A Water-Logged White Christmas

So every year my family goes and cuts down a Christmas tree. And this year, things did not go as expected.

So it rained.

Which was good. California really needed it. But because of fire and storm the place we usually go to was closed.

So we had to drive over an hour away, wait an hour to process for permits (never had to do that before), and then drive another hour away.

When we got there, the snow was super deep. The banks went up to your knees and thighs, depending on the area. It was such hard work. We couldn’t drive up to the tree cutting allowed area, as the snow was so deep, we had to hike in.

NoooooooooooooooS

While it was raining, which turned into sleet-and snow.

So it was hard to look for a tree with the snow, as my family we all wear glasses-so quickly fogged up and covered in rain.

Then the chainsaw broke so we are all sitting out there standing in the snow and getting even more soaked then we already were.

We finally got the tree, but the rest of the group couldn’t help, so my sister and I are trying to drag this huge 14 foot tree through the crazy deep snow.

Ugh

And finally we were ready to go. It was so wet that my gloves were full of water and falling off of me, my jacket so soaked it was drippingly full-the rain had gotten through my coat and on my shirt, pants and leggings, etc. I felt like Marianne Dashwood.

[after Marianne has first met Willoughby]

Elinor: Marianne, you must change. You will catch a cold.

Marianne: What care I for colds when there is such a man.

Elinor: You will care very much when your nose swells up.

Marianne: You are right. Help me, Elinor.

But even though it was a lot of work-and we all were soaked it was still fun. Even though after we got home, changed, and ate-all I wanted to do was sleep.

For more stories on cutting down our Christmas tree, go to Winter Wonderland

For more Marianne Dashwood, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

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Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

So as you all know I started a book club last year. Because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time was my turn and I picked:

Until the Day Breaks (California Rising #1) by Paula Scott

I was first introduced to this book when the author came into the museum I was working at as she needed to discuss something with the curator. We started talking about the book and California and Western history as I absolutely love it.

I read it and the sequel, and enjoyed both of them. So of course, when a few months passed and it was my turn again-I picked it.

So the book takes place in 1846. California “belongs” to Mexico, but not really being more independent. The United States looms closer and closer, Manifest Destiny gobbling up more states. Rachel Tyler grew up in Massachusetts, is Protestant, and raised by her grandparents. She is a sweet woman and engaged to minister hopeful, Stephen. (As soon as his mother dies and releases her control over him)

Well that all changes when her father, Joshua Tyler, awakens their long silence. After Rachel’s mother died, he took off to California to make his fortune and has, in some nefarious ways. He married a wealthy Californio’s niece, Sarita, a girl only a year or so older than his daughter and has brokered a deal matching his daughter with Sarita’s cousin, Roman Vasquez.

This match will work for for Joshua Tyler-as if California remains in Mexico’s control he will have protection in the match. If the United States take over, Tyler can secure the Vasquez land and money through his daughter.

Rachel is hurt over the broken engagement with Stephen and in even more dismay over her upcoming marriage to Roman. Roman is a lusty, passionate, and angry man. Rachel is afraid of that passion, especially as she starts to find herself falling in love with him.

Roman has returned from fighting in the American Intervention with Mexico, known as the Mexican American War by the United States; injured, angry, and finding California completely different then what he left. His family thought he was killed, his fiancé married Joshua Tyler, his family fortune and land is dwindling through his uncle’s gambling, and now he has to marry this Yankee?

But as Roman gets to know Rachel she touches him in a way no one has in a long time. Her kindness, sweetness, and relationship with Christ starts to affect him. But can he really overcome his lust, passion, and anger?

To complicate things further-Sarita is a witch who is angry that Tohic, the god she worships, lied to her about Roman’s death. Even though she is married and Roman is engaged-she will sacrifice anything and do everything to get what she wants.

And as California looks more and more like war is coming-all are uncertain what that means and what exactly to do?

Then to everyone’s surprise Rachel’s ex-fiance shows up! And he brings his friend and ship Captain Dominic Mason.

This is a power firecracker of a novel. It is enjoyable and a real page turner. Every one of us ladies finished long before book club was scheduled to meet.

So while we discussed our book, I thought that in the flavor of Daring Chloe, we should meet in my California town’s historical Saloon that existed in the same time this book is set in. It really was a lot of fun. Here’s a couple of snaps I took. I meant to get a pic of the book in the restaurant,but forgot-maybe I’ll stop by and do it again.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Illustrated Man

For more Christian fiction, go to Book Club Picks: The Masterpiece

For more bible verses, go to Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

 

Viva Las Vegas

So I know you’ve probably been wondering, what’s going on? Where have I been? Have I just crashed from my Valentine’s Day postings?

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Well not exactly. I’m sure you have seen on the news how crazy the weather in California has been. We actually had to evacuate the area for fear of flooding.

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Headed up more north, where I connected to the internet and was able to finish the Valentine’s Day countdown. Then we returned home, as no water had overflowed, repacked and planned to head down to Southern California to wait out the evacuation.

I'm outta here

I’m outta here

But they were going to get the worse storm in 20 years. We decided to skip it, which was good as everyone I knew house’s got flooded.

Not good

Not good

So we were trying to decide where to head next, when Las Vegas was just randomly chosen. There we headed out in a trailer, with my cat (as I wasn’t leaving her) for Sin City.

I'd never leave you.

I’d never leave you.

