Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blog Party

Miss Kellie from Accordion to Kellie is hosting a lovely blog party!
Introduce yourself! Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!
I am 21.5, and I was home schooled from Kindergarten until I graduated high school. I have been taking online college classes for about a year, and I am in my fifth semester. I am at the point when I need to choose a major, but I have no idea which I should choose (the majors I like don't exactly match jobs I want, and the careers I like don't really need a college degree). I am addicted to the Internet but still find time to read. My favorite genres are romantic classics and fantasy. I also enjoy crafts such as hand sewing, knitting, embroidery, and scrap-booking. I recently bought my first camera, a Nikon DSLR D3000, which I have not practiced with enough. I am a mix of Marianne, Lizzie, Emma, and Catherine Morland as far personality and characteristics go. I am trying to start to live completely organically; I have switched almost all my toiletries and makeup to organic brands (I want to start to make some of them myself), and I am working on switching to eating organically. I still need to develop a consistent personal style of which I am proud, but I love fashion anyway. I also love historical fashion.
What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?
A girl with definite moral and personal standards. She knows what is right in her own being and is not unduly influenced by her authority figures or friends. She is dignified and hardworking and well-bred and cultured. She always eventually sees what she has done wrong (even if this is unrealistic) and attempts to make it right.
Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.
The first two characters I wish I could be like, the third is one I admire a little, and the last is one I just enjoy as a character.
I want to be like Emily Byrd Starr of the Emily of New Moon trilogy. She is rather like Anne Shirley. I wish I was that gifted, sensitive, and elegant.
Hermione Granger is an admirable character to me (I also have her bossy and sometimes tendencies). She is faithful to her friends through everything, she adores Ron even when there seems to be no hope, and she is a diligent learner of practical and applicable information which she actually uses (unlike many very intelligent "know-it-alls").
I do think Molly Gibson is a push-over, but I admire her tender-hearted nature and unselfishness (except when it causes her to do something rather wrong even though she does not quite know it is wrong). She endures much at the hands of Cynthia and her step-mother, and she suffers alongside the Hamley family in their troubles.
I like Lizzie Bennet for seeing her prejudice when faced with the truth in such an unpleasant way and by such a (to her) repugnant person. I do not like her always; during my second or third reading of Pride and Prejudice her prejudice drove me nuts. I like that she is a heroine who does not allow selfish people to trample her under their feet.
Five of your favorite historical novels?
I will answer this question as historical fiction and not classics. I enjoy most of Rosemary Sutcliff's works (she has two or so that are morally bad-very bad, so be very careful if you look up her books) such as Eagle of the Ninth and Warrior Scarlet. I also enjoyed The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Mara: Daughter of the Nile. (It feels like I should have read more historical fiction than those, but I cannot think of anymore-actually I had to be reminded of these! I really am lacking in this genre).
Out of those five books who is your favorite main character and why?
Do I have to have a favorite? I have favorites (some mainly in comparison to other characters-for example I do not care overmuch for Marguerite) like Esca and Nat and Lord Sheftu and Percy.
Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why?
Um, I think Esca and Nat are secondary characters.
If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there?
I would travel to Europe. If I had to restrict myself to a few places, I would pick Scotland and Ireland. I would want to visit all the castles and beaches and mountains and historical sites that I could. I would want to find sweet, quaint shops and restaurants. I would want to buy a Claddagh ring with an emerald. I would want to enjoy the accents and hear a couple people speak and sing in Gaelic.
What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?
I simply cannot have one favorite. I adore Celtic culture (which I have been informed is actually several cultures), and those cultures that have developed from it. I enjoy the Regency and Victorian eras with Colonial and Edwardian and the Britain of Rosemary Sutcliff all coming in second (I think).
You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of?
I would recite something (part of a Walter Scott narrative poem probably) and blush before I said anything and blush when I started and blush when I stumbled. I would probably be deep crimson. Poise is not my strong point.
If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?
Well, I know I would pick someone from an older time, so that I could wear a lovely dress. I think perhaps I would choose (man, this is hard-I am drawing blanks for all these questions) Anne Shirley, so I could pick prettier styles (and more period correct also I think-they made the movies in the wrong century than the first books were set-it was her sons that fought in WWI after all) than they did in the movies (maybe I could even dye my hair read with henna and pick Anne's true dress colors also something they did not do well in the movies-I enjoy some of the movies, but they were pitiful compared to the books and stole some lines and aspects from Little Women, the book).
What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate?
Sometimes it is a need. And when it is a need, the need takes the form of a fine dark chocolate deficiency.
Favorite author(s)?
Elizabeth Gaskell, Jane Austen, Frances Burney, Gene Stratton-Porter, L.M.Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, Rosemary Sutcliff, N.D. Wilson, and J.K.Rowling.
Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land?
Hmm, a camera would fall among essentials probably. My computer and journal would go.
In which century were most of the books you read written?
That is easy. The nineteenth and twentieth (in reverse order with regards to amounts probably).
In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is…
Strong of character like I described the heroine as being. Trustworthy, entirely honest, not sappy, and quite funny...and brave of course.
Describe your ideal dwelling place.
In real life? No, that is too boooring. How about a castle in the mountains and hidden vine covered cottage in the mountains' woods?
Sum up your fashion style in five words.
Classic, romantic, old-fashioned, soft, and elegant. (This is what I want it to be-the most accurate word for my style now is the middle term).
Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name?
Yeah, I cannot think a good one (I mean one that I really want to change) right now, but there should not be so many Catherines in Wuthering Heights...oh and I prefer Flynn to Eugene any day.
In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is...
Chauvlin? Voldemort. I am sure there is a better, but I cannot think of one at the moment. Sauron...does he even count?!
Three favorite Non-fiction books?
Well, I don't read many of those, and the ones I have as favorites are sadly shallow. I really like (emphasis on the term like as opposed to favorites-I have got problems) Color Me Beautiful, The Green Beauty Guide (although I have not read this cover to cover), and Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad.
Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon?
I am afraid to say I would most likely spend it on the Internet. If I was good I would read or sew; we shall see if I am better employing my free time (which I won't have any more of than now since I take summer classes) this summer.
Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character.
My friends had this wonderful dress up box in which it was our delight to play. They had a darling black hat that I adored. I have tried to find what style hat it was but cannot find anything like it. If a pillbox hat and a certain type of military hat married and had a child, it would be my perfect hat. I think the best way to describe it would be a pillbox hat that had the ends pinched so that is was an oval rather than a circle. Hmm, if you want to read the paragraph as describing my true personality, well then, it must be literal and boring.
Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year.
Life for me is pretty boring. In the past year all I can think of is our trip to Chicago (my first time), and my recent acquirement of almost full-time hours at work. No wait, I sold my first three items on etsy; I believe that brought a great deal of excitement.
Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently
I am not a Christian, but my parents and some of my siblings are. It was not a passage exactly that was "convicting" most recently, but a sermon on a section of Job about Job's cruel comforters, and the wounds human tongues can deal out even when the perpetrator is only trying to help. I am dreadfully sharp-tongued.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

