Pride and Prejudice

Posted by me on Wednesday, the 27th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 11:39 PM, local time.

Ok, so, sorry guys, I’ve been a little lax this week in keeping up with the blogging. I claimed I would be doing better. But, I’m trying. I’m just weak. Baby steps, right?

Several months ago, I was convinced that I should watch the Pride and Prejudice movie (the 2005 version). I had never read any Jane Austen novels, thinking they were just for girls, or whatever nonsense you pick up here or there about such things. So, I watched the movie. As many people know, I’ve long been a sucker for simple romantic comedy, which is, I guess, how I would categorize the movie. I enjoyed it. Thought it was pretty good. I enjoyed the arguments between the main characters, thought the scenery was pretty good, and really like the piano music in the background.

So, between watching the movie, countless recommendations from some of my friends, wikipedia articles, and a couple other secondary sources, I thought I would read the novel. Barnes and Noble’s had the Jane Austen collection on sale, and there was a copy of Pride and Prejudice in the “Everyman’s Library” hardcover edition, which I collect. So, I bought them both (it’s a problem, I know) and read Pride and Prejudice. Then I read it again.

Spectacular. I gotta say, had I known that authors from the 1800s could write like that, I would have read more of them beforehand. The dialogue is superb. The characters were very well drawn, and by and large, you could not wish for a better book. It is an easy, quick read, and there really is no reason whatsoever to not read it at every so often. It just goes so quickly!

When I first read the book, I was very much gladdened that the character of Mr Darcy was much larger in the book than in the movie. By no means was he the main character, but at least in the book, there were many times where you got to see things from his point of view, and you could see the basis for some of his actions before Elizabeth got to interpret them and skew them to something despicable. I was very pleased. It was nice to have a strong male hero to, not necessarily counter, but certainly complement the wonderful heroine, the younger Miss Bennet.

Very recently, I decided that since I enjoyed the book so much, and had enjoyed the movie when I first saw it, I should watch the movie again, to better compare it to the book. I had recognized before, after reading the book the first time, that the movie didn’t have a lot of the scenes in it that the book had, but didn’t think too much about it. It was a movie, after all. They do that sort of thing. But, when I saw it the second time, I was almost disgusted at the amount of stuff that was left out. There was a lot of characterization that was simply not there. Whole scenes, whole characters, whole conversations, etc., etc. Not only do we see nothing from Darcy’s point of view, but we see nothing of the “relationship” between Elizabeth and Mr Wickham develop, and we see nothing of the real awkwardness of Elizabeth meeting Darcy’s sister for the first time. These things are key to the book, really!

In comparison to the depth and, dare I say, majesty, of the book, the movie is a collection of short quick sketches, each merely outlining a portion of the masterwork that is the book, “Pride and Prejudice”. The only redeeming qualities the movie really keeps is the wonderful piano music, which really, by the way, prompted the blog post about background music a few days back. And Keira Knightley is hot. But we already knew that from Pirates, and you could just watch that to get your fill. (And sorry to mention her name, I just am really curious about how much google PageRank that will earn me.)

Anyway, for all my complaints, its not a bad movie, and I must respect the initial impression it had on me, that led me to read Austen’s various novels. I have now read enough of them that I would like to compare and consider each of the greater pieces here in my blog, but that is a larger task for another day.

Almost entirely unrelated from that, other than I used the word in this writeup: dialogue. Not dialog. Seriously people. It’s bad enough when I see it everywhere, but to have my own spellchecker refuse to accept the correct form of the word, and suggest the improper bastardization, is downright unacceptable. At least there exist proper dictionaries online and in print yet that use and promote the correct form.

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Background Music

Posted by me on Sunday, the 24th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 12:21 AM, local time.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: as we go through life, we each should have a piano player following us around with a huge piano playing wonderful piano music. I’ve always enjoyed piano music, and I think it would make great background music. I am of the opinion that piano music is all that is sufficient and necessary to completely express the entire range of human emotion and mood.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy other instrumentation as well, and would not happily do without a full orchestra for many wonderful pieces of music, but a piano’s music is so simple, elegant, beautiful, and yet still capable of such subtlety and richness that if I had to choose a single instrument to follow me around, it must be the piano. As it is, I often have piano music playing in the background anyway, but to have a real piano playing the music is so much better.

Now, I just have to find a piano player…

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Es Schneit! and Happy New Year!

