Articles by " Kristen Glass"
25 Sep
2015

The Karaoke Bars are calling because it’s One Hit Wonder Day!

The sweetest revenge.

The sweetest revenge.

One Hit Wonder Day was established by music journalist Steve Rosen in 1990 to pay tribute to those who technically didn’t even have their five minutes of fame, because most one hit wonders are less time than that.  Celebrate by listening to an artist that contributed one enormously successful song, and not much else, to humanity. Or go to a karaoke bar and show your love by singing a painfully heartfelt rendition of “I Touch Myself.”  People will either sing along with you, or leave.  Good luck!  

Everyone knows what song this happened to!

Everyone knows what song this happened to!

I totally thought I was up on my one hit wonder knowledge.  I thought I would know all the bands and songs.  As it turns out...I do not.  I failed miserably, aside from the few songs on mix CD’s expertly curated by my brother in the early 2000s.  I played those CD’s from middle school well into my high school days on my Sony Walkman and it baffles me that I have to look up the artists, but I remember the song lyrics by heart.  Because they are just that catchy and memorable.  

Oh yes...this was the one.   So sleek.

Oh yes...this was the one. So sleek.

And all those arguments about whether or not ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ was sung by Bob Marley can finally be put to rest; it wasn’t.  And did you know that Chumbawamba was originally an anarchist band?  They were actually quite good before they sold out.  Seriously check out “Timebomb,” their talent was wasted on early 1990’s ravers, so sad.  They fed into the system they wanted so deeply to change.  It’s the nature of the beast.  But let’s not be angsty, we love all music!!!!  So let’s celebrate all the bands, decades, and one hit wonders to grace us with their presence, however fleeting.  

Yep, that's a pretty anarchist song title.

Yep, that's a pretty anarchist song title.

And here's a list of One Hit Wonders!  Enjoy!

 

-Los Del Rio--’Macarena’  (Calling all 90's kids!  Watch this!)
-Lou Bega--’Mambo #5’
-Soft Cell--’Tainted Love’
-Sir Mix A Lot--’I like big butts’
-Vanilla Ice--’Ice Ice Baby’
-Blind Melon--’No Rain’
-Tag Team--’Whoomp! (There it is)’
-4 Non Blondes--’What’s Up?’
-Eddy Grant--'Electric Avenue'
-Aqua--’Barbie Girl’
-Billy Ray Cyrus--’Achy Breaky Heart’
-The Waitresses--’I Know What Boys Like’
-House of Pain--’Jump Around’
-Minnie Ripperton--’Lovin’ You’
-The Weather Girls--’It’s Raining Men’
-Falco--’Rock Me Amadeus’
-The Cardigans--’Lovefool’
-Frankie Goes to Hollywood--’Relax’
-The Verve--’Bittersweet Symphony’
-Modern English--’I Melt with You’
-Meredith Brooks--’Bitch’
-Starland Vocal Band--’Afternoon Delight’
-Buster Poindexter--’Hot Hot Hot’
-EMF--’Unbelievable’
-Devo--’Whip it’
-Wild Cherry--’Play that Funky Music’
-Sugarhill Gang--’Rapper’s Delight’
-Deee-Lite--’Groove is in the Heart’
-Lita Ford--’Kiss Me Deadly’
-Norman Greenbaum--’Spirit in the Sky’
-Baha Men--’Who Let the Dogs Out?’
-Men Without Hats--’The Safety Dance’
-The Knack--’My Sharona’
-DiVinyls--’I Touch Myself’
-Psy--’Gangam Style’
-Bobby McFerrin--’Don’t Worry Be Happy’
-LEN--’Steal My Sunshine’
-Chumbawamba--’Tubthumping’
-Wheatus--’Teenage Dirtbag’
-The Buggles--’Video Killed the Radio Star’
-Afroman--’Because I Got High’
-The Vapors--’Turning Japanese’
-Lipps Inc--’Funkytown’
-Bobby Day--’Rockin’ Robin’
-Nena--’99 Luftballoons’
-Toni Basil--’Mickey’
-The Archies--’Sugar, Sugar’
-Dexys Midnight Runners--’Come on Eileen’
-Right Said Fred--’I’m Too Sexy’

22 Sep
2015

Dear Diary…..

