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Friday, October 29, 2010

East of Eden XXIV -- chpt23: FLIES ON THE BRAIN

Reading Questions
Chapter 23.1

  1. In Samuel's eyes, I believe there's no difference between the condition that brought about Una's death and the condition Adam is currently suffering.  Consider the line: "But Samuel thought and mourned in the thought that the accident was pain and despair" (emphasis added).
  2. The parable of the fly cage:  "He worked all day with a sharp tine pocketknife on a small block of wood, and when we came home from school he had carved a little face.  The eyes and ears and lips were movable, and little perches connected them with the inside of the hollow head.  At the bottom of the neck there was a hole closed by a cork.  And this was very wonderful.  You caught a fly and eased him through the hole and set the cork.  And suddenly the head became alive.  The eyes moved and the lips talked and the ears wiggled as the frantic fly crawled over the little perches.  Even Mary forgave him a little, but she never really trusted him until after she was glad she was a girl, and then it was too late."  What is the face, what/who is the fly, who are the children amazed by it, and who is Tom?
  3. Samuel is conflicted, whether he knows it or not, by the proof of his son, Tom.  If by nurture you can make a pig into a quarter-horse, why can Tom never escape the shadow of his father and experience the sun for himself?
  4. Note for future reference: for Tom, there is no difference between physical death and the breaking of spirit, such as it was for Dessie.

Chapter 23.2

  1. Samuel must not realize his contradiction with Tom, because the understanding of a similar contradiction--his falling under the spell of sadness when he claimed a real man wouldn't submit to such weakness--destroyed him, together with the event that revealed it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

East of Eden XXIII -- chpt22: BAPTISM, minus the water

Reading Questions
Chapter 22.1

  1. I can't help but think of couples who lose a child, which loss destroys their relationship, overcoming the love they have for each other, such that they can't find it--if it even continues to exist (is such a thing terminable? I think so).  Is Adam experiencing something like this or, as its his spouse and his children remain, is it entirely different?
  2. What does it mean that "Adam might be pleasuring himself with sadness"?
  3. It is interesting, the magic Samuel works on those around him: Lee is the prime example.  Notice how Lee's walls and masks simply slack from him when no one else is around.  It is the same, to a degree, with his children.  People are more themselves around Samuel (of course, this seems only to be the case for those who have something to hide behind: Liza is entirely bald and naked with or without him).  Does this eventually--as it hasn't until this point--work on Adam?  Is the "shocking" he's setting out to perform a bit of his wife creeping into his person?

Chapter 22.2

  1. Does Liza think it's important that the boys have names at this point?  It would seem to me that perhaps she doesn't, at least inasmuch as it isn't her or anybody else's business.  If this is the case however, why does she say, quite clearly, "If you do not get those boys names, there'll be no warm place in this house for you.  Don't you dare come whining back, saying he wouldn't do it or he wouldn't listen.  If you do I'll have to go myself"?  (And she smiles when she aggravates him to shouting!  WHY!?)
  2. What a beautifully self-contradictory woman!  Does she bring out--or provoke--the best in Samuel as a spouse should?

Chapter 22.3

  1. Ah!  The words of a hero (I think I will have this written on my grave): "A man, his whole life, matches himself against pay.  And how, if it's my whole life's work to find my worth, can you, sad man, write me down instant in a ledger?"  (Oh, it makes my heart sing!)
  2. Liza says it herself, that her husband's words are honey--poetry, true--Steinbeck's own, like some of the richest descriptive passages from Tortilla Flat (my pet favorite of the man's): "In a bitter night, a mustard night that was last night, a good thought came and the dark was sweetened when the day sat down.  And this thought went from evening star to the late dipper on the edge of the first light--that our betters spoke of.  So I invite myself."
  3. And Samuel's righteous indignation like the mighty wrath of a prophet for his God!  "Tear away with your jelly fingers.  You have not bought these boys, nor stolen them, nor passed any bit for them.  You have them by some strange and lovely dispensation....  The stone orchard celebrates too little, not too much."
  4. And Adam's defense (is it valid--really, is it!?): "What I do [or don't do] is my own business" speaking of his not having "laid a number" to his sons.
  5. And imagine the force of the stubborn old farmer's fist on the heathen's jaw!  I met a farmer in Italy once.  I've always thought of this particular gentle giant when I've read this passage from the book.  The man towered over me, pushing seven feet, with bones too big for his skin.  I don't have small hands, but when he took mine in his for a handshake, my little paw DISAPPEARED TO ABOVE MY WRIST.  I picture a fist like this--literal or figurative with its godly power--crashing into Adam's listless face.
  6. How are the boys naked without names?  They're still only babies.  With what exactly--more than one thing--will they be clothed once the names, with Adam's help and approval, are chosen and assigned?
  7. Proof of Samuel's success?  "It's hard to imagine I'd thank a man for insults and for me out like a rug.  But I'm grateful.  It's a hurty thanks, but it's thanks."
  8. Why do we need to sort out emotion--to label them as loss or hate or loneliness or whatever?  How will alleviating this confusion of labels help Adam ascend from his dearth?
  9. A point regarding NATURE vs NURTURE: "And I will warn you now that not their blood but your suspicion might build evil in them.  They will be what you expect them to be.  ...  I don't very much believe in blood.  I think when a man finds good or bad in his children he is seeing only what he planted in them after they cleared the womb." //  From Adam: "You can't make a race horse of a pig." //  From Samuel: "No, but you can make a very fast pig."  Interesting, as this makes sense coming from Samuel, who's raised to adulthood a huge family, but not so much coming from Steinbeck, who, at the time, has only two young boys, and he's not even the one really raising them!  What do you think?  (Ad astra per alia porci.)
  10. I repeat a question from before: Whose children are these boys?
  11. "I'd think there are degree of greatness," Adam said.  //  "I don't think so," said Samuel.  "That would be like saying there is a little bigness."
  12. Twice in this section, Samuel refers indirectly to Jesus Christ.  Once, regarding himself to be inherently too mediocre and cowardly to face crucifixion, and second, in Lee's position as a servant and a likely greater man than he or Adam will ever be.

