Saturday, February 27, 2016

On Finally Watching Tombstone {and What I Thought Of It}


     I explained in my last post about how I've been waiting to watch this baby for quite a while, but in case you didn't read that, let me clarify -- this was a movie I waited YEARS for. (At least two. Which is a long time for Emma to wait to watch a movie.) And last night I watched it. Then I went to bed and lay awake for a long time mentally composing this blog post in which I would tell y'all what I thought of it. ;-P

     Because it was pretty grand. It was big and splashy and had lots of action and good 'n evil and many of the characteristics that make a western people like to see. I liked it alright. Having worked myself up to it for so long I was a teensy bit disappointed that I wasn't over-the-moon about it. Because I didn't love Tombstone. And here I am to tell you why.

     (First I've gotta say, I went into this movie knowing I'd end up comparing it to Wyatt Earp, the rival movie released a year later. Reason number One, that I absolutely LOVE Wyatt Earp (you can read my review HERE) and Reason number Two, they're about the same people and many of the same events, and I can't HELP comparing things like that. So most of this is going to be What I Liked about Wyatt Earp More Than Tombstone. Just so you know. In case that makes you want to skip reading it and storm off in a cloud of indignant dust. I understand that.)

    The first, obvious reason why I didn't like Tombstone as much as Wyatt Earp? I missed Kevin Costner.

     Kurt Russel did not strike me as a particularly enchanting Wyatt Earp. In fact Kurt Russel did not strike me as particularly enchanting in any way, shape or form. (My mother pointed out that she'd always thought he looks a bit like Patrick Swayze. I pointed out that this is somewhat true, but Kurt Russel doesn't have what Patrick Swayze has. And besides that their hair isn't even comparable.) Frankly, he seemed kind of a goes-where-the-wind-blows fellow -- not very strongly rooted in anything. Well, okay, he cared about his brothers. But it wasn't the Strong & Eternal Bond of Brotherhood in the Wyatt Earp movie. I guess since Tombstone focused more on the Cowboys gang and the violence aspect of the Tombstone events instead of the character development of Wyatt and his brothers, I didn't feel I was able to get to know them as much, and that made me kinda disappointed.

     Because I LOOOOOOVE the Earp brothers in Wyatt Earp. Kevin Costner has this sensitivity about him that makes him pitiable and still reliable. He's got just the right balance of tough-and-tender, so that at times he makes you tremble, but at others you want to just give him a big hug and tell him it's okay. And the other brothers too -- Sam Elliot was good as Virgil, but he seemed to me to be awkward in the role. Sam Elliot needs a bigger part, where he came do his stuff better. He seemed cramped as Virgil. Morgan is my favorite brother in Wyatt Earp (which may or may not be due to the fact that I happen to think Linden Ashby is terribly yummy, not to mention the fact that he has the most beautiful name ever), but I really didn't feel anything towards Bill Paxton's Morgan. (He wasn't as yummy. *pouts*) Basically, I definitely felt the Family Bonds stronger in Wyatt Earp.

     Plus in Tombstone you only get to meet Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan. Where's James? (Not that I care about James, but I'd still like to know.) And the wives seemed unfortunately categorized as Weeping Blonds. (Seriously, they were all practically identical blonds.)


     The main draw to this whole movie for most people seems to be Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday, so I was expecting to be wowed. Val Kilmer delivered a mostly satisfactory Doc. My only complaint would be that he seems too young and yummy to be the cranky, sick, tough-skinned gambler and gunfighter that is Doc Holliday in my mind, but that's just me. ;-) His accent was remarkable fun to listen to, I will say that. And I was glad he looked down at his bare feet in the hospital bed and said the famous last words before he died, because I was WAITING for that. (The real Doc Holliday always  said he would die with his boots on. Well, he ended up dying in a hospital bed with his boots off, and his last words are reported to be, "Damn. This is funny." Then they wrote on his tombstone that he "died in bed". How do you think that would have made him feel?)

     Anyway, I will consent that Val Kilmer was pretty good. It doesn't hurt my pride to do so. ;-P Still, his Doc didn't make me laugh near as much as Dennis Quaid's did. Seriously now. How could you beat skinny, pale-faced Dennis Quaid with all the salty lines he's got? 

Wyatt Earp: "You've been a good friend to me, Doc."
Doc Holliday: "Shut up."

Warren Earp: "Wyatt, you're still a marshal around here, aren't you?"
Doc Holliday: "Sure. But now he's going to be a marshal and an outlaw. The best of both worlds, son."

Morgan Earp: "I say we just kill 'em all."
Doc Holliday: "You know, Morg, Wyatt is my friend, but I believe I'm beginning to love you."

Doc Holliday: "Wyatt Earp. I have heard that name somewhere. I don't know where, but it wasn't good."

Doc Holliday {about Tombstone}: "Well, it sounds quiet, I'll give you that."

