People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

Day 21): U is for Unhappy: Choose a book with an Unhappy ending

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O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy #1) by Willa Cather

I was first introduced to the work of Willa Cather when one summer I was trying to read through a list of classics provided by Barnes and Noble. (The same list that lead me to read Uncle Tom’s Cabin.) Of course I never finished it:

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However, two of the book I read during that time were My Antonia and O Pioneers!. I read O Pioneers! second, not knowing it was the first book and while I enjoyed My Antonia I loved O Pioneers! more.

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And it makes me really upset that no one knows about this book.

Say What

I KNOW! It is a fantastic book but no one knows about it. It is hard to even purchase as I wanted to buy a copy for my friend, but amazon didn’t have it or Barnes & Nobles. Crazy! So why is this book fantastic? Let’s take a look.

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So the book is just under 200 pages and divided into three parts.

PART I: THE WILD LAND

The story takes place in Nebraska, the Bergsons are a Swedish family of six who immigrated to America for a better life, but found the prairie not as promised. The father, John, went into serious debt, but was finally able to pay it off. He owns six hundred and forty acres of the original homestead, and three hundred and twenty acres given to him by his brother when he pulled out. Just as it seemed he might be able to tame the land, he becomes ill and at age 46, is going to die.

Why?

Why?

For weeks he has been thinking what to do next, when he decides that everything must be left to his daughter Alexandra to control.

Whattheheck

This book was published in 1913, but takes place in 1883. And even though he has two sons who come before Alexandra he recognizes in her his own spirit. While his sons Lou and Oscar are hardworking they just don’t have the business acumen.

“It was Alexandra who read the papers and followed the markets, and who learned by the mistakes of their neighbors. It was Alexandra who could always tell about what it cost to fatten each steer, and who could guess the weight of a hog before it went on the scales closer than John Bergson himself. Lou and Oscar were industrious, but he could never teach them to use their heads about their work.” pg. 15

On his deathbed, John calls all the kids together and makes them promise to keep the land and listen to Alexandra, there will be no quarreling. When each wishes to marry they can divide the land, but until then they must follow Alexandra.

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Even though the boys do not like being put under their sister, they agree to their father’s wishes.

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Six months later, the Bergsons invite their friend and neighbor Carl Linstrum to visit “Crazy” Ivar. Lou and Oscar make fun of him,

I'm crazy

He’s crazy

But Alexandra values his advice and knowledge of animals.

Topthorn War HOrse

Ivar suffers from some kind of mental affliction, one not stated as most likely at that time they had no name for it. Sometimes he spouts wisdom, other days nonsense. He likes to live as far away from people as he can. While he suffers from these eccentricities his knowledge of animals is without competition. He has a pond where all kinds of birds come to visit, as they know he will not shoot them, as he has an aversion to guns.

Now one of the reasons this book is so good is the character of Alexandra. While others see the craziness of Ivan and brush him off, she listens to his advice and follows it, it turning out very well. What a person looks like, or acts like doesn’t matter to her; she values their hard work, their wisdom, and their heart. And she doesn’t care what others think of her.

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After their father’s death, the Bergsons clan did well.

Double double yay

But then the drought came, an with it three years of nothing but failure.

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It is at this time we see a divided family as to what to do next. Many people have left the “promises” of the prairie to follow the “promises” of St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco, Alaska, etc.

Good-bye

Good-bye

Carl Limstrom comes to tell Alexandra that his family is leaving to St. Louis. This is heartbreaking, as Alexandra and him have fallen in love. Alexandra doesn’t want him to go, but Carl won’t have him and his family be a drag on their finances, after all, Carl is no farmer. But Carl promises that he won’t forget her but will work hard for her.

“I’ll write as long as I live…And I’ll be working for you as much as for myself, Alexandra. I want to do something you’ll like and be proud of. I’m a fool here, but I know I can do something!” pg. 34

you deserve better

This is the first part of what makes this book so sad. Alexandra doesn’t care about that Carl, she just wants you! But Alexandra understands how you feel and how you don’t want to enter a marriage being a drain on your wife, you want to be equal.

And even though you really want Carl to stay with Alexandra, you respect him for not wanting to use her inheritance and enter the relationship having her take care of him. He knows Alexandra is the greatest thing in the world and wants to show her he is worthy of her love.

Fredrick Wentworth

But poor Alexandra

[To Carl’s retreating form] Since you have been here, ten years now, I have never really been lonely.” pg 35

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

The boys are worried about what will happen next with the sweet potatoes seeming to be the only thing really living on. They want to sell out and move to the cities, where opportunity really is. Or trade their land for the river as that land is much better than the kind they have.

We need to get out of here

We need to get out of here

Alexandra of course doesn’t go on feelings, whispers, or what others tell her to do. She thinks on it long and hard, researching into what would be the best decision.

Thinking Hmm

She and her younger brother Emil travel to the river to examine the land. After reviewing everything and thinking on it; she decides that the thing to do is to mortgage their land with the bank and buy up as much land as they can. The boys of course are skeptical of this plan. Six more years of working off a loan? And what if the land prices don’t soar, what if the drought continues on, what if, what if?

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But Alexandra sees the way to go:

“The men in town who are buying up other people’s land don’t try to farm it. They are the men to watch, in a new country. Let’s try to do it like the shrewd ones and not like the stupid fellows.” pg. 43

The boys know this will be going against all the others and they don’t want to be viewed by others as crazy.

But Alexandra is certain, and they follow her. Alexandra is pleased as she watches the land knowing that the future is stirring.

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PART II: NEIGHBORING FIELDS

It has been sixteen years since the death of John Bergson, now being 1899. In the years that have passed, his wife has passed on as well. The land is producing much, telephone wires zig zag the prairie, and the area is thickly populated as more have arrived to stake their home there too.

Emil has achieved Alexandra’s dream and gone on to attending the university and doing well in sports. He is tall, handsome, charming and all the girls in the area wish for a moment with him, as brief as it could be.

swoon dreamy

But he isn’t interested in any of them.

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Their old friend Marie Tovesky, now Mrs. Shabata, a Bohemian, has moved back to the prairie she used to visit as a young girl now a neighbor to the Bergsons.