Chapter 22.4

  1. Wise Lee, regarding the negative connotation of the name, Cain, and that it's perhaps never been borne since: "Maybe that's why the name has never changed its emphasis."
  2. How patient Steinbeck is as an author.  There's no rushing into the naming.  He's got something important in common with his Cathy Ames.  The moment comes as and when it will, and in the meantime he waits and takes advantage of the available moments for his further advantage.
  3. "No story has power, nor will it last, unless we feel in ourselves that it is true and true of us."  What stories do you know and/or have read that, by this standard, are true?
  4. Adam displays a personal moment of hope--of self-hope: "Well, every little boy thinks he invented sin.  Virtue we think we learn, because we are told about it.  But sin is our own designing."  Yet is is also tinged with hopelessness, and with it, MASSIVE foreshadowing for both event and theme: "Because we are descended from this.  This is our father.  Some of our guilt is absorbed in our ancestry.  What chance did we have?  We are the children of our father.  It means we aren't the first.  It's an excuse, and there aren't enough excused in the world."
  5. Does Adam have any inclination--even akin to deja vous--that as he defends Cain he defends his brother?
  6. Samuel: "I think this is the best-known story in the world because it is everybody' story."  (This, by the way, is the essence of the definition of Myth--not myth=fiction, but myth=foundational literature and history, true or not.)
  7. "But [Aaron] didn't make it to the Promised Land."
  8. Why does Samuel tear up in the final paragraph?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


"The 3 a.m. Epiphany"
The 3 a.m. Epiphany,
A Self-Portrait in Letters
Slow Learner:
Be a nose, be a nose, be a nose where
you once belonged!
--The lunatic at large ::
   the revenge of the babysat--


"Through the Looking Glass"
Through the Looking Glass,
The hero with a thousand faces, the
beauty of the beastly:
a confederacy of dunces.

Nothing like it in the world, / .
b/Believe it or not! / :
( / _I'm just here for the food.) / _


Assemble your own BOOKMASH and send it HERE!

East of Eden XXII -- chpt21: CALCULATION, POISON, and PATIENCE; not necessarily in that order

"In human affairs of danger and delicacy successful conclusion is sharply limited by hurry.  So often men trip by being in a rush.  If one were properly to perform a difficult and subtle act, he should first inspect the end to be achieved and then, once he had accepted the end as desirable, he should forget it completely and concentrate solely on the means.  By this method he would not be moved to false action by anxiety of hurry or fear.  Very few people learn this."

Funny, people generally consider me a patient person, at least under my capacity of teacher.  With myself, however, I am not a thing like this.  I rush all the time, expecting myself to manage an end faster and more efficiently than others and then kicking myself when I see all the typos and flawed reasoning and general mistakes.  Maybe I'll learn.  Or maybe I've learned and I just don't do it, because it's too much work.  It's easier to hurry.

Reading Questions
Chapter 21.1

  1. Who among you would, like the cook, like me (I'm loath to say), wouldn't be able for sure to say what you said when confronted by a person like Kate saying you said it?
Chapter 21.2

  1. I wonder how Kate would have taken advantage of a younger, more suspicious doctor than Dr. Wilde.
Chapter 21.3

  1. Faye, of Kate, at the end of the section after the narration of all the subtle improvements Kate has wrought: "What a clever girl she is.  She can do anything and she can make do with anything."

Chapter 21.4 -- POISONS
(Thanks to Wikipedia)

Botulism (Latin, botulus, "sausage") also known as botulinus intoxication is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum under anaerobic conditions.  The toxin enters the body in one of four ways: by colonization of the digestive tract by the bacterium in children (infant botulism) or adults (adult intestinal toxemia), by ingestion of toxin from foods (foodborne botulism) or by contamination of a wound by the bacterium (wound botulism).[1]  All forms lead to paralysis that typically starts with the muscles of the face and then spreads towards the limbs.[1] In severe forms, it leads to paralysis of the breathing muscles and causes respiratory failure. In view of this life-threatening complication, all suspected cases of botulism are treated as medical emergencies, and public health officials are usually involved to prevent further cases from the same source.[1]  Botulism can be prevented by killing the spores by cooking at 121 °C (250 °F) for 3 minutes or providing conditions that prevent the spores from growing. Additional precautions for infants include not feeding them honey.

While commercially canned goods are required to undergo a "botulinum cook" at 121 °C (250 °F) for 3 minutes, and so rarely cause botulism, there have been notable exceptions such as the 1978 Alaskan salmon outbreak and the 2007 Castleberry's Food Company outbreak. Foodborne botulism has more frequently been from home-canned foods with low acid content, such as carrot juice, asparagus, green beans, beets, and corn. However, outbreaks of botulism have resulted from more unusual sources. In July, 2002, fourteen Alaskans ate muktuk (whale meat) from a beached whale, and eight of them developed symptoms of botulism, two of them requiring mechanical ventilation.[7] Other sources of infection include garlic or herbs[8] stored covered in oil without acidification,[9] chilli peppers,[citation needed] improperly handled baked potatoes wrapped in aluminium foil[10], and home-canned or fermented fish. Persons who do home canning should follow strict hygienic procedures to reduce contamination of foods. Oils infused with garlic or herbs should be acidified and refrigerated. Potatoes which have been baked while wrapped in aluminum foil should be kept hot until served or refrigerated.[10] Because the botulism toxin is destroyed by high temperatures, home-canned foods are best boiled for 20 minutes before eating. Metal cans containing food in which bacteria, possibly botulinum, are growing may bulge outwards due to gas production from bacterial growth; such cans should be discarded. Any container of food which has been heat-treated and then assumed to be airtight which shows signs of not being so, e.g., metal cans with pinprick holes from rust or mechanical damage, should also be discarded.

