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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

30 Songs {#29}

Oliver! (the movie musical) is one of my family's favorite movies to watch together (although we haven't for some time) and Who Will Buy? is probably my favorite song in the entire film.  I've always loved the big ensemble numbers in musicals and this one is probably the biggest in the whole musical.  It starts out with only one person singing ("Who will buy my sweet red roses?  Two blooms for a penny.") and gradually builds up to everyone singing.

There'll never be a day so sunny,
It could not happen twice.
Where is the man with all the money?
It's cheap at half the price! 

Who will buy
Who will buy
This wonderful feeling?
I'm so high
I swear I could fly.
Me, oh my!
I don't want to lose it
So what am I to do
To keep the sky so blue? 
There must be someone who will buy!

It's a fun song and I like singing it (or at least Oliver's part) because it's a very easy soprano bit and I love singing soprano (way better than alto, even though I can do that better).  I've only listened/watched the film's version, but I'll probably try the Original Broadway Cast Recording sometime soon (don't you just love original cast recordings?).

Have you ever seen Oliver?  What's your favorite song from the musical?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

30 Songs {#30}

A lot of Les Miserables fans hate this song and honestly, I have no idea why.  It's a gorgeous, sad song and one that perfectly fits just before Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.  However, I never really got the point of the song until I watched the movie.  And then I saw what the women were doing (cleaning the blood off the streets) and understood the song better even though it was so short.  Seriously, the movie version was only - what? - five lines long?  They changed a few lyrics though, too make it more heartbreaking.

Did you see them going off to fight?
Children of the barricade who didn't last the night.
Did you see them lying where they died?
Someone used to cradle them and kiss them when they cried.
Did you see them lying side by side?

Random fact - for the longest time, a lot of people thought that Enjolras' body was in a cart behind the Turning women (in the movie).  It was eventually found to just be National Guard bodies but it was pretty heartbreaking to think of that.  Although I've heard that in the current US Tour, they actually do have Enjolras and Gavroche's bodies in a cart after the final battle.  I just hope they don't do that when/if I go to see the show live.

Do you think Turning should have gotten a higher rating?  What are your thoughts?

Monday, July 29, 2013

30 Songs {Introduction}

keep calm because #music is #life

As most of you probably know, I love music.  Instrumental, vocal, show tunes, singles, Disney...I love all of it (or most of it - I refuse to listen One Direction or Justin Bieber).  I've decided to showcase just some of my favorites over the next month or so and while I can't promise a post a day (life, you know), I can promise at least three a week.  There'll be thirty songs with a count up instead of a count down (so the first post will be #30, the second post #29, etc, etc.).  

If you can believe it, I wasn't able to get all my favorites on the list - and please don't rise up in arms when you see whatever the bottom song is (I honestly can't remember what it was right now) because it was incredibly hard to pick a least favorite and since what I like at any given moment changes all the time, I'll probably have a different choice before this series is over :)

I'm probably not going to start posting until much later this week because I'm still debating over some of the songs on the list (I can't decide whether or not I love Defying Gravity or not) and I also change the order of the songs (see what I told you?).  The majority of the songs will be from musicals (with most of those being from Les Mis - your problem?) although there's several Disney ones as well.  I actually think it's only Disney and musical songs.

Anyway, that's the intro to 30 Songs.  I hope you'll find a few new favorites in the following weeks :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