From Prada to Nada Review

          I adore the Jane Austen books, and I am frequently easily frustrated when the movies are not completely accurate. I also take great offense and am quite disgusted when I see another Jane Austen spin-off or sequel. I refuse to read them, but I have caught glimpses, and they gag me. It really truly is very conceited when people do dare to even think that they can add anything worthwhile to classic works.

          I had not until recently watched any Jane Austen spin-off movie. I really enjoyed From Prada to Nada. It only follows the very barest basics of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility (which is much of why it is good); it really is authentic and interesting. I like the whole Mexican theme since that culture is a completely different world from mine (as is the filthy rich L.A. life for that matter). I think I am more offended by book spin-offs because the authors somehow think that they can be like Jane Austen simply because their plot and characters' names are the same. It was not her plots alone that drew people; it was how well she wrote and developed her stories and characters.

          The immediate beginning of the movie is not exactly dazzling. The first shots are dizzying, and the absurd yellow tanning lotion on the girls' faces is seriously obnoxious-is that really supposed to make us think that they are Mexican? Yes, each is probably Latin, but Mexican is a distinct Latin race, and I do not think Nora cuts it, especially since their father is VERY Mexican looking as is the painting of their mother; Nora is truly fair-skinned. I did think Mary is believable as a Mexican. I always am bothered by details like this because I like things to be as plausible, realistic, and/or conceivable as possible. I can be a perfectionist even over trifling movies.

          While we are on the subject of being realistic, I also found the fact that neither girl knows Spanish is very unlikely (not to mention the addition of this fact into the movie is quite unnecessary-it does not add to any aspect of the movie anything of worth). We have several bilingual parents in our church and most, if not all, of them teach their children their native tongue. It would have been more believable had both Nora and Mary been taught the language since their earliest years, and then Mary refused to speak it ever since she became a teenager because she wanted to be completely American. I would have expected scholarly good girl Nora to know, speak, and perhaps even study it.