Now I’ve never really had a desire to go to Vegas. I like gambling, but just for fun. Anytime money is involved I lose; if we play for fun, chores, candy-I’m golden.

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If money-

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But that is where everyone wants to go, so we went. Well it took a day to get there as California is huge.

What?!

What?!

We got there around five, but were too tired we just stayed there in the trailer resting.

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The next day it poured! Like crazy pouring, like monsoon weather. It was so crazy and we were so tired of the water that we decided to just stay in again.

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The next day was sunny, but cool which was nice, and we decided to head out. But you know me, I’m not normal.

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Now what I wanted to see more than anything was the mob museum.

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It was AMAZING! Tri-level, with information from the early years to present time. It was chock full of information on the 1920s to the 60s. The later years focused more on the police and FBI. It was extremely interactive with video in a replica of the Las Vegas courthouse, depicting the hearings and using actual furnture from the time period.

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They had practice with weapons, a fake tommy gun that you could pretend shoot:

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and the wall from the St. Valentine’s Massacre that was brough over and reassembled brick by brick. You could see the bullet holes.

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There is so much more, I barely even skimmed the surface in this review of all the amazing things this building has to offer. If you are ever there you should check it out as it was AMAZING!

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After that we drove down the strip looking at all the lighted signs and buildings.

What?!

Wow!

The next day we hit the casinos, but not to play.

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Yep, I wanted to look at all the architecture.

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Hey, I told you I was different.

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I loved looking at them, and spent hours walking and checking them all out. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see everything, but I tried my best. My favorite was probably Caesar’s Palace. I loved the extensive details in recreating the roman architecture. It was beautiful. As a former Art History student, I was enthralled.

They even have a life-size replica of Michelangelo’s David, made from the same marble as the original.

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Michaelangelo purposely made this disproportionate as it was supposed to me placed high above on a roof in Florence, so that all could see it.

The sculpture is designed to show David’s warrior soul, not actual physical age, that is why is so muscular and strong. It was also designed to be right before he throws the slingshot, his face in fierce contemplation. It is amazing the way Michelangelo is able to create life out of stone.

The Flamingo is the oldest casino on the strip. It was created by the mobster Bugsy Siegal and his friends and the reason for his death. It was taking too long to build, using too much money, and many believed Bugsy was skimming off the top. Never try to cheat the mob, they will always take you out.

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The Paris Casino was also amazing as it tried hard to replicate the city-from the Arc de Triomphe, to the “cobblestone” floors, to the Rococo style artwork and Salon furniture.

What?!

Wow

And it was cool looking at the Bellagio first hand instead of just a movie, like Ocean’s Eleven.

But there was one big disappointment for me.

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So you all know how much I love Elvis, I am a super fan.

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So I was looking for an Elvis themed souvenir in all the souvenir shops on the strip. But I couldn’t find anything!

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I know, right?! I searched every where and was getting desperate…at this point I would have bought anything.

So cool, I want it to be true.

But there was nothing, nada, zip!

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I know, crazy! No Elvis in Vegas! No nothing! Not even an impersonator! Not a copy of the film Viva Las Vegas!

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Oh well, I could probably find something cheaper online.

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But hey, just because I missed out doesn’t mean you should. So Elvis, take us out:

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For more on Vegas, go to A Fantabulous Post

For more on the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, go to You’re Sad So I’m Making This Day Extra Special: The Bikini in the Soup, Bones (2011)

For more on Michelangelo, go to The Death of Christ

For more Elvis, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

Every Month at the Quarter Moon There’ll be a Monsoon

So I have experienced quite a lot of terrible rainstorms.

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When I was nine there was a tornado warning on my birthday. (My birthday takes place in a season where there is zero rain, so it was a really random year.) There ended up being no tornado, but it was really rainy and windy.

I don’t remember it being too bad as we didn’t have to do anything in school but hng out (away from the windows, and we all got picked up from school early. I spent the rest of the day chilling, happy birthday to me.

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Then there was the time I went to Arizona right in the middle of monsoon season. The rainstorms don’t last long, but they are extremely powerful and crazy. And of course because this happens only one week out of the year, they don’t build the buildings with the capacity to handle such storms, i.e no rain gutters to catch the rain or storm drains. There was water coming from everywhere. It was like Jumanji.

At one point my sister and I were running to our hotel room (in our shorts and tank tops as it was too hot for either of us to bring a coat or sweater) and when we almost reached it, we were hit by a waterfall of water streaming off outdoor walkway. We both were totally soaked.

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Then there was that time during my freshman year in school were we had crazy rainstorms up until the beginning of May. Things were so bad that one week (right before finals) they canceled classes that met in the lower floors of the buildings and were all issued a flood warning. In fact it got so bad they had to sandbag some of the buildings, as the nearby river began to overflow.

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Then there was Wyoming. Now that rain is tough. It doesn’t pour down on you, but the wind moves so fast that it knocks the rain drops into your body and face, making you feel as if you are being punched by a million tiny fists.

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The wind completely tore my umbrella, in fact it wasn’t until a second storm weeks later that I was able to find all the pieces of it.

I’m telling you, those Wyoming storms are crazy. I could barely find my way home, and was completely soaked from every inch.

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But the worst storm happened last Sunday. I woke up, planning on getting ready for church when I looked outside to see water just pouring down from the skies. It was as if a faucet had been turned on full blast. Just gallons of water everywhere! Like you needed an ark to maneuver out of there.

