We are the Knights (that’s pronounced phonetically - cuh-nig-its - as of the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail) Who Say Cyclic, a group of High School students, all of whom attended 6thgrade at Challenger School. At Challenger, we each gained not only a respect of the English language but also the want to change the world. Our noble mission is to improve America, one step at a time – primarily by improving the U.S.’s tongue and correcting false ideas about how its government functions. To learn more, please visit our website at www.cuhnigits.org.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Story Time!

Episode Two: My Story (Still needs a real title)
After this act of defiance the gaurd halted, looking surprised and angry. Then, glancing nervously at his captain, he punched the boy square in the face. He had good reason for this decision; officers who lost face reflected badly on the control of the government, and anyone who made the government look bad in any way disappeared. This man was not one to put himself in danger over a troublemaking boy, anyway.
As the boy stumbled back, the gaurd reached for his baton. (Isn't this one of those little metal club things policemen use?) Alonzo jumped to his feet. He watched, horrified, as the man viciously struck the boy, causing to fall onto the pavement. Some of the kids from the group had started forward, but Alonzo got there first. Before he knew what he was doing, he had jumped up and grabbed onto the baton. The officer, not expecting to find the whole weight of a surprisingly heavy boy hanging from his baton, dropped it. He was quick enough to grab onto Alonzo's arm, though. As Alonzo began to struggle against his grip, he saw the other kids rushing to their fallen friend out of the corner of his eye. Thinking quickly, he slammed the baton he was holding into the stomache of the man, darting away when he let go.
As this was going on, one boy from the group had hefted his friend over his shoulder, fireman-style. They all quickly ran toward the front door, as Alonzo ducked for a side entrance he had seen behind a cart of almonds a few weeks ago. As he ran out the door, which luckily wasn't hooked up to the emergency alarm system, he glanced behind him. The officer who he had fought was following, of course, still out of breath and gasping. Surprisingly, though, none of the other men had left their posts. They stood stoically as panicking people rushed to their platforms, and didn't even move toward the front door to catch the other kids. Frowning, Alonzo ducked out the door and ran down the alley.
The End of Part Two