          There are a few moral and ideological issues. One major one is that Mary sleeps with Roderigo. She obviously has a morally lax attitude; it is probably not her first indiscretion, and her attitude seems to be acceptable by the others characters. So that stance of the movie is not pleasing, but it is to be expected of Hollywood; however, immorality is not rubbed in your face so to speak, and the most sluttish dressing characters (Olivia and Lucy) are the ones that are supposed to be hated (Mary's outfits are not remotely modest, but I don't think she is as calculated in this as the two formerly mentioned women).

          Another issue is that lightly touched topic of illegal immigration which is obviously factual but nevertheless wrong. No body seems to find a fault with it. Indeed, Nora seems to want to help illegal immigrants with her law practice. Nora lives extremely conservatively, but her ideologies seem to be very liberal which is rather strange...and unrealistic in light of her lifestyle I think.

          The actresses who played the girls are excessively thin. I would say anorexic although obviously this would not be anorexia at its worst. It is believable that silly, shallow Mary might be anorexic, but actresses should never be so thin to play that sort of person. Sensible Nora would not have been so thin if she was a real person, and Nora is most certainly the thinnest. For sensitive girls this could be very discouraging to notice, and it is certainly a terrible example.

          Overall I think it is a fairly clean PG-13 movie which of course pleased me. There is the easily skipped (you are given fair warning in time to miss the sensual part) scene where it shows that Mary has slept with Rodrigo; no actual sex scene is shown. There are several immodest women. There are some four letter words said quite clearly (by Mary mostly); there probably are more things said, but I (thankfully) miss a lot in this department (Nora says something to Mary that could be heard two ways after Nora asks Mary why Mary wants to be with Rodrigo). Mary smokes pot, and Nora gets drunk.

          After I got over the weird dizzy beginning, I really started to enjoy the movie.  The movie is not spectacular by any means, but I thought that it is acted well enough for the type of movie that it is (silly chick flick). I think it is very sweet; I like the emphasis on family; Gabe Jr. is accepted into their family and seems to come to love his sisters (unlike Henry Dashwood of the novel). I think there is very little cattiness in it which is surprising for a chick-flick.

          Edward is so cute and sweet (but I don't think they needed to use the name from the book-after all, they use none of the other names exactly, so that choice is seriously out of place). In the book Edward makes a stupid choice before he meets Elinor and when he is about nineteen; in this movie Edward makes his stupid move after he meets Nora and when he is at least in his mid-twenties. All of these details make the choice much worse in the movie which is quite disappointing because this Edward is quite nice. I feel that he should try much harder to win Nora even before he tells (well, shows :D) her how he feels. And after he tells her he gives up pretty quick (she is drunk when she refuses him after all).

          I like Nora despite her faults for she is not a self-righteous goody-goody. She really tries to improve her life and those of other people, she tries to make Mary do the same, but she is harsh with Mary about Rodrigo (if you choose to hear the word one way) even if it is true. She also is cruel to Edward when she refuses him especially as she has absolutely no real reason to think that he is like she makes him out to be.

          Mary is less like her literary original (it is stretching it to say that any of these characters really correspond to those in the book, but for Mary there is especially little linkage) than Nora is hers. Marianne is an immature girl; Mary is an immature adult. Mary is also immoral something that Marianne is most certainly not. Mary is also intentionally and calculatedly selfish, mean, petty, silly, and rude (Marianne is selfish but not by design but by thoughtlessness, and she is foolish, but she is neither petty nor silly and rarely rude, certainly not like Mary is). I do not want any aspersions cast on Marianne because of her so-called corresponding character.

          Both Marianne and Mary learn their lessons, but the movie is not deep, and Mary does not learn deeply although she is sincere. Her lesson also seems more to be of learning that she should love Bruno than anything else. I am not sure she ever apologizes to anyone either.

          There is not as much of Bruno (I love his name!) in the movie as there is of Colonel Brandon in the novel, and he is not quite the noble character (I cannot forgive him for being rude to Edward especially since he has absolutely no reason for it, petty or deep). The parts of the movie that do have him in it are frequently amusing since he has an ongoing "feud" with Mary, and his jabs are usually much better than her attempts at retaliations. I love the part when he tells Mary that two of the cords of her car need to be connected like her head and her mouth should be when she speaks.

