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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

History, Fiction, And All That Jazz

You know you're a history fan when...

History is awesome. *cue music from The Lego Movie*  No, but seriously.  I mean it.  It's my favorite subject in (home)school and when I was allowed to chose whatever part of history I wanted to study in this coming school year, I was thrilled (I chose WWI and WWII).  As is usual for a history fan, I have my favorite time periods and decades, and although I could write a slew of posts dedicated to all my favorite historical eras, I'm going to give you a few (or more) book recommendations for each category.  I considered adding 'futuristic' to my list, since I've read so many dystopian (and a few sci-fi) books recently, but that would be cheating, so I refrained.  And now let me go into the time periods I did choose...


Glad we have the history of Egypt.  Go to or just click on photo for home videos and much more on sites like this.

I Recommend...


Medieval Magic Tricks

I Recommend...

{american revolution}

Don Troiani Historical Artist "The Redoubt" During the closing moments of the battle of Bunker/Breed's Hill the British Marines and 47th Foot storm over the side of the Patriot redoubt and Dr. Joseph Warren (light blue silk waistcoat and white breeches) is about to meet his fate.

I Recommend...

{french revolution}

July 14, 1789 – French Revolution: citizens of Paris storm the Bastille (Painting).

I Recommend...


Regency era wedding--I love the way the groom is gazing possessively at his bride. :)

I Recommend...

 Sherlock Holmes (series)


World War 2 Poster.  Americans: Always fighting for liberty! I found this poster almost a decade ago in an antique shop in DC and purchased for my older brother who is an Army officer.

I Recommend...

Have you read any of these books?  Do you have any other book recommendations for these different time periods?  What are some of your favorite eras of history?


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Bucket List Tag

I don't usually do tags, but this one looked fun and easy, and I've been searching around for a new post idea, so here it is.  I was tagged by Miss Jane Bennet of Classic Ramblings, and before I do anything else, I'm just going to say that I don't know who to tag, so if you want to do this tag, be my guest.  And if you don't, that's fine too. {ugh, I know that the 'I tag everyone who wants to do it' thing is becoming cliched, but, honestly, I can't help it}  I have to list ten or more things on my bucket list and with the help of Pinterest, this post should be more visually appealing than a simple text list.  Let me know what you think of this fragment of my very, very long list.

visit scotland.

And, lastly, one thing I really want to do, but I can't find one of those nifty tumblr bucket list images for (like the ones above) is visit each of the Normandy beaches that played a part in D-Day, 1944.  I think that would be beyond amazing.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stuff I've Been Doing

random picture because I like it.
First of all, I'm really sorry that's it's taken me so long to post again.  I've got no excuse - basically, I've been Pinteresting/emailing wayyyy too much and neglecting both this blog and my writing blog.  I'd be neglecting Feelsy Feels as well, if I hadn't promised to post every Wednesday.  But I'm back (although not with anything of particular genius to say) and I hope to stay that way for at least a little while (until I slip back into Pinterest's dark clutches).  Ugh.  I'm feeling totally uninspired at the moment, so if this post seems disjointed, rambly, and just plain bad...forgive me.



Okay.  About my writing.  I haven't exactly been doing it.  I mean, I'm still writing, but not in Vengeance Is Mine (go to my writing blog for more information about that project).  More of a...Hunger Games/Rat Patrol alternate universe?  Yeah.  I'm a disgrace when it comes to writing.  There are huge plot holes and gaps facing me when it comes to VIM, so I've taken the coward's way out (again), by writing flit and fluff fan-fiction that could never even get published.  I'm sure it's good practice, but it feels like I'm writing junk food instead of meat and potatoes.  Still...junk food is fun every once in a while, and I'm sure even the strictest vegan gets cravings for a good hamburger now and then.  I'm sure my will to write VIM will resurface soon (after all, I have a lot of time/emotion invested in it), but for now, I'm not going to force it.  Partly because I'm too lazy, and partly because I'm having too much fun with the weird/quirky fan-fic I'm currently working on (it's actually pretty amazing, if you're into that kind of thing).