     Now, as for the Cowboys gang. In Wyatt Earp there's not to much time spent on the gang, because y'know, it's a movie encompassing pretty much Wyatt Earp's whole life and they don't want to waste too much of Kevin Costner's potential screen time on unworthy outlaws. But in Tombstone the Cowboys get a lot of attention. And they're absolutely horrible. Curly Billy Brocius (a name which is ridiculously fun to say -- try it out) was especially disgusting and despicable. The fact that he was played by Powers Boothe didn't even help. I loved Powers Boothe as Bartlett McClure in True Women (1997) but I absolutely HATED him in this movie. I guess that shows he must be a good actor. ;-)

You've got to admit, that's pretty funny.

     Almost every single one of the Cowboys is played by some actor I recognized, and it took me about half the movie to figure out who they all were. I seriously could not believe it when I realized Ike Clanton was Stephen Lang. WHAT?! And Billy Clanton was little baby Thomas Haden Church! With blond hair!!! Oh, the trauma of it all! And right in the middle of it all was Chris-in-the-morning from Northern Exposure, which caused my mother and I to repeatedly crack up, because it was just like some crazy dream Chris would have that he'd be riding with a bunch of nasty outlaws. ;-P


     Alright, I like Dana Delaney and all. I thought she was amazing in True Women. (In which she was MARRIED to CURLY BILL which now seems atrocious.) But her Josephine Marcus just didn't work for me. First of all, she just looked too old. And I don't mean too old for the role or too old for Wyatt -- she looks too old for the character of Josie. Josie is a young, spirited, beautiful and adventurous young woman, and for some reason Dana Delaney just didn't get that. Plus she was annoying. She kept turning up at odd moments for apparently no reason. Like right after the gunfight at the OK corral, when she just happens to be right there and she walks out and smiles at Wyatt -- puh-leeeeeze. This is not the time. And after Morgan died (which, by the way, was nowhere near feelsy enough for me) when Wyatt was out in the rain and she randomly appears out of nowhere, and then a moment later disappears back into nowhere. It just didn't seem to make any sense. I felt like they were trying to romanticize her too much, and they just didn't succeed.

     Although I must admit, I love her hair. Her hair's pretty great. I'll give her some points for that.

     All in all, Tombstone didn't give me the wide panorama of feelings that Wyatt Earp did. I wasn't drawn to the characters, and I didn't feel swept away in the flow of the story. It was just kind of  "Ehhhhhhh," whereas Wyatt Earp made me laugh, and weep, and shriek, and ultimately I loved it. Tombstone was fairly entertaining but I don't think I'll be watching it again.


     I most definitely WILL be watching Wyatt Earp again, and now that I've just watched Tombstone I want to even more. (Besides, my mom didn't get to see the whole thing before, and watching Kevin Costner movies with Mama is one of the most fun things ever. ;-)) I'm still surprised that this movie wasn't a bigger hit than it was. Tombstone came out the year before and sort of stole its thunder, and then when Wyatt Earp was released nobody really paid attention -- or they decided they all liked Tombstone better. Now, to me, that just don't make no sense a'tall. As far as what I value in a good movie, Wyatt Earp has much more of that than Tombstone does. I also think it has much more historical value. It's more tastefully done. And the cast is worlds better. And it's got better music. And Kevin Costner. Basically, I think it's much better than Tombstone.

     But that's just my opinion. What about YOU? Have you seen Wyatt Earp or Tombstone? Which do you like better? (Or aren't you like me in that you have to compare them to each other?) ;-P

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Thoughts From Sadie's Bed

I'm really not big on all those staged pictures of random girls looking off into the distance, but this one kinda captures the feel of afternoon sunlight & plus it's really pretty 
   Would you like to know what I'm doing right now?

     I'm sitting on my sister's top bunk in our bedroom, drinking in the late afternoon sunlight sloshing in the window and dangling bare feet over the edge of the bed. I sit up here a lot. (No, Sadie doesn't mind.) This afternoon I came here with the full intention of conquering the Monster Known As Chapter Thirteen, but after I opened the tab and stared a few seconds at the words and they weren't shouting any inspiration at me, I decided I do what I sometimes do to unwind before settling down to write. I went over to Melissa Tagg's blog and clicked through her old posts, just basking in the comfort of the words. And then I decided to put on the October Sky soundtrack on, and then I thought, "Heck! Let's write a blog post!"
     The follow-up thought to that was -- "Wait, I don't have anything to write a blog post about."

     But then I thought, "I have tons of things to write a blog post about. How am I going to do this?"

     I didn't come up with any answer. But that doesn't stop me from jumping in anyway. ;-P So I thought I'd just call this Thoughts from Sadie's Bed -- because I am on Sadie's bed, and these are my thoughts.

  •      First of all, up there I mentioned the movie October Sky? *NEW FAVORITE MOVIE ALERT* A few weeks ago I was listening to music on Youtube, and the soundtrack for this movie randomly popped up on autoplay. I listened to it, and it was gorgeous. So then I watched the movie with my dad the other night, and now I'm sort of in love with all four of these fellas.

     (Especially the one on the right. I'm not sure why, but O'Dell is my favorite.)

     This is one of those nostalgic, cozy, wholesome 90's movies that will tug at your heart and make you cry for apparently no reason. (Okay, there was a reason. Homer was going down in the mineshaft! Any crying was perfectly justified! *wipes eyes*) I'm telling you, all the best movies were made in the 90's. (What is it about that decade?) This is such a good story. Suddenly I have this intense interest in rockets, and I want a poster of the Rocket Boys to put up on my bedroom wall. 

