February 24, 2005

It's Snowing!!! (Again)

It's been snowing since before I woke up this morning. This area is supposed to receive between 4-7 inches. Accordingly, classes were cancelled today. And what will I do with the extra free time? Make up for not studying so much yesterday. Read yet another book. Um...

-- CrystalShiloh @ 09:47 AM

Making Progress

So, this year I set the goal for myself to read 36 books. I figured that I would need to more or less read three books a month. Nearing the end of February, with a total of nine books completed thus far, I'm well ahead of schedule.

What I have read so far:

  1. Dead Witch Walking - Kim Harrison

  2. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

  3. A Month in the Country - J.L. Carr

  4. Writing With Style - John R. Trimble

  5. Bel Canto - Ann Pratchett

  6. Clambake: A History and Celebration of an American Tradition - Kathy Neustadt

  7. The Piano - Jane Campion

  8. Vietnam Remembered: The Folk Art of Marine Combat Veteran Michael D. Cousino, Sr. - Varick A. Chittenden

  9. Ray in Reverse - Daniel Wallace

I'm thinking about starting Kim Harrison's new book The Good, The Bad and The Undead this afternoon. If I do, it's likely that I will have it finished before the weekend is over because most of my homework is out of the way and I don't have a terrible amount of studying planned.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 09:18 AM

February 11, 2005

Back to My Roots

Hey world, guess what?? I'm a brunette once again!! My hair is now a nice shade of golden-brown. I still have some noticable highlights, but they look great. Well, according to Ray, the guy at Miracles in Rosslyn who did my hair. I don't know that he's exactly unbiased... I can't wait to see what Andrew thinks - he has never seen my hair like this, now that I think of it. But he has seen it short and brown before, but definitely never this long. I'm sure that he will love it. He's been telling me now for a little over two years that the woman he fell in love with was a brunette... not a blonde! Eep! :P

-- CrystalShiloh @ 05:32 PM

February 09, 2005

First Spanish Paper

This past Thursday I also handed in my first paper to my Spanish Grammar & Syntax professor. It was returned to me on Tuesday. Guess what? I got a 100%!!! Yay me. I had been instructed to write a 50-100 word description of animal or a person. I chose to write about Andrew. Te invito a leerlo a menos que no entiendas español.

Una Descripción de mi Novio

El nombre de mi novio es Andrés. Hace seis años que lo conozco. Es un empleado de SAIC ahora. También es un estudiante de George Mason, como yo. Su especialidad es ingeniería de computadoras. Es culto y muy inteligente. En cuanto a sus características físicas, es más alto que yo. También es bastante delgado, pero no le gusta hacer ejercicio. En mi opinión es perfecto para mí. (Un total de 67 palabras.)

-- CrystalShiloh @ 06:23 PM

Writing About Art

Last Thursday in Advanced Composition, I was asked to describe a painting that the professor had scotch-taped to the blackboard in a brief in-class writing exercise. I didn't bother to write down the title of the painting, which was probably my first mistake. During the lecture yesterday, after having received my paper back with a B plus marked on it, I learned that the title is central. Further, to write about art we need to look at the visual elements as well as look into the verbal framing: the historical and cultural context. We need to know what the points of reference are. We should mention the themes, discuss the archetypes, and try to answer the question, what makes a painting from this time relevant today? If it makes it any easier we can invent a little narrative to talk about it.

After hearing a few of the selections from the other students, it was apparent to me that I had no innate strategy for writing about art. As everyone was leaving, I approached my teacher with the expressed desire to improve upon my writing. I craved another crack at it. She offered me La Belle Dame Sans Merci, a painting by artist John William Waterhouse. What follows is my second attempt at writing about art.

Using what resources the Internet has available, I translated the title of the this painting as The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy (I thought as much, but it is always best to check and be sure). This work of art is from 1893 and it depicts one of John William Waterhouse's favorite themes: the femme fatale. His subject comes from a poem by John Keats, of the same title as the painting, which was written in 1819.

Looking at the painting, in isolation of the poem, I am first struck by the earthy colors; various shades of fall foliage: forest greens, rich browns, and deep reds. Generally, red denotes passion and it is significant that the largest proportion of this color is contained in the dress that the lady is wearing. It appears as though the knight she is holding captive with her hair has a hint of red wrapped around his waist. This detail doesn't jump right out at me; I only noticed it upon closer inspection.

At the center of the painting is the closing distance between the man and the woman. Their two countenances, slightly above and to the left of center, are coming together for a kiss. The knight looks off balance so I think it is safe to say that the lady is reining him in with her tresses.

As I continue to look, this painting is elaborating on my narrative that concerns a knight on his way off to battle. He has been blocked by a maiden who wears her heart upon her sleeve. Accordingly, her desire for the man is most apparent. She is a creature of the forest with the bare soles of her feet peeking out from the folds of her gown. Flowers adorn this already fair lady.

Bearing silent witness to this scene are the trees and the river in back of them. Where are the other woodland creatures, I wonder? Could it be that they are repelled by this woman's presence? And if so, what is it about her? All I can say with complete assurance is that the man won't be departing her anytime soon.

-- CrystalShiloh @ 04:21 PM