Books, I think I just rambled, Life

books and movies and entwives

Let me regale you with the adventures I’ve somewhat recently taken between the pages of books, thundering away at a keyboard, and – memorably – in a cinema seat.

YOUNG ADULT NOVELS AND I STILL DON’T GET ALONG

I DNF’d A Curse So Dark and Lonely – it wasn’t my cup of tea, andI forgot that YA novels and I aren’t always the best of friends.

ALSO I HAVE THINGS TO SAY ABOUT IT but they might have to hold until another time.

LORD OF THE RINGS – I’M READING THEM! LE GASP!

Though I have watched the movies, I hadn’t read the books. But now? I’ve read the first two and have almost finished with the last. Reader, I cried.

Just … Sam … Frodo … the bittersweet scent of change that permeates everything … the lore … the world … the friendships … ugh!

Also, I love the Ents and WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ENT WIVES I ASK YOU. WHAT. HAPPENED?!!!!!

TOLKIEN – THE MOVIE

I watched it. I thought it was pretty okay. I was confused for a bit because there was a man named Chris and I only worked out that it wasn’t C S Lewis near the very end of the movie. The actor did a fabulous job as Tolkien and though I enjoyed it, I thought that it lacked a wee bit of substance.

Like a cream tea without the tea. Scones and jam and cream without the jam. A body without bones. That sort of thing.

ENDGAME – MY EYES AND HEART ACHED

I went twice. My heart hurt. My eyes hurt. My soul ached at some points. And though part of me questions the treatment of one of the characters (Thor, FYI), I am – as a whole – satisfied with the ending of an era that has had a part in shaping my life.

I can’t help listen to this without a lump in my throat.

ROMANOVS – THANKS, I HATE IT.

I’ve been reading a book about the Romanovs – and though it’s wonderfully written and fascinating – I’m just about ready to throw in the towel. (Trowel?) I feel very done with them. I had hopes for one Tsar – that he might be a decent fellow. But then … UGH. A ranting entry in my diary, and (if I recall correctly) a rambling conversation with my sister (or was it a friend? I’ve blocked the memory. It was a terrible time.) later and I feel quite finished.

History is wonderful but I’ve only so many hours and I’ve got a hundred other books which are all clamouring to be read. I think I might give it a pass.

Also – my bookmark got knocked out and I can’t bring myself to go through it all again and find my place.

^VERY valid reason. Also an actual reason.

My next factual book will probably be On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society which looks incredibly interesting.

WRITING: FREELANCE, THE LARGE PROJECT, AND OTHER THINGS

I was doing some freelance on fiverr – it was an adventure, for certain. I’ve found that there isn’t enough time to complete freelance work AND to write my own projects. Honestly?

Procrastination + deadlines = sleep deprivation.

So I’ve called it a day on most freelance work.

Here’s something that I’ve recently discovered though: word sprints. Do them. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, knowing that there is someone else writing and comparing word counts etc is enormously invigorating and words are always added. It’s great. Find someone who writes. And do it.

So far, I’m just over half way through IF – a project that was supposed to be an action packed mash of a Jackie Chan + John Wayne sort of adventure.

… it hasn’t ended up quite that way. I’ve ended up with a man bogged down in paperwork who then hurtles off on an accidental and reluctant adventure.

And then there’s Operation: Unicorn Poop which is tickling my funny bone.

BOOKS I WANT TO READ IN THE FUTURE

I want to reread my Georgette Heyers. Desperately. I’ve got a book on the Spanish Inquisition which I wasn’t expecting.

… but very much would like to read.

And then there’s The Poison Maiden by Paul Doherty which looks amazing and I want to read it straight away and My Plain Jane which I SWORE I wouldn’t read but … GUESS WHAT ARRIVED TODAY IN THE POST?

Also: a thousand other books but *sigh* life.

ALSO: expect a blog post about the MOST excellent ‘The Emotional Craft of Fiction’ and ‘Steal Like An Artist’ and ‘Keep Going’ because those three books are the bomb*.

*metaphorically speaking.