Croton oil (Crotonis Oleum) is an oil prepared from the seeds of Croton tiglium, a tree belonging to the natural order Euphorbiales and family Euphorbiaceae, and native or cultivated in India and the Malay Archipelago. Small doses taken internally cause diarrhea. Externally, the oil can cause irritation and swelling. In traditional Chinese medicine it is used as an ingredient in some liniments. Croton oil is the source of the organic compound phorbol.[1] Today croton oil is the basis of rejuvenating chemical peels, due to the caustic exfoliating effects it has on the dermal components of the skin. Used in conjunction with phenol solutions, it results in an intense reaction which leads to initial skin sloughing and then eventual regeneration. In the United States Navy in World War II, a small amount of croton oil was added to the neutral grain spirits which powered torpedoes. The oil was intended to prevent sailors from drinking the alcohol fuel. A number of sailors devised crude stills to separate the alcohol from the croton oil, as alcohol evaporated at a lower temperature than croton oil.[2]

Cascara Sagrada: The dried, aged bark of this tree has been used continually for at least 1,000 years by both native and immigrant Americans as a laxative natural medicine, commercially called "Cascara Sagrada", but old timers call it "chitticum bark". The laxative action is due to the Cascara glycosides(cascarosides A,B,C & D).  Cascara Sagrada means "sacred bark" in Spanish. The much more pertinent name chitticum means "shit come" in Chinook Jargon; chittam comes from the Chinook Jargon phrase chittam stick = "laxative tree" which is similarly from [a pretty obvious piece of vulgar language in English].  Long used as a laxative by Native American groups of the northwest Pacific coast, chitticum bark or Cascara Sagrada was accepted in medical practice in the United States in 1877, and by 1890 had replaced the berries of the European Buckthorn (R. catharticus) as a commonly used laxative. It was the principal ingredient in many commercial, over-the-counter laxatives in North American pharmacies until 9 May 2002, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule banning the use of aloe and cascara sagrada as laxative ingredients in over-the-counter drug products.  Use of Cascara Sagrada has been associated with abdominal pain and diarrhea and is potentially carcinogenic[1]The bark is harvested mostly from wild trees; over-harvesting in the middle 1900s eliminated mature trees near many settled areas. Once stripped from the tree, the bark is aged for about 1 year to make its effect milder. Fresh cut, dried bark causes vomiting and violent diarrhea.



"Forever Odd"
Forever Odd (1):
My name is Asher Lev.
I am the messenger,
the guardian,
the good guy
forever odd.


First  Test
First Test (2):
Cannery Row
left behind
brightly burning.
high noon.
Napalm and silly putty.
Fade to black.
Create your own BOOKMASH and send it HERE for publication.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

From the Economist -- An Inspiration for Rhetoric

This will change the way I write:


As if symbolism weren't enough all by itself!  Here it takes a twist and adds practical application.  BRILLIANT!

East of Eden XXI -- chpt 20: Treacherous to her Master

Gustave Dore

Perhaps it's just my own personal adulation of both, but I was thinking while reading this chapter how Dante and Steinbeck seem to have some of the same darkling sense of humor.  There's an irony and a wit that seem peculiarly parallel, and I can't help but imagine what Dante would have done with Cathy and Adam in Hell.  Adam, of course, would be up above the gates with others guilty of sins of omission; Cathy, on the other hand....  Would she not be right at the very bottom with Judas, Brutus, and Cassius, hanging, wriggling, in the very jaws of Satan himself, demanding of him a fourth mouth?

Reading Questions
Chapter 20.1

  1. Kate to Faye: "You're so sweet.  You believe in everybody.  Someday if you don't watch, or I don't watch for you, someone will steal the roof."  //  "Who'd want to steal from me?" asked Faye.  //  Kate put her hand on Faye's plump shoulders.  "Not everyone is as nice as you are."

Chapter 20.2

  1. Kate is a master at disguising the physical symptoms of her thoughts with their emotional synonyms.  Here, Faye has just given her her will and Kate appears to be overcome with emotion and sorrow for the pall of death cast by such a thing.  What's really going on in her evil little mind?
  2. But there's a contradictory line after Faye insists the Kate drink the champagne: "Kate's chemistry screamed against the wine.  She remembered [what she did last time she got freaking tipsy], and she was afraid."  Afraid!?  Of what?  Is she actually afraid she might hurt Faye while inebriated?  That doesn't sound like her, especially considering the obviousness of her plotting.  What's she afraid of (and am I being too hard on her)?
  3. Is it the girl or the wine that does it in the end?

Chapter 20.3

  1. Why doesn't she just finish her off?  Is everything not in place and ready?

Monday, October 25, 2010

East of Eden XX -- chpt19: Q: What's the Opposite of a Church

A: a brothel, and, according to Steinbeck, they're siblings.

Reading Questions
Chapter 19.1

  1. The first question is pretty obvious, though the author goes to some at least minor length to discuss it: How is this possible? 
  2. This question may be less obvious: Does the life of an individual, though private and supposedly separate, affect his work?  For example, does the mentioned Reverend Billing's private life affect the quality or efficacy or accuracy of his teachings?  A common one in my family growing up regarded music.  Could someone with such rotten morals produce something I should be listening to?  My parents seemed to think that no matter what the song and lyrics, I couldn't listen to anyone who's personal life wasn't beyond reproach.  Take a side.  Which is right?  Consider this quotation: "Billing went to jail [for his various crimes and passions], but no one ever arrested the good things he had released."
  3. On the contrary, what if your business is itself dirty?  Are you yet capable of being, as Faye is described, "highly moral, and easily shocked"?

Chapter 19.2
(Attention: name change #2 for Cathy Ames, now referred to as Kate)

  1. Cathy (I will call her Kate from here on out, or until she changes it again) never works or serves or even, it seems, moves without an agenda.  What is her purpose of taking to Faye's place and behave in such an uncharacteristically kind and serviceable way?  The answer might seem obvious--to take over the house--but it's more than that.  Ownership--material ownership, that is--isn't something Kate is interested in.  There's something deeper going down.
  2. Steinbeck and I have an apparently different definition of "morality," because again, in this section, he says of Faye, "and her natural morality took hold."  Define his usage of the word, at least in this context.

Chapter 19.3

  1. How would things be different, do you think, if there were no kids involved?

Chapter 19.4

  1. "She told the best lie of all--the truth."  Steinbeck's used this more than once, and the are a variety of reasons behind it's truth.  List them.
  2. Oh, sweet Symbolism: The Nutshell.  When I first watched the nutshell incident, I only thought of one degree of symbolism, but there is more.  Consider this line in addition: "Only that big?  It felt like a house."
  3. And Faye is SO moral!  Instead of a slug of whiskey, she downs a shot of V8!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Writing/Photography Prompt: "BOOKMASH"

Don't know if anyone's taken the time to click any of the blog and site links I have on regular update in that long column at the right, but one of my very favorites is Stan Carey's, "Sentence First."  I'm not going to waste space telling you all about him.  Just go to his site and check out what he does.  I've only been reading him for a few months, but the other day he posted his eighth "bookmash," of which I propose a frenzy! 