{my bucket list}

~fall in love with someone who loves me back
~be proposed to in a unique way
~get engaged
~marry the love of my life
~have a perfect wedding
~have my parents/grandparents there the day i get married
~have a marriage more beautiful than my wedding
~have children
~have twins
~be called mommy
~be a good parent
~watch my children get married
~live to meet my grandchildren
~grow old with someone i love
~have a fiftieth wedding anniversary
~live happily ever after
~be an aunt
~see the statue of liberty
~go on a road trip with friends
~order dessert first at a restaurant
~give a surprise gift that makes someone's day
~bake every single thing in a cookbook
~use a fake name at starbucks
~travel to all the places i've always wanted to go (france, ireland and scotland)
~go to the top of the eiffel tower
~learn how to sew
~learn how to bake/cook perfectly
~catch a bride's bouquet
~be a bridesmaid
~be the maid of honour in a wedding
~visit paris, france
~visit the palace of versailles
~visit the louvre
~go on a midnight stroll in paris
~visit cannes, france
~see a stage musical live (you guess which one)
~see a shooting star
~write/publish a book
~write a novel every year during national novel writing month
~have a book i've written by made into a movie
~publish a best-selling novel
~kiss in the rain
~give people a reason to remember my name
~follow my dreams (marriage, writing, singing...)
~visit the hershey's chocolate factory in pennsylvania
~dance in the rain
~throw someone a surprise party
~have a surprise party thrown for me
~run through a field of sunflowers
~bake in the middle of the night with someone i love
~receive a dozen red roses
~find a four-leaf clover
~try baked alaska
~take a picture every day for a year
~write a letter to myself and open it in ten years
~have the room of my dreams
~learn how to play the piano
~find the perfect wedding dress
~own a nice camera
~learn to speak a different language fluently (preferably french)
~learn fluent sign language
~meet my online friends
~go an entire day without using any technology
~try everything on the starbucks menu once
~be part of a flash mob
~own something from swarovski crystal
~learn braille
~own a typewriter
~send a letter to a random address and see if they write back
~celebrate st. patrick's day in ireland
~finish a 'wreck this journal'
~convince someone to write their own bucket list
~autograph something
~start a diary and write in it every day
~leave a note in a library book
~go to carlo's bake shop
~create a time capsule
~time travel

Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, Petie!


Today is Petie's birthday!  Yay!  Somehow I missed her birthday last year (I'm hopeless with remembering dates) so to make up for it, I'm doing a whole birthday post just for her (and anyone else who's interested).  Petie and I have known each other for over a year now *gasp* and it's been really special for me since she was the first real friend I ever had (siblings not included).  

Our friendship started on June 12th, 2012 when I asked her if she would be able to participate in the Pride & Prejudice comparisons I was hosting.  In that email I innocently mentioned that I had watched Les Miserables 10thAC thanks to her and Amy's comparisons.  She responded right away saying that she couldn't do the P&P comparisons but asked what some of my favorite things about the 10th were and the emails just kept flying back and forth between us :)  And now, I want to share a few things about her that I love.

~She's so inspirational.  
Seriously, Petie is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met (virtually, that is).  A little while ago she read the Bible through in just one month and now I'm doing it (I'm in the middle of it right now).  She's so passionate about Jesus, her family, her writing, coffee ;) and just life in general.  Have you read her manifesto?  That was one of those this-is-awesome-and-I-am-so-proud-that-this-girl-is-my-friend moment.

~She's encouraging
Definitely.  She's been there with virtual cups of coffee and bars of dark chocolate when all of my novel accidentally got deleted, whenever I sent her a prayer request or when I was just down in the dumps and told her so.  When Mom was having difficulties with her pregnancy she was right there, available to listen to all my hyperventilating (and there was a lot).  If I ever need a bit of encouragement, I know where to go.

~She's hilarious
I'm the kind of person who doesn't laugh easily but Petie can make me laugh every. single. time.  Whether we're snickering over Justin Bieber, bashing Nick Jonas as Marius or just sharing a funny story, I usually have a silly grin on my face that often turns into giggles (she can make me cry too, but that's a whole other story).

~She's such a fangirl
Petie is the most enthusiastic person I have ever known when it comes to fangirling (and that's saying a lot).  She has so many different fangirl topics - BBC's Robin Hood, Enjolras, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Lawrence, The Scarlet Pimpernel.  The list could go on.  And on.  And on.  And on.  I love how she fangirls, as well.  WITH LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS LIKE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~She takes gorgeous photographs
I'm not going to talk about this.  I'm going to show you.



See what I mean?

~She names her things
She named her camera Rochester.  'Nough said.

~She and I are scarily similar
Or rather, we both like the same things.  Jane Austen.  Charles Dickens.  Period dramas in general.  Les Miserables.  The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Coffee.  Weddings.  Certain actors/actresses.  Yup, we're pretty similar.  Oh, we have our disagreements (mostly over Hugh Jackman's version of Bring Him Home) but, hey, variety is the spice of life, right?  And I wouldn't really have it any other way :)

This has been fun.  And since I'm terrible at actually finishing posts, I'll just let Enjolras do it for me =)

@Payton W. - slightly early good wishes from Enjo :D
He's so sweet.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Jane Austen Films

