a randomly random post

{Because I half-promised all of you a post today, but I’m feeling sick, but I still want to write this, but ideas are hard to come by when I’m ill.  Does any of that make sense?}

Audrey Hepburn - I love books, tea, and sitting on the floor. Also grace, elegance, and style.:

What am I doing right now?

Well, I just finished making some banana bread with my little brothers.  It promises to be delicious, but I probably won’t have any because it’s fattening and I’m not feeling the greatest and bananas are my least favorite fruit.  Now I’m trying to decide what to make for supper (I’ve almost – but not quite – taken over supper prep each evening).  And, of course, I’m writing this blog post.

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I started reading Sense & Sensibility today because it’s been far too long since I read any of Jane Austen’s novels.  I’m on chapter ten so far and it’s SPLENDID.  I’d forgotten what a great writer she is and how much I love so many of her characters.  I think I’ll read through all six of her books over the next few weeks.  They would definitely be on my list of ‘books I’d take with me if I had to flee the country’, something that I’ve actually been thinking about a lot lately (not that I think I’ll have to flee the country, but it’s interesting to contemplate).  Besides Jane Austen’s books, I’d take Gone With The Wind, as many Jack Cavanaugh books as I could, the Hunger Games trilogy, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Unbroken.  And any others that would fit.  Plus my Bible, because…well, duh.

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Posts I want to write in the near future: ‘My Top 15 Favorite Monk Episodes’, ‘My Top Ten Favorite OTPs’, ‘Fanfiction: My Opinion’, some post about how my writing is going, and I need to get working on my post for the Favorite TV Show Episode Blogathon.  Do any of those ideas sound interesting?

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My mind has gone blank again.

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Oh, I suppose I could do a list of some of my favorite things.  That always inspires me.  Soooo…getting a bunch of new books from the library, humming Christmas songs because it’s a winter wonderland outdoors, Audrey Hepburn, when plot ideas come together, smiles, lots and lots of chocolate, weddings, glorious music, the fact that I have so many things to put on this list, fabulousness, Jack Cavanaugh’s books, Jane Austen’s elegant writing, when I hit all the right notes in a difficult song, shipping (romantic AND platonic), ALL my favorite fictional characters, and basically everything else.  It’s a lovely world.

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Signing off, getting ready to publish this rather sorry excuse for a bona fide blog post…

Sometimes it helps to get my thoughts out there, which this post did, so I suppose it wasn’t entirely a wasted effort.

Until next time.

Eva

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what I’m doing {#8}

{reading}

https://i0.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/91g5upCuv6L.jpg

While the main book I’m reading right now is Gone With The Wind, I also have a few books on the side (reading multiple books at a time isn’t something I ordinarily do, but GWTW is so long that I don’t feel right about not reading anything else for days and days).  True Grit, for one.  The writing seems a bit dry, but it’s still quite a good read – I think part of the dryness stems from the fact that I feel like I’m reading a transcript of the 2010 movie (because the movie follows the book so closely).  In some ways, I wish I could have read the book first and seen what I thought of it without the film’s influence.  (By the way, does anyone recommend the John Wayne adaption?  I watched the trailer and a few clips and I don’t think I’d enjoy it much, compared to the Coen brothers’ version.)

I’ve also read three Christmas books recently (check that off my bucket list!) – A Christmas Carol (I can’t believe I’ve never read it before), How The Grinch Stole Christmas (reading it aloud to my little brothers is the annual tradition, and I always have to work at not crying), and The Lump of Coal (Lemony Snicket is a hilarious author).

{watching}

Two live-action Disney movies, both of which have destroyed me emotionally: Old Yeller and The Great Locomotive Chase.  WHAT IS HAPPINESS.  I’d never seen Old Yeller until last night, but I’ll bet I cried as hard as any ten-year-old kid who’s owned and loved a dog. (Oh my goodness, just imagine showing this to Jem Blythe – he’d be absolutely crushed.)  And the thing is, I don’t even like dog movies.  I don’t even like dogs.  But there’s just something about that movie that seems to turn everyone into a sobbing mess.  I NEED SOME COMMISERATING COMMENTS, GUYS.

And then, The Great Locomotive Chase, aka Pretty Much The Least Known Disney Movie Ever.  Honestly, if you’ve heard of this film (or *gasp* have actually watched it), then my hat is off to you. (You know…if I had a hat.)  I watched this movie when I was a little kid, maybe seven or eight years old, and it traumatized me because the ending’s so sad and I didn’t have much experience with my favorite characters dying (ha).  It’s still just as gripping these days – I’m tearing up a little just thinking of the last couple of scenes, because it’s the WORST.  Plenty of rip-roaring action, and ‘Dixie’, and chase sequences in the middle, but once everyone gets captured during the last half hour, it’s one of the most depressing things ever.