And how are the Bergson’s doing? Any one could tell you that they have the richest farm on the Divide, and that was all due to the woman farmer, Alexandra.

Alexandra

Alexandra, that is.

One of the things I like about Alexandra is that Cather created a character that is intelligent, strategical, yet still feminine. With today’s modern works it always feels like an either/or situation. Either they are pretty or smart. They are intelligent and masculine or an airhead and feminine. Alexandra has extreme intelligence but also enjoys doing housework, baking, and as beautiful as she is brainy.

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The older brothers are married and have their own sections of land as they began families, but Alexandra has the most of land and wealth. Emil comes back and forth between Alexandra’s home and school; and there is one more addition.

Carl and her married!!!

Carl and her married!!!

No not Carl.

Oh darn!

Oh darn!

He is still out trying to make his fortune. No, when Ivar lost his land, Alexandra opened her home to him. Such a compassionate person, not caring what others think of him or her for having him live in the home; all that matters that there is a soul in need.

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Ivar comes to Alexandra one day, afraid that people will send him to the asylum for being different, but Alexandra doesn’t care. She knows what it is like to be talked about because you do things differently.

“Don’t come to me again telling me what people say. Let people go on talking as they like, and we will go on living as we think best. ” pg. 60

A lot has changed in the sixteen years with modernity. A lot of the old ways of living and being are no longer accepted. In the family, Oscar’s wife will not allow any Swedish to be spoken in the house, so when they visit the relatives only English can be spoken.

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Alexandra has not married, her heart still pining after the only one who ever truly understood her, but enjoys being an aunt and looking after her brother’s children. But as she is the wealthiest of the whole clan, she often becomes caught in a game between her scheming brothers and sister-in-laws, as they all desire different things.

One day she is with her nieces in the flower garden when a tall, handsome stranger comes on the prairie. It is Carl!

Carl and her married!!!

Carl is on his way to Seattle and then to Alaska to go gold prospecting. He stopped by to say hi and Alexandra is thrilled as she has missed him so much. The brothers aren’t as they are worried that instead of a gold prospector he might be a gold digger and after Alexandra’s wealth.

money money money

Carl admits that he had hoped to present himself as better, worthy of Alexandra, but he has nothing.

“You see…measured by your standards I’m a failure. I couldn’t buy even one of your cornfields. I’ve enjoyed a great many things, but I’ve nothing to show for it all.” pg. 77

That doesn’t matter to Alexandra of course, but Carl must prove himself.

I think Carl and Alexandra are just the cutest couple. Carl is so sweet to her and pretty much understands her (except for the having to prove himself thing because she does not care) and doesn’t find any measure of her odd or not right.

“I wonder whether I should ever be able to tell you all that I was thinking up there. It’s a strange thing, Alexandra; I find it easy to be frank with you about everything under the sun-except yourself!’

‘You are afraid of hurting my feelings, perhaps.’ Alexandra looked at him thoughtfully.

‘No, I’m afraid it would give you a shock. You’ve seen yourself for so long in the dull minds of the people around you, that if I were to tell you how you seem to me, it would startle you. But you must see that you astonish me.” pg. 83

How sweet!

How sweet!

Carl and Alexandra are just perfect:

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I want them to get together!!!!!

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Carl and Alexandra go to Marie’s and spend time with her being interrupted by her husband. No two people could be more horribly matched.  Marie is light and fun, while her husband Frank is jealous, depressing, and unfriendly.

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They meet when Marie was at school and she thought Frank was handsome, brooding, and romantic. Her father did not want them to marry, and nothing makes two people “fall in love” faster than when they are forbidden to.

Not good

Not good

She was sent to a convent, but as soon as she turned 18 left it and married Frank. Her father bought them the farm and they’ve been unhappy ever since. Marie realized that the Frank she thought she loved was one that was not real, but created in her mind.

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Emil and Marie spend lots of time together, as he often helps out with the farm, taking care of things that Frank is too lazy to. But that friendship must end. Emil can’t pretend anymore. He is in love with Marie and wants to be with her, but of course she is married.

Darcy P&P OMG Can't Even

Carl and Emil head off to a Catholic fair, where Emil runs into his newly married friend, Amédéé. While they are gone the brothers come to talk to Alexandra about Carl. They wanted Alexandra’s land to be willed to their children when she dies, but Alexandra will not be bullied and will do what she wants with her land.

I don't think so

You have to read what they try and use to talk her out of it. They tell her things like she’s just a woman, she didn’t really do the work “even though she had the ideas”, the property always belongs too the men, she is too old at 40 to think of marrying, Carl is four years younger than her too young.

Those guys

Those guys

But Alexandra holds her ground. She tells them that she owns her land and, she was the driving force that created their wealth, and they can stuff it or go to their lawyers but nothing will come of it.

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Alexandra tries to talk to Emil about it, but he is too heartsick he begs her to send home far away, to Mexico.

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She agrees and is sad that no one really understands her. She has no one, Marie and Carl being her only friends.

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Meanwhile Lou and Oscar go to talk to Carl and convince him he is worthless.

“What a hopeless position you are in, Alexandra!’ [Carl] exclaimed feverishly. ‘It is your fate to be always surrounded by little men. And I am no better than the rest. I am too little to face the criticism of even such men as Lou and Oscar. Yes, I am going away; to-morrow. I cannot even ask you to give me a promise until I have something to offer you. I thought, perhaps, I could do that; but I find I can’t.’

‘What good comes of offering people things they don’t need?’ Alexandra asked sadly. ‘I don’t need money. But I have needed you for a great many years. I wonder why I have been permitted to prosper, if only to take my friends away from me.

‘I don’t deceive myself,’ Carl said frankly. ‘I know that I am going away on my own account. I must make the usual effort. I must have something to show for myself. To take what you would give me, I should have to be a very large man or a very small one, and I am only in the middle class.’

Alexandra sighed. ‘I have a feeling that if you go away, you will not come back. Something will happen to one of us, or to both. People have to snatch at happiness when they can in this world. It is always easier to lose than to find.” pg. 114-115

In one day she loses all the men she cares about.

right in the feels broken heart

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PART III: WINTER MEMORIES

Winter never feels as cold as when you no longer have those you care about. No longer will Alexandra see Oscar or Lou because of how they treated Carl. She gets letters from Emil and Carl, but it is not the same as having them near.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Mrs. Lee, Lou’s mother-in-law and one of the old timers, loves to visit Alexandra where she can follow in the old ways of living and not be judged. Even though the brothers are no longer welcome, Alexandra still opens her home to the rest of the relatives.

