Thursday, December 15, 2011

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

If you want an action-packed steampunk young adult novel, I highly recommend Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.

Steampunk is a science fiction subgenre that combines the past with the future. This was my first venture into steampunk, and it certainly will not be my last. I plan to buy the next book in the Leviathan series today.

Mechwarriors vs. Genetically-engineered beasties in alternate World War I.
Prince Aleksander is the son of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. He's on the run from the people who assassinated his father.
Deryn Sharp is a girl who's disguised herself as a boy to join the British military. She's trying to prove herself and stay undetected. And survive the terrifying disaster that will cross her path with Aleksander's.

Leviathan also has stunning illustrations in each chapter, even in the Kindle Edition.

You can check out some of the illustrations on Scott Westerfeld's site.

You can also see art on the website of Keith Thompson, the artist.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Meta Thing

Josh and Benji decide what video to make.

Romantic comedy?

A great video by two of my amigos.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011



C3PO: Boarded by a Star Destroyer. No escape for Princess this time. #fail

R2D2: @C3PO, bleep bloop

C3PO: @R2D2, No one understands what you’re saying. #astromechsaredumb

PrincessSuprStr: @obiwankenobi, help me your my only hope

PrincessSuprStr: listening to some Johnny Cash really fitting my mood #johnnycash

AnakinPodRacer: @C3PO, did i see you on the Tantive IV tonight?

C3PO: @AnakinPodRacer, Master! Where have you been? I thought Darth Vader hacked your account.

Palpatinno: @AnakinRacer, Lord Vader, I told you to stop using that old username.

AnakinRacer: @Palpatinno, but it makes me feel young @C3PO nope i’m still here. doing just fine. u?

C3PO: Yeah, just fine. Nope, you definitely didn’t see me on the Tantive IV tonight. What’s a Tantive IV?


Joe Stormtrooper is at Tantive IV.

Joe Stormtrooper: I’m wounded!

Carl Stormtrooper commented on Joe Stormtrooper’s status: Wounded?

Joe Stormtrooper commented on his own status: You know, “Yeah, you know, hit, but not fatally?”

Andy Stormtrooper commented on Joe Stormtrooper’s status: “i thought this suit was designed to make sure you were dead if u got hit. why else would we wear them?”


t16pilotkid: shooting womprats today! haha! #nomorethan2meterswide #loveit

C3PO: @t16pilotkid, Really? Nomorethan2meterswide? What kind of hashtag is that? That’s not going to trend.

BobaFett: looking for something to disintegrate today. any ideas? #nomorethan2meterswide #HanSolo

Andy Stormtrooper: looking for some droids. not sure how big they are. #nomorethan2meterswide

JabbaHipster: I wish I could fit back into my old college jeans. #nomorethan2meterswide

MosEisleyPD: Police are asking the public for clues on who shot first at a murder in a Mos Eisley Cantina.

HanSolo: Hope you find the right man. RT @MosEisleyPD Police are asking the public for clues on who shot first at a murder in a Mos Eisley Cantina.

obiwankenobi: can anyone tell me if making the kessel run in less than 12 parsecs is a good time?

wookiepower: Raaaaa!

YoungTatooineRepublicans: Great insight into the upcoming election. RT @wookiepower: Raaaaa!


Obi-wan Kenobi is now friends with C-3PO, R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker liked the page “Rebel Alliance”

Luke Skywalker: my aunt and uncle were slaughtered by stormtroopers. text me.

Biggs Darklighter liked Luke Skywalker’s status.

Luke Skywalker posted on his own status: why did you like my status? my aunt and uncle are DEAD

Biggs Darklighter posted on Luke Skywalker’s status: I know, Luke. I liked it because I was showing my sympathy. Text me.

Luke Skywalker posted on his own status: ok thx bro. catch u at the tosche station l8r 2day?

Biggs Darklighter posted on Luke Skywalker’s status: Sorry bro, I’m helping fly the Rebel Alliance’s X-wings out to the Moon of Yavin. That’s where our new base is.