     Basically, watch this movie. It's sumpin' special.

  • While we're on the groove of movies....(by the way, my sister Sadie says that's all I talk about. She says inside my brain it's just movies movies movies. I would defend myself, but....)
     Y'all know I love westerns. Yes. (Everyone knows this.) Well, one western that I've been yearning to see for a long time now is Tombstone. For the longest time, my mother said, "No." After I watched The Homesman last winter and then Open Range in the summer, she thought it would be best to wait for awhile before letting any more gunfights ensue, lest I should become maimed in some way from all this violence. *evil laugh* But NOW that I'm seventeen, I'm allowed to watch Tombstone!

     Here's the thing: back in the days when I wasn't allowed to watch it, I'd see the DVD at the library, often gazing longingly at it. In fact I saw it at several different libraries. So I knew that as soon as I was allowed to see it, I could just rush right over the library and get it. Right? Well, wrong. Wouldn't you know, as soon as I turn seventeen, I can't find the DVD anywhere. None of the places I've seen it before. I went to one library where I was almost SURE I'd seen it before, and they said, "No, we don't have it." ??? Doesn't that just figure? Now that I'm actually allowed to watch it, Tombstone has dropped off the face of the earth.

    That's an exaggeration. ;-P My mother has finally secured a copy of it, but we had to get it from a library Far Away. I just thought it was funny -- well, after I was through with my temper tantrum over not being able to find it.

  • SPRING FEVER HAS HIT. I repeat, spring fever has hit. You know how I know? Because suddenly I'm feeling very crafty. I've been making things and cutting out pictures from magazines and getting the glue gun out almost every day, and I only do that when spring starts to come. (I'm serious.) Also, I impulsively listened to the Horatio Hornblower soundtrack on Youtube this morning. That put Sadie and I both in an undeniably springy mood.
I think I've been waiting for this gif all my life.
       An extremely rapturous and giggly spring mood. *ahem*

     The other sign of spring is that the butter in the butter dish is melting. And I went out to put a letter in the mailbox today and heard the birds singing. (Or maybe that was just in my imagination...?) Anyway. SPRING IS COMING.

  • Something amazing happened last week. I got my driver's license!!!!!
Grace & Cary - To Catch a Thief 1955:
...but unfortunately I have not had the extreme pleasure of driving Cary Grant around. YET.
          It still seems a little unreal, haha. ;-P After driving about nine months, almost hitting a tree, enduring an unsavory five-hour course in the company of a handful of delinquent teenagers, and navigating a nightmarish turn around a huge semi-truck onto a busy street during rush hour with the stiff tester grinding her teeth in the passenger seat, I have GOT MY LICENSE. It's a relief, and it's exciting....but also, now that I've actually got it, I feel overwhelmed. Because....responsibility. ;-P And now there is even further proof that I am on my way to becoming a grown-up person, and we don't know how well we like that yet. Oh well, I'll just take it one hop-skip at a time. :-) And for now, I can drive!!!

  • I keep thinking about spring, and summer, and green grass and blue skies and warbling birds and tangy breezes and bare feet. :-) Earlier today I was thinking of all the things I'm going to do this summer. Here are some of them.
      ~ sleep in the haymow in the barn
      ~ watch the sun come up from the deck
      ~ go swimming in the creek
      ~ go walking barefoot at night
      ~ spend hours writing on the bridge
      ~ make daisy chains and violet chains to wear in my hair
      ~ drive places with my sister :-)
      ~ just generally do awesome things

friendship ↣⋇:

  • Sadie and I were talking last night about the first chapter books we read. The conversation started something like this:
     Sadie: "Hey Emma? What was my first favorite chapter book?"
     Me: (without hesitation) "Six Silver Spoons."
     Sadie: "You KNEW!"

     Of COURSE I knew. She read that thing like five times in a row. ;-P So then we talked about the first chapter books we read -- how much we loved the Hidden Diary series -- how I used to have such a hard time finding books that I actually liked (heehee) -- and how Lynn Austin's Candle in the Darkness was the book that changed my life. And I remembered what my very first favorite book was: an old paperback we used to have on the shelf in my parent's bedroom, called Magic Elizabeth. I haven't thought about it in years, but oh, how I loved that book.

Jo March, Little Women | 22 Strong Female Characters In Literature We All Wanted To Be:

  • Lately I've realized that I'm much more like Jo March than I ever thought before. I'm actually a lot like her. We both have these huge dreams for the future, but then when it comes to actually growing up....we're scared. We don't want things to change. We want the people we love to remain around us, and always care about us, and never leave. We can't help being hurt when they do leave us to go live their own lives -- but soon enough, we'll have to strike out on our own adventures.
      I've never been the one who welcomes change easily. I usually fight against it, to be honest. And now as I'm getting older and having to embrace changes more it's getting harder, because I still don't like it any more than I did. Sometimes getting older stinks, honestly. ;-P (Wow, and I'm only seventeen. This is depressing.) Maybe I'm just feeling a little blue about it because I've been surrounded by teenage drama this past week. Maybe I'll learn to cope better soon. And maybe, growing up won't be so bad after all, once I learn how to handle it. Maybe I'll flourish, just like Jo does. I hope so. :-)

