Friday, December 25, 2015

merry christmas


Saturday, December 12, 2015

How to get away with Murder

The show I'm currently obsessed with on Netflix is How to Get Away With Murder. (The show is about a lawyer who solves murder cases and it tells you what the person did wrong. This show does not actually just list ways on how to get away with murder.) While I was studying for my exams I took a break and watched an episode. I had just finished studying Hamlet for the day. All i kept thinking about was how perfect Claudius executed the murder of Hamlet Sr. He made it seem as if poison killed the king and made sure no witnesses were around, so he thought. Claudius got caught because of 3 things. 1) He had the motive: If there was any inkling of suspicion that Hamlet Sr's death was murder, his brother could be a very eligible candidate because of the crown. Claudius wanted to be king so bad that he killed his brother.  2) The wife: Every murderer likes to keep some sort of trophy from their victim. Claudius took his brother's wife. If he didn't want people to suspect him, he should have kept his distance from Gertrude, at least for a bit longer than only one month. 3) The witness: So obviously the one person who knew Claudius killed the king was the king himself. They didn't teach me how to deal with the dead coming back in How to Get Away with Murder, but they do teach you to get rid of all the evidence and witnesses are evidence.

The Globe Theatre

Over the summer I spent 10 days in London with my mom and my sisters. When we were there we visited the Globe Theatre. The theatre was built by Shakespeare's playing company in 1599. The theatre I went to was not the same one built by Shakespeare himself because the original was burnt down. While visiting the globe my family and i were actually able to see a play being performed. We watched Shakespeare's play Richard II. Honestly, I was still very jet lagged and could barely keep my eyes open, but I'm sure it was a great play. I brought this up because we read one of Shakespeare's plays, Hamlet. Hamlet was originally performed in the globe theatre. It was very interesting to see this magnificent theatre and read about all of the history.

Favorite reading so far this year

My favorite thing we read this semester was probably Hamlet. Shakespeare is one of my favorite poets/ play writes. I enjoyed Hamlet because I love revenge stories. I sympathized with Hamlet because I know I would want to kill my uncle if he killed my dad and then married my mom. The only part that really got to me about hamlet was his whole debate. I don't think that I would have that much hesitation with deciding wether or not to take revenge on my father's murderer. I will definitely be using Hamlet as one of my exam essays. I will probably focus on Hamlet's debate as the theme for my essay, I just need to find quotes.

Promiscuous Brownies

I was thinking about what we've recently discussed in class, and since we had a party on Friday I guess the last thing said was promiscuous brownies. SO.. in Candide, let's think of all of the promiscuous moments. Well, starting our action was Candide and Cunegonde's promiscuous actions after dinner. So if you think about it, all of the action in Candide was started from one single dirty/incestuous act. I find it really funny, because Ashley's promiscuous brownies were the perfect snack for a post Candide party. Other relations between our party brownies and Candide's plot include, Pangloss's experimental physics and the Baron's relations with the Jesuits. tehe i just wanted to have a post about those brownies.


As I was studying, I came across something we had talked about that I find interesting. St. Francis rejected dualism, both Cartesian and Platonic. (For a reminder, Cartesian dualism deals with body and soul and Platonic dualism deals with earthly vs. perfect forms like in the Allegory of the Cave.) To me, dualism kind of presents a barrier. For example, when Descartes said "I think therefore I am," he implied that one must consciously make the decision to act. I think this suggests a definite disconnect between mind and body. It makes sense that St. Francis rejected dualism when you really think about it. His whole thing was the fact that he was so connected with nature. He didn't believe that any plant or animal was less worthy than any human being. Unlike the Dominican order, St. Francis encouraged the Franciscan order to go out and live among normal people. He still wanted them to take vows of poverty, but he did not want them to be separate from the masses. There was no sense of dualism in his beliefs. He thought that all things and people should behave as one. He definitely believed this when it came to God, too. In one of Giotto's paintings, St. Francis is presented in front of the public, naked, reaching up towards God.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

TIME's Person of the Year

I was watching the news yesterday morning and there was a story about Time magazine's person of the year. This year's top nominees were: Angela Merkel (the Chancellor of Germany), Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi (leader of ISIS; former al-Qaeda mastermind), Black Lives Matter activists, transgender woman Caitlyn Jenner, Travis Kalanick (CEO and co-founder of Uber), Russian president Vladimir Putin, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The most shocking candidate to me was Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. How could someone who has organized so much terror be named the person of the year...? But I thought about it and did some research. I actually found out that the criterion for this award is "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year." ISIS has definitely impacted the world for ill. The Islamic State (of Iraq and the Levant) "has risen from an Al-Qaeda franchise to a self-proclaimed state and one of the most potent threats in the Middle East." According to data collected by the New York Times, there have been 51 attacks directly linked to ISIS since September 2014. The data also showed more than 30 arrests before an attack was able to take place. So who knows how many more attacks would have been possible? Assuming the worst, if each of those 30 individuals had planned their own attack, that would be 81 attacks in 15 months. That's around 5.5 attacks each month, or more than 1 attack each week.