September 22, 2015

Dear Diary,

Today I want to tell everyone about Dear Diary Day!  Each year, I tell myself that I am going to keep a written diary, and each year I fail.  Well, not this year!  I have plenty of journals and they’re going to feel the wrath of my pen pretty damn soon.  So, to celebrate Dear Diary Day, here are four quick and easy steps to follow:

1. Acquire a journal (or a stack of loosely stapled together papers flipped upside down and backwards...the principle is the same though.)
dear-diary-300x2682. Acquire a pen (or a pencil, if you’re one of those people.)
MjAxMy02Y2Q5NWZkYTg4ODEyNDJj3. START WRITING (believe it or not this is the trickiest part, probably because in America we’re bred to consume, not to create...it’s sad really.)
images4. Stay the hell away from your social media profiles!!!!  (A journal helps you be more yourself.  You explore who you are.  Ruminate, if you will.  Social media will NOT help with this.  What do you want to leave behind for your kids?  A social media profile that’s almost as well groomed as a Victoria’s Secret model, or a diary/journal/stack of crumpled napkins that truly show who you are, or were, at a specific time.  We all change so much year to year.  I guarantee your future descendants will want it, they will want it more than most things you could leave behind.)
deardiary-blog

12 Sep
2015

Roald Dahl Day is September 13!

For being remembered as the greatest children’s storyteller of all time, Roald Dahl had a somewhat tragic existence.  His childhood was permeated by loss (a sister and a father), as was his adult life.  He spent his childhood away at boarding school where he suffered abuse.  He was in WWII and rumored to be a James Bond type spy. Despite a somewhat troubling life, it was filled with love.  Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here.  This is to have succeeded.”  Well, Mr. Dahl, you have succeeded.  More than most people, you have succeeded.
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Thirteen Facts to Celebrate Roald Dahl’s Life and Birthday on September 13th:

 

  1. A high ranking church official once said that although Dahl’s young daughter who passed away was in Paradise, her beloved dog Rowley was not.  Dahl stated, “I wanted to ask him how he could be so completely sure that other creatures did not get the same special treatment as us.  I sat there wondering if this great and famous churchman really knew what he was talking about and whether he knew anything at all about God or heaven, and if he didn’t, then who in the world did?”

    Okay cranky church man, we all know all dogs go to heaven!

    Okay cranky church man, we all know all dogs go to heaven!

     

     

  2. Dahl acquired a traditional Romanichal gypsy wagon in the 1960s, and used it as a playhouse for his children.  Later, he used it as a writing room.  Um cool and magical, just like he was!!!!

    Well doesn't that look magical!

    Well doesn't that look magical!

     

     

  3. In the 1960’s he wrote screenplays.  He even began adapting his novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Much like all artists, he failed to meet deadlines and someone else was given his project.  He eventually disowned the film entirely stating that the movie put far too much emphasis on Willy Wonka and not enough on Charlie.  He was infuriated with the plot deviations.  I wonder how he would feel about the Tim Burton version.
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  4. Dahl’s mother, Sophie, used to tell him tales of trolls and other mythical Norwegian creatures.  His novels were inspired by his childhood.  He was an avid reader, loving ghost stories and tales of heroism and triumph.  He said of his mother, "She was a great teller of tales. Her memory was prodigious and nothing that ever happened to her in her life was forgotten."
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  5. His autobiography Boy: Tales of Childhood detailed the abuse he suffered in boarding school.  Is there anyone that ever had a decent boarding school experience?  Judging by memoirs, I’d say no.  
  6. In 1960, his four month old son, Theo, was severely injured when his pram was hit by a taxi.  Theo suffered from hydrocephalus.  Subsequently, Dahl involved himself in the development of the “Wade-Dahl-Till” (WDT) Valve.  This WDT Valve was a device to alleviate this condition.  It was successfully used on thousands of children worldwide.  
  7. In 1962, his daughter Olivia died of Measles and encephalitis at age seven.  He was wracked with guilt over her death.  He felt as though her death was avoidable and became a proponent of immunization. (Hear that anti-vaxxers?...Roald Dahl HATES YOU!!!!!)
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  8. His grave is at St. Peter and Paul’s Church in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England, where children continue to leave toys and flowers.
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  9. He served in the RAF during WWII.  During one flight, he couldn’t find an airstrip and attempted a landing in the desert.  The undercarriage hit a boulder and he crashed.  He fractured his skull and was temporarily blind.  Luckily he dragged himself out of the wreckage before the plane burst into flames.  His first published work is about this crash.
    Roald Dahl and Ernest Hemingway...29 May 1944, London, England, UK --- War Correspondent Waits for Invasion. London, England: Ernest Hemingway (right) walks a London street in the company of an RAF officer. Hemingway is in England and awaiting the opening of the second front. The luxurious foliage decorating his jaw is there on his doctor's orders. He has been forbidden to shave it off for two months. --- Image by  Bettmann/CORBIS 