Luke Skywalker posted on his own status: should u be posting that information on the internet?


HanSolo: I guess it wasn’t a moon. #fail

ImperialOfficer77: @TK421 why aren’t you at your post?

TK421: @ImperialOfficer77 sry…equipment malfunction #militarylowestbidder

ImperialOfficer77: @TK-421 lol ill send someone down

AnakinRacer: Haha that’s hilarious! RT @Palpatinno: Fighting for the Rebel Alliance is like kissing your sister.


Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are now friends

Darth Vader posted on Luke Skywalker’s Wall: Hey, are we related? We have the same last name.

Luke Skywalker commented on Darth Vader’s post: I don’t think so. ur last name is vader. nice profile pic btw. where did u get the suit?

Darth Vader commented on his own Wall post: Thanks, man. I got it at a convention in San Diego.

Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa are in a relationship.

Obi-wan Kenobi is at The Death Star

Obi-wan Kenobi likes The Death Star Café

Darth Vader posted on Obi-wan Kenobi’s Wall: I sense your presence.

Obi-wan Kenobi commented on Darth Vader’s Wall post: No you don’t. You were just stalking my wall.

Darth Vader commented on his own Wall post: Meet you down by the hangar?

Obi-wan Kenobi commented on Darth Vader’s Wall post: Which one?

Darth Vader commented on his own Wall post: The one holding an old piece of junk.

Luke Skywalker: ben’s gone. i can’t believe he’s gone.

Biggs Darklighter liked Luke Skywalker’s status

Darth Vader liked Luke Skywalker’s status


t16pilotkid: red 5 standing by! #standingby

GoldLeader: @t16pilotkid, you’re attacking the Death star with a t16 skyhopper?

t16pilotkid: old username sry

PorkinsLovesFood: i got a problem here #spacebattle

BiggsDarklitr: @PorkinsLovesFood, eject #spacebattle

PorkinsLovesFood: @BiggsDarklitr, what are you stupid? we’re in space! seriously? eject? #standingby

AnakinRacer: @PorkinsLovesFood, @BiggsDarklitr, I have you now. #spacebattle #xwingssuck

HanSolo: @ t16pilotkid let’s blow this thing and go home #distractedTIEfighter #lol


Luke Skywalker is single.

Princess Leia Organa is single.

Luke Skywalker: That was awkward.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Understanding Girls

Nota Bueno:

A) This post has structure and coherency.
II) The words “structure” and “coherency” may be interpreted loosely in Nota Bueno “A”
d) If you like this post, share it with your friends.
4) If you love my writing, join my e-mail list by e-mailing steventhethorn(at)gmail(dot)com
e) This concludes my Buenos Notas, Buenas Noches, and Bonus Nachos.

You know those little chocolate patties in Blue Bell Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream? The ones that melt in your mouth when you’re spending a summer afternoon reading books by Beverly Clearly? Yeah, those.

They taste really good.

Understanding Girls

One of my greatest contributions to the human race is Steven’s Statement. The creatively titled Steven’s Statement is as follows:

If I could summarize the thought-processes of girls into one sentence, it would be this:

“Girls don’t like their thought-processes summarized into one sentence.”

The years after the publishing of this statement were filled with success for me—much as the years following Coldplay’s release of their hit album, X&Y were successful for them.

After Chris Martin solved Algebra with the hit single, “Fix You,” the band achieved perfection. They had nowhere to go but down. The English alternative rockers managed to circumvent this fate by Viviendo La Vida in Technicolor (twice), where they resided until last September.

Coldplay solved Algebra with "Fix You."

But back to subject at hand.

After I received much media acclaim for “Steven’s Statement,” I hit a highly emotional point in my life where I questioned everything that I knew.
Two principal events led up to this emotional point:

1) One August night, I ate three pieces of New York Cheesecake, and I got a tummy ache.