Posted by me on Monday, the 1st day of January, anno domini 2007 at 2:43 AM, local time.

So just a quick note here this early hour into the new year to relate the wonderful news! Es schneit! Es schneit! Es hat geschneit! Es ist Schneiende! Isn’t it wonderful? After months of waiting, heartbreak, and sorrow, it has finally snowed! And I am tired and am going to bed! Yay!

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Die Kühe meines Bruders

Posted by me on Friday, the 29th day of December, anno domini 2006 at 11:01 PM, local time.

So a while back my brother was paid in cows for a carpentry job, and so now he thinks he’s a rancher or something. He decided to buy another one. He plans to sell them at auction next year and slaughter one for meat. I’m sure it will work out for him.

That is, ignoring the sensibilities of my niece. She loves the cows and thinks of them mostly as pets, I am pretty sure. He might get away with selling some of them next year, but that would be bad enough. Try telling a 2 year old that you decided to kill her pet because you thought he would taste good grilled as a steak. I don’t imagine that going over very well. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Anyway, here is a picture I took of the three cows up on a hill in front of my brother’s woods.

Just trying out this whole picture-in-a-blog-post thing. Somehow it don’t seem right to me. But everybody’s doing it, apparently.

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Sing a Song of Sixpence…

Posted by me on Tuesday, the 26th day of December, anno domini 2006 at 10:08 PM, local time.

So, way back in March of aught six, I posted a random little nursery rhyme I remembered from my childhood, with the intention of occasionally posting more. Here is another for your consideration:

Sing a song of sixpence,
pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
baked in a pie.

And when the pie was opened,
the birds began to sing.
Now, isn’t that a dainty dish
to set before the king?

The king was in his counting house,
counting out his money.
The queen was in the parlor,
eating bread and honey.

The maid was in the garden,
hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird
and pecked off her nose!


Merry Christmas, etc.

Posted by me on Monday, the 25th day of December, anno domini 2006 at 12:31 AM, local time.

So, a quick note from my parents’ house to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and everything. Happy holidays for those who don’t celebrate Christmas. Happy New Year for everybody, coming up here.

I had a nice break at home. Got to see my family and some friends I haven’t seen in a long while, so that was nice. Tomorrow my family and I are heading down to my grandparents’ home for Christmas there with my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and First-cousins-once-removed, so that will be nice, and it’s right on the way back to Rochester, so I will be back in Rochester the evening of the 26th, I believe. Then I get to finish up the week doing nothing (since we all know I won’t be packing to move, as I should be doing) in Rochester before heading back to work on the 2nd.

I hope everyone’s vacations/breaks/extended weekends have been going well and continue to do so. Once again, merry Christmas!

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With flour dusted hands…

Posted by me on Thursday, the 14th day of December, anno domini 2006 at 12:09 AM, local time.

So, as I rush to make cookies at this late hour for tomorrow’s food day at work, I have paused to contemplate Christmas Cookies for a bit. Please bear with me.

So, I feel bad for the Blue and Yellow food colors in my set of food colorings, because the only time I use food coloring is for Christmas Cookie frosting, and I find myself tending towards having only Red, Green, and White frostings for these cookies. I noticed this because the amount of Red and Green food coloring left in their respective bottles is much much less than the amount of Blue and Yellow. This year, I have decided to let Blue and Yellow in on the fun, and have made White, Blue, and Green Christmas Cookie frosting batches. (The Green being composed of Blue and Yellow food coloring, of course. Keep with me, people! Also, no one wants to see or eat Yellow frosting. Seriously.)

Frosting aside. Wait. Why? Each year as I make Christmas Cookies (including years ago, when I would help my mother by saving some of the dough from the horrors of the oven…), I have a hard time deciding which is better: the Cookie dough, or the Frosting. Both are most excellent. Of course, this is followed by the difficult and uncomfortable decision of which is worse for my health… But, usually these decisions don’t take all that long before simply being discarded altogether, and I eat both in quasi-equal portion as the full and complete Christmas Cookie (“…And, with their powers combined…”).

Ah, never mind. Everybody knows I like cookies. And you should, too!

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Pickled Eggs

Posted by me on Thursday, the 20th day of July, anno domini 2006 at 10:09 PM, local time.

