Monday, June 29, 2015

Book Review: The Boundless

I recently read a novel called The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel. The story is about Will Everett, a talented artist who longs for adventure. Will's father is a worker on the longest and most spectacular train the world has ever seen: The Boundless. Soon Will is thrown into an adventure he never bargained for, with tightrope walker and escapologist Maren and the elusive Mr. Dorian.

With sasquatches, hags, and a gold-crazed villain hot on their heels, will this queer trio be able to warn Will's father before it's too late? With deception, thrilling chases, nail biting chances of discovery, and lots of Canadian history, this is a novel you won't be able to put down!

The setting of this book travels as does The Boundless. We start off in the lonely town of Farewell, a five-day journey from Winnipeg. Then after the "last spike" is driven, Will and his father move out west to see the railroad and start a new life. Of course, most of the setting is on the train, passing landscapes ranging from dense green forests, foggy muskeg, and yawning tunnels that cut into the sides of sheer mountains.

I believe that the protagonist in this book is both Brogen, a cruel rail worker with endless stores of cunning, and Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster of Zercus Dante and a man with his eye on the prize of which only he knows. The antagonist in this book is most definitely Will Everett. Known by his father as "Too shy, too sensitive. Too soft." (p.56), he was never a born leader and is no good at making choices. The climax is very undecided for me, so I'll leave it to you to decide.

As a favourite character, I would choose Maren. She always struck me as a person who is always optimistic, and who could do anything if she sets her will to it. "No lock can hold her! No chains can bind her!" (p.65) I would completely recommend this book. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Chocolate Moustaches a la Purdy's

Car-free Day on Main St.

Chocolate Torte a la Plaisir Sucre

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Museum of Vancouver: Ancient Worlds

My day at the Museum of Vancouver to uncover the science of archeology:

There is lots to learn about this real Egyptian mummified boy "Panechates"!

He came to the MOV when Dr. Kidd of Vancouver went on vacation to Egypt. He bought the mummy as a "souvenir" and brought it back to Vancouver. He and his friends had an "unwrapping party" as was fashionable back then, which is why Panechates has his head unwrapped.

Soon everyone wanted to see "5 year-old Princess Diana" (back then they thought all mummies were royal, and they had no X-rays to tell that it was a boy and actually 10!). People were knocking on Dr. Kidd's door asking for a look. Eventually Dr. Kidd was so sick and tired of all the attention that he gave it to the MOV for all to stare at.

After X-rays and CT scanners were invented they found that both Panechates' legs were broken and his skull fractured. What do you think happened to young Panechates?

After our visit with Panechates, we learned how to uncover artifacts in a simulated field dig like professional (though slightly out-of-date) archeologists!

First you string off the area where you think some artifacts are hidden (like the picture shown). Then you start to scrape away sand with a tool called a trowel. If you uncover something, immediately switch to a brush and sweep away any extra sand. Then draw the rough outline of the object. Using a ruler, write down the measurements (height and width) going from the centre of the object. After, also mark the depth of where the object is from the side of its string square down to the centre of the object.

My digging partner Trinity and I worked on uncovering "artifacts" from the Indus Valley. We discovered a piece of a drainage pipe, a toy ox and cart, and a brick for making a house. After the dig, everyone went to a "conference" to show the other teams what they had found and what they would want to add to the permanent collection. The question for the Indus Valley team was, "Were farms and a comfortable family life important to the Indus Valley people?" Trin & I chose the toy ox and cart because it showed that the people had leisure time for toys, and the importance of farming to their culture. Now I bet that I have bored you to death , so I'll wrap up here!

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Lord of the Rings Fellowship

After a 6-month journey, Serena and her book club "fellowship" finally finished all 6 books of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Everyone dressed up in character costumes for their final meeting. Serena looked endearing as a hobbit, dressing up as Peregrin Took, a.k.a. Pippin. Her feet weren't quite hairy enough but the nice long pipe did the trick.

This time Serena was inspired to write an epic poem about Helm's Deep. Did I say it's epic? It's epic.
The Tale of Helm’s Deep

The cursed hand an army bred
To fell the Hornburg tall
The Orc-made were ten thousand strong
And swarmed upon the wall

The rumour of destruction came
Unto the Deeping Coomb
Advancing like ebbed streams of blood
And horrid pulsing blooms

As lightning flashed across the sky
The Guard’s hearts quickly failed
For with every dark sheaf revealed 
All hope seemed crushed and quailed 

Helm’s Deep seemed made of flimsy sand
A useless childish toy
Against the might of all the seas
Armed with the Devil’s ploys

Dark waters poured through the breached Dike
And rain lashed like barbed whips
Blazing spears of lightning smouldered
Deep thunder tore and ripped 

The wailing cries of young children
Mingled with screams of loss 
Reverberating off the caves
With not the briefest pause 

The blood of Men and Orc alike
Emblazoned a foul path
Carving a torrential strait thus
Rekindling both sides’ wrath

The broken blade, reforged again
Shone like a deadly star
Wielding might majestically with
True glory from afar

The stench of flesh hung thick and rank
The air was tight with fear
Tortured bodies littered the ground
And heads grinned from tall spears

“Surrendered to our awesome might
For we shall slay you all
We are the fighting Uruk-Hai
With lances sharp and tall!”

The Guards observed with grim unease 
The Uruks and wild men
Mocking the light with spears aloft
Like some wild bristling glen

Then suddenly the sapphire sky
Was washed with golden light
And unbelieving hearts were lit
As dawn revealed her might

No finer band could be looked for
Nor greater hope than this
For the tides had suddenly turned
And pure was the Guard’s bliss

The Helmed King was bold and fair
His steed was white as snow
His shield was golden as the sun
And great hope he bestowed

As their gorgeous stallions raged
The King’s Guard hewed with ease
Their blades seemed made of purest light
Their faces held no crease

Where before the green dale had lain
Now a dark forest loomed
Rank upon rank of twisted boughs
The enemy seemed doomed

Lord Erkenbrand with horn of black
His shield as red as blood
Blew blast after resounding blast
Feet planted in the mud

Then a tall rider clad in white
Mithrandir of The West
With steed surefooted as a deer
Tossing his mighty crest

Like smoke against a galing wind
The army turned and fled
Filled with a madness of pure fear
Surrounded and unled 

And thus our tale of victory 
Comes to a gladden end
With boundless happiness for all
Now supper we’ll attend!

By an unnamed minstrel,
a hobbit, and a collection
of eye witnesses

(The hobbit only did the last verse)