Luxx's Monster Mash: Thread 3
This is a continuation of the topic Luxx's Monster Mash: Thread 2.
This topic was continued by Luxx's Monster Mash: Thread 4.
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Spring is here, and with it a new thread!
Here's your dose of monsters and art.
"New York (Blind Woman)" by Strand, 1916
Another monster to haunt the thread: I assume he doesn't need an introduction.
The List of Links
Biblio Beau, the second home for all my reviews
Books Read in 2011 (101 Books. Major Events: Birth of Third Monster, Poor health and a death in the family)
Books Read in 2010 (100 Books. Major Event: Second Adjunct Position Obtained)
Books Read in 2009 (145 Books. Major Event: Birth of Second Monster)
Books Read in 2008 (61 Books. Major Events: Birth of First Monster, First Adjunct Position Obtained)
Books Read in 2007 (85 Books. Major Event: Finished my MA in English Lit)
List of Books Read in 2012
1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. 1.1.12. *****
2. English After the Fall by Robert E. Scholes. 1.1.12. ***
3. "Rules for Virgins" by Amy Tan. 1.2.12. ****
4. Green River Killer by Jeff Jensen. 1.3.12. ****
5. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. 1.5.12. *****
6. "The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic" by Kathleen Valentine. 1.6.12. ***
7. Stitches: A Memoir by David Small. 1.8.12. *****
8. Feynman by Ottaviani and Myrick. 1.9.12. *****
9. The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike. 1.11.12. ***
10. Inside the Victorian Home by Judith Flanders. 1.16.12. ***
11. Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. 1.17.12. **1/2
12. Black Blood by Christopher Pike. 1.17.12. ***
13. The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan. 1.17.12. ***1/2
14. The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans by Rick Geary. 1.24.12. ***1/2
15. A Taste of Midnight by Lara Adrian. 1.27.12. ***1/2
16. Darker After Midnight by Lara Adrian. 1.28.12. ****
17. Lothaire by Kresley Cole. 2.3.13. *
18. Oedipus the King by Sophocles. 2.7.12.
19. Ex Libris: Confessions of an Common Reader by Anne Fadiman. 2.10.12. ****
20. Cinder by Marissa Meyer. 2.11.12. ****1/2
21. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood. 2.14.12. ***
22. Wither by Lauren DeStefano. 2.21.12. ****
23. One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. 2.21.12.
24. Timeless by Gail Carriger. 2.24.12. ****
25. A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison. 3.1.12. ****1/2
26. Torso by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko. 3.4.12. **1/2
27. Fair Game by Patricia Briggs. 3.10.12. *****
28. Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She's Dead by Christina Miller. 3.14.12. ****
29. Habibi by Craig Thompson. 3.15.12. *****
30. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. 3.24.12. ***
No nap-fighting today! All three monsters have been sound asleep for twenty minutes, and two out of three went down without a peep. I'm about to join them for a little rest; I don't run well on six hours of sleep, and I have a movie date tonight. ;)
Yes! Thank the heavens for sleep time. Hope you get some good catch up sleep so as to be fighting fit for date night :)
Well it is bedtime here, no fighting, the dogs LOVE to sleep.
I hope you had a good rest :-)
Hi Luxx- Love the New Thread and the new monsters. I also loved your photos of the boys! You do a great job!
Have a great time at the movies!
I went with my mom and a friend to see "The Hunger Games" tonight, and I thought it very well done. Like most books made into movies it certainly wasn't perfect; to do so just isn't possible, because there is always more story and development in a 300-page novel than there is in a 2.5 hour movie. I was particularly taken with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss; her portrayal is consistent with my own reading of the novel, and her performance is excellent. The one casting choice I do question is Josh Hutcherson, who is not quite the heartthrob-type I had pictured for his character, but his portrayal is loyal and I can appreciate the sense of realism he brings to the character. Though I did miss some development and found myself questioning (as usual) if the unread viewer would see the same story that I do, I found that I appreciated the choices made by the director. A movie is a different beast than a novel, and I try to treat it as such; although I have seen the film just once I feel comfortable calling it a success.
I'm waiting until April to see the film (less crowds) but I'm definitely looking forward to it. Glad you enjoyed it, Luxx!
Apparently, Crypto, the casting of an African American girl as whatsername, the friend, has lit up the Twitterverse in outrage. Amandla whatsit, it would seem, can do no right for the Right.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse to be Murrikin....
10 > That controversy is so weird to me, because when I read the book it seemed obvious to me that Rue was likely to be black. At least, that's how I pictured her in my mind. Some people are so blinded by their white privilege that they can't imagine a character is black unless the author comes right out and says so.
I picture people of all races when I read books but I have noticed that if no description is given then I use stereotypes (of a sort) to determine races. I almost always picture motorcyclists as white men, for example, and it's rare that I picture a preacher/minister as anything other than a black man. Prostitutes are white but gun-toting criminal are black, garbage men are white and janitors are black. Farmers are either of Latin descent or old white men, their race is determined in my mind by what age they are. Of course, names and location play a big role in it too. If the book is set in Pennsylvania then everyone is white, whereas obviously everyone in Georgia is black, everyone knows that.
Hmmm, y'know, there's probably some interesting psychology behind all that. If such information isn't given voluntarily by the author the reader has no choice but to draw their own conclusions. It would be curious to discover how or why people make certain conclusions, especially among those who aren't prejudice anyway. I am one of those people but I do seem to have a system in place... If I'm given limited information, I have to picture them in my head one way or another, and I suppose the only thing I have to draw on is stereotypes.
>11 I pictured Rue as black too so don't understand the controversy.
I was shocked when I read all of that just last night. The article I read seemed to suggest that it wasn't just the casting of Rue that caused some static, but "other prominent characters" (since they mention Lenny Kravitz I'm assuming that the casting of Cinna is also disputed?). I, too, believed she was black. These bigots must be poor readers.
I thought the actress played the role perfectly, and her/her publicist's responses have been eloquent and measured.
13 - In the absence of physical descriptions I tend to make assumptions based on names.
I'm bum-puzzled as to why there'd be an issue with casting Rue as black. I also saw her that way, and I thought there was a line about her skin being dark? Maybe I'm remembering wrong...
I think you are exactly right, Faith. There is some mention that she and the other tribute from her District are dark-skinned. But I guess if you don't come right out and say "African-American", some people think it must not be. It's as if their brains are set on "White European" as the default character set, and if an author wants them to imagine anyone else, they will spell it out explicitly.
It's all rather shocking and ugly, if you ask me.
I can't wait for the movie to come out on bluray - this is certainly one I'll want to keep.
There are some fun movies coming out this spring and summer. The two (very different) Snow White movies look like they could be interesting, and I'm excited for the Se7en-esque Poe film that is coming out. I believe there is also another Shakespeare flick in the works.
We have to wait for December for The Great Gatsby, but I'm feeling optimistic about DiCaprio's casting as Gatsby.
>18 I am so excited for Gatsby. Between Baz Luhrman and the pretty stellar cast, I have high hopes.
*must reread Gatsby before seeing film*
>13 Stephen, your assumptions crack me up! And your honesty is refreshing. We all make judgements - we are human afterall. I'm not sure how I imagine characters...I just know when I see a film if they got it right or wrong. And it is either very right or very wrong!
Oh, how cowardly.
Plagiarism is showing its ugly face again - this time blatant and unrepentant. An entire essay was copied from a site with only a sentence of the conclusion changed.
I sent the paperwork to the student in question (it's an online course), and never received a response. Instead, I received notice this morning that the student withdrew from the course (presumably to avoid the charges - which is not allowed).
I sent my boss and email about it this morning, and then contacted the student to say, "Sorry, no dice - you still have to respond."
Title: Return of the Rose
Author: Theresa Ragan
Pages: 310 pages
Acquisition: Free Download, recommended by RichardDerus
Date Completed: March 31, 2012
Ragan had me at "kirtle."
Time travel is one literary device which I have always disliked; no matter the amount of research that an author may dedicate to the composition of such a novel, the characters created are nearly always so grossly ignorant that their bumbling ways prove to be a greater frustration than source of entertainment. Return of the Rose, a story that relies on the idea of traveling through time (albeit through magic as opposed to pseudo-science) is not perfect, and does indeed dip into the ludicrous at particular moments (bikinis?!).
Despite her introduction of far-too-liberal fourteenth-century characters, Ragan's own research does come through; as opposed to limiting herself to such vague and useless descriptions as "old fashioned," she does in fact make an attempt to reconstruct a fourteenth-century environment, and her "bumbling" protagonist does make attempts to adapt, even if some of her actions seem careless.
The odds were stacked against this book, and still I found it to be very good fun. And if I, one who does not seek out the genre, enjoyed this book, then I am sure others will love it.
Pages: 100 pages
Medium: Anthology - Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, & Writing
Acquisition: Work Text
Date Completed: March 31, 2012
Hi Luxx, I've been lurking for too long now. So sorry to hear that you have more plagiarism to deal with. As one who used to enjoy writing research papers, I just don't get it.
I hope brave Max is getting along okay. None of my three kids broke any bones growing up, but grandkids have suffered a broken leg (trampoline in gymnastics class) and a broken arm (jumping from sofa to chair - she missed!). Same family, two different girls.
I was also remiss about commenting on your last thread about The Night Circus review. I too was underwhelmed and gave it 3 stars. I think I have an aversion to overhyped books. I wasn't a big fan of Major Pettigrew either. I have nothing to say about The Hunger Games movie because I haven't read the books. Jennifer Lawrence was amazing in Winter's Bone.
All caught up now. Enjoy your week end.
Megan: I think there is a big difference from drawing conclusions such as I have mentioned and actual judgement. While my first instinct is to picture a motorcyclist as white it's not like I would balk at a black motorcyclist. I don't discriminate in anyway and I'm very NOT cool with stereotypes, but if the information is limited I have to draw on something, and there are definitely natural tendencies there.
Have you ever noticed that men tend to call animals/insect male? A colorful bug walks across the table and a man says "Look at that little guy!" Unless we know for sure what it is, I think we all have natural tendencies to draw such conclusions, and I wouldn't think of that as sexist.