Awesome Four quote from new Divergent book

Four, by Veronica Roth, is insanely, disgustingly good.  While I didn't really like Divergent, the book's hero - Four/Tobias - was amazing, so when I heard four stories (plus three bonus scenes) told from his point of view were being publish, it was on the top of my to-read list.  My parents bought it for me as a surprise present just a few days ago, and let me tell you...the book is fabulous.  I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy it, simply because Divergent failed my expectations, but it was an amazing read.  So, so much better than Divergent.  From the back of the book, I learned that the trilogy was originally going to be written from Four's point of view, and now I wish it had been.  Tris isn't one of my favorite heroines, but Four is definitely one of my favorite heroes, and I think Divergent would've been much better if his side of the story had been fully told.  If you're a Divergent fan, read this book.  If you read Divergent, but aren't really a fan, read this book.  I guarantee you'll love it.

{watching} için Google Görsel Sonuçları

Last night, I watched The Hunger Games with my two oldest brothers.  It was even better the second time around and we've already made plans to watch Catching Fire soon - is anyone interested in a review of either or both the movies?  Besides, THG, I've also been watching copious amounts of The Rat Patrol (I doubt I'll write a review of it, since so few people know anything about the show, so I'd be talking into thin air) which is great, and Casablanca.  My list of favorite black-and-white movies is now obsolete, since Casablanca definitely has a place on that list now.  All I knew coming into it was that it was a love story and a classic.  That's it.  Oh, and also that a bunch of iconic quotes originated from it.  Not a very comprehensive list, right?  But I'm glad I didn't go into it knowing every twist and turn, because it was a lot more intriguing not knowing how the film ended.  Honestly, I was blown away by the twists and turns, the gorgeous filmography, and the stellar acting.  I can easily see why it's a classic.

Casablanca Movie Quote Poster in Red  We'll by PeanutoakPrint

And that's about it.  I meant to include a section about what I've been listening to, but I don't really have enough material to fill a big chunk of text (which is what I like to do).  For the past few days, I haven't been listening to much, but I recently discovered Seussical (I was watching an interview with Andrew Keenan-Bolger and his sister and found out he'd played JoJo on Broadway, so I check out the musical) and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.  Some of the songs, but most of them are fun and energetic, while keeping the unique flavour of Suess.  Also, I've been reading Through Gates Of Splendour and watching The Lorax (I just remembered both those things, and didn't feel like scrolling back up and putting them in their proper place).  I like both, in widely different ways.

What have you been doing lately?


Friday, July 11, 2014

THIS Is How You Fandom, Fandom

{from left to right} Sherlock, Avengers, Game Of Thrones, Merlin {or Newsies, depending on your view},
Doctor Who, Harry Potter, and Supernatural...together, they spell COEXIST.
I love fandoms.

I love being in them.  I love the weird jokes that make me laugh, or the heartbreaking headcanons that make me cry and haunt me for days after.  I love the fan-art, fan-edits, fan-covers, and fan-videos.  I love having a huge shoulder to cry on when I finally watch Catching Fire, or Robin Hood dies, or the 1832 revolution fails. I love having other people to obsess over all my favorite things with, the ones who get all the inside jokes, or the ones who brand-new to whatever fandom I'm currently in.  Or the sense of camaraderie when a non-fan ignorantly attacks your fandom and everyone bands together as one to fight against it.


But what I don't like is how much fandoms have degenerated lately.

You know what I mean.  The flame wars, the backstabbing, the mud slinging, the battles that rage across Pinterest/Tumblr/Facebook and back again.  The snooty fans who don't believe that you can be a true fan unless you read the books first (I think that's what gets on my nerves the most).  Who call you an illiterate wimp if you watched the movie(s) first.  Just because you watched the movie before the book doesn't make you a 'fake fan'.  Come on.  A fandom is supposed to be a secure, happy place for fans to gather without living in fear of being judged for their obsessions.  Turns out, most fandoms are just as bad as non-fandom people...or worse.  You can't go online without being bombarded by some of the following issues...
  • Peeta or Gale?
  • Does Marius belong with Eponine or Cosette?
  • Was the ending of Allegiant perfect or stupid?
  • Do we really need a Peggy Carter TV series?
  • Newsies movie or Newsies musical?
  • And, of course: BOOK OR MOVIE?