Alexandra brings Emil’s letter for Marie to read, never knowing what interest lies in Marie’s light and happy heart. Marie also gifts Alexandra with a scarf she made for Emil. Little does Alexandra know how Marie really feels on the inside.

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

Marie’s life has grown exceedingly unhappy. She realizes that she and Frank are not suited for each other at all. She becomes more and more unhappy and folds into herself.

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PART IV: THE WHITE MULBERRY TREE

Emil has returned from Mexico at last, and just in time for a big carnival at the Catholic church. Emil runs into his old friend Amédéé, now a father. All the girls flutter around Emil, and when he gives one of his turquoise stones to auctioned it starts an even greater flummox.

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Marie is just as crazy about Emil, but he smartly keeps his distance from her.

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Frank is angry as he is jealous and wants someone to blame for Marie not caring for him any longer. But the only one who drove the wedge was him and his cruel nature.

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When the lights go out, every girl is kissed by their sweetheart and Emil does the one thing he has wished for so long, kisses Marie.

OMG gasp

Emil is heartsick  and finally asks Marie what has been on his mind for so long, why would you marry Frank? Marie tells him she loved him. Frank was the same now as then, but as a young girl she saw him differently. And now she pays for her heedlessness, stubbornness, and naivety.  She begs Emil to leave as she doesn’t want them to sin and she can’t go.

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Emil is preparing to leave for Omaha to train as a lawyer, then going on to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Before he departs, he stops by to see his friend Amédéé. Amédéé. is in awful pain, completely sick with appendicitis. The doctor tries to take care of him, but it is to late, Amédéé is gone.

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Emil stays on for the service and is to set off, but goes back to Marie’s to get one thing of hers to hold on to. When he gets there he discovers her lying in the grass.

Frank comes home and sees Emil’s horse in the barn. He then goes into the field and hears something. As he comes closer he sees two figures in the field and shoots. And then streaks off.

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Ivar finds Emil’s mare the next morning all worn out and not taken care of. He knows Emil would never do anything like that unless he was hurt or injured. He goes next door to get help and finds the bodies.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

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PART V: ALEXANDRA

Alexandra has become so sick with grief she cannot do anything without being instructed. Her boy, her best friend…gone.

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

She feels horrible for always throwing them together, never thinking what would happen. She feels so cold and alone.

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Alexandra goes to see Frank Shabata, but feels no anger at him. Only pity.

Strange Sad Have My Pity Toy Story

But one bright spot arrives, as soon as Carl gets Alexandra’s note on the death he hurries over.

He isn’t as important as he would have wished, but he does have a good buisness starting in the West. The two plan to marry, going West but eventually returning home to the prairie. At last, Alexandra will no longer be alone. A bittersweet ending

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I love this book but it is sooo sad. Just full of feelings:

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But I love it anyway and read it over and over.

bookhumor

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

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For more on Sarah Dessen, go to I’d Spent Some Time As a Kid Wishing My Name Were Ashley or Katherine, if Only Because It Would Have Made Life Simpler, But My Mom Liked to Tell Me That My Name Was a Litmus Test: Along for the Ride

For more on An Affair to Remember, go to Anything Can Happen: An Affair to Remember (1957)

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For the Christmas Carol I choose Silent Night otherwise known in Bohemian as Tichá noc. This song was written in 1816 by Father Joseph Mohr when he was visiting Mariapfarr, Austria.

Two years later, Father Mohr approaches Franz Xaver Gruber, a schoolmaster and organist, and asked him to set it to music. Together they performed it during Christmas Eve’s mass.

In 1859, Pastor John Freeman Young translated the song from German to English. Since then the song has been translated into over 140 different languages.

I chose the version by Celtic Woman as I really enjoy that group.

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For more on Celtic Woman, go to I Finally Read Moby-Dick

For more Christmas Carols, go to Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

I’d Lay Down My Life for You: Pocahontas (1995)

Most Romantic Moment #8

Pocahontas

So it is time for our annual animated film. Every year I have picked at least one for my Valentine’s Day countdown. The previous years I have done Shrek 2, Anastasia, & Hercules /Up.

I know a lot of people don’t like Pocahontas because it is not accurate, is based on a story that might be a lie, the characters were not the right age, etc. Well I don’t care!

So there! tongue sticking out pug

I think Pocahontas is not only one of Disney’s best films, one of the most beautifully animated films, but one of the most poignant race relations stories. In here we see the good and bad of two very different races; and how most of issues develop from miscommunication and fear.

Racism

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Pocahontas is the chieftain’s daughter, but unlike how her father wishes; she has a bit of an unruly and unsettled spirit. Her father would like her to marry the best warrior, Kocoum, but Pocahontas wonders if that really is the best life for her.

Which way should I choose?

Which way should I choose?

Everything changes when the English settle the colony of Jamestown, and Pocahontas befriends one of the sailors, John Smith. The two learn a lot about each other, and fall in love, but they must keep everything a secret.

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When a Kocoum is killed on accident, John Smith takes the blame and is sentenced to die.

Pocahontas If I Never Knew YOu

What can Pocahontas do?

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Most Romantic Moment: No Greater Love to Lay Down One’s Life

This most romantic moment for me comes at the very end of the film. Dawn has come and John Smith has been brought out to be killed. As the  know this will mean war with the colonists they are prepared for the following battle. The colonists are lead by the evil Governor Ratcliffe who has been just waiting for an excuse to attack the Native Americans, they arrive at the execution site ready to slaughter the Natives with their guns.

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Pocahontas will not let him die and runs to him; throwing herself on his body to protect him, and die alongside him if necessary.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

This is a huge act because Pocahontas has no idea how her father would react. She already has tried to speak to him, but he would not listen only thinking of revenge. She has no idea if her act will stop her father, or if he will be so bent on his path, and spurned on by his men, that he won’t hesitate and kill her.

