Deum, vitam, litteras amemus
.:.:. :.:::. ..:::::. ::::..
Quote of the Whenever I Feel Like Changing It
“And don 't forget, the next time you're planning a family vacation, consider visiting Genovia. A country of majestic mountains and sunbaked beaches, filled with friendly, peppy people. Come see us. Genovia awaits you.” – Joe, “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement”

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middlegirl [userpic]

For Anne

Countless fathers, lovers and friends
Cut down by a bloody Reign of Terror
Lives run down to the streets below
In a ribbon of red

Madame is still, the cruel powers satisfied
An uneasy peace finally descends
We wore their memories around our necks
In a ribbon of red

Centuries past, the nineteenth of May
A Queen kneels before abused injustice
A sword’s swift blade ends an innocent life
In a ribbon of red

On this day, to honor the fallen Queen
An ancient custom sees a new day
I wear her memory around my neck
In a ribbon of red

-May 19, 2011

Every year I try to mark Anne Boleyn's death on May 19 by doing something. This year, other projects kept me busy until today, so I couldn't do anything ambitious, and my current temp job (seriously, I'm constantly working this year!) gives me all sorts of time to do nothing but sit around when the phone's not ringing. (If only they let me surf the internet during that time.) So I wrote a poem. This is the same reason why I wear a red ribbon on February 12, but Anne was the principal catalyst to my sartorial tradition.

For more on the significance of the red ribbon, read Wikipedia's entry on the Bals des victimes.

This, to me, is the definitive version of the events of May 19, 1536. The details were glossed over, but the impact is so strong that it makes up for everything else.

middlegirl [userpic]

People always say
Girl, you are in too deep
But I'm not afraid to chase my dreams,
Just me and my stories

And no one may ever know
The feelings inside my mind
'Cause all of the lines I ever write
Are running out of time

So maybe I should get a nine to five
But I don't want to let it go, there's so much more to life

Tell me that I’ve got it wrong
Tell me everything will be okay
Before I fall
Tell me they'll read my lines
Tell me they'll feel the words I say
When darkness falls
All of the stars will see
Just me and my stories

I'm sure that I'll find my way
'Cause I'm not afraid to try
Even a world of love and hope can't guarantee that prize

So maybe I should get a nine to five
But I don't want to let it go, there's so much more to life

Tell me that I've got it wrong
Tell me everything will be okay
Before I fall
Tell me they'll read my lines
Tell me they'll feel the words I say
When darkness falls
All of the stars will see
Just me and my stories

Me and my stories...

And it's only fair that if I'm going to co-opt his lyrics, you should hear the original:

middlegirl [userpic]

I had all these grand plans for the fall. Write/film more reviews, do some heraldry, maybe work on my book (and the new short story/memoir that has been sitting in my brain since the last time I finished reading Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine... it's sort of a spiritual sequel - the story of a girl who used Someday to inspire her own trip to London. Of course, since I haven't actually been to London yet, the book is unfinished. At this point the book is unfinished and still a little too boring in my estimation for anyone to actually want to read.) But I'm just happy to be writing.

But nope, I got another temp job. I'm here for something like 3 months, so while I'm happy to be pulling in a paycheck, there goes my filming. (I have to film after everyone else goes to bed, because my camera picks up every background sound, like the ice cream truck going by. I have to be here at 7:30, which means I have to go to bed by midnight, which leaves no time for filming and still leaves me a yawning mess in the mornings. Still so not a morning person.) On the upside, as long as I have no projects and don't ignore the phone or walk-ins, I can come and go on the web as I please, so I've already written about a page. (Of course, they have no adblocker on IE here, and so for some reason, I keep ending up at Yahoo! France and seeing ads in French. I know this company is owned by a French company, but this is still the USA. That's a little weird. I'm also seeing innumerable Scientology ads here on LJ. I'm getting really tired of seeing their ads all over the place. From what I've studied of Scientology, they offer none of the answers they claim to in their ads. Long digression is long.) They also have an ergonomic keyboard here, and I'm slowly figuring it out, but I really don't like it. I can has normal non-warped keyboard, plskthxbye?