{listening to}

Fairytale of New York, Rocking Around the Christmas Tree and Merry Christmas Everyone:

Nothing, sadly.  I haven’t been on my computer much these past few days, and I just haven’t gotten around to listening to any Christmas music lately.  Or any kind of music. *sigh*  But I will!

What’ve you been reading/watching/listening to lately?

Eva

what I’m doing {#7}

{reading}

http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/theselection/images/4/4a/The_Selection_Cover.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20130911044436

Lots, as usual.  Unfortunately, there’ve been a couple of books that I’ve had to put down recently because of Language – a gorgeous biography of Audrey Hepburn by Barry Paris (none of the language came from her, by the way) and an Alistair MacLean novel, Partisans, that was proving extremely interesting (I adore his writing style).  *sigh*  Anyway, there have been a couple of books that I’ve read all the way through in the past week or so: The Selection and Jungle Pilot.  Both were re-reads.  I find The Selection a (very) slight cut above the typical YA romantic drivel that everyone seems to churn out these days, and at least it’s interesting, for brain candy.  And then, Jungle Pilot which is the story of Nate Saint.  Hugely inspiring, just as good as Through Gates of Splendour in my opinion.  An amazing, AMAZING story.  And now I’m on Violins of Autumn again. (LOVE.)

{watching}

Lots, as usual. 😉  A very eclectic mix, that’s for sure: Somewhere In The Night (oh, it’s such a chillingly good film noir – and available on Youtube), Ramona & Beezus (I’m surprised at how much I love that movie; I always turn it on when I need some cheering up), Saving Mr. Banks (feeeeeels – it’s one of the few films that can consistently reduce me to ugly tears and make me emotional just thinking about it), and The Happiest Millionaire (Disney fun!).  I also picked up a copy of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly at the local thrift store, so I’ll be watching that sometime soon.  Oh, and Cool Thing: my brothers and Elisabeth went to an airsoft store a couple days ago and I was waiting for them in the car when Elisabeth came running out and told me that the store owners were playing Saving Private Ryan inside (we’ve both seen/loved it – but with a language filter).  So I went in with her and got to watch maybe two or three minutes of it as the boys finalized their purchases, and it was at the bit where Ryan (the real Ryan) finds out about his brothers, so I got my dose of Matt Damon Being An Awesome Actor for the day.  I wanted to reach through the screen and give him a hug ’cause he looked so saaaad. *sniff*

{listening to}

Frank Sinatra and Vera Lynn (who has one of the most beautiful voices in the world) and, of course, Glenn Miller.  And I love Bobby Darin’s version of ‘A Nightingale Sang In Barkely Square’, so I’ve been playing that a lot.  That song is lovely all on its own, but he adds a little something to it that’s enchanting.

What have you been reading/watching/listening to lately?

~Eva

what I’m doing {#6}

Well, I’m back!  My family had a missionary family staying over at our house for a few days, which was great, but not very conducive to regular blogging (that’s why I didn’t do a Friday Finds post last week – all the posts published lately have been scheduled), so it feels great to get back into the swing of things.  We’re still in the midst of The Big Move, so there’ll be several more scheduled posts written by me + interviews, but I thought I’d give you all a little update while I’m still able to.  (And there are going to be complications with the Internet once we move, so my posts probably won’t be as frequent, but I’ll try hard to keep them coming as steadily as possible.)

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{reading}

The book that started my love for reading and is, therefore, my favorite book of all time.

Little Women, mostly.  I was partly inspired by Hamlette’s LW read-along (which is just coming to an end, unfortunately), but most of my desire to re-read the book came from The Travesty That Is The March Family Letters.  Ugggggh.  Unlike Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved and Frankenstein, MD., TMFL doesn’t feel like it’s source material at all, which is extremely disappointing.  Anyway, the re-read was great, and I discovered a new appreciation for both Laurie and Amy – I think Amy is actually my favorite of the sisters, although I like all of them very much.  The whole story is so cozy and lovely and inviting that I didn’t want it to end (I know that’s a cliched phrase when it comes to good books, but it’s TRUE), so I’m glad that it’s such a nice, long read.