Besides that, anytime a person is willing to die for one they love is truly amazing. Just the fact that she was willing to die for him, really shows her love and strength of character.

greater-love

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To start Romance is in the Air:Part IV from the beginning, go to I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be: Casual Sex? (1988)

For the previous posts, go to It’s Not What You Buy, But the Reason Why That Matters: Playing Heart to Get, Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse (2013)

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For more on Pocahontas, go to If I Never Knew You

For more Disney, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more Disney heroine’s, go to The Little Moreland

For more animated films, go to You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

For more bible verses, go to A Cautionary Tale

These Shoes Were Made for Walking

I like shoes. I didn’t used to but as I grew older I appreciated and collected more. So you all know how I feel about boots.

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I love them, especially cowgirl boots.

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But as I have already talked about them, let’s move onto my second favorite type of foot wear. High heels.

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Being 5’3, life can be hard.

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One thing that makes it better are high heels. give_a_girl_the_right_shoes_Marilynmonroe_sNot only for their added height, but their beauty and the way they make you look amazing.

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They make you look absolutely fabulous.

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So my advice ladies:

High

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For more on high heels, go to The Little Moreland

For more on Marilyn Monroe, go to Musical Madness

For more on Coco Chanel, go to Inner Beauty

For more on fashion, go to A Real Life Saver

For more quotes, go to I Hate Those Kind of People

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Todays post comes from the Jack Frost Christmas special.

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In the film Jack Frost falls in love with a beautiful peasant girl. This winter he is given the opportunity to be human and win her heart, sealing the deal to remain human if he gets a home, a horse, and a bag of gold.

This song, Just What I Always Wanted, takes place during the Christmas he spends with the people. Since no one has any money, they just give empty boxes to each other pretending it is their dream gift.

The song is cute, adorable, and incredibly catchy.

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For more on Jack Frost, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more Christmas carols, go to A Very Merry Star Wars Christmas

Inner Beauty

Ugly

InnerBeauty

beYourself Beauty

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For more on Coco Chanel, go to You Only Get One

For more quotes, go to Growing Up is Hard to Do

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For our first of 25 carols, I am choosing It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas. I picked this mostly as it is true: Christmas decorations, wrapping, presents, trees; everything can be seen everywhere!

This song was written in 1951 by Meredith Wilson and has been covered numerous times, my choice being the fantastic Bing Crosby.

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For more Bing Crosby, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

For more Christmas carols, go to O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

All By Myself

Being alone can suck.

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And I’m not talking about being single or just having some fun by yourself, you know space away from people.

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I’m talking about being lonely. As in no best friends or people you can really talk to or hangout with.

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In fact, if we spend a  lot of time alone we can start doing things that we don’t normally do,

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And even going as far as doing things we didn’t think through.

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Which really explains Emma’s character.

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Yes, in the beginning of Emma, we read that her life has been pretty awesome:

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”

Life is great.

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Until…

da dum Jaws

Her governess gets married!

Say What

Come on, give me a second and I’ll explain.

So Emma lost her mother when she was a baby. To take care of her and her older sister, Isabella; Mr. Woodhouse hired a governess, Miss Taylor, but she was young and treated the girls more like her sisters than charges. In fact, after Emma’s older sister was married, Miss Taylor and Emma became the best of friends. BUT, with Miss Taylor’s marriage, that close companion is now gone. Not for good, but when your friend gets married, or in a romantic relationship with someone, your friendship changes. No longer does that person have as much time for you or free time, as they are now focused on someone else. No more Miss Taylor, just Mrs. Weston.

“It was true that her friend [Mrs. Weston] was only going half a mile from them; but Emma was aware that great must be the difference from a Mrs. Weston, only half a mile from them, and a Miss Taylor in the house…”

In losing Miss Taylor to Mr. Weston, Emma loses more than just a governess. She loses a sister, mother, friend, confidant, equal, etc. And is all by herself.

HowI MetYOurMotherAloneRobin

“Her father and her were left to dine together, with no prospect of a third to cheer a long evening.”

Noo!

Noo!

But what about her father?

Well, Emma’s father is not the best companion. First of all she is a girl, and I don’t care what anyone says (looking at you Mean Girls 2), girls need other friends that are girls. Guy friends are great, but there are things you can’t talk about with them. Mainly,

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

And other stuff. Plus her father…well he’s not in the best place to be a young girl’s companion. Mr. Woodhouse married when he was much older, as was often done. So he is first of all, much, much older than Emma. He also is a hypochondriac and is always getting anxious about things. This is hard for Emma as she always has to takes care of him, be cheerful so he can be cheerful, and abide by his rules (really fears). She loves her father, but he isn’t the everyday companion she needs.

Now what about people in the town? Well…Emma is friendless there too. You see at this time in England, there was a social hierarchy, and Emma is at the top.

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It is pretty sweet to be the first family and everything, but not so much in this situation. Everyone is kind or civil to her and she is invited to all the events, but unfortunately no one is her equal. So no one can be her real friend. Except Miss Taylor, who now is busy with her new life as Mrs. Weston.

The only friend she has now is Mr. Knightley [but more on him later].

So you see it is very easy how a smart girl, can become lonely and bored being by herself…

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Turning to meddling in other’s affairs, not only for amusement but for what I believe is a desire to have a connection to other people. To feel “a part of the group” and involved.

Now does this turn out well?

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You’ll just have to keep reading to find out!

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For more on Emma, go to One of a Kind

For more on Mr. Woodhouse, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more of my favorite songs, go to Let It Go

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

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So I don’t know about you all but my family actually cuts down our Christmas Tree. We always go the day after Thanksgiving to the black friday sales, and then a few hours to the forest to cut down our tree.

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Now some of you may wonder why we would go through so much trouble? Why not buy a fake one? Well I’ll tell you why:

1) The permit to cut down a tree only costs $10. That means you can get as big a tree you want for only ten bucks! For instance we got a 12 foot tree for 5% of the cost of  buying one from a lot.

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2) Cutting down your Christmas tree is very good for the environment.