Sexists are the ones that refer to swans, flamingos and birds in general as females and pigs and rhinoceroses as male, which carries a lot of insinuation.
Oh, and The Return of the Rose sounds quite interesting. :)
HA! I **finally** recommend a book to Crypto that doesn't make her gag and retch and fall into hate-coma! *patpat* on my own back
Oh Donna, so good to hear from you! I'm afraid I, too, have been lurking on a good number of threads without comment lately.
Max is doing well, and we go back to the doctor's on Thursday. I so hope we can get his cast off - the poor boy wants nothing more than to take a shower.
25/6 - It was a great mood-lifter this weekend!
HI Luxx! Glad to hear you enjoyed The Hunger Games movie! I am hoping to be able to see it next weekend
I hope you like it!
My mom is getting married this October (10-11-12), and I am her matron of honor (and only attendant). Yesterday we went dress shopping; she tried on one dress and decided that it was "it" and was set to go! My dress was a little more difficult, but we eventually decided on this in blush; I will wear a cream sash to match her dress, and she is wearing a blush sash to match mine.
Mom's dress is so cool; it's convertible. For the ceremony (on the beach) there is a full-length organza skirt that will be light and airy and beautiful, and for the reception (which will be a crab feast) she can take off the long skirt and reveal the knee-length dress underneath, with a balloon hem (like my dress).
My favorite part? The shoes. Oh man. Both in blush, to match the accent color.
And it only just dawned on me that those shoes will never make it across a beach.
This photo is terribly unflattering, mostly because I'm wearing a very wrinkled dress in a size that's too big (and it's not even the right dress), but my mom looks adorable and it's the color we are going with:
She's so darn happy.
Looking good, both of you!
Funny, the date, here it would be November 10th to make 10-11-12 ;-)
I love matching numbers, we married on November 13th, 1984
13 = unlucky number, so I love that number
11 = crazy number, a little crazy we have always been
1984 = Orwell
Sadly it wasn't Friday the 13th that year LOL
I so so badly wanted a Friday the 13th baby.
The first two were both due on the 13th; B was born on the 19th, and Max was born on the 9th.
Doc was actually scheduled for a c-section on the 13th, but I had a terrible fight with my selfish father that threw me into labor early, so he was born on the 12th. I doubt I'll ever forgive my father for that, although he is completely clueless.
I didn't tell him I had the baby until he called to apologize.
Her fiance proposed on November 11 at 11:11pm. ;)
My students have a difficult time remembering that they are supposed to use the day-month-year format officially, because "everyone" uses the informal month-day-year format everywhere else.
>23 Huh, and I love time travel. Result of repeated viewings of Back to the Future when I was 8 years old. I'll definitely be poking around with that one. And yay for Othello! Are you teaching it right now, or just re-reading for pleasure?
I'm tryiing to post this message on threads that are well visited. I know you were excited for Angela and her hope to obtain an adopted little girl.
I heard from her and my heart is simply breaking.
Here is her message to me:
*smooch* to the beautiful bride
*smooch* to the gorgeous attendant
Congratulations to the groom
***hisssss***booooooooooooo***to unworthy gene-donor
I'm teaching it right now; actually, tomorrow will be our last lecture day, and then I'll be neck-deep in essays. My topics: describe how a stock character defies his or her archetypical role OR defend Iago. I really hope someone chooses the second topic.
Oh Linda, I want to cry. Thank you for sharing with everyone. I shared with Michael, and even he is lamenting the terrible turn of events.
Smooches to you for being you, Padre. My father isn't all bad, really, but he's so self-centered that he seems to live in an alternative reality. It's difficult, but at the same time I know he loves me and my boys.
Congratulations to your mum, how fab you both look! I bet there will be a great time had by all. Your dress (from the link) will be a hit, you'll have to work hard not to upstage the bride! That was a compliment not an accusation, so Ill state it just to be sure :)
It's impossible for him to be all bad, after all he was involved in raising you and your brothers! I'm mad at him for being self-centered when you were in a state that *should* require of your family that you be accorded maximum protective behavior!
And it takes two to have a fight; no one is guiltless, ever, when there's a fight. STILL not the point! Preggers = maximum protective behavior from *ev*ery*one*!
So my boo and my hiss stand, despite knowing all that. I am concerned always that my dear ones get their just deserts. Or just their desserts, as the case may be.
Preggers = maximum protective behavior from *ev*ery*one*!
I totally agree with you Richard, even if the pregnant mother doesnt need "protection", it is a society's duty to look out for the bearer of children. I hear France and Thailand are particularly good at that, not sure of any other countries.
And it takes two to have a fight
This is so very true. But after 18 months of letting his every lie slip by unchallenged (after all, he was the "victim" when my mother left, poor poor thing) I resolved to not let him get away with the worst of it. So, I am incredibly aggressive when he sets me off.
This particular fight was over my decision to have my mom come to the hospital before anyone else. My mom, who is essentially my best friend and second source of support in everything. My dad flew off the handle because this meant that my mom's fiance would get to see the baby before he did - "he gets to see my grandson?!" It was ugly.
But now it's over. *Deep breath*
And I agree too, Megan. Most pregnant women aren't quite the fragile wilting flowers of social mythos, but they do require additional support and care - most frequently of the understanding emotional kind. I feel so very grateful that my SIL feels comfortable enough to turn to me in her own times of frustration and emotional turmoil, and even more so that my ability to support her wishes has won me the only ticket into the delivery room. ;)
Baby Jakob is coming! Eventually. Soonish. Sometime in the next month, at least.
Seriously! I'm going to be the coolest Auntie ever, and the kiddo is only 9-mos younger than Doc, so they have a good chance of being close friends. :)
>36 Well, if I were in your class I might just tackle the second topic. ;) I think I probably wrote about Othello when I took my course in Shakespeare during undergrad, but for the life of me can't remember what it was about. I do remember, however, having to do the scene interpretation project with that play and our group doing our scene like West Side Story, finger snaps and all. :)
And yay for being an auntie!
Seriously! I'm going to be the coolest Auntie ever
haha, that's my hope for myself too :)
Im pretty sure my nearly 5 year old niece thinks so after or "cool aunty day" (that I named in my own honour) the other week. I took her to the bead shop to make our own necklaces and then for a hot chocolate. She suggested casually that I might like to buy her some nail polish too, I said we might save that for next time, but that I admired her pluck in asking.
Oh, I can't wait for those kinds of outings.
Micky, Othello is tricked by Iago (one of the best villains ever) to murder his wife, because Iago believes Othello slept with his wife. And O passed him over for a promotion.
>45 Oh sorry, that sentence was unclear. I remember the details of Othello. The details of my paper however... :) I do love that vid so much though.
Yes. Have you seen the Advice from a Cartoon Princess vids? Belle is my favourite. :)
I haven't, but it sounds like something I would enjoy.
Much like the spring potato cupcakes I just made for B's preschool party tomorrow.
To be honest, I haven't bitten into one yet, but I sampled the frosting and the chip toppers and ohman am I ready for dessert tonight!
Wow, they's some cupcakes! The height is impressive. I think I need to get a piping bag with nozzles, they look fantastic.
Coming in late to the dress party, but wanted to say that you both look so beautiful!
I've been lurking far too long! But pictures always get me!
Your dresses are perfect! Two very lovely and happy ladies!
But... the picture in the link and the dress you are wearing seem like 2 different styles to me??? Am I nuts?
ETA: Not nuts... missed that you already said that. geesh.
So nice that being a "cool Auntie" is in vogue. My aunts lived so far away when I was a child I didn't see too much of them. My fav aunt had 8 kids - and also had time for me when I needed encouragement. She's in her eighties - an angel still!
Luxx, those cupcakes look yummmmm. Brooks and his classmates will appreciate the extra effort. You can't go wrong with chocolate covered potato chips. Now, why haven't I thought of doing that?
You might want to consider flip flops for walking on the beach, and then changing into those stylish shoes. All three dresses are beautiful. I can picture you in the other one and can see your mother in the long overskirt. Another clever idea!
Megan, I bought a cheap set of Wilson tips and use disposable pastry bags for ease-of-use, and I'm so very glad I did - I've gotten plenty of use out of it all! And I don't decorate cakes if I can help it. The cupcakes were a little dry; I was afraid of them coming out undercooked, so I think I pushed it. They were still good, though!
Thanks Claudia and Amber! I can't wait to see what the actual dress looks like in the blush; my mom offered to let me get it in blue, but I think the blush will really look great with her dress.
Donna, apparently Mom is thinking of that, and if there isn't paving for the ceremony then she intends to have a movable platform brought in. Huzzah for high heels!
Title: Dirty Little Secrets
Author: C.J. Omololu
Pages: 224 pages
Acquisition: Recommended by Faith
Date Completed: April 5, 2012
Compulsive hoarding is a disease I both understand and fear; while I have no desire to keep all of our garbage, for example, I can sympathize with the panic and anxiety that inspires one to keep "x" because it might be needed one day, or the similar fear of forgetting that leads people to collect things like receipts. Thankfully, my own compulsive disorder drives me to streamline and organize as much as possible (I guess you could say I hoard electronically, since I scan all paperwork/children artwork/photos/etc instead of keeping it in hardcopy), but in the absence of that kind of drive people with similar anxieties just tend to ... keep. Unfortunately, it seems in many cases that one's hoarding doesn't just impact the hoarder's life, but it has a detrimental effect on those around them - most tragically their children.
I picked up Dirty Little Secrets because of my own interest in the show "Hoarders," which attempts to help hoarders recognize their anxieties and problems. Omolou's book focuses on the real victim of this kind of household - the child of a hoarder. The protagonist has fought with her mother's hoard for her entire life, and suffers great emotional and psychological problems because of it. I found the narrative to be both compelling and realistic (from my own perspective, mind), and I could feel my own anxiety and OCD rising just reading about her living conditions. And I have to admit - I found the conclusion to be a relief.
Author: Ilona Andrews and others
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Acquisition: Library book
Date Completed: April 5, 2012
I borrowed Hexed from the library as an introduction to authors I had been intending to try - Ilona Andrews and Yasmine Galenorn specifically. Like many collections of this sort, it seems that fans of these individual series will enjoy the stories more than those going in cold, like myself. The writing styles and worlds vary fairly widely, and there is something that will likely appeal to an equally wide range of fantasy readers. However, most of the content fell a bit flat for me, largely because I had no previous attachment to the protagonists to fall back on. I am not sure I will seek out any of these authors in the future.