I’ve also been reading a couple of Elsie Dinsmore books – Elsie’s Girlhood and Elsie’s Womanhood.  The only reason I started to re-read them was because Elisabeth and I recently realized that we both reeeeally like Walter Dinsmore (what is it with guys named Walter getting killed tragically in wars?), so I wanted to re-read the two books where he’s grown up and not such a scared little boy.  And, I have to admit, if you get past all the father/daughter weirdness, the series (up to a point) is actually quite interesting.  The Elsie books aren’t great literature, but when I’m in the mood for them, I can go through the first ten or so books in a matter of days.

{watching}

Steve McQueen & Yul Brynner on the set of The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Well, the family that was staying with us had watched Wanted: Dead or Alive and The Great Escape and they all agreed with me + my siblings that Steve McQueen is the epitome of coolness, but they hadn’t watched The Magnificent Seven yet (well, the dad had, but none of the sons), so we showed that to them.  I ended up missing the first twenty minutes or so of it (long story), but I got back in time to watch Britt’s introductory scene (*fist-pump*), so it all worked out.  And Mag7 just gets more and more amazing each time I watch it!  I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

And then, on June 6th, everyone watched The Longest Day, which was even more amazing than Mag7 (if that’s possible).  I’ve come to realize that though it’s practically impossible for me to chose a Favorite Movie of All Time, if I had to, the place would go to The Longest Day (closely followed by Mag7 and Laura).  The scope is grand and sweeping, but at the same time the film examines the individual lives swept up in the invasion, which gives a hugely epic (in the sense of Ben Hur or the Iliad) feel to everything.  The music is superb and the cast…well, put all those major stars together, and you’ve got some serious awesomeness happening. (Peter Lawford as Lord Lovat?  *squeee*)  Simply fantastic.

(Also, I’ve got the MJ2 trailer on repeat right now.  Go watch it!!!  I’ll betcha anything you’ll cry.)

{listening to}

The Theory of Everything  soundtrack, Johann Johannsson.

I’ve fallen in love with the soundtrack to The Theory of Everything.  Particularly the track “Forces of Attraction”.  Overwhelmingly gorgeous.

What’ve you been reading/watching/listening to lately?

Eva

what I’m doing {#5}

{reading}

Margaret Mitchell holding her book, Gone with the Wind. (1938)

Gone With The Wind.  Oh, this book.  I love books that are thick and bewitching and lavish, and GWTW is definitely one of those.  It’s expansive and luscious and crammed full of accurate little details about life before, during, and after the American Civil War.  I might hate Scarlett and Rhett and barely tolerate any number of other characters, but I was never bored while reading the thing, and there were enough good, even splendid, characters to make the experience worthwhile (and, yes, it was an EXPERIENCE).  GWTW is an epic in the fullest sense of the word, although I wouldn’t say it’s a romance.  There’s too much immorality and heartlessness, in my opinion, to make it a romance (in fact, I can’t think of any couple I whole-heartedly shipped…except maybe Gerald and Ellen), but it’s still an impressive book.  I can see why it’s such a classic.  

Now to watch the movie, though I’ll never forgive the People In Charge for cutting Will and Archie out – they were two of my favorite characters!

And since I’ve finished GWTW, I’ve started in on my annual reading of Lord Of The Flies.  I really can’t handle more than a once-a-year read-through of it, because it’s very disturbing and depressing (sort of in the way The Ox-Bow Incident is), but the writing is breathtaking (style, plot, characterization…everything), so I mainly read it for that.  I wouldn’t say it’s a favorite book, exactly, but it does grip me each time I read it.

{watching}

I did so grow to love this splendid, brave little group.

We are awash in Dana Andrews movies over here.  We really are.  I’ve calculated that in the less-than-two-months since I first watched The Ox-Bow Incident, I’ve seen (counting TO-BI) nine Dana films.  And re-watched a few as well.  Most recently, it’s been State Fair (re-watch, which cemented my longing to LIVE in that movie), The Devil’s Brigade (it’s not reeeeally a Dana movie, since he just has a charming little cameo, but, eh, I still kinda count it in anyway), The Purple Heart (don’t even want to talk about it), and The North Star (ditto).  From watching all these films, I’ve come to realize one important fact: if you’re a Dana Andrew character in a WWII movie, don’t go anywhere near planes.  If you do, you’ll end up 1) with PTSD (The Best Years Of Our Lives), 2) captured by the Japanese (The Purple Heart), or 3) dead (The North Star).  Or all three, because all those things happen in The Purple Heart, pretty much.