Check out his most recent, and do one of your own!  Email it to me, and I'll put it up on the blog.


The Web of Words, by Stan Carey
October 19, 2010.

The web of words
Caught in the web of words –
The elements of editing,
The grammar of living –
I may be some time.
I almost included this title at line 2, but I felt it would be too harsh.  This is the eighth ‘bookmash’ I’ve posted. Numbers 1–7 are here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Poetess, PHILLIS WHEATLEY (named for her slave ship and her uncommonly beneficent masters)

I've got the chronic problem of reading too many books at any one time.  I'm currently reading--one story at a time and only irregularly--Fictions, by JL Borges, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, with my kids, by Brian Selznick, All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy, and now, one I just picked up at the library where we went in effort to escape the duldrums of a rainy day and restless, over-tired kids, Phillis Wheatley, Complete Writings.

Apparently the source of quite a bit of scholarly writing, Wheatley was a prodigy in many ways.  I'm not going to bore you with it all here, but leave it at this for now: her first published works were vouched as legitimately penned by her by a collection of important Boston white guys for three reasons: she was black, she was young, and she was a she--and all this coupled with the fact that there was no precedent for her!  She is the first published black woman. 

I haven't gotten very far, maybe fifteen pieces or so and just now skimmed and need to reread a lengthy account of David and Goliath, but here is a stanza that I'm quite partial to already, "Thoughts on the WORKS of PROVIDENCE:"

ARISE, my soul, on wings enraptur'd, rise
To praise the monarch of the earth and skies,
Whose goodness and beneficence appear
As round its centre moves the rolling year,
Or when the morning glows with rosy charms,
Or the sun slumbers in the ocean's arms:
Of light divine be a rich portion lent
To guide my soul, and favour my intent.
Celestial muse, my arduous flight sustain,
And raise my mind to a seraphic strain!

I'm not often into longer poetry--and maybe it's a combination of mood an day--but it's striking me warmly.  So, I recommend Phillis Wheatley. 

East of Eden XIX -- chpt18:To Bury Secrets

Reading Questions Chapter 18.1

Chapter 18.2

  1. Didn't Grendel's Mother live at the bottom of a lake--hidden, you might say--and didn't come up until her monster son started causing all that trouble and got himself killed?  (I might be bending the facts a little there.)  And what is it about Pandora's Box?  What about the One Ring?  Endless examples there are of the trouble with burying something evil and powerful and dirty....
  2. To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi, "Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?"
Chapter 18.3

  1. What's the benefit of going through the motions?  It's not "real."
  2. Why won't Lee have his bookstore, now that Adam is alone?  And why does it seem to turn out that he "didn't want it much anyway"?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Soliciting Your Votes

Hey, Everyone. 
Take a second and
VOTE for your favorite
East of Eden characters.
(The poll is there on the right, up at the top;
vote for as many characters as you want.)

You haven't met all of the characters over there yet.  The poll's open until the middle of November, so feel free to revise your vote as you keep working through the book.  I don't think we'll actually get to Abra before the poll closes.  If you know her from a previous reading and like enough, great; if not, no worries.)

East of Eden XVIII -- chpt17: Of Meteors and Monsters

"When I said Cathy was a monster it seemed to me that it was so.  Now I have bent close with a glass over the small print of her and reread the footnotes, and I wonder if i was true.  The trouble is that since we cannot know what she wanted, we will never know whether or not she got it.  If rather than running toward something,g she ran away from something, we can't know whether she escaped.  Who knows but that she tried to tell someone or everyone what she was like and could not, for lack of a common language.  Her life may have been her language, formal, developed, indecipherable.  It is easy to say she was bad, but there is little meaning unless we know why."

Reading Questions
Chapter 17.1

  1. Deconstruction: Is Steinbeck just making this up as he's going along?  If this is really Olive's son narrating, then he already knows the story from the end to the beginning and he would have known from his first word--and dwelled on it for a decision--whether his opinion of Cathy was that she was indeed a monster or just a misunderstood alien.  Suddenly, from the quotation above, the first paragraph of chapter 17, she is no longer Cathy Ames the devil, but a Frankenstein's monster without the outward monstrosity, save empty, goatish eyes.  Should Steinbeck have gone back to alter that earlier chapter, held to his monster approach without deviation, or this just right?

Chapter 17.2

  1. Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"  I think it's an aptly applicable question here: "Why is a buried meteorite like a monster's baby?"  Carroll's riddle never intended an answer, at least according to his own claims, but that hasn't stopped people from coming up with their own.  Similarly, maybe Steinbeck didn't intend metaphor (though I doubt it).  So take this is one of two possible directions--or both: 1, Just answer the second question; 2, compare the two questions in context of EoE.
Chapter 17.3

  1. One of my favorite parts of this section is the little bit of Liza that creeps up in Samuel's behavior as he takes over the delivery of the baby.  Notice how there seem to be two babies he has to deliver: the neonate, and Adam.
  2. Which of the many sensations of birthing are bringing the anger, and perhaps evil, into Cathy?  (And don't say "all," because that's lame and a cop-out.  Which are most significant?  And when it comes down to it, I wouldn't ask if the answer were typical.)
  3. Okay, let's let the cat out of the bag: whose are the twins, and what kind of twins are they?
  4. Have you ever felt fear as an adult that caused you to wish you were a child with readily available and excusable foolishness and comfort?
  5. Samuel: "Lee, men are fools.  I guess I hadn't thought about it, but Chinese men are fools too." // "What made you doubt it?" // "Oh, maybe because we think of strangers as stronger and better than we are." // ... // Samuel: "Maybe the foolishness is necessary, the dragon fighting, the boasting, the pitiful courage to be constantly knocking a chip off God's shoulder, and the childish cowardice that makes a ghost of a dead tree beside a darkening road....  I feel wings over this house.  I feel a dreadfulness coming."  (I believe the "wings" Samuel mentions are much like the image of a great black bird hanging over Danny in Tortilla Flat or the crow that comes over Alice after her encounter with Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, that is an evil omen--a pall, a type of goose on a grave.)
  6. How is it exactly that Samuel thinks Liza will be able to help?
  7. As you get on to the end of this section, tell me--I dare you--that Liza and Samuel don't love each other; but you'd better back it up if you do.
  8. Maybe it's just me--my family's little predicament right now--but Samuel's attitude is enviable: ""Samuel looked up at Tim with clear eyes and said, 'I'll have to get up,' tried it and sat weakly back, chuckling--the sound he made when any force in the world defeated him.  He had an idea that even when beaten he could steal a little victory by laughing at defeat."
Chapter 17.4

  1. "Lee she used like a slave since she didn't quite believe in him.  Adam she ignored since she couldn't use him for anything.  She did make him wash the windows and then did it again after he had finished."
Chapter 17.5

  1. Cathy to Adam: "I can do anything to you.  Any woman can do anything to you.  You're a fool."
  2. Why didn't she finish him off?
  3. Will this bring him to the point of hitting bottom, like was discussed earlier?