>55 that book looks great, our library doesn't have it though. I should buy it and then donate it to the mental health (education and research centre) library who lost all their resources in the earthquake. They have just re opened with a brand new collection. Ill get back to you on that one as it may never happen!
I bought it on my Kindle for $3, which wasn't bad. Bummer the library doesn't have it, but if you get around to it I hope you enjoy it!
I hope so too! My eyes ache from all the activity chez vous, though. *smooch*
Prepped over 30 projects for my Etsy shop....what does this mean? And what are you making?
Nosy, why yes, that's my middle name :)
PS how's your foot?
Have you not heard of Etsy?
It's a site that essentially supports cottage industry; any individual can open a shop and sell items they make, or vintage items they find.
I've had two - the old shop is called "Other" and the new shop is called "Mme. Monster's Tricks and Treats." The thirty projects include everything from monster pajamas to bustles to full Tudor gowns.
I've found some super awesome jewelry on Etsy.
PS. I re-stressed the break when I started running again. Blah. Doc said I can keep at it, though, but I can only jog for five minutes (total) at a time. It's a bummer, but my step-father is loaning me a bike so I can get out and get some exercise.
I thought sewing your fingers off would be classified as cardio...don't overdo...
Shoot, sewing my fingers off is what I do to relax. ;) Now, sorting and posting all of these baby pictures so my MIL doesn't eat me? THAT'S cardio.
Your own good momma aside, possession of a mother-in-law is cardio.
I've just picked up Dirty Little Secrets from the library, can't resist this one with such an unusual storyline. I'll have to catch up on Faith's thread as well.
Sounds like you are very busy with all the sewing, cycling and 3 little ones to amuse. How is your hubby's paleo diet going, my son has been following this type of diet for the past 9 months after being a vegetarian for most of his life.
69 - You speak truth, sir. I'm kind of terrified of being "the mother-in-law" one day.
70 - Oh, I hope you enjoy it - I really did (more so than Faith, if memory serves).
Hubster is doing amazingly well. He's in the groove in terms of choices, we've found some scrumptious dinners we can all enjoy, and he lost 15 pounds in the first two weeks. All-in-all, it seems like it's the right lifestyle for him!
"Cardio" isn't exactly the word I would use to describe having a mother-in-law... *my* MIL, at least...
Oh, I'm excited that you read Dirty Little Secrets already! Love your thoughts. You know, it's interesting, since reading the book and thinking about it, I'm finding that I want to bump my 3.5 stars up to 4 stars -- it was the ending that had pushing it down by a half point, but I can't get it out of my head. Now I'm thinking that yes, the character made the right choice -- even if it was a little disturbing -- and "relief" is definitely the right word for it. :) Funny how perceptions of a book can shift as time passes.
In other news, I looooove Etsy. I need to stay far, far away most of the time, but I've found the most amazing jewelry and handmade crafts / garments on there. Anyone who hasn't visited the site yet -- do!
possession of a mother-in-law is cardio
Eeek, but true. *did I really say that?*
Bike loan= good interim solution. I have taken that route as well (as my still useful but depressingly painful feet make walking as exercise a useless endeavour). Ill have to get a shot of Little Lenny on the back in his seat, its so cute! His fat little fists holding on for dear life just grab me as being nearly the cutest thing Ive seen.
ps can you post a link to your shop on Etsy once its up? Id like to see your work. (and marvel at your ability to fit so much into your allotted 24 hours each day)
His fat little fists holding on for dear life just grab me as being nearly the cutest thing Ive seen.
Oh, I HAVE to see that.
Faith, I wear these everyday, and I had the most amazing spiral bracelet made with all of the boys' names. Such a cool site.
Now that I have your attention.
This Sunday I took First Born to see the Washington Ballet's production of "Alice (In Wonderland)." Given the above promotions for the event, it promised to be a spectacle and a wonder, and we were very enthusiastic about attending the show. I am, admittedly, more familiar with the Disney film than I am the original novel, so from an audience perspective I had few expectations in terms of storyline, and was open to interpretation.
While the costumes are just as glamorous and breathtaking as the advertisements suggest, the wonder of the performance stops there.
Initially, the staging seemed magical, but when Alice falls down the rabbit hole the ballet quickly falls into gimmick. It seems that Septime Weber really wanted to get his money's worth out of the aerial harness, and awkwardly foists Alice (and other dancers) into the air a number of times. The aerial display (while not spectacular) is not itself the problem, but rather the rather awkward amount of time it takes to get each dancer harnessed - on staged - and then unhooked once the piece is over. There is an attempt to mask this by using chorus members in identical costumes to do the actual rigging, but the whole thing came off as rather trite.
In light of the unprofessional effects (and really, dance is magical enough without this, I say), the rest of the ballet took on a likewise unprofessional feel. Many of the dances seemed under-rehersed, and often "forced" as they tried to replicate the sense of wonder a child would experience when seeing the film for the first time. There was little fluidity to many of the dances (specifically those with Alice herself, who was not played by the actress pictured below for my showing), and the whole production felt more like a modern art experiment than a captivating ballet.
I was absolutely gobsmacked by the production of The Great Gatsby, so I'm holding out hope that this fall's production of Dracula will hold some of the same magic of the Fitzgerald piece, and none of the gimmicks of "Alice."
Well, I checked out Etsy...managed to find a cool handbag locket and a "brain on a plate" ring that I couldn't help but post on Stephen's thread. I could lose several hours at a time on that website, so thanks (I think!)
Real shame about the ballet, those costumes, makeup and graphics look so good.
Fyi - Marcus Sedgwick blogged about a talk on vampire folklore he is giving at the OPEN GRAVES, OPEN MINDS; the Bram Stoker Centenary Symposium in London later this month, which I thought might catch your academic eye and he mentions that there's an upcoming book, Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture, edited by Dr Sam George, based on the same subject matter.
Further ammo in my fight to have you recognize that ballet and bullet are only one letter apart for a reason. Attend a ballet, crave a bullet.
Furniture moving to music.
have you seen the clips of The Royal Ballet's most resent verison of Alice? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5tpisFnrTQ&feature=related
oh and this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZnYR-9dfUQ&feature=related
Saw this on Pinterest, bet you could craft this up in an afternoon from a flea-market chair:
81- Oh, how fun! More so than the one I saw
79 - Thanks for the info!
83 - That is too cool
*waving* at Luxx
And why are we at post 85 with no monster pictures?! I am outraged, outraged, I tell you! :)
*tap tap tap on the window*
probably busy taking photos of monsters to post.....
Hi Luxx - just finished Dirty little secrets and I have to say that the resolution was the only one that I could think of as I was reading the book. Pleased to have been hit by such an unusual book bullet.
88 - I'm glad you liked it! And I certainly agree.
I never knew that becoming an aunt would be so magical.
My very first-ever nephew was born at 9:59 last night. I spent twelve hours in the hospital with my brother and his wife (and our mothers), and was given the amazing opportunity to stay with the new parents the whole time. It was simply amazing. I can't wait to go back to see them today.
Yippee! Congratulations Luxx, you will always have such a great bond with little nephew now!
And just think: YOU don't have to do 3am feedings! Almost as good as grandkids.
91 - Thanks!
92 - I hope so!
93 - Oh god, I know. As Michael would say, "It's on like Donkey Kong." Ha.
We went back tonight so Michael could meet him, and everyone is doing really well. I've never seen a baby with so much hair, and I made some hairy babies!
Title: At Home
Author: Bill Bryson
Pages: 592 pages
Acquisition: Library book
Date Completed: April 21, 2012
At Home is not the book I had hoped it would be; focused primarily on the home developed by the Victorians, the book is a brief history of inventions and biographies loosely related to the domestic life we now enjoy. While I had hoped for more of an evolution of homemaking, what Bryson has produced is very much so in line with A Brief History of Nearly Everything - and as such much more focused on who invented the television and first thought to drill for oil than how people made their beds in the fourteenth century. Bryson's style is easy to comprehend and his tone gives his books a wonderful personality.
A goof, an ironic statement, or a test to see who's actually reading your reviews?
....got me there, didnt read the list above the actual review! (I'm going for irony)
I took the Monsters over and introduced them today. Holy cute, Batman.
Do I hear the imaginings of more pitter pattering of tiny feet at your place then? :)
How much fun will your boys have with their cousin (s?) in the next years. Its great to have cousins, I had so few, and my kids have heaps, all around the same age too.
103 - Apparently our family breeds in stages. My mom is the oldest and had three of us, followed by her brother's children five years later (my oldest cousin is a decade younger than I am), followed by her sister's boys, which are just 2-3 years older than my own. My youngest cousin is just a year or two older than my oldest child, so needless to say I don't really have friendships with my cousins (they're lovely children, but they're largely children).
Even though my brothers and I seem to be following the same pattern I am relieved that the kids won't be that far apart - Victor and Jakob are separated by just nine months, and he already feels like one of the boys.
Most intriguingly, my mom and her two sisters each had 2 children each and the gender percentage is a perfect 50-50. One aunt had 2 boys, one had 2 girls, and my mother had a girl and a boy, then one of my uncles had 1 boy and the other didn't have any children. We were all timed fairly perfectly. The 3 oldest of us were all born about the same time too, so we were close to the same age, but the 2nd round was a bit more spread out. Both my aunts were a bit more...apprehensive to have a 2nd kid. I guess my mom wasn't turned off by kids after me. *Angel eyes* :P
Ha! If we hadn't already decided we needed two we would have been apprehensive after B, who was very ... high maintenance (but is incredibly sweet now). We have Doc because Max was a dream baby.
Matt wants two and Mandi wants three, and they both want them close in age, so the cousins won't be too much younger. Matt is 15-mos younger than me, so we were basically twins growing up. Of course Stephen, who is five years younger, is nowhere near spawning. I hope.
Title: Waiting for Godot
Author: Samuel Beckett
Pages: 100 pages
Acquisition: Work Text
Date Completed: April 26, 2012
Interesting lecture on Beckett.