Lady Mary and Henry Talbot in the Downton Abbey Season 5 Christmas Special:
      Well, I AM. One night my mother decided she couldn't stand the suspense of waiting any longer and did a very impulsive thing and went out and bought it. ;-P We've been trying to make it last, and not gobbling it all up at once (which is the natural instinct). Ohhhhhhhh. No matter what happens, no matter who dies, I still love this show.  It's true, it's not the same as it once was -- but that's the whole point, life goes on, and things change. (Weren't we just talking about that?) I'll still love my first and second seasons the bestest, of course. But we're still cooking. The drama goes on. :-) And I'm loving every minute of it.

     Those are just some of the things tumbling around in my mind and in my world. And now I really do need to be writing, so I will bid you all goodbye. :-)

     *clicks 'publish' without even reading back through post to check for errors*

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Brooklyn // 2015

     Honestly, I don't often get excited about new movies. Mostly because the movie they make nowadays aren't usually my style, but also because I'm not that person who researches new movies that are coming out and gets psyched out for them. (I rather live under a rock, you see.) BUT I was fairly excited for this one. Partly because it's a period drama about IRISH PEOPLE, and partly because my best friend is that person who researches new movies and gets psyched out for them, and she has a way of rubbing off on me. ;-) So I was extremely glad to learn they were showing Brooklyn at the theater in my town!

     I went to see it, with my two sisters and cousin. And it was gorgeous.

     And emotional, and heart-tugging, and memorable, and absolutely beautiful.

     I guess you could say Brooklyn affected me in some special way, if you were to judge by how much it made me cry. The answer to that is lots. It's not such a sad story, as much as it's a real story. I could imagine myself in Eilis's place, and I think that's what made it so emotional for me. I started crying right at the beginning when Eilis left on the ship for America, and hadn't stopped for long before I'd start right up again. This movie got me, folks. (Right in the feels, as they say. ;-P) It's about a girl who leaves her old home to find a new one, and then is torn as to which country, which people, her home really lies with.

     Plus they're all Irish, which automatically makes EVERYTHING MORE EMOTIONAL.

     Eilis Lacey (pronounced Ae-lish -- you're welcome) is a young woman living with her mother and older sister in a small Irish village. She has a job at a shop in town, but her boss is nastier than nasty, and her sister Rose finds her a place in America through a priest she knows there. So Eilis is off for America -- Brooklyn, to be exact.

     Eilis leaves. (And Emma starts crying.) And our story, along with its heroine, has taken wing.

     Saoirse Ronan plays Eilis, and she's extraordinary. Not only is she absolutely gorgeous in a sort of robust, unique way, but she's got a presence about her, a way of delivery, that makes her fascinating to watch. It's Eilis's story, about how her life changes and how she grows throughout, and Saoirse Ronan carries it very well. She makes you feel for the character -- well, at least I did. ;-P

     Her face is so amazing -- somehow she has a way of expressing untold feelings through no more than a steady gaze. Just look:

     Eilis sort of cries a lot. Usually when female heroines cry a lot, it bugs me, and makes me like them less because they can't keep it together. But it wasn't like that with Eilis, because I understood why she was crying. She had a right to. (And every time she cried, it made me want to cry too.) First of all, here she is going off by herself to an unfamiliar country where she doesn't know a soul (besides Jim Broadbent, that is) and doesn't know what the future will hold for her. It's scary. Then a tragedy strikes her family back home, and she has to make a very hard decision -- whether to stay in Ireland, with her mother, and take the chance to keep her old life -- or go back to America, where a whole other part of her heart lies. It really is painful. I'm talking about leaving your roots for something totally different -- but something that is, ultimately, your destiny.

          Yes, this is one of those Irish period dramas that will rip your heart out. ;-) (Boy, those Irish. They know how to really get you, don't they?)

     In Brooklyn, Eilis starts working in a swanky department store. She stays in a boarding house run by a cantankerous but kind lady (Julie Walters) and inhabited by several other girls who are constantly giggling and teasing at the dinner table. ("A giddy girl is just as bad as a slothful man, and the noise she makes is a great deal worse!") She's TERRIBLY homesick at first, but slowly she gets used to her new life. And then she goes to an Irish dance and meets an Italian dude. The Italian dude's name is Tony.

     (Well, come on, you KNEW she was going to fall in love.)

     It doesn't take long for Eilis to fall for Tony. Admittedly, Tony is pretty great. Actually he's a lot greater than I thought he would be. When he first appeared, leaning up against the wall at the dance, my impression was a mixture of "OOOOH HE'S CUTE" and " he going to be trouble?" Because I only wanted the best for Eilis. He proved me wrong, though. I really like Tony (despite the fact that he kind of always sounds like he's drunk -- he's really not, that's just his voice.) The way he wooed and won Eilis was adorable.

Or maybe I just really like his shirt? :o
      Oh, and I LOVED it when he took her to meet his family. The little brother totally stole the scene. "First of all, I should mention we don't like Irish people." 