2) During the dinner which preceded this over-indulgence of Big Apple* Cheesecake, I was about to take a bite of mashed potatoes.
After I transferred the foodstuffs from my fork onto my palate, I realized that I was not, in fact, eating mashed potatoes—but rather cauliflower. The mistake can be traced back to the similar appearance of the aforementioned “mashed potatoes” and “cauliflower.” This confusion may or may not have been amplified by an excess of “That’s It..Keep going.”

*Note, by the way, that for the purposes of cooking, “Big Apple” and “New York” are not interchangeable.

If you’ve ever been prepared to taste a certain beverage or food (like milk or mashed potatoes) but tasted an entirely different beverage or food instead (like ketchup—or ketchup) then you know how I feel.

How I feel? Or is it “How I felt”? How I feeling? How I felony?

Either way, if that’s happened to you, you know what it’s like.

During this tumultuous period in my life, I realized that by summarizing the thought-processes of girls in one sentences, I had succeeded in doing the very thing that girls don’t like, which is to say, “summarizing their thought-processes in one sentence.”

Therefore, a committee, composed of the students from the Top 10% of the graduating class of my high school*, decided to amend Steven’s Statement. Their proposed revision is as follows:

If I could summarize the thought-processes of girls into more than one sentence, it would be this:

“Girls don’t like their thought-processes summarized into one sentence.
In the realm of thought-processes, girls cannot be regarded as a single whole—but rather should be thought of as individuals, with varying societal influences depending on birth, educational status, and Starbucks.
Therefore, women must be allowed at least four sentences in which to summarize their thought-processes.”

*I was homeschooled.

Unsurprisingly, this amendment was unanimously rejected.
In the aftermath of this failure, 50% of the Top 10% of the graduating class resigned in shame from their academic careers. Steven’s Statement still reigns, uncontested by meddling scholars.


It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to understand girls.

Twitter tag: #richmenandcamels

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Funeral and Self-Deprecating Humor

Nota Bueno:

a) This post may appear to have structure and coherency.
2) Don’t let appearances fool you.
d) If you like this post, share it with your friends.
III) If you love my writing, join my e-mail list by e-mailing steventhethorn(at)gmail(dot)com
F) This concludes my Buenos Notas, Buenas Noches, and Bonus Nachos.

My Funeral and Self-Deprecating Humor

Self-deprecating humor is a valuable gift. I like making fun of myself, and girls seem to like that too.

You can find humor in almost any situation. I would be able to find humor at my funeral, but I won’t be at my own funeral. That really bothers me. There may, however, be some girls at my funeral.

Technically, I will be at my funeral, but I won’t be much for conversation. I will be dead.

Problem: I will be dead at my funeral.

That’s sad, because without conversation, I won’t be able to make self-deprecating jokes, and all of the girls there will be sad (which, in turn, is sad).

Solution: I will fake my death. At the funeral, I will rise out of the coffin accompanied by the fanfare of trumpets.

That will awaken the back pew.


It is easier for a rich man to fake his death than for a camel to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Twitter tag: #richmenandcamels

Monday, October 24, 2011

LEGO Star Wars: Attack of the Slave I

Celebrating over 9,500 views and 2 years for my LEGO Star Wars stop-animation video, "Attack of the Slave I."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Protocol of Smilies

Most people use smilies every day without thinking about it. They surround us, penetrate us, and bind our social life together.

I was probably introduced to smilies in the late 90s, when my mother was writing an e-mail and showed me that a colon mark and a closed parentheses make a smiling face.


You had to tilt your head, but the smilie was definitely there. That moment revolutionized my world.

If you wanted to add a dash in between the colon and the closed parentheses, you could make a nose.


And you can make a frowning face.


Introduce an apostrophe or semicolon, and you can make a crying face or a winking face.

Over a decade later, the universe of smilies has exploded. To show only a few:


The Rules

Just like our conscience tells not to steal or cheat, most of us inherently know, at this point in human civilization, how to use smilies. However, it has come to my attention that there is also an unspoken Protocol of Smilies. I am about to make it spoken. In doing so, I will step on some toes, but these rules will help you in the same way that table manners do.

You don't want to talk with your mouth full, do you?

