Thursday, June 24, 2010

Addendum: Bride and Prejudice, a second time



Yep. My dad and I watched it again—at his behest. That makes twice in one single week.

And I still loved the movie!

Reasons?

  1. I can recognize all the little episodes in the movie as adaptations from episodes in the book. Take the sister’s snake dance, for instance. Totally a ripoff of Mary’s embarrassing pianoforte performance.
  2. Music. Awesome.
  3. My dad watches this with me. And he says it’s his new favorite movie.

And to top off the astounding occurrence, we watched Becoming Jane, too—this same night. Not as fun of a movie—weird acting I thought, but that could be just me—and of course, not a musical, so it would be hard pressed to top Bride & Prejudice. Overall not a movie I’d bother watching more than once.

My mom and I were guessing throughout the movie which Austen character the leading man was supposed to resemble. I settled on Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility, with a dash of Darcy thrown in at the beginning, but I could also see some Wickham in there too.

Of course, we were discussing these options out loud. My brother told us to be quiet and watch the movie if we were going to watch it. Silly brother.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mid-year Jane Austen fix (Bollywood style)



This morning—before my brother was up—my dad and I decided to watch Bride and Prejudice, the Indian (like from India) rendition of my all-time favorite novel by a similar name. And man, am I glad we did!

I think the most fascinating part of this movie was all the color. Every woman in the movie wore a brightly-colored sari, and of course with costume changes the choice of bright colors changed. The camera shots took advantage of all the color involved, especially during the song-and-dance scenes.

Oh yes—this was a musical! Which made it even better (and even less likely to be tolerated by my brother, who fortunately still has not emerged from his room). This was definitely a Bollywood musical; the music was identifiably Indian (think Slumdog Millionaire) though most of the songs were sung in English.

Of course, the names from Austen’s novel had to undergo some changes to become part of the Indian culture, so Elizabeth became Lalita, Jane became Jaya, and so on with all the Indian characters. (Mr. Darcy, fortunately, became American rather than Indian, so he simply lost the “Fitz” and became William “Will” Darcy.) I thoroughly enjoyed watching the personalities express themselves (according to someone’s interpretation of Austen) within the Indian cultural context.

Mr. Collins—who became Mr. Kohli—still annoyed me to no end.

That was the most intriguing aspect (notice, intriguing is different from fascinating)—how the old British story was transformed into an Indian one. And actually, it worked better as an Indian story than an American story (like the movie set in Utah that I watched a bit ago). My dad pointed that out.

I theorize that the cultural pressure to get married, the involvement of the family in the courting process, and the dire results of waiting too long or refusing an eligible offer all exist in both the original novel and in this Indian movie, but were lost in translation when the story was carried into the modern-day Western United States.

So, this was officially the 5th film rendition I’ve seen of Pride and Prejudice. The complete list:

  • 1940, with Greer Garson and horrifically wrong period costuming (though it was still set in 1800s England, same as the book)
  • 1995, with Colin Firth (also set in 1800s England)
  • 2003, with nobody famous (that was the modern-day Utah version)
  • 2004, with Aishwarya Rai (she’s a big-time Bollywood star; and of course, this was the movie in modern-day India)
  • 2005, with Kiera Knightley (again, 1800s England)

I have yet to see Bridget Jones’ Diary but who knows if I’ll get around to it.

P.S. Dad is convinced that Bride and Prejudice is his new favorite movie. (He enjoys both my Jane Austen addiction and musicals.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Post number 503 (and that’s no joke)



I’ve had this personal blog since August of 2006… so we’re coming up on 4 straight years of blogging at one domain. Before that—as some of you will remember—I had a blog at the now-defunct KleverBlogs from January 2005 until the move here.

And today we celebrate 503 posts on this blog! *starts throwing confetti*

*starts cleaning up confetti*

In addition, my e-mail tells me (via a holy and devoted e-mail folder of blog comment notifications) that I have received 753 comments (“replies”) to posts here at the blog. Of course, that does not count the comments that came when the automatic e-mail notifier wasn’t working. But since it’s the only official number I have, we’ll go with that.

Congratulations to da_baum for posting the 750th comment!

Here’s to another four years of my blogging. But most importantly, to another four years of random comment threads!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New theme—a keeper this time



So I reckon that about half of you already know I changed the theme—or rather, that I told you specifically that I had changed it. The rest of you, now, shall get an explanation!