Title: Simon Said
Author: Sarah R. Shaber
Pages: 220 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Acquisition: Borrowed from Amazon Prime
Date Completed: April 27, 2012
Simon Shaw is the perfect protagonist for a cozy mystery; unlike other cozies, which dump corpses behind bakeries or in bookstores, Shaber deposits a 70-year-old corpse in the middle of an archeological dig at a college, where a depressed and socially awkward professor of history is happy to take up the research to put a name to the skull, and a name to the bullet inside of that skull. As an amateur detective, Shaw utilizes his skill set as an academic and researcher, and pieces together the mystery in a way that is purposeful and conceivable. While one of the two mysteries of the text isn't quite so meticulous, Shaw's own efforts are strong.
So why just three stars? Shaw himself is repugnant, albeit far less so than some of his colleagues. Emotionally crippled by the departure of his wife, Shaw is initially presented as a wounded animal, and lacks sympathy (when Shaw himself analyzes his failed marriage he can understand how his actions and decisions lead to the separation, and so can I). However, such emotional frailty could be overlooked if Shaw himself wasn't such blatant a sexist. Although a colleague in the history department is labeled a sexist, it is Shaw himself who proves far more demeaning and critical: the colleague dismisses women as a waste of time, while Shaw criticizes the "love interest's" choice of clothing, eating habits, and choice of beverages in a way that exerts his superiority over an independent and successful woman. To Shaw, she lacks autonomy and instead functions as an inevitable addition to his life - after all, once she works through her far-more-complicated emotions he will be there to indulge in the relationship of his choosing.
As much as I enjoy Shaw as an amateur detective, his personal life is enough to keep me from pursuing the series.
Ian Mclellan (who played The White Wizard in Lord of the Rings) performed Waiting for Godot here in NZ last year, it was heavily promoted and well attended. I dont know the work myself....
Good as blue, as in good as gold? hehe
As in "as good as new," I think. I have no clue where he pulls some of this from.
I love Godot; it's one of my very favorite plays. It's a very difficult play to teach in freshman English, but I do it anyway, and just smile through the complaints (and whoa, were there some comments today!).
The McKellen production looks like it was wonderful!
Oh you found it!
He is such a good looking man. As in he looks like he's a good man. haha. I hear he was barred admission from a bar in South Africa called Gandalfs. Excellent story, I dont think he was too miffed.
Went to see The Raven yesterday, the Poe murder movie. Great fun. I like John Cusack as Poe though I imagined Poe even more unhinged
I'm glad to hear you liked it! I hope to see it in theatres with some friends. I'm rather torn about Cusack as Poe; from the previews I think he looks the part, but Cusack is too ... robust for the part, if that makes any sense. His voice is also far too distinctive, I think, but then again I have no idea what Poe sounded like. Still, it looks like a treat.
Oh yes, I kept meaning to ask you about The Raven, Luxx. As soon as I saw the ad for it I thought about you. :)
It's been on my radar for what feels like months now! I am a member of the Poe Society of Baltimore, so I *could* have gone to an early showing, but opted to skip Baltimore on a Wednesday night and keep my date with a yoga mat. The hard part about getting to see it will be organizing with the two friends who want to go with me...
Oh, I am buried under a pile of academia. I just finished one set of research papers but I have another set to go, I've finished most of the grading for my remaining distance students, I've compiled new lecture notes for extended Godot classes, I've submitted three paper abstracts and an assignment proposal for a new publication - not to mention two job applications - and I still have a proposal to write and a presentation to prepare. We have three lecture days left and two final exams before I'm released to a summer of sewing, house repairs, and moving.
Reading ... not so much.
Oh my goodness! That sounds a very very full plate for you. And you have how many pre-schoolers to care for as well??!?!? Sheesh. Good luck with all that. I can see how reading for pleasure is near the bottom of the list for now anyway.
So the house move is definite then?
119 - Well, I haven't heard otherwise, so I'm assuming so! I still need to see if our prospective tenant (a close friend) is a go, or if I need to start advertising and interviewing management companies. We've started work on some of the repairs, but I just want things done *now*.
I had to cancel class today, and I feel so awful about it. I never miss more than a day in a semester, if that, but I really hate cancelling - it feels so irresponsible, even when it's necessary. But Michael is going in for another spine procedure and was determined to drive himself - with me showing up at the end to give himself a cover to drive home - so I thought it was for the best. I'll see if I can't finish research papers to make it up to my students (and my conscious).
One thing that I demonstrably do *not* miss about teaching is grading research papers. Ick! So I sympathize but do not envy you.
Adorable wee new nephew you've got there.
All the way around, an overstuffed day. *smooch* and a distance shoulder rub.
It was quite a day - I actually cancelled class last-minute to take Michael to a doc (long-standing bulging disc problems). I managed to grade three research papers while I waited for him, got another chunk done at home, and now I have just two more to go before I'm done with research papers for the year! (I'm not teaching this class in the fall, so I don't know when I'll next teach a research paper.)
I think I'll call it quits tonight and back away from my laptop for a bit.
Marking overload is about to occur.
How about some horizontal shut-eye?
hmmm, no time for LT.
Oh well, Ill check again later :)
It popped up on Facebook, and I thought it was fun.
Title: Broadmoor Revealed
Author: Mark Stevens
Pages: 107 pages
Acquisition: Free Amazon Download
Date Completed: May 3, 2012
As one could deduce from the page count, Mark Stevens' Broadmoor Revealed: Victorian Crime and the Lunatic Asylum is only a brief glimpse into one of England's Victorian-era asylums. Idyllic in setting and home to as many sane criminals as deranged artists, Broadmoor is an interesting subject for study, but by no means unique. Although a number of crimes are discussed in relation to the patients, what I found most interesting were the details of the escapes attempts, and how the Board responded - or failed to, as was frequently the case. Although I would have preferred greater depth, Broadmoor Revealed is a nice snack for those interested in Victorian crime or mental institutions.
Title: Death Comes to Pemberley
Author: P. D. James
Acquisition: Library Ebook
Date Completed: May 4, 2012
Death Comes to Pemberley is trite and wooden. The plot itself is lost in the pedantic text, which lectures as opposed to narrates. James uses dialog to introduce every detail, which leads to cumbersome and often ridiculous conversations, in which Character A reminds Character B that they met the good Doctor five years ago at that dinner party, and that the Doctor now suffers from gout and enjoys a comfortable estate, but went on that dreadful trip last year and is now nursing a sore hip and oh yes is not married and has no intention of seeking matrimony; he'll be here within the hour. Oh yes, and candlelight merely enhances the darkness and gloom, and Darcy wonders, generally speaking.
Anyone with any knowledge - even passing - of Austen and/or the long nineteenth century will be better off avoid this cumbersome narrative.
Happily shared, Padre.
Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Author: Mark Haddon
Acquisition: Library Ebook
Date Completed: May 5, 2012
In Mark Haddon's fascinating and anxiety-inducing book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, fifteen-year-old Christopher begins writing a book on the suggestion of his teacher. Christopher doesn't like fiction because he believes it's just a series of lies, but because he enjoys the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes he decides that it will be acceptable to write a mystery of his own, which he begins after finding a neighbor's murdered dog, and briefly coming under suspicion himself. What makes this novel intriguing, of course, is not the death of the dog Wellington, but Christopher himself, who is autistic. My knowledge of the condition is only passing, but from my unlearned perspective Haddon's use of Siobhain, Christopher's teacher, as a catalyst for his motivation helps create a cohesive and credible story. Less intrigued by the story itself, I was fascinated by the explanation of comfort and Christopher's particular behavior, and I cheered his ability to accomplish tasks that his condition renders near-Herculean. The Curious Incident shares an interesting perspective from a sympathetic narrator, and is a great way to pass an afternoon.
Once again, I am geeking out over something very silly. I made the switch to a standing desk.
I've never really liked my desk for a number of reasons, and I've long been intrigued by treadmill and cycle desks. Yesterday I started looking around for standing desk options, which are hideous and cost more than I want to spend, but I also came across several blogs and news articles written by people who have made the switch. And, it seems, a number of people have made the switch at work simply by raising their desks with stacks of printer paper, phone books, etc. And the lightbulb went on.
Michael and I each have a piece of furniture that we are emotionally attached to, and will put to unique uses to justify keeping it around. For Michael, it is the hand-me-down solid wood computer cart he inherited from a friend (said friend was getting married and the new wife said, "Hell no" to the cart). When Mike had to move his office space to the general living area I stuck his goods in an armoir so we can close it up while he's at work. At that point the cart went into the utility closet and became a handy shelf for cleaners, baby supplies, and gardening goods. When he had the new HVAC put in last month the cart no longer fit, so "best wife ever" installed the terrible cart as a nightstand (and promptly filled it with sewing supplies, since Mike only really needs the top). Sure it's ugly, but so is the second-hand bed that we just won't replace, so I'm not inclined to care right now.
My favorite useless piece of furniture? Well, I kind of have two - the old steamer trunk I use as a "coffee table" and in which I now store all of my garb, and the
Why yes, I want it.
The sewing machine has been a side table, a snake stand, a sewing table, quilt storage ... and is now a standing desk, thanks to the bed risers we are no longer using for B's bed.
And it's still quilt storage, too. But I am really digging it! I feel more engaged in everything around me, and I'm not so glued to my desk (which I've kept for B's room in the new house). The monitor is a bit high for me, but I went with holes I had already put in the wall instead of "perfect."
And now I really want a traditional lectern as a laptop stand for when I'm working from home.
What a superubercool solution to multiple issues, AND FREE!!
::chestswell:: That's my Crypto!
Wow, what a concept. i haven't really heard of that....makes sense in a busy household!
A lot of people are doing it for health reasons, on the theory that standing through the work day burns more calories, promotes better posture, etc. It's a comfort and convenience thing for me; I fidget and move and adjust constantly anyway, which is easier and more comfortable if I'm standing (I find I stand most comfortably in "tree pose," ha!). Being on my feet also makes it easier to do a number of things at once, and I pretty much have to multitask anyway.
How to receive a low exam score: avoid answering any of the four essay choices, and instead describe the text as "silly" and argue for its banning.