Smilie Rule #1: No More Noses

The dash is dead. No more noses in your smilies. Mothers are allowed to use smilies because mothers are sweet, but internet natives should not be using noses. Girls might be able to get away with it, but men will get their Man Cards revoked if they use a nose.

Smilie Rule #2: No Smilies in Bro Texts

If you have a girlfriend, then you can send her a smilie in your text.

hey beautiful, how are you doing? :)

That's okay. But the following is not allowed:

hey bro, let's hit up the tailgates before we go to the game :)

In bro-to-bro communication, smilies are okay* in chatrooms (does anyone use those any more?), messages, and e-mail, but not in text.

*My friend Will is a staunch believer that bros should never, ever use smilies. This may cause a religious scism.

Smilie Rule #3: The Open Parentheses-Reverse Smilie

You know which one I'm talking about.


If you're a girl, then you're fine. It's avant garde, it's cute, it's original.
If you're a guy...Man-Card-Revoke'd!

Smilie Rule #4: The Dangerous P

:P is one of my all-time favorite smilies. However, it is, by far, the most dangerous smilie to use in any communication, bro-to-bro, bf-to-gf, or bff-bff.

The Dangerous P can be anything from a sweet, innocent "jk" to a scathing firebrand of scarcasm.


haha, no worries :P

i really value that insightful comment you left on my YouTube video :P

Ooh. Now that was scarcastic.

Be careful with the Dangerous P...especially in those girlfriend texts, man. In fact, don't text your girlfriend. Girls really like it when you don't contact them*. It means you're mysterious.
*SteventheThorn takes no responsibility for any relationships that may be terminated as a result of following this advice.

Conclusion: Follow the Protocol of Smilies

This not just a set of arbitrary rules. This is civilization. Absolute values. Right and wrong.
Do you want us to devolve into anarchy?

Remember, it is easier for a camel to use a smilie than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vice Verses by Switchfoot

I wrote a review of Switchfoot's eighth album, Vice Verses.

I won't spoil the review by telling you that Vice Verses is a phenomenal record worthy of 5 stars.

The article is currently a Blogcritics Editors' Pick. That's exciting.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Good Side Heroes: Gandalf and Eowyn

Gandalf the White
(click for larger image)
I'm really happy with the way Gandalf the White turned out. I decided to give him a brown basecoat to help with the white colors. I transitioned from brown to tan to white, and I ended up leaving the brown in as shading.

If I had thought about it, I never would have left brown shading on a white miniature, but for some strange reason, I think it works.

Gandalf looked like Moses while I was painting him. He's parting the Red Sea.

Gandalf the Grey
(click for larger image)
I started painting Gandalf the Grey in 2007, not long after I switched from Testors Enamel paints to Citadel Acrylics, but it took me 2-3 years to force myself to finish painting him. I tried various grays and blues on his cloak and hat before being happy/settling for my own sanity.

I'm not going to tell you where, but this miniature is an example of the Principle of Let-Things-Be, where you try to fix one little bit of paint that's out of line--and in the process you make things worse for a large area of the mini.

So then I had to fix up the big mistake-splotch. But I got it. And now I don't really remember where the mistake was.

I think...

(click for larger image)
Sorry, ladies. I'm taken.

'nuff said.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lord of the Rings Elf Miniatures

These are pictures of the Elf miniatures that I've painted from the Games Workshop Lord of the Rings line.

Wood Elf. This was the first one that I painted with Citadel acrylic paints. Before this, I was using Testors enamel paint.

Glorfindel, Lord of the West




I really like the way that Elrond came out, but it took some blood and tears. I had finished his face, and I was very pleased with it, but I needed to add a sliver of paint to the tip of the sword before I was done.
So I applied the paint to the sword, and when I had returned me brush to its holder, I looked at the face and there was a massive swab of silver across Elrond's face. it took me a further hour to finish him. Hobby-gut-check for sure.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Waldo Reed and the Totem Mountain on Nook!