I'm in several fandoms.  Les Miserables, BBC Robin Hood, Marvel, Newsies, The Hunger Games, Divergent (kind of), Disney, Jane Austen, and The Rat Patrol.  The only one I can honestly say actually gets along is The Rat Patrol and that's just because it's a small (like, five or six members MAX) fandom.  Any more members, and I can garuntee there'd be huge wars.  Probably mostly about shipping.  Every other fandom I'm in has battles over different ships, headcanons, and whether or not certain things should have been included in the canon work.  Not to mention opinions on villains, heroes, heroines, and minor characters.  Frankly, it's exhausting to be in so many fandoms (because of the drama and rudeness that abounds) but how can I un-obsess myself in something?  Not. Possible.  So I just sigh and roll my eyes and go with the flow.


Don't get me wrong - fandoms are, for the most part, amazing and the good outweighs the bad, but still...couldn't we all get along a little better?  After all, we've all been drawn together by a mutual love for a certain book/movie/TV show and I don't think that should be broken up just because of some stupid argument over whether Katniss would have been better suited for Peeta or Gale (Gale was best for who she was, Peeta is best for who she is).  If we all decided to be a little more kind and courteous, the fandoms would be 'cleaned up' quickly and we'd all have a lot more fun.  To start the ball rolling, let me list a few of my personal guidelines for being part of a fandom.  This isn't a hard and fast list, since everyone has different views, but I'm sure everyone can pick up a few useful things.  If any of you have any more ideas, please share them in the comments.
  • DON'T start/join a flame war - This is the most important rule, in my opinion, and I've always followed it strictly (well, except for a couple of times when people were bashing Enjonine or the barricade boys and I started a mostly-friendly comment war).  I don't agree with slash shipping (guy/guy or girl/girl) but I'm not going to call someone out about it.  What's the point?  I won't be able to change their opinion, and it'll just leave both of us feeling angry and/or hurt.  And please, please don't continue a flame war.  It might be tempting, especially when your views line up with the person who seems to be winning, but it'll blow things up even further and, again, no good will come of it.  Stick with the lighter side of the fandom, and everyone will be much happier.
  • DO always be prepared to help new fans - You know the type.  The ones who've juuust joined up, and are Rather Confused.  They'll probably spell your favorite character's name wrong, but don't sneer at your computer screen.  Let them know what the correct spelling is and they'll be forever grateful (as I know from experience, since I've been on both sides of that particular exchange).  Introduce them to a few headcanons, give them links to the best fan-fiction, and leave your email inbox open in case they need to rant or cry or explode with happiness.  It's always awesome to have a friend to spout off to.
  • DON'T condemn new fans because of how they became a part of the fandom - I've mentioned it above, but I'll mention it again.  I've never insulted someone because of how they joined a fandom, or if they've only watched a couple episodes of the TV show, or haven't read all the books in the series.  Hey, they're here, they're enthusiastic, and they're eager to learn more.  Why would be turn them away?  You know, once upon a time, we were all new fans ourselves.  Let's try to remember what that felt like, and act accordingly.
  • DO contribute to your fandom(s) - Well, this isn't really a requirement, or a way to keep peace in your fandoms, but it's a pretty awesome thing to do.  I can't/won't make fan-covers, fan-art or fan-videos, but I write poetry/fan-fiction and make fan-edits.  It's lots of fun, and the fans actually enjoy what I do (and I'm sure they'll like whatever you do too), and that makes me happy.  Whenever the fans can interact without getting into an argument, I'm happy.
  • DON'T forget to have fun - Sometimes you can get bogged down by debates, arguments, or all out wars that you forget the most important part of the fandom.  It's a place to gather and chat about all your favorite things, cry over scenes and episodes (yes, crying is happy for deep people), and go crazy with theories and wacky tumblr stuff.  Every day should be confetti and hearts and flowers and gushings of happiness/sadness.  What do you think?
Again, it may seem as though I hate fandoms since I've been pretty harsh in this post, but I don't.  I really don't.  I just wish that they'd all be a little more polite and more interested in the actual fandom objects than arguing about personal preference.  And I really think we can do that.  How about you?



[post title taken from this pin]

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Movie Review: Newsies {1992}

July, 1899: When Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise the distribution price one-tenth of a cent per paper, ten cents per hundred, the newsboys, poor enough already, are outraged. Inspired by the strike put on by the trolley workers, Jack "Cowboy" Kelly (Christian Bale) organizes a newsboys' strike. With David Jacobs (David Moscow) as the brains of the new union, and Jack as the voice, the weak and oppressed found the strength to band together and challenge the powerful.