Story Excerpts, With Holes, As Requested

Okee-dokee. This is really jumpy, and screwy. What I did was I copied some parts of my story that seemed especially messed up. Text highlighted in red is the stuff I don't like, blue is posing questions for me to answer and expounding on the red text's lack of fluency. The whole story is littered with these comments, so if you want more, that is NOT a problem. And again, it's jumpy and there are missing parts in-between, so if anything about the plot or characters isn't clear, just ask in the comments of this post. Thank you for whatever you comment, and please critique (and criticize - I really need help!) everything that pops into your head. =)
Princes Lewis and Connor mourned for the death of their mother, and Prince Joshua grieved over the loss of both parents, but neither pain was as great as Benjamin’s. He blamed himself with a good reason, too. After all, it was he who had angered Maria so much as to go off and kill as many people connected to him as possible. He clearly remembered the words Maria had spoken, when she had taken him from the banquet hall where they had been dining and into an adjoining chamber-
Have you no respect? You wouldn’t last one minute in the outside world, you fool. Sometime, you will learn that everything has a consequence. For example, the comment you made just now, during supper.” She had paused maliciously, in mock consideration. “I believe it means that you deserve a fate worse than death… how would you like to see all your friends die around you, before you yourself are murdered? His heart had felt as if someone had dipped a paintbrush into scalding hot water, then pulled his thumb over the top of it, spraying a vicious rain of drops into Ben’s core. 
* Too wordy, not terribly clear either. Rephrase.
She didn’t really mean that, did she? All for a joking remark at the supper table… And he could have sworn he’d seen her eyes glow red before she turned and marched off. Ben decided he must leave the area for his own safety from Maria, and also because he wanted to avoid his friends.
* Who have just been condemned to die at the hand of Maria Thornway? I don’t think so…
Surely they would never forgive him for as long as he lived! He would probably never forgive himself, at any rate. But where could he go? Suddenly he had remembered a cousin Joshua had spoken of in a distant kingdom… was it called Thrwren? He would go there.
Heart hammering in her chest, Katie made her way slowly down the stone spiral staircase. When a servant opened the door into the vast ballroom, every one of the seventeen princes bowed deeply to her. She curtsied in return, and the small band at the back of the room started a fast song for the tango.
* Really? 1800s + tango?
 The first prince held out his hand and he and Katie swept out onto the dance floor. He introduced himself as Prince Timothy, and Katie learned that he shared many of her likes and dislikes. She enjoyed the dance with him, and when the song ended she was smiling. Her spirits somewhat higher than they had been an hour ago, she went to dance with the next prince, but to her immense disappointment, found him clumsy and distant. The next few princes were all like him. There were some that seemed pleasant, yet none really touched her heart. After an hour or so,
* Again, terribly abrupt. Add more details of the other princes, and esp. Timothy
Katie had danced with every prince except Zachary. He held out his hand, and Katie cautiously took it.
“This castle is too small,” he remarked once they had begun to dance. “And it’s too airy.” Katie fumed. This castle was quite large, and it wasn’t airy at all – the few windows there were actually were hardly ever opened, and when they were it was just for a little while. Katie wished that the castle was airy, though, because she liked the feel of a breeze lifting her hair and the ways that sunlight could make a small room like her own seem larger and happier.
Prince Zachary continued. “My castle is much more closed in. There are just a couple windows and they’re always closed, no exceptions. And my castle is gargantuan; there are hundreds of rooms, all the size of this one. Oh, and did I mention that you look terrible in purple? The seamstresses from my castle can fix that up, though. What about pastel yellow? That would be-”
“Er… actually-” Katie started, but Zachary ignored her and plowed on.
“Once you move into my castle-”
“I’m sorry,” Katie said, trying to keep anger and impatience out of her voice, “but I don’t think I want to marry you.”  
“Look, Katelyn, I don’t want to marry you either. Neither of us has any choice; it’s just connecting kingdoms by marriage.” He frowned, but persisted, “We can’t change that.”
“Yes, we can,” Katie said desperately. “If we both stand up to our parents, they won’t have any choice! Why are you siding with them? You can get out of marrying me, if you stand up to them!”
“I…” he hesitated, looking distressed, “I can’t do that, Kate.”
* Expand this scene!
She glared silently.
Neither talked for the rest of the song. When it was over, Katie left without thanking him for the dance and sat on a bench by the wall. After a few minutes that seemed like hours, Joshua came over and sat next to Katie. She had been trying not to cry, but a few tears had made their way down her cheeks. Joshua took out a handkerchief and handed it to her. She mopped her wet eyes, grateful for her beloved cousin’s company. 
* Or Timothy?  Anyway, reword that passage, seems unnatural.
“I was not aware that you didn’t know the purpose of this ball,” he began gently. “Your mother made Zachary seem like the best choice, and hoped you yourself would choose him, so that she would not have to explain to you that you were marring him, no matter what you decided. She may be crafty, but her plan didn’t work this time, did it?”
“No, Josh, you’re wrong.” Katie said with an uncharacteristic bitterness. “It did work; I will have to marry Zachary. Well, no, I didn’t choose him, and in that sense you were right, but it doesn’t matter. There’s no way to get out of it.” Tears were trickling down her cheeks again. Josh placed his arm around her shoulder. Slightly comforted, she took a deep breath and cleared her thoughts. What could she do? Zachary was a coward and her mother was more powerful than anyone else she knew…

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Democracy in the Middle East

You've probably heard of all that's going on in the Middle East.
Southern Sudan votes to secede.
Tunisia pressures their leader into exile.
In Egypt, riots lead the president to step down.
In Algeria, people are becoming restless to follow Egypt's example.
And in Yemen... same thing.
And in Iran.
Crazy, huh? And it all started - funnily enough - on Facebook. Social networking has connected people to such an extent that all this has been able to happen. Who'd have guessed?
Remember learning about the Red Scare, when capitalist countries like the US feared that communism would spread like falling dominoes to the nearby countries? (Which never happened, by the way.) Now it seems like democracy is doing the same thing. And, while we're on the subject, is that good or bad? A democracy may be preferable to a dictatorship, but... well, rule by the people can be dangerous, right? So, this may not be the optimal solution, but is it a step towards capitalism and republics in the Middle East?
Okay, I'm just so hyped about this. Sorry if I'm droning on. But please leave any profound thoughts in the comments of this post... I'd love to be able to get a good discussion going!!!
Zealously yours,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Story Time!

Author's Note: This is an excerpt from my 13,000 word story, with 
which most of you are probably somewhat familiar. Please comment, 
critique, criticize - anything that will contribute to the story's success. 
Thank you, and enjoy. 

