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Week 9 Story: Vyasa's Sperm Bank

In Hastinapur, the problem of infertility was rife. Kings and queens lived and died one after the other, but as the town lost each ruler, no heirs were born to take their rightful place. In the past, the town had found strange loopholes to continue their royal line. Miraculous births and surprise reunions had kept the kingdom going, but their luck had run out. The townspeople of Hastinapur talked daily about what would happen if they had no king and no queen - a sense of nervousness dominated the area, without any heirs forthcoming.

With any problem comes an opportunity, and a wise sage like Vyasa was always going to find that opportunity. Years earlier, Vyasa had started to pay austerities to the god of ice, Himavat, in order to learn how to harness the power of cold. Himavat presented Vyasa with a boon: the first cryogenic chamber, thousands of years before the western world learned of such deep freezing technology.

Himavat is the god of the Himalayas as well. Source: Wikipedia
Vyasa…
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Reading Notes: Epified Mahabharata Part B

This sequence of videos got much deeper into what was covered in the PDE Mahabharata. One thing that stuck out to me was the 100 Sons video, where the balls of flesh were stored in vats of oil and they grew into 100 children. They mentioned there were 101 vats of oil, so I wonder what the unused one was for? Maybe I misheard it.
I thought this could maybe be part of the Vyasa sperm donor story. This is more stem-cell esque, but the idea of sorting the sperm into 100 different test tubes and then Vyasa having 100 sons is totally possible. The animation brings up a lot of parallels between the ancient epic and modern times that I didn't notice in the first reading of the Mahabharata.

One other thing I liked was the snake kingdom that Bhima visits when his evil brother tries to drown him. The artist in the video went all out on the snake picture, and I really liked that. I don't remember the underwater snake kingdom from the Mahabharata (but there were so many characters and sett…

Reading Notes: Epified Mahabharata Part A

I really liked watching the animations of the Mahabharata by Epified. The first few episodes I didn't recall being explained in the PDE Mahabharata, so it was interesting to get an introduction with some backstory about the epic. The added context from this animation will help me understand the story a lot better.

The title image for Epified's animated series on the Mahabharata. Source: Epified Assignment Page
The story of Bhishma's oath is really important to the story. He also stands by his oath the entire time, which is classic for these epics. Yet again, Indian Epics teach us to not take the easy road. The story of Amba makes a bit more sense now - at first I didn't understand why she was so upset, but now I see that she feels like her life is unfulfilled because she can no longer be married to anyone. 
Being able to see the unkempt Vyasa makes me empathize with him more. In the animation he isn't that ugly, but the women absolutely fear him for his looks. The a…

Famous Last Words: "Who needs to study?"

After missing famous last words last week, I'm back and ready for some updates.

This past weekend I was in Kansas City with the high school robotics team I mentor. We were at our first competition of the season, so it was really hectic. I am the drive team coach for the team, and it is super exciting and intense. We seeded 7th after our qualification matches and then lost in the quarterfinals to the 2nd seed. We could definitely have done better, but it was a lot of fun and our next competition is in OKC this week!

The robot during a match picking up balls. Source: team photographer
Classes have been going alright for me, but I'm about to hit midterms. This semester all of my exams occur over two weeks: this upcoming week and finals week. Control Theory is the feature exam, and it's on Thursday, so I need to study hard. Meanwhile, I can't sleep on Understanding Theatre, but I think I can get all of the studying for that one done on one day. Those two classes are so diff…

Week 8 Progress

I am making really good progress in this class, and expect to be done before the end of March. The storybook I am doing is something I am really proud of, and I am glad everyone seems to be enjoying it. It's nice to make something that other people feel invested in, and that is one of my favorite parts of this class.

My weekly schedule has changed quite a bit. Now I mainly work on Tuesday and Thursday, and try to get a lot done at once. I try to leave my weekends free so I spend more time on this class during the week than I planned. The extra credit options have helped me go through this class faster though, and I enjoy working on them.

Looking ahead, I need to make sure I stay on schedule and don't let other things get in the way of taking care of business in this class. At the same time, I need to work hard to get this class done so the hard push in April isn't that hard, and I can relax a bit. Over the next month I want to get better at writing dialogue for my storyboo…

Week 8 Comments and Feedback

I think I have gotten relatively good feedback from people in this class, especially related to my storybook. I'm glad that a lot of people enjoy it and are offering good ideas that I can use in future stories. I especially appreciate the comments about things that are wrong with my website or ideas for future story directions, and I try to fix these issues and incorporate these ideas into my storybook.

I am leaving helpful feedback on other people's blogs, but I definitely can do better. I tend to leave feedback on stories I like more frequently than on stories I don't like, so I will try to focus on helping others more by adding some constructive feedback in the coming weeks.

I feel like I am getting to know some people in the class, but some others just comment once and then I never see them again. There are so many people in the class, so it's hard to get to know everyone. I need to update my introduction post with grad school results, and other stuff, but I haven&…

Week 8 Reading and Writing

Looking back on my blog posts, I like what I have written. I like my blog's layout because it is clean, simple and fairly easy to navigate. By taking notes on the stories we have read so far in class, I have been able to improve my storytelling skills. Without my reading notes, my stories would not be as good because I wouldn't think about the original text's messages and themes as much. My strategy for reading notes is to have some summary so I can jog my memory, but then to focus in on what the text is trying to convey to a reader. Since this strategy has helped me this semester, I will continue to stick with it in the future.

My project is going well and is receiving lots of feedback. In general, I think many of the comments I receive are helpful. Some comments I disagree with, but it is nice to see other perspectives because this makes me think more about what I am doing.

In the future, I am going to keep pursuing my note taking strategies. I really want to focus in on…