20 February, 2009

Scrapblog.com, My New Favorite Thing

Thanks to Kellie, I was able to figure out how to beautify my blog! The Background is from thecutestblogontheblock.com and my banner is a template from scrapblog.com.

Scrapblog is so fun! I have unleashed my inner collage artist, and after taking my header almost completely as is (I only changed the text and pictures) I was ready to do one from scratch.

Here is the result. I am rather proud of it. It took FOREVER, but I am really happy with the way it looks (all the images are from their site, but I placed them, layered them, and chose the opacity, size, etc.). If you can't see it very well, the larger version is here.

19 February, 2009


People I Know who are Pregnant:

My Visiting Teacher
My Cousin Victoria
My Cousin Ellen
My Other Mary
Her Sister-in-Law
My Best Friend
Her Cousin
A Friend that I don't know if I'm allow to tell people about yet....
A Friend from High School that I haven't Seen for a While
A Girl My Husband Used to Like
(Some I forgot/didn't know about) Tonya, Chiemi, Kim....I'll think of more later, I'm sure. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.

People I Know who Desperately Want to Have a Baby, but Can't, so are Trying to Adopt:

My Friend from College and his Wife

People I Know who are Silly, Impatient, and Getting Ahead of Themselves:


*Please take a moment to review my friend's adoption profile, maybe even post it on your blog. The sooner the word is out, the sooner their dreams will come true.

What Twilight Should Have Been

I've been thinking about Twilight lately.

Yeah, I know, I need a new topic. But after being secretly obsessed with those books, I've been trying to both justify my reaction, and figure out how I feel about the books now.

I have already dealt with the some of the Questionable Content in Twilight. As well as the Reason Why People Read it. Today, I'm going to quickly examine the literary merits of the book, and then explain what form it could, and perhaps should, have taken.

One thing that helped me understand my own veiw, was going to amazon.com and reading the reviews of others. Not the paltry ones from "Twi-hards" or haters (which generally focus entirely on story content and whether they loved or hated it), but the meaty ones that are written with thought (and allude to the author's skill). I especially like the 3/5 stars entries, because there I generally find reviews I agree with. These often point out the same flaws/strengths. Elizabeth Spires, reviewing for the New York Times, got it right.

"The premise of "Twilight" is attractive and compelling — who hasn't fantasized about unearthly love with a beautiful stranger? — but the book suffers at times from overearnest, amateurish writing. A little more "showing" and a lot less "telling" might have been a good thing, especially some pruning to eliminate the constant references to Edward's shattering beauty and Bella's undying love."

The way I see it, Twilight suffers from two main things.

It Lacks Plot.
If you can be satisfied to follow every minute detail of a heroine's mental agony over new love (as apparently I can), then you'll enjoy Twilight. The book does not offer as much in the way of life events, as it does in mental/emotional events. Also, it is a very linear book. Bella has one problem and, as soon as it is resolved, another problem enters to take it's place.

The Main Characters Aren't Sympethetic.
Those who view books critically tend to find Bella annoying and weak, and Edward abusive. Those who, like me, take characters at face value on a first read, found them to be exactly what Stephenie Meyer intended. Bella is supposed to have a quiet strength. She rarely stands up for herself or speaks her mind but, in the end, she always does what she thinks is right. Edward is supposed to be the strong intellectual that burns with such passion he will stand in the way of anything that threaten's Bella's safety (including Bella herself). The problem lies, as Elizabeth Spires said, in too much telling, and not enough showing. People like me tend to believe everything they are told (unless there is obvious evidence to the contrary), but to about half the population, seeing is believing. So while I find that Bella and Edward's relationship is reminicent of Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester's (INFJ + ENTJ), many people find the whole thing to be a disgusting, anti-feminist travesty. In the end, perhaps they are right.

Obviously, the fatal flaw in my Jane Eyre argument is that, in that story, Jane was the one strong enough to leave a bad situation, while in Twilight's sequal, it is Edward that leaves.

Now, on to the THE POINT of my post (yes, I know I always take too long to arrive, but in case you haven't noticed, it's the journey, the "rising action" that I enjoy).

What should Twilight have been? No plot? Flat characters? I'd have thought it was obvious.

Twilight Should have been an Opera

Remember those famous lines from Phantom (Which, incidentally, is not an opera)?

You'd never get away
with all this in a play,
but if it's loudly sung
and in a foreign tongue
it's just the sort o
f story
audiences adore,
in fact a perfect opera!

Traditional opera is a combination of two kinds of singing: Recititive and Aria. Recititive is singing where the melody mimics human speech patterns. It is the conversations, the dialogue, and what moves the action in an opera. Arias are moments in time. Traditionally, they are supposed to explore a single emotion. They do not move the plot forward, but instead are a probe of some aspect of the human experience. (Which is why people take so long to die in operas, they're exploring their final emotion.)

Twilight is full of emotional probes.

Imagine the selections on the soundtrack?
An Aria for Bella, "L'amour est un brillant poitrine".
And one for Edward, "Qu'est-ce qu'elle pense en ce moment?"
And while we're at it, how about Charlie? "S'il vous plaƮt, rester loin de ma fille!"

No? No opera?


Twilight Should have been a Poem

Imagine if Stephenie Meyer had chosen a more abstract method to catalogue her famous dream? Instead of creating characters that made her curious to explore their lives, she could have focused on the strong emotions involved, written a page a verse, and been done.

I'm no poet, but here's what I came up with in a few minutes:

Green leaves cover death
secret song thrums through veins to capture heart
darkness never looked so bright

breath steals it's last moment
Life lives it's fullest
it has come to an end

Heart stopped by absence....
or presence

What would you decide?

