Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fashion event, awards, randomness, and announcements...

at A Butcher, A Backer, A Candlestick Maker
Rachel's theme for this week was 'Gypsy'.  I looked in my closet and found a sad lack of pretty belts and peasant blouses.  (That's ridiculous - I love peasant blouses!)  But when she mentioned tiered skirts I just had to join in.  Tiered skirts are the one thing I do have.  So here's what I wore:

Yes, that's me. :P
For reasons of privacy, blah, blah, blah, I'm am not posting pictures of my face on the internet.  But we're not talking about me, we're talking about the outfit.

As a rule, I don't like skirts with almost every color of the rainbow squashed in together.  I like things to match, please.  But I couldn't help this lovely skirt and it's swishy tiered-ness.  It is  a tiered skirt, even if you can't see it from the picture.

A while ago, I got some blog awards.

 Marissa from The Countryside Lady gave me the

Thank you, dearie!  It seems the rules for this award are to write ten random things about yourself and award it to six other bloggers.  So prepare to hear randomness.

1: I have still not decided whether my hair is curly, waved or straight.

2: After a shower my hair is sometimes curly.  Out of a bun (like that with the handly clip above.  I'm addicted to buns) it's a little wavy.  When I brush it is either slightly straight or slightly wavy.

3: In my typically devious fashion, I make really easy cinnamon buns using a biscuit recipe. 

4: I do not like Silas Wegg from Our Mutual Friend.

5: I happen to be reading Our Mutual Friend just now.

6: I also happen to just have finished I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  It didn't really enter my mind to go and read it before.  I plan to have a God-honouring - um, romantic relationship - and I don't consider myself old enough for a - um, romantic relationship - of any kind.

7: But I did pick up that book yesterday (yes, finished it in one afternoon) and reading through it, I realized it's not just about dating at all.  The focus of the book is to serve God and do what's best in every area of your life. Or at least, that's what I got from it.

8: I am looking forward to watching TSP1982 with a veeeeeeeery good friend in the next week or two. (Very good friend, if you're reading this: we have to do it soon.  We really do.)

9: I am of rather a jealous nature. Unpleasant, but true.  I hope that that's the only thing in which I resemble Lucy Steele.

10: In real life, I can't help calling people ducks. 

Now, six creative people.  I'm going by creative blog design and creative posts and comments.  No, wait.  I'm doing seven people

And also from Marissa

Thank you, dearie.  (Or should I call you dear duck?)
This is all about being helpful.  You are supposed to tell three helpful things you've done and nominate three helpful people for the award.

I'm not as helpful as I should.  Do I resemble Lucy Steele in that too?  Let me see... I helped my nine-year-old sister with her math (I do it often, it's fun!) took over my brother's job this morning because he was busy, and made the aforesaid cinnamon buns.

And as to the helpful people.  Let me see.
Amy (I know you've already done this award, but without you, m'dear, I would have probably never figured out how to make blog buttons)
Rachel (you are such an inspiration to me)
Amanda (Wait!  Are you helping me or am I helping you or are we both helping each other or - what?)

This is from Abilaine at Miss Emma Woodhouse and Jessa at Life of a Michigan Homeschooler

Thank you, dearest of ducks!

And now, the five people to give it to:

Abigail (whose blog is private)

And the title of this post did say something about announcements, didn't it?

  Well, I announce...

that you should expect some announcements...

that interest me greatly...

and that should hopefully interest you...

in the next week or two...

That's all!

Until then, then.

~ Maria

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: Hamlet

The common impression seems to be that Shakespeare is boring – and that his tragedies consist of oddly-dressed people standing around declaiming famous quotes without any action (other than killing people) whatsoever.  The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet debunks both these notions.  With superb cast, stellar acting, and staying word-for-word true to the original play, it suggests that the reason some consider Shakespeare dull and old-fashioned is not Shakespeare’s fault – it’s the fault of the actors!


The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet is a reprising of the actors’ roles on stage, filmed on set, instead of in a theatre.  And the acting is great.  Those common misimpressions of Shakespeare and his tragedies were rather what I thought myself before I watched this movie.