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Maybe this is impossible from within this format.  It could be friggin' cool, though.  And I said it earlier: it would make a great book if it's done right and well.  See what you think:

So, I've titled each of the entries for the book (listed below by chapter).  The titles are getting a little more creative as I go, and I got thinking about this and how we all did the Wall in my old classroom (so perfectly compiled by the Brown sisters, by the way).  So let's put it all together.  We could do an illustration/cartoon for each chapter title and pair each a single-sentence caption encapsulating that particular chapter.

Chapter 1: The Salinas Valley
Chapter 2: Introducing the Hamiltons and Our Gods (not exactly the same people)
Chapter 3: Cyrus, the Trasks, and Sexism and The Fall of Gods
Chapter 4: The Aches of the Restless and Young
Chapter 5: Meanwhile Back on the Ranch
Chapter 6: Restlessness, Part Deux -- Maturity
Chapter 7: The Return Home
Chapter 8: Nature versus Nurture
Chapter 9: From the Bottom Up
Chapter 10: The Trasks: Family Drama
Chapter 11: Adam is Taken with a Devil
Chapter 12: unblogged, and subject to your creativity
Chapter 13: The Glory Boys
Chapter 14: Olive, the Olympian
Chapter 15: Divination
Chapter 16: The Golden Man with the Goat's Eyes
Chapter 17: Of Meteors and Monsters
Chapter 18: To Bury Secrets
Chapter 19: What's the Opposite of a Church
Chapter 20: Treacherous to Her Master
Chapter 21: Calculation, Poison, and Patience
Chapter 22: Baptism, Minus the Water
Chapter 23: Flies on the Brain
Chapter 24: Timshel
Chapter 25: Resurrection and Glory Via Timshel
Chapter 26: The Beginnings of a New Beginning
Chapter 27: Abracadabra
Chapter 28: [no title; no reading questions]
Chapter 29: Just Call Me Joe!
Chapter 30: Shot Through the Heart
Chapter 31: Adam to Cathy to Liza to Will
Chapter 32: Purple Eggs and White Pigeons
Chapter 33: The Great Acorn Contest
Chapter 34 - 35: Believe It or Not
Chapter 36: Liars
Chapter 37: Lettuce-Head
Chapter 38: Cal Trask, Softer than He Seems
Chapter 39: Caleb Trask, Super Hero
Chapter 40: The Troglodyte
Chapter 41: Prep for a Bean Bash
Chapter 42: The Great War Strikes the Salinas Valley
Chapter 43: Abel's Sacrifice
Chapter 44: Humans Just Smell Bad Sometimes
Chapter 45: Catch Me If You Can
Chapter 46: Hypocrisy, Stupidity, and Shame
Chapter 47: Who Is to Blame?
Chapter 48: **sneeze**
Chapter 49: Murder
Chapter 50: Alice in Evil-Land, Lost Through the Looking-Glass
Chapter 51: "Am I Supposed to Look After [My Brother]?"
Chapter 52: Disillusioned, an Active State of Being
Chapter 53: Love and Timshel
Chapter 54: Late Azeleas
Chapter 55: The End

Okay, so if we do this, or if someone wants to just take off and get started, let's set a couple standards:
  1. The work must be original.
  2. Compose the piece within a square--you know, so there can be a uniform format without ever having the crop some of your hard work.
  3. You automatically give me permission to post the work on the blog, but all credit will go to you, the artist/illustrator.
Email it HERE.

East of Eden XVII -- chapt16: The Golden Man with the Goat's Eyes

Chapter 16 opens with Samuel on the long road home after visiting the new Trask ranch.  Anyone willing, I think, will do his/her best thinking on a trip like this.  I do (though my greatest thinking certainly isn't anything to write a book about), and Samuel's thinking about is the goose (or rabbit, apparently--look it up) that walked over his grave.  Twice, and caused the "Welshrats."  (What an intriguing thing, the Welshrats--from the German weltschmerz, meaning world-pain--and how it's used here.  (If I knew German, I might be able to tell you why it's capitalized.  Anyone?))  He can't figure out what must have made it happen.  Not jealousy of the ranch.  Not some lost, painful memory.  Of course, he lands on it eventually, via a childhood memory of a criminal with eyes just like Cathy's, and the narrator recounts Samuel's experience seeing the Golden Man, whose eyes, like a goat's (my parents would probably argue this on behalf of their own goats), have no depth. 

Reading Questions
Chapter 16.1

  1. Why doesn't Samuel trust the connection between the Golden Man and Cathy?  How does this act as evidence for Cathy's superiority as Evil?

Chapter 16.2

  1. Good ol' Liza.  She hasn't even been to "the Sanchez place" and already she'll never smell anything but pigs.  Wondrous how a person of conviction, with the Lord eternally at her side (whether He likes it or not), is always right, even when she's wrong.
  2. And I'm sure Liza would condemn gossip in all around her, but never be able to see it in herself, even if her distant judgments of Cathy aren't so far off the mark.
  3. I expect that Liza enjoys being miserable and wouldn't have it any other way, even if contentedness is knocking at her door.
  4. Yet despite his strange eccentricities, somehow she and Samuel make a beautiful--and beautifully balance--couple. 

Perhaps the Loveliest Wall I've Ever Seen; and BRICKS

As many of you know, this "wall" (not the one below, but the blog upon which that image is posted) is nothing like the "brick" wall I had at SASA.  If any of you ever happens to come across a particular image or draws or designs something like the bricks we had then, send it along via Facebook.  I'll post it here, or create a page just for showing off the bricks.  Or maybe we should do illustrations for each of the chapters of the books we read here....  Any thoughts?  After an entire book's worth, I imagine it could even be something worth trying to publish.  Hmm....