There was no way I was going to drive in that!

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

So I waited until there was a break, but then I had the worst luck ever! As I was driving, the street that goes across one of the freeways’ light was broken!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was totally scary! Cars were just crossing all over the place, barely managing to dodge each other. I swear I saw like ten near accidents as I sat waiting for my turn.

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I had to wait at least 20 mins, using a car making a left turn as a shield and praying that no one hit me.

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Then later as I was driving, I noticed that on the one way road I was going down, there was a section completely filled with water.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

There was nothing I could do but go forward. Praying again, but this time that my car wouldn’t get stuck in the water.

Carnival of Souls

I was somehow able to push through, and get to church.

Finally something GOOD!

Of course being California, two hours later the rain had stopped, the sun was out, and the only markers of the deluge were a few puddles.

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Well that’s life in the golden state.

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For more adventures in the rain, go to It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

For more on living in California, go to England Dreamin’ On Such a Summer’s Day

For more adventures from my everyday life, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

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Now for today’s Christmas Carol, I have chosen When Christmas Comes to Town from The Polar Express. 

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I think it is a cute song and my favorite from the film. I thought it was just so beautiful; the lyrics and the very talented voices.

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For more on The Polar Express, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

For more Christmas Carols, go to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

 

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

So I like the rain.

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It is cozy, it is pretty, it’s fun. And living in California while in the midst of a drought, we have all been wishing for rain.

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And when it comes we are all ecstatic! Rejoicing in the streets!

Now the other day I was out running errands. The skies were kinda gray and it had been raining every few days, so I brought my umbrella along. I had just left a store when it happened.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

It was like all of a sudden the Kraken was released or something. Water was pouring, galloping, annihilating.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It seriously hurt when it pelted you. I got in my car to drive home, but it was like I was in Psycho or something. I couldn’t see anything.

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Good thing it was daytime or else I would have been out of luck. Of course when I got home, the rain become enjoyable again.

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For more on rain, go to Rainy Days & Rainy Nights

For more on my everyday life, go to Walking on Pins and Needles

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In other news, I have to get my wisdom teeth out. Yep, all four.

ouch Hermione

I know. So I may or my not be taking a break from posting. We’ll just have to wait and see how I am. I may be in killer pain, loopy from the drugs, or just fine.

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England Dreamin’ On Such a Summer’s Day

All the grass is brown and the sky is gray.
I’ve been for a walk on a summer’s day.
I’d be nice and cool if I was in Great Britain;
I’d even have to wear a coat and a mitten.

All the grass is brown and the sky is gray.
I’ve been for a walk on a summer’s day.
If I didn’t tell ’em I could leave today;
England dreamin’ on such a summer’s day.
England dreamin’ on such a summer’s day.
England dreamin’ on such a summer’s day.

So a couple of weeks ago I had this dream that I was in England, London to be exact. It might have to due with the fact that I was re-watching Sherlock that night, but he funnily wasn’t in my dream.

Anyways, I am digressing from the dream and need to get back on track.

So in my dream I was visiting or there for a job, it wasn’t quite clear (you know how dreams are) and I just kept going on and on about how awesome the weather is.

indiana_jonesoh_yesyeah

And everyone was asking me what I was talking about as the weather was hot to them. I pointed out that it was in the ’70s and there was a chance of rain, the complete opposite of how hot is has been in California lately. And I’m not kidding it has been crazy hot.

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The last few days (before my dream) it had been 102-104 degrees fahrenheit. It was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk (By the way, never ever do that. My friend and I did it once and it was impossible to scrape off.)

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A five minute walk from my car in the parking lot to staff entrance left me feeling as if I was melting into a puddle.

I went to an outdoor wedding, I don’t know why they did that as it was crazy, and felt like I lost ten pounds due to sweat. I’m not kidding, I almost slipped out of my seat.

StarTrekBonesMcCoyPoorGirl PM

So it makes sense that my subconcious really wants to go to someplace cool, where I can wear coats, sweaters, and mittens.SherlockPoppedcollarcoolandmysterious

In fact I keep wishing it to be October (the start of rain) .

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The dream went on to be a bit boring. I was dog sitting a giant great dane named, Whittaker.

There was also this part where I wasn’t using the car to see the sights, and the people I was visiting/renting from were worried about me, thinking something was wrong. In reality, I was afraid to drive as everything is backwards. I was so sure I would drive like Booth in  the Bones episode when they go to England, and horribly crash.

Oh My Bad

When I woke up I was sad to discover I wasn’t in nice, cool England; but hot sweaty California.

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For more of my dreams, go to Krueger Town

For more on England, go to By Boat, By Train, By Foot, By Plane

For more on California, go to Let Them Fight: Godzilla (2014)

For more on Bones, go to Present Versus Past

By Boat, By Train, By Foot, By Plane

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28) Somewhere You Would Like to Move to or Visit

There are actually quite a few places I would love to visit. As you all know, I’m all about history and art history so I would like to eventually travel the world and see some of these things.

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1) Italy

I’ve always wanted to see Venice, Rome, Florence, & Sicily. There’s the Sistine Chapel, the colosseum, Masaccio’s works, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci…I could go on and on.

