“He’s not crying. He’s laughing on the wrong side of his face.”



Clue as to why: I watched the Season 2 finale of their Robin Hood series last night.

First of all, how dare you, BBC?

Secondly…HOW. DARE. YOU.

I’m thinking out some posts about the show at the moment (because I do love it, despite my frustration at certain parts), things like a review of each season (like I did for Combat!) and a list of stuff/characters I love and all that jazz, but for right now, I need to rant.  I really do.

OKAY.  Rant time.  In the first place, I hate BBC for creating all these bright, brilliant, beautiful and then sending them on their merry way toward doom, destruction, and depression.  WHY?  It tears me up inside – not to mention the characters.  There’s Will and Djaq declaring their love for each other, thinking they only have a few hours left to live.  (In fact, they ALL think they only have a few hours left to live which makes everything emotional and awful.  And it doesn’t help that all these wonderful characters are played by amazing actors.)  Or just…I don’t know!  Everything about this show is tinged with sadness, basically!

And then once they do get to the Holy Land, Will and Djaq STAY BEHIND.  Which they totally wouldn’t have done, in my opinion.  And Marian dies which is awful and terrible and I’m tearing up just thinking about it.  Stupid BBC.  I cannot get over these feels.  I’ll never get over them.  AND CARTER DIES.  Carter, who wasted so much of his life eaten up with hatred and the need for revenge and finally got over it and went back to serve the king, but instead gets killed by the sheriff and he doesn’t even get a death scene!  Everyone else gets a death scene (or at least you see the characters grieving for them, like when Tom died).  But not Carter.

Everything about the finale is terrible, and Season 3 (which I started today) does nothing to fix that, what with the entrance of Kate (UGH) and that horrid first episode where Robin yells at everyone and accuses Allan of being a traitor again (which reminded me of Allan’s death and made me cry) and nothing feels right.  Not with Marian and Will (my favorite character!) and Djaq gone.  The gang is broken up and Kate and Tuck certainly can’t make that right.


Don’t mind me.  I’m just ranting and probably not making much sense either.  Sorry.

If you’ve seen this show, let’s cry together.  If you haven’t, DON’T EVER WATCH IT.



movie review: a tale of two cities

This adaptation of the classic novel by Charles Dickens finds courageous British lawyer Sydney Carton (Ronald Colman) defending French aristocrat Charles Darnay (Donald Woods) from false accusations of treason against England. Carton also becomes enamored with Darnay’s beautiful bride-to-be, Lucie (Elizabeth Allan), but she and Darnay marry and begin to raise a family in England. Then, when Darnay falls into the hands of French revolutionaries, Carton once again comes to his rescue.


When I was studying A Tale of Two Cities in school a few years ago, my grandfather asked me to watch the 1935 movie adaption (which is the one I’m reviewing today) with him.  Fresh from watching the Greer Garson version of Pride & Prejudice (to this day, I bemoan the lack of literary and historical accuracy in that movie) and thinking that black-and-white movies were boring (I didn’t know anything back then, eh?), I reluctantly agreed.  Two boring hours spent watching a bad adaption of what was, at the time, my favorite classic?  No, thank you.

But then I ended up hiding buckets of tears from everyone else in the room and went away singing the film’s praises.  Maybe old movies weren’t so bad after all! (Imagine that…)  While Casablanca was the first b&w film to make me truly love Old Hollywood and its awesomeness, A Tale of Two Cities (1935) almost did the same.  No ‘old movie’ had made me cry before, so that was a new experience (and I do love books and movies that make me cry) and the whole thing was extremely well-done.  Anyway…fast-forward to the present day, in which about seventy-five percent of all movies I watch come from the 30’s-60’s, and where I’ve just re-read ATOTC, and now I’m eager to re-watch the movie and see if it measured up to how I remembered it.  And did it?


Ohhhh my goodness.  It turned out to be just as good as I’d remembered (if not better), made me cry lots, and also fall in love with Sydney Carton all over again.  In terms of book-to-film accuracy, I’d say this movie is one of the best adaptions (especially for such an old one) – nearly every line of dialogue is taken straight from the pages of the book, scenes that are changed or combined or added flow well and make sense, and nearly all the casting is spot-on (more so than a lot of adaptions these days).