          When Mary and Bruno make up and get together; it is of course amusing as well, and he cannot help but mock her still.  I wish their "romance" is a little more interesting, and though I obviously like it, I wish that the same sort of conclusion is given to Mary and Bruno as is given to Edward and Nora.

          I am thrilled that Edward proposes to Nora instead of simply asking her to move in with him (which is how it first appears). He has an engagement ring connected to the key to the house he wants them to buy (right across from her aunt's house). Edward is sweet but hardly romantic although his odd clueless wooing is cute in its own way. I always love when movies end with a wedding.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review of Disney's Prom

I just finished watching Disney's Prom. I thought it was adorable. I think I may stay away from posting photos of movie stills though because they don't belong to me, and this whole Internet censuring issue has me hypersensitive. I am sorry for no movie stills. I will post photos of what I might wear to prom if I dropped three or four years from my age and went to a physical school...ha!
I know real prom is frequently R-rated, and this movie candy coats relationships in the movie to be more innocent than those of the average middle schoolers; nevertheless, those of us that were raised to value innocence and adore sickly sweet romance can enjoy it. I can somewhat understand the excitement of prom, but it is really rather insignificant; after all graduation of high school is the most basic of graduations since  you  really should graduate. Adult events that are for something important or are during college are the "real deal" to me, but there is not the hype over them as there is over prom as far as I know, and it would have been fun to attend a home school or Christian school prom.
There are several separate story lines throughout the movie. All of them are linked in some way by friendships/relationships (for example Nova is friends with Mei and Jordan), and I liked this aspect, but I felt that the movie needed more of a central storyline which I felt that one of the story lines (the Jesse/Nova one which was my favorite and don't you just love those names?!) was perhaps intended to be, but it did not turn out quite central enough.
There was the Jordan-Tyler-Simone triangle which was creepy because Simone was played by a teenager (one of the few characters in this movie played by actual high school age kids, I think), but Tyler was played by an adult...and looked it. I hated Simone; this actress must have a thing for playing brats that are portrayed as special girls. I watched her in Star Struck which I hated because of her part. She acted poorly in both movies. Tyler was publicly humiliated by both Jordan and Simone which I did not like; private matters do not need to be made public, and public humiliation like that smacks of pettiness and spiteful revenge.

Tyler is a jerk that seemed to want two girls at the same time and treated both of them poorly, but only one of the girls was actually a nice girl: Jordan. Jordan believed his lies which showed that she was trusting and not suspicious, but when she was faced with the truth she broke up with Tyler for good and let it all go except for the public humiliation part; I think she might have danced with him to show she really was over him and was not bitter. She attended prom alone and enjoyed herself; the romantic side of me was not satisfied with this, however, I wanted a boy, perhaps Brandon, to have approached her for a dance.

Simone stupidly believed Tyler the first time when he said that he and Jordan were over-they were the "it" couple, so she should have waited and watched a little before she agreed to have any sort of relationship with hi,. The movie does indicate who exactly ended their first little fling, but it became clear that neither one were emotionally over it. I really don't like the Senior/Sophomore "romance" concept which combined with the age of the actors made it more disturbing. Simone flirted with poor smitten Lucas, but told him he was the substitute...and then broke a promise to him TWICE because of Tyler. Tyler told Simone that he would break up with Jordan for her after prom, so Simone was obviously okay with being a cheater herself. When Jordan broke up with Tyler, he told Simone that he broke up with Jordan. Simone then turned her back publicly at prom on Tyler when she found out that Jordan was the one that broke up with Tyler. Apparently she wanted to be treated perfectly even when she broke promises and basically cheated with Tyler. Lucas welcomed her with open arms after she dumped Tyler at the prom. Simone is just as much a jerk as Tyler; she did anything to get what she wanted and expected to be treated like a princess. She never really repented. I hated her.
Lucas is a cute little kid that in his turn was unkind to his best friend Corey, but he apologized. His apology comes after Simone had left him in the dirt for the second time which makes me question his sincerity, but at least he apologizes. There is a creepy smelling-the-breath moment between Corey and Lucas that was played for laughs, but I found it disgusting especially in light of Corey's rather androgynous hair cut.