That's a great idea for your workstation! When I was working in the dispatch centre we had desks that we could raise to standing position or lower to sitting, depending on our needs. It was great to be able to stand and stretch while still having access to the computers
That's great! I'm still liking my setup a lot, although it's awkward when I want to use my laptop and my big monitor.
Sweetienubbins had a major meltdown all over my kitchen this afternoon. His Catholic-school English prof asked for an essay on Flowers for Algernon from a CATHOLIC perspective of his medical procedure.
Not an ethical perspective, a religious one. Srsly. "Would Charlie's experimental enhancement meet a Catholic care provider's criteria for an acceptable risk/benefit ratio?"
He wasn't able to contain his outrage. We discussed it at length, and I advised him to use ethical standards to create his response and deal with the religious aspect separately. He *was* going to do what your student did and simply ignore the issue. I assured him that way a D- at best lay.
The issue of religion in informed consent was the idea I gave him, and while the guy's an okay writer for a 20yr old, I'd be amazed if he gets better than a C on this because he so clearly detested the question.
140 - Waiting for Godot
Which has, of course, been banned before.
141 - I assured him that way a D- at best lay. Too true. It's a shame that the question itself may lead to a lower grade. I give all of my students options for all assignments - the exam had four essays to choose from - and hope that one will strike a chord. I avoid discussing personal faith (although we of course identify and discuss religious allusions when appropriate) because, quite frankly, I'm teaching English and not religion. My classroom is not a soapbox for me to express my personal views.
Interestingly, this particular student was arguing using a quote he identified as blasphemous, and also argued that "the bible makes everyone happy." The essay suggested that he did not read the text or pay attention in class. Another student used the same quote, but in answer to one of the essay questions actually asked, and argued that it suggests a positive Christian message. The latter received 100% for a very well-constructed argument.
I received two heart-warming emails from students after Wednesday's exams, both expressing satisfaction with the course in general, and for some of my techniques in particular. They reaffirmed my love for what I do. I'm going to miss the classroom, but I hope I can continue to evolve as a distance instructor to allow for similar results.
*Exactly* how it ought to be. Your return to the classroom after finishing raising the seventh of your nine children (don't forget those curses!) will be a triumph.
Ha! Still aiming to thwart medical science, Padre?
"I wrote that paper two weeks ago!"
Funny, the document properties say otherwise. In fact, they say that you wrote the essay beginning at 10:57 yesterday, and spent 109 minutes editing your work.
Title: Beauty: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Outtake
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Date Completed: May 9, 2012
This short story, which is essentially a teaser for the upcoming Kiss the Dead, embodies what Vintage Blakers detest and Progressive Blakers want: smutty vampire smut. This erotic short contains what early Anita Blake novels are missing - sex, comfort, and contentment. One Amazon reviewer labelled it as a "novella" because calling it a "story" offended her sensibilities because of a purported lack of plot (although why calling it a novella of 33 pages makes that better, I'm not sure), and another bemoaned charging for what other authors would likely release for free on personal blogs. These responses are now typical for Hamilton's work, and I believe readers will need to consider their own motivations and desires before pursuing any Anita Blake novels. I, for one, enjoy the sexually-satisfied Anita far more than the conflicted and haunted Anita, and purchased Beauty because I was in the mood for a bit of erotica - and that is exactly what Hamilton delivers in this short, nothing more, nothing less.
Novella/novelette/short story...no one can articulate a clear category definition that makes sense to me differentiating these.
My personal feeling is that it can't be called a novella until it's 100 pages, but I have nothing to base that on other than opinion. Sixteen-year-old me probably would have argued that anything over ten pages wasn't really a "short" story any longer, but my perspective changed with post-secondary education. ;)
33 pages? Short Story. Which isnt an insult.
I have only had one brush with erotic fiction and it was so unreal to me that I couldnt go back I dont think. I guess Im just not a "sex 3 times a day every day" person!
>148 I don't think too many people are, in the real world, and it's not just for lack of opportunity. The *idea* is exhausting.
Just 3 times a day? That's it? Sheesh! "Sex 8 times a day" was the only positive thing I could think of when considering coming out of my cave to find a partner. Well, I'm glad I have more reason to remain in hiding now, thanks. :P
it was so unreal to me that I couldnt go back
I've watched about five minutes of porn in my entire life, and that was exactly my problem. It was just too ... mechanical ... to be interesting.
And with three kids up at the crack of dawn? Three times a week sound about right.
ETA: I am a big fan of erotica, though.
Ha! My husband has spent the last month on the couch. Not because of me, mind you, but because he has a bulging disc in his neck and can't sleep in bed. I think he's slept in bed for a month since this started in November...
Title: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Author: Alan Bradley
Acquisition: Library Loan
Date Completed: May 13, 2012
Flavia de Luce is the third and youngest daughter of an old English family. Having lost her mother at a young age, it appears that Flavia has largely been left to raise herself, which she has done through extensive reading and an obsession with Chemistry. Indeed, it is this interest that most defines Flavia, as she responds to emotional stress and strain by imagining what poisons she can cook up in her lab as revenge. Confident and intelligent with a strong dislike for authority, Flavia is just the sort of girl I would have adored at eleven, and just the sort of over-confident character that I find tedious as an adult.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie seems to be an excuse for Bradley to write about pet subjects - chemistry, for example, and stamps - and the lectures on these subjects frequently lead the narrator away from the narrative. For one who is interested in these subjects these asides would be an excellent diversion, and would not likely detract from the novel; however, the discussions related to philately were so dull that I frequently found my mind wandering, and had to force myself back to the narrative.
I, for one, do not find that my own reading lives up to the hype.
Oh dear, very much not a success with you, then...not only not unaware you were reading, but unable to focus for lack of interest at times. Bad signs.
Next book, perfection!
It's the least you deserve for mother's day.
Thanks, sir. Right now "next book" is actually writing an article on using technology to teach research paper writing, and a presentation on evolved maternity in gothic literature. Both are due this week.
Oh! But I'm rereading Jekyll and Hyde for the presentation! That counts.
Oh yes, but I did before so it's not really a surprise.
*pant pant pant*
I've finished all but the conclusion of an article that is due for application this week. When I bookmarked the call last week I failed to realize that the request was for full essays as opposed to abstracts, so I did not begin until very late. I'm sticking with it, though, because the call directly addresses a subject on which I've been intending to write anyway. If it's rejected I suppose I can always continue working and editing it, and submitting it elsewhere.
Now it's time to back away to give my brain time to reset for the conclusion and revision, so it's off to bed with Dr. Jekyll.
Title: Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Medium: Paperback, Norton Critical
Acquisition: Purchased for work
Date Completed: May 15, 2012
I'd write a review, but I just finished an essay analyzing the theme of alternative reproduction in this text and two others ... so I'm a bit brain-dead at the moment.
I will say that I detest contemporary representations of the Jekyll/Hyde dynamic, although I saw a fascinating image from "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde" in the Norton critical edition...
I know! Actually, there's a preview on IMDB - go check it out, if only for the gender-bending fun of it.
Okay, I know you just said that you hate modern versions, but have you seen Jekyll (a fairly recent BBC series, starring James Nesbitt and written by none other than Steven Moffatt)? It's quality.
I have not! What I was thinking of is the treatment in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and other such reimaginings. Just terrible.
162 - I KNOW
>>#161 & 162 That film is a lot better than it has any right to be, and quite daring in its cross-gender implications. Martine Beswick (Sister Hyde) is fabulous.
Ok, getting things done. Article? Check. Conference? Went down like a champ. Online class? Completely ready for tomorrow morning. Abstracts? In the works.
Plus, we have a bite for renting our house this fall - a couple getting married in July are interested in seeing it. Huzzah!
Author: Franny Billingsley
Acquisition: Library book
Date Completed: May 17, 2012
I believe it was Faith who recently read this book, but unfortunately my recent memory is failing me...
Chime tells the story of a young witch who is sacrificing her present happiness for her past sins, while keeping her own neck out of a hangman's noose. Grieving for her stepmother and caring for her (autistic?) sister, Briony leaves little time for herself, and rejects anything that "ordinary" girls may be interested in. That is, until a young man comes to live with her father, and changes her perception of her own past.
Wait, that sounds like far more of a horrible love story than this actually is. In truth, Briony is far too self-centered to even consider a romantic interest for much of the story. Filled with fairy tales and deceit, Chime is largely fascinating for the point of view, which is that of a young woman who believes she's guilty, and says as much before the crimes are even presented.
Although the plot is fairly predictable, I enjoyed the book primarily for this point of view, and the exploration of memory.
Title: Charlotte Collins
Author: Jennifer Whiteley Becton
Acquisition: Free download
Date Completed: May 19, 2012
Charlotte Collins is a Jane Austen continuation that is actually worth reading. I applaud Becton for selecting a perfect subject for her work - secondary characters from the primary source, as opposed to the protagonists of the original - and argue that this choice is what primarily leads to the success of the text. Unlike continuations that attempt to rewrite Elizabeth Bennet/Darcy, which consistently fail to develop a character that even resembles Austen's original, Becton has selected a character that is only marginally developed in the original, and as such is ripe for re-imagining. In Charlotte Collins, the reader finds Elizabeth's dear friend burying her fairly repulsive husband after a fortunate accident has lead him to his ultimate reward. Now a young widow of very small means, Charlotte finds herself continuing to navigate the neighborhood shadowed by Lady Catherine, and welcomes her sister Maria to her household to relieve their parents of the burden of a coming-out. Of course, no Austenian novel would be complete without reputations being challenged, true characters being revealed, and a near-perfect love match, and Becton satisfies on all accounts. The mark of a contemporary author is so marginal that it is barely noticed, and I thoroughly enjoyed this Charlotte-Collins-romance.
>169: Yes, it was me! I agree, it's the point of view from the main character that makes the book so fascinating... particularly when she declares on the first page that she believes she's guilty. I forgave the predictability for that point alone!
I'm so, so, so wary of any Jane Austen continuations. I'll usually try the first page in the book store/library and then it goes straight back on the shelf if I pick them up at all. But given how much you liked this one, Luxx, I'll actively track this one down to give it the one page test. ;)
171 - Totally cool.
170 - I could forgive it, too, although I thought it silly to give away the conclusion with the title.
