Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen is one of my all-time favorite authors. We watched "Pride and Prejudice" about a week ago, and I just re-read the book over the weekend. The movie is a great adaptation of the book, although as is often the case with book-to-movie screenplays, scenes were compressed or multiple scenes lumped into one, etc. However, there were some places in the book that read just like the screenplay.

After finishing the book yesterday, I realized a couple of things. First, compared to the manners of Austen's day, most Americans are basically cave men or apes or something when it comes to how we treat one another. In Victorian England, the standards of decorum were very high. And Austen's writing captures that aspect of her society, while at the same time using words that are exactly right and ring true emotionally. That's at least in part why her books have endured.

I've also decided I'm going to have an all-Austen movie week (or two) this summer and watch "Sense and Sensibility," "Emma," and I may even look for "Mansfield Park." And I'll at least re-read one of those books--maybe all of them.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Kinda Cool
Yesterday I got a surprise at my doorstep (and no, it wasn't a stork). It was a box from Concordia Publishing House full of copies of my Thanksgiving book in a paperback version. That was cool! I didn't even realize it was going to be a paperback, so it was a nice surprise. This is the link to CPH for the hardback edition. I don't see the paperback version on the CPH Web site yet, but I'm sure it'll be there soon.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Emeril and Me
Last night I was flipping channels for a few minutes after another freezing-cold baseball game (in which my son got 3 singles--way to go, Jacob!), and came across the food network's Emeril Live show. It was hot dog night on the show (whatever that means). When my remote landed on the channel, he had just diced a bunch of onions, put them in some olive oil to saute, and was getting some scattered oohs and aahs from the crowd. Then he diced some tomatoes, cutting them into large-ish hunks and added them to the pan with the onions.

And then, I couldn't believe what happened next.

The crowd started clapping and cheering, as if he had accomplished some great feat. They were hooting and hollaring because he had thrown some cut-up tomatoes in a stinking frying pan!!

And it occurred to me that I would be a much happier cook if only people would clap and cheer every time I, say, tear up some lettuce leaves and toss them in a salad bowl, or drain some spaghetti noodles, or perhaps--gasp--dump some applesauce into a bowl! Then I'd toss away my writing pen and be in the kitchen all day long, right?

So, I guess what my kitchen needs is a cheering, oohing and aahing studio audience. But, until I get that, I guess I'll just keep my sharpened pencils close by.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Book of Lists and other miscellaneous thoughts
How much I post on my blog is in direct relation to the amount of time I have to write, so I have been cranky lately without much writing time. However, I thought I'd post something about a book I found at the library called, The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists. It's produced by Jossey-Bass Teacher and edited/compiled by Edward Fry and Jacqueline Kress. It's got some really interesting info, such as vocabulary builders, teaching ideas, plus lots of other tidbits. Here was a list I thought was kind of cool:

The Most Common Books in Libraries (I'm leaving off the names of the authors as a little quiz. Any you can't remember?)

1. Census
2. Bible
3. Mother Goose
4. The Divine Comedy
5. The Odyssey
6. The Iliad
7. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
8. Hamlet
9. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
10. The Lord of the Rings
11. Beowulf
12. Don Quixote
13. Koran
14. Aesop's Fables
15. The Night Before Christmas
16. Arabian Nights
17. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
18. Garfield by Jim Davis
19. Macbeth
20. Gulliver's Travels

Now, all of these (and the other five I didn't feel like typing in the top 25) seemed completely obvious, except for GARFIELD BY JIM DAVIS??? That's right up there with Beowulf and Hamlet and the Bible? I thought that was sort of amusing.

P.S. Those multiple question marks in my last paragraph are dedicated to Pastor Petersen. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Land that Inspired Narnia
I read an article last week in our AAA newsletter with some interesting info on the land that possibly inspired some of the setting C.S. Lewis' beloved Narnia books.

This is a photo of Dunluce Castle in Ireland, near where Lewis spent his childhood in the rolling hills of the Antrim Coast. This castle is said to have inspired Lewis' Cair Paravel from the Narnia books. Travelers can also visit St. Mark's Church in Dundea where Lewis was baptized as well as his childhood school Campbell College.

Although he was born in Ireland and spent much of his childhood there, Lewis spent most of his adult life in southern England, in Oxford where he studied and later taught. Here's a quote from the article: "Lewis' former home, The Kilns, is also located in Oxfordshire. The wild ground, lake and wooded hills of the once isolated home provided inspiration for Lewis as he wrote." (sigh--does that not sound like a writer's paradise???)

Anyway, so that's another trip I'll take someday. We actually have seen the Eagle and Child in Oxford, the pub where the inklings (Lewis and his buddies) gathered frequently. That was cool. And then we went to that huge bookstore. Blackwells, is it? I just love England.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Google Earth & Stuff
I've been sort of on a hiatus from my blog because I'm having problems getting all my info to show up correctly for people who use Internet Explorer. From what I've learned, it's a problem with Blogger. If you view it from another browser, like Mozilla Firefox, all appears to be fine. Anyhoo...please ignore the weird look of the blog. I'll keep trying to figure it out.

Yesterday I went to Google earth and downloaded this free program so that I can zoom in on a satellite photo of ANYWHERE ON EARTH! Most of you have probably heard of this before, and I had too, but I'd never taken the time to download the program. I found our neighborhood, and we were looking at interesting places all over the earth. We figured out that some of the photos were probably quite old (at least a year or so in our neighborhood), but still, it's kinda cool.