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

Day 14) N is for Name: Choose a book with a character that shares your first or last Name

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Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

So I know I discussed this book back when I talked about being a fan of Sarah Dessen, but I am bringing it back as it contains one of my names. Yes, one of these characters has my first, middle, or last name. Which one? I’m not saying.

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Another reason why I picked this book was because the main character, Auden, took a long time to like her name. She is named after the poet W. H. Auden, and not only do most not know who she is named after, it isn’t really a girl’s name. I know what it is like to not like your name, but at least she was named after a poet; my namesake created lots of teasing growing up. And her name means “old friend”, mine is not pretty.

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I started reading Sarah Dessen back in middle school. This was the last book I read while in my teendom, and I think it is one of her best books and the last truly great one. I didn’t really care for Whatever Happened to Good-bye or The Moon and More, and didn’t even bother to read the next one she came out with. I don’t know if I am too old or if her work isn’t as good as it used to be.

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So Auden West never had a real childhood. Her parents are professors, and her brother Hollis (meaning holly tree) had colic as a baby.

Not good

After him, they expected Auden to be a mini adult, no longer wanting to be “parents”. Hollis had fun and charmed his way through life, going abroad and mooching off his family as he continues to play.

Favorite Lydia Bennet

Auden had to be the serious child: no fun, no play, nothing but academics. This caused her to grow to be a little anti-social as she just couldn’t relate to others.

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She also moved around a lot as no school was seen as right for her parents. This caused her to also make no real connections, as how can you become friends when you are only there for a second.

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 Auden also has insomnia.

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After Hollis left, things got ugly in the house. Her mom came and won awards, great articles, a chair, etc; while her husband went down. They never liked fighting around Auden, so they would wait until she went to sleep. Auden stopped going to sleep, hoping that would keep them from fighting.

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This worked for a while, but eventually they just started fighting again.

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They divorced, her father remarried, and immediately got his new wife pregnant. Auden feels replaced in one life and nothing in her mother’s who spends all her time working or with her graduate students.

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Mostly Auden spends all her free time at an all night diner and reads, drinking coffee.

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Or booth in this case.

She will be heading off to a top college in the summer and has been studying the classes her mother picked out for her.

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Her stepmother, Heidi (meaning noble and kind), recently had their baby, Thisbe (meaning lover of Pyramus) Caroline West, and invites Auden to come out to the beach where they live and spend time there this summer. Heidi always invites Auden and Auden always makes an excuse…

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but this time things change. She just can’t stand another summer of not living.

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Auden decides to take up Heidi’s offer and heads out to the beach in hopes to spend time with her dad and not sure what will happen.

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What she finds is nothing she would have expected. The perfectly coiffed Heidi is a mess, the baby always cries from colic, and while she loves her dad, his selfishness makes her not like him most of the time as all he can do is focus on is his book.

Men?

Men

Auden is asked out by a local boy and heads down to a beach party, a huge mistake as he was a total jerk.

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Auden still has issues sleeping, so she spends her time driving, at a horrible diner, or reading at home. But Thisbe won’t stop crying, so one night she ends up taking her to the boardwalk, walking her up and down.

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There she sees a boy on his bike, doing all kinds of jumps and such, hypnotized by his movements. He spots her watching and approaches her, looking at the baby. Auden explains that it has been a long night, and he agrees with aren’t they all.

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Auden ends up helping Heidi out when there isn’t enough money to cover the UPS delivery at her shop, Clementine’s. The main girl is Maggie (meaning pearl) who turns out to be the girlfriend of the guy she hooked up with the night before.

big mistake

Maggie and her friends are upset when they realize that Auden is the girl, but they do come to the conclusion that Auden didn’t know anything, and that Maggie is better off without her loser boyfriend who is cheating on her.

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Things are not very happy in the new West family. Auden’s father and Heidi are fighting constantly, just trade a few words out and it is like living back with mom and dad.

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They are supposed to be having a family dinner, but that is a wash. Thisbe starts crying and Auden takes her out of there. As she is trying to get her to stop she is approached by the same boy from the other night, and he is able to calm the baby.

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Heidi knows him, and introduces him to Auden. He is Eli (most common meaning, my God is Yahweh), who has a younger brother, Jake (supplanter). That Jake was the same guy that was dating Maggie and messing with Auden. Of all the people to mess with.

Just My Luck!

Just My Luck!

Later that night Auden overhears Heidi and her father arguing. Heidi wants him to help her out more around the house, while her father thinks that Auden should just do free babysitting.

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Hurt that Heidi defends her while her father wants to use her, Auden needs something to do and spots Heidi’s accounts she was trying to balance. Auden stays up all night using her anger to work out the issue.

