Monday, August 30, 2010

Busy Little Bookworm

Interestingly, my relationship with books has changed somewhat significantly since I started this blog almost a year ago. In a way, books used to be a larger part of my life- instead of going places and experiencing things, I would read about it.
For many reasons, I think this change is a good thing. I'm finally striking a balance between living life and reading life. I've also found that when I'm out living, I become a very slow reader.
As strange (and increasingly reflective) as this blogging project has become, I'd like to thank all my followers and semi-regular readers for sticking around and even commenting sometimes. Now that the summer is over, here is what you have to look forward to for September:

-My review of Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence (I swear Traxy, I just started it today!)
-My review of Mansfield Park for the Everything Austen II Challenge
-Anecdotes and rants from my foray into being an editor on a college paper and being the president of the campus literary society.
-Banned Books Week!
-Possibly some more lessons learned on the archery range (hopefully not painful ones)

I'm not going to be too ambitious, my work, class, and extracurricular schedule is ambitious enough this fall, but I like working my writing muscles a little here and hopefully entertaining anyone that stops by.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Call Me Robin Hood

Sorry I've been away, but I've finally picked up an amazing new hobby I've been longing for: archery. My father collects antique weaponry, so he went to a show looking for pieces for a 19th century restoration he's working. While he was there he met a vendor selling off several bows and a few quivers full of arrows for a ridiculously low price.
It's proof that he actually listens to my nonsensical chatterings and I am now the proud owner of a 28 inch, 50 pound recurve hunting bow. The poundage is how much force the bow provides when you pull it back the correct amount of inches, in this case 28. I went to the archery range yesterday and actually hit the target a few times, but also discovered that I have weak, girly wrists. I ended up wearing leather arm bracers from my Renaissance Faire days to support my wrists and protect me from the bowstring as it snapped forward. I had some leather scraps from other historical pursuits, so I made myself little finger covers to keep me from cutting up my right hand when I pull the string back.
When I consider the fact that the yeomen of the middle ages used bows with 100 pounds of force it amazes me. The more force the tighter the bow string and the harder it is to string. My 50 pounder took three people to string all variously holding the end, curving the top and pulling up the string. My brother, enlisted to the task, told me I have to be careful not to break the string because he is never doing that again. Ever.
With my ridiculous schedule I'm not sure if I can get a regular practice schedule but my dad said, "Sometimes you'll need to get away." Proof of how well that man knows me, I can think of no better way to unwind.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Newsroom Commentary

I'm sitting in the campus newsroom, we're putting together the 'Welcome Back' issue so that it is on the stands when everyone moves back in the end of this week. This semester I've moved into an editorial position- Assistant Arts editor to be exact. The current Arts editor is training me to take it over next semester because she'll be graduating.
What's great about being an Arts editor is that so many things are relevant and I have plenty of ideas for things to cover this semester. My column on British Pop Culture is one of my favorite things to do. Book, restaurant, film reviews, local news from museums and new music- all things to write about. My favorite kinds of stories, as I'm often chattering about, involve "real" journalism. Not just reading some information and synthesizing it into an article, but actually going out an experiencing an event, talking to people, performing interviews- that is what I love.
The atmosphere of the room hasn't changed at all in spite of the months we've been away. Our advisor left us tortilla chips and homemade salsa which we eat as we play music and discuss ideas. Slightly yellowed past issues hang from a strip of cork on the wall and the whiteboard has been graffitied by editors that were there earlier in the day. Still, I'm reminded of all the friends that won't be coming through the newsroom tonight, those that have graduated and are off in the world looking for places to be spectacular.
As a misty rain falls outside, I feel very content and settled in for the semester in the newsroom- or as we call it, our second home.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to School Preparation