     Eilis's giddy friends had to teach her about eating spaghetti before she went over to Tony's house. (We don't really need to mention this, I just wanted to used this gif.)


     So Eilis has Tony, and her job, and she's finally finding her place in Brooklyn. But then she gets the really really sad news that her sister -- her beautiful, kind, selfless sister Rose-- is dead. So she does the only thing a devoted daughter would do, and she goes back to Ireland to comfort her mother.

     Oh, but before she leaves, Tony wants her to marry him.

Emory Cohen and Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn (2015).:

 So she does. But the night before that, they go to her room after hours, and...that's why the move is rated PG-13, for that scene right there. Since I don't believe in sex before marriage, I wasn't thrilled. (Plus I never want to actually watch anyone doing the deed on a movie screen, because that's just weird.) But even though I didn't appreciate it, it didn't make me hate the characters. It changed the way I felt about them, yes. Only a little bit. I still love Eilis and I still know Tony will treat her well. 

     I loved it! Go see Brooklyn #BrooklynMovie ad ]

     Back in Ireland, Eilis is sort of sucked back into her old life. Her mother wants her to stay, her best friend wants to fix her up with this guy, and once the guy gets to know her, he wants her to stay too. The thing is, Eilis doesn't tell anyone she's married. She never told her mother about Tony, and now she's afraid to. Tony is miles and miles and an ocean away, and the longer she stays, the easier it is for her to imagine staying -- for good, in Ireland.

     The 'guy' her best friend wants to fix her up with is Jim Farrell (which, hey, is actually the name of the Irish guy in the Titanic musical) played by Domnhall Gleeson, who is apparently rising in fame because his name is sounding familiar to me. Jim Farrell is actually really nice. Eilis begins to imagine what her life would be like with him, and Tony feels more and more distant...

     Now, there are some people *cough cough* who apparently did not understand why Eilis didn't open Tony's letters, or why she would even CONSIDER choosing Jim Farrell and Ireland over Tony the Italian Plumber and America. (These are the same people who came up with the notion that Tony has similar characteristics to Johnny Depp. ???) But I did. My sister Sadie and I talked about this. :-) Ireland was Eilis's home for so much of her life; and sweet, attentive Jim Farrell represented home. If she'd never left, she could marry him and be happy. But the fact remained, she had left. She was torn between two places and two lives, and couldn't help but wonder if she was doing the right thing. In many ways, I think she probably wished things could be the way they were. But they couldn't. Things could never be the same.

     Eilis's last parting with her mother just about killed me. Because you could see it was killing her to have to say goodbye to her Mammy, to have to tear herself once again from her the country where her roots were. If I were Eilis, I think I would have done the same thing, but it would have been very, very hard.


     They did a Great Thing with Eilis's voyage back home. When she first sailed to America herself, she was naive about the world, inexperienced, and had no idea what to do or what to expect. There was another girl who gave her advice about what to do and what not to do, how to present herself when she got to Brooklyn. Well, on Eilis's next voyage, she's that girl. She meets a young Irish girl on the ship who is in much the same place Eilis herself was in before, and now she's the one giving advice and being the guardian angel. And it's sooooooo meaningful, because now you see that Eilis really has grown up, and she knows where her heart is. I love that they did that.

 "You have to think like an American. You'll feel so homesick that you'll want to die, and there's nothing you can do about it apart from endure it. But you will, and it won't kill you. And one day, the sun will come out you might not even notice straight away -- it'll be that faint. And then you'll catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past. Someone who's only yours. And you'll realize that this is where your life is."



     How did I feel when it was over? Completely speechless. Overcome. Happy. I sat staring at the movie screen as the credits rolled by, tiny tears rolling down my cheeks, feeling that feeling I get whenever I've really experienced a movie -- one that meant something to me, one that'll stay with me for a long time. Then, as the crowd left their seats and shuffled out, I stood up, put on my coat, and went home.

     Because home is home.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

All The Things That Wouldn't Have Happened {If I'd Never Started Blogging}

Oh to have the time to dream a novel up and write it down! Maybe in my room by the sea I will find the novel in me (or at least a poem) :D  Cozy Canadian Cottage: Pink Saturday:

Do you know what happened on this day, three years ago?

     Maybe you do, but that's probably only because I post about this every year, not because you were there. ;-) None of you were there. The only people who were there were me and my sister Sadie. I still remember the day, and how revolutionary it seemed to me -- my excitement as I picked out my first Blogger profile picture, the giddiness I felt, how I held my breath and clicked Create Blog. And thus started a new, long-awaited, in many ways unexpected journey in my life.

I have thoughts! Love this quote. :-):

     Yes, friends! Today marks the third anniversary of This Blog. (Which, when I started it, was called For the Beauty of the Earth and got renamed A Lantern In Her Hand in August of 2014 without asking anyone's permission or consent.) Three years ago today, I 'took the plunge' into a new world -- a world that meant, for me, countless period dramas, life lessons in creative writing, and the meeting of so many friends that my head is still spinning with the reality. (Really, my head is spinning with all this. Like the genie in Aladdin. It's spinning all the way around. You don't believe me, do you?)