Italian Job

For more in Italy, go to I Don’t Want to Own You, I Just Want to Be With You: A Room With a View (1985)

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2) Denmark

As stated before, I am Danish and really want to visit the country. I would love to go to the Hans Christian Anderson Museum, along with other

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3) Mexico

I have already been here once, but there is still so much I want to see, Chitzen Itza being one of them.

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4) Egypt

I have been obsessed with Egypt ever since I was young, I guess I saw The Mummy one too many times. I have always loved looking at the Pyramids and really want to see them in person one day. Although I probably die from heatstroke. 🙂 J/K

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For more on Egypt, go to Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket: The Mummy (1932)

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5) England

Jane Austen, Sherlock Holmes, Downton Abbey, North & South, Charles Dickens, the Beatles, the Who, etc. Some of the best things have come out of England and I would love to go visit, instead of reading about it.

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For more on England, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

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6) Greece

Once again the Art and architecture call me to them. Not to mention the island of Crete and Mount Olympus.

I can do this....just have to wait for the right time

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7) China

I have always wanted to see the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Always.

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8) France

The Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, Impressionist artwork, etc. I would love to see this place as well.

For more on France, go to Marry Me: Gigi (1958)

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9) Prince Edward Island

I LOVE Anne of Green Gables and really, really want to see the place. REALLY, really bad.

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For more on Prince Edward Island, go to Fanning All Over the Place

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10) Ireland

I took a class on Irish History and just fell in love with it. I really want to visit it now.

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11) Scotland

I have always wanted to visit Loch Ness and try and spot the Loch Ness Monster (it’s out there). And after seeing Braveheart and reading The Cat Who Series I was introduced into Scotland and it’s history, making me want to visit even more.

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12) All 50 States of the United States

I love American history as it is so interesting and complex. One day I want to visit every one of our states and every monument. So far I have been to Hawaii, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Only 42 left to go. 🙂

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

For the previous post, go to Ya Bothering Me

Considering Lily

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9) Something That Has Inspired You

Something that has really inspired me is the book Consider Lily, by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt.

The story is of an Californian, Christian girl, Lily Traywick, who is the daughter of true fashionistas and owners of the humongous department store Traywicks. Lily didn’t inherit this fashion gene, as she hardly knows what goes together, and also is bemoaning her lack of ever being on a real date. She starts writing a blog and becomes famous as her pseudonym “Fashion Victim”;  starts a bet with one of her best friends Lily promising to get a makeover and follow everything to the letter, while her friend promises to come to three Sunday services; and sets out to try and win the man of her dreams. Of course nothing is perfect as the guy she originally likes is not her, the fame from her blog gets her a real job writing but her editor turns out to be horrible, the cute Christian boyfriend she lands ends up dumping her, and everything she has ever ranted gets spilled in the San Francisco Chronicle. What’s girl to do?

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trust in the Lord.

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And everything turns out alright.

Now I have loved this book because the main character is a lot like me. We have had trouble in not having a date either because the guy sees us as too much of a friend:

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Doesn’t want to date us once they find out we are a Christian and plan on waiting for sex along with our other beliefs:

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Or wants the whole marriage and tons of kids thing instantly

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We both had a love of sports, writing, and are fashion-challenged. Although she is worse than me.

We also had a similarity in dating, although her guy turned out alright in the end, while mine was a rotter. But ah that is fiction versus reality.

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I loved the idea of her blogging, and  this book really inspired me to start my own blog and share me thoughts on the internet with others who would be receptive.

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I mean it’s not that my friends or family don’t like listening to me, but if you have been following you know that when I like something, I really like it and love to talk about it. Sometimes making it annoying for those who don’t care about it as much as me, or who really don’t care about it at all.

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So having a blog is a great way of releasing all that, without making those close to me bored.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

This book also taught me that it is probably best to keep the topics away from friends and family, just in case they ever read it or you were exposed. I try to not talk about them, or if I do I have given them all fake names so I can deny it was them I was talking about.

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And it made me kind of want to be a writer too. Too bad I don’t have a friend who can fix me up with a great job like she does in the book. But once again, that’s fiction versus reality.

Reality Sucks

But I loved this book, and it inspired me to create this blog, of which I have had a lot of fun these last few years. Thank you Anne & May, as without you’re lovely character Lily, janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com would not exist.

psych thank you

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

For the previous post, go to GISHWHES Girl

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For more on May Vanderbilt, go to Fashionably Postworthy

For more bookish posts, go to Going on a Treasure Hunt

Back to the Fandoms

So yes, I’m back. I had to take a break for my Easter posts, but I’m back with my fandom posts!

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The Baby-Sitters Club

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If you were a preteen in the ’90s, chances are you were a fan of these books, TV show, or film. I was a huge fan of all three, even reading the spinoff series about Kristy’s stepsister, Karen. In these books they made middle school and baby-sitting sound so cool and fun. Reality check, it wasn’t as cool or as lucrative; but still I loved these books. I read them so much that these characters became my own friends in a way.

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The only thing I really didn’t like was the scenes of California. Clearly Ms. Ann M. Martin had never been to California, as she always wrote it in this stereotypical way. And to be honest it wasn’t just her. Every writer in the ’80s-’90s wrote about California as this sea of blonde, buff, or lean vegetarians. EXCUSE ME? Where are the Latinos, Asians, Pacific Islanders, East Indians, African-Americans, etc? ALWAYS MISSING! And seriously? We are not vegetarians and do not always eat some of the weird things that they say we do. Plus in the book where they win the lottery and all go to California; they have money to go from Anaheim all over Los Angelas, but can’t spare a few hours to go to the San Diego Zoo as it is “too far”. Excuse me? San Diego is not that far for girls visiting from the East Coast and may never go to California again? I could see them freaking out if they wanted to go to San Francisco, Napa, Tahoe or Sacramento as that could be like half a day’s drive, but really? San Diego is “too far” as California is a “big state”.