Say What

 I know many of you have just read that and are probably saying to yourselves this girl is stupid, but just hear me out. You see trees grow in clumps and while that is a great thing as they share resources, protect each other, pollinate each other, etc. However, at times this can be bad. Sometimes trees grow too close together that they are unable to get their share. Often times one, or all, the trees will die as there isn’t enough to go around. Cutting down your own Christmas tree from one of the clumps means that one side might be a little thinner (you just aim that side in the corner) and it helps the other trees grow big and strong. Also periodically clearing out sections of trees protects them in the summer when there are threats of forest fires. And of course, this cutting isn’t a free for all. You can only cut from certain sections, therefore protecting a wider majority of trees. You also have restrictions on the tree size. Your trunk can only have a diameter of 6 inches and there is a restriction of high the stump can be. These regulations keep older trees protected, along with making sure people are not cutting off the tops and leaving the rest of the tree.

That's a lot!

That’s a lot!

3) Cutting your own tree means that it will last longer. You see one of the biggest problems with tree lots is that these trees are cut at the end of November, shipped over to the city they will be sold, and hanging around on pavement until they are sold. They are not getting the same TLC or water and a lot of them die really early, shedding tons of pine needles along the way. Now when you cut your own tree, it is nice and fresh and lasts much, much longer. As I said we always get our tree at the end of November and take it down at the end of January. We could keep it up longer, but usually by February we are packing up our Christmas stuff. Besides longevity, it also smells absolutely wonderful.

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And with cutting down your tree there are always adventures. Three years ago I went with my parents and we brought my two nieces, my nephew, and our dog. We hiked all over the area in the snow looking for the perfect tree.

We finally found it and my dad cut it down using a manpowered saw rather than a chainsaw. I tried to help him but it was hard work and both of us were pooped. He was really tired so I had him rest and had to carry that tree on my own. Let me say, I’m never doing that again. It was sooo heavy! I don’t know how I was able to carry it even for a minute.

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After my dad’s rest we finished moving the tree to the truck. After that I had to carry the three kids as the snow embankments had grown larger, and they wouldn’t be able to make it out. Yep, every time I feel like something is too hard, difficult, or heavy, I just remind myself that I carried a tree down a mountainside. I rule!

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And this year wasn’t any duller. There was no snow as we’ve been suffering some strong dry spells, but we still had a lot of fun hiking up and down the mountainside for that perfect tree. When we found it we cut it down (using a chainsaw this time) and started to head down the mountainside. Now, we’ve been doing this since I was like 13, but this year something happened that had never happened before.

As we started down the hill trying to bring the tree to the truck, my dad yelled at us to turn the tree as he wanted the weaker side pointed to the ground as that side was to lay in the flatbed. As we turned the tree, BAM! SMACK!

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The tree branches kept smacking me in the face. And when I mean kept, I meant it didn’t stop. I guess it was the section of the tree I was in, but I couldn’t see a thing, just branches and branches smacking me in the face.

I felt as if it was like in The Wizard of Oz when the trees come to life and start smacking Dorothy.

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It was almost like it was mad at me for me cutting it down.

When we got home we got it out of the truck and was taking it into the house and had to turn the tree again. Now this time I had stood on the opposite side of the tree, hoping that would keep it from hitting me, but now once again tree slap.

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Hair everywhere, I can’t see a thing, I’m afraid my glasses might get knocked off and go flying, and I am praying so hard that I do not fall in our pool.

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Luckily we get it in the stand and straighten it out. And boy does it look lovely. It kind of makes up for the abuse it gave me.

Now my abuse from the tree branches doesn’t end there. Oh, no! You see after I graduated and interned this summer; I moved back home. I’ve been trying to find a job, but this is pretty much what it is like.

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So to fill the time until I am hopefully hired, I am volunteering at quite a few places. One of which is my local museum. So last week I headed down there as it was my turn to work the desk. I brought with me some pine clippings from our tree as the museum was decorating for Christmas. Well it turned out that they didn’t have as many volunteers as they hoped, so they asked me to help with the decorating. I thought okay, it will be fun.

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So I thought decorating meant we were going to hang ornaments on the tree.

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We were making these giant wreaths.

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So I was paired with one of the volunteers and let me just stop and share something with you. Most of the volunteers at the museum are older, like 60+. So the woman I had wasn’t the most helpful. You see you take branches of the tree and put them on a plastic doughnut, tying them down with string or wire as you go along. Adding more and more branches until it is filled. However, that’s not what happened here. My helper laid tons of branches down and then sat down as she couldn’t tie them on. I tried to tie the branches down, but the wreath slipped and they all went crashing to the floor.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Yep, I had to do everything over, but this time I did it right. As I continued, more people came and helped out which was nice. It was a really hard process though as it had rained for the past three days, and all their tree clippings were soaked, making the already hard job of trying to tie them down even harder!

Replace Rothbart with wreath

Replace Rothbart with wreath

Finally we had completed it and I was tired. It’s a lot of bending over and being pricked/stabbed by the wire and tree branches. I sat down for a bit but then had to move on to making garland.

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OMG it was so hard. You have a piece of rope and have to twist tie the branch to the rope. Yep, those flimsy little twisty ties. IT TAKES FOREVER! You keep placing branches over and over each other to make it fuller and until you cover the rope. This is extremely hard. At times I was trying to use one of those flimsy things to tie three branches together! And because a lot of people had to leave, I had to do it all on my own. By one fourth of the way I wanted to burn the thing.

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We had a time limit to this as at noon the county was sending over free labor and the right machine to hang this things high up on the walls. So when every team completed theirs and saw I wasn’t even at the halfway point they all descended on me to help out.

Now you think this would have been nice, and it would have if it was one or two, but there were like five trying to take over the tying or telling me what to do. It made me feel kind of surly:

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But I just kept to myself, trying to be professional.

After that my shift was over and I headed home, bearing more battle wounds that those brought on by the slapping tree. My hands were covered in cuts and they hurt sooo bad, my back was aching from bending over, my feet were sore from standing, etc. But hey beauty is pain, and the place sure did look amazing!

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Merry Christmas!

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For more on Christmas trees, go to On the  7th Day ‘Til Christmas

For more on Christmas, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more moments of my every day life, go to How Can This Be?

