The DeGroot Journals

The following is a major piece I wrote for a Creative Writing class, and formed a good portion of my final Folio. It is a slightly horrific tale about the life of the DeGroot family, and the strange phantasmagoria which destroys their lives. The story itself was heavily influenced by the stories of Lovecraft and the Fear Mythos. Due to it’s size and layout I have provided it as a PDF file, though I can try other formats on request. Also note that due to the way Microsoft Word does footnotes, they are provided on the last page instead of the footer.

~

The DeGroot Journals

Advertisements

Poet Study – T.S Eliot

Recently in English Writing, we had to research a poet and make a poster based around their work,  as well as including detailed information on their life and legacy. When making my poster, I had to cut out a fair bit of work I compiled for my study. So that doesn’t go to waste, I’ve included it as a PDF file for anyone interested to view.

Poet Study – T.S Eliot

When compiling this study, we also had to compose a poem using the same techniques and themes of our chosen poet. Whilst it is included with the study above, I’ve decided to reproduce it below as well.

 

~~~~

 

The Faceless Ones

 

Si vis pacem, para bellum

 

I

November frost on the crass and

Cold banks of the Styx

Where the frozen waters lap

In haste where a single rose grows, so

Beautiful, alluring, pure, a strange sight

Among the wastes and jungles created

By men’s hands, where the muddy pastes suck

Them down

Down

Down

 

Across the Acheron,

Where the ferryman sleeps, the

Cold voices cry out, brought forth

By bitter torment, and seeds sown

In pale, dampened voices they cry

“Here be Dragons,

Here Be Death, for

We are the dead”

 

Across the kingdoms,

Where men of temptation

Dare not tread, lest the daemons

And ghosts of past fruition,

Drag them down among the lost

Who cry out through the fires

To the passers-by, the faceless men;

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here

Lest you become like us

Lest you feel like us

Lest you are us”

 

 

II

I once knew a girl, with

A love so dear, a sweet

Little girl, who would

Fill men with fear

 

In gardens of roses,

She would greet the day kindly

And among the flowers, it was

There she would blind me

 

A cool spring breeze carrying

A sweet, flowery scent,

Roses, tulips, hyacinths,

A cacophony of smells

 

Hides me form the ones

Who watch with the dawn

From across the rivers

With looks of forlorn

 

Those with looks of

Anger and distrust,

Those who speak among

The pale, ghastly dust

 

Qui si convien lasciare ogne sospetto;

 ogne viltà convien che qui sia morta.

 

 

III

Carried through the dark

Grey clouds, lofting

Over the Themes, threatening

To break the piece of the park

 

Ghosts of men, the

Ones who wander, lost and

Grey among the dawn as

Passers-by come and see

 

The rain man, he who is

Master of the four winds

Crying out among the

Children sitting there

 

“The thousand years of raindrops summoned

by my song are my tears;

The thunder that strikes the earth

is my anger”

 

Twisting, turning,

Contorting, cackling,

As the faceless men watch

From their steely perch

 

Across the banks where waters

Swell, and heave, and rot,

Where the faceless judge, and

Scream out, unto the night,

 

 

Oh untimely death.

 

~

Film Review: Juno

Juno is a 2007 film, directed by Jason Reitman, staring Ellen Page and Michel Cera. The film centers around 16 year old Juno (Ellen Page), who gets pregnant after having sex with sometimes boyfriend, sometimes best friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). The film then follows the optimistic, and mostly upbeat journey, as Juno tries to find an adoptive family, comes to terms with being a pregnant teenager, and puzzles out the mystery of love.

Juno, staring Ellen Page and Michael Cera

The story itself takes place over several seasons, beginning in autumn when 16 year Junior High student Juno (Page) discovers that she’s pregnant. After deciding that abortion is a bad idea (after being told that babies have finger nails), she decides to give the baby up for adoption. Browsing through a local paper with friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby), she finds the perfect couple in Mark and Vanessa (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner respectively). The film then follows the twists and turns one would expect a teenage drama to follow, as well as few most wouldn’t.

The film covers heavily the theme of teenage pregnancy. It displays an overtly optimistic view the subject, with the most prominent mishaps involving the adoptive family. It doesn’t explore the social ramifications, or even go deeply into the characters personal territory, such as school life, home life, and expectations on them when pregnancy is factored in. This is a shame, as for the most part the film plays it safe, keeping most of the changes physical, and leaving the characters development in these areas to a minimum. Other aspects which the film explored were things such as abortion versus adoption, and whilst the film could be said to have a pro-life message, it doesn’t push these views onto the viewers, which is an impressive feat.

Juno (Page) sitting on the chair, pipe in hand.

The characters are relatively interesting, though much of the depth and exploration is done through and by Juno (Page). Whilst she makes some personal realisations throughout the film, the other characters are left for the most part as they are. Paulie Bleeker (Cera) remains pretty much the same throughout the entirety of the film, and any development that’s made is barely visible. But the film is centered on Juno after all. The characters mostly stay true to form throughout, though there is a moment that feels slightly out of character with one of the adoptive couple, Mark, pulling out a stock standard cliché that can be seen from a mile away. It feels wrong for the character, considering the enormity of the decision he makes is treated as a small thing, as well as the way he pulls it off. The actors do well with their performances, making the characters believable enough to invest interest in. Page brings the snarky Juno to life, and Cera plays the role of shy, quiet and awkward guy to perfection. The supporting cast vary, but generally do a good job with what they’re given.