When they reached their destination – the king and queen’s rooms –  
Katie was released and allowed to wander the sitting room while Helena  
went to find King Griffyn. When she returned not two minutes late,  
Katie’s father was at her side. The king was tall like his wife, and  
he had a beard and head of hair that was black streaked with silver.  
His eyes were pale blue, and they seemed to penetrate Katie’s soul as  
she resolutely returned his fierce glowering.
“Father,” she said with sarcastic respect, as she rose and curtsied.
He did not reply, merely crossed his arms and frowned. He seemed to be  
much larger, and (though she hated to admit it) more intimidating than  
Katie remembered. She clenched her jaw and folding her arms in  
mimicry, if only to try to convince herself that she wasn’t frightened.
“Your recent behavior has been deemed unacceptable.” He said in a low,  
dangerous tone.
“By whom, Your Majesty?” Katie was really pushing it. She knew her  
father was already angry, but it was just so tempting to be a pain.
“SILENCE!” He roared. “Do not speak until I command you to do so.” He  
was practically trembling with anger. Katie inhaled quickly and  
stepped back, defeated.
“Your recent behavior has been deemed unacceptable,” he growled,  
speaking louder now. “Naturally, the ideal consequence would be  
expulsion from the kingdom. Regretfully, we are not authorized –“ he  
hesitated and Katie knew he was thinking about Lord _______ and the High  
Council. “- to preform such an act. However, we have been permitted to  
confine you to your chambers until said behavior is amended and any  
conflicts resolved. You may now speak.”
“Okay,” Katie said, treading cautiously with carefully-chosen words,  
“May I inquire to the validness of a matrimonial act between myself  
and Prince Zachery, if such a consequence is instated?”
“Said matrimonial act will proceed, minimally affected by… absence of  
the betrothed.”
“And my lessons?”
“All regular events in which the princess partook would be terminated.”
Katie nodded curtly.
“May I be excused?”
King Griffyn frowned again, and then rang for a servant to escort her  
to her room.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mind-Breaking News for Sol and Laga.

I have met a new debating partner here in Virginia. But the shocking thing is, he thinks like me. :0 I told you I'm not illogical! Just logical in a different way. Here is my proof. ^-^

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Story Time!

Hey folks. So I was thinking, you know how some authors used to write little "episodes" of stories, which would then be read on the radio? And how sometimes when they were all done they would publish it as a novel? Well, if no one minds, I would like to do something similar on here every other week. If any of you dislike the idea, let me know in the comments. Otherwise, please give me critiques and ideas. I really need both. Thanks, and now onto:
MY STORY (needs a real title)
Alonzo sat on a hard metal bench in a corner of a dirty, crowded train station. Normally he tried to avoid such public places, but it was winter and he wanted to warm his hands. He kept an eye on the crowds while he held his hands out to the vent in the wall. People roamed around the booths selling food, maps, and paperbacks, waiting for the next train departure. One group stood out in the crowd though. They were not dressed according to the codes. Many of the girls were wearing woolen skirts and cotton blouses instead of their work clothes, and only one nervous boy was wearing the knee-high boots that most men wore.
As Alonzo idly watched the odd group, one of the girls approached a woman who appeared to be in her mid-thirties. The girl seemed to speak ernestly for a moment, and pressed a sheet of paper into the woman's hand. The woman, looking frightened and angry, dropped the paper and walked briskly over to the gaurds who stood watching the crowds. As she began speaking and gesturing toward the girl, Alonze rose warily from his seat on the bench. He had learned that whenever there was trouble with an officer, it was safest for an Anaglasian immagrant like him to get out of the way.
Meanwhile, the girl had returned to the group, looking anxious. One of the gaurds approached the group. He appeared to be trying to interrogate the girl, but before he could say much, a tall boy stepped forward and began to speak energetically to him. When the gaurd pulled out his handcuffs, the young man jumped in between him and the girl. He placed a firm hand on the gaurds shoulder. "Stop!" he said emphatically. (This sentance feels so awkward. Please help!)
How will the gaurd react? Who is this mysterious group of kids? Who is Alonzo?
These questions will be answered in our next exciting episode. (At least, more exciting than this one.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

This I Believe

There's a website, which you may have heard of, called thisibelieve.org, and it is the product of a radio show idea that asked listeners to write an essay on something they believed in, then read it on the radio. My class recently listened to a few (you can hear them on the before-mentioned website) and there are some really good ones. So anyway, what I'm getting to is - let's start a "This I Believe" challenge, like the November Thankful Challenge, shall we? Just name things in which we believe; for example, the power of words, or the power to change the world, or immortality, or miracles, or reincarnation, or the power of rubber bands - you get the idea. Whoever agrees, please leave your comment of what you believe in, on this post.
Smiles, as usual,