For more on the Wizard of Oz, go to My Favorite Movie Lines

For more of my favorite songs, go to Fantastic Fantasies

For more of my favorite quotes, go to When in Doubt

Fantastic Fantasies

Benedict-Cumberbatch-people-obsessedFandom

Well here we are with part three of my fangirl posts. As shown above, I am obsessed with quite a few things and fangirl over them hard core. To make this easier on me and you, I have decided to break this up into a series of posts, with each fandom listed alphabetically. For post one, go to Fanning All Over the Place. For post two, go to Simply Fantastic.

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Alfred Hitchcock

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Alfred Hitchcock is my favorite absolute favorite director. I just love how the man thinks and what he creates. He is a true genius. Now I know he has some serious issues, like the way he treated the women he worked with, (especially Vera Miles and poor, poor Tipi Hedren); but that doesn’t change the fact that he was a true revolutionary. He not only created the psychological thriller genre, blending horror and mystery; but the first slasher horror genre, and influenced millions of writers and directors. Oh his works are just glorious. I’ve seen nearly every film he’s ever made and I just love him and all his work.

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This past year I reviewed three of his films for Horrorfest III and that is just the beginning. I hope to one day completely review every film he has ever done. For those of you who don’t know him, here is a short list of my favorites (that I recommend watching): Blackmail (1929), The 39 Steps (1935), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), Shadow of a Doubt (1942), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), Rope (1948), Under Capricorn (1949), Strangers on a Train (1950), Dial “M” for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), To Catch a Thief (1955), The Trouble With Harry (1955), North by Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), Torn Curtain (1966), and Frenzy (1972)

Besides films you also have his TV show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents in which he picked some of the greatest writers of the day, for example Ray Bradbury. And as mentioned before many great actors were on his show: such as Claude Rains, Vincent Price, Joseph Cotten, etc. In fact, one of Steve McQueen’s early gigs was on that TV show. The show was similar The Twilight Zone, but unlike that show, you never knew if things would turn out good or bad for the main characters.

He is an amazing artist, using film as his medium, and I strongly recommend checking out anything that has his name on it.

For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

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Criminal Minds

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Ah this show. How I love thee. Every Wednesday I would watch the new episode. It was set on stone. At least until my sophomore year at college, when classes I needed to take got in the way. 😦 Teachers just don’t understand.

So when I saw previews for this show, I was like I so gotta watch this. And for three reasons.

1) I was deeply interested in behavioral analysis. I mean you have just read how obsessed I was with Alfred Hitchcock. This show is logically the next step. In fact when I first went to college I studied psychology, hoping to work for the FBI one day. However, I hated the psychology classes as we kept having to talk about ourselves. I ended up switching to history as I wanted to talk about other people. I still love this show and what they do very much.

2) Thomas Gibson

So Handsome!!!

So Handsome!!!

Yep, if you have read my This Isn’t Love, This is Ectasy, post you know that I just find this man incredibly attractive. A fan from Dharma and Greg to Flintstones Viva Rock Vegas to Criminal Minds– I’ve got to watch them all. 🙂

Thomas Gibson plays the leader of the unit, Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner.

3) Inigo Montoya

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Just kidding. It’s not Inigo Montoya, but the actor who played him, Mandy Patinkin. He plays the amazingly smart agent Jason Gideon.Patinkin left the show, as he felt the content was too dark, and was replaced by FBI Agent David Rossi. Rossi is okay, but Gideon was much better.

So the FBI unit is comprised of the leader Agent Hotchner and Gideon who I have already talked about. There is also Elle Greenaway, Cuban and the sexual predator profiler. She only lasts for the first season as she gets shot during a case, and after that can’t really deal with the stresses of the FBI. We have Derek Morgan (played by the very handsome Shermar Moore) and appears to be the standard tough guy, ex-athlethe, charming, ladies’ man-but you find out there is far more to him than what appears at first glance. Spencer Reid is a super genius and the youngest member of the unit. He is only 22 in the first episode but already has three PhDs, two BAs, and has a photographic memory. Reid is utterly adorable.

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And you just can’t help but love him. Now Agent Hotch is the leader but Agent Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau is the liasion between the FBI and the town they move into to help out. She’s sweet, kind, adorable; and when the show dropped her the fans revolted, bringing her back. Rounding the team out is Penelope Garcia, the computer whiz and as quirky adorable as NCIS‘ Abby.

Now we head out to the character I hate. Emily Prentiss.

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She’s brought in to replace Greenaway after she leaves the BAU. She’s the daughter of a special agent and is too good. They make the character just too much that she is unreal and annoying. She knows like forty different languages and can speak them flawlessly, she used to work for Interpol, she is so “beautiful” that no guy can keep from asking her out, etc. It’s just too much. But one of the worse things about her, was when she first joined the show she would make fun of Reid.

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Reid is an adorable puppy. Anyone who is cruel to him has no soul.

But besides her, the show is amazing, the characters and storylines are truly great and I highly recommend it to anyone.

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CSI

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CSI was a revolutionary show. It brought back the cop drama, but instead focusing on the forensic side of the investigations. Of course the show isn’t completely realistic as they immediately get lab results and always manage to find their killer in a day or two. But the show was really good as the characters and storylines worked really well.

So if Wednesday was reserved for Criminal Minds I would typically spend my Fridays with AMC watching reruns of CSI.

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Yep, they’re pretty exciting.

So the orginal show was just CSI and took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now besides some great storylines, the real reason this show was so awesome was Dr. Gilbert “Gil” Grissom played by William Peterson. He’s a forensic entomologist and was just great. He was always cool and collected, no matter how tense the situation got. He was also always a wiseguy (in wit and sarcasm). When he left, the show ended for me. It was just not the same. The show has gone through a lot of upheaval this past year;  losing their original characters, bringing in more and causing it to just not be for me anymore.

With the extreme popularity of CSI the producers decided to do a spin-off and create the same show in a different location. What was born was CSI:Miami. Now many people don’t like this, but I admit it. It was my favorite of the CSI franchise. It had some silly moments and silly characters, but I loved it most. My favorite character was Ryan Wolfe played by Jonathan Togo. He came in after one of the team members was killed. His beginnings are hard as the crew are still hurt over the death of their colleague and aren’t exactly warm to to him. He’s smart, detailed, funny, and hot. What more could you want?

 You also have the lead detective Horatio Caine, who is a very smart man, but more loved for his hilarious puns.