How do I love this movie?  Let me count the ways...
  • Historical film?  Check.
  • Musical film?  Check.
  • Great songs/dancing?  Check.
  • Amazing characters?  Check.
  • Critics hated it?  Check.

But before I cover all those points in detail, let me give a little background first (ugh, my brain keeps pronouncing all these words with a  New Yawk accent...'foist').  A few weeks ago, I discovered the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Newsies.  I adored it (I still do).  I listened to it every day.  I watched tons of clips on Youtube.  Now, I knew there was a movie, and I really wanted to see it, but when I listened to the movie's soundtrack, it seemed a little, well, flat compared to the OBC.  But I got the movie from the library and watched it.  It was good.  Really good.  The songs were a bit short, and the lyrics were different (actually the OBC's lyrics were different, since they came after, but anyway...).  And then I watched it again (over the course of several weeks, I've seen it five times).  My sister liked it.  My mom liked it.  My grandparents liked it.  And I love it.  When you've seen a movie five times, you start to notice tiny details that you probably wouldn't have on your first or second watch.  Every time I watch it, I notice or realize something new, and that's what makes it fun.  So, my recommendation is that if you enjoyed it the first time, watch it a couple more times.  You'll gain a new appreciation every time.

Okay.  So.

Newsies is a historical film.  I love history.  Most of the books I read are set in other time periods, whether they're historical fiction (I don't read much of that, since most of it is either boring or inappropriate) or classics (which are different from historical fiction since they were [usually] written as a contemporary thingy by the author).  History is my second favorite subject in school (after literature).  One thing I love about finding/liking movies like Newsies is that, since I get obsessed, I'll learn a lot about the time period.  Sure, much of what I've learned about New York in the late 1800's relates to Newsies in some way or other, but it's still good information.  There are some historical inaccuracies, of course.  I'm pretty sure the Newsies didn't have a big, clean, comfortable boarding house to go back to every night.  Kid Blink was the actual leader of the strike (well, Racetrack started it, and Kid took over).  Jack Kelly is a fictitious character (as are most of the other Newsies, except for Spot, Mush, and Boots).  And the thing about them singing and dancing should probably be taken with a  grain of salt....

Musical films are awesome.  Les Miserables, The Sound Of Music, Singin' In The Rain, The King And I, Mary Poppins (I don't like everything about Mary Poppins, but the ending is sweet)...I'm sure I've watched others, but I can't remember all of them right now.  Good musicals are the ones that have you humming and singing their songs for days (or weeks!) after seeing the movie.  Newsies definitely does that.  My two brothers swear that they hate it, but I've caught them humming several of the songs more than once.  All the songs are catchy (as in earworm catchy), fun, and high-energy (well, 'Santa Fe' may not be fun or fast-paced, but it's still awesome).  They also follow the musical theatre rule that reprises are more serious and/or sad.  The reprise of 'Santa Fe' is the saddest, while the reprise of 'The World Will Know' is serious, triumphant, and exciting (as is the reprise of 'Seize The Day'.  Honestly, all the songs are amazing.  I can't say enough good things about them.

Take a look for yourself...

*comes back after two hours of listening to songs from Newsies*
Sorry about that.  I got a little carried away.

Moving on...

The characters!  My favorite part of any book or movie (usually).  So, first, there's Jack.  Jack has dreams of going to, you guessed it, Santa Fe to escape the poor, squalid streets of New York.  At first, I thought he sounded bored when he was singing the iconic song (I was used to the passionate, emotional stage musical version) but now that I've come to terms with the fact that the movie and the stage musical are quite different, it doesn't bother me at all.  I really like Christian Bale's rendition now.  Jack watches out for 'his' newsies, and even ones that he doesn't know (like David, at first).  Sure, he has a bad habit of 'improvin' the truth', but I guess if your real name is Francis Sullivan, you wouldn't want many people to know.  Oh, and speaking of the whole Francis Sullivan thing, let me talk about the film's villains for a bit.  There are two - Pulitzer and Snyder (I don't like talking about Unpleasant People, so this will be quick).  Both of them are out to get Jack, but for different reasons.  Pulitzer hates Jack because he's the strike leader.  Snyder hates Jack because he escaped from the 'Refuge'.  I guess I should list the Delancey brothers in the villain category as well...depending on which movie insult you want to use, they could be called lousy little shrimps or stupid pigs.  Or whatever.
Newsies is kind of like Les Mis, in that there's a band of minor characters (barricade boys/Newsies) who don't really have a lot of screen time and unless you concentrate, it's pretty hard to figure out who is who and what their names are.  At least that's been my experience.  Now, Spot is Spot.  Everyone knows who he is (how could you not?) and what he does and where he stands.  Just...just give me a minute to talk about him.  HE'S SO AWESOOOOOME. *fangirl squeals and hand flapping*  He has several of the best quotes and he's so epic with his slingshot and his cane and his accent (yeah, I know.  They all have the same accent.  But his seems the most real).  Plus, when he hangs around with the other guys, it's kind of adorable.  Like, when he sings during 'King Of New York' and the courtroom scene (I love how when Race offers to, um, whatever the gambling term he used meant, they all laugh and,'s pretty funny).
"Hey, Your Honour, I object!"
"On what grounds?"
"On the grounds of Brooklyn."
*laughter from everyone except the judge*

