Thursday, May 11, 2017

Walk 30 Days

Hello, Friends!

A few years ago, Nadine Brandes, author of A Time to Die and the rest of the series, started this thing called Walk 30 Days. Basically, it's a challenge to walk every day in May. I really needed to start exercising, so when I heard about it this year, I was excited. One thing that's suggested is taking pictures and posting them on social media with #walk30days.

Anyways, I took so many pictures today that they would be a pain to put on Twitter, so I decided to put them on On the Breath of a Dragon's Wing instead.

Feel free to share your #walk30days pictures in the comments!

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3: No pictures--sorry!

Day 4:

This is a mom duck and her babies. (Sorry it's hard to see. :) )

Day 5: 
A pretty flowerbed.
Even though creeping charlie is a weed, to see someone's entire lawn covered in tiny purple flowers looks wondrous.

Day 6:

Day 7: 
Day 8:

Day 9: This is more of an auditory one. You see, it was raining, and if you stood still, you could hear the rain against the leaves, and it sounded really quiet and pretty.
Day 10: Sorry, no pictures. :(

Day 11: Isn't spring lovely?

Day 12:
Day 13: Skipped. Oops.

Day 14: No picture. Sorry!

Day 15:
Isn't this plant growing in a tree root cute?

Day 16: Skipped yet again. Ah well.

Day 17: Another skip, but I probably walked just as much as I would on a normal walk while volunteering. :)

Day 18: Beautiful flowers, beautiful sunset. :)

Day 19: 
Day 20: Does running errands count?

Day 21: Missed

Day 22: I always find this tree so fascinating.

Spruce Nogard

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Writing: Creative Complex: Elddir

Hello, Srellet-Elddir.

I know we've done posts about riddles before, but today's is a little different. Today, make up a riddle or a little poem using stressed and unstressed syllables.
Riddles are a little bit like optical illusions. What do you see?

Here are some examples:
  • "Be bold, be bold, but not too bold, lest that your heart's blood should run cold." -Mr. Fox
  • "It is not so, it was not so, and God forbid it should ever be so." -"Mr. Fox" (Also quoted in Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare)
  • "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary" -"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe (And the rest of the poem)
  • "You heard as if an army muttered" -"The Pied Piper of Hamelin" by Robert Browning
  • "Double, double, toil and trouble;/ Fire burn and cauldron bubble" -Macbeth by Shakespeare
    • Here is a link to the Hogwarts Choir singing a song based on the witches' potion in Macbeth
If you can't quite remember stressed and unstressed syllables, see Dragomir's post about them here.

Share your creations in the comments!
Spruce Nogard

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

End of the School Year

Hello, Friends.

Sorry, but I probably won't be posting much for the next few (few as in three) weeks. It's getting toward the end of the school year, and school is getting really busy. I will still update the Walk 30 Days post, because, well, I don't exercise tons and that's a goal I really want to make this month.

I will "make up" the posts in a few weeks when everything calms down, I just don't have time right now.

Thanks so much for all of your patience! :)

Spruce Nogard

Monday, May 8, 2017

Books: Favorites: Inkheart

Hello, Friends!

I haven't read Inkheart for a really long time, so I don't remember it exactly. However, I really like this book.

Inkheart is a book about books. That already makes it amazing, right? Meggie, 12, lives with her father, and her mother disappeared mysteriously when she was young. Both she and her father love books, and when a curious figure shows up at their house who seems to know Meggie's dad, she discovers that, whenever her dad reads out loud, the characters come out of the book. However, this has unexpected repercussions. . .

I loved Inkheart because, like I said earlier, it's a book about books. Also, it's really fun to have characters who love to read just as much as you do. This is kind of a spoiler, but not really: In trying to get characters back into their books, Meggie, her father, and her aunt get trapped in a book, and have to find their way out. Unlike we think, book worlds continue after the story is over, causing some interesting things to happen. . .

I really enjoyed this book, but it's the first of a trilogy. The rest of the trilogy isn't good. It's basically the same thing that happened in the first book over and over and over again.

Have you read this book? What do you like about it?

Spruce Nogard

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Books: Fairy Tales: Unusual Mythical Creatures

Hello, Fantastical Beasts!

We recently saw an exhibit about mythical creatures. Some of these creatures were mentioned there, but some weren't.

1) Kraken

Origin: Scandinavian

A kraken is a giant, octopus-like creature that sailors claimed sank ships. It had octopus-like arms, one giant eye, and a beak.

Here are links to pictures (I can't put them actually on my blog because they're copyrighted.):

2) Roc

Origin: Madagascar/Other East African islands, Tales of the Arabian Nights

A roc is a giant bird that eats elephants. Many accounts of giant roc eggs exist throughout the islands where the roc was said to be found.


3) Kappa

Origin: Japanese

A kappa is a Japanese water spirit/creature that sometimes drowns people, and loves cucumbers. Also, it gets its power from water it keeps in its head.


Spruce Nogard
A Field Guide to Fantastical Beasts by Olento Salaperainen

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Writing: Creative Complex: Appeal

Would you rather be able to: fly, run really fast, or breathe underwater? Why?

Today, we are examining appeal. This can also be described as asking the question: "Why?" Why did you choose the answer you did?

Being able to answer this question can tell you a fair bit about yourself. One of the ways this can help you is to figure out problems. If you always react unreasonably to a certain situation, if you know why, you can get to the root of the problem.

In the same way, knowing "Why?" can tell you tons about your characters. If you can figure out why your character did a certain action, you might realize something about them you didn't know before.

So, why did you choose your answer?

Spruce Nogard

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mental Library: Lenses: Historical

Hello, Historians!

Today, we are talking about the Historical Lens.

The historical lens looks at the events that were taking place in history when the book was written and sees if those events influenced the book.

For example, we are going to use The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss. (To continue our theme of using children's books to illustrate lenses.)

Here is a link to the full book with pictures if you would like:

If you would rather, here's the summary. However, be warned; Dr. Seuss books in summary never sound nearly as interesting or as good as they actually are. I mean, what children's book does?

Yooks live on one side of the wall, and eat their bread with butter-side-up. Zooks live on the other side of the wall and eat their bread with butter-side-down. Because of this, they hate each other, and always have guards at the wall watching the other side. A Zook breaks a Yook's weapon, and they each go back and get bigger and bigger weapons. The book ends with them both standing on the wall threatening to drop a terrible bomb on the other side.

In order to analyze this book historically, we need to know when it was written: 1984.

We can see, then, that the Cold War and arms race was happening. Suddenly the book makes a lot more sense, right?

It basically shows everyone how silly it is to keep getting bigger weapons and threatening each other, especially over such a stupid thing. So, what is Dr. Seuss trying to say about the Cold War/arms race?

This is a fairly common example of the historical lens, and I remember hearing it somewhere. Obviously, people have thought of this before.

The Butter Battle Book is a really simple, straightforward example, but not all books are. You can look at how the history of the time period influenced the writing, setting, characters, etc. Some books you may have to really look for the historical influence to find it.

What books have you read that would be easy to analyze through the historical lens? What books would be hard?

Spruce Nogard