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Heidi is amazed at Auden’s work and instantly offers her a job working the books. Her father tries a power play chastising Heidi for using Auden, but as Auden heard their conversation the night before, she becomes angry and takes the employment, even though it means working with the girl who’s boyfriend she was with.

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Auden grows to really like working at the store. She doesn’t spend a lot of time with Maggie or her friends (the other workers), so that that isn’t as awkward as she thought it would be. One night she becomes bored and heads over to the skate park where everyone hangs out.

Say What

There she runs into Eli, who asks her about riding a bike. Auden is concrete that she knows how to ride a bike, but does she really? She didn’t really have a childhood.

Thinking Hmm

One day her mother visits and just rips on everything; Heidi, her dad, the clothes Auden is wearing, the store, the beach, the restaurants, etc. When Auden defends Heidi as not being a ditz but a pretty astute businesswoman, her mother is rather cruel to Auden, putting her in her dumb category because she no longer is in one hundred percent agreement with her.

ouch Hermione

After work, Auden still hurt, goes off to get a coffee from the nearby shop. Maggie goes after her as she knows what it is like having a difficult mother. She sits with Auden and just helps by being there.

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She ends up going out with the girls, not really expecting anything but just wanting some company.

Girls night!

Girls night!

They head to the Gas/Gro where they pick up some snacks, just in case. After all you never know what the night will hold.

Chocolate makes everything better

Afterwards they head to a party at Belissa’s (lovely one) house, the daughter of the local bakers. They send Auden to get beers, but as she has never partied before she cannot get the keg to work.

I don't know what to do

Eli comes up behind her and tries to help her out. They joke around having fun, but Maggie quickly comes in and tries to get her Auden of there.

Run Away

Before they can get free they run into Belissa and almost get their butts kicked as she is Eli’s ex, yet still thinks they are together. Auden has never dealt with angry exes so she doesn’t have the sane reaction.

Them's fighting words!

Them’s fighting words!

The girls interrogate her about Eli, when they started hanging out, and Auden shares that they talked ever since she saw him on his bike.

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The girls are shocked and reveal Eli’s sad backstory.

Eli and Abel (breath) were the very best of friends, doing everything together. They did competitive biking and were extremely good, so good they had sponsors and everything. Eli was given a scholarship for it to the University and deferred to keep riding. Then one day they were coming back from a competition and the two were in an accident. A drunk driver went through a four way stop and Abel was killed.

After that Eli gave up everything and doesn’t do much as he is grieving.

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Maggie takes Auden back to the shop, and Auden grabs a coffee before she decides to head out. But then she changes her mind as she sees a light on in the bike shop and takes a chance.

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Eli is there and realizes they told her everything. He tells her he used to like hanging out with her because she never felt sorry for him or gave him a pity look.

Stop stop it now!

Auden bypasses that and says she is angry because he left her alone to fight his ex. As Eli doesn’t like to sleep either, they end up spending the night together as they visit the laundromat/coffee shop, the Park Mart warehouse store, etc.

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Eli discover that therre are a lot of of things she missed out on her childhood and decides they need to go on a quest to help her. Food fights, “high school” parties, delivering newspapers, going to a club, kickball, etc.

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Auden finds herself finally allowing her to open up to another person, something she hasn’t been able to do since the dissolution of her parents’ marriage.

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But will this work out or just be a summer romance? Will Auden finally let someone into her heart, or become too afraid she lets it go?

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I loved this book so much!

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First of all Maggie is such an amazing character. She shows how you don’t have to label yourself but be whatever you want. Sporty? Pretty? Intelligent? You can be it all.

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She’s fun, sweet, and the best friend you could ever have.

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And Eli. Eli has gone through so much and is such a strong character. He teaches Auden it is okay to grow up and still have childish parts to her, no matter how old you are.

He makes her Rice Krispie treats when she is sad and crying.

How sweet!

How sweet!

When she freaks out and tries to break it off, he just takes it and when she overcomes her commitment-phobia, he is there waiting.

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He is smart, talented, compassionate, sweet, adorable- and I wish he was real as he is just perfect.

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December 2014

The only flaw I would say this book has is that Eli never really deals with his grief, but buries it in another relationship which is not the right way to do. After working with grieving people, Dessen didn’t quite handle that issue correctly.

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But the rest of the book was fantastic and it is something I read over and over again.

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Now each Sarah Dessen novel connects to all the others, and I’ve listed said connections with Along for the Ride, AFTR.

That Summer:
Haven’s family spends a whole summer at a beach just like Auden does.

Someone Like You:
In Someone Like You, Scarlett and Haley went to Jackson High. Auden went there for a while in AFTR.

