Friday Favorites 4

This Milk-Bone marketing fail:

IMG_1591I discovered this beaut in Target today.

For the Fido who is watching his waistline.  Bring him home the low-cal treat he really craves.

And if the caloric statement isn’t enough to make you pause and raise your eyebrows into your hairline (it was for me), the grammatical error surely is.  Because unless that happy Beagle’s name is Mini and she is the owner or creator of the portion controlled Milk-Bones, there should be no possessive involved.

This meme:

nigel-thornberry-potter

85f

6cq0o

tumblr_mhbe1gXvzy1riglexo1_500

I cannot explain why Nigel Thornberry’s head placed on any body never ceases to be hilarious.  It is simply so.

This daily dose of literary magic:

7518_logo

Every single day of the year, The Writer’s Almanac website posts a poem and a series of “this day in history” stories (mostly related to writers).  I’ve been an email subscriber for a few years now, and so my daily literary comfort arrives in my inbox at precisely 12:45 a.m.  If you choose, you can listen to the recording (on the W.A. website or via iTunes podcast) instead of reading the page yourself.

Garrison Keillor, lord of radio, narrates.

This book:

0978034543831_500X500

I’ve read a great deal of literature concerning Nicholas and Alexandra and their family.  I’ve been fascinated with them since a young age, and have consciously tried to learn everything I can about their story.  That being said, it took me longer than it should have to get around to reading Massie’s take, especially since his biography is one of the most frequently cited.

I’ve included Nicholas and Alexandra in my favorites because it is such an exhaustive account of N&A’s childhoods, their reign, the Russian Revolution, their abdication, and their deaths.  Massie has a talent for writing about immensely complex events and people using plain, approachable style.  I like that in a biographer.

There were some things I didn’t like so much, however.  Firstly, Massie’s determination to dramatically point out every bit of irony, coincidence, and “if only.”  Secondly, the lack of attention given to the grand duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia, and Maria.  I realize that since they weren’t able to inherit the throne, they were considered less important than their brother, but that’s exactly what has always made the grand duchesses fascinating to me: four beautiful, intelligent, über sheltered young women, murdered for no reason other than that they were the daughters of the former emperor and empress of Russia.  It’s the worst part of the tragedy.

This movie:

Anna-Karenina-Movie-Wallpapers-3-1024x768

I had not read the book.  I was unprepared for Anna Karenina’s sudden and violent end.  I shrieked aloud and immediately felt that the English major gods were ashamed of me for not having known what was coming.

Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement) is one of my favorite directors, but I was happy to see him take greater risks with this film than I’ve seen him take before.  At the end of the film you will feel (A.O. Scott (NY Times review) says it best):

“Dazzled, touched and a bit tired. But, really, you should feel as if you had been hit by a train.”

In Transit

This evening, desiring the kind of self-importance that only comes with casually walking across town carrying a transit and a notebook,

relishing the stares of children who stood watching me expertly shake out the tripod and level the platform,

admiring the meticulous charts and graphs I had slaved over with ruler and stubby pencil,

I thought:

Maybe I should be a scientist after all.

But then the mosquitos arrived for the feast, and the tripod fell askew, and my calculations were incorrect.

I consoled myself with a large dose of Anna Karenina.

Young Adult

I had a thought last night, after briefly abandoning Anna Karenina so I could reread Boston Jane for the fifth time.

Since I spend so much of my time drooling over literature that is written for twelve-year-olds, and since I happen to think that said literature is much better than any other kind because it’s so unpretentious, so solely focused on expanding young minds with fantastic stories, what if I tried writing a story like that myself?

Well, I’m trying, starting as soon as I get some spare time.  Believe it or not, the current inspiration is a certain moon orbiting Jupiter.

I work with what I have, I guess.