Reasons I changed my theme:

  1. I like my whole secretary-desk-themed titles and modifications. Any chance to use the word “amanuensis” is worth it. So I needed a blog look to match.
  2. I also needed visual confirmation of the blog’s name.
  3. I had an awesome fountain pen picture that I had stopped using. It is now in use again. This is probably the main reason.
  4. I like books and writing. Obviously. I mean, that’s half of what I write about on my blog, right?
  5. This seems to be a more serious, or more thought-provoking, theme. (If a theme can provoke thought.) The purple one was gorgeous but just didn’t match the tone of what I think a lot. At least, that which I choose to publish. There’s plenty of thoughts running around in my brain that would match quite nicely with the cute flowery purple-and-blue theme… but they mostly have to do with times when the last thing I want to do is sit with my laptop and type!
  6. Blogger rolled out their Template Designer tool for real now, so I don’t have to resort to Blogger in Draft to do redesigns. It caught my attention and got me onto this train of thought.
  7. So I took the Last Train to Clarksville. *starts whistling*

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On keeping a personal blog



As you know, this blog has basically no point. It is simply the airing of various observations, fascinations, and rants that find their source in the fount of my mind.

That is, I write whatever I feel like writing.

But I do not write every time I feel like doing so… not on this blog, at least. Much of my writing is instead left in my journal, or on scrap paper in notebooks strewn about my room. That’s because I often write to clear my head and to organize my thoughts. Most of my writing is, in fact, private—not for public consumption.

Some think that to write is to be read—that there is no purpose to writing if the words on paper (or screen) are never intended to be read by someone else—but I think those who write will understand an article I found linked off of some blog or other that I frequent (I don’t remember which one right now).

For many of us who love the act of writing—even when we are writing against a deadline with an editor waiting for the copy—there is something monastic about the process, a confrontation with one’s thoughts that has a value apart from the proximity or even perhaps the desirability of any other reader.

Writing is for my own good, in the first place—whatever benefit that other people get, that you get, is great, but secondary.

So why bother keeping a personal blog?

Well, just because writing benefits me primarily doesn’t mean I ought to let it benefit myself only. To do so would be to turn into a navel-gazing writer, full of pride and everything that is the opposite of humility. And that’s not what a Christian is called to become, right? (right!) So, on the occasion I find something of real worth beyond my own sphere of existence—when it’s not limited to circular rants about something insignificant that bothers me, for example—then I figure that as a writer it’s practically my duty to pass anything of worth along. If God gave me the gift of writing, he expects me to use it.

Now granted, this sounds great in theory. In practice, I end up publishing a lot of worthless words that should probably have been relegated to telling stories among friends or in the family, simply because they lack general interest. But that’s what happens when you try to turn theory into practice. It gets a little bumpy.

To return to the article: This part also intrigued me.

There have always of course been posthumous publications. And there have always been controversies as to whether or not publication was in line with the author’s wishes. But the idea that somebody might choose not to publish—or might choose to publish in a small circulation magazine rather than a large circulation one—can look downright bizarre in the age of the blog and the tweet. The space between the writer and the reader is evaporating.

And this, at the same time that the space between real-life friends or business contacts is widening, what with our continual reliance on texting/Facebook to keep up with people, rather than just talking to them face-to-face (or on the phone, if the distance is prohibitive). But that’s another post…. and maybe one that won’t get written.

This line from the opening paragraph will serve as a decent closing quote.

Writers who live for their readers—or for what their editors imagine their readers want—may end up with an impoverished relationship with those readers.

On that note—I promise, no more posts today!

Good or bad: A killer’s brand-new life



I read an article on Yahoo! News today about a man who killed another person in Montana back in the 1950s, skipped out on parole about 20 years after that, and managed to hide in plain sight for several decades until the victim’s grandson tracked him down.

This man, Frank Dryman, went by the name Victor Houston while he lived in Arizona, started his own wedding-chapel business, and even married a woman (who knew nothing of his past until he was apprehended).

"They [law enforcement] just forgot about me," said Dryman, in his first interview since being caught and sent back to the prison he last left in the 1960s. "I was a prominent member of the community."

And what does he have to say about his misdeeds? Well, to quote the article, “he is not kindly disposed to the victim’s grandson,” who found him with some private investigative help.