First of all on the plot itself: (assuming you don’t know it, although you probably do) Hamlet is the story of young Prince Hamlet, suddenly faced with the fact that his uncle, now king, murdered the previous king, Hamlet’s father, and seduced his mother.  The ghost of his father calls out for revenge – but in following it Hamlet could lose his friendship, his love, his sanity, even his life.

Doctor Who fans (and just for the record, I’m not one of them.  I’ve never watched an episode in my life, so I come to this movie totally unbiased) will recognize David Tennant, who plays Hamlet. 

And he did an amazing job.

It takes a lot to be shot onto Maria’s Favorite Actors List after being seen in only one role – and that a Shakespearean tragedy.  But it happened.  Tennant doesn’t just act Hamlet, he doesn’t just stand around declaiming famous soliloquies, he is Hamlet.  From the moody youth grieving for his father, to the joking and supposedly mad prince, to the rapidly maddening young man with his life in shambles around him, he plays it understandably and with a real grasp of the character.

Ophelia, the simple, likeable girl Hamlet was in love with, is essentially a tragic character.  First listening to Hamlet pour out his love for her, warned by everyone to refuse him at all costs, having him act unaccountably violent towards her and later knowing (SPOILERS, SPOILERS) he killed her father.  It’s no wonder the girl doesn’t know what’s happened to her life.  I came to Hamlet with the idea that Ophelia was the lovely damsel in some of the Pre-Raphaelite paintings, so at first I wasn’t pleased with Mariah Gale playing her.  But in the end I had great respect for her portrayal.  Ophelia is shown as a normal girl, not ugly but hardly gorgeous either, just naïve, used as a pawn, terrified at what’s happening around her.

Gertrude, Polonius, Ophelia

Patrick Stewart (familiar to Star Trek fans - and I'm not one of them either) as Claudius could be considered the villain (perhaps ‘a’ villain) of the piece.  He partly comes across as a nice old grandfather, which might be one of the reasons no one suspects him of foul play.  But he is also a murdered and usurper who, although briefly toys with repentance, cannot forego the advantages he gets from his crime.  His queen, Gertrude is a woman with feelings, actually caring for her alienated son, sometimes horrified at the consequences of her and Claudius’ schemes.  One of the mysteries of the play is whether Gertrude aided and abetted Claudius’ schemes, or whether didn’t know and was almost as terrified and naïve as Ophelia.  Either way, she is hardly a woman of strong moral character.

While you can sympathize with Hamlet himself, he is hardly a 'nice guy' and not one whose moral choices can be admired.  In every movie I love there seems to be one person who's patient, a good friend, and all round someone whom you want to give a friendly hug to.  In this one it was Horatio.  He is Hamlet's only real friend and does not participate in the crazy madness, murder and revenge that everyone else seems to fond of.

I was surprised at how funny the first part of this movie is.  I didn't get the impression of jokes when I read the play, but they're there, in abundance.  Polonius, Ophelia's father, is actually one of the funnier characters and some of Hamlet's 'mad' antics give it a tone of lightheartedness.

But halfway through, the play sobers up.  This is a movie that I wouldn't recommend for children.  Aside from a high level of emotional intensity, (the acting is very well done, in the scene with Hamlet and his mother you'd be scared of him, if you didn't like him so much) this is a tragedy.  Which means that most of the characters will be lying dead on the floor by the last scene.  It's not gory but the amount of deaths within a short proximity of each other is really almost ridiculous.

Something to take caution in: in part of Ophelia's mad scene (one of the most heartwrenching scenes in the whole piece) she is shown in only her underclothes.  So you might want to be careful about that.

Another thing to note is that although vengeance is a main theme of the play and movie, it is not as though they support it.  How can it condemn vengeance more than by having everyone who pursued it dead on the floor at the last scene?  And I would suggest it's the same with the ghost - not saying that ghosts exist, but a plot device and a reminder that a murder doesn't stay quietly forgotten.  For an excellent Christian analysis of Hamlet I would highly recommend Brightest Heaven of Invention by Peter J. Leithart.

Okay, this is a rambling review. 