     

  10. In 1920, Dahl’s older sister died of pneumonia, followed weeks later by his father who died whilst on a fishing trip in the Antarctic.
  11. In 1983, Dahl reviewed Tony Clifton’s God Cried, a picture book about the 1982 Lebanon War.  It depicted Israelis killing thousands of Beirut inhabitants by bombing civilians.  Dahl's review stated that the book would make readers "violently anti-Israeli", writing, "I am not anti-Semitic. I am anti-Israel."
  12. He was named after Roald Amundsen, a polar explorer and national hero in Norway.  
  13. Dahl’s writing influenced film director Tim Burton who was impressed by his "mixture of light and darkness, and not speaking down to kids, and the kind of politically incorrect humour that kids get."

Thank you Roald Dahl.  Thank you for the beautiful stories I love to rediscover.  Thank you for not talking down to me.  Thank you for the macabre, and your dark sense of humor.  Many people don’t think children can handle real life issues, so they shield them from death, despair, and tragedy, but honestly, these people aren’t doing their kids any favors.   Kids are perceptive and can handle more than people think.  

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10 Sep
2015

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

41le8ej-fiL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_How many times can I read this book before tiring of it?  I think it’s impossible to tire of this phenomenal piece of writing.  It’s part philosophy, part dystopian future, part ethnography.  This book makes me afraid for our future, especially in America.  If you’re in the mood to think about some deep shit, you must read this book.  Plus, it’s a classic and Huxley’s writing is lyrically pleasing.

I’m going to be honest; I despise pretty much every character.  The characters are weak and don’t ask questions.  I’m a question asker and a rule breaker, just ask the headmaster at my high school.  One character questions the culture he has been born into, and things don’t go swimmingly for him.

In Huxley’s culture, childbirth is considered barbaric, whilst ingesting drugs to make you happy and having wild orgies is totally acceptable behavior. It makes one think about culture and who creates culture.  Are we a product of our culture, or is our culture a product of us?  Who has power?  Who has agency?  What are we leaving behind?  What will people remember?

Huxley’s masterpiece has been read and re-read for decades and for good reason.  More exciting than 1984, more terrifying than Gattaca, and believable enough to be majorly unsettling, it’s a book that demands to be read!  So if you’ve been slacking off in the classics department this is a great place to start.  Drop some soma and cancel your orgy-porgy plans to snuggle up in bed with Brave New World before all the books disappear!

1 Sep
2015

Library Card Sign-up Month is here!

Back to school.  Back to school.  To prove to Dad that I’m not a fool.

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It’s September, and that means it’s Library Card Sign-up Month!  One of the most important school supplies, and life supplies, is a library card.  Books are expensive, and there’s magic in the ritual of going to the library.  I know I was entranced by Roald Dahl’s character Matilda, who spent hours in the library delving deep into stories.  

Customizable_Joe_Cool_PSA-800cropped

When I was a child, my mother took me to the library regularly.  It was a ritual I will always associate with her.  I loved it.  The children’s section was in the basement and even though the elevator at my local library (don’t worry it wasn’t in Pittsburgh...go to the library!) smelled like pee, I always looked forward to my visits to the library.  It always felt like a special treat.  The adult section looked so grand in comparison to my dear little children’s area.  

My first library card.

My first library card.

When I got older I am ashamed to say I stopped going to the library.  I never went to the library at my university, mostly because it was a giant petri dish filled with coughing college students who still hadn’t learned to cover their mouths whilst sneezing.  That was a missed opportunity.  That library was gorgeous and had amazing resources.  Ahhh hindsight, you bitch.  This year I am determined to sign up for a library card!  

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If you are interested in getting a card at any of the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh, there’s some things you should know.  To receive a card you must show a valid form of identification and proof of address.  You must also fill out an application  There’s plenty you can do with your new library card.  

 

I’m sure I’m not the only girl to fantasize about being Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  Belle with the beautiful library!!!  Which brings me to my next point, libraries are beautiful.

I WANT!!!

I WANT!!!

And have you heard of New Zealand’s teeny tiny libraries that connect isolated communities through a shared love of books?  It's pretty interesting...

2AD1F62A00000578-3174100-Puhoi_Town_Library_which_even_has_its_own_website_is_known_as_a_-a-13_1437796666176 p02yc8px

 

So get out there!  Go get that library card!  With a library card you can travel through space and time.  With the right story, you can go anywhere.

