Late Night Scribblings: All About Pride and Prejudice


My Dear Reader,
I've been in such the Jane Austen mood recently, that this afternoon, after waving off cousins who had been visiting for the weekend, I told my mom that I was planning on watching the 1995 Pride and Prejudice after lunch. So we did. Or, rather I did... the rest of the family floated in and out of the room over the course of the five hours and two disc masterpiece that is BBC's adaptation of P&P.  It's been ages since I've devoted myself to that one, and I don't think I've ever done it all in one go, so I think today might be a day for the Annals of Sarah Peden.  (March 23rd 2014. Still no life. Watched Pride and Prejudice for 5 hours straight and didn't feel guilty about it.)
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I've nothing really profound to say after this wonderful afternoon of immersion in Regency Romance, but I had a couple thoughts I wanted to write down... in no particular order.
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Comparing the different adaptations in my head, 1995 (Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle) is still my tippy-top favorite. Because dialog: gahh... straight from the book, straight up Jane Austen, beautiful, witty, genius (seriously genius) ...ok, recovering powers of speech, pardon my sudden but inevitable lapse into Fangirl....
Had I been reading instead of watching a movie, I'd have been underlining all over the place. (The last time I read the actual book was a while ago, and before I gained an affinity for marginalia.) It's not cinematically showy like the 2005 version (Kiera Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen) but it's detailed and book-accurate, and as a lover of the story first and foremost, I will always go with 1995.
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Mary's singing though... I can't help but laugh and sing along, every time.
I always feel so sorry for Mary Bennet... Especially when Mr. Collins comes around. You can see her in the
background trying awkwardly to get noticed by him. They would have been perfect together.

And Kitty, too! The poor misguided girl got the backlash of Lydia's folly, and no hope of a suitor on the horizon.... but here's what I'd like to think happens: After the weddings of Jane and Lizzie, Kitty meets Colonel Fitzwilliam... and its perfect. He's respectable, and a cousin of Darcy's AND in the military. What else could Kitty want?
***
Of all the sister relationships in all of Jane Austen's works, I love that of Jane and Lizzie best. (Sorry Jori, Marianne and Elinor are wonderful too, but they don't understand each other as well as Jane and Lizzie do.) I love how they're constantly confiding in each other, (really, the best conversations are had while braiding hair. I know this from experience) and the surreptitious glances across the parlor that just convey so much. 
Perfection. :)
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Jennifer Ehle. Let's just talk about how perfect a Lizzie she is.
That sweet smile... those sparkling eyes (very important, as Mr. Darcy is supposed to be transfixed by them)...
She has a constant decorum in society (unlike the sloppiness of Kiera Knightley's Lizzie), but when outdoors and alone, she runs and skips and plays with the estate dog. Yes. Just, yes.
***
1995 might be criticized by some of my sex for not having enough romance, but I'd like to say that it's there. You just have to be aware of it. It may not be romantic in the sense of roaming the heather fields at dawn in nothing but your nightgown where you just happen to meet your true love who is also roaming said fields, upon which meeting he professes his love to you in a half-dying sort of way (sorry Matthew MacFadyen, just stick to being Arthur Clennam, I like you better when you're jolly, not melancholy).
And by the way, such behavior is so. not. Regency. appropriate.
The romance of the 1995 film can be summed up in a couple of words. Not the standard Darcy speech of
"Allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you" because, really, that proposal doesn't count. He hadn't gotten over himself yet, and practically insulted her family while proposing to her. But rather, this moment occurs when, after Lady Catherine DeBurgh has come and gone, Darcy comes to visit with Bingley and they all go for a walk. Lizzie and Darcy start talking (FINALLY), apologizing for their respective behavior towards each other. It comes out that he still loves her, but more so... and she's had a change of heart towards him... and in that moment, he addresses her as "dearest, loveliest Elizabeth" not, Miss Bennet, or Miss Lizzie or any other address but "dearest, loveliest Elizabeth."

And in that moment, I (sitting with knees drawn up to chin in my little blue armchair) clutch my quilt about me even tighter, and emit a little "eep!" of joy at the sheer wonderfulness of those three words that are more romantic than all the pre-dawn trysts in the world.

I can't help it. I've been swooning over this story since I was little, and it only gets better with time. Goodnight, dear reader. I'm off to dream happy dreams of Someday.

your faithful scribbler,
Sarah


On Accidental Learning

Yesterday I accidentally learned about dodecaphony. Please note that I say "learned about." Do I understand it all? Not by a long shot; but I have new concepts floating around in my brain that have never been there before, and as a result, have discovered new thought-roads that will inevitably lead to more new and exciting concepts that are just waiting to be learned about.

But, oh dearest reader, through the portal that this text forms on my page, linking me to you, I can see you looking at me in an odd way. You're wondering,  "how in the world did she manage to learn about Schoenberg's method of composition that strives to equally utilize all twelve notes accidentally?"

