see what my take of Branagh's director decisions. Here is the clip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIACPr5XEQM
Shakespeare’ Much Ado About Nothing reveals that people have a tendency to create schemes to trick others, whether the victims are their friends or enemies, in order to take control of the situation. Of the five schemes in Much Ado, the three that determine the play’s fate are crafted by heroic characters, Don Pedro and the Friar, characters who have good intentions. While Shakespeare convinces us that good intentions return successful results, or that understanding human nature is crucial to fashioning successful plans, the first scene of Much Ado About Nothing (1993) illustrates the power of women through the song “Sigh No More, Ladies,” color, location, and biblical illusion, to change our basic assumption that good characters, like any fable, triumph in the end. While suggesting that Much Ado’s characters are divided into hero and villain is a safe assumption, Branagh chooses to risk commentary from Shakespearean purists to argue that successful schemes are determined not by ethics, but by gender, with female characters who decide the fate of the play. He highlights female superiority over men in Much Ado’s opening scene to have us think more deeply about the true tensions the play is centered around: good vs. evil or women vs. men.
Branagh makes Beatrice the focal point of his film to strengthen the role of female characters in the play. Beatrice — a victim of being tricked into loving Benedick — teaches us to invest little emotion in men in her recitation of “Sigh No More, Ladies.” “Sigh No More, Ladies” is originally sung by Balthazar in Act 3 Scene 2, where Benedick is tricked into falling in love with Beatrice. The woeful song teaches a lesson directed at women from a woman, which makes the song’s message more genuine, serious, and personal, than having it sung by a man to men, as Shakespeare intended it. When sung by Balthazar, Don Pedro, Leonato, Claudio, and Benedick do not consider the song’s importance as more than a love song sung badly. However, Branagh has Beatrice directly recite the song instead of Balthezar in the first scene, is speaking about men as womens’ source of woe. Beatrice’s tone suggest her words are one of caution, telling women that they should distance themselves from misbehaving men in order to free us of our woes and overcome the male power that is exerted on us when our emotions are controlled by men. The lyrics are white words leaping across a black screen reveal Branagh’s desire to engage his audience with the lyrics personally and wants to engage his audience with the lyrics personally and come up with their own connection to Shakespeare’s words in the opening song “Sigh no more, Ladies” before bringing in his interpretation. After all, Branagh presents the medium to how we typically connect to Shakespeare and what we praise him for: his brilliant words. Branagh wants his movie to be accessible to everyone, and the opening of the movie displays this desire. He starts off with the recitation of Shakespeare’s words because he wants to draw a contrast to how he uses this song and how Shakespeare used this song. The fact that a woman sings this song in the beginning suggests that women set the standard for the direction of the play. The white font on black also emphasizes the seriousness and importance of this song, where there was not much importance in Shakespeare’s handling of the song. This song also appears in the film’s end credits, as well as Shakespeare’s original placement of the song in Act 3, Scene 2, when Benedick is being tricked into liking Beatrice. Thus, Branagh reveals that this song stages the movie’s themes, twists the plot in the middle, and is apparent during the final scene and rolling credits to reveal that women are the ultimate controllers of fate from the beginning to the end.
Branagh also uses location to emphasize female power; location and scenery physically stages women looking down on men. In addition to the “Sigh No More, Ladies” song, the soldiers who arrive at Leonato’s home have a duty to yield to women. When Beatrice is angry at Claudio for ruining Hero’s reputation during the wedding, she gives Benedick an ultimatum: kill Claudio and keep her or do not kill Claudio and lose her. Also, when Hero is supposedly dead, Leonato makes Claudio indebted to him, making him create an epitaph, mourn for her, and to swear to marry Antonio’s daughter. Branagh uses setting to reveal this dominance of power that females have over men. The beautiful setting that the movie takes place is considered to be the official location for Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which reveals that females have dominance over the villa. Branagh uses the element of height to reveal the power women have over men. He uses hills to elevate women and to have them looking down on men three instances in the first scene. After Beatrice’s line, “Not til a hot January,” the camera focuses on the men on horses galloping beneath them. Also, when the women are inside the house getting dressed, when Hero and a woman look out the window, the camera shifts downward to capture men on horses, still galloping beneath them. Lastly, when Claudio and Benedick are on ground level inside Leonato’s villa speaking about Hero, they are gazing up at Hero and Beatrice, who are standing on a balcony staring down at them.