The wall here below was found by my wife.  "Your kind of bookshelf," she said of it.  Indeed!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

East of Eden XVI -- chpt15: Divination

Reading Questions
Chapter 15.1

  1. The human heart, I think, naturally tends toward optimism.  Adam, while not the ideal example, experiences a pall falling over his memory of Connecticut, and the memory fades.  There have been parts of my life--shocks of memory--of which I think so irregularly, for reasons of avoidance of pain, that practically speaking I've essentially forgotten.  When skimming along the timeline of my experiences, I naturally and unwittingly skip those dark periods, as if they didn't exist; yet if those times are directly called upon, by someone else present at the time or some specific corollary, the images are yet clear.  What experiences have you had that are similar (not to dredge up the painful), or what is your opinion in this regard?
  2. As we saw a couple chapters ago, we're getting the optimism for change here.  Consider this line: "Can you imagine?  Just think what this land would raise with plenty of water!  Why, it will be a frigging garden?"  Okay, the book is East of Eden, of course, whose third word references one of the two most famous gardens in Western culture.  Is Eden a dream, an ambition, as distant as this optimistically anticipated future, that in likelihood will never come to pass (because, come on, what large body of people are ever so satisfied that they don't look hopefully or enviously toward a better time or circumstance, future or past, left or right)?  If this is so, and Eden will never come, are they not constantly living in the cursed land just Eastward?
  3. "There wasn't any limit, no boundary at all, to the future."  Didn't Walt Disney (Tomorrow Land, isn't it?) and Howard Stark (the old Stark Expo, right?) each have a similar impression of the future?
  4. Ah, count on Samuel to articulate the issue: "There's a capacity for appetite that a whole heaven and earth of cake can't satisfy."
  5. I find the paragraph describing Cathy's mental approach--the picture of passive-aggression--to coping with her baby, her husband, and her new house (for her, not a home); does it not sound like the line describing Olive as disbelieving anything contrary to her realm of possible acceptance?  Of course, there is the fundamental difference of calculation for Cathy and blind, God-fearing faith for Olive.
  6. The introduction of Lee, the cook, is perhaps one of my favorite moments--not because it's a grand introduction, but because I now know who Lee is and what he does.  However, if there is one great thing about the method of his introduction it is that his presence makes Cathy feel uncomfortable.  Is there a surer sign of his potential for goodness than that he arouses fear (though she denies it) in the Devil?  And the last line of the section: "And what harm could he do her?" 

Chapter 15.2

  1. Speaking of accents and shields, Lee, taking standard English rather than his affected pidgin, says, "It's more than a convenience.  It's even more than self-protection.  Mostly we have to use it to be understood at all."  What is he talking about?
  2. When asked why he maintains the queue, Lee says, "Talkee Chinese talk.  Queue Chinese fashion--you savvy?"  Samuel [laughs] loudly.  "That does have the green touch of convenience," he [says].  "I wish I had a hidey-hole like that."  But don't we all have hidey-holes like that?  What's yours?
  3. Lee is a changeling, and metamorphmagus, a two-face, and a  man without a country.  Is he short-changing himself?  Is it laziness--acceptance--settling?  Is it survival or refusal?  What other characters are there like him?  I can't help but thing of frontiersmen or outlaws.  People like Jesse James or Cassidy and Sundance....
  4. "It's hard to split a man down the middle and always to reach for the same half."
  5. "There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension."
  6. Is literature no full of wise servants?  Look at Lee's description and list the names and sources of servants you've discovered that fit the bill.  The obvious one from contemporary culture (or newly renewed): Bruce Wayne's Alfred.  (I think I could be a servant....)

Chapter 15.3

  1.  Anyone out there have experience with a divining wand--the forked stick Samuel uses to find water?
  2. Like stones in a field: "The ways of sin are curious.  I guess if a man had to shuck off everything he had, inside and out, he'd manage to hide a few little sins somewhere for his own discomfort.  They're the last things we'll give up."
  3. Of the forked stick: "I don't really believe in it save that it works.  Maybe it's this way.  Maybe I know where the water is, feel it in my skin.  Some people have a gift in this direction or that.  Suppose--well, call it humility, or a deep disbelief in myself, forced me to do a magic to bring up to the surface the thing I know anyway.  Does that make any sense to you?"  Isn't it this way for anyone who "discovers" religion for the first time?
  4. Hmm.  Adam won't plant apples, because it's "looking for trouble."
  5. Could there have been a different girl for Adam?  It's easy to say that Adam is in love with being in love and simply needed an object--it could have been anything or anyone.  But take the hard road: How might it be that Cathy is actually the IDEAL woman for Adam, at least if you consider the gods' oft-misjudged generosity and wisdom in providing all men with the ideal circumstances to return us to them?
  6. Samuel to Adam regarding the latter's oblivion: "I should give you Othello's handkerchief."
  7. On approaching the house together and spying Cathy from a distance: "Even at this distance she looks beautiful," Samuel said (emphasis added).
Chapter 15.4

  1. It seems that good men--well, not exclusively, because there's Charles as well (but is he a BAD man?)--naturally mistrust Cathy.  Adam is not a bad man.  What's his freaking problem?
  2. What's the goose that keeps treading over Samuel's grave?
  3. (I picture Doxology as one of those sorry looking Disney horses from the old shorts....)
Chapter 15.5

  1. Once again, Adam is an idiot.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

East of Eden XV -- Olive, the Olympian

Chapter 14

"I must tell you that there are certain things in the existence of which my mother did not believe, against any possible evidence to the contrary.  One was a bad Hamilton and another was the airplane.  The fact that she had seen them didn't make her believe in them one bit more.
"In the light of what she did I have tried to imagine how she felt.  Her soul must have crawled with horror, for how can you fly in something that does not exist?"

No questions.

This has always been one of my favorite chapters.  While I don't know what Steinbeck's real mother was like or what he thought of her, this chapter speaks loudly of the adoring love a son can develop for his mother long after childhood has passed.  This chapter doesn't have a lot to do with the conflict of the story, and I like to think while reading it why Steinbeck feels the push to include it.  Maybe that can be the source of solicited responses.  That, and, if you want a bit of a writing challenge, change the face of the situation and write Olive in her first Olympic competition (preferably not naked like the Greeks, but not contemporary either; what event, where did her talent come from and how did it develop).  Or just talk a minute about your mom.