The script, on the surface of things, is very well written. The whole affair feels very plot-lite though, with much of the drama coming between Juno and the adoptive parents. Without those scenes, it would feel like a montage of sequences building up to a pregnancy, without any sense of drama or motivation. The scenes that shine are those between Juno and her father. It gives the story a sense of meaning and direction beyond the obvious forthcoming pregnancy. The humour of the film caries a dry, snarky tone, and for the most part works, but a few intended laughs fall flat. The dialogue tries too hard though, with most things that come from Juno’s mouth being snarky or ‘smart’ in nature. Whilst this fits with her character, it does grate after a while, and the back end of the film has moments where there is no snark, which is a welcome thing. The faux teenage speech however doesn’t loosen up as much, leaving the viewer trying to decipher what they were actually trying to say. An early scene in the convenience store has possibly the most grating moment of dialogue, though the scene after almost takes the cake, with the phrase “what the blog”.

Juno (Page) using a Hamburger Phone, whilst (possibly) talking in faux, snarky teen speak.

The direction of the film is nicely done, and creates the great Mid-West America feel, though at times it seems to resemble Canada more than the north west, with the filming in Vancouver showing through. The opening shots of the seasons are commendable, and capture the feel they are trying to convey for each moment of the story, as well as firmly establishing the time. Autumn is a splay of orange and yellow, capturing the warmth of the moment, and the beginning of things to come. Winter is a white sheen, using dull colours to give off a sense of dawning responsibility. Spring uses cooler colours, to give a sense of new life and new love. Reitman also seems to have a fondness for close-ups, which are used effectively throughout the film. Also, kudos must go to the music choices, with the soundtrack being an assortment of brilliant tracks from across eras, which really solidifies the films upbeat tone.

The film itself works, and that’s the most important thing. Despite some minor let downs, it is a decent film, even if it’s one I normally wouldn’t watch, or probably won’t watch again. But for those who want something with a bit of drama, a little romance, and a touch of dry humour, this is hard not to recommend.

Civil War in Lybia (Or the many hats of Col. Gaddaffi)

By now, dear readers, you’ve probably heard about the riots and wars in the Middle East and North Africa.

Unless you’re stuck on a deserted island of course...

For those who need some catch up, a large number of countries across that region have been rioting, and some have descended into civil war. Currently, the most prominent of these is occurring in Libya. The fighting, which has been going on for over a month now, broke out after the Libyan Army opened fire at protesters at orders of the country’s leader Col. Muammar Gaddaffi. The protests only grew worse, and the protesters grew angrier. The struggle between the two forces grew, until the anti-government forces took control of the town of Benghazi, and other eastern cities. Then erupted the civil war…

But why?

Well, taking one look at Col. Gaddafi’s history explains much of what has occurred, as the protests have been to try and get him to relinquish his power. Gaddaffi took Libya in a bloodless coup in 1969, and became the leader of Libya. Soon after his take over, he changed his title to ‘Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution’.

Just look at that magnificent ego...

Among his many achievements, he made strides in the African and Middle East region, with his goal to one day help form a United States of Africa. He brought his country out of isolation in 2003, and began forming ties with the rest of the world. And then there’s all the other stuff, both villainous and quirky. Supporting militant groups (which were often terroristic in nature), his body guards consisting entirely of female virgins, he extradited Italians from Libya and wished for the nation of Switzerland to be dissolved. Oh, and just look at his dress sense…

Never trust a man with this many hats. Never.

The current conflict however has pushed Libya to the edge. The battle between the two sides seems to be reaching a breaking point. NATO forces are aiding the rebels by creating a no-fly zone, and shelling critical areas from off shore. Many members of Gaddaffi’s cabinet are being replaced, switching sides, or fleeing to natural territory. The rebels are gaining ground and fighting back.

And they somehow still manage to have time to capture (admittedly awesome) explosions on camera

Yet Gaddaffi still persists. Most men would’ve given up by now, and submitted. Former Egyptian Prime-Minister Hosni Mubarak did just that. Others in the region are caving into protesters pressures. Yet Gaddaffi doesn’t, and opens fire upon his people. When the army refuses to fight their own brothers and sisters, he gets in mercenaries to try and finish the job. But what would drive a man to this sort of desperation?

My belief is that one thing is keeping him holding on.

And that thing is Power.

Absolute, unadulterated power. Gaddaffi has had more than 40 years in the leadership seat. He has had complete control of his country over all that time. And he’s scared of losing it all. He doesn’t want to be pushed to the side, in the same way he pushed the Libyan monarchy away. He wants to leave in a blaze of glory. And he’s a smart man. And went a smart man gets scared, then that’s when people should be worrying, because that is when they are at their most dangerous. The only real certainty in all this is that his hands will likely never be clean again from all the blood that stains them.

Assignment – Blog Review

I’m putting up a blog review assigntment from my English Writing class today. Just because I’m short on content at the moment…