Sense And Sensibility--Jane the book and the Movie...
Is it weird that as soon as I saw this picture, I unconsciously started humming 'Throw The Coins'?
This post will be very similar to the one I did a little while back about different versions of Les Miserables that can be found on Youtube.  Only this time, I'm going to be listing Jane Austen film adaptions, giving my opinion for each one and a rating.  I'm not going to be including every single Jane Austen adaption that's on Youtube because it would make the list too long.  Plus, I haven't seen them all.  I'm just going to list the ones that I have seen.  And I'm not going to do the films by order of rating like I did with the Les Mis post.  I'm just going to do them in order of how the books were published :)
  • Sense & Sensibility 1995 - I think I did a little happy dance when I discovered that this film was on Youtube.  We don't own a copy of it and I believe Netflix has taken it down - and it's my favorite Jane Austen film EVER.  It was the very first period drama I ever watched and even though I hardly understood any of it at the time (I was pretty young), I still loved it.  I think the ending had something to do with that :)  The casting, script, music, etc. is perfect.  Especially the music.  I do have the soundtrack CD and it's one of my favorite things to listen to while writing.  Rating - 10/10
  • Pride & Prejudice 1995 - As most of you probably know, this version of P&P is not my favorite.  I infinitely prefer the 2005 adaption *gasps of horror from all the Janeites*  But I have to admit that this adaption is flawless when it comes to book-accuracy (except for that silly pond scene) and many of the characters are well cast.  And I love the music (which is a really big plus with me).  Rating - 7/10
  • Mansfield Park 2007 - This adaption of Mansfield Park has the reputation of being one of the worst (if not the worst) Jane Austen adaption to date.  And I can understand where that comes from.  It's very short with many scenes mashed together (or cut) and Fanny is totally wrong.  That being said, I still like this film *another gasp*  I can't really say why I still like it but it probably has something to do with the last couple of scenes.  They're so sweet.  Although the proposal is a bit odd, I guess.  Edmund runs into Fanny and he gives her a kiss without stopping to ask whether or not she loves him.  Meh.  Another thing I liked was that Edmund suddenly falling out of love with Mary Crawford was done well.  You actually got to see their argument and I think it worked very well.  And Edmund (played by Blake Ritson) was really good casting.  Rating - 7/10
  • Emma 1997 - I watched this film so long ago that I've forgotten some of the details and since I really don't feel like watching it again, I'll do my best with what I can remember.  This was the first Emma adaption I ever watched but it's my least favorite of the three I've seen.  I actually liked Emma herself even though she did have dark hair (did Jane Austen ever say what color Emma's hair was?  I forget).  Mr Knightley, on the other hand, was a fail.  He was much better as Sir John Conroy in The Young Victoria.  In my opinion, the rest of the cast was indifferent at best and nothing stood out in the way of music, accuracy to the book and so on.  Rating - 5/10
  • Emma 2009 - I love this adaption of Emma.  It's my favorite JA adaption after S&S.  The casting is brilliant, the music is perfect and the script is brilliant.  And it has some of my favorite period drama scenes.  Like the Emma/Knightley dance (gorgeous music), the proposal and the very last scene.  And I love Johnny Lee Miller's portrayal of Mr Knightley ;)  Rating - 10/10
  • Northanger Abbey 2007 - I did watch the old eighties version of NA (or at least some of it) and it's on Youtube, but it's so terrible, I'm not going to feature it.  But the 2007 adaption is wonderful.  The thing that sticks out to me the most is the casting.  The music is meh and the script is okay, but the casting/acting is phenomenal.  I especially think that Isabella was well cast - it seems that Carey Mulligan can play any part that's thrown at her.  I've seen her as Kitty Bennet, Isabella Thorpe and Ada Clare and she's really, really good in all three roles.  Definitely one of my favorite period drama actresses.  And the ending is so sweet and fits the rest of the story perfectly (Jane Austen didn't go into proposal details so I loved how they added the scene at the end).  Rating - 8/10
  • Miss Austen Regrets - This film is a bio-pic about Jane Austen's life, or, more specifically, her later life.  Basically, the only thing I liked about this film was the music which was enchanting.  The rest of it was boring, depressing, etc, etc.  I watched it a really long time ago and since then I've learned the Hiddles actually has a small role so I'll probably watch it again just to catch that :)  But overall, I wouldn't recommend this film.  I think, even with the failings I've heard of, I'd rather watch Becoming Jane (especially as Anne Hathaway plays Jane).  Rating - 4/10
Do you agree or disagree with my ratings?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Les Miserables - RGS High Wycombe {Review}

Tomorrow comes!

