Showing posts from October, 2010

Our Country's Financial Crisis: A Rant :)

Today I happened to hear two radio hosts discussing a recent film about the financial crisis in America (and, really, the world). I think (but am not positive) that they were discussing the new Wall Street movie. I have seen it and, though it moves a bit slowly at times, it is a good film.

These hosts, however, were discussing the topic of the financial crisis and saying that the movie (whatever it was) just proved that it was the corrupt people on Wall Street that did this to America. Now, yes, there are corrupt people on Wall Street. But, if they were discussing the recent movie (as I suspect) or even if they weren't, we cannot, as Americans, simply blame the people on Wall Street. The new movie clearly indicates that, at core, the problem has to do with all of us--with our approach to life and wealth and status and material goods. The same thing comes up in Eat, Pray, Love--even though I have big issues with that film (see earlier blog post).

This crisis has been building for ye…

"Crazy Date"--My dad's song makes it into the Oxford American music issue!

Congrats to my dad! His song, "Crazy Date," that he wrote and recorded when he was a kid, will be included in the Oxford American music issue (and on their CD!!).

For a great article about the song and its history (and a great link to an MP3), see Sylvia Parker's blog:

Sorry for lack of updates....

...I am working/writing like a mad woman! Here is hoping that I can meet my deadline!


Just came up with my thesis for the Wuthering Heights chapter of my dissertation!!! Hooray! The novel is so wonderfully complicated that it was really exhausting trying to discover exactly what I want to say. THANK YOU, KELLY!!! You talked me through it..and off the proverbial ledge.

Squirrels, power surges, and explosions.

I haven't been able to post anything in a day or two, and I am out at the bookstore now...ripping off WiFi. :)

Anyway, we had a bit of a mishap at the house yesterday. The power company was out cutting limbs in front of our house. There was a loud noise and then things in the kitchen started to explode and we had a small electrical fire behind the microwave oven. The fire department came out and inspected everything, declaring no danger, but we lost several appliances (televisions, microwave, dvd players, lamps, alarm system, etc.) due to the surge.

The best part? The power company claims that it was caused by a squirrel.

**It should be noted that there is no charred, dead little corpse outside. Maybe he disapparated...

The fire fighters and our electrician don't believe it any more than we do. In any case, the homeowner's insurance will cover some of it, but it will take an act of God to get the power company to admit any kind of responsibility. Just this morning, they w…

Just a snippet...

"The crosses are for the evenings you have spent with the Lintons, the dots for those spent with me. Do you see? I’ve marked every day."
"Yes—very foolish: as if I took notice!" replied Catherine, in a peevish tone. "And where is the sense of that?"
"To show that I do take notice," said Heathcliff.

--Wuthering Heights, Vol. 1, Chp. 8

Spending more time with another favorite person!

This morning, I spent time with former student and now wonderful friend, Lisa. She is a wonderfully talented thinker, writer, and person. We had a three-hour-long conversation about books and the writing process and society. She is so inspiring. I wish more 20-somethings were as balanced and thoughtful.

We had some fascinating conversation about Wuthering Heights and Shakespeare. In discussing The Taming of the Shrew, we both decided that the final speech should be acted with sincerity. I just can't see it done any other way and somehow, when I see it played sarcastically or in jest, it just doesn't ring true.

Anyway, for today, enough of that!

I also had to work today...which took away any hope of working on the dissertation. It is okay, though, because I can spend time on it tomorrow. Also just received my first chapter revision list from my director. It is so helpful and I will have to begin on it soon, too. Still, I feel tired thinking about it...

Two hours gone in a flash

Well, over the last two weeks I have graded 70 papers, held 70 meetings, graded 70 midterms...and almost lost my mind.

The proof of it came tonight when I became so annoyed with students behaving...well, like students...out on what is known as "the strip" here in town. I am just too tired to be amused by it. Anyway, I got over it as soon as my cousin, Jeff, met me for a lovely dinner of Thai food. We sat there for two hours and had great food and conversation. We haven't been able to do that in so long! It was so much fun and just what I needed tonight after such an exhausting couple of weeks. I love teaching, but sometimes I want to hide. :)

Anyway, thank you, Jeff. You did your older cousin a big favor tonight!

Other than that: I am trying to make myself have some energy to get through the rest of the week! Tomorrow, I will work at the magazine for a while, but then I really need to do some dissertation work in the late afternoon. The goal is to finish a draft of my Wut…

Winter's Bone

I just went to the Bama Theater with my friends to see the Sundance "best picture" winner Winter's Bone. Holy cow. This movie is fantastic. It is rich and authentic in ways that absolutely (miraculously) restore my faith in American film. Whoever chose the actors knew exactly what they were doing. The script is fantastic and the directing job is nearly flawless. I loved every minute of it.

The above photo shows the actress (Jennifer Lawrence) who plays the lead role of "Ree Dolly," a seventeen-year-old girl living in the Ozarks and caring for her mother and siblings. She is fantastic--as are ALL of the supporting actors and actresses. They were all just amazing.

The story without spoilers: Ree's father is missing and she must find out what has happened to him before the bondsmen take her home. It is a story of family, meth, crime--you name it. It is violent and hardcore and gritty. It is also tender and touching at times. It is the best film that I have se…

Well...if I can't go to England then England must come to me!

I am too poor to take a trip to England any time, my friend Kelly and I have decided that we will make a weekend trip to NYC this summer to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Antony and Cleopatra!!! We have both seen the RSC in England, but we are so excited about this particular performance (both because we love the play and because the actress playing Cleopatra really seems to agree with our ideas about her character--at least in an interview that we read). It is a contemporary dress performance and we almost decided not to go to see that version in favor of another...but, in the end, we just couldn't turn down the RSC!

The only time that I have seen the RSC perform was in Stratford-Upon-Avon two summers ago (when I was with the university study abroad program). We saw Julius Caesar...not my favorite play. But, I was fascinated by Darrell D'Silva (Marc Antony) in Julius Caesar...and as far as I know he is playing him in Antony and Cleopatra!
Here is hoping…

A little bit more on Wuthering Heights...

As I continue to read through the novel again, I have been struck by an appreciation for a deeply moral message in the novel. In trying to reconcile the horrible behavior (at times) and motives (at times) of Heathcliff and Cathy, I have come to realize that more than anything else, this novel is about the sacred nature of relationships--and, that no matter what happens in relationships, it is the good about the other person (if the relationship meant anything at all as deep as what H and C experience) and never the bad that outweighs the relationship--even after death.

It is a powerful message--and one that allows me to see the novel differently in really important ways. Now, this isn't to say that Heathcliff doesn't carry an enormous load of guilt throughout life once Cathy dies. He does. But he, more than Cathy, is the character to sympathize with at the end, I think. It is interesting that Cathy always has a problem with her temper and moodiness. But, at least early on, this…

Wuthering Heights: Re-reading an old favorite

The next dissertation chapter that I am working on concerns some ideas I have about Wuthering Heights. I won't go into those thoughts here because they would most likely bore everyone...but I am finding, once again, that I never get tired of reading this book. It, along with The Secret Garden and just a few others, is always a book I immediately fall into and want to keep reading.

I have read The Secret Garden over twenty times in my life. There was a time, when I was about 11- or 12-years-old, when I could quote from it. I can't do that anymore, but I remember every feeling I ever had while reading that book. It was the ultimate escape. I read it again about three years ago and ended up writing two seminar papers that included the novel (and a shorter paper analyzing the last film version). I don't know why certain books speak to us, but looking back on it all, I can say that I have always been attracted by the orphan character...which makes sense because I am writing my…