Love this chapter....

(you can read all but two pages of this on Google Books: here)

Book Review #2: MOCKINGJAY

Have you ever heard someone say that they just finished reading a book--a book you've also read and happened to have enjoyed--and complained about what a disappointment it was, and you wonder, "Was he even reading the same book?"  Well, keep that in mind.  I'm coming back to it.

I hopped on the Hunger Games bandwagon over the summer, when Wal-Mart finally picked up the first book, which I could buy on the cheap.  Until then, my wife and I had our names on the waiting list at the local library.  (We're still not halfway through that list!)  We each read the first.  We each loved it.  It was exciting and almost new to read a writer who, first, didn't pull any punches (and if you haven't read these, really, she "keeps it real") and, two, kept it direct and simple.  This is a big deal for a someone like me who admittedly and happily loves prolixity--if it's done well, at least.  As it turns out (and such is more than certainly the case with McCarthy's The Road, by the way) that if not terse, then laconic, is just as good.  This is especially the case here, when it would be entirely out of character for the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, to wax poetic. 

The second book made it to the mega-store as well, and we read it with similar abandon.  It too was great and fun and shocking and does what any good second-in-a-trilogy should do: it propels on from the first, and prepares with excellent cliffhanger for the third; and it can almost stand alone.

The third book, Mockingjay, came along.  We'd awaited it eagerly.  But we'd also just lost our job.  We couldn't get it.  And we couldn't get it.  Wal-Mart got it, and still we couldn't get it.  (Twice, I almost forewent milk and gas to get it, but I didn't.)  My sister-in-law got it.  Borrowed it from a friend.  It's on second-hand loan to us, and I finished it last night.

As it's been quite some time since it's come out (well, a couple months, I guess), I've heard a lot of reactions to the close of the story.  Mostly I've just heard, "What a disappointment!"  As I plugged along the first half of the book, I began to agree!  It was a little slow; not really Collins' style.  But that's it!  There was a lot of exposition that needed to happen--yes, NEEDED.  I had faith, though, in Collins, and stuck with it.  (I would have anyway; I couldn't wait to find out what the end was actually going to be!  How would the rebels win; whom would Katniss choose; would one of the selection even return to sanity; and what about the long-distant duel of the psycho presidents?)  So I finished, and I wondered, "What book did all those other people read, because it couldn't have been this one!  That ending was AMAZING!"

An inspiration, in fact, such that again I jealously thought, "Crap, I want to create something beautiful and brilliant!"  (Maybe someday.)

I think the problem people have with reading something like this is their inability to separate what they want to happen with what should, or simply DOES, happen.  It's not about what you want!  I'm guessing that most of them are sad/mad that quite a few favorite characters simply don't make it.  But isn't that how war is?  I'm sorry, but put a group of people on the front line of a war and chances are that most of them, if not all, are going to kick the bucket.  Yet there's courage and heroism and tragedy and revenge and anger and relief and, in the end, justice and recovery.  The good guys win.  (That's not really a spoiler, because that's not really what it's about.)  But does Katniss win?  She's the protagonist.  This is her story.  It's not her sister's, or old friend's, or the districts', or the other recruits'; it's hers.  Period.  And how beautifully and perfectly--and, if this story were real, how likely--Collins draws it all together.

While I'm not comparing Collins in any other way to this particular book, in one aspect in particular she draws direct comparison to one of my favorites, Catcher in the Rye.  Salinger runs the entire book through with the string of a song.  That song is a metaphor for everything that happens in the story, and particularly to the central conflict of the protagonist.  So it happens here in Mockingjay.  Collins pens really a beautiful "song," which is much more poem than anything else, and does for her story what "Catcher in the Rye" (the song) does for Salinger's.  If for no other reason, read the book for "The Hanging Tree" and what it does for the book and its characters.

In the end, everyone, ignore the freaking nay-sayers.  Read this book.  It's wonderful, and will have (once I can buy my own copy, at least) a permanent spot on my book shelf, somewhere between Chabon and Dickens.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Karli and Britany: YOUR BOOKS

You've already seen the bookmark.  (Less than spectacular, I know.)  But here are the books I will soon mail you:
for Britany

for Karli

TIME'S UP: announcing the WINNERS (yes, with an "s")


The very first contest is over.  As the turnout of entries included but 2 individuals, I'm not going to bother running their names through some randomness generator (random.org, I think it is), and simply give the prize to both of them.  That just means I need to make a second bookmark and choose a second book of poetry, which I will do (the latter) right now.

I will be back with scans of the covers of the books for Karli and Britany shortly. 

In the meantime, Britany and Karli, send me a facebook message with the easiest way to get a hold of you so I can get your address so I can mail you your prizes.

Podcast #3 -- "TALENTS" (or, in this case, "LAND") (and it's short!)

I wasn't planning on this, and maybe it makes no sense.  Maybe it was my subconscious working in an attempt to make up for the ridiculously convoluted stream of random ideas I presented yesterday.  This one, I think, works and is maybe even more applicable.  AND IT'S SHORT!  (I know; I said that already.)

I didn't get into the details of the parable from Matthew (chapter 25, by the way, if you're interested), but there's a lot more we could talk about.  Call it the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Call it Karma.  Whatever.  Regardless of whatever you choose to call it, though, and if you believe this stuff from one side or another, well, then, how comforting!  (And this is one of the greatest things about literature, with or without religion tacked to it: it applies to real life!)  Maybe God didn't give me much, but as long as I do my best with it, well, maybe He'll take me in when It's all over after all. 