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The other thing that bothered me was the lack of diversity. I know it’s Conneticut and they don’t have the same influx, but still. They act like Jessie is the first black girl to walk the face of the planet at times. Same for Claudia as first Asian.

The other issue I have with The Baby-Sitters Club (BSC) as an adult, those issues of before were all from when I was a kid, is how they never, ever, go to an adult about the problems they have. For instance the grief Claudia faces over the death of her grandmother, when Kristy and Claudia are being harassed by phone calls, when Jessi suspects her friend of an eating disorder (eventually she talks to someone), when homes are being burglarized, deciding to try and catch counterfeiters, etc. I just think, geez that is horrible example to set for children.

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But even with their faults, I loved this series. I used to read a book a day and owned almost the whole series. I had a hard time with the books after Dawn leaves the BSC for good, as I felt it just lost it. I didn’t care for Abby coming on to the series as I hated her character. I also disliked the Claudia left behind in seventh grade storyline, the breakup between Claudia and Stacey over a boy, Mary-Anne and Logan’s complete breakup, the fire that destroys Mary-Anne and Dawn’s house, etc.

So now to the characters:

Kristy Thomas is the creator of the club, deciding to invite her best friend Mary-Anne, along with old friend Claudia, and new girl Stacey. She is bossy, opinionated, a know-it-all, show-off, sports nut; but good friend. Her parents are divorcred, as her father left at a really young age. She has a 17-year old brother, Charlie, who’s only role in the series is as a driver; 15-year old brother Sam, prankster and Stacey’s boyfriend for a bit; and a 8-year old brother, David Michael. Her mom dates a gazilionaire, Watson Brewer, and they whole crew move into his mansion. She then gets a stepsister, Karen, who is the star of the spinoff series, and a younger brother Andrew. Her parents end up adopting an orphaned Chinese girl, Emily Michelle. Now a lot of people speculate about Kristy’s uninterst in boys as being secretly gay; but I never saw it that way. As all the girls dated and had these huge crushes, I liked how Kristy just wasn’t really interested in anyone, and when she does find a guy, who ends up moving too fast for her, she breaks it off. I liked this thread as it showed we all mature at different rates, and just because all your friends have a boyfriend, doesn’t mean you need one too.

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Next we have Claudia Kishi. She is Japanese and not very good in school, a fact that sucks as she has a genius sister. Claudia is an amazing artist and fashionable, not always wearing actual everyday wear, but rockin’ her looks.

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She is best friends with Stacey who is also very interested in fashion. Claudia, Mary Ann, and Kristy grew up across the street from each other and became good friends. Claudia matured before them, and stopped hanging out as much, but when Kristy proposed her idea, she jumped in and brought along Stacey. Claudia had a few interesting storylines. One of the ones I enjoyed a lot was when she began working with Emily Michelle, who was having issues with learning her colors, shapes, etc. Claudia feels stupid a lot of the time as she constantly compares herself to her sister, but I liked that thread as she realizes there are different types of intelligences as she may not be good with one thing, but can do well with another.

Stacey McGill was originally from New York. She was diagnosed with diabetes, which was viewed the same as the plague, causing her and her family to move to Conneticut when a job opened up. I never understood the reason why diabetes was viewed as so appalling, but I liked how they dealt with it in the series. Stacey was constantly having to take care of her diabetes and deal with the temptations and fact that she couldn’t always have exactly what she wants. She was a fashionista and quickly bonded with Claudia. In book 13, she moves back to New York; but luckily by book 26, she was brought back. She was always dating boys, having multiple boyfriends and sometimes having problems arise with them. The storyline I thought was interesting was when she starts dating Robert, star basketball player. Here she has a conflict of issues as she finds out that it is not always easy to juggle boyfriend, friends, and other commitments. Along with the fact that people don’t always meld together as well as you hope. She ends up leaving the club for her new friends, and has to come to terms that these aren’t the same people she hung out with before, and won’t view things the same way. It had a sort of PSA announcement, how the group gets in trouble and she learns that they aren’t as true, BUT, instead of having her old group take her back, she has to slowly regain their trust, making it very real.

Mary-Ann Spier was quiet, mousy, didn’t like confrontation, sweet, and a crier. She lost her mom at a young age and was raised by her father for most of her life. She is best friends with Kristy, but when the crew break up over a disagreement, she meets Dawn and becomes her best friend as well. They find out that their parents used to date and bring Mary-Ann’s dad with Dawn’s mom; ending up stepsisters. Mary-Ann is the first of the group to have a serious boyfriend, Logan Bruno. Now a lot of people hated their relationship, but I liked Logan, until the end when the writers changed him completely. He was kind, caring, and I liked the two of them together. They did have the stupidest fights though. Mary-Ann freaking out over a surprise party, fighting over a way to study, her not wanting to go out but stay home and read, etc. Now the storyline I liked the most was the one where Mary-Ann gets a new look. What’s stupid is that everyone is upset she didn’t consult them, or whatever; but I liked how the meek little Mary-Ann took such a big risk showing that people can change.