ALSO: LIFE

I haven’t yet saved the world or slain a dragon, but that’s alright. We can’t all be heroes but we can be kind to each other. It’s more achievable.

Happy Reading!

I think I just rambled, Life

tales from a past icicle: layers. lots of layers

In keeping with the theme of the season (the theme? It’s cold. The season? Winter.) here is a little something I wrote whilst living in the wilds of Canada …

As much as I very much wish I was an early bird, I think I’ve come to the hard conclusion that I am not one.

I wake at 5:00 am, four alarms later and I’m stumbling out of bed and into the bathroom. Cleaning, teeth brushing, make up applying follow in very. slow. order. (In this, I can safely say that I will never be accused of being too fast) and then I’m dressed and downstairs at 5:35 am for breakfast.

And then I have to apply more layers than rock layers in geology for venturing forth to catch my bus – which leads me to a Very Important Issue that I will a-dress (ba-dump) here:

ON WEARING A JOLLY BIG AMOUNT OF LAYERS

by A BITTER ENGLISHWOMAN

I used to think that I had to cover up (oh! the irony!) the amount of layers I wear. That I should be ashamed of wearing more clothing than a charity shop possesses. That I should tough it out and be a brazen:

‘Is it minus forty? HaHA! Gee! I didn’t notice. This t-shirt and coat is making me feel a bit overheated actually.’

(A breezy laugh ending with an accidental snort accompanies this announcement.)

WELL NO MORE!!!

I am finished with this self-imposed shame. I am no stranger to the damp winter cold of England, but the deep, deep depths of cold here in Montreal? No. I am not used to it. But, I’m adjusting to it. Slowly.

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(And I’m very proud of myself when I don’t have to wear gloves and it’s minus ten and pfft? What is this? A mere chill breeze, mortals!)

(I was wearing a heck of a lot of layers at the time. And the sun was shining.)

(So it probably doesn’t count.)

Things I’m used to:

  • Watching the rain
  • Living with the rain
  • Dodging puddles of rain water
  • Discussing the rain
  • Singing in the rain
  • Scurrying in from the rain

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Things I’m not used to:

  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Freezing rain
  • VERY VERY COLD COLDNESS

A little part of me wistfully longs to wear a beautiful coat with shape, elegance, and style, but right now? I wear a gazillion amount of clothing when I bus to work. It’s cold. I want to be warm. Being a human icicle is not a life goal.

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I will always be a tiny weeny bit embarrassed. It’s hard not to be. (COME ON, I’m wearing one coat, one hoodie, one fleece, one top and one vest – and that’s just for my top half.) But, I’m not going to apologise.

Nope.

Because yes, I’m wearing snow pants when literally no one else is … but if the wind blows sharply or the heavens sends its sparkling dandruff down … I shall be prepared.

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Books, I think I just rambled, Life

elephant thieves, adventures in grammar, and taps.

img_20181001_020627_033I’m living in Eastern Europe at the moment, TEFL-ing my heart out. English Grammar is an intriguing beast and I am wrestling with it on a daily basis. The upside is that grammar is logical. The downside is that though my brain is extremely fond of logic, it isn’t always very quick to grasp it. It’s fast in a sort of … ‘cold molasses gently oozing down an indecisive hill’ kind of way.

Thankfully, I don’t think my students are being too badly damaged, and dare I say it – are perhaps learning things as well.

Though I’ve never thought of my accent in a negative light – not really – right now I am having a crisis; I have a sort of not-posh posh British accent and it seems that learners find it easier to listen to and understand American English. (Something about the ‘r’s.)

My accent isn’t good enough.

Benefits of Living In Different Places: you find new ways to be humbled.

BOOKS I’VE READ

I mean, fanfiction doesn’t count, right? (WHAT?? YOU READ FANFICTION? Yes. Yes, I do #noragrets) Look. It’s free and it’s fun and sometimes it is written really well. What’s not to like?

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Appointment In Jerusalem

I only brought two physical books with me – this one and Holiness by J.C Ryle (I think?) Appointment in Jerusalem has been an encouragement and I shall probably reread it a few times while I am here.

Lydia left her comforts and the Known and traveled to where she believed God had called her. And if that isn’t courage, I don’t know what is.