In addition to Branagh’s use of elevation, Branagh wants us to pay attention to color perhaps to mark the conventional heroes and villains; but more importantly, he wants to highlight the man who does not fall into either category, character Don Pedro. Don Pedro is neither a villain nor does he end in marriage because he does not end in a happy union with a woman. Not only did Branagh cast Don Pedro as a black character, his horse is the only one that is white, in comparison to everyone else’s dark brown and black horses. A removal of class distinction between the men galloping on horses supports Branagh’s view that men can be either heroes or villains, but their plan will not turn out successful, because women control the fate of our schemes anyway, not ethics. Conrade, Borachio, and Don John wear black collars and black leather pants, while the good men wear denim-colored pants and baby blue collars. However, Don Pedro is unique again, in that his collar is both black and blue and his pants are blue. By the lining of their collars, Branagh distinguishes Don Pedro from the other men, as well as the black collar of the villains and the blue collar of the heroes. When the film title appears on screen, “Much Ado About Nothing” shows up as the seven soldiers collectively pump their fists in the air and shout. The phrase “much ado about nothing” represents the powerlessness of men, and that men are “nothing” in terms of influencing the play’s final outcome. When Beatrice and Hero are involved in engineering plans to have their marriages work, they turn out to be successful; however, because Margaret did not know she was part of Don John’s plan to trick Claudio into thinking Hero was having an affair with Borachio, so the plan eventually fails, while the plans Beatrice and Hero are behind, succeed. Success may come for both villains and heroes, but the plans that are permanent are due to a presence of female control over schemes.
Branagh’s presentation of the play portrays Don Pedro as a person who is neither happy nor sad at the end. He is the one hero who does not have someone to marry, which is why he is singled out through costume and does not end up happily at the play’s end. It may be that he asked Hero to marry him—even though he pretended to be Claudio—and that he also asked Beatrice to marry him, which she rejected. Although Don Pedro is portrayed as a hero, Branagh uses clothing to suggest that color does not symbolize good and bad, but the happiness the characters’ leave the movie with. He believes happiness is determined by marriage, the villains are punished, so they are wearing black, but Don Pedro fits neither of these categories, which is why color suggests that being involved with women allows us to have successful plans, which here is happiness.
Much Ado alludes to The Bible’s story of Adam and Eve to reveal that women determine the fate of men, just as Eve convinced Adam to eat the forbidden apple. Along this parallel, the first person we see is Leonato with a color palette and paintbrush in hand, which is similar to God in behavior when he had control of how the world is seen and what he wants to bring to the world. Just as God starts with a blank canvas of darkness before his creations, so too does the movie; Branagh’s creation starts out black and eventually turns into a splendid luscious environment, with the painting as beautiful as reality. Painters are referenced in Much Ado, in a conversation between Borachio and Conrade before they are caught by the watchmen: “sometimes fashioning them like Pharaoh’s soldiers in the reechy painting…where his codpiece seems as massy as his club” (3.3.129-33). As I noted in my essay “Understanding Human Nature Gives People Power,” painters can manipulate peoples’ perception of others to their advantage by controlling the whole appearance of what they want the audience to see, which alludes to the power of God. When the hype of men and women interacting occurs when they are pampering and taking showers, both women and men are frolicking or laughing in water nude, with everyone next to each other. They seem unaware that they are naked and in very close proximity to one another. Rather they are laughing, joking, and playing in the water, with this scene portrayed as not sexual in any way, but as innocent. The innocence that comes from nudity in Much Ado conjures up parallels to Adam and Eve’s ignorance when they were unclothed and not ashamed until they ate an apple from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Eve’s mistake determined the fate of the human race, which could explain why Branagh alludes to the story of creation in his innocent scenes of nudity to show that women have the final say in Much Ado’s finale, as Eve does with the human race.
Branagh says, “I think that our job is to communicate to and to communicate to as many people who are to hear it and not just see it as some sort of elitist thing.” He rejects traditional beliefs that men are superior to women, by revealing that women have control over the fate of men because the tension that steers the play until the end are threads of gender confrontation, witty banter, fear, and hidden emotions that come from creating a human relationship. The reason for my risky explanation for director Branagh’s film choices is because I believe Branaugh was risky in his film choices to reflect what he understands about heartbreak and giving emotions away. Understanding human nature provides security, and being moral or villainous is decided by nature for us, for women, putting ourselves out there for men is risky. While the fate of women may be successful in romantic comedies, Branagh sees a dark undercurrent: women who put themselves out there may not receive the happy ending they see in romantic comedies. Branaugh connects his audience to black and white screen of streaming lyrics and slow melody to reach out to his female audience and let them know they are not alone; in fact, he is on the other end risking film choices to empower women, which may move away from Shakespeare’s original manuscript. Branagh tries to explain that women in the end are happy because they follow Balthezar’s “Sigh No More, Ladies” and have let go of the past and “converted all [their] sounds of woe.” Before venturing into a fairytale comedy where women will sing “Hey nonny, nonny” in spirits of joy, he sympathizes with his female audience and empowers them by making women the center of the play with the power to determine the fate of men.