172 - I usually hate them, if that gives you anything to judge my response by. I liked it because it wasn't Elizabeth and Darcy; it's much easier to get into the narrative with a character I don't know as well.
>173 I know my mom read one that was about Mary Bennet that she really liked, but I think Elizabeth, Darcy, Jane, and Bingley all cropped up in it (how majorly, I don't know). But while I tend to detest continuations of Jane Austen, I do love retellings. Speaking of, have you seen the Lizzie Bennet Diaries series on YouTube?
Have we had pictures of the monsters recently? The little one must be in college by now, I suspect!
Hey Luxx, just checking in, will be back to read the well received cartoon later on!
175 - I have not! I'll have to take a look at that. I do find that I enjoy re-tellings, as long as there is some plausibility (I remember reading a Pride from Darcy's pov, and it was conceivable).
176 - Just about, if by college you mean nearly walking. Holy cow, where did the time go? It's a good think my brother and his wife are just starting.
177 - Enjoy!
Title: Baby Shark
Author: Robert Fate
Acquisition: Free download, recommended by Penn Jillette on Twitter
Date Completed: May 19, 2012
Baby Shark opens with gut-wrenching violence against the unlucky patrons at a pool house. The unapologetic violence of the scene captivates, even as the reader wants to look away. Among the victims are 17-year-old Kristin, who is brutally raped and beaten, and her father, who is murdered.
Kristin doesn't remember getting out of the pool hall when she wakes in the hospital, but she learns that the owner - the only other survivor of the attack by a gang of bikers - dragged her from the building despite his own gunshot wounds, and manages to drive her to the relative safety of the hospital. She also learns that the police have no intention of investigating the murders and assault. Kristin and Henry find a new family in each other, drawn together by a need for both safety and revenge. Together they live, train, and plan.
Baby Shark is a tale of survival and what it takes for two damaged individuals not only to recover, but to find justice. Kristin (aka Baby Shark) seeks not only to avenge her father's death, but also to reclaim her dignity and establish herself as a strong, independent figure, regardless of the abuse she suffered and regardless of her gender in a very gender-biased setting. One reviewer remarks on a lack of morality in Kristin's actions, but my own reading suggests something very different: it is not necessarily a quest for Hammurabian revenge, but justice. If the police had pursued and prosecuted the bikers responsible for these violent crimes I would suggest that Kristin and Henry would not have have sought out their own form of justice; given the circumstances of their case, they sought punishment that was otherwise denied.
As I first read of the attack on the pool hall I did not expect to like this book, but the narrative quickly sped away, and before I knew it I was at the novel's end.
Sounds like a worthwhile read for you, even after a shocking beginning. The cover doesnt do it for me but the story sounds good enough *wondering about availability outside of electronica*
180 - I think it's readily available in print; at least, it is on Amazon. One of the big reasons I like the Kindle is that I'm rarely subjected to cover art. The title refers to the protagonist's work as a pool shark, so the cover isn't exactly off base...
It was fun, and it was a bit of a new style for me. I'm borrowing the second from Amazon now, but there are things to be done, so I haven't gotten more than a couple of pages into it.
In other news, I'm a much more patient mom when I find time to exercise.
I lost you for awhile there, Luxx. I hope your academia side gets a rest while you contemplate summer activities and moving, etc. No wonder you have a standing desk. With your schedule, there's absolutely no time for sitting! You have a darling new nephew that the 'monsters' can help train. Another reader in the family I hope. ;-)
That book has MOVIE tattooed like a tramp stamp across its bohiney. Sounds good.
>181 I'm a much more patient mom when I find time to exercise.
Whats good for mum is good for the whole family!
Whats good for mum is good for the whole family!
True words from an experienced mom. I've been meaning to set an alarm so I can get up and walk in the morning while Michael gets the kids ready, but today was the first day I actually did it. We all benefited, I'd say.
183 - It's a fun junk read. And yes, it's made for a movie (and composed by someone who probably has a screenplay next to his bed).
182 - I hope so, too! My brother is a mild reader and my SIL isn't interested at all, so Jakob will just have to go through Auntie boot camp. Brooksie has an amazing talent for memorizing stories: I hear him talking to himself frequently, and 75% of the time he's retelling stories to himself or his brothers. We've taken to reciting stories together, sharing lines. Max went to bed with a book tucked under his arm like a teddy last night. Oh, I'm a proud mama.
I think I have abstracts due next week, but I lost track. I've focused quite a bit on house repairs, and I'm really on top of the first of my 6-week summer courses, so it's all for good reason.
I'm lurking on threads, though!
Our first wedding anniversary and our seventh wedding anniversary (taken Saturday, but yesterday was the day). Every year that I'm not pregnant I wear my reception dress and wedding shoes. ;) This year I actually forgot my wedding ring, and didn't hear the end of it all night...
The Folger's western Taming of the Shrew, starring Kate Eastwood Norris and Cody Nickell, is a true delight. As director Aaron Posner says himself, his Deadwood-inspired rendition is not unique, but it is no less successful for it. Placing Shakespeare's comedy in a western-esque setting provides a strong context for a contemporary American audience, and bending the gender of several characters (Baptista is a controlling mother, for example) shifts the understanding of gender expectations in the work.
The characters are well-cast and excellently played (I particularly enjoyed not only the principle characters, but also Danny Scheie's Grumio and Holly Twyford's Tranio), and the setting and costumes are perfectly detailed, but the true icing on the cake is the inclusion of live music - Cliff Eberhardt as the Blind Balladeer that serenades each scene.
The production is an absolute joy, and an unequivocal success.
I want, too, to say a word about the staff of the Folger. My partner's neck injury prevents him from looking left (among other things), and when we first found our seats in the balcony it was immedietly clear he would not be able to enjoy the play, as we were seated on the left side. I spoke with the staff member at ticket sales, who in turn called a senior staff member who did not hesitate to move our seats when I explained our concern. I was 90% certain there was nothing that could be done but felt there was no harm in asking, so I was delighted with the care that we received. Our seats were moved right away, and the gentleman who moved our seats came back to be sure that we were comfortable before the play began. I was impressed because they surely weren't required to do anything, and they didn't hesitate to help us in our enjoyment of the play.
So, not only is the play wonderful, but so too are those working behind the scenes.
Photos from this review: http://www.dcmetrotheaterarts.com/2012/05/07/the-taming-of-the-shrew-at-folger-t...
Taming of the Shrew looks like good fun. Congrats on your seventh anniversary!!!
The show was excellent. I'm so glad we got a chance to see it (I'm still bitter that I missed Macbeth with magic courtesy of Mr. Teller - I will never again wait for friends to organize an outing!)
How wonderful for the theater staff to look after you so well. I just love great customer service like that. I bet the amount of people you tell about it will bring good door sales for the show! Deservedly so from what you say about it!
Great anniversary comparison! Michael has changed, he definitely has more of a "homicidal maniac" look about him now!!
I joke of course, you both look like you had a lot of fun with the photo shoot :)
190 - I posted the picture on FB with the caption "Seven years, three kids, no good pictures." I told him he looked like a creepy stalker serial killer.
I dig his beard and long hair, though. I think he looks like a hockey player (a good thing, in my book).
191 - Michael sent them an email when we got home the next day, thanking them again. They helped make it a great experience.
Just for the record, i like the beard and longer hair too :)
He has beautifully curly hair that reaches about mid-shoulder blade. I do find it funny that he now has the longest hair in our house, with B coming in second and Max and I sharing third. ;)
186: Ha! Love that. Poor Mike, he looked so pure and innocent. SOMEONE has obviously corrupted him. ;)
Don't look at me - it must have been Mozart.
Title: A Tale of 3 Witches
Author: Christiana Miller and Barbra Annino
Date Completed: May 30, 2012
This cross-over story lacks ... just about everything. It lacks character development, plot development, suspension of disbelief, and the charm of the previous Mara/Gus novel.
Gus wielding a sword? An actual sword?
Best friends at first sight?
A new mother leaving her firstborn in the care of the maybe-father who thinks the child might be evil incarnate?
The falling action is the only well-paced part of the narrative; the rising action is full of holes and the climax arrives too quickly. While this story wouldn't prevent me from picking up another Mara/Gus novel, I am fairly disappointed that I actually paid for this.
Argue with what? Your points are valid. I wasn't thinking clearly when I rated this one before....
I just remembered your favorable review, but you may have been in a better headspace for it. I find my lack of patience for unrealistic infant care will frequently color my reading of a whole narrative.
Plus ... Gus with a sword?
Amen on Gus with a sword...but I'd just finished the novel when I read the story. *grumble* I wanted this to be a novel, too, and came close to downgrading it for that reason alone. In the end, I got snickers and giggles enough to make it okay with me.
Reading it now, I'd be **furious** at the length and therefore the shallowness of narrative.
Plus Gus with a sword. ::eyeroll::
A little late to the party, but wanted to say how lovely your anniversary pictures are - excellent-looking couple, you two!
That's very sweet of you to say.
Things are generally going well around here. Well, except for the leaking water heater (on the second floor) that needed to be replaced late at night. Home repairs are moving along, and it looks like we might have tenants - my best friend is looking for a rental while she and her partner look to buy, and their German Shepherd makes it difficult to find anything. Few people know my house as well as she does, and she seems to think it's "perfect" for their present situation. I like the idea of having someone we can trust in here for the first year while we build up some savings, and she insisted that we not replace the carpet and asked only that we paint one bathroom instead of the whole house (she asked that we leave the murals in the boys' rooms, because she thinks they're cute). We're going to call it a year, but Michael and I agreed that if they find something next June or July it won't be a problem for us, because spring/summer are the best times to rent. So, this may actually work out.
It won't be confirmed until the end of the week, so I hope I'm not jinxing myself.
Cool, I was just thinking about your housing situation today...dont ask me why, I have no idea how these things pop into my head. Glad to hear its going smoothly.
Fingers crossed that it works out for you - sounds like the perfect arrangement!
Well, something has gone right: our chimney passed with flying colors today, and didn't need the sweep that would have doubled the cost. Whew! Other repairs are in the works, and I've packed the first few boxes (winter coats ... and some books).
WooHoo! As for the packing, I'm both excited and already tired for you.
