Author Archive for Nettie

Norse Mythology

Runemarks by Derringdos

I was recently searching for a new book to read and came across Runemarks by Joanne Harris. I enjoyed it immensely and it is now one of my favorite books. It centers on a fourteen year old girl named Maddie who lives in a village in a sort of fantasy world five hundred years after Ragnarok. Because of the magical symbol, or runemark, on her hand which marks her as one who can use magic, she is an outcast and rumored to be a witch. The book follows her story as she meets various figures from Norse mythology and discover her destiny. I love mythology of any sort so I really liked meeting all the characters and learning more about their back-stories and laughing at all of the little jokes the author has slipped in. I can’t wait to read the sequel! After finishing Runemarks, I still craved more Norse mythology, so I dug out our old copy of the d’Aulaires’ Norse Gods and Giants to read up on my myths and draw several of the gods and goddesses. Above you can see Loki and baby Hel, Odin and Frigg, and Bragi and Idunn. Even after all this I was still hungry for more, so I began to watch one of the most entertaining shows I have ever seen: “The Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok,” an anime that focuses on Loki, exiled to Earth by Odin in the form of a young boy, where he must evade being killed by various Norse gods and monsters while simultaneously running a detective agency to try to return to Asgard. It is super fun to watch, although lacking in a few respects, mainly female empowerment, but hopefully that will change as I continue watching (on Hulu). I’m so glad I found Runemarks and rediscovered my love of Norse mythology!

The Incident of the Broad Street Pump

John Snow by Derringdos

For last year’s term paper, I wrote about John Snow and how he discovered how cholera was spread through water during the Soho cholera outbreak of 1854. John Snow was the first person to disprove the miasma theory (the idea that disease is spread through bad air), though Pasteur is often wrongly credited with this discovery. During our trip to London this summer we visited a replica of the Broad Street Pump, which helped Snow in finding the cause of the disease. There is a nearby pub named after John Snow, and nearby is the former site of his house. It was so exciting to walk around in the neighborhood where Snow made his incredible discovery!

Girl Genius Cupcakes!

Girl Genius Cupcakes by Emu Pics
Girl Genius Cupcakes, a photo by Emu Pics on Flickr.

This weekend, my friend and I decorated cupcakes to look like our favorite characters from the webcomic Girl Genius (which recently won the Hugo award for best graphic novel). On this plate are six of the twelve cupcakes we made (clockwise from top left: Gil, Violetta, Klaus, Tarvek, Oggie, and Agatha). We had so much fun! To see the whole cast in cupcake form, go here. If you want to see more of my people cupcakes, go here.


After Pippin by Emu Pics
After Pippin, a photo by Emu Pics on Flickr.

Last weekend I was in a production of Pippin, put on by the Berkeley Playhouse Youth/Teen company. For the past two and a half months we’ve had rehearsals three times a week, so it’s been a big part of my life lately. Pippin is a very ensemble-based show, so the whole cast was in most of the songs, which was really fun! I was also a Newscaster and I did hula hoop tricks in our first number. The costumes and makeup were really fun too! Glitter, green mascara and orange eyeshadow was liberally applied to everyone’s face. Our set and cast actually came on stage on a moving “cart” which was set on a part of the stage that can move back and forth. I had so much fun doing this musical, and I’ll miss everything about it: the amazing cast, the fun singing and dancing, hanging out backstage, and finally performing!

Latin Convention

On April 8th, my school’s Latin Club and I went to Miramonte High School in Orinda for the 56th annual CJCL (California Junior Classical League) convention. After dinner, we met for an assembly and then set off to take tests in various categories of Latin (daily life, grammar, etc). The next day we arrived at school early, and, dressed in our mandatory bed-sheet-and-safety-pin togas, began to set up our chariot for the race against the other high schools’ teams. There was some tough competition, but the fantastic College Prep charioteer Nettie saved the day by coming in first place. At first it appeared that Miramonte’s team had won, but alas, unbeknownst to the “horses” pulling the chariot, their charioteer fell off seconds before they crossed the finish line. Unfortunately, the man running the races didn’t believe us and would not mark us down for first place.  After we folded up our chariot, the Latin level I, II, and III teams went to their assigned classrooms to play Certamen, a Jeopardy-like Latin trivia game in which the contestants use buzzers to answer questions to earn points for their teams. My Latin I team lost in the semi-finals, but we still had lots of fun! After a final assembly, we changed into our “snappy casual” clothes for the banquet and dance at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland, where, during the award ceremony, we learned that we had won first place overall in the small school category! I also won a ribbon for placing 2nd in my level on the daily life test! I had tons of fun, and can’t wait for next year!