Waldo Reed and the Totem Mountain is now available on Barnes and Noble Nook for $0.99!

It's my second ebook, a contemporary fantasy.

Freshman Wizard.
Portal to the netherworld.
Might affect his GPA.

Waldo Reed also got his first customer review on!

"Harry Potter Goes to College"
If you're a fan of Harry Potter, you'll definitely like Waldo Reed. This story is funny and cute. The characters and descriptions are very vivid, and the story has excitement and is very engaging. Wizard schools are always fun subjects, and the author handled this one very well. --Bronwyn Brookes

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Remember 9/11

I remember September 11, 2001.

I was ten years old, eating breakfast at home with my mother and brother. We had scrambled eggs and sausage. I was thinking about Bionicle, LEGO's new line of toys, and the school that I need to do for the day.

Then my dad called and told us to turn on the television. The Pentagon was burning.
Columns of smoke were rising from the Twin Towers.

I had found out about the World Trade Center the year before, I think, and I wanted to visit them at some point. Now they were burning.

Then I watched the towers collapse, and my heart fell with them. That's the only way I can describe it.

Then the smoke, and the photos of people falling, and the stories.

The questions, the newspapers, the flags, the vigils, and the war.

Everything changed. It was the defining moment of my generation.

I remember.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waldo Reed and the Totem Mountain

Now available on Kindle for $0.99!

Book Description:

Waldo Reed is a freshman at the Oklahoma University of Wizardry. He just wants to enjoy his first semester at college, which may include:

- Making friends with the guys in his dorm (living and dead)
- Meeting girls
- Figuring out the university’s crazy meal plan
- Deciding on his major

But when Waldo discovers that a legendary portal to the netherworld—long protected by ancient totems—is reopening in the mountains, he has more to worry about than his GPA.

Now Waldo must find the portal before someone destroys the totems of protection—or face the terror of a demonic invasion into our world.


This is my second ebook on ($0.99!) It's a funny, entertaining contemporary fantasy short story. If you like it, please post it on your Facebook wall, Tweet, or share it some other way!

If you don't have a Kindle, you can still download "The Vines" or "Waldo Reed and the Totem Mountain" with a Free Kindle Reading App for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android phone.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One Last Hurrah

On July 30, my friend Aubrey and I took the bus from High Street, Oxford to Heathrow Airport. Unfortunately, neither of us knew which gate we were supposed to be at. When I checked online, the information that I had thought was for Heathrow was actually for DFW.

Thankfully, some high school students from America were taking the bus to Heathrow as well. They had stayed at Brasenose the same time we had. They were going to Gate 3, so we just went with them. That was a good choice, because Gate 3 is the American Airlines gate.

We got to the airport 3 hours early, which is fine with me, because I don't care to ever miss a flight. We watched Dr. Who to pass the time. Then we met up with Erica and Erica and took the flight back home across the ocean. It tested my attention span quite a bit. 9+ hours in a plane is not fun, especially since I didn't sleep.

I feel worse for the little kids on the flight though. But we all survived, and we got back home in the U.S. of A. Back to Texas, land of brown and 100+ degree weather. Quite different from the green hills and 60-70 degree weather of Oxford, England.

But I'm not going to end my Oxford blogs* by talking about my flight home. I'm going out of chronological order one last time. I'm throwing one last hurrah!

*And just because I end my Oxford blogs doesn't mean I've ended my England blogs. Ha!

One Last Hurrah!

On the morning of Thursday, July 28, the day that I did the C. S. Lewis tour, I visited Saint Mary's Cathedral with Kayley and Sarah. Saint Mary's is where C. S. Lewis delivered his "Weight of Glory" sermon. It's
the church of Oxford University.

So we climbed up the tall tower, which overlooks Radcliffe Square. Saint Mary's Church isn't as tall as Magdalen Tower, but it's still very tall.

Here's a shot of Saint Mary's Cathedral from two weeks earlier.

Kayley climbs the spiral staircase, trying not to hold onto the sketchy, sweaty, damp rope.