209- I'm feeling pretty energized now, but the move isn't until August 1 so it's more anxiousness than true energy, I think. I'm trying to focus that tension into house repairs, but it's so hard to resist the temptation to pack and pack.
Title: Avalon High
Author: Meg Cabot
Genre: Young Adult
Acquisition: Library Book
Date Completed: June 6, 2012
Avalon High has the subtlety of a barrel of bricks dropped from seven stories, and just in case the reader doesn't pick up on the five inches of gooey sloppy allusions slathered on this narrative, the protagonist explains things explicitly at least twice. While the premise of the novel is fun in theory, Cabot's execution leaves much to be desired, as she demonstrates just how little faith she has in her reader to even understand the basic premise of her story.
I thought it would be fun to read a story that was set locally, but I found that it inspired nitpicking.
1) If a person is wealthy enough to live on the Severn, as Cabot describes, he is not sending his son to public school. He just isn't.
2) "The whole downtown area" is not dedicated to Haley; the statues on the dock are. They're wonderful, but the docks as a whole are not a memorial.
3) Will's dad is so wonderful because he's willing to pay tuition for his son to go to the Naval Academy? How generous, considering that there is no tuition.
Hi Luxx- Sorry, I've been absent for awhile! I loved your review of Baby shark. I heard raves about that one, a few years ago and I have a PB copy sitting in the stacks. Need to move it up!
Thanks for sharing all the great pictures.
Title: Kiss the Dead
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Date Completed: June 7, 2012
Fans are - and will continue to be - split on responses to the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, and I for one doubt that the severance will ever be rectified. Anita as a character is extremely different in book twenty-one than she was in book one, and she will never be the same again. I, for one, appreciate the change; I found her sense of morals and personal conflict rather stifling, and prefer her growing comfort with life, love, and sexuality. Many readers will disagree with me, as the Anita that Hamilton writes now is not the Anita they once loved.
Kiss the Dead will be no different. More of a law officer than an animator these days, Anita is involved with a fair amount of police work in this latest episode, but neither her professional life nor her personal life grabs center stage; the narratives are relatively compartmentalized, much like Anita's current life, and the stories are disjointed. I found Kiss the Dead entertaining, and it delivered on many of my expectations, but it isn't likely one I would return to again. At twenty-one books, I don't know that I would expect such from the series.
212 - Good to see you! I've been on lurking-mode lately because I have so much going on, so posts from me have been few and far between. Baby Shark, save the title, is really a fun read, and I'm enjoying the second one in the series as well. I hope you like it!
>211 great review Luxx, enjoyed reading it more than I would the book probably :)
215 - I kept hoping it would get better. I kept hoping there would be an unexpected twist. I kept hoping...
216 - It wasn't my cuppa, but Cabot has some strong fans around here!
House repairs are continuing - I need my own toolbox - and we have tenants! I am really geared up for this move.
Sorry to hear that Meg Cabot didn't work for you. But I'd suggest trying something else by her before you give up on her completely. :)
Title: Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues
Author: Robert Fate
Acquisition: Amazon Loan
Date Completed: June 9, 2012
The second in the "Baby Shark" series, Baby Shark's Beaumont Blues leaves the personal vendetta behind, and instead focuses on more traditional territory: PI work, and all the grit and violence Fate can stuff in there. Less emotionally taxing - and more predictable - Beaumont Blues follows the protagonist through her professional development, and allows Kristin and Otis to shine as the true characters they are. There's nothing earth-shattering here, but Beaumont Blues is a solid read and a great sequel.
>220 Yeah, it is quite different. Grandmere is crazy and makes for a lot of funny. :)
>221 Loved the review, dearest Crypto! Had my dream of you in Connecticut again. *shrug*
Me in Connecticut? I think I'm missing something.
Lately I've been toying with the idea of pursuing a second MA, ultimately to help my future PhD application, but also to aid my quest for a full time teaching position. However, I've decided that pursuing publishing and speaking at conferences will help just as much, and it's a hell of a lot less expensive. Plus, I'll get to focus more on what I love best.
Last October I spoke at a conference for the first time, and I've since spoken at two more, and I've been accepted for a fourth in October. I've submitted three articles for publication since the end of the semester, and I have another abstract in for a conference in March. I love going and geeking out with people who have similar interests/career goals. My social circle now is largely comprised of friends from high school or computer professionals, so it's a bit of a change.
Great idea re: cheaper and more fun route to your final destination. Sounds like a superb way to go.
I love going and geeking out with people who have similar interests/career goals.
Me too, that is why I love LT so much :)
Me too. And LT doesn't require flying, which makes it even more awesome.
Publishing will get you a LOT further up the applicant ladder for PhD-ness than will a second MA! Being out there, making contributions to the field, getting a public face, these are all superultramega important factors in today's academy.
Not at all joking when I suggest: Why not vlog some stuff? A subject approach: Why Anita Blake is a Feminist. Poe's Daughters: The Urban Fantasy Revolution. Social Anxiety and the Rise of the Mystery Novel: Why Women Love Crime. (I think that one's backwards.)
Three segs of ten minutes each per topic. Put it up on YouTube, and link to it on your own website, so you don't have to fuss with hosting. Betcha lots of LTers will watch!
Being out there, making contributions to the field, getting a public face, these are all superultramega important factors in today's academy.
That's my thought, too. Plus, networking can't hurt! At the NYC conference I met a professor hosting a panel at the NeMLA and she recommended I apply ... and then she sent me an email a couple of weeks later letting me know the call was up and invited me to apply again. This was all because she enjoyed the paper I delivered, so I thought it was promising.
I actually really like your idea about vlogging! I'm becoming pretty invested in alternative publishing (online journals versus print journals, alternative paper development, etc), so it would be interesting to try something like that.
I bet the geek-partner can help me do cool things if I can't figure out what I need on my own.
Oh, moving hiccup: the current tenants asked for an extension to August 10, and my friend's lease ends on July 31. Bah! My current plan is to rent a pod-storage-thingie, pack up the house the weekend before the 1st, and then stay with my Gram for a week and a half until we can get into the townhouse. It's not ideal, but it could work - especially because Angel said I can leave my animals at the condo for that long.
We will work this out!
A slight caveat on the vlog issue: Perhaps it's different in English, but in Classics, if you publish anything in any format, then you can't get anyone else to take it later, so if you put a paper up on youtube, no journal would consider publishing it (or any revised version of it) later, and youtube videos will not count toward tenure or promotion (again, in Classics - maybe English academics are more forward-thinking!). Agreed about giving papers, though, and networking in that way - it can be very helpful. Plus, racking up the MAs makes one look flighty on a CV, not well-rounded as one would hope. Seriously, I know it sounds dumb, but I've been on search committees that have passed up on people who seemed to me to be really well-informed and qualified, but the others on the committee said, "Nope, he can't figure out what he wants to focus on". Good luck!
Amber's point is well-taken. Doing a vlog of papers already delivered, sort of re-purposed for a non-academic audience, would still serve the purpose I'm most concerned about: Getting your pretty face and scary brain out there in public before a wide audience. You *love* teaching. Do it in video format, emphasize the fun, and develop a following. Might not count as an academic credit to a search committee, but it couldn't hurt with student relations and with overall awareness of your course offerings, whether you're focusing online or f2f.
I'll just bet geekdaddy would enjoy this as much as you do!
Amber, there's a big push now to accept papers that are independently published on alternative formats, but your point is still very valid - even though it's pushed doesn't mean it's yet accepted. The MLA specifically is recommending that colleges reconsider their publishing requirements to include virtual work. I do know that journals would not accept the same work later, so I wouldn't use something that I intend to submit.
I hadn't thought that a second MA would make me look flighty, so thanks for the input!
Padre, if nothing else I think it could be an interesting teaching tool. Students rely heavily on virtual presence when selecting distance instructors (professor rating sites, etc), so you're spot-on on the importance of increasing awareness. The more I think about it, the more I lean towards filming lectures instead, since I won't be returning to a classroom for a few years.
Hmmm...it makes sense. However it looks, I see the future as containing more and more of the virtual outreach, so get in ahead of the herd!
What a great idea- submitting to YouTube your cogent thoughts on thrilling topics. Nothing like adding a link to your email signature with that kind of punch. It would impress the students for sure.....
I am only 36 (or 37? I cant remember right now- I'm too tired) and I cant believe it to be true, but it is. When I went through university, we barely even used computers. There was computer modelling for geography, and a computer lab people to use to type up essays. But in my Arts Degree, it was pretty much all written lecture notes, and over head projectors. My god, how things have changed.
When I was an undergrad systems like Blackboard (a distance learning platform) were very new, and largely underutilized, although I think all of our classrooms were "smart classrooms." I remembered being thoroughly annoyed that the campus was all Macs.
Whether I teach online or traditional classes I end up using the computer for nearly all lectures; I found it helpful to use powerpoints (but not to read them! Good god, that is annoying) and then publish the powerpoints online for people who "didn't hear." There are fewer excuses when all notes and assignments are published online, and work is submitted digitally as well. It's nice to not hear "My printer ran out of ink..."
Today will be a busy one. First up: baking three dozen cinnamon roll cupcakes for B's end-of-the-year picnic tomorrow. I also desperately need to clean my house, which I've let slip for packing. And then there's the giant box of sewing that needs to be stitched.
Tonight I'm taking the toddlers to a baseball game with my father. I really hope everyone behaves.
No, just the big two. I'll be there to chaperone, and drive. I think I'm just being cranky - I'm sure we'll have a lovely time - but I'm not super excited about it at this point.
With one exception: I can't wait for B to see a baseball game. He's been playing ball lately with Michael and my brother, and he keeps telling me he wants to join a team. This will be the first time he actually sees a baseball game, so I can't wait to see if it lives up to his expectations.
Oh man - tonight was awesome. We all had a perfectly wonderful time, and I'm actually really looking forward to hanging out again.
My dad is finally happy.
That is the best possible thing I could have read as I wind down towards sleep. I think there is no better feeling than to know the important people in one's life are happy.
Can you get me some of the drugs he's on?
I'm happy your dad is doing well, and glad you all had a great time. So has B committed to being a pro baseball player yet?
243 - Pretty much. He kept asking when it was his turn to bat. Too bad t-ball is only in the spring. Still, I think he'll like his dance lessons, which start in July.