Well, it all started when I was derping about the interwebs... on youtube, going to look up the theme music for the Redwall animated miniseries, (which, now that I think I about it, I never got to... whoops!) And as happens when you're subscribed to 33 channels, I was greeted by a slew of new videos and video suggestions.  I wasn't really in any hurry, so my slightly ADD brain and I chorused in harmony, "squirrel!" and clicked on a video from Vi Hart, about doodling fractal dragons in math class, which led to another one of her magnificent videos, this one about dot connecting. Before I knew it, I'd completely fallen down the rabbit hole of wonderful math philosophy, which landed me here, at Vi Hart's Twelve Tone video. (Its 30 minutes long, so  don't start watching it now, but please do plan to watch it. It's fascinating.)

Now, this post is about learning, not dodecaphony, so I'm not going to go into that at all, except to say that its kind of wierdly awesome. And strangely mathematical . Watch the video. Later.

This is how my brain works: something interests me; I look it up. In the course of reading about the first subject, I see something else that interests me and I look that up. And so on. Curiosity and distractibility are my modi operandi and Google is my weapon of choice. (P.S. Always Google with discernment.You're gonna need more than just a grain of salt... try a cup.)

Do I retain everything I learn in my accidental learning adventures? Not always. I'm no Sherlock with his vast mind-palace of useful information ready for recall; my mind is much smaller, more like a card catalog that points to the information rather than the shelves of information itself. (Though if I had a mind-palace I would like it to look like the Tardis library) Most of the time I just retain enough to make me dangerous... but even that little bit is better than nothing at all. As long as I remember that the information exists I can always go back and look up keywords to find it again. Sometimes one of these tidbits will be kicked around in my mind until one day it finds its use when someone asks me a questions relevant to that information; then I excitedly pull that card up in my brain and am thrilled to answer or point in the right direction. I guess you might say that I was born to be a librarian.

So, Where was I going with that? Nowhere really. Just musing over how my thoughts happen here. It's a wonderful, wide world to be thinking in. :)

 yours in accidental learning,
-S

On Pie

Its Pi Day. March 14th, or 3/14 or 3.14. Pi!
Of course, for those that love wordplay, that also means its Pie day. When I poked my head into Dad's office this morning to inform him of the date, he inquired after the possibility of getting pie with dinner tonight. (I'm playing housekeeper for the week, as Mom is visiting Grandparents with the youngers.) I think I can manage that.
I stood at the kitchen sink washing up breakfast dishes, enjoying the feeling of aliveness that comes with hot water running over my hands (as well as the baseboard heater blowing warm air on my bare feet) and doing a mental inventory of what we might have in the house for making pies. My thoughts of "what should I make?" triggered a long forgotten memory of one of my favorite childhood games.

Witch and the Pie (sometimes known as Pieman, Pieman) is hardly the kind of game you'd expect a family like mine to be playing.*  But my mom played it when she was little, so therefore we played it.
The game has different rule and forms, but this is how we played it: One person is It, she (or he) being the Witch (or wizard) ,while the rest of the kids would be the Pies in the Bakery. The Pies all sat on the front steps, deciding which flavor they'd be--anything from traditional fruit and custard pies, to more... creative choices, like Mud (we thought we were so clever)--while the Witch waited, safely out of earshot. When everyone was set in their choices, the Witch would approach the Bakery, and knock. Here's the scripted dialogue--

W (with a crone-like voice): Knock knock!
P (in chorus): Who's There!
W: Do you have any pies? (The "ies" sound must be inflected upward with increasing pitch)
P: What kind do you want?

At this point the Witch would start naming off types of pie; when she hit upon one that had been selected by a Pie, the unfortunate thing would then take off running, frantically circling our little white World War II era house, with Witch in hot pursuit. The Pie was safe if she made it back to the Bakery un-touched, but if the Witch overtook and tagged the Pie, the Pie became the Witch for the next round. Simple, Sweet, Scary. We played it endlessly.
***
I decided on Apple Pie with a lattice crust, because food should be pretty, vanilla ice cream on the side.
Happy Pi(e) Day!


footnotes:
*I mean, we categorically rejected Harry Potter (until I was 18, but that's another story) and taped together the pages of a picture book that contained illustrations of a witch because it might scare and corrupt (we cut the tape one day when I was in highschool, because after Lord of the Rings, how scary could it possibly be?) By the way, this is not meant to be seen as casting aspersions on my family. These are the stories that, I feel, add character to my life, and I wouldn't change a thing. If you come to my house now, you can join the philosophical discussion on the virtues and vices of Harry Potter and cast your eyes upon the relic of that picture book. Its going on 23 years old. 

Commonplace Notes

If I wrote it down, it must have been Important...Or so you might think.