     Maybe this sounds a little over-dramatic to you. (It is perhaps true I have always had a tendency in that direction. ;-)) But honestly, blogging has had such an impact in my life -- an impact I never would have imagined. Yes, I was wildly excited when I began this blog, but I really had no idea where it would lead me. I had no idea so many people would start to read it, and actually like it, and stick around for more. (Seriously, you guys amaze me.) I had no idea I'd get so good at it, to be honest, or ever come out of that shy-beginning-blogger stage where everyone else seemed so high above me and I was merely a little toad longing for attention. (I have come out of this stage, thankfully.) I had no idea I'd meet so many wonderful people, and NO idea they would become such dear friends to me. And not just internet-friends -- real friends.


     I love blogging. I'm so glad I started, and I don't foresee a time when I shall give it up. (Unless I have to. Or unless I move to a remote mountain range where there is no internet access and take up yak farming. But fear not, that probably won't happen.) Who knows, I might still be here when I'm eighty-four, still writing on. And I probably still won't have gotten over Matthew Crawley's death by then either.

     ANYWAY. To commemorate, I've decided to compile a list of books to read of all the things that never would have happened if I'd never started this blog; all the things I would have missed, and all the things I'd never have learned about.


     ~ One thing is for sure, I DEFINITELY wouldn't be as good of a writer as I am now. (Seriously, have you read my first posts??? *shudders*) In many ways, this blog has been one big long writing exercise. My poor readers have seen it all -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think I've grown extensively in these three years, and writing is just one of those areas, but it's a BIG one (because, y'know, that's what I do). 

     ~ I probably wouldn't know what Goodreads is, and thus would never have found my beloved Williamsburg series (which PERISH THE THOUGHT) or Celia Garth, or so many other books I've discovered through that Wonderful Online Metropolis of Books.

     ~ I would have no online life whatsoever. Ha. Ha.

     ~ I wouldn't know all these hip terms like 'feels' and 'ship' and 'fangirl'.

     ~ I would have nowhere to vent all my feelings in writing and probably would have exploded by this time.

     ~ I never would have been prompted to watch a lot of movies I otherwise wouldn't have touched. Seriously, romantic comedies? Me four years ago: YUCK. Now? YEAH, BABY.

     ~ My imagination would not have so much fuel as it does now, through reading the musings of other imaginative people and hearing about their escapades. The stories of my life have been richly expanded by all the blogs I read.

     ~ Where would I get all this inspiration?! If I didn't read writing blogs-- and didn't write one myself -- I would be missing out on all this encouragement and inspiration I get from other writers. I would be so dull. I'd probably still be writing about orphans and little girls in Sweden who go to school, dig potatoes and not much else. (#insidejoke) (Wow, I do believe that's the first time I've EVER used a hashtag!)

     ~ It's very likely I wouldn't be on Pinterest, and therefore would never have wasted so much of my life browsing through pictures of Downton Abbey and Jeremy Jordan.

   Of course not. Don't be absurd. That's  ridiculous. :-P:

     ~ My fangirly side would be STARVED for company. I wouldn't have all your crazies to bemoan fictional characters' deaths with. *hugs*

    ~ I wouldn't have so much practice writing book reviews. Or movie reviews. And I'd miss out on all the FUN therein. (And so would you, don't you know it.)

     ~ In general, I'd be a less-interesting person. 

    ~ If I'd never started blogging, I'd probably still be wanting a blog today. ;-D

     ~ But here's what would be the saddest thing, if I'd never started blogging:

I wouldn't have all of you.

      I wouldn't know what it is to have these crazy-weird-amazing friends. I never would have met my best friend in the whole entire world, or this awesome girl and fellow Robert Duvall fan, or the girl who taught me to write good movie reviews, or my thirty-something friend and western-watching inspiration, or ANY OF YOU. And that, friends, would be a shame. Because if I didn't have you, my life would lose some its color; I'd laugh a little less, be a little more lonely, and I wouldn't have near as much fun.

     That's why I'm glad I started blogging. :-D Here's to many more adventures!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Seven Couples I Ship Like Crazy {now that I actually know what 'shipping' means}

This is such a beautiful movie!:

     It's Valentine's Day! Do you know what that means? Well, I guess for most people it means chocolates and roses and dates and lots of mushy-gushy, but for people like me who don't have a Significant Other, we get our romantic kicks from our favorite books and TV shows. (It's great to be single, isn't it???) 

     I'm kind of kidding -- you don't have to have a Significant Other to love Valentine's Day. ;-P It's a day to celebrate love; real love, true love, steadfast love, in all its forms. Love doesn't have to come in a six-foot-tall dark-haired package that looks like Tom Cruise. Love can be from your parents, or your friends, or your cat. (That's the single life right there.) In the first place, love is from God; He loved us first, before anything, and that's the only reason why we can love and be loved by others around us.

    (Wow. A lot of love going on here.)

    ANYWAY. As is my custom on The Blog, I'm writing a post for Valentine's Day. (You're reading it right now, in fact.) If you're on the internet at all (particularly Pinterest, which is where all the loonies hang out) you've heard the term 'shipping'. You probably know what it means, too. It means "to root for two characters to get together", as in relationship. Yes, you're nodding your head. Everyone knows this. Well, for the longest time I didn't. Shipping? What the hayseed? Gradually I picked up on the whole concept, and began to understand it. Finally, someone has given a name to to what my whole life revolves around! (That's only a slight exaggeration.) Because I've always been a shipper, even when I didn't know what it meant. I've always rooted for my favorite characters to get together and live happily ever after. It's just what I DO.