Dawn Schafer grew up in Anaheim, CA; the home of Disneyland. She has a younger brother, Jeff, and all seemed well until she was twelve and her parents divorced. They moved all the way to Conneticut, where her mom was originally from. The family are all blonde, vegetarians, and don’t eat processed food or sugar; trying to say that is how all Californians are (wrong! Ghirardelli Square anyone? Or the Jelly Belly Factory?) Anyway, as mentioned above, her mom and Mary-Ann’s father get together, moving into their house and making the two friends stepsisters. Dawn is also eco-friendly and very opionated and sure of herself. Because of her always spouting I am rock solid in my beliefs, I liked the Dawn and the Older Boy and Dawn’s Big Date. In the first book she meets an older guy who turns her into his project, trying to meld her into what he thinks is better. Dawn, having a big crush on him, starts changing her ways. She does the same thing in Dawn’s Big Date, when Logan’s cousin and Dawn’s pen pal, Lewis, is coming to visit. She feels unglamorous and starts decking out in Hot Topic-like fashion. I liked these two stories as I thought they aptly showed how you can think you know yourself and that you are unchangeable, but in reality can still be susceptible to insecurities. After leaving in Conneticut for a while, she misses California too much and spends half her time in CT with the other half in CA. After a little of this, she moves home to CA for good. I missed her from the series, as after that shift it was never the same again. She received her own spinoff series, The California Diaries, which was supposed to be gritty but was often very soap opera-y.

Mallory Pike is brought in when Stacey leaves. She is the eldest of 8 kids, and unlike the other members, eleven years old. What she lacks in years, she makes up in experience. She was a pretty boring character as her only traits was that she liked reading and wanted to be a writer, and hated having such a large family. The storyline I liked with her was the one when she baby-sits the Arnold twins, making a ton of money for a mall trip. I liked this story because it gave her depth (for once) and also the shopping trip at the mall made her seem as one of the group instead of a young hanger-on.

Jessi Ramsey was brought on with Mallory. In book 14, when Mallory is being tested, she meets and befriends Jessi. I liked Jessi more than Mallory as she had a bit more depth. The only thing I didn’t like was the way everyone acted about her being black. They made it seem like she was the only black person in the area, like they had never seen one before. Now I can buy they are a mostly white population at that school, but don’t they watch TV? Movies? It felt like the “Dual Spires” Psych episode.

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She was a ballet dancer, and unlike Mallory actually had words of wisdom instead of complaining. My favorite storyline of hers was when she was chosen to be Sleeping Beauty in Sleeping Beauty ballet. That was a good mystery and brought us into the Black Swan (less dark though) underside of ballet.

Besides these books I watched the show, of course.

And I loved the people chosen for the characters. I thought they were perfect and way better than the movie.

I also read The California Diaries which were supposed to be more adult and have an edge. These were okay, although there were some things I really didn’t like. First, Dawn becomes a major tool and no longer someone you want in the series. I did like the Sunny parts, her mom gets diagnosed with Cancer and how she acts when dealing with all the changes was extremely realistic. I loved the Maggie storylines, as she battles insecurities, anorexia, cutting, etc. It was a little strange how she went from the before free spirit, rebel to the type-A perfectionist, though. They add in Ducky, who I could never figure out if he was gay or just metro. The big thing that bothered me was that these 13-year olds were all dating high schoolers. Didn’t their parents think that was a bad idea? I mean why would a 16-18 year old want to date a 13 year old unless they only wanted one thing? Come on girls, stop being stupid. On a whole it wasn’t bad, often their drive to “make it real” just made these depressing situations.

So The Baby-Sitters Club wasn’t perfect, but when I was a kid it was the thing I wanted to read all the time.

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The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales

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I am a huge fan of fairy tales, especially the Brothers Grimm.

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The amazing stories in this are just so much fun and full of adventure.

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I used to read this all the time to escape life and live within these incredible tales.
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I bought the complete set one year and read the tales over and over again.

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There are so many amazing tales, that asking me to pick my favorite would be impossible. I have written on them in the past, and there  will be plenty more to come.

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For more on The Brothers Grimm, go to If the Shoe Fits: Why Cinderella is Actually Awesome

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Captain Planet

I loved this show so much as a kid. Captain Planet was awesome, with his team of teenagers. For those of you who weren’t watching TV in the ’90s, this show was about Gaia, “Mother Earth”, choosing five teenagers from all over the world to help fight pollution. There was Kwame from Africa with the power of Earth, Gi from Asia with the power of water, Linka from Russia with the power of Wind, Wheeler from New York with the power or fire, and Ma-Ti from South America with the power of Heart. When all combined their powers they brought forth Captain Planet.

My favorite character was Wheeler as I loved his red hair and fiery attitude.

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I also liked that he didn’t always agree with everything they were spouting. Like when they said you should only have one kid, he said I don’t think there is anything wrong with having big families. Besides that he was such a fun character as he was always out of the box and doing the unexpected.

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The Nanny

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Ah, The Nanny. This was a hilarious show that I loved to watch as much as I could. It was actually based a lot on Fran Drescher’s life. Fran Fine is a Jewish girl from Queens, NY. She works in a bridal shop, until her fiancé dumps her for some bimbo and kicks her out of the job. She becomes an Avon Lady, and accidentally applies for the job as nanny for widower, millionaire, British, broadway producer, Maxwell Sheffield. He has three children: Maggie, who is the eldest and completely insecure; Brighton, a prankster who hates all nannys; and Grace, neurotic and precocious. She is hired and finds herself the spice this family needs.

