Rama is the hero that gets called to adventure. He is called to adventure more than once in his stories, the first being called to celebrate a sacrifice which turns into fighting off Titans at the age of 12 which he is successful. Through a jealous maiden of Rama’s “aunt” (I’ll call her his aunt even though she’s not related to his mother) Queen Kaikeyi, Rama is denied his rightful crown and subsequent throne and is sent into exhile for 14 years in the forest. He loses his father over this (dies from guilt) and is asked to return to the crown but refuses to dishonor his father’s original request and continues to carry on his 14 year exhile. A third call to adventure occurs when his wife, Sita, is captured by the trickster Ravana who tries to make her one of his wives.
Rama is aided on his quest by many supernatural beings. He is given a celestial bow, two inexhaustible quivers and a sword from the sage Agastya. Rama is then aided by a giant eagle by the name of Jatayu who is tasked with keeping watch over Sita while Rama and his brother hunt for the golden deer. Little did they know the golden deer was a distraction so that Ravana could kidnap Sita and try to make her one of his many wives. Jatayu’s elder brother, a vulture by the name of Sampati told of Sita’s wherabouts. A chief of monkeys by the name of Hanuman gave the most assistance of locating Sita and bringing Rama and his brother to her rescue. Finally, Rama received aid in fighting Ravana by Ravana’s brother Vibhishana who advised Ravan to give up Sita and spare destruction of Lanka which his brother Ravana did not like and punished him for so Vibhishana sought refuge with Rama’s camp in return, Vibhishana helped Rama in defeating Ravana.
The atonement, or in this story, the Dharma happens at first when King Dasartha, Rama’s father, appears from his heavenly abode asking Sita to forgive Rama for his transgression (not believing she stayed faithful in captivity) in order to preserve Dharma. In return, Rama begs Dasartha to give his blessings to Kaikeyi and Bharata. Rama also asks Indra, the celestial chief, to restore the life of the monkeys who had been killed in war.
Joseph Campbell, a famous teacher of mythology from the handout we were given in class said that he “believes that the hero myth is really written about every human being: each of us is the hero struggling to accomplish his adventure.” ” Campbell helps show that the adventure of the hero involves coming to terms with many conflicting feelings.” I admit that I’m late on the badwagon but I recently started watching the TV series by ABC called Alias which starred Jennifer Garner in the early 2000′s. The story is about Sydney Bristow, a college student by day and an international spy by night, trained for espionage and self-defense. Sydney’s journey began when she inadvertantly got her fiancee killed because she had told him the truth about what she did for a living.
She quickly learns that she cannot trust anyone and in order to gain her freedom from her current employer, she goes even more undercover and becomes a double agent – her call to adventure. Now her rode of trials begins and gets more complicated as she tries to gain freedom and control of her own life while playing both sides and trying to make sense of the world she once thought she new. Who is the good guy and who is the bad guy? Which of the sides that she works for is the right side? Which one will end up killing her in the end? Is her father savior or sin? What about her mother and her friends? Her life becomes a roller coaster one show after the other and she is the heroine chosen to make sense of it all. Her return at the end (which I have not seen yet since I haven’t finished the series but saw bits and pieces while researching for this paper) is inner peace. She finally finds her answers and everything that she has worked so hard to achieve…her freedom.
We understand human creation between a man and a woman. We know the story, birds and the bees and all. We even “understand” creation by God. A simple flick of the wrist, finger point, or magical “poof” and people, places and things just appear. At least that was my understanding when I learned about Earth’s creation as a kid. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought for a moment that the magical story of God’s Creation of the Earth could be anything but quick, easy and most of all…painless.
It wasn’t until I chose to research the birth of Athena that I realized I had blinders on all this time. I never thought outside the box about how creation could be anything different. It never dawned on me to bring the concept down to the level of reality. The book for my english class briefly touches upon the birth of Athena and holds true to the simple/quick/painless act that he just simply created her out of his own mind. The story made it seem as if he intended all along to create this feminine warrior. To me, that meant that he dreamed her up and again, “poof” she had appeared. Easy breezy.
The more I researched, however, the more I came to realize how far from my first perception I actually was. Through the research, it was revealed that Athena’s creation was more on the level of reality than I had imagined. The pain is excruciatingly real and this is the first time I’ve seen a God’s creation to be similar to what a woman would go through while giving birth (in a sense). Zeus went through real pain when Athena was created and it seems it happened by accident and not on purpose as I was earlier lead to believe.
