The “Death” of The History

We are so very cataclysmic nowadays. We talk of the death of this, and the end of that without any regard as to what exactly “END” means. The Oxford dictionary gives five different meanings to the word “end” when used as a noun, one of which has numerous sub-meanings. Webster gives seven, of which many have sub-meanings! All of which, to some extent, relate to a stopping or ultimate something. And what does this have to do with an outdated genre of literature? Not much, as I hope to prove.

The history was once a rather important and revered type of literature. If anything, all early literature with origins in oral tradition was considered to be a history. This was how history was transmitted, and if it happened to get a bit exaggerated to the point of allegory so be it. Beowulf, The Illiad, et cetera would fall into this category. Of course, the History which I speak of, and which others would agree with, would be most know in the form of Julius Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Commentary on the Gallic Wars). Books by Livy and Tacitus would also fall here. These were accounts of events as they happened. And this tradition continued on past the fall of Rome into the Middle Ages. Humanity wanted to write down events as they happened to preserve them.

But then two divisions happened. Not to say that they are in fact the cause of the decline of the History, but they were a part of its life, Shakespeare, and the common person. Shakespeare wrote his famous Histories, and wonderful accounts of events they are. But with one issue–they are first great entertainment and literature, and factually sound, second. The common person, when they gained the ability to write also found a troubling realization about writing a History, subjectivity. When these concepts were later realized by critics the genre of History was as good as dead. But this isn’t the Mikado, where being good as dead, and being dead are the same thing.

Literary genres are a bit like actual animals. They evolve over long periods of time, at almost unnoticeable degrees, until, at last, there is enough distinction between two points on that spectrum that two separate species can be identified. The History was as good as dead because it’s purpose had been mutilated. If someone else wrote a History about something (Shakespeare) there would be clear mistakes as to factual reality because the author was not part of the events, but if a person who partook in the events writes the History then it is skewed because it is subjectively written through the authors own perspective of things.

The history would come full circle with itself when Robert Graves produced I, Claudius. Here the History flipped its purpose which had been shattered by logical reasoning. Before, the facts would make a good story which was believed to be factual events, but now the facts were used to make a good story, and that was all. The story could help the reader better understand those events that happened, but the fact that the work was a piece of fiction was never hidden. Thus, Historical Fiction was born. And because the author did not claim to be telling the exact truth (or sometimes sarcastically claimed they in fact were) they were able to create even better stories in the vein of those old myths and fables.

The History then didn’t “die” or “end” but was merely evolved into something very different, yet much the same. I remember reading I, Claudius and understanding the motives and characterization much better then when I heard of the very same people in a World History class. But when I return to history I do not cite Graves’ book as fact, but see how the facts left to us by the Romans influenced Graves to write the characters as he did. This opens up the mind to new perspectives of history which is exactly what history need. Not for the victor to decide what is remembered–who is the Roman and who the Barbarian, but for the facts to be laid out and for the individual (or group) to decide how humanity progressed from the previous stage, to then, to now.

The History lives the same way. It was once the oral tradition of passing on important events, then the myth and legend, through the Greeks and Romans quite all the way through until recently it was hard fact, and now it is mere an interpretation of fact as Historical Fiction. The genre will continue to change and evolve as time continues, though for now its current form seems quite stable.

Advertisements

Order in the Garden

The garden is an interesting blend of natural form and artificial form. The natural form looks chaotic at some stages. The artificial form is simply that, horridly straight, perfected, and pragmatical. Then in the garden it is important to find balance between the two to acquire order.

The chaotic form is best found in the uncontrollable aspects. Plants that do not need to be pruned should not need to be, and, therefore, by being natural and chaotic to seem beautiful.

Where the artificial comes in is the parts which then can be predetermined. Such as, in a part of the garden backed by a wall or fence, to have the tallest species to the back, and the shortest to the front. This creates a pleasing slope for the eyes to follow higher and higher to the back wall. An arrangement with paths on either side might benefit from a doubling of the same arrangement. Where in closest to the paths the plants are shortest, to the middle they are tallest, and fall again to the other side.