Yep, her unconventional ways, awesome clothing, big hair, and Yiddish are hilarious, endearing, and all around fun. Plus she has the best logic for getting around diets.

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Also in the home is the British, sarcastic, bulter (sorry Fresh Prince of Bel Air, they had him first). He and Fran become best buddies, and he is an all-time favorite character of mine as he has the best one liners.

There is also Ms. C.C. Babcock that has a HUGE crush on Maxwell, even before he was a widower.

And of course Fran’s mother,

I love this show. Why did it have to end?

For more on The Nanny, go to Pizza Power

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NCIS

NCIS

My friend Diana from high school loved this show. She was always going on about it and telling me how awesome it is. After being pushed by her constantly, I decided to give it a look and of course fell in love with it.

The show is similar to the other crime shows that I am a fan of, but this time it covers the military. When crimes occur involving any branch of the military they call in their police force, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The team is lead by Leroy Jethro “Gibbs” Gibbs, (Mark Harmon). The rest of his team is the funny, alternative, unique, and awesome Abby Scuito the forensic specialist and Timothy McGee is the tech wizard. They had Caitlin Todd, an awesome character, but she was killed and they then brought in Israeli Masaidd agent, Ziva David that I absolutely hated.

But my all time favorite character was Anthony Dinozzo. The Italian, handsome, funny, and sarcastic agent.

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The main reason I loved him was he was a huge movie buff that was always quoting things, just like me. And no one ever knows what he’s talking about, just like me.

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For the previous post, go to I’m So FANcy!

Stay tuned for part 12

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For more Back to the Future, go to Where Were Going, We Don’t Need Roads

For more quotes, go to Let It Go

What Have We Done to Each Other?: Gone Girl (2014)

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What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?

So I am just stating here and now that I will not reveal the end of this movie. It is a great piece of work, with an amazing twist that you must see or read (the book) for yourself. Since it is still out in theaters I do not want to ruin anything for the potential viewer. That being said:

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So the book this film is based on came out in 2012 and I was really intrigued by it. I added it to my to-read list and planned on getting around to it. But you readers know how that is.

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So yeah, I hadn’t gotten around to it. However, that all changed this summer. I told you in a previous post that I journeyed out to Wyoming for an internship. There wasn’t a lot to do in the town, and the other interns and I mostly hung out on the weekends. We talked about what there was to do, which was mostly reading or netflixing. (I don’t have netflix so I Amazon Instant Watch or putlocker things). Anyways, one of the interns, Gwen, hadn’t brought anything with her and was asking about where to purchase books. I had brought my kindle and was fine (until it broke). I told her the library was out as I had found out to get a card I would have to pay $20.

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Then I remembered! There was a bookstore in town called “The Newstand“. But shortly after we arrived it went out of business.

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Yep. I think the only place left in town you could to get books were the Walgreens or the Walmart. They had two thrift stores in town, one was only clothes, the other furniture. It was very different from anyplace I’d lived before.

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Anyways, so one week Gwen starts talking about this book she just bought (I don’t know where. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I ever asked her.) She told us it was Gone Girl. Immediately I was intrigued as I had really wanted to borrow it. I asked for the book and finished it in one day. It was that good.

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The book is a mystery/suspense/horror. The way it is told is really interesting as it goes back and forth between the present and the past. In the present Nick Dunne’s is trying to figure out and cope with his wife Amy’s disappearance. The past is revealed to us through Amy’s journal, as she details the everything prior to her disappearance. It was an interesting book as it has the same unsettling qualities as Catcher in the Rye or Alias Grace. In Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caulfield, admits to the reader that he is a liar, leaving one unsure of what in the book is real, and what is a child’s fantasy. Margaret Atwood, author of Alias Grace, does a similar thing in her novel. There are no quotations marks put around the dialogue, leaving the reader very uncertain as to what was said and what was only in the character’s minds. Just like Holden,  Grace Marks leaves us wondering if she is really telling the truth?

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Gone Girl isn’t exactly written that way, but it does have some similarities. With Nick, he is described as being somewhat of an a***hole (his word not mine) and having a face that makes himself always look as if he is lying. He is too good looking and charming that you don’t want to trust him (the characters joke that his chin causes you to not trust him.) As you read his accounts you start wondering if there is more than he is telling the reader. You feel as if he is hiding something from you, even though it is told in first person. It makes you wonder what is he hiding? What are his secrets?

Suspense have to know

And then you have Amy. Everything we hear is from what she wrote in a journal. But is it the truth? After all a journal is where you release your emotions. Sometimes you exaggerate or write things down that you would never do, just because it helps destress you. As I mentioned before it is a release. Besides that you don’t write everything down in a journal. After all, that is a lot of work. Most of the time you write down the things that made you upset or happy; never giving the whole picture but a moment. Just a moment. It’s selective in memory. So that begs the question: how much of it can we take as fact? How much is fiction?

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So one day I was at the movie theater watching Expendables III. The film finished and I contemplated sneaking in to see another film, but unfortunately the theater I was at was very small (four screens) and the ticket seller and I had had an actual conversation, so he would remember me. Along with that, my “California-ness” showed very strongly as everyone told that I looked very “different” from Wyoming girls.