Let’s talk about book-to-movie changes first (though I’m sure I won’t be able to touch on all of them).  Firstly, the resemblance between Sydney and Charles isn’t really a major part of the plot.  “What?!” you may exclaim.  “Isn’t that one of the biggest parts of the book?”  Well, yes.  It is.  But in the context of the movie, everything makes sense – Sydney wheedles everything out of Barsad (everything concerning the false accusations about Charles being a spy, I mean) the night before the trial, so when he stands up in court, it’s more Barsad recognizing the man he spilled the beans to (and being afraid that Sydney would betray him) than admitting that Sydney and Charles look extremely alike.  And then in the final scenes – the exchange, the bit in the holding cell, etc. – Sydney hides his face quite a bit and keeps to the shadows (don’t worry, it’s not contrived or anything), so that all makes sense.  And I actually appreciate the change because, yes, it works perfectly in the book, but movie versions either have Charles and Sydney played by the same actor (ugh) or have them look nothing alike and pretend that they do (double ugh).  So I think this version gets it pretty much right.

Two other changes I can think of at the moment are that the two court cases in France are combined into one (because of time constraints, I assume) and – this is a petty one – instead of replying something along the lines of “For his wife and child” when the seamstress asks him why he’s taking Charles’ place, Sydney says “Because he’s my friend”.  A bit of a stretch?  They could have included both lines, in my opinion, but like I said, that’s a petty thing and doesn’t detract from the film one bit.  Just personal preference.  And, really, as long as the casting is good and the film stays true to the spirit of the book (in my opinion, that’s the most important thing) any movie adaption should be about perfect. (Case in point: Pride & Prejudice 2005.)


And the casting!  Absolute perfection, with only two exceptions: Charles and Lucie.  Charles is stiff and wooden, sad to say (a truly good actor could have improved upon his character in the book, just as Russell Tovey did with John Chivery in the Little Dorrit miniseries).  And Elizabeth Allan (Lucie) was both a weak actress and too much a product of the 30’s for my taste.  I mean, Lucie is supposed to be this wonderful, wonderful girl that gives Sydney reason wake from his apathy (if only a little) and causes Charles to fall head over heels for her.  And I didn’t get a sense of that.   But everyone else was great, from Edna May Oliver as Miss Pross to Basil Rathbone as the Maquis St. Evrémonde (one of the best casting decisions – he makes such an impression, even though he’s only in two or three scenes).  The entire cast worked together extremely well and it was a joy and delight to watch them bring Dickens’ amazing characters to life. (I was a bit hesitant about Blanche Yurka’s Madame Defarge at first, but she ended up winning me over with her incredibly passionate and believable performance.)

Every production of A Tale of Two Cities rises or falls – more or less – on its portrayal of Sydney, and Ronald Colman is Sydney Carton.  I used to prefer James Barbour’s portrayal (in the musical concert) but now he seems to be playing the part more than being the part (though he does have moments of brilliance), whereas as Ronald Colman will always be Sydney to me.  No one can quiiiite match up to my image of Book Sydney, I’ll admit, but Colman does a spectacular job nonetheless.  Poignant and humorous and heartbreaking…  I can’t explain how perfectly he fits the role – you’ll just have to see it for yourself!  I think it’s his eyes especially; during the Christmas scenes (not in the book, but I love them anyway) in particular, my heart breaks for him.  And nothing can match how he plays the final scenes with the seamstress and the guillotine and it’s AWFUL. (But beautiful.  Especially his delivery of The Line.)  I sob my eyes out every time.  And I’m coming this close to putting Ronald Colman on my [still rather short] list of ‘Actors I Won’t Watch In Anything Else But That One Movie Because They Were So Amazing’. (And now Elisabeth’s shaking her head at me because she thinks my stance on Paul Newman and Liam Neeson movies is ridiculous.)