Vis consili expers Mole ruit sua. (“Strength without wisdom falls by its own weight”)
The story I finally came upon goes like this: Zeus was originally married to Metis, Goddess of Wisdom, his first wife, who bore a child (it is not clear if it’s Zeus’s but we can only guess). Zeus receives advice from Earth and Heaven that he must swallow Metis and child to avoid the child taking over his throne. After Metis is swallowed, Zeus begins experiencing horrible headaches. Once inside his belly, Metis gives birth to Athena and provides her with the armor. Hephaestus (also Zeus’s child by wife Hera) was near Zeus during his time of agony and aided in the birth of Athena by striking Zeus in the head with an axe which allowed Athena to spring forth, full-grown and fully armed. Does this suggest that Athena’s half brother was Zeus’s midwife?
I found a funny video that adds a nice flavor to my blog this week titled The Birth of Athena for Dummies. At the end, I think John, the film editor, meant to say that Athena’s owl was sacred and not scared. Either way, enjoy.
The first story in our readings appropriately matches our blog assignment with the deadline due near Valentine’s Day. Coincidence? LOVE is the main theme as well as character. It all starts with Psyche who seems to be cursed with good looks. She attracts a lot of attention for a mere mortal (even though she is the daughter of a king) but yet, no man wants to stay and make her theirs. They end up marrying other women and she remains alone and unhappy worrying her father. She inadvertantly catches the attention of Venus who becomes jealous that a mere mortal is stealing away HER attention, and sets out to destroy Psyche by convincing her son, Cupid, to make Psyche fall in love with the ugliest most hated creature. But when Cupid laid eyes upon Psyche, he himself was enamoured and longed to make her his. After vying for Apollo’s help, the Oracle convinced the father king to instruct Psyche to a mountain top and await her husband the snake. She dutifuly followed the instructions and ended up not sacrificing herself but becoming a wife and living in a palace made for the gods. She was never allowed to see her husband, felt bad for her mourning sisters, begging to be allowed to see them and comfort them. Poor Psyche, her heart was bigger than her brain. Her sisters became evil with jealousy, convinced her to bring a lamp to bed to see what sort of monster she was married to and then stab him with a dagger (why was this such a popular theme back in the day? Killing husbands with daggars.). After witnessing his beauty and losing total control, she accidentally spills oil from the lamp on him, burning and wakening him. After seeing the light, he sees she has betrayed his trust and runs away without saying a word to her. She begins to try and prove her love for him by chasing after him. Psyche finally comes to the conclusion that she must find his mother, Venus, and appease to her good will to see if she can get near to Cupid again. Awkward! After Venus fails in her attempts to destroy Psyche, she finally realizes that the girl would be better off taking care of her son, being busy making babies and staying out of HER limelight so she could go back to being adored by the humans.
Wow! After reading this amazing story, I have so many emotions. Compassion for Psyche, hatred at her sisters for being so jealous and becoming so evil, longing for Cupid to give her another chance, and anger with Venus for being so cruel. Finally relief that all seems to work out in the end. It’s nice to see that for someone who has so much control over the emotion LOVE, that he himself falls under the control of it. Even he is not safe from this emotion of strong affection. Very refreshing to see (in this sense) a God humanized in a good way, even if the story is still dark and dangerous. The main lesson I got from the end of the story is a positive one. Love prevails.
Mankind became the center of the universe and in turn, the Greeks made their Gods in their own image. Myths being stories that portray a point or moral and heaven becomes a familiar place where Gods can become angry or jealous. Greek mythologists were magical transforming fear into beauty until science was able to come along and provide an educated explanation. Men used myths to explain what they saw around them making the stories pure entertainment.
Heaven and Earth birthed the Titans, or Elder Gods, who in turn, gave life to the Gods (aka. the Olympians). There seems to be much inbreeding and affairs as well as children being created straight from God’s heads (Athena from Zeus’s head)! One is to only pay attention to the moral or the story’s point. I would consider this similar to the modern day bible. Stories are to guide us to live good lives, away from sin and bad deeds so too, could the Greeks myths could award good deeds and punish wrong doings but the Gods in mythology are a little more difficult to please and not as forgiving in some cases (Minerva and Arachne). Also the stories in mythology seem harsher in reality and less sugar coated. I assume the purpose is to scare the receiver to ensure the lesson is made apparent.
So far one of my favorite stories is of the Big Dipper and Little Dipper. I never knew that they were also called Big Bear and Lesser Bear and are mother and son. How evil of Hera to try to get Arcas to inadvertently kill his own mother. Since Hera turned Callisto into a Bear as punishment for Zeus falling in love with her and getting her pregnant, and Callisto came from a family of hunters, Hera tried convincing Arcas to kill the Big Bear until Zeus snatched her up and turned her into the heavens as a constellation. Arcus joins her in the Heavens soon after as Lesser Bear and as punishment even further (boy Hera can sure hold a grudge!) the two constellations are forbidden by Hera to dip below the horizon. Lesson learned, don’t get involved with Zeus (if you can help it) and most importantly, don’t piss off his wife!