"I can't blame him for what he did," Dryman said. "But I think it was so wrong he spent so much money getting me here. I feel it is unfair."

Wrong? Unfair?

Read the article. It’s a fascinating story… he really thinks he’s basically a good person. He even portrays the killing as done by an entirely different man, a “kid” in his words. Then, towards the end of the article, the family talks about what it was like to live in fear of hitchhikers all their lives and to go on wondering if the killer would ever show up again to haunt them.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Copy-editing is a dying art



My mom sent this in a forward this morning. I couldn’t stop giggling. This is just a small taste of my kind of humor…. all the comments below the headlines are not my own; rather, they were part of the e-mail as sent to me.


Proofreading is a dying art, wouldn’t you say?

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter
This one I caught in the SGV Tribune the other day and called the Editorial Room and asked who wrote this. It took two or three readings before the editor realized that what he was reading was impossible!!! They put in a correction the next day.

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
No crap, really? Ya think?

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Now that's taking things a bit far!

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
What a guy!

Miners Refuse to Work after Death
No-good-for-nothing' lazy so-and-so's!

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
See if that works any better than a fair trial!

War Dims Hope for Peace
I can see where it might have that effect!

If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Ya think?!

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Who would have thought!

Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
They may be on to something!

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
You mean there's something stronger than duct tape?

Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge
He probably IS the battery charge!

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Weren't they fat enough?!

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
That's what he gets for eating those beans!

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Do they taste like chicken?

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Chainsaw Massacre all over again!

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
Boy, are they tall!

And the winner is....

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
Did I read that right?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

“Map of Online Communities”



I love maps.

I love to hate Facebook. (Or something like that.)

So, you can guess how much I love this.

From xkcd, where the larger version may be viewed and laughed at. It appears to be slightly out of date (I’d guess that Facebook is a wee bit bigger than it appears on this map), but still entertaining. I happened to see this graphic over my brother’s shoulder a few minutes ago.

A question about e-readers and Kindles and Nooks (oh my!)



I’ve been reading a book called Writing Space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print (2nd ed.) by one Jay David Bolter. It’s about the Internet and how it relates to what we have known as reading and writing. It’s fairly interesting, although a bit jargony and academic-sounding. (What can you expect?)

One part got me thinking. This book says one of the Internet’s major advantages is the ability to hyperlink, like this. So, since e-readers, Kindles, and Nooks are all digital “reading spaces” (shall we say), do they let you create your own links? For example, if I read some particularly fascinating sentence in GKC’s Orthodoxy, and then later I’m reading C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and I notice that Lewis addresses the same issue, can I tell the e-reader to make its own little link between the two books?

Providing, that is, that I have the time and inclination to go back to the first book (Orthodoxy in this instance) and find the part I’m remembering… but considering that e-readers in general had better have searches built into them (that’s a given!), it shouldn’t be that hard.

I already know that Kindles will let you write notes in the “margin” (as digital as it is) and you can highlight and such—but that’s basically duplicating what can already be done in a real book with no greater trouble. If these things could let me make little links, that would be a real accomplishment.

And for all I know, that’s already done. But I’m still curious.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

On WJI: Felons find job training



One project that I had worked on quite a bit, but had to give up, was a story on a nonprofit organization that had just started providing job training for former prison inmates in New York.

I didn’t want to give it up, though, so I didn’t really. I kept corresponding with my contact, and though I could not put together a convergence project (i.e., a story with video and slideshow and audio to accompany it), I ended up with a decent print story with a few photos. That story was just posted online today.

And the best part about this story was working with my contact. She was amazingly cooperative—not a common experience for a journalist—and even went so far as to stay up late just to find me an official document stating New York’s recidivism rate. I have an e-mail from this lady date-stamped at 11:26 at night, after she was already worn out after a full day at various New York prisons and looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend. I would never have asked her to do that, but she went the extra mile on her own initiative to make sure I had the information I’d need.

That’s why I couldn’t let this story go. I had to see it through.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Home, sweet home…. by bus



I made it home.

After spending 24 of the last 40 hours on a bus or in a van.

(By which I mean, 20 hours by bus from Manhattan to my cousins’ place, then more than 4 hours from my cousins’ to home. Time spent on bus layovers was made up for by driving from the bus station to my cousins’ and from there to the graduation ceremony.)