Yeah I don't understand it either

Yeah I don’t understand it either

So instead I called a cab for a ride home and waited around until it came. As I was waiting, I started watching the screen that showed trailers for upcoming films. I saw one for The Equalizer, but it didn’t really strike me as a “must-see”. After that the trailer for Gone Girl came up.

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I didn’t even know that they were turning the book into a film!!! Fantastic!!! Then I saw the cast list. As you know from an earlier post, I love Ben Affleck. I knew he would be a perfect Nick. Rosamund Pike was great as Jane in Pride and Prejudice (2005) and I was interested to see how she would do this role. I thought Neil Patrick Harris was a great choice as Amy’s ex, as everything I have ever seen him in he has conquered. The only thing I was unsure about was Tyler Perry. But to be honest, any time I see him not playing Madea, it’s a little strange. Anyways, I became excited for the film and couldn’t wait to see it.

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And as I mentioned before it was pretty incredible.

Take note Hollywood

Take note Hollywood

What was great about the film was that they followed the book pretty consistently. There are a few changes, but not enough to make you want to string up the director by his thumbs. On a whole the changes didn’t really hurt the film at all. I thought it was amazing how they handled the flashbacks, narrations, and journal entries. I would definitely read the book along with the movie as it has more detail and little things that can’t transfer over to film. I do give one warning though. If you want to be surprised DO NOT READ THE BOOK. The book has this amazing twist, about halfway through, and a killer end. It was a great shock when you read it, but not so much the second time encountering it on the screen. I mean you already know it, so while the rest of the audience is oohing and ahhing over it, you’re just chilling there thinking, knew it.

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So if you truly, truly want to be surprised. I would wait to read the book until after seeing the film.

So I’m just going to do a partial review, as I really, really don’t want to spoil too much for anybody.

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Nick Dunne

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It is the day of the Dunne’s five-year anniversary. And Nick is not very happy.

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You see life hasn’t been a bed of roses for the Dunnes. Nick is from a little town; North Carthage, Missouri. He went to college and moved to New York, and began writing for a magazine. He met Amy at a party and the two later married…but bliss did not last long. He lost his job due to downsizing as the economy tanked. His father is crazy and in a home where he constantly escapes from. And his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Immediately, hearing the news of his mother, he and Amy move back to his hometown much to her displeasure.

Now the relationship was already strained, but after moving to Missouri it becomes much worse. Amy is a New Yorker born and bred and doesn’t do well with places that are not New York.

That particular morning, Nick heads over to the bar that he bought with his twin sister Margot, and the two contemplate what would be a good anniversary present. 5 years is wood, “and there’s nothing good from that.” When Nick heads home, he receives the biggest shock of his life.

What!

His house is a mess and his wife is missing.

OMG

He can’t find her and doesn’t know where she might be. He calls the police and later, her parents. They team up and begin commercials, signs, news reports, trying to find Amy. Ben Affleck did an amazing job at this role.

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But some people don’t think that he’s quite so innocent. Some suspect he might have killed her. Things become espechially sticky when they discover the broken in area was staged, and a lot of blood was spilled and then cleaned up afterwards. Did he have something to do with his wife’s disappearance? Did he kill her? Is he innocent? If he is innocent, than what happened to her? Where can she be?

Suspense have to know

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Amy Dunne

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We are first introduced to Amy through her journal. Amy is the daughter of authors. Her parents wrote the best-selling series called Amazing Amy. Their main character is perfect and excels at every hobby. Especially things that Amy has failed at. Amy resents the books, but they have made her famous and a major spot in the limelight.

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Amy is beautiful, charming, witty, etc. The “perfect” woman.

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She writes personality quizzes for magazines for a living. I know some of you out there might think that’s a bit strange, but let’s face it…she has a major trust fund. She meets Nick at a “writer” party one night, and after that the two are hooked. They get married and have a few great years, but things start going downhill once Nick loses his job. He becomes someone that she doesn’t know.

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She hates Missouri. Nick thrives, but it makes her feel like she is choking. Then things in the marriage start to get even worse…Or does it? Is Nick really as cruel as Amy paints him? Or are the writings in the journal just the exaggerations of an unhappy, displaced person?

What!

Did Amy leave by her own choice? Or was she taken by force? But most importantly, where is Amy?

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The supporting characters are just as great as Affleck and Pike. Carrie Coon is perfect as Margot as she is really able to capture twin sister needling brother, and being supremely protective of him. Kim Dickens is an amazing Detective Rhonda Boney, the homicide officer assigned to the case. She seems all midwestern, laid-back, easygoing, charm; but she has a real brain in her head and is highly observant. Neil Patrick Harris steals scenes, as he plays Desi Collings, Amy’s ex and possible kidnapper. And then we have Tyler Perry, rounding out the cast as Tanner Bolt. I never would have picked him for the part as he is radically different, but he does a great job as being one of those shark lawyers after the big-name cases.

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And is has an awesome twist that I will not reveal as you all should definitely watch/read for yourself.

Where is Amy? What Happened to Her? Visit Your Local Theater to Find Out.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to There’s Nothing Out There. Nothing in the Mist

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For more on Ben Affleck, go to What is This Thing?

For more on films based on books, go to You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

For more twist endings, go to Don’t F*** With the Original

For more book-filled posts, go to I Was Here For A Moment. And Then I Was Gone

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die