Do I have a favorite urban legend? I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite, but there is one that I will never forget. It’s the urban legend of the infamous Bloody Mary. I do not remember how old I was when I first heard of the legend, but I do know that I was young, and extremely frightened. You didn’t have to convince me the legend was real for the dare itself was enough to get the heart racing and only begin to pump as you get shoved into a dark bathroom by your older cousins.
With so many variations of the story and no one really knowing how the legend got started I will discuss three versions that I found interesting. The first version listed on Wikipedia says “one of the more common ways participants attempt to make [Mary] appear is to stand before a mirror (usually in the dark) and repeat her name 3 times” or say “Bloody Mary, I killed your baby.” Mary is believed to be many different individuals: a young mother whose baby was stolen from her causing her to commit suicide; a woman wrongly accused of killing her children; or even a witch that when summoned, would rip the summoner’s face off, scratching their eyes out, cutting their head off, driving them insane, bringing them into the mirror or causing serious injury or death. If she doesn’t kill the summoner, it is rumored she will haunt them for life. Still others believe Mary is a psychic of sorts and by looking at your image in the mirror, she will reveal who your husband will be.
To think about this story while in the bathroom (as I have had to do late one night while typing up this blog) would have me quickly trying to finish whatever business I had in there and rush out as quickly as I possibly could. While there may or may not be any truth to the legend, the idea of the story is enough to keep me afraid of attempting any such game in the bathroom mirror or ANY mirror for that matter.
“It’s not about the goal. It’s about growing to become the person that can accomplish that goal.” ~Anthony Robbins
Goal setting is a great way to keep you on track with your ambitions and dreams. Every year I challenge myself a little more with various different tasks (workout, music and performance goals, etc.) and this year, one of the goals I set for myself was taking on the task of auditioning for NBC’s The Voice . I would not have thought about auditioning if it weren’t for a few friends of mine, especially Rebecca who sent me the audition link directly. Now mind you, I have never been in choir or auditioned for anything like this before so I had no idea what to expect!
“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” ~Muhammed Ali
Preparing for an audition showed me there was more to just showing up and singing. There was an online profile to fill out and update, 2 songs to select and practice, audition attire to think about and purchase (including makeup, jewelry and shoes), as well as coordinating travel to the event! Phew! We are only just getting started…
The song selection is supposed to feature YOU and your talent. Pick a song you are comfortable with. Once the nerves kick in, it’s best to have something you are comfortable with. Trust me, when the judges eyes are on you, you don’t need the added pressure with a difficult, unknown song. The contest rules suggest to be prepared to sing a 2nd song if the judge asks (or they may choose one for you). It’s always good to have an extra song in your back pocket just in case.
“If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.” ~Muhammed Ali
Audition attire should NOT be gaudy, ridiculous, or too eye-catching (revealing clothes, lots of blinding sequins, etc.). This is not American Idol folks and they don’t have a bloopers section for TV. This is a serious competition for true talent! It’s called The Voice for a reason.
Travel can be a bit tricky (and expensive if coming from out-of-state). It’s best if you have a friend in the area that you can stay with since hotels jack up prices if they know an event is happening and there’s a high demand for rooms (or book way in advance!). I heard horror stories while in line where parents had to pay $300/400 a night for a room because nothing was available. This made me realize how grateful I was for having family in the city I could borrow a couch for the night.
PERFORMANCE (THE AUDITION)
“It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believe in myself.” ~Muhammed Ali
The auditions were held at Navy Pier Friday July 15th, 2011 starting at 7am. The question the night before was how early should I stand in line? Rumor had it for the American Idol auditions, people were in line the night before. To me, after a long day of planning, preparing and packing, I was completely exhausted and chose to take my chances in the morning while I got some well deserved sleep instead. Who can give their best if they are not well rested?
I got up at 3am, left around 4 and got to the venue about 5ish. Sightseeing while watching the sun rise over the water as the clouds roll in was absolutely mesmerizing. Meeting people in line was a lot of fun. There was AMAZING talent everywhere belting music as often as possible for warm ups or working out their nerves. Some were just having fun with it all, singing songs and getting others to harmonize with them or clap their hands.
“Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear.” ~Anthony Robbins
So many times I wanted to quit but did “baby steps” every step of the way. I would convince myself to complete each task. For example, I’d start feeling nauseous and would say…”Just get dressed, there’s nothing to be afraid of getting dressed”. The feeling would go away and then there would be some down time and I’d start feeling insecure or the fight/flight feeling would come rushing back in and I’d find myself saying… “Just make it to the line, at least I can see what the experience will be like standing in line”. Once I got through each task, it wasn’t as bad as my mind made it out to be and knowing in my own head that I wasn’t expecting to make it far other than having a wonderful experience, really took the pressure off. It allowed me to be more aware of my surroundings and befriend many people in line who all shared such amazing stories along their journey.
Whoever managed the event did a fantastic job! The lines moved fast, the instructions were clear and the check-in was painless (they used the new bar code scanners and their cell phones to electronically check people in). We were never really aware how long we were standing in line for we were constantly moving. Then right before the audition we were herded in groups of 10 to a room for each judge. Once inside the room, we were told we were lucky to get our Judge Mario who was The Voice’s official vocal coach.
I was 2nd in order and was told in line that the judges might not have time to hear songs all the way through so to be prepared to sing a line and chorus. At this point, I wasn’t nervous until I got up to sing. That’s when the heart started to accelerate. We were supposed to announce our name and what song we were going to sing but when the judge looked up from his paperwork, my mind went blank and I started to belt out the line I had chosen only to stop short and THEN proceeded to announce my name and the song I was to sing. After I finished, I immediately hustled back to my seat with a sigh of relief and the whole room had a good chuckle including me. Mario commented about how fast I got back to my seat but did compliment me on my voice! That was really nice to hear. I prayed that I did not get further for I had nothing left to give and when he announced the one girl in our group who made it to the next round, I felt so relieved and accomplished. I had finished my goal! I made it through an audition and survived rejection. Now that I know what to expect, I’m coming back next year with a new goal…to make it to the 2nd round of auditions. I have a year to get ready and I’ve already started meeting with a vocal coach named Tamara Anderson. To work out the nerves, I’ll be getting back on stage at an open mic or one of the Chick Singer Nights so stay tuned for upcoming date announcements. :-)
“Don’t fight what you are becoming” ~Nando-ism
The encouragement I received was overwhelming! Thanks again to Rebecca for providing the direct link to the audition page online and for your continued support and friendship. Thank you to my FB friends for cheering me on from the virtual sidelines, your support gave me more strength and courage than I could have had on my own. Thank you to Caroleen and Le Le for space on the couch and a way to get to and from the audition. Finally, thank you to my boyfriend, Eric, who puts up with my crazy adventures and for being such a great support system. Megan (in Nashville), we’ll get ‘em next year (thanks for the shout out in the news)! Now, back to practicing, this was one experience I will never forget!
In the burbs, it’s hard to find restaurants that serve really healthy and clean tasting food. My friend just told me a quote from his roommate “If you’re eating healthy, you’re not eating out”. I find that true as I sit here thinking of the cookie cutter restaurants and their great tasting but not good for you menu options. Foods like cheese biscuits, over-salty seafood, the fried, the buttered, the drenched in sugar and everything in between.
That is until my boyfriend introduced me to a wonderful small restaurant in Buffalo Grove called Fuji Thai. I was able to find fresh and healthy food items that were TASTY too! It’s nice to be able to have a variety from salad every meal, every day of the week. Here’s what I tried at our most recent visit:
The picture above is Chicken Tom Yum Soup. It’s a spicy and sour broth with lemongrass, mushroom, bell pepper, green onion, and onion. It really awakens the senses and has a kick to it.
My next plate was called the Bangkok Summer Roll (pictured below). It is rice wrappers, basil leaves, cilantro, julienne carrot, lettuce, bean sprouts, minced vegetables, vermicelli noodles, and ground peanuts served with homemade sweet brown sauce. The rolls are so fresh and has a nice crunch to it and are bland without the sweet brown sauce. Next time, I would probably order without the basil leaves, I did not like the strong flavor they produced.
All in all, Fuji Thai is a new favorite restaurant for eating healthy and when I’m sick of eating just salads.
When visiting Uncle Mike’s Place in Chicago, make sure to try something off of their Filipino Breakfast menu. My suggestions would be their Longaniza (a sweet sausage pictured below), Bangus (Boneless Grilled Milkfish pictured above), or their dessert called Ginataan or Bilo-Bilo (a warm dessert made with coconut milk). No matter what you try, you won’t be disappointed and you will leave full!
My mouth waters just looking at the pictures again. A small restaurant with big heart and delicious food. If you get the chance to meet the owner, he is the nicest person you will meet with many great stories. He made us feel at home and took care of all of our needs. We’ll definitely be visiting again soon. Thanks Uncle Mike’s Place for a great experience!
Thank you Uncle Mike's, great food! Picture by Eric Cea