This review ended up being much longer than I’d thought it’d be, but I’m glad I got all my thoughts across. (Well, most of them.)  Have you ever seen this movie?  What did you think of it?  And what did you think of Ronald Colman’s Sydney?


book review: a tale of two cities


After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.


Great Expectations used to be my favorite Dickens, but after re-reading A Tale of Two Cities recently, I realized that that was no longer the case.  Great Expectations is a great classic (no pun intended) and the two books come pretty close to being tied, but ATOTC just has more for me, personally, with all the awesome characters (Pip doesn’t have many sterling qualities about him) and the themes of revolution and self-sacrifice.  It truly is a masterpiece.  And it’s also one of the only books that my mom has ever expressly forbidden me to read (though the ban was lifted – obviously).  Why?  Because I was galloping through Austen and Brönte and Dickens at such a great speed that she didn’t think she’d have anything left to teach me in Literature and she really wanted us to go through ATOTC.  Trust me, it was frustrating, not being able to read it but when I was able to, I read the whole thing in about three days (despite the slow pace that I was supposed to stick to) and it was glorious.  Dickens can tell a ripping good story AND leave the reader an emotional mess by the end.

That’s what I call good writing, people.

Dickens’ writing style is unique,  of course, and quite easy to read, although his ramblings do get a little hard to take sometimes (like Victor Hugo, though not quite as bad).  There are a few parts of ATOTC that I tend to skim over now that I’ve read the book once, like the chapters with Jerry Cruncher.  Yawn.  I know what he’s up to and it’s disgusting and I’d rather get to the more important things.  Oh, and some of the more wordy bits concerning the French Revolution are skippable too, because I’m not as interested in that time period as I used to be.  And I also give some of the Jacquery meetings a miss.  But as for the rest (and I only skim very small parts, really) it’s amazingly good, with the fast-paced plot, great characters (none of them are flat – not even Lucie or Charles), and Dickens’ arresting prose.

I think that the characters are what everyone most remembers about this book, especially Madame Defarge and Sydney Carton.  But let me make a case for Lucie before I talk about anyone else.  Because first of all…Lucie is not weak.  Yes, she faints maybe two or three times in the course of the story, but what about how she stands outside the prison every day for over a year, no matter the weather, just because Charles might get a chance to see her?  That takes some strength.  And she doesn’t take to fainting and crying and getting all down in the dumps when Charles is captured, either, but continues on in France just as she did in England.  And she does try to help Sydney which, frankly, is more than any other character in the novel does. (Even Sydney himself.)  Now, as for Charles I don’t have much good or much bad to say against him.  He’s a gentleman, he’s kind, he’s brave, but I don’t think Dickens devoted much time to developing his character, unfortunately.

Sydney, though.  It’s hard to fangirl over Sydney (though I do occasionally indulge) because he is such a dissolute, drunken, depressed character and I can’t really condone that kind of lifestyle.  But he does become better over time (character development, you know, even if he doesn’t see it in himself) and his final scenes more than make up for everything else. (Of course, by that time I’m hardly in the mood or state to be analytical, but I can try here.)  Self-sacrifice always gets me and the last chapter of ATOTC is one of the most heartbreaking (but at the same time, uplifting) endings in literary history, one that has made people cry for literally centuries.  Before I read the full book, I got my hands on the Wishbone edition (figured it wasn’t cheating on Mom’s restrictions because putting a dog in classic literature is the weirdest) and as the last scene didn’t have Wishbone in it (because he played Charles), I was crying my eyes out.  And I’ve never gotten over Sydney since. (I mean, when I finished the book a couple days ago, I was sobbing.  A lot.  So, I definitely haven’t gotten used to the feels.)

As for the other characters, Madame Defarge makes a chilling villainess, Mr Lorry is one of my favorite characters – as is Miss Pross – and I’ll always feel sorry for Doctor Manette. (I know there are others, but I want to get this post wrapped up.)  Each character, whether minor or major, has an important part in the story (Miss Pross, anyone?) and I find it fascinating, the way that Dickens weaves every story thread together.  Such a good author…

Have you read A Tale of Two Cities?  What did you think of it?  Of Sydney?  I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


a tour of my {and my sisters’} two rooms

When my family first came to look at the house, I wasn’t too impressed by the rooms my sisters and I were getting because the previous owners used them for exercise rooms and, overall, they looked tiny and cramped.  But once we moved in, got all the furniture arranged the way we wanted it, put up our posters, and organized all our books…well, it looked like home.  And it still does.  I LOVE THESE ROOMS.  And since Elisabeth, Rebekah, and I thoroughly cleaned and organized the place yesterday, I decided that a photo tour was in order.  So, here are our rooms!