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And the third character I enjoyed, Eric Delko. He is the Derek Morgan of this show; strong, athletic, hot. He’s just a fun guy and I was one of the many fans upset with his death and happy when he overcame it and came back into the show.

Like CSI this show went through a  lot of dropping and adding characters and I stopped watching.

With the popularity of CSI and CSI: Miami, the producers decided to try again and created CSI: NY, but I never got into this version. It just didn’t appeal to me.

Now before I stop talking about this show, there is one more awesome thing that I have to mention. One of the most awesome things about this show is that they chose to use The Who songs for each show’s theme. CSI used Who Are YouCSI: Miami used Won’t Get Fooled Again, and CSI: NY used Baba O’Riley.

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Danosaurs

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This Youtube star is Dan from Danisnotonfire. It is a hilarious show as Dan just highlights funny moments and the awkwardness of his life.

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Not to mention being entertaining, he is also  really cute and has an English accent! Definitely a win. His videos are all amazing, so I’m just going to post one of my favs, but I definitely suggest checking all his stuff out.

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Deathbats

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So if you have read some of my previous posts, you might already be aware of my Avenged Sevenfold obsession. It all started when my loser ex and I first started dating. He was obsessed with the band. He gave me one CD to listen to, but not the others; having promised to make “the perfect” playlist, burn CDs, and mail me care packages. Of course he never did. In fact he never sent me anything but I sent him stuff. Rude, huh.

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Anyways, when we broke up I was sad and decided that I was going to check out a bunch of Avenged Sevenfold CDs and listen to their music. I did and I became OBSESSED with them.

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Now some of you may be asking, is the band really that good? Well I think so. I love the musical choices they make. One of my favorite things is that they are always trying something new and different, but it still remains uniquely them.

One thing I absolutely love is M. Shadows’ voice. It isn’t what mainstream would say is great, but totally works with the music created by the band. He’s also pretty hot.

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You also have Synyster Gates who is the attractive guitarist and an amazing musician.

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And Zachy Vengence. Killer name, killer looks, and killer talent. The trifecta!

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So here are a few of my favorite songs. I’ll only name a few so I don’t overwhelm you all. So some of my top, top favorites are: Unbound, Almost Easy, A Little Piece of Heaven, Seize the Day, Dear God, Flash of the Blade, Walk, Afterlife, Hail to the King, Nightmare, Welcome to the Family, Buried Alive, and So Far Away. There are plenty more to talk about, but that’s all for now.

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For more on Avenged Sevenfold, go to Unbound

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Disney

Disney

So I am a HUGE Disney fan. I grew up on the films, TV shows, characters, etc. I am SUPER obsessed with it.

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I could go on and on about my favorite Disney things, but you know what? I’ve already done that. This summer I devoted all of June to 30 posts on Disney. I covered some of my favorite animated features, Disney Original Movies (DCOMs), Disney live action films, Disney songs, etc. To read more on it, check out 30 Day Challenge: Disney Edition. I’m thinking of doing it again as there is just so much Disney wonder and fantastica that needs to be covered.

One thing’s for sure, I’ll never be to old for it.

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For more on Disney, go to The Little Moreland

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Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

 

So Downton Abbey? How do I describe this phenomenon? Hmm….

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Just kidding, it is nowhere near as confusing as that.

So this show came out a few years ago and my mother wanted to watch the TV show, not me. She had been a fan of the series Upstairs, Downstairs, what Downton Abbey is a remake of. Both series chronicle the lives of the wealthy upstairs along with the servants downstairs. It didn’t sound that interesting to me, but my mom really wanted me to watch it. I did and fell in love with. Every Sunday night became tea and Downton Abbey.

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When the winter break ended and I returned to college, I got all my friends into it as well.

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At first they were like, “will I like this?” and I was like:

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They quickly became fans as well.

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So the first season begins with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and ends with the start of WWI in 1914. The second season picks up in WWI and ends 1919. The third season picks up in the same year and moves on into the 1920s.

So the manorhouse is Downton Abbey in England where the Crawley family live. Robert Crawley, Earl Grantham, and lord of the manor; Cora Crawley, his American wife; and their three daughters Mary, Edith, and Sybil. Robert’s mother, Dowager Countess Violet Crawley, doesn’t live there but visits most days.

The Dowager is amazingly funny and witty. She is a snob, but her snobbery is sometimes due to her naiveté of what lower classes do and go through. She is hilarious as her one-liners are amazing. She is practically everybody’s favorite character.

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Lord Grantham (Robert) is pretty traditional and takes the jobs of running the estate very seriously. Lady Cora clashes with the Dowager Countess and at many times finds herself at odds as she is not English, so she “doesn’t understand” things.

Then we have the three daughters. First is Mary who is the eldest and a whiney, spoiled brat. However, as the series progresses she does change as her circumstances cause her to realize how awful she is being and what she wants to be. As the series progresses you start to love her.

Next in line is Edith. Edith is a whiny brat as well. She is always jealous of her older sister’s beauty and attention. This causes her to constantly fight and find ways to ruin things for Mary, of which all end up troublesome for her.

And last is Sybil, who in my opinion is the best character of all. She is kind, considerate, sweet, funny, beautiful, and a real revolutionary. She wears a Middle Eastern outfit with pantaloons for her coming-out-party, gets involved with protests, meetings, radical theories, becomes an army nurse, and doesn’t care about someone’s station or name. She’s awesome.

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The series starts out with the Titanic sinking. On the Titanic was Mary’s first cousin and fiancé. Everyone in the Crawley family is upset because the estate is entailed, and with the cousin and his brother killed, no one knows to whom the estate goes next.

Let me back up a minute. Entailment was something that was done a lot in England. All the money, property, i.e. the whole estate was entailed to the next male heir.  Yep, and as we see the Crawleys have three girls. They had never worried about entailment as they always planned to have Mary married off to the cousin and none of the family would have to worry.

Now they have to discover the next male heir and hope to God that they can marry him off to their eldest daughter.