But I'm really excited/nervous, because London 2012 Olympic organizers finally made their volunteer application available! I'm waiting to see if I need to apply for my passport now before I send in my application, but if I can get it soon, then I'll be on my way! I want this so bad...

Also, Local Radio Station, please to not play the same 25 songs on constant loop all day. Getting really tired of Jack Johnson and that emo Paramore song that needs work on the lyrics. (Really, Paramore, you couldn't find anything else to say in the chorus?) Though you are allowed to keep playing "Misery" by Maroon 5 just as often.

Forget books. Maybe I need to start reviewing music.

Mood anxiousLocation new temp job
Mood anxious
Music That new song by Michael Franti & Spearhead
Tags: olympics, whatever i'm a temp, work, writing
middlegirl [userpic]

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

That's for one of the short stories I wrote in college for Creative Writing. I also ran the first three journal entries here (or, the three that follow this one) and got (in order): Stephenie Meyer (gag me), Chuck Palahniuk (who?), and Dan Brown (okay, I guess).

So the moral of the story is: when I'm really trying, I write great stuff. Or at least stuff that has a similar style to great stuff. When I'm being conversational, I write like (shudder) Twilight, some guy I've never heard of, and/or the guy who ticked off Christians everywhere.

Clearly I need to try more.

Next week is my last week temping, and thankfully so, because between working 8 to 5 and the crippling heat, I haven't wanted to sit in my oven of a room (or in the living room with a hot laptop on my lap) and blog. (Or craft my next review video.) Which is a shame, because I need to share my adventures going to San Francisco to see Paul Freakin' McCartney(!) last weekend (more accurately, adventures getting home), and to Sacramento to see Spamalot. (I'm seeing Spamalot tomorrow, but I'm assuming I'll have adventures. Apparently I can't take big trips to see shows I've wanted to see for ages without having some sort of madcap adventure that makes for great blogging.)

Mood bouncyMood bouncy
Music Sunglasses at Night - Corey Hart
Tags: randomness is next to godliness, writing
middlegirl [userpic]

I changed my layout! What do you think? I actually didn't really like my old one as soon as I got it up, because the colors looked so blah, but it took me this long to find a layout I loved. Now to tweak it to get the metadata they way I liked it before.

There really hasn't been a ton of things going on in my life, hence the lack of posting. I have recently, however, been thinking about redefining myself. Since I was in third grade, I've wanted to be a teacher. Writing was a hobby of mine, but now with the job situation (aka me still not having one to pay for credential programs and even if I could, the district is pink-slipping just about everybody this year OMG), I'm thinking of taking the Wendy Watson approach to life: I only temp/do whatever job I can get so I can write. In the meantime, I have started a book review blog so that I can a) indulge my love of books, b) give myself topics to write about, and c) keep myself in practice. I have been working on my book (bit by infinitesimal bit), but MacBeth is taking his homocidal tendencies out on my ability to be creative. But please come over and give it a look! (Yes it only has one review now, but I'm working on expanding the kinds of reviews I do and how to spread the word.)

Speaking of book reviews, I just got an advance copy of the next Quirk Classics book: Android Karenina! Based on Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, and, being Tolstoy, it's pretty dang long. I've got two and a half weeks to read it and come up with clever things to say about it!

As such, and the fact that I've got another book I'm in the middle of, I'd better get cracking!

middlegirl [userpic]

To celebrate St. Patrick's Day, I give you a sketch I wrote last year for a contest on MST3K: The Discussion Board.

x-posted to [ profile] mst3k

Ethnic stereotypes and church history? It must be St. Patrick's Day! )

Mood mellow and procrastinate-yMood mellow and procrastinate-y
Music Firedance - Riverdance
Tags: holidays, mst3k, writing
middlegirl [userpic]

I had a sweet video all set up, but Windows Movie Maker hates me and my .mov file. So text it is. (Apparently this computer hates embedding images, too. Life can't ever be easy, can it?)