~~~~

Blog Review (Neil Gaiman’s Blog)

‘Neil Gaiman’s Journal’ is a blog written by Neil Gaiman, a popular author and script writer, whose works include ‘The Sandman‘, ‘American Gods‘, and many others.

The subject matter of the blog itself covers events that have, and are occurring in the author’s life, as well as talking about his writing and projects he is currently working on. His posts tend to lean more toward talking about his professional life, with him sharing his thoughts on his current projects. He also discusses his personal life, such as what he is doing with his time (whether it be trying to stay in shape, recipes for tofu, or other things), and where he is traveling.

The blog is written in a style similar of that of a journal. The tone itself is fairly formal, but still uses colloquial language, which gives the reader a sense of connection. Pictures are also used in many of the posts, to give the readers a snapshot of what’s going on in the author’s life, as well as a snapshot of their thoughts. The posts tend to be descriptive, but aren’t heavy with similes or metaphors. The posts, more often than not, tend to be quite lengthy and cover a broad range of ideas and thoughts. There is also subjective language used, giving the posts a flair.

I personally like the atmosphere of the blog. It has a dusty quality to it, like an attic or cellar, but it also has a somewhat homely feel as well. It is quite enjoyable to read , and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in Neil Gaiman, or interested about writing in general.

~~~~