Keeping the Moon
Auden goes to visit her Dad and Stepmom in Colby. In Keeping the Moon, Colby is where Colie visited for the entire summer.
Auden eats at Last Chance where Colie worked at in Keeping the Moon.
The cashier that takes Auden’s order at Last Chance is a dark haired girl with a lip ring. Colie is dark-haired girl with a lip ring.
Heidi, Auden’s stepmom, two best friends are Morgan and Isabelle. Morgan and Isabelle are Colie’s next door neighbors in Keeping the Moon.
Auden passes a women with long hair in an orange jumpsuit on a bicycle. This is Mira, Colie’s aunt.

Dreamland:
Caitlin went to Jackson High. Auden goes to Jackson High for a bit in AFTR.
Rogerson Biscoe goes to Perkins Day. Auden goes to Perkins Day for a bit as well.
In Dreamland, Caitlan’s Dad,Boo, and Stewart teach at U. That is the same university where Auden mom teaches as well.
Cass starts reading about Buddhism. In AFTR, Auden is reading about it too.

This Lullaby:
Auden’s mom teaches at the U, the same university where Lissa is going to college.

The Truth About Forever:
Macy went to Jackson High. Auden went there for a while in AFTR.
Macy’s ex-boyfriend Jason Talbot was supposed to be Auden’s date for the prom, but he cancels last minute. He is also her date in the prom boardwalk party Heidi throws, but cancels last minute once again.
Macy and Wes are always going to World of Waffles. In AFTR, that is where Maggie, Leah, and Esther go when Esther’s car breaks down.
Jason’s parents are professors just like Auden’s parents.

Just Listen:
Annabelle went to Jackson High. Auden went there for a while inAFTR.
Will Cash, Sophie’s boyfriend, the guy who rapes Annabelle goes to Perkins Day. Auden goes to Perkins Day for a bit in AFTR.
A girl named Esther emcees the poetry and other readings at the coffee shop, Jump Java. Whitney goes her to read her memoir. In Along for the Ride, Auden’s friend Esther, loves to go to coffee shops to hear readings.

Lock and Key:
Ruby dates Nate Cross. Auden talks about awkwardly flirting with him in AFTR
Ruby’s brother-in-law created the website Ume.com. In AFTR Auden goes on it.
Ruby went to Jackson High for a while. Auden went there for a while in AFTR
Ruby goes to Perkins Day. Auden goes to Perkins Day for a bit in AFTR.
Ruby wears a necklace with a key on it. Harriet makes a ton of these to sell at her kiosk in the mall. In AFTR, Heidi sells the necklaces at her shop Clementine’s.
Ruby, Gervais, and Nate attend U. Cora and Jamie used to go to U. Auden’s mom is a professor at U.
Ruby applies for Defriese but doesn’t get in. Auden and Maggie attend Defriese.

Whatever Happened to Goodbye:
McLean is named after a Defriese University coach; she used to live in Tyler, the town Defriese University is located; and her stepdad is the Defriese University basketball coach. Auden and Maggie go to Defriese University.
Auden and Eli shop at Park Mart. So does Mclean
Guy next door to McLean goes to U; McLean herself attends U. Auden’s mother is a professor at U.
McLean goes to Jackson High like Auden did before she transferred.
Peter bought McLean’s mom a house in Colby. Colby is where Auden spends the summer with her dad and stepmom.
Jason is the chef at Luna Blue. Jason is Jason Talbot, the guy who stood Auden up twice.
Heidi is friends with McLean’s mom. She comes by with Thisbe and a bathing suit from Clementine’s.

The Moon and More:
Auden’s friend Esther film’s Clyde, Ivy, & Emmaline’s party.
Emmaline goes to parties at the Tip. The Tip was were Auden had her embarrassing “hook up”.
Clyde hangs out with Emmaline. Clyde met Auden when she was on her “quest”. He made pie for her too in his laundromat.
Both stories take place in Colby.
Emmaline knows Wallace, who is friends with Auden.
Emmaline is a Gas/Gro fiend, just like Auden & friends.
Emmaline goes to Abe’s Bike, named for Eli’s friend and owned by Clyde.
They talk about Weymor college, where Auden’s dad teaches at.
Emmaline gets an ad for Tallyho, Luke cheats on her there, and they have the art show after party there. Tallyho was the club where Maggie, Esther, and Leah would go.
Emmaline knows Maggie and Auden.
Emmaline’s friend Daisy works for Heidi, Auden’s stepmother, at her shop, Clemetine’s.
Auden goes to visit her Dad and Stepmom in Colby. Emmaline lives in Colby.
Auden eats at Last Chance so does Emmaline.
Auden mom teaches at U. Emmaline will be attending in the fall.
Daisy & Emmaline win best dressed at the Beach Bash. Heidi throws the Beach Bash every year.
Heidi is friends with Emmaline’s mom, Emily.
Auden and Eli shop at Park Mart. So does Emmaline.
Adam and Wallace live down in the beach shacks. Wallace used to live in GULL’S CRY which is where Theo lives after he gets kicked out.