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Elephant Thief by Lia Patterson

I have always liked Lia’s writing in the fanfiction realm. She’s also written two books and this one is my favourite.

She writes good characters and weaves enjoyable plots with a great dollop of adventure.

What’s not to love?

Also, she needs to write more books ASAP.

WRITING … WHY AREN’T YOU DOING IT?

To say I’ve gotten rusty with my writing skills is to say that the earth is round – both are facts and both should never be debated. [But one day I want to go to a flat earth conference … because imagine how interesting it would be? I have so many questions. 1) …  just … how … wut … *much spluttering* 2) BUT SCIENCE-! HISTORY! FACTS! EVIDENCE! 3) Tell me about everything you believe and why and can I write this down and how do you feel about being inserted into a book?]

Ah-hem.

What I mean to say is – I need to get back to writing a little more than lesson plans. But this will come with time, I think. And that time isn’t right now. Next week, I shall be teaching an extra two classes twice a week.

I am bracing myself.

APPARENTLY, I AM AN IDIOT

… and I have evidence to support this theory. My new apartment, you see, has taps. Running water. That sort of thing.

For perhaps a week, I believed that we didn’t have hot water. It’s the poorest country in Eastern Europe, I thought. You can’t have everything. Turns out … actually, you can. IF YOU TURN THE TAP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

… yes. That sound you are hearing?

It’s me.

Face palming.

Benefits of Living In Different Places: you find new ways to be EXTREMELY humbled.

I think I just rambled, Life

things that didn’t happen on my adventure

I think I did something wrong on my last adventure. According to my extensive research, I should have, at the very least, stumbled across a puzzle which would have led to a treasure map which would, in turn, have led me to El Dorado. This … did not happen.

THERE WERE NO DEAD BODIES

I’m not really going to complain about this, though my readings in the world of Elizabeth Peters, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L Sayers led me to conclude that it was an inevitable fact of life:

  • Gravity: what goes up must come down.
  • Life: you live, you find a dead body, you solve a murder mystery.

Nope. Didn’t happen.

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I saw a dead groundhog though. It was on a road. The poor thing was squished. The butler probably did it.

THERE WAS NO WHISKING OFF INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION

There was no Narnia hidden in a wardrobe. Or even a kitchen cupboard. To be honest, Canada had quite enough snow to make you think ‘oh my gosh someone kill the evil witch already IT’S SO COLD’ but alas, there were no furniture gateways into other worlds.

This would probably be a good thing. In stories, what you’re supposed to do sort of falls into your lap. In actual reality, you’d probably end up working as a maid in a tavern while the prince you were supposed to save was slain by the evil tyrant you were supposed to defeat.

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THERE WAS NO ROMANTIC SUB-PLOT

There was no pirate, lumberjack, detective, prince, villain-waiting-to-be-saved-by-the-love-of-a-good-woman, tormented artist, time traveler, or dinosaur trainer to sweep me off my feet.

I know.

Life is tough.

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I started to develop the sneaking suspicion that book heroes (*cough* clichés *cough*) don’t actually translate well to real life. For a bookworm, this is a hard – nay, DEVASTATING –  truth to face. This could mean that there are no Radcliff Emersons, Heyer leads, or Mr. Rochesters about.

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But … that’s okay. It’s all okay – I didn’t solve a murder mystery. I didn’t fall into another world. I didn’t get swept off my feet by a brooding hero.

Some adventures are full to the bursting with startling events, and quick things that trip over themselves in their haste to happen (if it doesn’t rain, it pours).

… but some adventures are quiet, where no big earth-shattering events occur, but where subtle little things steal in unannounced, one after the other, building up and up and up until you look back and think yes, what an adventure that was.

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I think I just rambled, Life

dinosaur thieves playing tag [movies i’ve watched]

So. I’ve been going to the cinema a lot recently. I’ll spare you my rant on the insane cost of popcorn (Seriously. It costs about an arm, a leg, and an ovary AND I’M NOT EVEN EXAGGERATING [much]) and my opinions on how IMAX is amazing and AV-whatever-the-other-letter-is is a WASTE OF SPACE, TIME, AND MONEY, and cut to the chase – I’ve been watching movies, and I’ve decided to write about them.