Enter Matthew Crawley

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Matthew Crawley is a lawyer and discovers that he is next to inherit and will become Lord Grantham, have a seat in Parliament, and own a large estate. He is flabbergasted at this, as he is just your average person. In fact he wants to refuse it, but gets talked into accepting it. The Dowager Countess and Lady Cora try to get Mary and Matthew together. Mary finds Matthew “too low class” and tries to get a rich man interested in her. Unfortunately, very few men are interested in a girl who’s fortune is entailed. Lady Cora and Lord Grantham are also trying to get Cora’s fortune/dowry out of the entailment. Edith is trying to foil all of Mary’s plans while at the same time trying her best to catch a rich man or hook Matthew. Sybil is Sybil. Matthew falls for Mary and tries to win her heart, but Mary has some issues to overcome before considering marriage to Matthew. At one point Cora becomes pregnant and we wonder if she may have a son and solve the whole problem. Murder, mystery, scheming, drama, and comedy galore! Of course before things can truly be resolved, WWI breaks out, changing everyone’s life as they know it.

Season 2 starts right out in WWI and portrays it as accurately as possible. Matthew finds himself in the trenches with some of the servants from Downton. Downton gets set up as a hospital for soldiers. Sybil is a nurse. Lord Grantham wants to fight but isn’t allowed to. And the series continues in keeping the drama, comedy, romance, and action. I won’t reveal any more or season three and four for those of you who haven’t checked it out and are interested.

Let me just say that if PBS really wanted money, this is all they would have to do.

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Now that is the upstairs, let’s take a look downstairs.

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We have Mr. Carson the Butler who runs the whole downstairs. He is stuck in his ways, but a truly lovable stick-in-the-mud.

Then there is Mrs. Hughes the head housekeeper. She runs the kitchen staff. She is no-nonsense and buisnesslike, but always has a soft spot and helps others.

Then we have Mr. Bates head valet (pronounced the English val-let not French va-lay). He is introduced to the household in episode one to the ire of the footman Thomas Barrow. Thomas thought that he would be the one to elevate in status and is upset at being passed over. Thomas tries to make life hard for Mr. Bates and turn everyone against him. Mr. Bates falls for Anna and the two have one of the best romances. They actually weren’t supposed to stay together, but the fans called for them. Power to the fans. Mr. Bates also has a lot of mystery and drama surrounding him.

Mrs. O’Brien is the lady’s maid and a cruel and calculating woman. She is a major snoop and always rooting out gossip.

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She only cares about her best interest and causes some serious problems for the family. She leaves after a secret she has comes out.

Anna is the sweetest, kindest, woman ever. She is one of the best characters, and I absolutely love her and Mr. Bates together. She is the head housemaid and Lady Mary’s confidant, often helping her out of some pretty bad scrapes. When Lady Mary marries, Anna  is elevated to Lady’s maid.

Thomas Barrow is the under-butler and he is a mean, horrible, cruel, bully. He picks on other footman and staff members, plays with girl’s hearts, spreads rumors, steals, etc. He leaves the household and goes off to war, which softens him a bit. After the war ends, he finds himself falling back into his old ways. He has a huge secret that is only known to a few.

William Mason is one of the kindest and most adorable footman ever, but leaves in the second season. He has a crush on the assistant cook, Daisy who doesn’t deserve him.

Alfred Nugent joins the household after William leaves. He is brought in to be a love triangle between Daisy and Ivy, but he’s very boring and bland.

Jimmy Kent is brought in and increases that love triangle to rhombus as his good looks, charm, and easygoing manner wins all the ladies’ hearts.

Moseley was Matthew’s butler and was supposed to go with him to war, but failed his exam. He moves into the Crawley manor when he can’t find himself another job as a butler. You see during and after the War, many families find themselves not having the money they once had. When he comes into the Crawley household, it is a little awkward as his function is a bit fuzzy.

Mrs. Patmore is the no-nonsense cook and an awesome character. She hilarious, sarcastic, and always hitting the nail on the head.

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She has this one great storyline in which she starts going blind and is afraid to tell anyone. She thinks that if they find out then she will be fired and what will she do next? Cooking is all she knows and cares about. When the Crawleys discover this, they actually pay for an operation to fix her eyes.

Daisy is my least favorite character. Ugh, she annoys me. She is in love with Thomas because she thinks his bullying is a sign of manliness. She never gets the hint that he is not interested in her, unless he can torment sweet William who has a crush on her. She uses William to try to make Thomas jealous, which instead only hurts William more. She falls for Alfred, who doesn’t care a fig for her. Her biggest role in the series is really just complaining. She complains ALL THE TIME. And like the teenage girl “this unfair” “I never get what I want” kind of complaining. I always just want her to shut up!

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Ivy is new and her only thing that defines her character is that she is a “modern” girl not afraid to let someone know that she likes them. Translation: She’s pretty fast.

Now the last character I’m going to talk about is Tom Branson who is in the middle of the upstairs and downstairs.

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Branson is the Irish chauffer. He is very interested in politics and Sybil. Yes, we have an mixed class romance. Now at first I didn’t like him as he was hotheaded, believed his opinions were the only right ones, wants to violently achieve Irish independence, etc. However, once he and Sybil ran off and eloped, he began to grow on me. After some traumatizing events, his personality changes as this personal destruction makes him realize that violence to achieve one’s goals is not the way. What else is really great is his friendship with Matthew, as the two really understand each other and trying to figure out your place. In fact his storyline if trying to see which “floor” he belongs in is really powerful.

 So after all that I bet you are wondering what else can be said about Downton Abbey? Well I found that Petula Clark did a really great job of sharing it, (that is of you make a few small changes):

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always watch  Downtown Abbey. When you’ve got worries all the noise and the hurry seems to help I know, watch Downtown Abbey. You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares so watchDowntown Abbey. Things will be great when you’re watching Downtown Abbey. No finer place for sure. Downtown Abbey; everything’s waiting for you. Things will be great when you’re watching Downtown Abbey. Don’t wait a minute more watch Downtown Abbey.

For more on Downton Abbey, go to That’s What You Get

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w:outFandoms

 

For Part 1, go to Fanning All Over the Place

For Part 2, go to Simply Fantastic

And keep an eye out for Part 3!

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For more of my favorite artists and songs, go to In Love With the ’80s (Pink Tux to the Prom)

For more of my favorite quotes, go to When in Doubt