The first room is our bedroom (it’s hard to get a shot of the entire room because of how the doorways are set up – the angles are weird, plus I don’t think the camera was on the right setting).  It’s a trundle bed, so I get the top and Elisabeth and Rebekah share the bottom (their bed isn’t made in this picture because I took this one before we’d tidied everything).  The bed is big and this room is the smaller of the two, so it takes over pretty much all of it.

And that’s another shot, showing off the lovely little lamp my aunt gave me for a birthday present and the little space under the stairs that we all thought was going to be a super cool place to hide in during hide-and-seek but just ended up being stuffed with old blankets and boxes of baby clothes.  Oh, well…

BEST PART OF EITHER ROOM.  Am I right???  For a while, I thought I was running out of shelf space, but then I moved some things around (all my DVDs went into the next room, for one) and now I’ve got a whole shelf to fill up.  Awesome.  I guess I’ll just go through both shelves really quick and tell you about the different categories (sort of like a cheap bookshelf tour).  Shelf on the left, from top to bottom: random non-fiction, kids’ books that I love, teen/dystopian books, Christian fiction (mostly JACK CAVANAUGH), WWII fiction, WWI & WWII non-fiction (which I’ve tried to arrange in chronological order – so, for instance, The Longest Day comes before A Bridge Too Far), biographies, and movie-related books.  Shelf on the right, top to bottom: Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Louisa May Alcott (why do I have so many of her books when I still can’t forgive her for Jo’s Boys?), random classics (+three books about To Kill a Mockingbird), Lucy Maud Montgomery, Westerns, and Alistair MacClean.  I’m so proud of my book collection. *hugs every book* (Let me know if you spot any favorites on these shelves!)

(Since writing the above, I’ve added four new books to my collection.  Figures.)

Moving into the next room, we have my dresser, the dresser my sisters’ share, and Rebekah’s bookshelf. (Oh, you didn’t see it in the last photo, but Elisabeth has the bottom two shelves on each of my bookshelves – so, four altogether.  She has quite a nice collection of books, too.)  My dresser has school books on top (college courses I’m taking) and my TYPEWRITER, aka My Pride & Joy, aka I-really-should-give-it-a-name.  Elisabeth/Rebekah’s dresser is right beside mine and the dark and light blue goes well with the colours in the room.  And by the way, Rebekah’s bookshelf isn’t right beside our dressers – it’s on a different wall, but I put it in the collage to save this post from being too long.

My DVD collection! (The weird dangly things are cords to turn the lamp/fan off and on.)  I’m almost as proud of my DVDs as I am of my books because there are so many movies/TV shows here that I love. (Sorry that the lighting is so atrocious – the flash setting wouldn’t turn off.)  I have a huge collection of WWII movies and TV shows (and one WWI movie – War Horse), then there’s Westerns, random classic films in any genre, and then modern films.  Oh, and my meager collection of CDs to the left. (Also, did you notice the Captain America mug?)

My little writing space that I love and adore with all my heart.  The desk is beautiful, for one, and Hymie works perfectly ever since I installed anti-virus software (always a must) and switched from Firefox to Internet Explorer (which kept freezing).  The reason my desktop background is that generic picture of a flower instead of some movie screenshot or something is because a guy came to our house to check every computer for viruses (Hymie was clean) and I had a picture of Tom Cruise for my background and I didn’t want the technician to think that I was some weird groupie, so I changed it.  And I’ve been too lazy to switch it back. (True story.)  Anyway, I love this space because I’m surrounded by notebooks and pens and pretty coffee mugs and it’s literally perfect. *siiiiigh*

Go away, weird dangly things!