Just for this post, mind.

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WAHOO!! FEMALES CAN STEAL TOO!!!

[OCEAN’S 8]

Replace this cast with males and this movie would have been as interesting as waterlogged toast; the plot is a touch too simplistic and needed just a little bit more conflict. But because it had an all-female cast!! it works.

And it looks good doing it. (Them dresses though!)

Now, I’m not going to go into in-detailed rants about Hollywood and female leads and the Bechdel Test etc etc etc because quite frankly, my stomach is pleasantly full of root beer, fries, and a teen burger (and that’s it’s name and it’s not made from the body of a teenager. geez, people) and I’m tired and when I was writing essays for my English exam, my Dad looked at my work and said ‘yes, daughter, I think you’re more suited to writing fiction’ (translated: DON’T TRY TO WRITE LOGICALLY. I THINK THE LOGIC SKIPPED YOU AND WENT TO YOUR BROTHERS) (I’m paraphrasing) and so … I’m not going to do that here.

But this movie did pass the Bechdel Test. It was enjoyable, and it made me think: wow, is this what it’s like to be a boy and see Ocean’s 11 and have ROLE MODEL THIEVES OF THE SAME GENDER AS YOU?!!!

It’s a nice feeling. But don’t worry, I’m not going to become a thief. I tried to do an escape room bank robbery once and it did not go well; they actually radioed in and asked if I needed a hint.

three and a half stars. out of five. not ten. the plot isn’t that simplistic.

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WHAAAATTT DINOSAURS ARE ENDANGERED? AGAIN?!!

[Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom]

‘The movie was good,’ I told my friend. ‘But it needed more carnage.’ (I told her this four times. She’s a patient friend.)

(Actually, it was more like six.)

I liked Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; it has an interesting concept and looks really good. There’s some oh no! the dinosaur is going to kill us fo sure better run OH MY GOSH WE’REGONNADIE moments, your run-of-the-mill villain, a moral question that is solved in an interesting way (you’ll know the moment and REALLY. THINK OF THE DEATH TOLL HUH?!! WHY DON’T YOU!!!! ugh) and some fun humour amusement moments. (What, I totally didn’t consult my favourite dinosaur THE THESAURUS.)

But … there were moments in which I just wished the movie would hurry up. Maybe I’m getting old, or am used to skimming tedious parts when reading, but sometimes movies just need to get a move on already.

So, I liked the movie because: Chris Pratt, dinosaurs, and umm dinosaurs. BUT IT NEEDED MORE CARNAGE.

probably three and three-quarter stars out of maybe five because it needed more carnage (did i mention that?) or maybe it needs more stars. i don’t know how i feel. i am having a crisis right now.

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PETER PAN: THE SEQUEL. WITH SWEARING

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Remember when I said that sometimes movies need to get a move on already? This movie snatches your attention, taunts you with it, and then legs it. It doesn’t give it back until the credits finish.

I kid you not.

This movie is fun. There’s not a dull moment and the cast are having a blast, and so therefore do we.

I laughed a heck of a lot, and not once – not ONCE – did I think: how much longer is there?!

It’s refreshing – there’s so many movies where EVERYTHING IS AT STAKE AND THE ONE I LOVE IS IN DANGER or just thinks I’m the worst AND DEATH IS HURLING DOWN LIKE HAIL STONES IF HAIL STONES WERE MADE OF CGI AND FAKE BLOOD! But this? It’s literally about a group of friends playing tag.

The world isn’t threatened, there aren’t dead bodies here, there, and everywhere, no CGI monsters … it’s not perfect, but it’s like a nice glass of cool root beer. Refreshing.

Or whatever your beverage of choice is, it’s that. (Unless your beverage of choice is green tea. And then, I’m sorry – but no. Just no.)

(but bear in mind, this movie is rated ‘R’ and there are definitely reasons for that rating.)

three point eight six three out of five

(Also, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was a good movie, butitneededmorecarnage.)

… no one is going to hire me to write film reviews, are they?