I've managed to identify a few of the Newsies (mainly the ones I thought were cute, thus I was interested, thus I bothered to check them out).  Kid Blink, Racetrack, Mush, Skittery, Boots, Snipeshooter, Specs, Crutchie...I think that's about all.  My favorite is Mush (I guess you can't be a Newsie unless you have a weird nickname - some of the make sense like Race or Specs {who wears glasses} but Mush?  Really?).  He's one of the better dancers, in my opinion, and I like to think he's part of the glue that keeps the gang together.  He seems like one of the more sensible ones.  Still, all of them crack jokes or, if they don't do that, at least say something funny.  I can't leave this post without a few quotes that always make me laugh, no matter how many times I watch/hear them.
"It's this brain of's got a mind of it's own!" ~Crutchie
"Look at you, Jack!  You look like a general, or somethin'!" ~Mush
"I'm sure it's an honest mistake.  I mean, Morris here can't count to twenty with his shoes on." ~Jack
"Baby born with two heads.  Must be from Brooklyn." ~Race
"Five bucks?  We ain't even got five cents." ~Race
"I say that what you what I say." ~Spot
"Oh, you mean Jack Kelly.  Yeah, he was here.  But he put an egg in his shoe...and beat it." ~Race
There are a bunch of other great quotes, but, as usual, they've all slipped my mind.
I'm going to wrap this up with a couple more points, and then this insanely long review will be over.  First of all, the only things I don't like in this film are 1) Medda {she's completely unnecessary and her character makes for a couple of skippable scenes} and 2) Sarah {ugh, ugh, ugh}.  I'm pretty sure Sarah was written into the script at the very last minute as a stupid love interest for Jack.  To quote this post: "Sarah Jacobs is the biggest problem with the movie “Newsies.” There is not one true “Newsies” fan who approves of Sarah Jacobs as a love interest for Jack. Jack is adventurous, rebellious and can sing. Sarah is boring and doesn’t sing. There relationship will never work out. Sarah is the worst."  I completely agree.  If there could be any explainable reason why the critics hate, loathe, and despise this film, it would be her.  I've found that if critics hate it, I'll love it (and sometimes vice-versa).  I mean, they hated on the Les Mis movie!  What did I tell you?  But, honestly, I can't think of any other reason they would hate it.  The songs are good, the acting's good, the story is good...IT'S ALL GOOD.  WHY CAN'T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, CRITICS?
And, really, there's nothing that can match the wonderfully joyful feeling when Jack shouts "WE BEAT 'EM!" at the very end.  Everyone goes crazy, laughing and crying and cheering.  All that hard work, and pain, and heartache culminates in that one triumphant scene.  Of course, Jack has to throw in a downer with going away....but then he returns and everyone's happy again (when Mush says "He's back!", he looks about ready to cry - from happiness, of course.  Just one of the many little observations I've made over the course of five viewings).  Sarah and Jack have that very long, very intense, very gross kiss, which I usually skip because if they hadn't done that, I could've easily believed Jack was indifferent about her.  Honestly.  And then they all go down the street singing 'Carrying The Banner' with Spot riding off in Teddy Roosevelt's carriage (that was the perfect touch).  Except for the kiss, the ending of Newsies is one of the best movie endings I've ever seen.  It's a bit confusing, though, since there are about three times that a first time watcher might think the movie was over...but it just keeps going.
But I'm not complaining.
Carpe Diem!
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