November 6, 2015

Jane Austen Week- Tag

WARNING: Having lots to do and feeling low on motivation, there are no pictures in this post.  Sorry.

So Naomi is hosting a JA Week over at Wonderland Creek, and I could hardly resist filling out the tag, because I mean... duh. JANE AUSTEN.

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of a Jane Austen fan do you consider yourself?

Hmm. Well, that depends on whether we're talking sane fans or crazed fans.  Because there are some weeeeeird JA fans out there, who are... weird.  Well, okay. Compared to anybody I know personally, I'd say 10.  Compared to the world at large, I'd say...7.5.  Haha.  But it depends on where "fan" ends and "obsession" begins. Obsessions, despite the way the word is thrown merrily about these days, are not good things.

2. If "they" would make a new Jane Austen Movie, and you would be able to be cast in it, which Jane Austen character would you most like to play?

Well... Elizabeth Bennet.  ;)  But we don't really need a new P&P as much as some others.  If it was Mansfield Park, I would want to be Fanny Price.  I think I could Do her. :)

3. Is there any felicity in the world superior to a walk?

...Yes. :P

4. Who's your favourite Jane Austen 'villain'? (As in 'villain' meaning 'the bad guy.')

Favorite??? Ehm... as in, least objectionable, or the one I love to hate the most?  Willoughby, I suppose.  He's kind of both at the same time.  I hate him but he could make an interesting companion.

5. What/Who introduced you to Jane Austen?

My sister, through the 1995 Sense & Sensibility.

6. Did you love/enjoy Jane Austen immediately, or has there been a time when you hated (um, prejudged) it?

I absolutely enjoyed Jane Austen immediately.  It awakened a curiosity to find out more and more about her and her stories, and I had no idea how lasting that would be.

7. Who, in your opinion, is the funniest Jane Austen character?

THE funniest? Ehm... Mrs. Jennings is right up there.  Although I tend to prefer Mr. Bennet's humor.

8. Do you quote Jane Austen randomly in public?

Yes, yes, and again I say: yes.

9. Are children allowed to eat cake on weddings?

Generally.  But only if their mommy gets it for them.

10. What is your reaction when you hear that an acquaintance (e.g. A lady at Church) of yours loves Jane Austen?

"I KNEW I LIKED YOUUUU."  (This happened when I started working at a new library three months ago and I found out my supervisor was a fan.)

11. Who writes better letters, Mr Darcy or Captain Wentworth? (If you forgot what the letters were, shame on you, instead tell me if you prefer Strawberries to Chocolate or not.)

I don't know, I've never read a letter of Captain Wentworth's.  By today's standards it was perhaps a letter, but in the story it's really supposed to be a note.  And it depends on the sort of letter. I'm just going to go with Mr. Darcy.

12. Which Jane Austen heroine do you relate the least to?

Well... I THOUGHT this would be an easy question.  I relate to all of them for different reasons!  I feel, though, when I read the books, that Anne Elliot is the one I have the least empathy for.

13. What's your favourite Jane Austen house (from one of the movies)?

Ooh!  Probably Hartfield.  Well, I'm awfully fond of the Dashwoods' cottage in the 1995 movie though.  But that is a cottage, so not a house by 1811's definition. Haha.

14. What's your favourite Jane Austen dress (from one of the movies)?

That is an incredibly hard question.
Nope, sorry guys, not happening. The first thing to pop into my head was the dress that Emma wears to the Weston wedding in the 2009 miniseries. I want it for my own.

15. Can you turn off lit candles with your fingers?

Can I?  I daresay yes.  Would I?  No.

November 4, 2015

A Whole New World...

So, I am here today to tell you about A Thing.

Most of you guys have heard of ClearPlay, right? For me, ClearPlay has always been this unattainable thing that I would like to have but it's too expensive, etc etc.  Well, then I heard about VidAngel.

At first I was put off by VidAngel because of three things.
1) I couldn't view what movies they had without creating an account.
2) Their lingo seems to be "Watch movies however the bleep you want," and I think that is kind of in poor taste.
3) They advertise watching movies for $1 (SD) or $2 (HD), if you sell them back.  In the interest of full disclosure, they charge $20 right off, and when you sell it back within 24 hours (which you can have done automatically so you don't forget, which is cool) instead of actually refunding to your credit or debit card, they put $19 (or $18) credit on your VidAngel account, to be used for your next movie.  Which will dig into your actual money another $1, and so on, so it's basically like you're keeping $19 in your account at VidAngel in order to use their service.

