Monthly Archives: January 2012

Wuthering Heights

Where to even begin with Wuthering Heights?

As most people know, this book is considered one of the classics, which is why I decided to read it. I honestly can’t tell if I’m glad I read it, but I’m happy to say I was able to get through it. I would be lying if I didn’t say that was one of the hardest books I’ve read. Maybe it wasn’t the best choice for my first read on my reading list. Yes, the prose and form of writing was hard to read at times, but that’s not what made this book difficult. It was the characters and the story line.

As I said in my first post under my Classics category, I tend to adopt the moods of the characters, and the tone of the book. Needless to say, the entire time I read this book I was surly, ill-tempered, and pretty much just wanted to find a way to fight with someone, or be vengeful and mess up someones life for no reason. I pretty much wanted to ruin other lovers lives because I felt like the love of my life chose to marry someone else even though deep down, I know they love me, right?

I’ll give you a little detail as to what the book is about:

It is a novel written by Emily Bronte and was published in 1874. As Wikipedia describes it, the title of the novel comes from the Yorkshire manor on the moors of the story. The narrative centers on the all-encompassing, passionate, but doomed love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and many around them.

To make a long, grueling, complicated story short, Catherine and Heathcliff don’t marry each other. They reproduce with their spouse’s whom neither of them really love. Right before Catherine dies, her and Heathcliff proclaim their undying love for each other.

That’s just the first part of the novel though. The second part conveys the lives of the children of Heathcliff and Catherine (Cathy, and Linton). Eventually, another tangled love story unfolds, and Heathcliff is there the entire time taking out his revenge on these children. Still trying after all of these years to get retribution against Edgor Linton for marrying his love Catherine.

Overall, to put it simply, I felt that the characters in this story were selfish monsters. They only cared about themselves. I found it very hard to sympathize with any and all of the characters because it was difficult to pinpoint their redeeming qualities that made them worth sympathizing with. This mostly applies to Heathcliff and Catherine. I can sometimes stand Cathy and Linton at times, but eventually, they annoy me just as much as their parents.

I’ll have to say that I agree (to an extent) with Edward Cullen and Bella Swan in regards to their conversation about Heathcliff and Catherine in Twilight. Edward says the same thing as myself, he believes that they are monstrous people with no redeeming qualities. Bella disagrees by saying, “I think that’s it though. Their love (for each other) IS their only redeeming quality.”

But I’m a sap, and even their love couldn’t convince me to sympathize. My good friend Chris described how I felt perfectly. He said that he didn’t want his love story to feel like exercise. Meaning, it literally felt like work to get through this story and to find the happiness in the love there.

But, the book is considered a classic novel for a reason. It is considered to be a drama ahead of its time. Despite my griping, Bronte didn’t intend for this novel to be a sappy love story. There is a cynical plot and an unashamedly dark story line. Books of that era were often written to instruct readers, and primarily young ladies, in what was expected of them. Instead of frightening readers to follow the straight and narrow path, Wuthering Heights seduces its readers with its dark passion and misguided characters.

I would say that even though it’s clear that the characters of the story are flawed, their flaws are intriguing just as much as they are repelling. Even though I couldn’t stand them, I kept wondering in my head why they were the way they were, and I was compelled to keep reading to see if any redeeming qualities would come through.

In the end, if any lesson is to be learned from Wuthering Heights, it is the folly of denying your heart’s greatest passion, and this is something I will try and take with me after reading this novel.

Please feel free to comment and offer me different insight and perspective to this story! I love seeing and understanding different points of view.



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Raniero’s Pizzeria

To enter Raniero’s Pizzeria is to walk into a swirl of smells associated with a classic Italian kitchen. Family pictures adorn the walls, giving a sense of welcoming to this local establishment, and that’s how the owners strive to make you feel- welcome, and like family.

Raniero’s offers a stone-baked, New York-style pizza that can be bought by the pie or by the slice. It’s the recipe that appeals to Ali Hedges, a junior elementary education major at Northern Kentucky University.

“Raniero’s has some of the best local pizza compared to their competitors,” Hedges said.

Raniero’s appeals to a college student’s budget by offering $1 slices from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. The shop owners also offer a “Crunch Time Special” every day from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The special includes a beverage, one slice of pizza, and a side salad for $7.25, which is comparable to prices in the Student Union.