When the artificial can organize nature in a way to make it pleasant to the human eye, then an order is created from the combining of the two forms. This applies to both decorative, and vegetable gardens. For decorative gardens this idea applies mainly to convenience of beauty, so that all the flowers and plants be seen. But in the vegetable garden it can be put to even greater use. Vegetables can be hung from trellis, and other ornamental support structures. Plants trained at angles will hang their fruit specifically to one side. The splendour is immeasurable, but the work is daunting…

p.s. I must think of some punishment for myself for posting one day late…

Homework To Nowhere

I enjoy tutoring, and a rather interesting latent obstacle (that is an obstacle which causes a student to struggle not directly related to the subject, i.e. parents fighting at home) was a practical one. Homework went nowhere. This was most poignant in my particular field of essays. My success with students often come from an attempted understanding. Essays are not comparable to math or science problems. There is an inherent self in an essay, whereas math and science are autonomous. (In general, from the standardized institutional education system we have in place.) Any person, once they know it, can solve 1+1=, and the same can be said of infinitely more complex problems. Of course the more energy needed to complete said problem does eventually manifest itself in the way I have described. I find confidence in my observation by the fact that word problems become the butt of jokes when Sally buys fifty watermelons and dies in a train collision where one traveled at 150 mph and the other 170 mph. The problem is that ironically there are far more real problems here than the one questioned about. Take the trains and put them in Engineering, allow students to solve problems about train collisions and how to prevent them, not determining how long until they inevitably crash. Move Sally to an Economics class, or Home Finances, and have her understand that making ridiculous purchases is financially unstable (don’t buy that house you can’t afford Sally). By the introduction of the real world to homework like this it becomes palatable.

But what of the almighty essay? The once superior form, from which the worksheet and the summary hid for shame, has fallen to a colour-by-numbers, step-by-step cheat sheet. It it written, turned in, and disposed of. Work…disposed of… Should those two words ever be seen together? Most certainly not implicitly. Most inventors understand that there specific model will be surpassed, but enjoy adding to the progress of things. An essay is a hefty undertaking with so many different sides to get right. Grammar and mechanics, organization, and style add another level to the conceptual or topical side of the essay. In an essay it is important to have a stance, and how to convey that stance exactly to someone else without yourself. Not easy, as during a conversation corrections can be made for misunderstandings, but not to the reader of an essay. And all of that is disposable.

Except for a grade. The grand purpose and end for the essay. The source of the seeming waste. I must concede here that I am no expert and I do not truly know why the grade has destroyed the worth of the essay, but I can impose my experiences. I have read many essays, on many topics, in my spare time, and they all are different from the student essays I have read during tutoring in one aspect. Argument. I’ve seen it again and again in my reading. Any essay written outside of education, for the usual reasons that an essay is written for has an argument as one would expect. The author has a particular opinion on something and is arguing why that opinion is so. (I say the sky is blue, and here is why.) However, the student, or educational essay always seems to have one specific argument. “I understand this subject the way you want me to, and here is how I can prove that.” And so the grade ruined the essay.

When the essay can return to being an eloquent way of demonstrating the hard work put into having a thought, then it will not be so hated. There will always be those who do not enjoy writing, and that is a given. Never will the essay, nor institutional education be loved wholeheartedly. That is good, healthy even. But the essay deserves its position, and not to be a disposable means to a letter.

Misunderstanding Video-Making

This is a bit like two posts in one! However for integrity’s sake I won’t count it as such.

Here it is in all it’s empty, void-like glory. I ramble on beetles and cucumbers with very little visuals (save some images which flash on screen). And this is not the only video I uploaded of this style! Am I proud of it, somewhat. Do I believe I misunderstood what makes video a unique style of delivery? Absolutely.

What I created was fleetingly a slide presentation, and mostly a podcast. But if what this thing was was very apparent, why did I decide to upload it as a video? Honestly the answer is all in the popularity of video. A misunderstanding of purpose on my half. Sondheim has repeated on many occasions the idea of content dictates form. I knew of this idea, but clearly did not use it, nor any other creative theory.