So, for number one... it was true, but all they required was your email and a password made to view and change settings and everything. They won't actually ask for billing information until you're really going to buy a movie.

For number two... I have no excuses to make for them.  That's in bad taste. :P

For number three, this is a bit of a bummer, BUT if you really want your money back, you CAN (at least, they say so-- I haven't tried it myself) close your account and they will refund you whatever money you had left in credits.  So it's still more fair than it COULD be. ;)

Anyways.  So, before publishing this post, I decided to give it a go.  Y'all have probably heard of Austenland... although I didn't expect much from this movie, I was curious about it (I mean... how could I NOT be...) so I decided that, as now I had access to a filter, I would give it a go.  If you're curious about the movie, you can ask me about it. Even encourage me to give a review.  But this is a review of VidAngel, not Austenland, so.

However, I will say the one of the very few things that satisfied me in the movie was JJ Feild's character and acting.  Ahhhhhh. *inserts pictures*

And Jane's WALLPAPER! and china!!!! And rotary phone! And also this quote.

Now, moving forward.  For your account you can have general settings to specify the kinds of things you do and don't want to see in each category.  But you can also change the filter for particular movies-- which obviously I would always do.  For this one, I filtered out all the swear words-- and that worked beautifully.  The conversations still made sense although it was obviously muted in some spots-- but it was tactful so I couldn't tell what they were going to say.  There was a lot of suggestiveness in this movie, I have to say, and even though I did set the filters pretty high, there were still some things that made me uncomfortable. So just be aware that if it's a movie that has a lot of that, it won't be easy for them to filter out without you missing some of the story.

This movie didn't have much in the way of violence, so I couldn't really test that out, but I've examined the filters for other movies/shows and it looks pretty thorough.  (That's another thing-- you could totally make an account just to see exactly how much content is in something, if IMDb isn't working for you.)

The streaming wasn't great, although I didn't buy the HD because I'm cheap.  And I'm not sure how much was the fault of my computer. But, the process was all very simple and easy to use.

I definitely recommend it for language, and also movies where there's like, That One Scene.   And I think it's lovely that you're not required to have a membership.

It would even be good just for looking at movies! There are links to trailers and EVERYTHING!  I have to say, this website is pretty cool.

As for the period drama selection-- it's not great, but there are still some things you might find interesting.  And they are still adding to their collection.  (Something that made ME excited-- THEY HAVE SHERLOCK. Yusssss.)

Now, IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN TRYING THIS.  I really am writing this post out of the goodness of my heart. BUT. If you're going to get an account, do let me know first so I can email you an invitation... that way, if you click on my link, and then make an account, and then end up getting a movie, you will be one of the five people who could make it possible for me to have a year of free movies with VidAngel, which would be SPLENDID and I would be very pleased. Heehee. Oh yes and it needs to be by November 21st. ;)

So. That's all for now, folks.

October 10, 2015

Picture Book Review: Thankful

It occurred to me one day that there's no reason why I shouldn't be reviewing children's books.  There are some really cute ones available through the blogger review programs, and since they're short it won't be as big of a commitment to get it read on time.  Then I can have books to bestow upon children whenever I choose.  Whether or not I have children of my own someday, I'm sure I will have children in my life who are dear to me.  (I already do, being an auntie of eight!)

Well, anyway.  The first book I requested is Thankful by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Archie Preston, and published by Zonderkidz.  Autumn is my favorite season, and I always liked having books about leaves and Thanksgiving on our coffee table growing up.  So that's what first attracted me to this book. 

The story runs through what different people in careers and walks of life are thankful for.  All of the pictures depict a child in the role, either doing the thing or pretending to do it.  The whole thing is rhyming and ends with being thankful for "you"-- whichever child you happen to be reading it to, which is fun because then you can reach over and give them a little squeeze.  (I read it to my nephew. :))

All in all, it's a cute little book but I wasn't overly thrilled with it.  The illustrations aren't exactly my style... in picture books I like to be taken in by either the story or the pictures, and both were kind of mediocre.  Still, I will keep it around in my collection.  It would be ideal for children up to age 5.