How am I not crazy?

  1. Two good-sized novels pass the time quite pleasantly. (I read some of my favorites, Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott.)
  2. I much prefer being chauffeured over driving myself. Go figure. (That’s why I loved the public transportation options in NYC.)
  3. Simon and Garfunkel provide a perfect soundtrack to a trip to New York City. Seriously, half their songs are specific to Manhattan. I loved it.
  4. It is actually possible to sleep on a bus. (Not too comfortably, and not too long, but it is possible.)
  5. Mothers are fun to talk to on long van trips.
  6. And sisters supply a great variety of songs to sing along to.
  7. Staring out the window has its benefits, as well.
  8. Lastly, when a bus ticket costs a lot less than a plane ticket, and makes you feel more independent, it’s worth it.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Quotes on my Facebook profile



(Just for some meager amusement while I spend all day tomorrow on a bus and all the next day out of reach of the Internet. Sweet dreams.)

There's a loyalty that's deeper than mere sentiment
And a music higher than the songs that I can sing
The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance
I owe only to the Giver of all good things...
--Rich Mullins

But there's more to this life than living and dying,
More than just trying to make it through the day;
More to this life, more than these eyes alone can see,
And there's more than this life alone can be.
--Stephen Curtis Chapman

For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love
I'll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
And with every breath I take, I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live, I will testify to love.
--Avalon

Be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true Word
I ever with thee, and thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
--Dal­lan For­gaill

'Cause when we say 'no' to the things of the world
We open our hearts to the love of the Lord and
It's hard to imagine the freedom we find
From the things we leave behind.
--Michael Card

When you're weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I'm on your side--when times get rough
And friends just can't be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
--Paul Simon

Ancient words, ever true
Changing me and changing you
They resound with God's own heart
Oh, let the ancient words impart.
--Lynn DeShazo

Qué será, será,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see...
Qué será, será.
--Livingston / Evans

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose under heaven.
--The Byrds (see also Ecclesiastes)

Take a look at you and me
Are we too blind to see
Do we simply turn our heads
And look the other way...
--Elvis Presley

'Cause it takes all o' ma time to praise my Jesus
All o' ma time to praise my Lord
If I don't praise him, de rocks a'gonna cry out
Glory and Honah, Glory and Honah...
Ain't got time to die.
--old spiritual

The Road goes ever on and on
    Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
    And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
    Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
    And whither then? I cannot say.
--J.R.R. Tolkien

Psalm 19

Psalm 139

Proverbs 3... full of promises!

Romans 12

"Three-quarters of a glass is half full!" --Bethany :-D

"You can't stab someone with a dirty fork!" --Katie M

"Big, long, black... and fuzzy!!"  --Jonathan on submarines

"EWWWW!  CAKE PARTICLES!!" --Amanda

"Él es negro..." --Cody

"Hoes... what are they doing in the garden?" --Alicia

"The world is so full of a number of things I'm sure we should all be happy as... but are we? No! Definitely no! Positively no! Decidedly no! Huh-uh.
   Short people have long faces and long people have short faces. Big people have little humor and little people have no humor at all.
   And in the words of that immortal bard-- Samuel J. Snodgrass-- as he was about to be led to the guillotine-- make 'em laugh!"
--Donald O'Connor, as Cosmo Brown

"Mr. Ambassador, you have nearly a hundred naval vessels operating in the North Atlantic right now. Your aircraft has dropped enough sonar buoys so that a man could walk from Greenland to Iceland to Scotland without getting his feet wet. Now, shall we dispense with the bull?"
--Richard Jordan, as Jeffrey Pelt

"If you have 6.0x10^23 plus guaca what do you have?" --Jennifer K's FB status

"Pretzels! You know, they're crunchy and they have salt on them." --Polonius, bolonius, plutonius, aka Alicia

What trouble are giants--what's wrong with being small?
The bigger they come, you know the harder they fall
When you're fightin' for Zion, and you're on the Lord's side,
I think you're gonna find they ain't no trouble at all...
--Rich Mullins

For none is so sad,
But a door who wished to be a tree.
--Alicia

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Latest at WJI: NYPL funding in trouble



My most recent WJI news project is now up: New York libraries are facing a huge funding cut. For this project, the video was the key piece, and I’ll go ahead and embed it here. Take a look!

Photos from NYC




Enjoy. :)