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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 Maybe Christmas, He Thought, Doesn’t Come from a Store. Maybe Christmas…Perhaps…Means a Little Bit More: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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For more on Along for the Ride, go to The Strange Case of a Fangirl and Her Fandoms

For more on Sarah Dessen, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

For more on Anthony Trollope, go to Words to Live By

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So as this takes place on the beach I though none other than the perfect beach, Christmas Carol…the perfect California beach Christmas Carol. Little Saint Nick by The Beach Boys.

Yes growing up a Californian, The Beach Boys are a group that whatever part you are from, you just grow up loving.

It was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Wilson said the idea came to him while on a date, he broke it off early, and rushed home to finish working on it. The song released in 1963.

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For more Christmas Carols, go to I Finally Read Moby-Dick

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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.

WatchDisney

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

First Impressions

PrideandPrejudice

So let’s talk about Mr. Darcy’s first meeting. He made several mistakes.

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Yes, you did. You made a to of blunders that really led to you demise in the public’s eye.

So we see that when Darcy is first introduced as being one hot guy.

“Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mein, and…having ten thousand a year…the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration…”

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talldarkawesome

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That is until he showed how prideful he is

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“[Mr. Darcy] was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could save him…”

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1. Not Dancing

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Now I am not big on dancing, I’m like William H. Macy in Wild Hogs

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But to people in Regency era dancing was an important thing. As a woman to be dancing it spoke of your beauty and possibility of marriage. Therefore Darcy giving a huge slight on the town  and the women as he danced with no one. It was like saying no one there was good enough for him.

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It also told everyone that they had no chance at all at gaining his heart as

“To be found of dancing was a certain step toward falling in love…”

Not good Mr. Darcy, not good at all.

Ouch

Ouch

But in his defense he only knows a few people, and it can be hard to dance in front of strangers, especially if you are dancing with a stranger.

“You know how I detest it [dancing], unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner.”

I know I couldn’t do it. Mr. Bingley tries to introduce him to people, but Darcy just shuts him down. True it sounds rude, but I believe that Darcy is just socially awkward.

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2. Pride

Mr.DarcyMoveAside Pride and prejuice

Yep, Darcy comes off as a regular tool, the way he acts above everybody else.

“he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased…”

Jerk

He only dances two dances, one with Mrs. Hurst (Bingley’s sister) and Miss Caroline Bingley. He also only talked to the people within his party, declining to be introduced to anyone else.

How rude

“His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and everybody hoped he would never come there again.”

Good riddance

Good riddance

However, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. It can be hard when you are in a new area. Sometimes you can come off being ruder than you mean to be.

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I used to be like that a lot. People would tell me they thought I was a snob before, and glad that they were mistaken. I never realized that my self-consciousness was giving off that kind of vibe. In fact I feel bad for Darcy, as for him it was the same way. He never realizes the way he may portray himself or the attitude he gives off until Elizabeth tells him.

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3. Slighting Elizabeth

Ooooh Darcy, this is where you really dig yourself into a hole.

“She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me.”

Ouch

Ouch

Sorry Darcy, I have nothing to say to defend you. You said such a cruel thing and she tells her friend and family. Her mother spreads the story around and Darcy, you’re coffin is sealed.

Good riddance

Good riddance

 

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So this clearly shows that we need to watch our actions and how we present ourselves to people. First impressions last a long time and take forever to overcome.

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Also that even though Darcy is hot and rich, its personality that will always win over as everyone was willing to forget trying to win his heart, once they felt his personality was a huge zero.

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Yep personality will always win out:

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And it’s a good thing for us that Darcy has a beautiful soul to go with his body. It just takes a bit of time for us and Elizabeth to see it.

Laurence Olivier Mr. Darcy

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For more on Mr. Darcy, go to It’s All Jane Austen’s Fault

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Just Can’t Get a Break

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to How to Catch a Man

For more on first impressions, go to Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice

For more on Regency Era, go to Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

For more on tall, dark, and handsome men; go to Gone Forever

For more on Maya Angelou, go to A Woman’s Heart

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Food, Food, Food!

For more on Wild Hogs, go to Part VIII: The Little Movie Lines List

For more on George of the Jungle, go to Episode VI: Return of the Favorite Movie Lines’ List