You can find out more about the book here:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

September 30, 2015

Any volunteers?

Hiiii, lovely followers.

Insert apologies for absences.  I AM still here and I have a lot of posts in draft and... sigh.  Life.  You know.

The fact that I've felt so busy and, to be honest, not quite as motivated about blogging (don't worry though, I'm still planning to stick around!) has led to me neglecting certain things on my blog.  Like my quizzes.  For those of you who know, I've written "Which Character Are You" quizzes for P&P, Emma and then JA heroines in general... and I still get comments with the answers to the questions, and absolutely no motivation to figure out their results, which makes me feel bad.  But so it is.  So they sit in my inbox for... a long time.  For example... cough... I have one from February 6th.  Eh-heh. And four others from July-Sep.

Sooo I was wondering.  Would any of you dearies be interested in taking over that?  I don't want to just shut it down and not make it available anymore... I could try to make it into automated quizzes but good programs for that are hard to find.

Let me know if you are interested and leave me with some way to contact you.  (If you leave your email in a separate comment, I won't publish it. :))  I would send you the answer key and every time I get a submission, I'd publish the comment and forward you the email so you could take care of it.  You would just comment with your own account, and I'd publish that too.

I would be supremely grateful to anyone willing to do this.  However, if you start doing it and you, too, get tired of it, you are free at absolutely ANY time to discontinue (as long as you let me know!).  And I will not think badly of you at all. :)

September 20, 2015

'Twould seem this blog has been hacked...

Melody is the best friend in all the world.  She is also the most trusting, loyal and unsuspecting person in the world as well.  Do you know why this is?  Well, it's because when she's not home and needs to check her email and can't access the internet, she calls her best friend on the phone and gives said best friend her email password, and directs said best friend to peruse her inbox and give her the information she requires.  And then?  And then... she doesn't change her email password.  Even after weeks and weeks. 

Some would call this "not bothering."  I would call this "an incredible display of trust in a person who obviously does not deserve it."

Because if you haven't figured it out already, this is Amy, and I am hacking Melody's blog.  She's at church right now, so I'm taking this opportunity to write a long and rambling post.  Which she may take down later at her leisure if she so desireth, but I think you guys will enjoy reading it, so I hope she leaves it up.  (Please comment and back me up here.)

I thought long and hard (read: for like five whole minutes) about what to write in my hack post, and finally hit upon the brilliant plan of a Birthday Extravaganza.  You see, Melody's birthday is in the Autumn, but since she does not care to divulge the exact date to the Internet at Large, I have always respected that wish and refrained from posting a great big hullabaloo on the actual day.  (Rest assured that I always do deliver a hullabaloo of some sort... just not on a public blog.)  But I know she does not object to the world knowing that her birthday is in the Season of Fall, so I'm going to anticipate the event (it's not fall YET, after all... more's the pity...) and write her an EARLY birthday post. Extending the festivities, as my aunt always likes to say, although she tends to say it in birthday cards that arrive in a belated fashion.

Anyways.  Let us proceed.

It is a long-standing joke between Melody and myself that 18 is my favorite number-- for what reason, I really do not know.  I tend to use 18 or variants thereof as my go-to number when I am making up statistics or exaggerating or using a random number for any purpose, and it just sort of became a Thing with us.  So, in celebration of Melody's [number censored] birthday, I shall present you with 18 fun facts about her, and why she is, in short, The Best. (She's not turning 18, by the way. No happy coincidence here.)

These will be rather random.

1. She has the most hilariously expressive face I have ever seen on a human being.  The tragedy of it all is that she prefers to keep her face off the internets.  Which is reasonable of her. But it means that I cannot share a picture right now of her Grumpy Cat impression, and believe me, folks, you are missing out on a lot.

2.  She can play the piano and the fiddle-- and might I mention that she didn't actually know she could STILL play the fiddle until about three months ago, because she hadn't picked it up in, like, years.  (I say "like" because I don't remember exactly how many years it was.  But it was way before I knew her.)  Anyways.  She can play both.  Even after years without practice.  She is talented.

3. She has a disapproving and majestic cat whose name is Marshmellow and he is a dear old duck even though he would like you to believe he is a dignified old thing.  Sometimes we use him as a photo prop.  He enjoys this more than he would care to let on.

