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365 Challenge: Day 159 – Kaleidoscope

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Kaleidoscope: a toy consisting of a tube containing mirrors and pieces of colored glass or paper, whose reflections produce changing patterns that are visible through an eye hole when the tube is rotated; a constantly changing pattern or sequence of objects or elements.

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Yesterday’s 365 Daily Challenge word — ‘sleepy’ — had been apropos when you consider how very short the post was… I rushed around in the morning to finish shopping and packing for a long weekend getaway, then had a few hours of travel, followed by a little exploration once I arrived on Fire Island via nearly every mode of transportation: subway, car, bus, ferry and walking. By the time we got the house situated and cooked dinner, I was exhausted and went to sleep early. I had two things planned for the 365 Daily Challenge words that I couldn’t get done, which means they will be today’s and tomorrow’s words. So, let’s rewind to the start of it all on yesterday:

As I took my seat on the ferry, nearly the last available, I looked around at the several hundred patrons who bordered the boat on it’s 20-minute jaunt across the water to Fire Island, one of the barrier islands off the coast of the southern shore of Long Island. There appeared a kaleidoscope of men and women, all who immediately created a cast of characters on a little adventure I’d suddenly created in my mind. A kaleidoscope full of mirrors, colors, patterns, paper and glass that assembled a little toy for my amusement!

The word comes from ancient Greece. Children play with these toys by admiring all the pretty images that materialize when rotating or turning the device in front of their eyes. It’s a bit like life… at least that’s what weighed on my mind as I strolled through the rest of my evening and fell into an erratic slumber. Although a friend had taken the ferry over with me, he slept in the other bedroom in the beach house we’d rented for the week(end). I’m not one to frighten easily, but when I’m on an island full of strangers, in an unfamiliar house, with two entrances / exits into my bedroom, poor eyesight and tons of glass windows, everything seems a bit different, as though what I’m looking through during the night is a very different kaleidoscope than what one sees during the bright sunny morning or afternoon.

Tomorrow’s post will have pictures of the house and beach, as well as a bit more about Fire Island. Today’s is about how it’s such a different world than the one I normally live in. Let’s cover the five words that appear in the definition, but know in advance, I’m being quite philosophical and ethereal in today’s discussion:

Mirror

  • The island is a myriad of people, one where I see myself in so many others. The reflection presented to me as I pass by people on the boardwalk or in the grocery store, the images of someone I once was and someone I’m soon to be. It’s truly a remarkable range of patrons who frequent this wonderful escape. And among each person you meet, you find all the qualities you dislike in others, but also everything you have always admired. People are not afraid to be who they are here. It’s a place of freedom and an open mindset. I think the water, the sand, the trees, and the casual parts of life are so prevalent, it’s not possible to hide from others or even yourself. It’s as though the camera is always actively on alert among the mirrors that seem to follow you wherever you go.

Color

  • If there ever were a place where the color of someone’s skin didn’t matter, this would be it. I’m not sure anyone even notices these characteristics in others when you are here. It might even be the polar opposite; there are those who search out someone who is ‘different’ from themselves, purely to experience an ability to get to know as many people and cultures as you can. It’s a veritable multitude of every race and ethnicity where the more distinct you are, the more someone wants to meet you.

Pattern

  • I’ve been coming here for five summers and the patterns of behavior are quite apparent. Do you go to the house or purchase groceries first? Do you buy a few bottles of liquor or have everything delivered? Do you jump in the pool or go to the beach? Everyone has their way of doing things, not unlike the patterns of our lives when we go to work, cook meals or sleep. But the routines here offer relaxation and comfort with little distraction or frustration. It’s how life should always be!

Paper

  • Paper drives all that we do. It’s a bit of the glue that holds business together. Or at least it’s been that way in the past. Mobile and digital technology will take over the world, which you can clearly see by the way everyone walks around here… phone in hand, collecting and posting pictures, checking on where friends are staying, searching for people to meet. But there are those of us who love a good card or board game, reading a newspaper or remembering to recycle. The heat gets quite intense here, and paper often leads to many fires. There are a at least a few every summer, burning through homes and leaving charred remains. Paper is the enemy in these sorts and is often not very present.

Glass

  • All the houses have huge windows with amazing views. It’s always about what you can see by looking out the window, down to the coastline or across the trees to the bay. Glass is an essential part of a beach house, necessary to create the most picturesque viewpoints possible. But glass is also the container for every bottle of liquor which is consumed in great quantities at the beach. It glistens when the sun shines, it’s in everyone’s hands… in abundance no matter where you look.