There are a zillion high school productions of Les Mis on Youtube and frankly, almost none of them are any good (and some are downright wretched - Blacklick Valley High, for instance).  Most of them are indifferent at best and I've only found two that are really outstanding - Lincoln High School (hereafter referred to as LHS for brevity) and RGS High (which I shall call RGS for the rest of this post).  And of the two, RGS is the best.  The production values are outstanding, all the performers are amazing (with the exception of Marius) and the orchestra is really, really good.  Since it is so good, I decided to review it.  I just can't keep it all to myself :)

Oh, and another thing.  It's a British production.  Which may or may not have something to do with how good it is.  I'll let you decide.

I'm going to do a quick assessment of all the characters and then move on to songs and randomness.  Valjean is good (although LHS is still better).  Javert is THE best high school Javert I have ever seen.  I mean, Javert's Suicide is amazing.  Fantine is great.  I think she should have shown a little more emotion during I Dreamed A Dream but her voice is phenomenal and she basically nails everything else.  Marius is meh.  Sadly.  I've never seen a really good high school Marius.  Enjolras is  He doesn't wear the Red Vest of Power & Awesomeness until One Day More, but I doesn't really detract from anything (much).  Eponine is outstanding - great voice, great acting, etc.  Cosette is really good.  Her accent is so thick that at first I thought she had a speech impediment :)  I'm pretty sure she's Welsh (I'm thinking Enjolras is too).

Gavroche is one of the best I've ever seen.  And you know what I think one of the best things about the whole production is?  GAVROCHE HAS MINIONS.  HOW AWESOME IS THAT?  Seriously, he's got four or five boys that are always with him.  And they agree with him about everything.  Like when he's singing "That inspector thinks he's something..."  It's great.

This was hilarious.  Gav is the smallest one right in the front.

About the songs...

The ensemble for At the End of the Day was great and one thing that I liked about the ensemble for Look Down (Beggars) was that they sounded angry.  In almost every high school production I've watched, they just sound bored (even LHS).  One Day More was epic.  I liked Drink With Me but I like LHS's version better - it's probably because of Grantaire.  The way he sings his part in LHS is almost as good as Hadley.  Speaking of Grantaire...the heartless production director did the Grantaire/Gavroche friendship along with Grantaire's reaction to Gavroche's death.  It was really sad.  Of course.

I really liked Combeferre and how the guy who played him was so in character.  He always carried a book around and he comforted Marius after Eponine's death (ALFOR was heartbreaking.  Just saying.) and Grantaire after Gavroche's death.  And the other students were good too (although none really stood out like Enjo, Ferre and R).

Go watch it on Youtube.  Right now.  And then come back and tell me what you thought.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Little Things {51-75}

keeps me going.

~ sparkly new sandals
~ the knowledge that Scotland's national animal is a unicorn
~ walks and talks
~ family reunions
~ walking to the library in the pouring rain.  without an umbrella.
~ the whole orchestration for 'on my own'
~ amazing friends
~ deadlines
~ getting lost in books
~ too many blog post ideas at one time
~ chocolate ice cream
~ the smell of books
~ facts and figures
~ my moleskine notebook that I carry everywhere
~ jewelry
~ laughter
~ ginourmous pancake breakfasts
~ being random
~ a small, red, common (ha!) English flower
~ funny boards on Pinterest
~ arabian horses
~ getting a pile of books from the library
~ books about writing
~ the fact that it was so easy to compile this list :)

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Scaramouche (1952)

Andre-Louis Moreau is a nobleman's illegitimate son in the days just before the French revolution. Noel, the Marquis de Maynes, a nobleman in love with the Queen, is ordered to seek the hand of a young ingenue, Aline, in marriage. Andre also meets Aline, and forms an interest in her. But when the marquis kills his best friend Andre declares himself the Marquis's enemy and vows to avenge his friend. He hides out, a wanted man, as an actor in a acting troupe, and spends his days learning how to handle a sword. When de Maynes becomes a murderer, challenging opposing National Assembly members to duels they have no hope of winning, Andre becomes a politician to protect the third estate (and hopefully kill de Maynes).


I love this film.  I think I've seen it about four times and I still like it (which is surprising because if I watch a film too much, I end up not liking it).  One reason it's one of my favorites is the time period - just before the French Revolution.  And it shows.  There's a small part near the beginning where Marie Antoinette says to the Marquis "What do these people want of us?"  And he replies, "Our money, our lands...our heads."  

Returning to the film itself, there were a couple of actresses I recognized - Janet Leigh (Aline) who I've seen in The Vikings as Princess Morgana (that's another excellent film) and Eleanor Parker (Lenore) who was the baroness in The Sound of Music (totally different role in Scaramouche - nothing at all like the baroness).  I actually didn't like Andre himself because he's so fickle.  First he's in love with Lenore, then Aline, then Lenore and then Aline again :P  Whatever.  I still think he and Lenore should have gotten married (I love this film but I hate the ending.  No kidding).