I'm going to send him to the same dance school I went to from 5-17. The same instructors are there, and I can't wait to send my little ball of energy into their classes! Ha! He has a much better attitude than I ever did, though.
242 - I think it's the new girlfriend, and I could kiss her for it. It was a good night that I think will lead to more good nights together.
This morning I got up (at 6:30 - gasp!) and walked two miles for the third time this week, frosted the 36 cupcakes I made yesterday, and carted three babies to a park for B's end-of-preschool picnic. It was pure chaos.
Then I came home, called on my SIL for backup ... and had my nose pierced. Cupcakes -> preschool party -> body piercing.
I wear many hats, and apparently one has a lot of jewelry.
It isn't the sort of day one assumes Professor Luxx, Mother and LARPer, will have, but it sounds interesting!
LARPer? Where did you pull that one?
The only games I play involve, well, I don't play games. Unless you're counting faire, which involves dressing up and drinking wine while people watching. :-D
The monsters can be real charmers when they want to be.
"B needs a haircut!" Michael says.
Um, no. Nope. Not happening.
"But he can't see!"
The four-year-old has perfected that oh-so-cool hair flip without even knowing it's cool. He'll be fine. Better yet, he'll work it out and have amazing hair.
Heh! Cuteness overload!!
I consider any renfaireyness LARPing, because it all gives me the same kind of migraine. Merely putting on the clothes of a bygone era constitutes LARPing for me.
Because I'm an ill-tempered old curmudgeon. I have a rep to maintain. Must assiduously burnish my beady-eyed mean old man lip-purse.
To go way back to the discussion on academia and publishing, I know in Library and Information Science (LIS) circles there's a big push for publishing in open access journals. With a creative commons license, which those journals use, you still retain the rights to your own article which would make doing the vlogging thing a lot easier. You can check out a list of open access journals here.
248 - Very cool! Peer-reviewed journals in pedagogy and literature are moving towards similar publishing standards. I know of at least three that currently use those kinds of guidelines.
247 - You go be a curmudgeon and I'll go drink wine in a farthingale.
Oh boy, your littlest monster is looking squish-a-licious. Look at those cheeks! B is growing up...losing his baby cheeks. Ca-UTE!
No comment :)
Cinnamon muffins look great, and TWO kinds of icing? Even better.
Brooks is really growing up, but Doc is still filling the squish quota. And Max? His new thing is walking up and saying "apple cheeks?" in his perfect little voice, which is essentially a request for cheek nibbles. It's perfection.
I don't LARP, despite what Padre says. ;) Even at "historical" events I'm just me in a fancy dress.
Wine-drinking I can get all the way behind, farthingale or not!
We had a prosecco/lemon/basil granita with crushed blueberry cream for dessert tonight. SO YUM. Took me ~5min. I do this every year...make something sweet with the odds and ends in the fridge, and think "why don't I do this more often?" and promptly forget.
Padre gettin' senile....
Fancy dress, I can do.
Acting, however, has never been a possibility for me.
LARPing I had never heard of til today.
Oooh, I like dressing up in fancy dresses for dresing-up-in-fancy-dresses' sake, too! I'm already trying to figure out what I'll make for Charlie's Halloween costume this year, and I think I'll use the excuse to make myself a Mary Poppins costume...
Handsome little devils you've got there, too.
I think I'll use the excuse to make myself
I use that excuse whenever I can. ;) And thank you!
253 - I can't act at all, unless you count acting annoyed. I'm much more interested in the clothes than pretending I wear them everyday. I have a romanticized view of historical costuming, sure, but I'm fairly fond of the present, which includes access to medicine, women's rights, and flushing toilets.
252 - I don't often get a chance to enjoy a glass of wine, so it's always a treat.
I like the sounds of your sweets. Mmm.
speaking of costumes....out on my date last night, we saw a herd of scantily clad young women in costume heading for a bar. Wonder Woman had a very very short skirt on and a strapless skin tight "top"- it was close to 0 degC! I was left in awe of their foolhardiness. (and I was also left remembering a time when I was drunk enough to not feel the cold)
Oh dear me. I'll admit to wearing clothing inappropriate for the weather, but I don't know that I could be Wonder Woman at 0degC.
...the men in the group were more appropriately attired for the weather, Darth Vadar (or Dark Flavour as Wilbur calls him!), Fred Flinstone etc.
I went dessert-makin' mad today. Made a chilled cheesecake. Ginger snap crust, homemade lemon curd with fresh basil paste in it, my special cheesecake filling that's basically cream cheese icing folded into stiff whipped cream and chilled. And The Divine Miss's favorite butterscotch cake with cream cheese buttercream.
And my gout medication has made my stomach so very upset that I can't eat either one. Boo. Hiss (and Hoo).
Boo hiss! Unless the medication actually helps, in which case it's a mixed blessing.
Dark Flavour! I love it.
Today I will keep myself occupied by working on my preschool curriculum! I've decided that starting before we move isn't the best idea, but I want to have a plan in place to start at the end of August, at the very latest. Michael is getting into it, too, and has made a number of suggestions for creating a learning space in our new house.
Right now I'm on the lookout for books; My library carries a science series that was recommended, and I've asked an artist friend with preschoolers for art book recommendations. Preschool math has me a bit stumped, and I need to see if there are any great children's books on composers and such.
My primary goal for this curriculum is exposure. I'm not trying to raise prodigies here, but I want to expose my children to as much as possible to help them find their own interests and help foster an interest in learning in general. I have daily, weekly, and monthly goals, and I am so excited to get everything together.
Exposing children to a variety of everythingness so they can determine their own interests is exactly what more parents should be doing.
I think we sort of expect schools to expose our children to a variety of subjects, but it just doesn't work that way. When do you ever hear an astronomer say "I fell in love with the night sky when, in 3rd grade, we covered the topic" or an paleontologist say "My interest in dinosaur bones was sparked in 2nd grade when..." Nope, doesn't happen. It's the telescope they got for their birthday, the time they went to the museum with the dinosaur skeleton, the petting zoo with the reptiles, the time they watched that meteor shower on the hill. Those are the things that inspire children and help them decide what it is they are interested in and what they want to learn about.
Schools are great for determining the intellectual capabilities of a child (or, more accurately, for gauging their short term memory skills) but it's the things a parent exposes their child to that has a lasting effect on them. Wish more parents understood that.
gauging their short term memory skills
Our public education system seems to be one of standardized testing and memorization. Children are often forced to teach by rote, and cannot even express their own ideas on a subject without a scantron and five answer choices. There are fantastic teachers out there that really foster imagination and true learning (I still say my fourth-grade teacher is the one who inspired me in my own interests), but they are often the exception instead of the rule because teachers as a whole lack support. In fear of "political correctness" individuality is smothered, and so many programs are butchered and mutilated to fit standard exams instead of actually fostering learning. I'm quite appalled by the level of "literacy" I see in my own classes, and I can only assume that those in other subjects must feel likewise surprised and disheartened.
I have strong opinions about education, but unfortunately no answers. Private education isn't perfect either, and at $20k a year (per child) for any secular school, it's out of our reach. I think that trying a preschool program will let me know if I'm cut out for homeschooling (an option we're considering), and if it works for the Monsters. Another option is simply to create our own after-school program, full of museums and projects and hands-on learning.
My one fear for homeschooling is socialization - I don't want my children to feel isolated, but I don't necessarily feel that children "need" the peer pressure in large-classroom learning. So far the boys are amazing friendly and not shy at all, and I'd hate to cripple their outgoing personalities through a lack of opportunity.
That being said, Brooksie starts his first dance class in just a couple of weeks.
*fingers in ears*
lala laaa I
I am very sad to read ...Our public education system seems to be one of standardized testing......
Our current government is bringing in all sorts of standardised testing, that kind of thing along with performance based pay for teachers will only lead to schools that are solely focussed on whatever is being tested. At the expense of everything else....I shudder to think.
Luckily thank to a huge backlash, they have just had to abolish plans to increase class sizes. They reckoned that by increasing class sizes they could "pour more financial resources into ensuring a higher quality education was achieved by all. ooooo-kay
Homeschooling: I think most peoples biggest worry about homeschooling is the socialisation issue. You'd have a hard time avoiding other children, is my guess. The library.....the swimming pool, homeschooling groups....sports groups, music groups....family....people are hard to avoid really :)
264 - When I was in grade school "the" standardized test was the MSPAP, and it was given at grades three, five, and eight. My mom hated the testing so much she took us to Disney World the week of testing. Not kidding. The principal even called her on it and she said, "nope, not changing my plans."
Now, though, students have to pass the exams in order to graduate.
The testing they do here is just horrible - and I live in one of the best public education systems in the US. I've heard stirrings that the gov is trying to move away from it, but I doubt it. I have heard, too, that they will begin setting teacher salaries by their students' test scores, which is just horrifying.
ETA: Class sizes are 30-40 here, and there are two elementary schools in our area that have "temporary classrooms" (trailers). Thankfully this house move will put the kids in a brand-new elementary school that hasn't been over-packed, which is a point for sending the kids to school.
There are certainly opportunities to socialize the kids; we have three boys and girls clubs in the area that run local sports, we're giving dance a try, etc. Homeschooling groups wouldn't really work for us, because they seem to be faith-based. If I could find one that isn't I think it could be a great opportunity!
I was going to be a history teacher. I wanted to be. I love history, and I love telling stories, and what better way to get kids interested than to tell stories?
I student taught an American History class...in our school that was juniors/11th grade/fifth form. The Revolutionary War killed me. Battle of Lexington/Concord.
I had the class count off...1,2,1,2...and passed the groups fact sheets. Just events, no descriptions, just something happened here and here, these people were there.
1s wrote a newspaper front page for London, 2s for Philadelphia, using the same fact sheet, referring to the textbook for the details, and using as much spin as they could get the group to agree to.
They *LOVED* it and were all excited and buzzing.
I was called on the carpet, told to stick to the syllabus, and use only the textbook.
End of idea to be a teacher.
That's so sad, Padre, and is one of the many reasons why I chose post-secondary over grade school. How rotten.
This topic was continued by Luxx's Monster Mash: Thread 4.
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