Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Walk in the Woods: Chapters 5-7

Bill and Katz hitchhiked into town to get clean and to get rid of Mary Ellen, who was still being very annoying. When they were eating at the Georgia Mountain Restaurant, Katz made Bill feel guilty about ditching Mary, so they went back to the trail. However, when another hiker told them what she had said about them, they stopped feeling sorry for her and kept going.

Later, they ran into a blizzard, and they met up with two hikers named Jim and Heath. Before Bill and Katz were frozen solid, Jim and Heath gave them a ride in a truck to a campground to wait for the snow to stop. They ended up sleeping in a bunkhouse full of other smelly and wet hikers.

Bill goes into a lot of detail about how inefficient the National Park Service is with money. He obviously doesn't have a very high opinion of the NPS. "The National Park Service actually has something of a tradition of making things extinct" (131; ch. 7).

Later, it starts raining, and it doesn't stop for days. During the night, they were tormented by mice and rats.

Loaded words:

1. infinite: "... when we did get views it was of infinite hills covered in more trees" (83; ch. 5). It shows that the trail at the moment was somewhat maddening, and he didn't have anything to look forward to.

2. brainless: "And then of course there was the constant, prattling, awesomely brainless presence of Mary Ellen" (83; ch. 5). Bill was getting very annoyed with the company of Mary Ellen.

3. greasy: "... on a normal day I would not be laboring up a steep hill with a greasy, leaden Hardee's breakfast threatening at every moment to come up for air" (96; ch. 5). Although the meal tasted good at the time, everything seemed bad at the moment, including the breakfast.

4. wimps: "'She said you guys were a couple of overweight wimps...'" (98; ch. 5). Even though they had been worried about Mary Ellen (she had been hiking with them for awhile), she had a negative opinion of them.

5. tranquil: "... you exist in a tranquil tedium, serenely beyond the reach of exasperation..." (100; ch. 6). Things were starting to go well, and the word "tranquil" shows that he is at peace.

6. horrified: "... twice Katz made horrified, heartfelt, comic-book noises ('AIEEEEE!' and 'EEEARGH!') as his footing went..." (103; ch. 6). It shows how scary almost falling off a cliff was for Katz.

7. whooped: "... Katz spotted a white blaze twenty yards into the woods, and we whooped with joy" (107; ch. 6). Bill and Katz were very, very happy to finally be back on the trail.

8. refuge: "Still, if nothing else, it offered at least a sense of refuge" (107; ch. 6). It shows a great sense of protection, despite the fact that the shelter was filled with snow.

9. heaven: "Jim and Heath had some chocolate cake, which they shared with us (a treat beyond heaven)..." (109; ch. 6). It obviously wasn't actually better than heaven, but at the moment, Bill couldn't imagine anything better.

10. stunning: "But everywhere it was stunning. Every tree wore a thick cloak of white..." (109; ch. 6). The word "stunning" shows how nice the surroundings looked.

11. slog: "... but mostly to [Katz] hiking was a tiring, dirty, pointless slog between distantly spaced comfort zones" (123; ch. 7). Katz if finding hiking very dull and difficult.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Walk in the Woods: Chapters 1-4

So far, A Walk in the Woods seems to be an enjoyable book to read. The book is about Bill Bryson's experience on the Appalachian Trail.

He decided to go on the trail because he wanted to experience the wilderness before it disappeared, and because he didn't want to be considered a sissy.

Apparently, there is an infinite number of items needed to buy in order to go camping, or at least that is what Dave Mengle thought. Dave was a salesman who showed Bill Bryson around the store, and he helped him to pick out the "needed" equipment. To name a few, he bought "a three-season tent, self-inflating sleeping pad, nested pots and pans, collapsible eating utensils, plastic dish and cup, complicated pump-action water purifier, stuff sacks..." (14; ch. 1).

He certainly goes into detail with the amount of tragedies associated with the AT. "Nearly everyone I talked to had some gruesome story involving a guileless acquaintance who had gone off hiking the trail with high hopes and new boots and come stumbling back two days later with a bobcat attached to his head..." (5; ch. 1).

If you ask me, Bill ended up with the worst possible companion for his trip. His name is Stephen Katz. "He was limping a little and breathing harder than one ought to after a walk of twenty yards" (32; ch. 2). "'Yeah, I gotta eat something every hour or so or I have, whaddayacallit, seizures'" (32; ch. 2).

During their trip, Bill and Katz met some very interesting, including a strange woman named Mary Ellen, who irritates them to no end. To give a good example, "'say, is that a Hostess cupcake?' Before I could speak or Katz could seize a log with which to smite her dead, she said, 'Well, I don't mind if I do,' and ate it in two bites. It would be some days before Katz smiled again" (81; ch. 4).

Bill Bryson explains his introduction to camping and how he felt about it, usually in a humorous way. He shows how much there is to learn about hiking the "AT," which may help others if they were to start hiking themselves.

He seems to be worried about the environment. "If the global temperature rises by 4 degrees C over the next fifty years, as is evidently possible, the whole of the Appalachian wilderness below New England could become savanna" (5; ch. 1).

Although this book is nonfiction, the events are very abnormal, and by the way the story has unfolded so far, I can safely say that this book will be very enjoyable to read!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Imperfect Traces Left by Human Hands


2. T. Susan Chang

3. The Imperfect Traces Left by Human Hands

4. She believes that things should be simple instead of using advanced technology for everything.

5. Ex1: "Sometimes, my husband and I hold hands and scan the sky for constellations, roughly sketching the seasons as they pass overhead."

Ex2: But something was changing in me. As the world went digital and the Matrix movies played to packed houses, I found myself drawn to fountain pens, clothbound books and bargain-priced LPs.

6. Favorite passage: One night the fuses blew and my husband and I had to choose between light and music for our one remaining outlet. We opted for music and sat close together in the darkness as the worn out needle brought Art Pepper back from the dead, his saxophone weaving cracked tapestries of sound.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

For Thursday, Sept. 6, 2007

The thing I am most anxious about at Edina High School is getting to know the building. Valley View was only about half the size of this school, and I had a great deal of difficulty finding my classes on the first few days. I will most likely stick with using the map for awhile now.
One goal for myself in my sophomore year is to work faster on homework. I tend to spend hours on it, because I'm distracted easily. Hopefully, I can keep my head in my work, and I'll have much more free time! This assignment, of course, is a good example. I've already spent at least ten minutes on this post! I don't like to think about how I'm going to handle my homework when we get out of the "back to school" phase.