     So, it being Valentine's Day, therefore I have a worthy excuse to bombard you with several Enthusiastic Exclamations on some of the couples I ardently 'ship'. (You all will love it.)


Eugene Wrayburn & Lizzie Hexam from Our Mutual Friend

"You know what I am going to say. I love you. What other men mean when they say it, I cannot tell."

     Lizzie and Eugene are a case of Poor Girl meets Rich Boy. (Which is refreshing, because most stories are the opposite, and in my opinion the Rich Girl meets Poor Boy theme is entirely overused. *coughI'mlookingatyouJackandRosecough*) Lizzie is sweet, loyal, and knows her lot in life -- which, thus far, has been helping her father drag dead people out of the river and search their clothes for valuables. (Is that gross or what?) Eugene is a lazy rich boy who drifts through life not caring about anything. Wait, I take that back -- Eugene's not lazy. He just hasn't found anything yet in his life to put his heart into. When he meets Lizzie, he finds something to believe in. (cue Newsies music). BUT WAIT -- it's not easy. Lizzie knows that Eugene is a Lazy Rich Boy and Therefore Above Her Class. Eugene is persistent in wooing her, though, and will do anything to make her realize how much he cares for her. Several walks through dark London streets and a swamp beating later, they get married. :-)

    I love heroes who don't start out as heroes, but rather grow into themselves during the course of the story. Eugene isn't really all that great. But he grows by leaps and bounds and is inspired by Lizzie to become the man she deserves, and THAT'S what I love about him. And Lizzie, well...she's just a darling sweetheart and deserves to be happy for the rest of her life.

    (Did I mention that Paul McGann with a mustache is just about more than I can stand???)

Tom Branson and Sybil Crawley in Downton Abbey

"It all comes down to whether or not you love me. That's all. That's it. The rest is detail."

     Anyone who has watched DA understands the pain and drama and passion that is Sybil and Branson's romance. (Yes, I still call him Branson. Mary may have learned to call him Tom, but to me he'll always be Branson.) So after I just said how sick I am how Rich Girl/Poor Boy love stories, let me say that Sybil and Branson's story is pretty much the most beautiful and romantic one I have ever seen. You see, I'm swept away by forbidden romances. (In movies, that is, not real life. So far, anyway.) Branson is pretty much your typical fiery Irish rebel, and Sybil is the sweet, caring youngest daughter of an earl -- an unlikely couple, but they're just perfect for each other. Branson inspires Sybil to follow her convictions, and Sybil keeps Branson in line and tries not to let him dump buckets of slop on High Ranking British Dudes. (Actually it wasn't Sybil who did that -- but that's just an example.)

     Point made: I love Sybil and Branson, and you should too.

Matthew Crawley and Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey

"Lady Mary Crawley, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

    Mary and Matthew are just....they're just...I mean, I can't.....AAAARRRGGGGHHHHHH.

    Obviously, I have no words.

    Mary and Matthew are legendary. (At least, among the circle of people known as Rabid Downton Abbey Fans, of which I am co-chairwoman, or something like that). If you were like me, you started out hating Mary Crawley. You thought Matthew was an angel, and you really didn't want Mary to lure him because, duh, Mary's awful and Matthew is perfect. But as things unfold...turns out Mary's not awful, and Matthew's not perfect. What IS perfect is the two of them together. They BELONG together; it's plain. And oh, how long we waited for them both to realize this! And then longer still for Mary to stop being an idiot, and then for Matthew to stop being an idiot, and took a really long time to get this ship sailing. ;-) BUT WHEN IT HAPPENED -- Oh, when Matthew knelt down on his knee, and Mary smiled down on him, with the snow swirling around them, it was the most gorgeous, wonderful thing that had ever occurred. It really was.

     WASN'T IT????

Declan O'Callaghan and Anna Brady in Leap Year

"Will you not make plans with me?"

     I think the main thing I like about couples in chick-flick rom-coms is that they often start out as enemies before they realize how attracted to each other they are. Anna and Declan are definitely an example of that. When she crashes into his little Irish town with her crazy plans of proposing to her boyfriend on Leap Day, Declan thinks she's out of her mind. Then he gets roped into helping her, and all these things go wrong as they try to make it to Dublin in's really hilarious. ;-) They're constantly FIGHTING and ANTAGONIZING each other and being ANNOYING and it's SO ADORABLE. (Wow, if this is my idea of perfect romance, things don't look too bright for my own romantic future...)

    There is also the fact that I'm rather half in love with Declan.


    I love how Anna and Declan are basically 'thrown' together, and how they come to know each other through such an unusual series of events. I also happen to have a thing for stories where a couple has to pretend to be married for the sake of appearances, and it's ESPECIALLY good when they don't even like each other. *rubs hands gleefully* Even after they know they love each other, Anna and Declan are still antagonizing one another and pushing each other's buttons. Yes, ma'am, this is my ideal of marital bliss.