The posters tacked up above my writing space.  My inner fangirl goes nuts whenever I even glance at the Cap one (goodness, The Winter Soldier seems like ages ago, especially with everyone gearing up for Civil War – #nostalgia) and the Lego one is fun.  It came in a boxed set of Brick Fairytales and Brick Greek Myths (I also have Brick Shakespeare: The Comedies and am hoping to get The Tragedies as well.)  But, I mean, CAPTAIN AMERICA. Is. The. Best.  Wayyyyy better than Legos, in my opinion (though my brothers would probably disagree.)

My and Elisabeth’s closet.  I used to have a smaller closet all to myself (while Elisabeth and Rebekah shared this one) but since Rebekah has an overflow of clothes – though she’s the youngest – we let her have her own closet and I like the new arrangement better.  I wasn’t able to get a really good photo, but this closet is large and roomy, with a wide shelf over the clothes.  Very handy for storing practically anything. (I didn’t get a picture of Rebekah’s closet because she was still organizing it.)  In our old room, we didn’t even have a closet (maybe because we lived in the basement apartment?) and we had to hang our clothes on racks, so we all doubly appreciate these.

And pictured here are my hope chest (and a great leather briefcase that my dad bought for me – I use it for everything) and a rag rug that my mom made for our floor.  Both add a lovely, old-fashioned charm to our second room, so that’s wonderful. (She also made curtains for our windows, but I didn’t get a photo of those.)  For the longest time (up until a couple days ago, really) my hope chest was surrounded by boxes in another part of the house, but Elisabeth and I decided that it would fit in our room so we dragged it in here.  Now our rooms are pretty much perfect.

Well, that’s about it. 🙂  I wasn’t able to get a picture of every single thing (for instance, we have a window in each room) but, overall, I think I did a pretty good job of covering the important bits.  Hope you enjoyed it – let me know in the comments!


little things {#12}


It’s been far too long since I did one of these little posts, especially since I find myself obsessing more and more over the big things in my life, things that sometimes tend to overshadow all of the simple, little delights that one can always find peeking around the corner.  And it was all contributing to my lack of motivation and joy and happiness in general.  All I really need is Jesus + family + food + books.  Everything else is negotiable…but I do still love the negotiable things.  So here’s a list of a few that will always brighten up my day.


~Irish accents

~my grandparents

~brainstorming new blog header ideas (suggestions?)

~warm hugs

~the stability of a routine, but also…

~trying new things

~iced tea and ice water and lemonade

~family photos

~this girl’s pins

~encouragement from friends


~Harrison Ford’s grin

~nostalgic thoughts

~unexpected letters in the mail

~blazingly bright sunsets (and sunrises)

~rainbow sprinkles


~baking all sorts of things


~the wonderfulness of this large and bright and lovely world



i’ve got nothing

Sorry, guys.  I just can’t think of anything to write about.  Ever since I got sick about a month ago, I’ve had about zero motivation/inspiration to do or write anything and even though I’m feeling okay now, I can’t shake off this apathy that’s gripped me.  Not even enough to write an interesting post about how I can’t write a blog post.  There are quite a few good suggestions awaiting me in the comments on that post where I asked for ideas, but I don’t feel any drive to make something of them.  And as for creative writing…forget it.

I guess I’m writing this to let you all know why there haven’t been any new posts for a few days (and why I haven’t answered the emails that continue to pile up in my inbox).  I can’t seem to get interested in anything these days (the fact that all the books I’ve read lately have been bland and mostly boring doesn’t help).  So just bear with me, okay?  I’m hoping to find inspiration soon, but in the meantime, I doubt I’ll be around much.


friday finds {#19}

{Been a while since I’ve done one of these, eh?}



Edith Head and Alfred Hitchcock discussing the costumes for Notorious while Ingrid Bergman looks on. (Incidentally, my favorite Hitchcock film.)

It’s a no-brainer, really. #TEAMCAP



1950s McDonald’s – can you believe it?

Audrey Hepburn with her mother.

The end of an era.

Audrey touching up her make-up.



I agree so much.


P.S. This is my 200th post!