I grabbed my cell phone to log a quote from the episode of Doctor Who that James and I were watching last night, and was drawn to the other notes in my cell phone notepad. I always forget that they're there, until I decide I must record something... when said recorded thought just joins the other hidden notes. Its a shame that I forget about them, as they were obviously important enough to me at the time to want to remember them. So, I've decided to go through and try to remember when and why I made these notes... you know, just in case something important is brought to mind. It should be fun for me, and you, dearest reader-mine, may just learn something about my crazy mind and how it works.

1. (Last night's quote, which, ironically perfectly fits this exercise.)
"Nothing is ever forgotten, not completely, and it something can be remembered, it can come back." --The Eleventh Doctor, "The Pandorica Opens"
this is when the Doctor is talking to Amy about Rory... she's forgotten him because... technically due to the wonky cracks in the universe, he's been erased from all time... but PSYCH! he's actually just become a Roman... it's very distracting. (can a Whovian get a fist bump for that reference, please? thanks.)

2. Hedgehog in the Fog
Luge ramp in the yard
Rite of Spring
Drogo's Waltz?
Sabre Dance
Swan Lake
This is a list I made while watching the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremonies... mostly music to look up later... and a memory note, (my dad made us a luge ramp in our back yard when we were little. Jealous? yeah, I thought so. ;)... I have no earthly idea about the Hedgehog bit. 

3. Joan: Wry and Cynical
June: sweet, "my greatest joy is getting new cleaning products. I don't tell people that often"
character notes on the ladies at my knit group... I'm gonna write about the people of my town someday... beautiful people.

4. Till all the seas go dry
Danny Kaye, the Tchaikovsky Song
Music notes here... I think "Till all the seas go dry" is from "My Love is Like a Red, Red, Rose"... the Robert Burns poem... And Danny Kaye, one of my favorite old time actor/singers... he apparently became famous on this "patter song" which showcases his ability to spit out many complicated words very quickly. 
He's fantastic. 

5. In matters of importance, style, not sincerity is what matters.
I have a bad habit of not citing my quotes in my note taking... O.o ...but Google being the modern convenience that it is, a quick search reveals this to be an Oscar Wilde quote from The Importance of Being Earnest which I've seen 3 times with in the past two months... movie version twice, Hilltop Players production once. I have no idea why I wanted to remember this line...

6. pearl harbor, summer solace, last of mohicans, alice.
More music notes... I have a lot of music notes it would seem...what do this things have in common? they're all albums that play on my favorite Pandora Station. Type in "Little Women (film score)" and you'll get essentially the same experience. :) 

Are you getting bored yet? oh silly peanut, you have my permission to leave at any point. This is not mandatory reading. There will be no test at the end of the year.

7.  Buried in a blue plaid polyester suit with a bolo tie, huge chunk of turquoise.
I know this has its source in "things I hear at knitting group" but I can't remember who said it... character notes. This man must have been interesting.

8. Seeing Redd-- Beddor
book notes... the next book in the Looking Glass Wars series (a retelling of Alice in Wonderland) first book was fantastic... was obviously trying to remind myself to get the second book. Consider it done, dear Sarah-from-the-Past.

9. On Reading Woolf. Long juicy sentences, like blackberries to be savored at length leaving seedy semicolons stuck in your teeth.
Ok, please don't laugh at me. Please have a heart for a poor, dear girl who sometimes tries to be poetic... especially when she's bored stiff at work, and letting her mind wander about. Yes, I remember exactly when I thought and logged this line. No, I don't remember why I was thinking about Virginia Woolf. Yes, I thought it was rather brilliant at the time. Yes, I still do think (albeit kind of sheepishly) its rather brilliant. No, I'm not  very humble, thanks for asking.

10. A half finished book is like a half finished love affair --Cloud Atlas
movie quote. don't watch the movie, its a little odd. more than a little odd. but this line was perfect. I have 8 half finished love affairs on my nightstand at the moment. eep. I'd better work on that.

11. The White Stripes "We're Going To Be Friends"
American Authors "Best Day of My Life"
Mumford and Sons "Hopeless Wanderer"
Mumford and Sons "Sigh No More"
still more music notes... all jotted down while at work in IT this past semester... all of which cheer me up... all of which can be found on my Senioritis playlist. Enjoy. ;)




And Last but (most certainly) not least... a roommate quote. hehheh. She's lucky I didn't have more of these...
12. The way to boy's heart is through the stomach... and the Bible. --Jor
I don't even know.  who knows why we have any of the conversations we have, but they make sense to us in the moment, and that's all that matters. My sister in everything weird and wonderful... that's my Jor for ya.

Well, there you have it, a glorious cornucopia of randomness from the Stuff Drawer (being my family's term for that one drawer where we keep just Stuff) of my mind. Maybe this will become a blog tradition, I don't know... say, every so often, when I remember to look at my cell phone notepad again... oh, that reminds me of a question that's always plagued me: How many times makes a Tradition? Hmm? Think on that and get back to me.

yours ever,
S