     ...Seriously though. ;-D To have someone you can laugh with; someone you can be absolutely stupid with. Someone you can pester the dickens out of, and they don't mind because they know you don't really mean it, you're just doing it because you love to see their reactions (and also because it's fun to be annoying from time to time). Someone who takes your crazy and compliments it with their own. THAT'S Anna and Declan, and that's what I want someday.

Joel Fleischmann and Maggie O'Connell in Northern Exposure

"I used to ask myself -- if Fleischmann leaves, will I go with him?"

     Ohhhhhhh boy. These two. ;-P Maggie and Joel are the couple who aren't a couple. Right from the first they can't stand each other; they bicker and argue about everything, and they're always stressing the fact that they're NOT a 'thing'...when really, it's obvious to absolutely everyone that they're attracted to each other. Maggie is independent, excitable, and kind, while Joel is sarcastic, usually pessimistic, and skeptical. (Maggie could give you a bunch more negative adjectives to add to that.) They hate each other, they repel each other, they make each other spit nails. But deep down...they'e true friends.

     This turbulent relationship goes on all through six seasons -- by which time Maggie and Joel have finally come to understand each other, mostly -- until Joel leaves Alaska to go back to New York. (NOOOOOO!!!!) Man, that episode is extremely bittersweet. Because on one hand, I REALLY REALLY want Joel and Maggie to be together. But on the other hand...would they really be happy? Could they be? I don't know. But their final parting in that dark snowy woods just melts my heart into a puddle. There's no big fanfare-- just a few quiet tears (SERIOUSLY FLEISCHMANN IS CRYING), a gentle embrace, and one tiny little kiss. That's all. They've had five years together, they've seen each other at their worst and at their best, and they've made it through without killing each other. That's the best moment of Joel and Maggie together.

    And then Joel is gone. *SNIFFLE* (Dang it, if you've watched the show you know what I'm talking about.)

    Yup. Fleischmann and O'Connell have an unusual relationship, and I ship them like crazy. After Joel leaves I ship Maggie and Chris...buuuuuut we don't have to go into that right now.)

Orry Main and Madeline Fabray in North and South
"The day I met you was the day I was born."

     OHHHHH. MY HEART CANNOT TELL YOU. These two are one big long agonizing saga of passion and misunderstanding and frustration and devotion and continuous feels. (Wow, Emma, great description.) I love them unreasonably much. (And no, not just because put together they have the most amazing hair in the universe.) Actually to be honest I don't like Madeline THAT much, but Orry loves her, you see, and I love Orry and the two of them MUST be together. 

     What makes Orry and Madeline's romance so engrossing is that they are constantly fighting obstacles to be together. Things keep going horribly wrong. (Think Anna and Mr. Bates.) First Madeline marries an abominable man because she thinks Orry has stopped loving her (which he hasn't -- seriously, Madeline, you're gorgeous, but you don't have a whole lot upstairs); then when said Abominable Husband finally kicks the bucket (that is, Orry kicks him out the window) and they can get married AT LAST, Orry has to go off to war. THEN his abominable sister runs Madeline off by threatening to expose a dark secret from her past (SERIOUSLY MADELINE?) So it literally takes ages -- not to mention a war -- before Orry and Madeline can have their happy ending. 

    (And we don't even think about Book III. We just pretend like Book III never existed.)

    Despite all the melodrama, you can't help but root for these two. They'll DIE if they're not together. (And then I'll die too, which would be inconvenient.)

Far and Away (1992)  Shannon: Look, you’ve got your land.  Joseph: But all the land in the world means nothing to me without you.

Joseph Donnelly and Shannon Christie in Far and Away

"You're a corker, Shannon. What a corker you are."

     Since I wrote a review of this movie not too long ago (which I personally think was pretty great) which included my sentiments about Joseph and Shannon as a couple, I'm going to let you read that description instead of writing something else. (Because, y'know, it saves time. And it saves me from repeating myself.)

     "The chemistry between them {Joseph and Shannon} is epic, their interactions priceless. Joseph is a fairly simple man by nature, besides being raised in poverty, whereas Shannon is a bit of a spitfire and is used to getting what she wants. What I love so much about their relationship (besides everything about them) is how, through all they endure together, they get to know each other in such an intimate way. And I'm not talking about a physical way -- one of the things about this movie that made me wildly happy is how there's no sex scene -- I'm talking about the way they really know and care about one another. I'm talking about how they learn each other's little idiosyncrasies, the things that bother them, the things that make them happy. I'm talking about how Shannon got up on that platform dressed as a burlesque dancer the night of Joe's big fight; how Joe left her with her parents in Boston after she was shot, knowing it was unlikely he'd ever see her again. Their love story is completely unconventional, and completely beautiful. That's why Joseph and Shannon are possibly my favorite film romance. Ever."

     Yup, pretty much. 

     So those are a few of the couples I love to love. :-) What about you? Whose make-believe romance makes you tingle with warm-fuzzies, or jump up and down with excitement, or scream out loud because they're so adorable? Who do you ship like crazy? 

    Happy Valentine's Day, friends!!! 

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