East of Eden XIV -- The Glory Boys

In the podcast, I mentioned that there's potential for this to be an optimistic story, based simply upon the introduction of chapter 13.  While certainly not over-stated, the podcast rested dominantly upon the consequences of Adam's decision to propose to and marry Cathy Ames, which thing Charles recognizes as a huge mistake and even demonstrates as such, when, after Adam has mistakenly taken Cathy's sleeping draught, she sleeps with Charles, who simply mutters, while admitting the Beast within his sheets, "poor bastard."  *!*  So here's the first question, then, for chapter 13: for the story to be predominantly optimistic, do all conflicts need to result in happiness? Is happiness even the key to optimism in the first place, or do we require misery (to some degree) in order to have optimism, which is hope? So, putting it together, if things end up well--in some form or another--for the Hamiltons (an easy thing to assume), and things end up badly for the Trasks (similarly easy), does that exclude the possibility of overwhelming optimism for the story? Can things be somehow optimistic yet still troublesome, even evil, for Adam?  (By the way, things are never "easy" in a Steinbeck novel.)

It should be obvious already--simply by their mutual presence in the story--that the Hamiltons and the Trasks are going to cross paths. Also, it should be clear that the Trask end will be largely dominated by Adam's story. This alone should be evidence for hope, at least for Adam.

Reading Questions
Chapter 13.1

  1. Putting together the whole of part 1, what is it's ultimate purpose in the chapter (you may need to finish reading the chapter before answering this)?  Can you pinpoint what Steinbeck means by "a glory?"  It seems to be insinuating imagination and creativity, and that of the individual over the group.  Put this in context of the two sides of change I talked about in the podcast.  What do you think?

Chapter 13.2

  1. Read the first sentence of part 2.  READ IT AGAIN!  Holy crap!  How in the world is it possible that, at least for now, Adam is experiencing one of those GLORIES mentioned by the author in part 1?  How is it that she is not inhibiting this?
  2. "And who in his mind has not probed the black water? //  Maybe we all have in us a secret pond where evil and ugly things germinate and grow strong.  But this culture is fenced, and the swimming brood climbs up only to fall back.  Might it not be that in the dark pools of some men the evil grows strong enough to wriggle over the fence and swim free?  Would not such a man be our monster ,and we not related to him in our hidden water?  It would be absurd if we did not understand both angels and devils, since we invented them" (emphasis added). 
  3. I've never thought of Adam this way:  Consider that he does not see Cathy for what she really is, because he is blinded, so to speak, by his own glory.  "The glory lights up the world and changes it the way a star shell changes a battleground."  Clearly, the star shell is Adam; the battleground is Cathy and is Adam's past.  Both are made either beautiful, or blankly white (over-exposure--the shutter left open) by the light of the glorious shell.  And I hate to use another Harry Potter analogy, but I can't really help it--it's fits perfectly.  Remember the Veela?  Fleur, via the magic of her spectacular beauty, seems to erase the very scars from her fiance's face, seems to make everything else more beautiful that comes near her on the day of her wedding?    And do our own eyes not do the very same when we are blissfully joyful?
  4. Remember: Cathy and Adam's-Cathy are two different people, if not in practice, so in his mind.
  5. And poor Charles.  Who is this man, mourning the loss of the brother he hates, and whom he loves?  And whom can any of us hate more than those we love the most?
  6. (Another rhetorical question--not one intended for no answer, but one intended to really make you think: tell me what you think:) Who hates a killer or, at least a destroyer, more than a sincere doctor, and why?

Chapter 13.3

  1. "There's people that when they see Samuel Hamilton the first time might get the idea he's full of bull.  He don't talk like other people.  He's an Irishman.  And he's all full of plans--a hundred plans a day.  And he's all full of hope.  ...he'd have to be to live on this land!  But you remember this--he's a fine worker, a good blacksmith, and some of his plans work out.  And I've heard him talk about things that were going to happen and they did" (emphasis added).  Adam's going to see a prophet?
  2. I sense a parable her in Samuel's words.  What are its parallels?  "I said it was a strange valley. ...  I've dug into it plenty.  Something went on under it--maybe still is going on.  There's an ocean bed underneath, and below that another world.  But that needn't bother a farming man.  Now, on top is good soil, particularly on the flats.  In the upper valley it is light and sandy, but mixed in with that, the top sweetness of the hills that washed down on it in the winters.  As you go north the valley widens out, and the soil gets blacker and heavier and perhaps richer.  It's my belief that marshes were there once...," (didn't we just read about marshes? I quoted something above on the matter), "...and the roots of centuries rotted into the soil and made it black and fertilized it.  And when you turn it up, a little greasy clay mixes and holds it together.  That's from about Gonzales north to the river mouth.  Off to the sides, around Salinas and Blanco and Castroville and Moss Landing, the marshes are still there.  and when one day those marshes are drained off, that will be the richest of all land in this red world."
  3. Louis Lippo: "He's always thinking about how to change things.  He's never satisfied with the way they are."
  4. Often, Samuel seems like the great patriarch of the Israelites.  Any Old Testament scholars out there want to look into this?
  5. Was there something about Samuel's talk that drove Adam to make the purchase?  It almost seems spontaneous, despite his meticulous study.
Go back to the beginning of the chapter.  What's going on with that opening section of glories?  What is Samuel's glory, which, unlike Adam's, is not specified?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Podcast #2: CHANGE

So, I understand if no one comes back to this entry, but I've got something to add.  I just finished reading Mockingjay, final book in the Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins, and I found a couple of paragraphs in a dialog that seem pertinent to the discussion here. 


  • "Are you preparing for another war, Plutarch?"
  • "Oh, not now.  Now we're in that sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated," he says.  "But collective thinking is usually short lived.  We're fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.  Although who knows?  Maybe this will be it, Katniss."
  • "What?" I ask.
  • "The time it sticks.  Maybe we are witnessing the evolution of the human race.  Think about that."
Maybe the rebellion war of Panem was indeed enough to bring about the actual adaptation of the human species.  Does that mean this fictional event was bigger than the various wars we've experienced?  Because none of them--the real wars--have resulted in our permanent change, or am I really missing something?


So this installment doesn't have quite the razzle-dazzle, or hype, or whatever of the last, but I hope the point comes across.  I've learned a little bit about putting these things together, including something that I need to work on more for the next time: REHEARSE; and a little bit about myself: like, man, it's so hard to hold onto a train of thought or keep things interesting (doubtful I managed) or even organized when there's no class of noisy kids sitting in front of me.  I need you guys there raising your hands or shouting out questions and comments!

And it's still really freaking weird watching myself like this, propless, close-up.  I need a chalkboard.

Oh, yeah.  This too:

This replaces any questions for Chapter 12.  I'll pick up tomorrow with the rest of Chapter 13.

part 1


part 2
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