I though Merkel was a random candidate, and she only narrowly beat Al-Baghdadi. Certainly Jenner, Trump, BLM, and Al-Baghdadi would have caused controversy if they had been named. Interestingly enough, 736,000 people voted online who they thought should be TIME's person of the year, and the most popular answer was Al-Baghdadi. Now I know 736k is only .002% of the United State's population of 318.9 million, and not everyone would agree. At first I was surprised to see these results, but upon further consideration, I think Al-Baghdadi definitely deserves to be named the person of the year since he has impacted our whole country and other countries in so many ways.

I'm not saying Merkel isn't deserving of this honor because she has actually done a lot for the European nations out there, but I have a feeling Time magazine gave her this award as opposed to another candidate to avoid widespread backlash from the rest of the sensitive population.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

ISIS or Voltaire

ISIS is defined as the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or simply Islamic State, is a Wahhabi/Salafi jihadist Islamic extremist militant group."  ISIS is known for their intent to change others' beliefs. Voltaire, based upon that essay prompt, is also trying to change people's beliefs. He was vying for people to see a more realistic approach rather than a philosophical one. I'm not saying Voltaire is a member of ISIS....but they have a lot in common....hmmm.... (just kidding) But really: both ISIS and Voltaire are trying to change the way people see things, except that ISIS is violent and Voltaire is not. :)

Monday, December 7, 2015


Having read Candide, I think my favorite part of the novel is when Candide shoots the lovers of two women. These lovers also just happen to be monkeys! I looked up this term and it is called "animal love," or more commonly bestiality, defined as "relating to recurrent intense sexual fantasies, urges, and sexual activities with non-human animals." Apparently, "zoophiles," want to make love to animals. This is very strange, since only a few animals have sex for pleasure - dolphins, humans, apes, and bats to name a few. I was appalled at the two girls actually being in love with animals, and the phenomenon "zoophilia" is actually a real concept shocks me even more. In many countries and certain states in the US, this is still considered legal. Read more at: and

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Glass Is Half Empty

I can say Martin is my favorite character in Candide probably because I would say I'm mostly a pessimist like he is. Now, I don't go looking for the bad in things, but I think it's impossible to always try to look on the bright side of a situation because sometimes the circumstances are just shitty (excuse my language). The other day in class I said that pessimism is just as bad as optimism--and this is true. Constantly searching for good news is just as tiring as looking at the negative side of things. I'm not arguing that people should be pessimistic rather than optimistic, but I'm going to give my explanation of why I think being pessimistic is just a more realistic route. NOT TRYING TO OFFEND YOU OPTIMISTS OUT THERE.

If something good happens to a pessimist, he/she is like "Woah, that was great!" He/She wasn't expecting anything to happen, but because it did it was a bonus. And if something bad happens, he/she is like "Oh okay, well I had a feeling this was going to happen." With an optimist, if something great happens he/she is like "Awesome! Knew it was gonna work out like this!" Or if something not so great occurs, he/she is like "Noooooooo how could this happennnn:((("

What I'm about to say is probably going to lose some people in this discussion but try to bear with me (I even confused myself trying to put all of this into words)... The definition of pessimism is "a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen." Though I identify as a pessimist and I do sometimes lose confidence in the world around me, I think too much negative thinking is annoying and I'm not promoting that. My pessimism comes out when I'm thinking realistically. Would this make me a pessimistic realist? (Is that even a thing?) For a real life example, I'm applying to specific universities I know for a fact I'm not gonna get in based on the fact that they don't accept students with test scores below a certain number. I'm just being real! I can't be positive about it and pretend that I'm going to get in because when I don't I would be sad. I definitely think positive thinking is a key to finding success, but you can be a pessimist and still do well in life, too.

I feel like pessimists get a bad rep--people think they're insidious or depressed. Maybe some of them are haha I don't know (no worries, I'm not), but to be honest they're just being rational. It is impossible to just ignore the bad news in the world and pretend like everything is perfect. Being an optimist might help one sleep better at night, but the truth is that there is bad in the world and it can't go unrecognized.

We were all annoyed with Candide (the optimist), but I don't recall anyone saying they didn't like Martin (the pessimist)! 🐸☕️

I'm expecting some heated rebuttals in the comment section...

