February 2010

Going for the Gold!

It's amazing to watch athletes from all over the world gather to compete in the Vancouver Winter Olympics. They put away all of their personal prejudices and just let their feats speak for themselves. In a world where hate and suffering are rife, the Olympics celebrate humans in their purest form - the amazing things our bodies can do with training and dedication.

There's glory, friendship, honor, and national pride at the games. The nation cheers on its athletes from home, following their trials and tribulations. On center stage, the athletes shine and bring us hope. When the Olympics first started in Olympia, Greece they represented a time of peace when wars would temporarily stop as the world gathered to watch its heroes compete.

I always loved watching figure skating during the winter Olympics the most - their sequined costumes, gracefulness, and raw power was an inspiration to me. How does one rotate their body in the air three times and land on one foot? And how does one practice something like that without falling so many times that they're not permanently bruised? Don't their get motion sick spinning that many times? On top of all that, they're smiling during their program and the crowd is drawn into their story. Will they land the jump - you have to hold your breath to wait for it!

The Olympics are a time for not only for athletes to shine, but also for fans to cheer on their favorite competitors. What are your favorite winter Olympic sports and what are your memories of the games?

Fat Tuesday

Let the celebrations begin!

Here in the US, it's better known as Mardi Gras and is celebrated in New Orleans in the French quarter. After the massive destruction left behind by hurricane Katrina, this party has become a symbol of hope and rebirth of the community. If you're not heading down for the party, you can always play Legend of the Crystal Skull to celebrate. As Nancy Drew, you visit New Orleans in to find out why Bruno Bolet died suddenly and learn more about Krewes that participate in Mardi Gras - secret societies that build intricate parade floats. These secret societies are shrouded in mystery and the floats that they build are kept tightly under wraps.

In Europe, the celebration is part of Carnevale, which takes place in Venice and is the setting for Nancy Drew: The Phantom of Venice. The Venetian Carnevale is famous for it elaborate masks, making it a perfect time for a culprit to disguise himself/herself as he/she quietly steals precious works of art while everyone else is celebrating. This year, the Carnevale of Venice started on 2/6 and culminates today with the Carnival of Burano. Familiarize yourself with the masks and what each one represents by starting with our Venetian mask wallpaper.

There's also, the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, which has its roots from the European Carnevale, but they infuse the spirit of African and Amerindian cultures. Rio's Carnival is known for it's Samba parades featuring bands of mostly percussion (drums) of up to 1000 people! The rhythm is quick and the dancers who march with the band, nimble. It's summer time in Brazil, so get ready to start dancing with the bands and shaking your chocalhos (loud metal jingling instrument)!

To see more pictures of Carnival celebrations around the world, check out this link. You'll notice that each celebration has their own flavor following the traditions of the country.

How will you be celebrating your Mardi Gras?

To Nancy, with Love

Valentine's Day is this weekend! To celebrate, we checked Nancy's Valentine box (remember those from elementary school) to see a few valentine messages from her best buds and then some. This year's batch looks pretty friendly, but she's certainly had her share of troubles on Valentine's Day (My Deadly Valentine and Valentine's Day Secret).

“Roses are red,
Detectives find clues
Writing the third line is hard!
Happy Valentine’s day to you.”
--- BESS

“Bess ate the whole bag of candy hearts I was going to send you, but have a happy Valentine’s day anyway! – Love George.”

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Nancy! Now hurry back to River Heights, Hannah misses you (also, me too.) Love, Dad”

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Nancy. Have a wonderful day – stay safe and hurry home. Love Hannah”

“Dear Nancy, Happy Valentine’s day! Enclosed you will find a picture of me and Frank standing next to a Krol Lancer Turbo Electric Roadster. It is awesome. – Love Joe.”

“Happy Valentine’s day Nancy, I ordered these cards specially from a limited run artisan printing house in the Chelsea District a few months back, so that’s why you’re getting one. We might not be friends, but I can’t just throw something like this away – Corine.
P.S. No offense, but you’re probably not going to make next year’s list.”

“Happy Valentine’s day, Nancy. I hope you have a wonderful and memorable day. Also, about that picture that Joe sent…I don’t know what that’s about either. At least I was able to convince him to send the one where he’s wearing a shirt. See you soon! – Love Frank.”

But where's the most important one from Nancy Drew's boyfriend? It looks like Ned's valentine is missing... Maybe the Amateur Sleuth blog will have some hints about its whereabouts this Friday in the Weekend Puzzle? I'd suggest you check it out.
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