Not very good, but I could keep at it and make it better.
My friend, though he hated the movie, was somehow inspired by the concept. He came home and wrote a creeptastically chilling love song. Someday, when it's online, I'll link it here, but for now, you'll have to make do with my attempt.

Alright, now, I know you might not like poetry, so here's my favorite thought:

Twilight Should have been a BALLET

Imagine! No dialogue! No characters agonizing over their faults while the audience completely agrees. No constant discriptions of Edward's beauty! Physical beauty could be successfully portrayed by the (statistically) gay man in the part. It wouldn't be weird that he takes his shirt off, because it'll actually help us see the lines of his movement! And Bella would never have to remind us how clumsy she is.

Ballets have a tradition of romance and the supernatural, and can also do well in industrialized settings (wish I could have seen Matthew Bourne's Cinderella, set in WWII Britain, when it was here in LA).

Bella and Edward's danger laden passion could have been exemplified in beautiful, tension filled pas de deux ("step of two," a dancer's duet, if you will). And imagine the high school scenes! I can picture the intricate chaos between classes, the shy and clumsy Bella, unaware of her effect on those around her. And don't forget pas d'action! The romance would probably not take as long, so we could skip ahead to an Allegro fight scene with James.

How else can we ladies talk our men into going to the ballet?

I'll make a poll. Let me know which you think Twilight should have been.

P.S. I've never tried to get my husband to go to a ballet, but he took ballet in college and I go to Clippers' games with him, so maybe I should try it....

09 February, 2009

KB Award

So I won this award:

Another blogger tagged me with the following award:


The purpose of this award is to let you know that you must post a short list of things you "love" to help your readers get to know you better. Rejecting the award is not an option, besides who'd want to reject attention and glamour anyway?

Here is my list:

1. I love NPR. My brother got me hooked on it last year. I know people complain about it (it's too liberal, it's too boring) but I love the intelligent hosts, interesting stories, and impressive guests. And hey, at least they try to be neutral. They have a very non-confrontational, calm style that took getting used to, but I really like. My favorite shows are probably All Things Considered and The Story. My local station is KPCC. Gotta love Airtalk and The Patt Morrison Blog! Seriously, where can you find such a comprehensive look at local, national, and internationsl news, along with science, the arts, and a bunch of random stuff you never knew you were interested it!

2. I love Explaining. I don't love discipline, grading, record keeping, planning, or anything else that teachers do, that's why I decided not to be a teacher. But I LOVE to explain, to tell stories, make analogies, help others understand. Yesterday I taught some little kids a bible story, it was awesome. I love translating thoughts into words my audience can understand. Because of this, I also love acting, singing, puppetry, and story-telling. I even like reading the instructions for a new board game, so I can be the one to sum it up for eveyone else.

3. I love shirt.woot.com. From the weird designs, to the crazy filters and lame controversies (okay, so maybe I'm not that fond of those). Seriously, I waste so much time on that site. Everyday a new shirt comes on sale. That shirt costs ten dollars for 24 hours only, and after that it's fifteen, but only until it falls below the top twenty best sellers on the site. Then it is axed. Forever. Monday-Thursday are suprises. The site chooses designs that have been submitted to them by artists. Friday-Sunday the shirts printed are the winners of The Derby. Anyone can enter the derby. They post a theme every Thursday at noon, and then you can start submitting designs on Friday at noon. You can keep submitting till the following Thursday, but you have to get votes, so it's best to submit on Friday (or Saturday). I just love to see what the artist's come up with. My favorite Artist on the site goes by BootsBoots. But her real name is Jamie Melani Marshall. She's hilarious and amazingly talented, and we seem to have a lot in common so I joked that I we should be best friends, and she agreed, ahuhu.

4. I love Reading. Well, duh. But seriously, it's AMAZING. I get so into a story, and then I just can't stop reading (that's why I don't read as much as I did). Blogging is easier on my lifestyle because blogs come in single servings. It's amazing to make friends with fictional characters. I've found heroes, kindred spirits, and siblings: Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, Jane Eyre, Anne Shirley, Stargirl, Anne Eliott, Taran of Caer Dalben, Margaruite Blakeney, and countless others!

There is something about books that makes you feel powerful. You get to be someone else, see the world in a new light, have new talents and strengths. You also get the high of rising action and mystery. In the end, it's an escapist thing. I get to step away from any problems or stress I have, and go somewhere else: mentally and emotionally. Cause that's where I really live. Not in California, but in my head.

5. I love taking and discussing Personality Tests. I know, I know, they're not always accurate, they can cause you to self-fufill, mis-judge people etc. etc. etc. But I still love them. Probably because I love talking about myself, and also because I like to find out what makes people tick. My favorites are the Myers-Briggs Temperment Indicator, Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and (yes, groan) The Color Code. Occasionally, I even like those silly quizzes on quizilla etc. So what am I? I am an Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiver (INFP) the Jungian Shadow of the western world, I have strengths in Music, then Language, and weaknesses as a Naturalist, and then Kinesthetic (Full results here), I am a White with Blue. I've scored in some silly tests as: Marge, Yoda, Remus Lupin, and Gamma.

6. I love Costumes. I am forever wasting money at thrift stores on crazy dresses I may never get the chance to wear....but I still collect them. When we finally have a house of our own, Chris and I will proabably dedicate the garage to our crazy finds. Whether it be a three peice austrian suit (him), or a yellow '60s prom dress (me). Some of my favorite finds include: A girtle from the 1950s in the original packaging, A black, floor-length dress with a wide empire waist that looks like it's from the '40s but is acutally from the '80s, and an intricately sequined butterfly shawl.

Okay, well, surpisingly enough, I could go on! #7 would have been about Ireland, but I need to go.

I bestow this auspicious award upon CuteCultureChick, Ms. Liz, and Tyro Erudition. Consider yourself tagged ladies!