Friday, November 23, 2012

A Few Projects and a Bit of Christmas

This covers the 28th and 29th of November.  Our last religion class was on the 28th.  I really enjoyed that class--our teacher was engaging and enthusiastic about the subject, which was itself fascinating.  Most of our grade for that class was a project of something about the history of the LDS church in England or the UK.
For my project, I decided to use some skills learned previously and translate some hymns into Welsh.  If I recall correctly, they were Mae Ysbryd Duw, Prynwyr Israel, and Si Gallwch Fynd y Golob.  Or, for the non-Cymraeg, The Spirit of God, Redeemer of Israel, and If You Could Hie to Kolob.  To translate these, I used a mix of a list of rhyming Welsh words, a dictionary, a lexicon, my knowledge of Welsh, and Google Translate.  Before anyone gets off on me, I want to tell you something about that list of rhyming Welsh words.  It was a list, and there were Welsh words, and there was nothing else.  So what I'd normally do is translate a line how I wanted it, in rhythm, take a list of the words that rhymed, stick the whole thing in Google Translate, see if I could find a word that rhymed and made sense, check it with the dictionary, and put that in rhythm.  If I couldn't find anything, I re-did the verse.  It may seem time-consuming but it was really exciting.  For my class presentation, I sang my translation of The Spirit of God.

     Mae Ysbryd Duw'n llosgi fel tan cadarn dros y byd
     Y dyddiau diwethab yn dod yn llachar
     Y brudia o hen yn caelu dychwelyd
     Ac angelion yn dod i ymweld ar ddaear

     Mae'r Duw yn ymestyn doethineb seintau
     Adfer eu barnwyr a phob un mor ar y dechrau
     Y ddaear yn derbyn gogoniant Duw a phwerau
     Y llen dros ei dechrau godi gwarchae

     Canu a gweddi gyda byddinoedd y Nefoedd
     Hosanna, Hosanna, i Dduw a'r Oen
     Gadewch i ni ogoniant i'r rhai ar uchel
     O hyn ymlaen yn ac am byth amen a amen

Roughly translated, that's:
The Spirit of God burns like a fire over the earth
The last days become bright
The divinity of before has returned
And angels are coming to visit the earth

The wisdom of God is extended to the saints
Restoring their judges and all as at first
The earth receives the glory of God and its powers
The curtain over the earth no longer besieges it

Sing and shout with the armies of Heaven
Hosanna, Hosanna to God and the Lam
Let us give glory to those on high
From now and on forever amen and amen

Oh, and quick not-at-all-complete guide:  u=e, f=v, y=u (not always but just run with it), dd=soft th, like father, and ll=*blowing spit on you*

I was proud of that.  Don't take my Welsh grammar as 100%, but I think it's pretty good.  Also, the chorus was easy because it doesn't rhyme.  The hardest part was "The veil o'er the earth is beginning to burst."

Well, enough of that.  My other project was making negative space, I've mentioned it before.  I put five boxes on a large sheet of paper, in an arrangement approximating this > shape, and on the 29th, I walked with it strapped to a huge board, along with my pencils, to the Museum of Natural History, or whichever way those words were, but it's awesome and I'd go back in a heartbeat, to sketch a skeleton.  After wandering, I decided on a related-to-a-mammoth skeleton, because it had big bones, cool spaces, and most importantly, places I could rest my board and still see it.  This did require standing most of the time.  I ended up vaguely relating the body parts to their general positions on the actual skeleton (ribs in the middle, hip on the end, head in front) and took each box from a slightly different position (I did the head looking down from above) and amused myself watching the elementary school kids run all over the place.  In case you're wondering, kids are indeed the same everywhere, even if a few of the kids I saw were dressed positively nattily.

When I got it home, I eventually inked it all in with a brief hiatus to get more pens, and I liked how it turned out.  It happened that another girl did a negative-space fossil, but hers was an entire brontosaurus.  I liked mine, though, because it was different and inked in the background rather than pencilled, so the lines and negative space were sharper.  The hard part with that was delineating the boxes, as I decided not to draw lines around them, and walking through Hyde Park with a huge board in the wind.

Anyway, on to the Christmas!  And by on, I mean back, because it happened between the one project and the other on the evening of the 28th.  We all found our way to St. Paul's to watch an advent program, which was very interesting.  Not too much Christmas music, and much like the Evensongs.  But I'll get to more of that later.  I say not Christmas, but that's because it's not my experience of Christmas.  (As I sit here listening to Mannheim Steamroller holiday music which wouldn't be allowed anywhere near a Church of England/Catholic advent.)  It was focused aroud Christ, as Christmas should be, but not the birth, which I'd assume would be at a later Advent.  It started with the Old Testament, I believe.  I remember something about Adam and Eve.  This has a lot to do with the fact that I was sketching something like that in my program.  It was a lot bigger than an Evensong, actually.  They had a huge procession that made its way slowly down the aisle.  By slowly, I mean they moved forward a bit, stopped to speak and sing, moved forward while speaking and singing, stopped again to do the get the idea.  It really was beautiful; not something I'd do every day, but the ceremony of the whole thing was very impressive.  Lots of smoke and incense and candles and old formal garb and so forth.  Although I did allow myself a little laugh at the "The House of the Lord shall be built upon the tops of the mountains" bit.  Overall a very pleasant evening.

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