And if you’re a Dana Andrews fan and you haven’t seen The Ox-Bow Incident or The Purple Heart yet, DON’T.  Just…don’t.

{listening to}

The Hollywood Palladium marquee in 1942, advertising performances by Glenn Miller and the Andrews Sisters.

Glenn Miller!  I broke down and bought a CD with nearly all my favorites on it since I was tired of the ads on Youtube whenever I wanted to listen to a playlist, and I’m rather glad I did now.  Very handy when I’m washing dishes and I want something fun to listen to.  Oh, and the little pamphlet inside the CD case listed ‘Chummy MacGregor’ as the piano player for ‘Tuxedo Junction’ which made me very happy indeed.  I did discover a couple GM songs that I hadn’t listened to before (*gasp*), and they’re both wonderful.  First, there’s ‘Perfidia’ – the lyrics are a bit odd, but the tune is so lovely. (Reminds me a bit of ‘Beyond The Sea’, actually).  And then, ‘The Army Air Corps Song’. *tears*  I have a tendency to get emotionally attached to songs that I hear in favorite movies and I forever link those songs with those movies.  ‘Little Brown Jug’ and The Glenn Miller Story, for instance.  Or ‘Oh Come, All Ye Faithful’ and ‘Jingle Bells’ with Stalag 17.  Or ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ with The Great Escape. (And don’t even get me started on ‘Red River Valley’.  Please.)  So, the Air Corps song reminds me of the ending to The Purple Heart, so naturally it tugs (rips?) at my heart a little whenever I hear it.  And it’s such a great arrangement too.

Eva

what I’m doing {#4}

{reading}

Gregor and the Code of Claw (Underland Chronicles, Book 5)

I haven’t been reading much lately since I’ve been sick – illness always saps my ability to concentrate, and it’s next to impossible to find a book that’ll hold my interest long enough.  But I have read a few things; I can’t do away with books altogether, no matter how sick I am, right?  I finished up Code Of Claw yesterday, one of many re-reads, and my only thought was “Why does Suzanne Collins have to make everything so heartbreaking?”.  I can take sad and depressing and all that, but it’s just as bad as Mockingjay, so that tells you something.  I had no problem with how the book/series wrapped up, though, unlike many fans.  Sure, Gregor has PTSD and he’ll probably never see the Underland again and his family still has problems…but there’s still some hope.  And I think that’s realistic.

Four by Veronica Roth is another book I read over the last few days.  That and Divergent are her two best books.  I never want to read Insurgent and Allegient again.  Four/Tobias is my favorite character in the trilogy, and reading an entire book written from his viewpoint (by the way, Roth did a much better job capturing his voice in Four than she did in Allegiant) was a great experience.  I also read an Al Lacy book – Whither Thou Goest – which I read a lot when I was younger (thirteen, or so) because I thought modern Christian fiction was the coolest thing ever.  Revisiting it after all these years was something of a rude awakening, as I didn’t like any of the characters (except the villain, maybe), the dialogue was too modern for a Western, etc., etc.  There were certain parts I enjoyed, but overall it didn’t impress me.  Now I’m reading a much better book, non-fiction, entitled The Greatest Generation Speaks, which is a collection of interesting letters and personal reflections from men and women who served during WWII.

{watching}

Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca

I watched Casablanca last night.  Partly because I wanted to, and partly because I wanted to refresh my memory concerning the film and see how it weighed, in my mind, against The Ox-Bow Incident, because Casablanca beat out TO-BI for best movie at the 1943 Academy Awards.  Oh, it was just as brilliant as I remembered, and I’m not going to even try to compare the two films…all I’ll say is that the decision must’ve been very tough.  So much of the dialogue was witty and clever and (duh) iconic.  And I know there are inaccuracies and plot holes and all that, but it’s still a fantastic film – there were some plot twists that I’d forgotten about, so it was nice to experience them all over again.

Yesterday I sat down and finished Daisy Kenyon.  I must say that the last half hour or so was vastly better than the first hour, although the whole thing was still messy and angsty and rather unenjoyable.  And kind of weird, too.  I really don’t like stories that center around adultery (so then why do I like the Combat! episode, “Off Limits”, so much?), which is probably a good thing.  Overall, it’s a one-time watch for me (at least that’s my view right now), but I don’t really regret watching it either – very different from The Maze Runner, where every time I watch it, I feel like I just wasted two hours of my life.