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Hamlets Delay vs. overphilosophising

Throughout Candide, the characters in the story analyze how the events coincide with their personal philosophies rather than dealing with the situation and focusing on what to do next. Pangloss is constantly blowing things off as the best thing that could have happened as if it doesn't really affect him, instead of taking action to improve the circumstances - this reminded me a lot of Hamlet and the issue of Hamlet's delay- Hamlet would overthink all of his decisions until he talked himself out of them. The only real difference is that hamlet overthinks while Pangloss overphilosophises. I'm sure that both stories would have wrapped up a lot more quickly if those things were taken out of the stories. I think it's interesting that both stories deal with the human condition and how we deal with situations based on action versus thought and what is the perfect balance between the two?

From The Play

After watching the play based on Voltaire's Candide, almost everyone agreed that they weren't happy with the play's choice to make Candide and Cunegonde so dumb sounding. I found the choice to be funny because Candide is this dumb in the novella. First off Candide has fallen in love with a girl, Cunegonde, purely from looks, and he also wants to marry her. Next, Candide doesn't think through his actions, Candide runs around almost aimlessly to find Cunegonde around the world. He also doesn't think when he uses his money, instead of bargaining with Vanderdendur, he just shows his wealth from the beginning, making the price rise and eventually gets robed. Most of Candide's misfortunes are from him not using his brain and I feel that the play did a proper presentation of his character.

Friday, December 4, 2015





In the beginning, I felt bad for Candide because so many bad things would happen to him and he didn't deserve them. As the novella progressed, Candide became a little more deserving of his punishments (see my previous blog post for an example). At this point, I am completely over feeling bad for Candide. He's so annoying with all of his obsessing over Pangloss' theories, Cunegonde's love, optimism, etc. I'm not sure if Voltaire was trying to evoke this feeling from the reader or do the complete opposite. What do y'all think his intentions were?

Thursday, December 3, 2015


The play that we are watching is very different from the original Candide. While it's not necessarily a good or bad thing, I noticed some things that I would like to share:

1)  The play emphasizes the comedy in the story, and the more depressing elements (war, murder, torture, rape, etc.) are largely presented in a comical way and with all the dark aspects removed. The many downfalls of all the characters are also depicted as sorrowful rather than miserable.

2) Many of the characters are very different from Voltaire's characters (and certainly not what I expected). The Old Woman, for example, is not so old here and seduces many men along the heroes' journey. She is also very healthy and does not catch the plague.

3) The play doesn't seem to include Voltaire's bitter attacks on his contemporaries.

4) Since the play only has two hours to present the story, a lot of the transitional events (for example, the main characters' travels) are omitted or very quickly narrated.

What do you think?

The Road to El Dorado

The Road to El Dorado is a animated movie from 2000. It is about 2 friends who travel to find El Dorado, "the lost city of gold." Once they find the gold their plan is to get back to Spain as quickly as possible without getting hurt or killed and to live a life of luxury with their newly acquired wealth. (The link to the trailer: I remember watching this movie as a kid and wondering if El Dorado was a real place...not like a real city made of gold/utopia, but just a regular town that people fantasized about, or if it actually was magical like Atlantis. I had totally forgotten about this until we started reading Candide. Having another viewpoint of El Dorado, I want to go back and watch this Dreamworks animation to see if there are any underlying references to Candide! I love being able to make the connection between a animated movie and a classic work of literature.


The definition of satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. That's what google says any way. In class the other day we were trying to come up with common forms of satire and Scary Movie came up. I thought of another example that may not be as common. "Not Another Teen Movie" is one of my favorite movies from the early 2000s. This movie makes fun of the typical love story that's portrayed in literally every single teen movie. There is this jock and he tells his friends he will be prom king and his date would be queen, this is already very stereotypical if you can't tell, so his friends make a bet that he has to make any girl they choose the queen and if he can't then they win. So of course, the friends pick the nerdy girl with glasses and a ponytail. She takes her hair out of a ponytail, whips off her glasses, he realizes she's really beautiful and they fall in love. They take parts of every famous teen movie and makes fun of it, its a great movie but it is R soooo viewer discretion is advised. feel free to go watch the movie, or even the trailer is really funny and gives you an idea.

Candide's Misfortunes

I will not deny that almost everything goes wrong for Candide and that he has several unfortunate experiences. For example, in an effort to protect the two naked girls from the monkeys, he actually kills their lovers. Candide had good intentions--I don't think he should be blamed for not knowing the status of their relationship. But I can't feel pity for him when bad things happen to him as a result of him just being an idiot. Namely, when Candide "spoke at length of Cunegonde" to the abbe, the abbe asks if Candide has received charming letters from her. As Candide tells the abbe that she has not sent any letters, I don't understand how he is not suspicious of the letter that comes from Cunegonde the next day... Because up to this point they have never exchanged any correspondence... This made me angry. How does he not realize that the timing is almost too perfect? Does Cunegonde even know where Candide is?! How could he possibly think this letter is actually from her! I did not feel bad for Candide when he was set up. He kinda deserved it for being so stupid. He's also carrying around millions, so I think he should be more aware that greedy people will try to woo him and take his money.