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28 Aug
2015

A Rift in the Time Stream: The Bearenst#in Bears Parallel Universe Theory

So, if you’re a reddit enthusiast, then you’re probably familiar with the Bearenstein/Bearenstain Bears alternate reality theory.  Two weeks ago, this theory broke the internet, and our nostalgia craving hearts, when a member of the rap group Run the Jewels (he really likes to smoke weed) went on a tweeting spree about the Bearenst#in Bears.  For any of you who are out of the loop (living under a rock), the children’s book series is officially called The Bearenstain Bears (and always has been), yet a large segment of the population remembers the spelling as “Bearenstein.”  The internet forums are buzzing with people saying that at some point in history the spelling changed via butterfly effect resulting in two divergent time streams.

Run them Jewels Fast

Run them Jewels Fast

 

Did we glimpse a parallel universe that still exists somewhere and confirms our suspicions that Bearenstein was at one point (or place) the correct spelling?  After all, how could we all be wrong???  How deep does the rabbit hole go? This is an epic conspiracy theory that cannot even be fact checked because facts are fluid and always changing in time. Wild!  This is some crazy Doctor Who-Time Lord Shit!  I believe it was all the work of the Doctor, his Tardis, and a sonic screwdriver.  Has a glitch in the Matrix occurred? Did a Delorean appear when we weren’t paying attention?  Did we do the time warp again?
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Personally, I am in the Bearenstein camp, as are my mother, boyfriend, and best friend.  This theory has been around for years.  I’m honestly surprised I didn’t hear about it sooner with my passion for crazy conspiracy theories.

Bearenstein 4 Lyfe

Bearenstein 4 Lyfe

 

Articles far and wide are claiming that there are various false memories throughout history, known as the Mandela Effect.  I looked into the Mandela Effect and the most informative website had so much traffic that it couldn’t be accessed.  Apparently, lots of people have false memories of Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s.  And how about that “famous” painting of Henry VIII holding that turkey drumstick?  Yeah, about that, it doesn’t exist.

Proof???

Proof???

 

So, are we simply being nostalgic?  Russell Smith of The Globe and Mail News sums it up quite nicely: “Really this is a discussion of nostalgia: about childhood and its inaccessible perfection. People are miffed when they are told that their childhood...is not exactly as they remember.  They want to claim childhood as something different from reality, as a myth that should remain untouched, inaccessible.  It is a poetic impulse, really, not a philosophical one, and often expressed in art.  The past is a foreign country...they do things differently there.”

So what do you remember Bearenstein or Bearenstain?

Does the spelling really matter...the bears taught us so many life lessons.

Does the spelling really matter...the bears taught us so many life lessons.

24 Aug
2015

It’s Leslie Knope’s Favorite Holiday: Waffle Day

 

I hope you’re eating breakfast all day because it is Leslie Knope’s favorite holiday: National Waffle Day!!!  On August 24, 1869, Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York, patented the waffle iron (Patent number 94,043 for all of you out there who still think you’re going to win Jeopardy one day).   In 1953, Eggo frozen waffles were developed. Did you know that the Ancient Greeks were the first waffle makers?  They cooked flat cakes between two metal plates held over burning embers.

I don't know Leslie, I don't know...

I don't know Leslie, I don't know...

Now that you know the basic history of the waffle, here are some eggo-celent waffle quotes from the baddest bitch in Pawnee, Indiana.

We all like waffles, especially when we're in the hospital.

We all like waffles, especially when we're in the hospital.

“We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work.  Or waffles, friends, work.  Doesn’t matter, but work is third.”

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“Everyone should love waffles.  If they don’t they’re crazy.”

All waffles should be friendship wafles!

All waffles should be friendship wafles!

Leslie measures time in terms of waffles:  “Maria, I’m going to need two hours worth of waffles.”

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JJ: “Sure, anything for my favorite customer.”
Leslie: “I bet you say that to all the girls.”
JJ: “Oh no, no.  Actually you are my favorite.  You’ve spent over a thousand dollars last year on waffles alone.”

22 Aug
2015

Vesuvius Day…reimagined!

 Explosive!  Fiery!

Explosive! Fiery!