And I’ve been watching a lot of Wanted: Dead Or Alive too, because the episodes are addictive and short, which means that it’s easy to fit four or five in at one sitting.  The great thing is that my brothers enjoy it almost as much as Elisabeth and I do, so it’s fun to watch it with them as well.  We’re now up to The Jason Episodes and Millie wasn’t exaggerating when she said he was scarily annnoying.  He’s awful.  For starters, Josh doesn’t need a sidekick – he’s awesome enough on his own – and for another thing, he doesn’t need a sidekick who’s so lame and boring and such a wet blanket.  Ugh.  And the actor who portrays him imitates Steve McQueen all the time, which gets old very quickly.  But enough about Jason.  Josh is still Josh, with or without Jason.  Amazing and cool and just… *siiiiigh* (I wrote a spot of fanfiction about him.  Kind of.)

{listening to}

‘Lili Marlene’ is one of the most gorgeous songs I’ve ever heard, especially when Vera Lynn sings it.  Dietrich (from Rat Patrol) has great taste in music.  I’d heard of the song for the longest time, but it was only a couple days ago that I sat down and actually listened to it…and I was completely blown away.  It’s breathtaking.

And then I looked up ‘You Are My Sunshine’, because that song’s very special to a couple of characters in one of my new favorite books – Violins of Autumn – and it was incredibly sweet, and a little sad too.  Jimmie Davis’ version is the best, in my opinion, but I enjoyed Gene Autry’s too.  I also recently ‘discovered’ the Sons of the Pioneers, when I was looking up different covers of ‘Red River Valley’ (their’s is my favorite), and ended up listening to their version of ‘Dixie’.  Which is pretty much my new favorite song (at least for the moment).

What’ve you been reading or watching or listening to lately?

Eva

what I’m doing {#3}

{reading}

I adore this book.  AWESOME HEROES AND HEROINES FOR THE WIN.

I love books.  I just…I really do.  There are so many unbelievably fantastic ones out there and even if I read non-stop from this moment until the day I died, I still wouldn’t get to all of them.  Which is why whenever I discover a new, amazing book I keep it close and read it over and over again in quick succession, because that makes up for not being able to read every good book, in a small way.  And Violins of Autumn is one of those books – the kind of book that I tend to hug (yes, hug) because I love it so dearly. (Did that with Unbroken too.)  It’s like Code Name Verity in a lot of ways, but I prefer it to CNV, truth be told.  Mainly because of Robbie, who’s even better than Jamie. (*ducks flying tomatoes from Ashley*)  Anyway, I’ve read it twice in the short time I’ve owned it, gotten Elisabeth to read it, and I think everyone who likes historical fiction should read it too.  It’s is a beautiful book.

As for Other Books that I’ve been reading, there have been a few.  The Longest Day mostly, since I have to write a book report on it for my WWII History course – no great hardship there, especially since Cornelius Ryan is such a fantastic writer.  I’ve now read all three books in his war trilogy (The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far, and The Last Battle) and each of them was a five-star read.  He has a way of making even the driest of facts and figures interesting, in a completely spellbinding manner.  If you went down to my room, you’d probably think I was reading way more than I actually am, because my desk has about three, three-foot tall stacks of books, notebooks, and DVDs.  Somewhat embarrassing, but I’m planning on cleaning it out one of these days…

{watching}

Remember how I mentioned that Dad took us to a thrift store to hunt for books?  Well, he also picked up a DVD while we were there – The Ox-Bow Incident – and after reading the synopsis on the back, I knew I had to watch it sometime soon.  So, a couple nights ago, the Older Children sat down and watched it, and it was…grim, to say the least.  Very depressing, somewhat disturbing, but an amazing piece of film-making (it was nominated for 1943 Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but lost to Casablanca).  I’m now a firm Henry Fonda fan, and it was great to see Harry Morgan in another role. (Not-So-Fun-Fun-Fact: Harry Morgan was good friends with Glenn Miller, which I’m sure will make my next viewing of The Glenn Miller Story will be even more heartwrenching, as he plays Chummy.)  Movies like The Ox-Bow Incident aren’t the kind of films you can passively watch; you feel all sorts of emotions and you actually have to think.  I doubt I’ll watch it again soon, but the impression it left won’t be forgotten easily.

{listening to}

I haven’t really listened to much of anything lately.  I’m popping over to the library today to pick up The Glenn Miller Story and Saving Mr. Banks, so I will be serenaded by all different kinds of music soon.  I’m really looking forward to that.

Eva