Mei and Justin had been together since middle school, but Mei had a secret that she was keeping from Justin which made her emotional, and she took out her feelings on him. He thought she did not want to go to prom with him which really hurt him, so he told her that they were not attending prom. She eventually explained everything, and he was really sweet about it. She should have apologized for treating him so poorly even though he forgave her instantly. He was the perfect boyfriend.                                            
Lloyd was a friend of Justin's, but for most of the movie he seemed random. I find it impossible to believe that he could not find any girl in time for prom. I think almost any boy would find some girl that would say yes to him unless he was seriously repulsive. I suppose his part was for comic relief, but I really thought it was silly and annoying; the movie would probably be better without it.
I think the movies steers away from strong stereotypes or at least gives us believable ones. Jesse appeared at first to be the bad boy. He did have a harder life than Nova, but I still think that he had some small issues that were not right. He is revealed to not actually fit the "bad boy" stereotype. I thought Nova's father was quite cruel to him, and at least in the version I saw Jesse was not given the apology he deserved even after it appeared Nova's father was somewhat aware of his crime after Nova told him that he ruined her day.

Nova did not dress very modestly (although there was a humorous part where Jesse gave her a risqué prom dress to try on...and she did not even come out in it; she obviously had some limits), but she was a very sweet girl. I liked that she was the good student and not the popular diva girl. Her devotion to prom was ludicrous even though it may be somewhat realistic (my sister has said that girls at her school would tan starting in January to prepare for prom). I thought the movie was harsh on her first crush, Brandon; he was not a jerk-he was clueless, and he did not have to like her! When Nova was upset about Jesse, she took some of her turmoil out on Brandon-none of it was his fault!

I loved the Nova and Jesse story. The movie ended happily for almost everyone. I really enjoyed it, and I believe I would watch it again.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Jane Austen Party Tag

I am joining in this lovely tag today.

I am a full-time online college student hoping to transfer to a university next semester (currently-and I change my mind frequently-I wish to major in Jewelry and Metals). I am also a home school graduate. I enjoy the daily life details of history such as fashion and crafts. I enjoy handsewing, embroidery, and knitting. I enjoy reading on occasion, and period romance, fairytale re-tellings, and fantasy are my favorite genres to read.

2. What literary character {whether it be in a film or book} would you say, most describes your personality and mannerisms?
When I was a teenager, I was most definitely Marianne Dashwood mixed with Catherine Moreland. I still have a bit of Marianne I think, but I have also some Elizabeth Bennet and perhaps the choosiness of Margaret Hale (or I just wish). And I am afraid I have Kitty Bennet's flightiness.

3. What would you describe as the most lovely place to live in 1700's England?
Pemberley does seem like a lovely place to live, and I would like a London residence for the winter as well.

4. List some of your favorite and least favorite literary works you have read.
Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Beauty, Ella Enchanted, the Harry Potter series, the Emily of New Moon trio, Anne of Green Gables series, and the 100 Cupboards trilogy are some of my favorite books.

I cannot think of hated books right now partially because if I do not like something, then I do not finish it. I started a book called Ember that was too boring/ weird to finish. I do not generally like science fiction-Madeleine L'Engle's books were weird and creepy although I enjoyed some of them to a certain extent.

5. What would you describe as a most admirable heroine?
I like a heroine who sees her faults and repents of them like Lizzy Bennet did. I don't like the meek heroines, and I like the heroines to be intelligent and refined.

6. If you could spend afternoon tea in the company of your favorite literary heroine, to whom would you spend it with?
I am not sure I have an exact favorite, but I would like to spend time with Hermione Weasley née Granger.

7. Which is to your liking more :: tea or coffee?
Most certainly tea; I cannot stand coffee, and I think it is a very unhealthy habit to frequently drink it as so many of my acquaintances do.

8. Which of Jane Austen's couples are you fond of?
Mr. Bingley and Jane have to be the sweetest couple. I also like Margaret and Mr. Thornton, Mr. Darcy and Lizzy, Ron and Hermione, and Ella and Charmain.

9. What is one {a few} of your favorite literary quotes?
Oh my, I will never think of them all. This one is wonderful to be sure:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

I also enjoy the scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince where Ron receives his ridiculous present from Lavender.

The Jane Austen and Harry Potter books provide plenty of humor for me, but I am terrible at thinking of lines especially when I am asked. I want to get the Jane Austen A Day journal that I found at Barnes and Noble.

10. Are you fond of dancing or singing or reading a good book?
I cannot sing. I cannot dance either really although I want to learn, but I am very awkward, so I would obviously prefer a very good book.

11. And lastly, as this event is also hosted in celebration of my garden's second anniversary, would you mind explaining perhaps, how you stumbled upon my little plot of earth?
I found it via this blog. I enjoy these sorts of tags/parties, and anyone who loves these same period dramas and has a pretty blog and elegant writing is very likely a kindred spirit.