Anyways, one thing I wanted to comment on is the fact that they wear modern clothes.  Yes, they say nothing but what Shakespeare wrote, but they dress in suits and ties.  Being the historical fashion nut I am, I expected not to like this, but I actually did.  The clothes of Shakespeare or Hamlet's (whichever they chose) would have made the guys look especially wimpy.  Suits and ties, with the occaisonal T-shirt, worked quite well and you could think of the characters more like real people than if we recognized their ill-fitting uniforms saw them in badly-fitting doublets.  The ladies', particularly Gertrude's and Ophelia's clothes were more of a disappointment, but most of the time they're formally dressed for state functions, which is almost as good.  And Shakespeare's words actually sound understandable!  I guess there's not much difference between the language of the 16th century and the language of the 21st.

So did I love this movie!  Absolutely!  Would I recommend it?  Not to children, but to high-school students studying Hamlet, to  anyone who loves Shakespeare and anyone who thinks it's boring, I would.

via fanpop

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The family...

Our Family View From Us Two

Rachel and Sarah are having a Family Facts blog event!  Being part of a rather interesting family and around them for a LOT of the time, I thought it would be fun to participate.

  1. What are some of your family's favorite phrases, exclamations, or sayings?

    It really depends, any quote from Disney's Robin Hood or any book we're reading at the time immediately becomes a favorite saying. Oh yes, and, "To all and sundry, near and far," after which everyone else chants, "F. Christmas in particular. And signed it not Johannes R, but very humbly, Jack." I'm not sure how we got that A. A. Milne poem in our heads but it's certainly in.

  2. What's the number of boys to girls in your family?

    Four girls, one boy.  He is rather outnumbered, but he holds his own for all that.

  3. What is your favorite tradition your family has?

    Gardening, playing musical instruments (whether you want to or not :P), celebrating Dutch holidays, and reading aloud together.  We are also prone to being rather obsessed with our interests and boring everyone crazy with them.  Until somebody finds that it's unboring to joke with people about their obsessions... then the fun begins. 

     My brother: Do you know what Tolkien’s least favorite country was?

    Me: I don’t want to answer this.

    Him: It was France.

    Me: But there’s nothing wrong with France.

    Him: It’s evil.  Anthony Andrews spent many years of his life saving people from the murderous clutches of FRANCE.

    Okay, forget about Baroness O. having the time machine.  I guess it was Anthony Andrews who had it.  And all this just because I had - ahem! - quite casually mentioned to my brother the fact that an Anthony Andrews was High Sheriff of Rutland (the oldest secular office under the Crown) exactly 399 years ago.  More use of time machines, I guess. ;)

  4. What do you call the midday meal at your house?


  5. Is the majority of your family morning people or night owls?
     The majority are morning people.  I happen to be a morning person by habit rather than fact.  Everyone's long asleep by the time a proper night owl would be settling down for a good read.

  6. What is your favorite vacation location? :P

    The Canadian prairies, to visit and camp with relatives.

  7. Are your family's weekends usually full of activities such as sports, parties, and outings, or are they more of around the house, fix-it-uppers?

    A tiny bit of sports, parties when there are parties to go to, and outings once in a blue moon.  We do a lot of around the house, fix-it-uppers.

  8. What is the nationality/ies your family comes from? (i.e. Scotch, Russian, etc)
     Dutch, although I think I'm also a teeny little bit French

  9. Do you go away for holidays, or celebrate at home?

    We're at home, most of the time.

  10. How did your parents meet?

    By rights they should have met at a track and field meet when they were kids.  But they didn't really see each other until they went to the same university, studied the same stuff, went to the same church and even rode on the same bus!  And their romance really only began when Dad was asked to fill an extra place for Mom's birthday dinner.  It's rather an interesting story.
So!  What are you waiting for?  Go on to Rachel and Sarah's and join in the fun!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mon Daybook I

Joining in with Elise at Ribbons of Light 

Finding inspiration and encouragement for the week ahead!

A book I am planning to read this week: I really don't know.  I just finished A Tale of Two Cities, almost finished Right Ho, Jeeves, and am sort of stuck.  Any suggestions?