The music was great, the final showdown scene was amazing and I love the overall story (well...most of it).  Definitely worth a watch.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Jane Austen Mini-Reviews

the books
Here are my mini-reviews of Jane Austen's six major novels.  With one-out-of-ten ratings at the end ('cause they're fun).
  • Sense & Sensibility - This book will always be special to me because 1) it was the first Austen I ever read (read and understood - I stumbled my way through Persuasion when I was a tween...) and 2) the 1995 adaption was the first period drama I'd ever watched and it was my favorite movie EVAH for the longest time (and I still love it).  Plus, I see bits of both Elinor and Marianne is me at times :)  One thing I love about this book is the surprises.  No matter how many times I read it, I'm 'totally didn't see this coming' with Lucy and Edward's engagement, Eliza's story and Willoughby coming to explain himself to Elinor.  Over the past few months, I've found that I like Marianne a teensy bit more than Elinor.  Which is odd, I guess, but I can't help it :)  Rating: 9/10
  • Pride & Prejudice - Okay.  So.  P&P is probably my least favorite Jane Austen book *ducks*  For me, Mr Darcy is not the ultimate hero (leave that up to Mr Knightley, Sir Percy and Jean Valjean) and sometimes I just get tired of people talking about how great he and the story are and totally ignoring all the other books.  That being said, I do like P&P (hey, it's Austen!).  I like Elizabeth and the whole Jane/Bingley subplot.  And the 2005 adaption is one of my favorite films.  Rating: 6/10
  • Mansfield Park - On a whole other side of the Jane Austen fandom, quite apart from P&P, we have another debate (the 'Mansfield Park is so slow and boring and Fanny and Edmund are dumb and the Crawfords are so much better' debate).  Personally, I love Mansfield Park.  It's true that it doesn't have the same sparkle as Pride & Prejudice or Emma but sometimes it's nice to have a slow book that you can just savour.  Although I think that Edmund is a bit fickle (I'm talking about right at the end), Fanny is a really great heroine - she has a quiet strength about her (although she can be a bit Elsie Dinsmore-ish at times...).  As for the Crawfords, well, when I first read the book I thought Miss Crawford was actually very nice; but I didn't trust Mr Crawford for a moment.  Someone said that Miss Crawford was a slightly nicer version of Lady Susan.  I agree.  Rating: 8/10
  • Emma - *siiiiiiiigh*  My favorite Austen novel.  And that may or may not have something to do with the fact that Mr Knightley is in it.  Probably a lot ;)  Emma is my favorite heroine.  Sure, she makes mistakes, but that's what makes her believable and fun.  I like almost all the characters in here (with the exception of the Eltons, of course) and I think Emma ranks right up there with P&P for 'most quotable novel'.  Of course, my mind being what it is, I can't think of a single example, but I know what I'm talking about :)  Oh, one of the reasons I think it's my favorite is...CHAPTER FORTY-NINE.  I need to go read it again *melts*  Rating: 10/10
  • Northanger Abbey - This is my mom's least favorite Jane Austen novel, but I like it :)  While it's true that Catherine isn't exactly the brightest heroine, Henry Tilney more than makes up for it (am I the only one who thinks she didn't exactly deserved him?).  Forget what I said about Emma - Northanger Abbey is the most quotable.  Liked Eleanor, despised Isabella, liked James, despised General Tilney, etc, etc.  I started reading Mysteries of Udolpho once (massive book - I gave up after I got about a quarter through) so I was able to 'get' what Isabella and Catherine and then Henry and Catherine were talking about.  And I still think Catherine might have been onto something with her theory about Mrs Tilney...  Rating: 8/10
  • Persuasion - This book is different from all of the others.  It doesn't talk about a young girl (or girls) trying to find a husband.  It's about a older woman who almost had a husband and then lost him.  The night is getting late so I'll just leave you with a few bits about my favorite part and my rating and then get off the computer.  So, my favorite is..The Letter.  *mushy-gushy fangirl sighs*  After all these re-reads, I still can't read that bit without a few happy tears coming to my eyes :)  Rating: 7/10
What do you think of my opinions?  Also, would any of you be interested in a post about all my different Les Mis ships? (yes, yes, the Scaramouche review is coming in a little while)

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