Remember how a few weeks ago, I mentioned how I had managed to get involved in a new marketing idea with a publisher – today is the day! For the last two weeks, bloggers all over the net have been reading and writing reviews of the hot new release from Quirk Classics, and today they’ll be sharing their reviews with you. Stay tuned at the end of the review for information about the book and a chance to win fabulous prizes!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls introduces us to the Bennets, who have found themselves face to face with an unmentionable. The return of the undead awakens an old oath that Mr. Bennet had taken before marrying – that he would train his children to be warriors to defend England – and so he cleans out his dojo and starts training his five daughters to fight. But the idea of young ladies taking up the deadly arts doesn’t sit too well with the people of Meryton. So as corpses start poking their undead heads above ground once more, Jane and Elizabeth must leave their genteel lives behind and start taking action, all while navigating the affections of the men around them. It’s love and war in Hertfordshire in Dawn of the Dreadfuls.

I was excited to hear about a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (or PPZ for those keeping score at home). The Bennet sisters were so cool that I wanted to read more about them and the idea of seeing how they became warriors was too good to pass up, especially the chance to see proper English ladies playing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I pictured a training montage with the girls trying harder and harder and eventually growing strong enough to take on the undead hordes and set to “You’re the Best Around” from The Karate Kid.

Unfortunately, I think the sequel rule comes into play here. Yes, it’s a prequel, but the second title is often unable to match the level of the first. One reason why is that this was written by a different author. Seth Grahame-Smith left Quirk Classics after PPZ, and so this book, written by Steve Hockensmith, obviously has a different voice and style. This is an original story that uses Grahame-Smith’s world and Austen’s characters, and so it’s different enough to be noticeable, but not necessarily in a bad way. Jane Austen isn’t even listed here as a co-author, even though they’re her characters.

This book’s tone is more modern than the other Quirk Classics mashups. PPZ had retained much of Austen's language, even in the zombie scenes. Here we have a looser style. It’s almost not even a “true” mashup, since this is a completely original story with Austen's characters... like an ascended fanfiction of sorts. The modern tone lends itself well to casual reading. The first time I read PPZ, I had a hard time navigating Jane Austen’s polite, almost formal language (I hadn’t read Pride and Prejudice before, and I don’ think it’s necessary to), and I had to read it twice just to figure out all the nuances. I didn’t have that problem this time.

Actually, this book left me with a few issues. It may be Hockensmith’s attempt to give us characters that have some growing to do in order to get to where they are in PPZ, but Lydia is downright vile, especially to Mary, and Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have been downgraded from snarky bickerers to barely talking to each other. It also doesn’t seem to dovetail neatly into PPZ. There are some unanswered questions and a character or two that don’t get resolutions that also don’t exist in PPZ – unless they become some manky dreadful Elizabeth dispatches in the next book.

At this point, I feel the need to qualify my review. I love PPZ. It’s one of my favorite books. So naturally I can’t help but compare Dawn of the Dreadfuls to its predecessor. In fact, I was worried that I was being too picky when I started to read this book and found all these criticisms I had (I’ve even left out a few things because I was afraid they would be too spoilery). But as a reviewer, I can do little else but offer my honest opinion.

If I were to have read this on its own – without having PPZ, or even the task of writing a review, in mind – I have little doubt that I would find it a good read. The action is quite fun - as much fun as PPZ - and Hockensmith does a good job of getting into the minds of his characters, especially Lizzy, Mary, and Lord Lumpley. You get a real sense of how the Bennet sisters grow and learn how to become warriors. I easily pictured everything in my head, almost played out like a film - which for me, represents a very visual style. The illustrations don’t hurt either (this time they look like woodcuts or engravings).

Put together with PPZ into one massive Regency-Era zombie-fest, Dawn of the Dreadfuls plays the part of the slow rise of the first hill of the rollercoaster, where you sit in your car looking around and wondering what the rest of the ride holds for you, while the ominous click-click-click warns of what’s to come. PPZ then becomes the rest of the coaster with the twisting and turning action that gets your heart racing and your arms searching for something to hold on to as you’re tossed around. And Dawn of the Dreadfuls needs to be quieter, I think. The characters all have their growing up to do, and, as the Bennets show us, you have to train and train and do laps around the dojo and dand-baithaks (no, I'm not telling; read the book!) until your arms fall off before you can become a warrior. You have to deal with some idiots before you meet a Mr. Darcy, and you need to have one lone unmentionable before you can have all-out Zombie Armageddon.