My goals for this week: I was very sensible and made a list.  So I will go get it and copy down every single thing

*sew skirt ~when you decide you have almost nothing semi-formal that you can wear and actually feel like you're wearing something

*change bouquets ~there are lovely purple violets all over the place, as well as my favorite - apple blossoms.  I'm going to keep two vases in my room for as long as I can.

*finish [an amazing but unpublished book that I am a beta reader for]

*finish week 29 ~yes, that's schoolwork and yes, I'm late

*contact sl ~ you wonder what 'sl' means?  It's sort of a secret; I wouldn't have put it on except that I said I'd write down everything.

*order proof copy of Anna ~i.e. my nano novel.  When I don't like the title of a book I call it by the main character's name.

*check expiry date of proof copy ~ was the five free copies offer valid till June 1 or July 1?  Must find out...

*talk to Susan ~ another slight secret; this time it's about a volunteering opportunity.

*get Duke of Ed stuff ~ i.e. the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards for Young Canadians

*write down volunteering ~ apparently you're supposed to do that for your highschool transcript.

*update account book ~ for good finances you're supposed to write everything down.  I never remember.

*write one of the million posts floating in my head ~ a couple on my favorite heroes, one that sort of missed Percy Day, one about El Dorado and Sense and Sensibility, stuck together, one dissecting David Copperfield, another on The Phantom of the Opera (but I can't wholeheartedly recommend that movie, should I really do a post about it?), a review of The Royal Shakespeare Company's Hamlet (amazing, but again, I can't completely recommend it.)

Are you bored yet?  Hopefully not.....

Something I was blessed with last week: buying The Complete Works of Shakespeare for 25 cents.  I love garage sales.  Oh, and also the crystal serving bowl for two dollars.  I looked longingly at the heirloom teacups but they were $350.

Something I am looking forward to this week: trying my hand at sewing various tiered and circle skirts. I'm not much of a seamstress, but I have the fabric and I want to have the skirts!

An inspiring picture/piece of music:

For there is nothing lost that may not be found, if sought.  Did I ever mention I loved Sense and Sensibility?  It seems to get better every time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

FADE OUT - 80 pages and other related things

So!  It is two days after April, the Rilla of Ingleside script is finished and I am done with screenwriting for a long, long time.


And I am done with Courier 12 point.  It seems to be anathema in scriptwriting circles to write a script in anything but Courier 12 point, so font-crazy me reluctantly used it for a whole month.

Did I just say a whole month?  Well, I wrote a few pages in the first days of April and then IGNORED it - until last Friday, when I realized that this-is-the-last-weekend-of-Script-Frenzy-so-I'd-better-write-20-pages-quick.  Then THAT was ignored until Monday, when I realized that it was the last day of Script Frenzy and I did 39 pages.  It is remarkably pleasant to do nothing but eat and write for a whole day and very satisfying to know that you can write almost half of a decent-sized screenplay in a day, if you have to.

But scriptwriting does do odd things to a book lover.  When you qualmlessly ignore the Dr-Jekyll-and-Mr-Hyde-cat, cut out Miss Cornelia and Miss Oliver from almost every scene and *gasp* cut up Walter's Letter, than you are closer to a book-murderer than a fan.  Oh, well.

I just finished To Kill a Mockingbird and found it greatly to my taste.  I came to it expecting a classic, after the first few chapters I thought it was another of those boring stories about children but I ended up awed. I like books that make you think and this one did. 

Another of the books I've been reading is my first P.G. Wodehouse novel, Thank You, Jeeves.  It seems to be crazy - the most hilarious nonsense I've read in a long time.  I like hilarious nonsense.  :)

Another thing I like is being surprised by new posts on a blog that I post on and whose's topic I happen to *cough* be fond of.  I would recommend all of you to read Ally's recent post.  Please help us!

Yet another thing I like are period drama blogs, so I'm excited about Marissa's new blog, The Countryside Lady.

Still another lovely thing out there is Miss Woodhouse's Jane Austen Secondary Characters Tournament.  Vote here.

While I'm talking about lovely things I'll just mention that I love blush pink roses in a crystal vase.  They are gorgeous.  Love, love, love.