Theodosia Throckmorton Tour of London

While we were in London, I was finishing the third book in my new favorite series written by R.L. LaFevers about Theodosia Throckmorton, an eleven-year-old girl living in turn-of-the-century London. She has the special ability to detect vile curses on the Ancient Egyptian artifacts brought to the museum her parents run (The Museum of Legends and Antiquities), and, while working to remove them, gets caught up in many exciting adventures involving secret societies, mummies, and valuable antiquities. Since the books note many specific sites in London, I decided to find out if I could visit them while on our trip. I won’t put in any spoilers, but my sites do include the second and third book. Here are the places I visited:

  1. The Seven Dials: The scene of an exciting chase in the first book, “Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos”. In the book, the Seven Dials is in a crime-ridden, seedy neighborhood, but today, it is a nice, friendly section of town. No people getting stabbed here!
  2. The British Museum: Theodosia visits this rival museum once in “Serpents of Chaos”, and again in the third book, “Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus”. It’s also just a really big, interesting museum that we go to every time we’re in London.
  3. Cleopatra’s Needle: Scene of a large battle between two secret societies that want something (I’m trying to not give anything away!) in the end of ” Eyes of Horus”. It is so cool to see an Egyptian obelisk just standing in the middle of London!
  4. Chesterfield Street: is where Theodosia lives. It is also the location of the Embassy of the Bahamas! The street is filled with old townhouses, exactly as described in the books.
  5. Charing Cross Station: The main train station used by Theodosia’s family and enemies. I’m afraid it doesn’t look quite as it used to.
  6. The Alcazar Theater: is now called the Phoenix, but looks pretty much the same. Theodosia first visits in the beginning of “Eyes of Horus”, and continues to visit throughout the book. It is at Charing Cross Road.
  7. Somerset House: The former inhabitance of the Society of Antiquaries, and also, in the Theodosia series, the Brotherhood of Chosen Keepers. It is now “an inspiring space for art, culture and creative exchange”. It looks very grand, and you can just imagine Theo visiting here. It is located on the Strand.
  8. Burlington House: The current location of the Society of Antiquaries. Not in the Theodosia books, but I wanted to see where the Society was now. It IS a really pretty building, and you can eat lunch in the courtyard… You can find it at: 31 Burlington Arcade.

I didn’t go to any sites particular to the second book: “Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris”, but there are plenty. This was a really fun tour to do: one of my favorite parts of our London trip. I loved being able to actually SEE the places that are in the books.

Falconry Exhibit at the British Museum

While in London, we visited the British Museum three days in a row. On one such trip, we discovered that the museum was having a “Renaissance Night” with sword fighting, beer tasting, and a falconry show out front. We sat down to watch, and the head falconer showed the audience how he sent off the various olws, falcons, and hawks to scare away pigeons. When he asked for volunteers, I got to hold Elsa, a big, orange-eyed owl, while she snacked on baby bird heads. The only other time I’ve interacted with large birds of prey was not nearly as fun… I’d rather have them eat little baby birds than my granola bar! (Click the picture above to see more images.)

Class Cupcakes

For our last homeroom, I decided to surprise my group with cupcakes that looked like their faces. I was inspired by the book Hello Cupcake, and an article in American Girl Magazine. Both featured cupcakes iced to look like real people. I used jellybeans for boys’ ears and a few of the girls’ eyes. Chocolate sprinkles were helpful in creating eyebrows and thick hair that stood up. I used candied cherries for everybody’s mouth, and little flower sprinkles for earrings and hair clips. I’m the curly-haired cupcake in the middle of the second row. I made myself much too tan by accident, but if you surround me with cupcakes with darker icing, it doesn’t look that much different. Making these for my classmates was really fun, and everybody loved them. I can’t wait to make them again!

To Kill a Mockingbird

Last week, my middle school performed To Kill a Mockingbird at the Live Oak Theater. I played Dill, which was an AMAZING part. Dill is very dramatic and likes to make up stories, so it was very fun to be him. I also enjoyed having the audience laugh at my lines, since I rarely get a funny part in plays. This was also my first time being a boy. Our set was three house fronts and their porches, a painted backdrop, and the Radley tree, which I helped to make. We used rough cardboard-y pots to make the trunk, and covered wooden poles with cellulite clay and gravel to use as the branches. It was the best part of the set. I also helped with gluing on the knothole, which sadly fell off in the second performance. The costume committee did great, as you can see from the pictures here. I wore a white button-down shirt, khaki shorts, black knee socks, black shoes, and my Spanish teacher’s dad’s cap, with the name “Alejandro Madrid” written inside. Everyone did wonderful, and all the performances were very fun! This was the best play I’ve ever been in, and I’m very sad it’s over!

Taller Uno: Cuidado de Animales

While at El Molino, we got to choose a morning and afternoon workshop. For the mornings, I chose Animal Care, taught by Eloy. Every day we would go to a pet store to buy medicine and vaccinate animals at different farms. The first day we went to a chicken farm, and gave eyedrops to chicks to, as far as I could understand in my español no muy bueno, stopped them from getting a disease that turned them loco. The next day was my favorite. This time we dusted albino rabbits’ ears with blue powder that killed ear parasites. I think that the blue in the powder was supposed to help the farmer know which bunnies had been vaccinated, but it still looked pretty funny. At the end, we got to hold newborn baby bunnies. They were so small they could fit in your hand, and their eyes hadn’t even opened yet! On the last day, we walked to a large mansion that kept five horses. We gave a pregnant horse a shot to make its appetite stronger, and fed alfalfa to the rest.

This was one of my favorite parts of my Mexico trip, and definitely the best workshop. I LOVE animals, and I want to be a veterinarian, so this was the perfect class. You can see more pictures of the workshops here.