All Soul's College, the graduate school that is not open to all souls.

Brasenose College

The Radcliffe Camera

Looking east down High Street. You can see Magdalen Tower in top center.

Shops on High Street

Christ Church College

Bonus Ben's Cookies!

This is Ben's Cookies, the super-duper-awesome³ cookies place at the Covered Market in Oxford.

I see what you did there.

Oh Look I'm at the Hogwarts Infirmary!

This is at the Divinity School in Oxford. It served as the Hogwarts Infirmary for the Harry Potter movies.

(My Last Hurrah!)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Imperial War Museum

On Friday, July 29, I took the bus with Aubrey and Sarah to London to see the British Museum. After the museum, they were going to the Globe Theater to see Faustus with Ashley and Kayley, who were already in London, but I wanted to see the Imperial War Museum in the afternoon. So after eating lunch with Aubrey and Sarah, we rode the underground and parted ways.

A part of me was a bit nervous at this point, because my last incursion in a big city ended in a 12 hour train/bus debacle, but I was in London after all, and the Oxford Tube was ever-present, so I figured that I'd be alright.

And I was mostly right. I got back home safely enough.

But less talk about travel--more talk about museums!

A Whole Lot O' Swag

I could have easily spent two or three days in the British Museum (if enough time and a long enough attention span), because it has everything (I'm not even kidding--even this laptop that I'm writing from is in the museum. Right now. I'm in the museum too.)

I didn't bother taking pictures at the museum because it was a sensory-overload, similar to the Ashmolean and, to a lesser degree, the Natural History Museum in Oxford. But while the Ashmolean has a wide variety of artifacts, this was the British Museum. When you're the greatest superpower the world has ever seen, and the sun never sets on your empire, you got a whole lot o' swag to display in your top museum.

And there was, indeed, a whole lot o' swag. And no pictures.

The Imperial War Museum
My good auld buddy and suitemate in Couch 5 at OU and roommate in Staircase V at Oxford, Will, is studying history, and he highly recommended the Imperial War Museum. I was not disappointed. It is a magnificent museum, showing the machinery, the industry, and the inhumanity of that depraved human practice called "war."

It was fun, I suppose, to see all of the planes and tanks and guns.
But it was also very sad.

Fifteen-inch guns. The one on the right bombarded Normandy Beach on D-Day.

A German Focke-Wulf fighter plane.

A British Spitfire fighter plane.

An American P-51 Mustang fighter plane.

The tank that British General "Monty" used.

Monty's Many Medals and Uniforms

Children in World War II Exhibit

British Propaganda Posters encouraging parents to evacuate their children (because of the Blitz) and leave them in the country.

This illustration is in memory of the German children who were interned by the British during World War II.

"You can't get sweets..."
Some humanity in the midst of all the inhumanity.

Rationing ends and the candy stores reopen. If I remember correctly, that wasn't until 1953.

I wept.


There was also a Holocaust exhibition. The pictures, film, stories, and items from that exhibit are beyond words--as is the evil that was at work in the Holocaust.

At the highest level of the Imperial War Museum was the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, an exhibition of all of the Victoria Cross winners. I wish I could have spent an hour there, but my time was up. There were excellent stories of all of the courageous heroes who have won the Victoria Cross.

Friday, August 26, 2011

C. S. Lewis, The Kilns, and Holy Trinity Church

C. S. Lewis is a personal hero of mine. I'm not alone on that count. I've wanted to visit his home and resting-place for many years. I did lots of research to find out where-how-when, and I finally got there on Thursday, July 28, 2011.

Like many of you, C. S. Lewis has had a big influence on my life because of his fiction, his Christian thinking, and his Christian apologetics. The Chronicles of Narnia was the first of the Three Great Fantasies in my life. I entered Narnia before I was 7, I went to Middle-earth around the age of 9, and I went to Hogwarts very late as a 16 year-old.

Middle-earth and Hogwarts have a special place in my heart, but Narnia came first.