Fire Island feels like my kaleidoscope this weekend. Hopefully you enjoyed the escape from the norm among the 365 Daily Challenge. I wanted to share a little bit of where I am this weekend. Have you ever been here before? Perhaps somewhere quite similar? Feel free to share…

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: The Iliad

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The IliadBook Review
3+ out of 5 stars to The Iliad, a Greek lyrical work written around 800 BC by Homer. Ah The Trojan War. We all know of the horse, but how did it come together? Who was at war? And why? You’ll need to read The Iliad & The Odyssey to figure all that out… of the two, I preferred the Odyssey. I still found the story fascinating and enjoyed the read. But it’s a lot to digest. It’s amazing when you realize these works are almost 3000 years old. Such beauty in his words. And to think about everything we’ve learned over the years… about war… and the Trojan horse… both the virus and the trickery. There are some valuable lessons in this work. If only more would give it a chance!



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Odyssey

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The OdysseyBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Odyssey, published around 800 BC and written by Homer. I was tasked with reading this epic work as part of an Advanced Placement English course in between my junior and senior years of high school. I loved literature back then as much as I do now, and my reading habits probably grew from everything my teachers encouraged us to read during the summer hiatus and mid-year breaks. We sampled literature from all over the world, and this Greek tome was one of the many we read. We only read certain sections, as it’s over 500 pages long, but I finished it on my own over winter break that year. It often depends on the translation version you read, as it might make it better or worse for you. I don’t recall which one the teacher selected, but it must have been good as I did my quarterly papers on both this book and Homer’s other work, The Iliad. The Odyssey was an amazing tale of a journey through the famed Trojan Wars in ancient Greece. Meeting all the gods and goddesses, understanding the genealogy and family structure, the plots between all their shenanigans and games… for someone with my hobbies and interests, this was perfect. The only part I found a bit dull was when it truly went into war-time battle descriptions, as reading details about fighting is not typically something I enjoy. But the soap opera-like quality of these characters cum deity realities was just absorbing fun. The lyrics and the words fly off the pages. The images and the metaphors are pretty. And if you know enough about Greek history, you almost feel as if you’re in the story.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Oedipus Rex

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Oedipus Rex
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Book Review


4 out of 5 stars to Oedipus Rex, the first of “The Theban Plays,” written by Sophocles around 430 BC. If you are unfamiliar with Greek tragedies, the thing you need to know most is that the authors often played with the concept of fate: not just that some things are meant to be or to come back and haunt you, but that there is always more going on than you realize at the time. This is one of the plays you should absolutely read. Although borderline spoiler, it’s important to know 1 fact about the play, as it plays into the mind of so many psychologists today when they speak about an Oedipal Complex, as in all young boys (kids?) fall in love with their mothers at some point. Essentially, Oedipus kills the King and marries the King’s wife. Little does he know…. that was his father and she is his mother. Whaaaaattttt? How does that happen? Seriously… well, the plot is intricate, the history is insane… and it’s only the first of three in this trilogy. Find a translation and read it. It’s a little convoluted, and the language may be a bit metaphorical in too many places, but the characters and the plot is amazing!



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Agamemnon

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AgamemnonBook Review
3 out of 5 stars to Agamemnon, the first of the Orestia plays written in 458 BC by Aeschylus. Peter Arnott, a noted scholar and critic, has stated that, “The Agamemnon is a bitter indictment of war, of the folly of bloodshed, of the hardships of fighting, of the misery at home.” I couldn’t agree more…

The Trojan War began when Paris and the married Helen ran back to Troy because Helen belonged to Menelaus. For over ten years Menelaus, Agamemnon, and their troops fought the Trojans to recapture Helen and punish her. However, when the war ended and Menelaus captured Helen, he looked at her and forgave her for the adultery. The whole Trojan War, caused by the adulterous Helen, only contributed to ten years of senseless murders, foolish bloodshed, and built up anger. As a result, Agamemnon gave up ten years of his life to help his brother. Upon his return to Argos, Agamemnon’s wife killed him for sacrificing Iphigenia, which he only did to leave for Troy. Thousands of men and woman suffered and lost their lives just so Menelaus could have his wife back. There must have been some kind of misery at home to make her need more love, lust and passion. If there wasn’t, she would not have run off with the handsome prince Paris. However, Helen did help make The Agamemnon a folly of bloodshed among innocent citizens. Adulterous Helen was a major element that also supports Arnott’s beliefs that The Agamemnon was an act of misery at home.

Although Helen was the primary cause of the Trojan War, the curse on the house of Atreus helped make The Agamemnon a bitter indictment of war. Ever since Atreus and Thyestes battled to inherit the throne from their father the family suffered at the hands of reciprocity. It was a game of one-up-mans-ship. It began when Atreus banished Thyestes from Argos and most recently ended when Thyestes’ son Aegisthus slept with Agamemnon’s wife Clytemnestra. Between these events were affairs, phony banquets of reconciliation, and the consumption of human children. In The Agamemnon, when Agamemnon returns, his wife Clytemnestra brutally murders him carrying on the family curse. This misery at home is because of the curse. Each generation of the house of Atreus murders another member and is then murdered himself. This offers support to Arnott’s claim that The Agamemnon is a bitter indictment of war and the folly of bloodshed. Again, the brutal murder of Agamemnon contributes to the folly of bloodshed. If Agamemnon did not help Menelaus, he would not have gone off to fight the war and then come home to suffer at the hands of a senseless curse. This curse also protrudes from misery at home. Each family member must have been miserable enough, angry enough, and vengeful enough to kill another.