But in some ways, this is what being creative is all about. Slapping two seemingly disparate things together and seeing if they succeed or fail. Sometimes, as was the case here, they fail, and other times they create something wonderful.

 

 

Return and Return Again

I have the part of my life which is stable, what pays the bills and keeps me afloat, and then the entertainment part of my life. You have that side too. For the average person this consists of sitting down in front of the telly after a hard day’s work to watch their favourite show in a blank stupor. Or perhaps going out with friends to a bar or club, and forgetting the day to day worries. My way just happens to revolve around what many would consider work. I enjoy sitting down to analyse a story, or proofread an article or essay. I enjoy this. And like most people, with their telly or their clubs, if I’m no longer interested I do something else. Whims are like that. Here one minute, gone the next.

Bow I’ve come back to this blog. Which to the reader seems quite normal I’d suspect. But it truly is something odd. Each time I have the urge to undergo one of these online pet projects I start something new. I never go back to it. The project was fun, and then it was done. I like to think everyone does something like this. Something they can be done with when they’re done with it. This is not the case here I guess.

I’ve set myself a challenge, a game, or whatever you want to call it. Starting with this post I have set myself the goal of writing two posts each week—one Wednesday (as this one is) and one Sunday—for fourteen weeks. That ends the last post one December 31st 2017. The very neat and tidy ending coinciding with the new year creates a nice platform to decide if the magnetic pull I felt to write this blog again was something, or just a bit of underdone potato.

Twenty-eight posts, that’s all. Sounds fun really, and I suggest you, yes you dear reader, to join me. What have you got to lose? It’s just a disposable hobby, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unsurreptitiously Seeding Siliques

Last year there was kale in the garden, too much kale really… So I did nothing about the plants and let them die off in the winter. Or so I thought. Early this spring they reappeared, and I was none too interested in an unending sea of salad. But the vigorous vegetable is a biennial, or at least the variety I have. I hacked out three plants to make room for this year’s garden, and left two others to go to seed. Maybe by next year I’ll be interested in kale again, and I won’t plant as much either.

The seed pods are really interesting. The sheer size being held upright by such a tiny stalk is mesmerizing. Each day they swell a little bigger. And beyond that, the kale is still producing more flowers at the top of the stalk. It has been a nice bit of constant color in the garden. Now I keep a vigilant eye on the pods to dry out so I can harvest.

The Case of Nightshade

This may be my first year of true gardening, but I am in no way a complete beginner. If anything I would say so much that I know more about gardening than the average person, but still would consider myself an amateur. This level of knowledge can be summed up that if lost in a forest I would not die quickly of stupidity. One plant I am well aware of is Deadly Nightshade. (Thank you Dame Christie, for your use of Atropa belladonna.) So when this strange plant appeared in a rather run-down part of the garden, where the wood is stored, with a strangely beautiful flower dangling from it I was interested. It was a deep violet with a little yellow protrusion beneath it.

Nightshade?
Herein about five different stages of the flower can be seen from closed to fully open, exposing the yellow interior.

After much debate, I’ve come to the conclusion that what I have here is related to the ever famous nightshade, Solanum dulcamara. However my decision of what the plant was did nothing to ease my debating. Besides the vegetables, I took to sow many flowers in my garden this year. More precisely, I took to plant my smaller, well-spaced flowers for areas I wanted to leave open. I still had spots I wanted thick with flowers, climbing vines, etc, were still open. So when a plant came along just as I wanted, and it happened to be pretty I didn’t want to remove it. However it wasn’t the poison that brought down the guillotine; it was the speed.

When I first noticed the plant when dealing with the wood pile, they covered a perfect section of fencing by which I wish to put a bench as a linden tree in my yard and crab-apple tree in the neighbours keep the spot wonderfully dappled with light all day excepting about two hours around high noon. In the two days I debated keeping the vine  it conquered some two foot on either side, and began to spread horizontally across the ground. I do not think this is the average growth as that rate would infest my whole yard in a few weeks. Nonetheless, the speed was enough for me to tear the whole lot out.

Now I’ve an empty section of fence, a bag of poisonous vines, and the stench of something dead I unearthed. Despite that, I purchased a grape vine to put on the fence. Now one would think that would be a great idea to switch a poisonous plant for something edible, but (and perhaps this is simply paranoia) Solanum dulcamara is particularly steadfast in its regrowth. So, even though I thoroughly dug out the roots, I could not bring myself to plant the grape. It now resides in a pot up by the house… not exactly the perfect grape habitat.

The One That Started It All

My memory is sparse, but I faintly remember getting this for Christmas of 1998. I might be wrong, but nevertheless this little (well, back then) device was the catalyst to a lifelong fascination. Despite recent games being lost to me with their many controls and three-dimensional movements, I still am pulled towards them, moth-like.

I haven't seen this in ages… but now I need batteries…

A post shared by @newarcady on

Now the Game Boy Color in the photo is not my original Christmas gift. The original met a grim fate when it unceremoniously slipped from my young grasp as I slipped out of our Grand Cherokee. The screen was left with a large black stripe running diagonally across it. And this was quite soon after I had gotten it. This means that this one is essentially as old as my original, but back then it meant that I had to work really hard to prove I deserved what was, in essence, a  doubly expensive Game Boy.

But this, most certainly, was well worth the cost. Well…I find it easily justifiable, but it would have been preferred to cost only what it was, nothing more. But this little gaming system proved its worth. It has traveled up and down the country, slept soundly next to me in many car rides, and hid beneath the blankets many times with a flashlight.

As for that little cartridge, that was all I had and all I needed for a long time. I was wholly content to wander the little pixel child hither and thither across a fantastical land. My unyielding patience was more than likely honed in some part by this game. For that I am eternally grateful. Of course, at the time it was nothing more than harmless fun. Collecting creatures, training with them, dooming them to a digital eternity inside a computer inside the game, but I never traded during this period. No one else I knew had a Game Boy. Everyone else had consoles, but the single television we had was not for me, and so the handheld was my only option.

When Gold and Silver game out I was able to get both by asking for one and saving up for the other. It was immeasurably exciting, but I never put away the old monochromatic first. I found myself playing it to compare the two games. There were the advertised changes from generation one to two, but there were other changes as well. Some of the Pokemon, I did not recognize their sprite, but I did their name. Maybe it was my faulty childhood memory aiding the mistake.

I could not see it then, but this little teal device truly did shape how I am today. Not just a lifelong interest in gaming and game, but in personality as well. Of course, this was in no way involuntary. I did not become patient nor analytical from this game alone. It was my interest that allowed it to happen. I was already set to play the game, and its design just so happened to require patience which I had to externally learn.

On Gardening And Such

For my entire life, I have been surrounded by garden and farms. My Great-Grandfather was a farmer for many years. (Though, that counts only working. He truly was a farmer all his life.) Both his parents were farmers, and those before them. It was inevitable that I too seek out the soil.

Being bookish I did not truly find interest in gardening until the doom and gloom of modern academia stretched out its cold, dying hands. It was an escape, to be perfectly honest. But one most needed. The refreshment of clear mind was delightful. That I was paid for it was secondary. The mental benefit is tremendous. I really do recommend that if gardening “isn’t for you” or that you “kill everything” give it another try, have patience, and enjoy nature.

Now I must say I have been wholly infected with a green thumb. This year I planted one dozen potatoes (red, yellow, and purple) as well as a few second year kale (trying to get seeds). On top of that I germinated 150 cantaloupe seeds, and planted out 89 to get established. I don’t want to admit it, but I really only have room for about four plants. The excitement of seeing so many superceded my rational thoughts. However, the sheer number of plants allowed me to notice slight differences in the plants that I otherwise would not notice. I hope then that the plants to make it are the best they can be.

First Blog Post

I could not pick a better name than what was automatically generated for me. I’m not entirely sure how some of this works, but that in neither here nor there. The duty of this blog is a a repository, whether it wants to be or not.