My Room is a Pigsty: An Analysis

My room usually acts as a gauge for the pace of my life.  When I’m relaxed, with little on my plate, my room is clean, save the never-shrinking pile of books on my nightstand.  When I’m busy however, with no time to pick up after myself, my room looks the way it does presently:

Nightstand littered not only with books, but with knickknacks: a miniature fan from last week’s heat wave, two empty plastic cups that once held water, a plastic jewel I saved from Cherry’s mouth and then took home in my pocket by mistake, lotion that doesn’t seem to work on mosquito bites, a compass from physics class, duct tape I accidentally stole from the theatre (I’m noticing a trend here), half a dozen bobby pins, and a watch that still sports the crusty remains of Ponyboy’s “Mud Monster” afternoon.

Clothes on floor, movies on floor, empty oatmeal canisters on floor (who am I kidding?  I will never use them for a craft project), several shoes on floor, sheaf of pages from my Word of the Day calendar on floor.

As I sit on the bed, typing to you in the semi-darkness (so I can’t see the pigsty that is my room, of course), I am surrounded by physics notebook, folder, and textbook, three of my research books, Anna Karenina (current ‘for fun’ read), plus camera, iPod, brush, and (goodness knows why) checkbook.

I’m ignoring everything, however, until after the GRE.  That happens Wednesday.  I took a practice test today, and found out that while I score in the 95th percentile for Verbal Reasoning, my Quantitative Reasoning is dismal.  The thing about the GRE is that if you get an answer wrong, they give you an easier question next (and if you get one right, they give you a harder question next).  Knowing this, the entire time I tested I was distracted trying to decide whether a question was harder or easier than the last.  I probably shouldn’t let myself think about that on Wednesday.

No matter how it goes, however, I’ll have a phenomenal evening in store.  My aunt and I are going to see this beautiful man:

Please tell me you appreciate the classic feel-good sound that is Neil Diamond.  And please don’t ask me if I’m actually a 65 year-old woman in disguise.  I get that enough from my mom and my sister.

Promising Trailers

Dear Friends,

Because it’s Sunday night, and we’re under a heat advisory (apparently that can happen in Minnesota), and I have to get up for work tomorrow, and I’m feeling fairly movie-deprived, here are the not-yet-debuted films I’m most looking forward to (minus the ones I’ve already blogged about: Anna Karenina, Ruby Sparks, etc.):

I would never have thought to cast Bill Murray as Franklin Roosevelt, but now that it’s been done, I think it’s genius.  And Laura Linney has been fantastic in everything I’ve seen.  I have high hopes.

The book was one of the most poignant teen fictions I’ve ever read, although I have doubts about a movie’s ability to capture the ‘infinite’ the book describes so well.  I think this film could easily slip into heartwarming, which would not be right.  We’ll see, though.

No explanation needed.

Oh man, I need to read this book.  I tried last summer, but didn’t get more than fifty pages in.  Also: what a talented cast they’ve chosen.

So very excited.

Things Are Afoot

It’s Saturday night, and things are afoot.

I worked two concessions shifts at the theatre, between which I tiptoed in to actually watch the movie.  It was Brave, and I thought it was pretty wonderful, although definitely not what I expected.  More bears and magic than I anticipated, to be brief.  But plenty of laughs (once again I outstripped all children in the audience in that department).  And, forgive me, but I spent much of the movie being mesmerized by the heroine’s hair.  It was like a separate character.

Up forever has my heart in the world of Disney-Pixar.

Then, needing fresh air, and an escape from the smell of popcorn and the slick of grease between my fingers, I went for a bike ride around town, looping back through campus just as it got dark.

And now, because a good friend of mine is in Morris, and because I’d like to feel like a college student for an evening, and not like a responsible adult, we’re going on a hike.  Destination will not be disclosed at this time.

Also, I just have to tack this on the end, because I shrieked with delight when I watched the trailer this afternoon.  Joe Wright is one of my favorite directors, not just because his films are exquisite, because he turns good books into good movies, and because he appreciates the force of Keira Knightley’s acting as I do (yes, I can defend that statement), but because he does period films.  Period films.  Period.