Also on the menu is the 24-inch pizza pie challenge.

“My brother is a huge fan of the show Man v. Food, so when he decided to open the restaurant he wanted to incorporate some type of eating challenge,” said business manager Natalie Howard Ramirez. “It’s a 24-inch pie that a team of two has to eat in ten minutes or less. Around 20 to 30 teams have attempted it, and only eight have succeeded in completing it. The record is seven minutes and 23 seconds.”

The eatery’s rise in popularity since it opened in December 2009 has promoted the decision to expand its current location into the empty space next door that once housed Blockbuster Video.

“We’ve had a booming business and we are very fortunate to get the space to expand,” Ramirez said. “WE weren’t sure if any spot would ever open up in this complex, so we’re lucky it did. We will be able to seat over 100 patrons.”

Ramirez said they plan to stay true to the family atmosphere, but with the expansion they also want to cater more to college students.

“We’re going to be a full-service restaurant and bar, so we’re most likely going to implement a college night one night of the week. It will be 18 years of age and up, and we will offer $1 beer and $1 slices of pizza. We’re also considering things like a karaoke night and live music,” Ramirez said. “There’s not much to do right by campus, so we definitely want to appeal to the college students as well as families.”

The goal is to open the doors of their new establishment by December 1, or by the beginning of January at the latest.

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A Vegan Friendly ‘Eclectic’ Deli

For almost six years, Melt Eclectic Deli of Northside, Cincinnati has been pursuing its mission to serve vegan-friendly, whole unprocessed foods to its steady stream of customers.

This deli is fashioned after its name- with eccentric table settings and artwork. . On colorfully embellished chalkboards, the menu lists more than 20 sandwiches, half a dozen salads, daily soups and a few meal-sized appetizers, made daily from scratch.

“I opened Melt to provide a healthy local eatery for my friends, family and neighborhood,” said owner Lisa Kagen. “While I am pleased that many people enjoy the atmosphere and service as much as the food, my top priority is always the quality and sourcing of the food. “

At Melt, meats are free of drugs and hormones and breads are free of preservatives. The dishes are made in-house without corn syrup, trans fats or processed foods. The owners buy from local markets and vendors, and the boxes they use for carry-out orders are biodegradable or recyclable.

One NKU graduate student calls Melt one of her favorite small businesses, and plans on visiting them for dinner on Small Business Saturday, which is October 11. “When it comes to small businesses, Melt is my favorite,” graduate student, Lauren Stieritz said. “I take friends there all the time, and I’ve never come across anyone who didn’t appreciate the locally grown products, the original menu, and the eccentric décor.”

While you wait for your cooked-to-order meal, you can observe the collection of current art, or converse with the word magnets in the front dining room. In sunny weather, the back patio provides a relaxing atmosphere compared to the eccentric inside dining.

Though you’ll see classic vegan items such as seitan, rinotta, tofu, plus many other vegetables, Melt also appeals to those who eat a meat friendly diet. The menu includes meats like chicken, roast beef, and turkey on their sandwiches.

Melt may be out of the way for a lot of NKU students, but if you’re a fan of fresh, homemade, unique eats, it is a worthwhile trip over to the Northside to experience this eclectic deli.

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Humanity, I Love You

After almost a year of planning, traveling, volunteering, video shooting, editing and producing, seniors Stephanie Mathena and Kelsey Robinson get to share their senior Capstone project and documentary Humanity, I Love You to the people of Northern Kentucky Univeristy.


In this documentary, viewers will witness the journey of eight volunteers as they travel to New Orleans to do volunteer work on a house destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  The final cut depicts the struggles and achievements of the volunteers, as well as testimonies from families directly affected by this hurricane.


“I hope viewers get a real sense of the amount of devastation left by Katrina and how six years later, many are still without a home,” Robinson said. “I hope it also inspires viewers to find the courage to volunteer themselves, not only in their own community but in a different region, because many people are in need of help all over the globe.”


Mathena said that she wants people to feel motivated to make a difference.


“The goal of this film is not to guilt people into donating all of their money to Katrina relief funds,” Mathena said, “but to encourage people to reflect and ask themselves how they want to be remembered and what difference are they making in the world?”