However, the most contributing factor that supports Arnott’s claim is the sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis. When all the troops met at Aulis to set sail for Troy, the winds were not in their favor. In a rush to win back Helen, Agamemnon realized that he had to sacrifice his innocent daughter Iphigenia to get favorable winds from Strymon. He was forced to make a decision between killing his daughter and losing his respect and the war. This supports Arnott’s commentary that there were many hardships of fighting the war in The Agamemnon. It also shows that the shedding of Iphigenia’s blood was a foolish act only destined to happen for the sake of winning the war.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Aeneid

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The AeneidBook Review
3 out of 5 stars to The Aeneid, a classic work written in 17 BC by Virgil.

In The Aeneid, Virgil creates two vastly different archetypal heroes named Turnus and Aeneas. Aeneas is a Trojan prince who has hopes of finding a new Troy in the land of Latium, but he runs into an angered Turnus, a Rutulian prince that does not welcome Aeneas. Both men are equally strong, equally determined, and have equal and rightful claim to the land. However, Virgil creates this distinct difference and hatred between the men that leads to the profound greatness of Rome.

Turnus is a Rutulian prince who is planning on marrying Lavinia, the princess of Latium. He is courageous when he defends his people in the war against the Trojans (Book IX and X), brilliant in his plans to attack the Trojan camp (p.207), yet motivated to win for purely personal goals. Turnus sacrifices public welfare and the good of the state just to defeat Aeneas and win the battle and Lavinia. Aeneas is also a prince who is planning on marrying Lavinia. He is caring when he looks back for his late wife Creusa (p.57), respectful and loving when his father dies (p.80), and driven when he continues his journey to find a new Troy (p.103). However, unlike Turnus, Aeneas is truly unselfish in his reasons for wanting Latium. Aeneas wants to settle the land for his people and their families, to find a new Troy. Aeneas does not want the land to be selfish. Both Turnus and Aeneas have determination behind them, physical and mental strength behind them, yet most of all the gods behind them.

With the help of Juno, Turnus fights till the end avoiding several near deaths such as Pallas’ arrow and his jump into the Tiber River fully armored. Similar to Turnus, Aeneas’ mother helps Aeneas by giving him protection with the creation of the shield (p.198), and when she heals Aeneas’ wound with the special potion (p. 302). Turnus and Aeneas up until this point have no differences. They are identical in their strengths, weaknesses, and support. However, the one major difference between them is that Aeneas has destiny behind him. He is fated to take care of his Trojan people, find a new Troy, marry Lavinia, and bear descendants to establish the great city of Rome. Aeneas has no choice but to win the war and Lavinia’s hand in marriage. Turnus must lose and somehow suffer; He cannot escape his fate. Virgil makes use of the difference between the two heroes using antagonism, hatred and most of all the superiority of Aeneas to show the greatness of Rome.

At the time The Aeneid was written Augustus Caesar was in power and the Pax Romana was beginning. Rome was in a state of absolute reign and greatness. Virgil makes use of the character Aeneas to show the greatness of his friend Octavian or Augustus Caesar. He uses the difference between the two heroes to show that by destiny via Aeneas (an ancestor of Octavian Caesar) Rome will lead the world in philosophy, art, and intelligence, etc. Turnus is good, but Aeneas is better and so is the new emperor Caesar. With Octavian Caesar in control, Rome will become even greater than it is. Virgil accomplishes his goal of glorifying Rome and its leader Augustus Caesar.

Virgil creates a strong similarity between Turnus and Aeneas, however the major characteristic of these two heroes is that Aeneas is destined to win and Turnus to lose. This difference greatly surpasses the likeness between the two men and leads to the exaltation and glorification of Rome. If Augustus Caesar is anywhere similar to Aeneas, which he is as Virgil points out, he will lead Rome to the tops. And that is just what happens!



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Antigone

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AntigoneBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to Antigone, the third in a trilogy of Theban plays written around 441 BC (yes, almost 2500 years ago) by Sophocles. In my junior year of high school, our Advanced Placement English teacher assigned all three Theban plays. This is a mini-review on the final one, Antigone, which was my second favorite — Oedipus Rex was of course, my favorite. In this Greek tragedy, Antigone, Oedipus Rex’s daughter, fights to have a proper burial for her brother. She is strong-willed, determined and forceful, yet respectful and fair in her arguments. What I love about these plays is that ability for the characters to call on your emotions, logic and your intelligence. The plots are incredibly complex and shocking, but the players are what help you fall in love with Sophocles as a writer. Given its 2500 years old, and a translation, there are a number of areas where might not fully understand, especially if you aren’t familiar with your Greek Gods and Goddesses. The words themselves are beautiful. The images you see are intense. It’s a fantastic read. But read them in order. And think of Antigone as your very own Wonder Woman.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews