Monthly Archives: April 2012

Thoughts on Bravery and Katniss Everdeen

I saw the Hunger Games about a week ago, and I loved it (I ordered the book the other day).  I can’t stop thinking about it.  Of course, one of the first things The Hunger Games makes you wonder is “Would I do that?” And then “Could I do that?”  I guess I should interject a “Spoiler alert” for anyone who hasn’t seen or read it yet.

Katniss Everdeen

In the first, what(?) 15 minutes of the movie(?), I was already holding back tears (yeah, yeah) when Katniss took her sister’s place by volunteering as tribute in the Hunger Games.   What love!  What bravery!  Could I be so brave in that situation?  I myself have a younger sister as my sole sibling.  We’re 9 years apart, and although we have a great mom, I find that I try to horn in on that role from time to time, and of course, as much as I hate to say it on the internet (haha), I do love my sister.  Of course, we’re not living in the poorest district of a post-apocalyptic world (that right?) where the rich have more obvious control over things than they do today, and my mom isn’t some zombified shell of a woman, and I don’t have to shoot squirrels in the eye to keep my family from starving to death.  But maybe I can relate a little.  Maybe a lot of people can.  My family has never been well-off (or however you’d like to put it). My mom is so good with money that we live a great life, but there have been times where I’ve been worried.  And I’m so arrogant that I always feel it’s somehow up to me to be some sort of hero and take care of everyone, emotionally or financially.  It’s part of the reason why I started vegetable gardening, actually.   Anyway, maybe I feel I can relate.  So what would I do?

Katniss after volunteering as tribute

If my sister were chosen to be tribute for The Hunger Games, I’d have to take her place.  Could I survive?  I’d feel better about it if I had killer (ha) archery skills, but I’d work with what I’ve got.  She’s 11 years old, for crying out loud.  (I’d actually be too old to qualify… but still!)  When it comes to your family, you have a responsibility to do whatever you can to take care of them.  This is a natural instinct, is it not?  Add the emotional ties of a shared life and possibly a common womb, and what the right course of action is should be obvious.  It’s a lot easier to be brave when you’re being brave for someone else, and when you truly love someone, you’ll do whatever you can to make sure they’ll be alright, no matter the situation.  And that, everyone can relate to.

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Challenging Your Beliefs

Sometimes it may seem that someone’s belief system doesn’t matter; sometimes it may seem that it’s all that matters.  Whether this means choosing a presidential candidate to support, what school you send your kid (or yourself) to, or who your friends are, belief systems always play a major part.  How could they not?  I don’t just mean religious beliefs (or lack thereof), I mean your whole set of morals (or lack thereof {haha}) and everything that helps you make decisions; this is a part of everyone!  And I think that a lot of people take their way of thinking for granted; they don’t question why they believe what they believe often enough.  I know I’m guilty of this…

Propaganda Feat. Nosferatu by Kadence Clark (based on a WWII poster). Propaganda usually succeeds when no one questions it.

But what would happen if we challenged our own beliefs?  Rethought our most sacred personal dogmas?  Just for a moment! I’m not saying, “just try seeing it from Charles Manson’s point of view” or anything like that; there are things that are perfectly acceptable to see as inherently evil, but what if we just decided to question ourselves a bit more?  My mom had a bumper sticker that said “Question the Answers,” which I didn’t understand when I was younger but now I try to live by.  Never blindly follow someone or something; truly think about it.  I’m going to take it a step further and apply it to myself.  I hope it does go without question that I’m not going to question why I think animals should be treated kindly or anything like that, but maybe I should question some other things (well, I guess I could think about it just to understand the source of my convictions).  Why am I rambling on and on about this?  I’m hoping that if you’re reading this, you’ll think about it.  Really think about it.  Maybe it won’t change anything, it’ll just be an interesting exercise.  Maybe it’ll really improve your life and the lives of those around you.  You won’t know ’till you give it a shot!

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How to Become a Werewolf: Systems and Symptoms

The Man. Werewolf Embroidery (1/3) by Kadence Clark

Werewolf; wer meaning man and wolf, well wolf. The werewolf is one of the most popular (and now may we say beloved?) of all the classic monsters, perhaps only second to the vampire. Need I even explain what a werewolf is? Well, perhaps I should. A werewolf is a human who changes into a wolf or wolf-like creature, usually under the full moon. Most of us know that a person may become a werewolf by being bitten by a wolf or another werewolf, but did you know these other ways?

One may become a werewolf by:

-Drinking rain water from the pawprint of a wolf

-Wearing a wolf skin belt

-Wearing a wolf skin

-Rubbing a magic salve onto one’s body (one recipe requires: fat from disinterred children, hemlock, aconite, poplar leaves, soot or cowbane, sweet flag, cinquefoil, bat’s blood, deadly nightshade, oil).  I know the deadly nightshade alone would give its consumer quite the ‘trip’ (or death, depending on the variety).  Many of the various recipes include narcotics, which, if these were really being made and used could certainly have caused the user to believe they were a wolf.

-Drinking a cup of special beer and repeating a certain incantation then passing through a magic pool each transformation

-Special ceremonies with a potion that included opium and hemlock

-Many, many different incantations exist that supposedly transform the speaker

-A pact with the devil

-A curse from a sorcerer or witch

-Divine punishment from a god or a saint

-Eating a certain unidentified yellow or white flower found in a marsh at sunset when the moon is full

-Being the seventh son after six daughters or simply being the seventh child and a boy

-Being bitten

The Transformation. Werewolf Embroidery (2/3) by Kadence Clark

Now that you know there are many, many ways in which one may become a werewolf, you may want to protect yourself.

Signs that someone is a werewolf:

-Hair growing on the palms of their hands and/or soles of their feet

-You never see them when there’s a full moon (if you’re lucky)

-They have a mono-brow/uni-brow (my personal favorite)

-They suffer from insomnia

-They sleep with their mouths open

-They have a long middle finger

-A long, curved thumb nail

-Aggressive behavior and signs of agitation

So now that you suspect yourself, hairy friend or neighbor, or a common aggressive teen of being a werewolf, here are the ways to ward off or destroy the monster (please, please do not go kill someone now.  I do not believe in real man-into-beast werewolves or anything more than insanity or drug-induced ridiculousness.):

-A silver bullet or other weapon (this is a relatively new inclusion into the lore)

-A Mountain Ash (tree).  It’s said your home is safe from werewolves in the shade of one.

-Wolfsbane.  You can find info for or against this one, but most sources say werewolves have an aversion to it.

-Scolding a werewolf (apparently that’s enough to reverse the transformation)

-Addressing it by its Christian name three times

-Rye

-Mistletoe

-Destroying the brain or heart.  This will work for almost any supernatural creature (including vampires) for obvious reasons.

The Wolf. Werewolf Embroidery (3/3) by Kadence Clark

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Last night I finished reading Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  I’m usually not one for fiction (though I just realized I’ll make an exception if it involves vampires), but I truly enjoyed this book.  As I’ve said, I love history and I love vampires, so when I heard the title I knew I had to give it a go, especially with the movie coming out this year.  I remember when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (also by Grahame-Smith) came out and I wasn’t too enthusiastic (I hate zombies and I’ve not yet read Pride and Prejudice), but I had hope that a vampire novel would come out in the same genre.  Ta-daa!  Here it is!  The book is a (fictional, of course) biography of Abraham Lincoln and an account of vampires’ effects on the president’s life and basically the entire history of our young country.  Maybe Abe wasn’t as honest as we thought!  I don’t want to give anything away, but in the book, almost everything we know about the president is the result of his unexpected involvement with vampires after his mother’s untimely death.  Seth Grahame-Smith does a good job of bending the facts enough to sneak in some magical realism and make it all seem plausible; leaving the reader with the question “What if…?”

And I’ll leave you with the trailer for the movie!  (If you think it looks as cool as I do, go read the book.  Seriously, it won’t take you long because it’s great!)

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