This is The Kilns--the home of C. S. Lewis ("Jack") and his brother, Warnie. Lewis bought the house with a friend's mother after World War I. He and a friend in the army made a promise that if either one of them died in the war, the survivor would look after the other's family. Lewis' friend was killed, so Lewis looked after his friend's mother and sister.

Thanks to my friend, Jamie, for the Dutch Angle. We're in Thor.

Going to Narnia--brb! (Or to the C. S. Lewis Nature Reserve)

This is Holy Trinity Church, where Lewis attended and was buried.

The Narnia Window in Holy Trinity Church. It was a dedicated in memory of children from the church who died tragically.

He was here.

Jack died in 1963, and Warnie died in 1973.

The inscription says, "Men must endure their going hence." This quote is from King Lear, and it was the quote of the day on the Lewis' Shakespeare calendar when their mother died. They were children when their mother died. The death of Lewis' mother affected him greatly. Scenes from The Magician's Nephew show this influence--when Diggory tells Aslan that he wants his sick mother to get better.

I took this photo because of a scene from the movie Shadowlands, which is about Jack and his wife, Joy, who died of cancer 4 years after they were married. (They got married on Joy's deathbed, but then her cancer went into remission for 4 years.)
At the beginning of the Anthony Hopkins' version of Shadowlands, Lewis is giving a lecture on The Romance of the Rose, in which he describes how desire is better than attaining. I.e., longing for love is better than actually having it.

But then Jack meets Joy, and he opens up his heart, and they have four years of happiness before Joy passes away. I think the point of having that scene at the beginning of the movie is to show how Lewis changed his mind about desiring and having.

That's why I took the photo.

You should watch the Anthony Hopkins' version of Shadowlands. It will break your heart.

And when someone whom you love passes away, you should read A Grief Observed, which Lewis wrote anonymously after Joy died.

This is the Mason's Arms, a pub that Jack and Warnie would visit sometimes after church. They always left church at the last hymn, before everyone else, leaving the door to slam conspicuously.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Magdalen College

On Tuesday, July 26, I visited Magdalen Tower at Magdalen College, which is where C. S. Lewis taught as a professor. Magdalen College is one of the oldest and most well-endowed colleges at Oxford University.

I was taken aback by the confined space of the winding stairs that led to the top of Magdalen Tower. People with claustrophobia would have panicked for sure. The tower is around 144 feet tall. The view was worth it, and I shared the moment with my Shakespeare classmates.

Atop Magdalen Tower with my Shakespeare classmates.

This is the photogenic English Contemporary Novel class, taught by Professor Wright. They're the reason we were able to go up here--because their tutor was from Magdalen.

Pat is very pleased, and he indicates his pleasure by giving the "thumps-up."

A view of Magdalen College from the Tower.

The High Street, as seen from the Tower.

Nice view. Long drop.

Here I am, holding the key to Magdalen Tower. I tried a dramatic pose, because it is quite an honor to hold the key to Magdalen Tower. Sometimes humor works, sometimes it fails miserably and people roll their eyes and say things.
Pssh, things.

This time, humor worked.

A glorious green lawn.

Magdalen Tower

Those windows with the red flowers were where C. S. Lewis stayed. I was excited to walk on the same grounds as the see the outside of Jack's old room.

A hallway underneath Lewis' room.

I would have loved to stayed longer at Magdalen College, but it was soon dinner time, so we left to enjoy another delicious and glorious meal at Brasenose Dining Hall.

Farewell Dinner

We had our Farewell Dinner on Wednesday night of July 27. My last tutorial was Wednesday afternoon, so I could stop being silly and stressing myself out over papers that I shouldn't have stressed out over. I shall miss discussing Shakespeare's plays with my tutor, Ben.

We all dressed up real smart and purty for our Farewell Dinner. We even took some photographs.

My Shakespeare Class, taught by Dr. Velie. One of my classmates bought Dr. Velie a blanket with all of the Oxford college crests, and we all signed it.

All the beautiful people from the University of Oklahoma Honors at Oxford 2011 Program.

Thumbs-up. Don't Panic.