In 2001 I was in sixth grade, and I wrote a short story about a girl who died in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79 AD.  When I found out we celebrate Vesuvius Day at Kards Unlimited, I was inspired by my sixth grade self and knew I had to write a new story.  So here it is!  Enjoy!  And if you like historical fiction, Kit Harrington sexy-man extraordinaire is in a film aptly named Pompeii.  Clearly, he still plays someone who knows nothing because his character doesn’t leave Pompeii when a “mountain” i.e. super dangerous volcano, starts going all wibbly-wobbly.  

Steamy!  But is it best kiss material?

Steamy! But is it best kiss material?

 

 

10:00AM August 23, 79 AD
Dear Diary,
I am spending my summer in Pompeii and I’ve just arrived!  Mount Vesuvius is so green and beautiful I wish I could live here year round.  Pompeii may be the lushest and greenest place I’ve seen in all of Rome!  There are orchards and vineyards everywhere; just a testament to our favor in the eyes of the gods.  Although the villas, grand baths, and painted caryatids are lovely, I always prefer natural beauty.  The hustle and bustle of the working class has a beauty all its own; another reason I love vacationing here.  This city is a true melting pot.  I can walk next to slaves and freemen alike.  Like worker bees in a beehive, people move rhythmically, with purpose.  Merchants, manufacturers, and farmers all work together to make this wondrous city run smoothly. I admire the workers and the slaves.  My days are so unbearably mindless and boring.  Although I am “noble” and wealthy, my life seems so unimportant compared to theirs.  They live; I watch.  Even the prostitutes have a more glamorous life than I.  

RobertDuncanson-Vesuvius_n_Pompeii_1870

I want more than anything to live.  I guess I’m only sixteen, so there’s plenty of time.  But isn’t that always what people say before something tragic happens?  “I thought I had more time.”  Even eighty year olds on the brink of death mumble about thinking they had more time.  It’s sad really.  I’m so tired of waiting for my life to start.  

I am going to a festival tonight with my best friend, Octavia!  She knows how to live!  Octavia has been our house servant for the past eight years. I cannot believe she has been a slave her whole life.  I look forward to spending my summers with her every year.  Last year, before I left to go back to Rome, I kissed her.  I don’t know what came over me.  It just felt right.  I never had a chance to talk with her about it.  Daddy saw and smacked me later.  He said that that sort of behavior is for whores and serving girls.  He says the only girls that do that are the ones who get paid.  It isn’t a thing proper girls should do.  I don’t like any of the boys in Rome.  I also don’t like that I will most likely be a bargaining chip for my father to gain more political power once he decides to marry me off.  With my luck it’ll be to a man just like him, but maybe even older.  

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Daddy doesn’t want Octavia and I to have any sort of friendship.  He says that a politician’s daughter should not associate with people below her station.  Daddy is such a social climber, soon enough I won’t be able to associate with anyone.  Mother doesn’t care about my friendship with Octavia, as long as Mother’s wine glass is full, she doesn’t care about anything, least of all me.
Sincerely,
Lucretia

 

8:00AM August 23, 79 AD
Dear Diary,
Today is the day Lucretia finally arrives for the summer!  This past year has been so trying, I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with my best friend.  I just hope her father isn’t too overbearing.  I’ll just make sure his wine goblet is overflowing at all times and he’s occupied with the appropriate kind of flesh.  I haven’t told Lucretia about her father’s lascivious ways.  I’m sure she has an idea; how could she not?  I’ve walked in on him with the stable boys more times than I can count.  Sometimes, I’ve even walked in on him with the horses.  His wife definitely knows; why else would she keep herself in a constant stupor?  I work in a house filled with secrets and balancing them so that no one is the wiser is my most important responsibility.  Lucretia’s father is the most controlling man I have ever met.  

 

They are decent enough people to work for though.  They never abuse me, like other slave owners have in the past, they feed me well, and, for the most part, they let me have a friendship with Lucretia.  Slaves have upward mobility, so one day I hope they decide to grant me my freedom.  I could also marry a freeman and declare a child before the magistrate, but marriage has never been something I want.  I may be a slave, but I have freedom.  I look at Lucretia’s life and it’s more controlled than mine is.  Sure, she’s protected from a lot of terrible things in this world, but she doesn’t have any real friends and rarely leaves her little protective bubble.