4.  Her favorite Jane Austen film adaptation is Pride and Prejudice (1995), closely followed (and sometimes tied with) Emma (2009).  I know none of you knew this fact before now, so please take a moment to recover from falling off your chairs in shock.

5. She is an introvert and invented the highly useful word "introlocked"-- meaning "lacking the social stamina to hold a conversation with anyone but one's nearest and dearest, being desirous of going home and feeling unable to sustain a polite demeanor in company; shutting down; wanting tea and a nap."  (I made up the dictionary-sounding definition though.)

6. She is something of a fangirl where the web series In Earnest is concerned.  *cough* Algy *cough*

7. She works in a LIBRARY. Among all those BOOKS.

8. She's a really good singer. She will probably tell you she is not. But she is.  She's working on becoming a high soprano, and she sings all sorts of lovely songs quite nicely, and sings Hopelessly Devoted to You from Grease quite hilariously.  And super-dramatically.  Maybe if I coax her hard enough she'll record it and put it on here.... :D

9.  She is one of the most persuasive people I know and is very very good at making a convincing argument. She is, generally speaking, always right.  To my chagrin, some of the time. :P

10.  She's really good at doing weird voices.  Like, exceptionally good. She should voice cartoon characters, I think.

11.  She is a wondrously expert hairdresser.  

12. Her sense of humor is unparalleled (although maybe I think so because it matches my own so well...) and she comes up with hilarious photo captions like this one.  (She took the picture, too.  When we went to the National Zoo together one time.)

13.  She can set up a tent quickly and efficiently, and that really is a skill worth having, much as you may scoff at it.  It makes camping trips so much less stressful than they might otherwise be.  

14.  She has an amazing memory for small details and this pleases my sentimental self immensely. :D (She also understands the importance of sentiment and being nostalgic about things and all that jazz.)

15.  Once upon a time she declared to me that she did not think much of musical theatre, apart from Sound of Music perhaps, and thought it all too much singing and dancing for her taste.  Then I made her watch My Fair Lady. And then I made her watch Phantom of the Opera (the good version).  And it pretty much all went downhill from there.  Or uphill, depending on how you look at it.  We saw Newsies and The Music Man during our last visit.  ;) 

("MAMA! If you think I'd allow a common masher-- now, really Mama, I have my standards where men are concerned, and I have no intention..."
"I know all about your standards and if you don't mind my sayin' so there's not a man alive who can hope to measure up to that blend'a Paul Bunyan, St. Pat and Noah Webster you've concocted for yourself out of your Irish imagination, your Iowa stubbornness and your library fulla books!")

16. For years she was pretty adamantly against texting (not as much as I was though) and then we both got cell phones and... um... ahem.
*cough cough cough*

17.  However, though her opinions on texting and musicals may have changed, one of the (many) things I admire about Melody is that she stands firm in her beliefs when they are truly important ones. There are few people I know who have her strength of character and determination to do what is right regardless of what other people think.  

(Okay, I am about three inches taller than Melody.  Give or take a smidgen.  Depends on who's measuring.
So it's not like she's really really tiny... and she'll probably be just a tad annoyed that I've referred to her as little here...
but seriously this quote is so her. :D)

18.  In that same vein, Melody really is one of the strongest people I know.  Not just physically (although her small physique may lead you to believe otherwise, she really is unnervingly strong and I can't beat her at arm wrestling WHICH IS SAYING A LOT) but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I've seen her go through some incredibly tough times in the almost-four years I've known her, and I've been amazed and awed over and over by how resilient and unbreakable she is.  As I said before, there are few people who have that kind of grit and determination and just plain gumption.  Aunt Jamesina in Anne of the Island says that gumption is indefinable-- anyone who has gumption knows what it is, and anyone who doesn't will never have it.  But I think perhaps you can know what it is when you see someone who exemplifies it so well.  Melody has it, and I can see it, and I know what it is.  (One would assume she does too. :P)  

Anyways... I think I have come to the end.  Done being sloggy now. :D

Well... not just yet.  Because your birthday still hasn't technically happened.
So please stay away from bears, Favorite and Best.

The End.

The Hacker
(Amy. Duh.)
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