I give this book 3 and a half out of 5 stars and recommend it to anybody who has enjoyed the other books from Quirk Classics. And a note to those, like me, who think they might be picky, just read it with an open mind.

But don’t take my word for it! (Hee. Reading Rainbow for the win. I’ve wanted to say that since I don’t know how long.)

For more information, visit Quirk Classics' Dawn of the Dreadfuls page.

And now, the payoff for sitting through my review: you - yes, you! - can be one of fifty winners of a Quirk Classics Prize Pack! It includes:

  • An advance copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
  • Audiobooks of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
  • A password redeemable online for sample audio chapters of Dawn of the Dreadfuls
  • An awesome Dawn of the Dreadfuls poster (I have one - it's pretty cool!)
  • A Pride and Prejudice and Zombies journal
  • A box set of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies postcards (if you win, please send me one! It’ll be the piece de resistance of my collection!)
To enter, click here, which'll take you to a public message board post where you can discuss how anxious you are for the book. Please mention my blog ("Deum, Vitam, Litteras Amemus" aka the title of my LJ), and the prize pack, retailing at more than $100, can be yours!

Thanks to Quirk Classics for the book and all the fun, and look for another review later in the spring for Quirk Classics' next release: Android Karenina, coming summer 2010!

Mood multitasking :DLocation work
Mood multitasking :D
Music Sadeness, Pt. 1 - Enigma, thanks to Slacker Radio and my new speakers!
Tags: books, shameless promotion, writing
middlegirl [userpic]

So I found out that when there isn't anything for me to do at work (filing is done, phone's not ringing, etc.) that it's okay for me to surf the internet. Oh, if they knew what they had just given me permission to do! I still make it a point to do whatever is asked of me, and I figure the phones will really pick up starting in the next few weeks, so a little Facebooking/Twittering/Livejournaling is okay in the meantime.

Also, I just got confirmed today to receive an advance review copy of Quirk Classics' Dawn of the Dreadfuls, prequel to their comedy/horror mashup juggernaut Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. They put a call out to bloggers of all sizes (i.e., my little Livejournal is just as important to them as a big-time book review blog), and I made the cut! So on March 3, come back here for my first foray into professional(ish) writing. (That piece for the essay book is on hold, as the editor hasn't gotten back to me in a while. Boo.) I also mentioned to my contact at Quirk Books (makes me sound so "in the loop") that I was also looking forward to their next book, Android Karenina, and she offered to put me on the review list for that book, too! Add to that the fact that my friend Bethany is sending me her library's copy of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter because her boss at the library doesn't want it, and this is going to be a good year for freebies.

You should also come back and read my review on March 3 because after you read it, you can go to and enter to win a prize pack! More details to come, film at 11.

Not a lot of much consequence (apart from that) has happened this week, except for my paycheck finally clearing and my passing desperate need for a haircut, so I'll sign off for now.

Just had a fun idea for something to do, but I'll need to buy a better digital camera first. Tee hee. :D

Mood happyMood happy
Tags: update, work, writing
middlegirl [userpic]

Warning: babbling ahead. I really should have gone to sleep a while ago, but...

Oh gosh. I leave in *quick check of the calendar* 5 days and I feel so unready. I still can't pack; I need to have clothes to wear. I don't have room to have a suitcase in here (or should I go for the massive duffel? maybe both? It will be almost the same amount of time as a semester at college), and even if I did, who wants to live out of a suitcase for 5 days in one's own house?