 

Tonight, Lucretia and I are going to the festival to appease the god Vulcan.  Vulcan is the god of metal workers and destruction.  I hope to show her a grand time!  She kissed me before she left last year.  I’ve been thinking about that kiss all year.  Lucretia has the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen, soft and cat-like.  That night on the dock, when she kissed me goodbye, her eyes seemed to glow like fireflies.  Lucretia’s parents are having a feast before the festival.  I will have to cook and serve, but they always get the highest quality food so I don’t mind. I’m expecting a feast of grapes, apples, figs, and fish.  Fish is a staple here in Pompeii.  Our shell middens are huge!  Anyway, I should probably get to cooking, if I’m going to be prepared for this feast. I want everything to be perfect!
Sincerely,
Octavia

 

Noon August 23, 79 AD
Dear Diary,
It’s another rumbly day in Pompeii.  Tremors are pretty common here, but they are more powerful this year.  Maybe it’s all in my head, but Vesuvius also looks larger and the sea level looks lower. I have never heard of a mountain growing in size, so it must be in my head.  Unless of course it’s a warning from the god Vulcan.  

Thanks NASA! Further proof that Vesuvius is a big ass ornery volcano.

Thanks NASA! Further proof that Vesuvius is a big ass ornery volcano.

In 62 AD, I was born.  My mother says that Vulcan was angry because I was stubborn and wouldn’t leave her belly, so he sent an earthquake to shake me out.  The ground shook and Mother’s water broke, then I came screaming out!  I wish mother would tell more stories like she used to.  Now she’s always staring into a goblet of wine.  She used to be so full of life; and now, she’s dead.  I think being married to my father killed her.  She’s a walking corpse, so far removed from reality she doesn’t even realize I’m here.  I try to take her on walks to the sea with me, but her hands shake like Vesuvius when she’s away from her wine.  

 

Anyway, strange signs have been occurring for days.  I hope the oracle predicts that Vulcan is pleased with Pompeii, but it doesn’t seem likely.  After the earthquake in 62 AD destroyed temples, homes, and altars, people rebuilt them bigger and grander than ever before.  This, of course, was in an effort to please Vulcan.  I don’t think the gods listen anymore.  A mountain that rumbles and grows in size and a shrinking sea can’t be good.  Maybe the first earthquake was to warn people to leave Pompeii for good.  I love it here, but I feel uneasy.  There’s an eeriness about that mountain.
Sincerely,
Lucretia

pompeii

10:20 AM July 23, 2015
Dear Diary,
I have never worked at such an important archaeological site!  I am documenting all of it!  I’m on my cookie break writing in you!  I am so fortunate to work at Pompeii!  My aunt is in charge of an excavation group here and I was lucky enough to join.  Ever since I was a young girl, Pompeii has fascinated me.  Pompeii is tomb and time capsule.  It shows how real ancient Romans lived, even the commoners.  No other sites show the commoners in such an illuminating light.  A trade hub filled with vacation homes, the people never knew they were living on an offshoot of a lava flow.  They never knew they lived inside the “death zone” around Vesuvius.  

Excavations

Excavations

In 1748, a farmer found traces of Pompeii beneath his vineyard.  Ever since, excavations have taken place.  I am a descendent of said farmer and so is my aunt.  I guess being fascinated by Pompeii is inherited!  Archaeologists have been digging through the massive pile of volcanic ash and mud for hundreds of years unearthing death poses, statues, altars, villas, mosaics, and, my personal favorite, the beautiful marble caryatids.  It’s funny to think we understand so much about their lives from their deaths.  

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We have been excavating since early May and I found something that could be one of the most important finds to date.  Even more exciting than finding out that caryatids were painted!  I have found two diaries which may contain firsthand accounts of the eruption.  I believe they belonged to two girls who lived in a vacation villa.  We are excavating around two bodies in the lower section of the house now.  There are two shapes in the frigidarium, roughly the same size lying next to each other hugging.  It’s like they were trying to seek shelter in the coolest place imaginable.  They must have been burned terribly before they died together.  I don’t know if they were best friends, lovers, or two strangers united by their confrontation of a grim and terrifying death.  I can’t wait to get it translated.  The only firsthand account in existence is by Pliny the Younger and, no offense to Pliny, but the diaries of two teenage girls would be the find of the century!  

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One things for sure, they were never going to escape a ten mile mushroom cloud of ash and pumice that erupted for twelve hours.  A giant cloud of hot ash and gas surged down Vesuvius, engulfing the city and burning or asphyxiating all the people who stayed in their cellars.  The lethal cloud was followed by a flood of volcanic mud and rock which buried the city.  The eruption lasted three days.  The only way to survive was to leave and many who tried didn’t make it out in time.  After the eruption, the sea retreated and a tsunami rolled in.  If the gods truly did favor certain cities, Pompeii and Herculaneum were not those cities.
Giulia

Two lovers.

Two lovers.