I've dropped off the face of the earth in order to prepare for my upcoming fall semester. A few weeks ago I thought I was ready to start classes again, but now it seems remarkable how close the school year is. I'm in the process of ordering my books, but I doubt they'll be here in time.
This year I'm taking on two positions of authority: Assistant Arts Editor for the college paper and president of the literary society on campus. Even though classes aren't starting for a week and a half I'll be on campus next week helping to set up the "Welcome back Issue" of the paper which I'm working on three articles for. I'm also trying to set up a meeting with the other officers to figure out a way to make an impressive showing at the Club Fair the first week of school. The literary club membership is at a very low dip after this last semester, so coming in as the new president, one of my big goals is to create more interest among the students.
The challenge is: how can I show the student body that we don't sit sipping tea and reading dusty books (all the time), we have a lot of fun and do some cool activities. I'd like us to broaden our scope this year.
I've also had a break through on one of my stories- there is still hope for me yet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Etsy is Eating Away at My Life

...and I haven't even had a sale in over a month.
I was inducted into a team and have to do my required blogging for them. I like being on a team though, hopefully sales will pick up soon now that I am further networking.
Several new projects are in the works, but I have had time to get a ways into Possession by A.S Byatt. I tried it in the spring, but couldn't get into it. Maybe it is the slightest breath of autumn in the air that makes me in a better mindset, but I'm getting into it now. A.S. Byatt's use of language is beautiful, but the book is a bit of a collage of many different elements: letters, poems, fairy tales all add to the overall narrative. Sometimes I do find myself wishing the story would return to the primary narrative that I am interested in hearing more about.
And yes, I missed Teaser Tuesday... that makes this Woeful Wednesday.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sherlock Assurance

My Masterpiece newsletter for August (yes there is such a thing and of course I signed up for it) assures me that the new Sherlock is coming to PBS... sometime in 2010. That narrows it down.
Word on the street- or internet- is that the series made up of three episodes was so successful that a second series may be on the way next year. It always creates mixed emotions in an American Anglophile to hear about exciting projects in the works, you're glad to hear about them, but a little anxious over the amount of time you'll have to wait, the slightly illegal online videos you may have to resort to, and/or the money you'll have to lay down to get the DVDs if that is the only method of watching left. Personally, watching something online doesn't remove the possibility that I'll buy something. I'm more apt to make the purchase if I've seen something and already know I like it. Jane Eyre 2006 and North and South were two series I watched online and then purchased.
I'll be back on Tuesday with a teaser from Possession. I don't know if I'm suddenly in the right mind set, but I'm really starting to progress with and enjoy my reading of that novel. I'll also have an entry for my new series of reviews I'm calling "Notorious Reads" that I'll be continuing with through Banned Books Week in September. This particular read will also double as my first review for my DH Lawrence Challenge.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Stupid Questions: Macadamia Nuts

In journalism, one of the most important things you have to learn is how to ask the right questions. In my day to day life I often hear very wrong questions like tonight at the grocery store for example.
A young woman holding a box of cookies turns to me and says, "What are macadamia nuts?"
I say, "A small tree nut usually from Hawaii, sweet and mild in flavor." I never know how to react to such questions except in an encyclopedic way.
She says, "Where would I find them?"
"The nut aisle probably."
"Ok. What are they called again?"
"Macadamia nuts?" I respond, slightly puzzled by her asking me about her own question.
"Ok, thanks. The nut aisle, right."
I still have no idea.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another Book I Have to Read

I just saw the first two episodes of Pillars of the Earth on the Starz website (I'm a poor college kid- I can't afford any special channels). Unfortunately it seems like they aren't going to put up any more episodes, and I can't find any websites to watch it on that don't involve me taking some sort of invasive quiz that asks for all of my personal information. So, I'll be anxiously awaiting (and saving up) for the DVD release.
Historical fiction or semi-fiction has always been one of my favorite, especially stories regarding the English monarchy in the medieval to renaissance period. It takes me back to my days at the Ren. Faire. So far it seems like a really interesting story with wonderfully varied characters. So, here's another book to add to my list. As you undoubtably know, I'm way behind on my reading list.
However there is one vital thing that the mini series has that the book won't:

Ah, Eddie Remayne, cutest male ginger ever. There is something utterly heartbreaking about him no matter what role he plays.
My seamstress persona has also found inspiration for some projects from the beautiful costumes in the show.