So, as many people may know, I like pickled eggs. Back home, you could find a jar of pickled eggs pretty much at any bar you wanted to go to. Up at school, maybe a third had pickled eggs around. But here, there is not a single bar to be found that sells them! What kind of crap city is this? So, I had no choice: I had to make my own pickled eggs.

So I brew up a batch of vinegar salt water solution with a variety of spices and such to add some flavor and let some hard boiled eggs sit it in for several weeks. Now, I’m not quite brave enough yet to let the whole solution sit out, so it has to work its pickling magic in the refrigerator for now. Which is fine. I don’t think it hurts the flavor any. I’ve been testing an egg or two every now and again, and they are getting to be rather tasty. I really should hard boil some more eggs and refill the jar. I think I’ll let the brine stay as is for a while. Its in vinegar, for goodness sake, so it’s not like it will go bad!

Anyway, I just thought I would let people know: Pickled Eggs are great! And its really quite easy to make your own. If there is enough interest I could post the exact ingredients I combined for my brine, but really, its a secret (and it’s not that hard to come up with something good on your own, anyway).

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Marana Tha!

Posted by me on Sunday, the 4th day of June, anno domini 2006 at 10:43 PM, local time.

A phrase that sounds so familiar, yet is in Aramaic. And all instances of it my Bible-At-Hand had it translated and the Aramaic relegated to the footnotes. But, I liked the phrase, and think it should be brought into the consciousness of us all a bit more. Marana Tha!

The phrase is simply a request: “Come, O Lord!” and was frequently used by Paul to end his epistles, after the final greetings, entreating Christ to return quickly. Often times I feel that way (surely I should and do wish for that day to quickly come always, but some days, even more so), for surely the burden of our earthly tribulations seems as though it could get no greater and sweet relief would be greatly appreciated.

But, while the wish for The Return to come quickly is certainly a good one, I wonder if it is not quite right to wish for The End merely to avoid one’s own trials and tribulations.

And so, Marana Tha! …but, in the meantime, help me deal with the problems and issues in my life constructively and in accordance with Thy Will, bitte, rather than just ending it all so I don’t have to. Seriously, its not called der finstern Todestal or Rissetal for nothing.

Other such ritualistic phrases are pretty common in the epistles as well as in modern (and ancient) Christian groups. A common one that is rather seasonal, though it needn’t be, is the greeting “He is risen!” during the Easter season. The proper response is, of course, “He is risen indeed.”

While I recognize that there is no real need to keep these sorts of phrases around for anything other than purely traditional reasons (no one’s soul is in mortal danger if they do not know or frequently say any of these greetings), I, being the traditional tradition-bound Lutheran of traditionality that I am, hope we can carry them on a bit longer. That is mostly done, I suppose, through strong family-church community.

On the subject of the epistles and common phrases used therein, Paul begins most of his letters with (variations depend on translation): “Grace be with you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Another phrase worth saying more often. For those of you wondering where I came up with that wording, its actual a translation of the German version. More common versions in English would be “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (KJV) or “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (NIV). Its a phrase reminiscent of the common Greek greeting wishing grace upon a person, and also reminiscent of the Hebrew greeting “Shalom,” meaning Peace. (Even more reminiscent of the longer phrase “Shalom aleichem,” or peace be with you, from which Shalom is the standard shortened version.)

At any rate, its a perfectly good farewell as it is a greeting, so grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

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One night in a club called the Shakin’ Hand…

Posted by me on Thursday, the 1st day of June, anno domini 2006 at 9:50 PM, local time.

It’s funny how the mind works. I read a random “funny” quote on the quote-a-day thing on my google homepage which had to do with “Let there be light…” This led to a random chord flipping through my mind, followed by some more chords, and some words, tonal inflections of the singer’s voice, lyrics, and soon I had the entire AC/DC song, “Let there be Rock” flowing through my head, full with guitar, bass, drums, and singing. Start to finish.

I was not displeased, and the route to get there from the quote was not all that complicated, but it was strange how the things from the song started to come piece by piece until they were all there again, as though I had just finished listening to the song. I don’t know if this has any relevance, but it was an interesting experience, and seriously, just means everyone really should go out and listen to that song :-) Or read the bible. Maybe even both.

Note: The has its uses, but it is not the best I have found. 1) You can’t link into it for a specific verse with specific translations and 2) the Strong number concordance interface is weak. I may have a better one bookmarked on a different computer. I shall have to find that and mention it here (or add it to my sidebar of links).

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