Planning for the documentary began in January. For two semesters, Robinson and Mathena galvanized volunteers, raised funds, and arranged for transportation to New Orleans.


“Honestly, people don’t really think about what goes in to making a film,” Mathena said. “Beforehand there is the pre-production work of contacting organizations to partner with, outlining how the story structure should work, budgeting for the film, raising funding and obtaining volunteers to go on the trip.”


Their work and dedication will come to fruition when they share their documentary with the NKU community.


“It is a relief to finally have the finished product of Stephanie and I’s hard work to be able to show to the public,” Robinson said.


“I can’t even put in to words how it will feel to have the documentary shown in front of my peers, faculty, and most importantly those who were on the trip,” Mathena said. “I hope I have done justice to their stories and make them proud.”

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Antony and Cleopatra Review

Northern Kentucky University’s Department of Theater and Dance premiered their rendition of the Shakespearean play “Antony and Cleopatra” on Thursday, December 1st in the Fine Arts Center’s Stauss Theater.


“Antony and Cleopatra” captured my attention and interest from the start with its suspenseful, tragic, and even comedic display of betrayal, love and power.


Shakespearean language can sometimes be hard to follow, but the play’s stars, seniors Simon Powell, who portrayed Antony, and Robyn Novak, who portrayed Cleopatra, as well as the rest of the cast, succeeded in embodying all that Shakespeare wanted “Antony and Cleopatra” to be.


Senior BFA- Acting major Bradley Jennings Evans, who played Octavius Caesar, said that this cast has one of the best work ethics of any other cast he has worked with. “We have all put a lot of work in to understanding the script and creating strong characters for the audience and hopefully that shows in the performance,” said Evans.


Though I sometimes got lost in the language, the 29 actors succeeded in portraying strong characters that kept me, as well as the rest of the audience, absorbed throughout the entire play.


Though the lead roles were clearly standout actors, the supporting roles also played their part in added more depth and dimension to the story.


“Honestly, my favorite characters were the supporting roles, and the comic relief from Lepidus,” said senior electronic media and broadcasting major Rachel Mannning. “I had several friends in the cast, and their appearance and mannerisms were completely transformed for the roles, and I barely recognized them.”


Reading a summary of the play would be beneficial to anyone who wants to view the performance, because it is easy to get lost in translation between the battle scenes.


Manning agreed that it sometimes gets confusing who is battling whom and who was on whose side. “Luckily, this wasn’t a huge problem because the story was obviously supposed to be focused on the titular couple,” said Manning.


Around 80 people were in attendance at the show on Friday, December 3 and all seemed just as captivated by the performance as I was. The crowd laughed, gasped, held our breath and watched in anticipation to see what the how the story would unfold.


Being in Stauss Theater, which is sometimes referred to as a black box theater, was the perfect performance space for this play. This theater is in a smaller room with the stage in the middle, surrounded by the audience, and black curtains drape each wall. This created a more intimate setting which allowed the audience to become completely engrossed in the performance.


When it comes to the set, lighting and design, the entire ambience was impressive. Manning said she loved it as well. “The suspended screens with the projected light patterns and the double-raked stage with contrasting floors brought a whole new level to the central clash between Rome and Egypt,” said Manning. “It juxtaposed the powers and set them physically higher, but it still brought the action down to the viewer’s level.”


With the stage in the middle being surrounded by the audience, there is really no bad seat in which to view the performance.


Evans also agrees that the technical elements of the show turned out beautifully, particularly the set, lights and costumes. “It helps add so much depth and finesse to the show, and it also helps paint the story for the audience as well,” said Evans.


Though I was disappointed that the show started a half hour late, I respected the decision to wait for family members of those in the cast to get there before beginning. The start time of the production was postponed due to traffic from an event at the Bank of Kentucky Center.


If you enjoy comedy, tragedy, suspense, betrayal, passion, and heartbreak, and most importantly, Shakespeare, then I recommend going to see director Mike King’s interpretation of “Antony and Cleopatra”.


The show will continue to run through December 11 in the Fine Art Center’s  Stauss Theater. Show times are Monday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $14 for adults, $11 for seniors and $8 for students and can be purchased at the NKU box office.

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