In the meantime, I'm still writing (almost finished; I just need to figure out how to wrap it up, still hoarding DVDs and videos, and finding new ways to keep busy. Namely by watching Doctor Who. Yeah, I joined the collective. I used to think that maybe I'd enjoy the show, being all sci-fi as it is, but I didn't know I'd enjoy it this much. It's funny! It has its tender, squishy, you-and-me-against-the-world-just-let-em-try-to-split-us-up moments, but it also has a lot of fluffy, good-times-and-best-buddies bits, too. I get those Middleman Moments where I'd think of something funny I'd seen earlier and it'd still have me giggling. (They're called "Middleman Moments" because I first got them thanks to The Middleman. I also get them now from Outer Space Astronauts, too.) I started watching the beginning of Season 2 (when David Tennant started) last week, and I just finished the season tonight. I don't think I've even blazed through The Middleman or Outer Space Astronauts that fast... of course, there are only 5 episode of OSA right now. I could blaze through the entire season (or series if it doesn't get picked up again) in one afternoon if I so chose.

I refuse to become obsessed, though, because new favorite shows are always welcome, but I don't have time for any new obsessions. And I certainly won't once I start working full time. Though I have decided that David Tennant is at least 20 kinds of awesome, and he and Ewan McGregor need to be in something together. And it has to be fluffy. (The first thing I thought of was something like Down With Love, which I adore.)

I've also decided that my LJ layout is really boring, plain, and really bland. I need to spice it up, but I don't know how, or what to make it look like. I also need a new default icon. Basically I need a change. Maybe that's one more reason why moving in with the grandparents is a good thing.

Mood restlessMood restless
Music Impacilla Carpisung - The Ting Tings
Tags: grandparental units, writing
middlegirl [userpic]

I leave two weeks from today on my Temp Job Adventure (if you haven't noticed, it's also become one of my New Year's Resolutions to type in Title Case as often as possible. It's an easy way to add emphasis without overusing bold and/or italics, and it can also make something sound Way More Epic Than Before), and I haven't really considered what clothes to pack, or what to take along. I'm "stockpiling" my favorite things to do and videos to watch so I have something to do when it gets boring up there, so it's getting boring down here. Lots of downloading, considering that QI isn't available in the States and I won't have access to Hulu so I can watch Outer Space Astronauts whenever I want. (Seriously, that is a funny show. Kind of like Galaxy Quest on crack.) At the very least I should go through my closet and dresser and make a note of what I want to bring so it'll be quicker to pack when it gets closer, though I suspect I might pad the work wardrobe once the paychecks start coming... just so when I get back home I'll have so many nice clothes to wear that will just sit in my closet and use up what little space I have in there. Maybe I need to rethink that.

In addition to putting off preparations for leaving, I'm also working on a piece for an essay collection (something along the lines of Chicks Dig Time Lords, which is the only similar Book of a Fannish Nature I know of at the moment, thanks to [ profile] taraoshea ), and so I'm trying to figure out why bad movies are so painful to us, which requires figuring out why good movies are so good to us... yes, it's a Mystery Science Theater 3000 book, and that's all I'm going to say right now beyond How So Freaking Badly I would love to be published. The deadline is the end of January, which means I need to get it done before I leave for Grandparents... I started to hash out an outline a few days ago, and it turned into a page and a half of paragraphs, and almost 1,000 words. Wow my paper writing skills came back fast. Unfortunately, thanks to that whole why-do-bad-movies-hurt-us-so issue, and trying to keep it as academic as possible, I've hit a pause right now, as the articles and books the editor recommended to me aren't available here in town or online. (I would almost kill for the access I had to journals and databases that I had while at Liberty. Okay, maybe not kill. But I might kiss a guy if it got me access. This makes me a Major Nerd... with problems... who is possibly a lonely person... destined to live alone with Too Many Cats.)

I really need to tidy up my room so I don't leave a mess behind when I go. I'm still painfully short on storage space, so a lot of things end up on the floor... I also hate folding laundry so it sits in the hamper while dirty clothes pile up elsewhere. This is what happens when finally nobody cares how clean your room is after 3 years of Thrice-Weekly Room Checks.

I've been sitting on this update all day, so I should probably post it, seeing as I have nothing else to add. :-)

Mood restlessMood restless
Music Short Skirt, Long Jacket - Cake
Tags: adventures, grandparental units, mst3k, writing
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