Thursday, March 28, 2013

Goodbye Lizzie

I hate goodbyes.

Yet goodbyes must be said.  And with that comes gratitude.

So this is my (very spoilerific) thank you to Lizzie Bennet and all those who have breathed new life into this incredible story.

* * * * * * * * * *

I actually checked and it was April 24th of last year.  Lois was in London and we were corresponding about a variety of things.  And she sent me a link to a vlog and an explanation of that vlog. 
"My name is Lizzie Bennet, and this is my life."

Honestly, I was skeptical.

I've read Pride and Prejudice five times.
If I was forced to pick a favorite book, that would have to be it.
I've studied, read articles, written papers on this groundbreaking little novel.
There are books we like, books we identify with, and then books that define us.
Austen's masterpiece has run that gammot for me.

So... a modern adaptation? Ok, fine...
A vlog? This might get cheesy reeeeally fast.
I mean how are they going to handle _____ and _____ and ______?
But, on the other hand... wow, that interpretation of Lydia was hilarious - and spot on.

So (my totally awesome, older brother and) I watched all 5 episodes that were then available.
And, as a nerd, I was impressed.
Of course Jane would be a fashion blogger.
Bing Lee. Nice one.
Wow. Lydia is quite... energetic.

And slowly Mondays and Thursdays (and later Tuesdays & Fridays) became a little extra special.
I was working on my honors thesis at the time - which, of course, was on Austen - and after class or homework, I had this 5-minutes of fun waiting for me.

But then it became more than a show.  More than a silly vlog.
I realized I needed Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
A year ago this week, I found out I would not be continuing my studies in English (and specifically of Austen) that fall.  Well, at least, not traditional studies.  In the interim, I've been on a journey through LBD to re-evaluate the power of Austen's characters and narratives.  I had argued for years that Austen was valuable due to the universality of her writing.  LBD took that argument further than any of my papers or class discussions could.  They, quite literally, fleshed out characters that are identifiably Austen, but convincingly 21st century.

The ladies of LBD - you've won a special place in my heart.
The strongest part of this adaptation was its emphasis on the girls' relationships.
Whether it was the fights in "Friends Forever" or "2+1," the comforting in "Snickerdoodles," or the daunting encouragement in "New Jane" - this series showed Lizzie becoming a great friend and sister in a powerful way.  And "An Understanding" reduced me to a puddle of tears, wishing I could just hug my sisters and tell them how much I love them.


These girls.  Wow!
Laura, Ashley, MK - you blew me away.
Thank you for becoming so vulnerable in your portrayal of these characters.
I can only imagine how terrifying it would be to tackle such iconic characters - let alone in an unfamiliar medium.  But you made this show fly!
You gorgeous, ginger trio became such favorites, such dear friends.
Thank you!!

Laura - Everyone deserves tea.
MK - Whaaaaaat.
And Ashley - shut your ugly dump truck face!


Ah!  The rest of this brilliant cast [pictured here, minus the lovely Alison Paige as Gigi Darcy].

You just became major faves!
Except you, Wes.  You've officially been dubbed "Sir Wix the Poopface" and we don't like your selfies on instagram.
Actually, your selfies are ironically hilarious... and I do understand that you're not G-dubs.  But still.

Really though! Every single one of these "starving artists" made this show the best that it could be.
Stand out performances for me?  Maxwell Glick's Collins, Craig Frank's Fitz, and Briana Cuoco's Mary.
Thank you all for your dedicated work!


Ok... the writers!

Kate Noble & Margaret Dunlap - Thank you for your beautifully crafted lines.  This show's dialogue was brilliant.  And the quotes are hilarious!!

Jay Bushman - What you do with transmedia is so inspiring. As in you're challenging some of my life plans.  And the immersiveness of the LBD universe is what made it so powerful!! Thank you also for the episodes you wrote.

Rachel Kiley - Thank you thank you thank you for re-imagining Lydia.  For challenging a perception of her as 2-D and annoying.  She became one of my absolute favorite parts of LBD, and a large part was how you wrote her.

Bernie-trolling-Su!  You are definitely the next Moffat.  And you're brilliant. Thank you for being willing to experiment!  Thank you for willing to push all the limits to tell this powerful story the way it deserved!!

You didn't think I would forget about Darcy, did you??

Of course not!!

Daniel Vincent Gordh,
I'm pretty sure that I, like every girl watching this, was in love with Darcy even before he was mentioned in LBD.  But you took a love for Darcy to a whole other level.  It wasn't your good looks, bow-ties, or even Dizzie Day - though we definitely appreciated those.  You brought something to this character that really moved me.  From shy and awkward to selfless and caring - you rejuvinated the character and made him accessible. 
Dizzie Day did leave me in tears, not just due to excitement and joy, but becaue I found myself once again hopelessly in love with Darcy as a person.  Every girl wants to be loved unexpectedly. Every girl wants someone who will fight for her against all hope. 

Thank you for a Darcy that was so illuminating.

Though I am sad, I'm trying "face contorting" today.

The journey over the past year has been amazing.  I'm so grateful for the both the adaptation and the connection its given me with other people - especially my sisters and close friends.  My sisters actually started reading Pride and Prejudice because of LBD - a feat I could never inspire by myself.  And sharing this journey with these special people is something so precious to me - in fact, "It's super important" ;)

Thank you to Hank Green and Bernie Su for daring to try this.
Thank you to everyone behind the scenes making it happen.
Thanks to each actor/artist involved in Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
I hope the kickstarter reaches a gazillion so you all get amazing bonuses!!

This has been an incredible part of my transition this last year, and the longest I've spent continusouly immersed in any piece of fiction.  I really can't thank all everyone involved enough.

It was so good to see you.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Of course Mumford reads Chesterton

Currently dreaming of [FINALLY] seeing them perform live :)  But for now, I will just appreciate that Marcus Mumford draws inspiration from the best.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I can't tell you how happy I am to be a part of this project.  I've been waiting to support this endeavor monetarily and with just one week left :'( of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries,  I'm so glad to be part of blessing both the creators and a new wave of fans that will be introduced to the project in hindsight.

I have a lot more to say about LBD, but I just want to celebrate this fandom for a moment.
A $60k goal met in 3 HOURS!! We'll have doubled the goal on the first day. 

I'm hoping the literally-starving-artists (I follow them on twitter, I know!) who helped write, perform, produce, do makeup, procure costumes, live-tweeted, and in any other way brought the show to life get big bonuses as just small "Thank you" from the fans.

Thank you Lizzie Bennet Diaries :)

When you least expect it...

So you know those days when you wake up and you're like, "I already concede the day."

Yes... well, this morning was like that.  I woke up a half hour after expected and bolted out of bed.  You know, not like a mental decision to get up, just a muscular reaction to the adreniline of waking up late.  That kind of bolting.  Within a few minutes of fumbling around, it was quite apparent that I was not actually awake, but only in Zombie mode.  So, late as I was, I went back to bed.  I just gave up.

With no time on the clock, I slapped on some makeup, threw my hair into a sub-par top-knot, and jumped into some clothes, including a pair of pants that I seriously reserve for days when no clients are coming in.  And, lucky for me, today was one of those days.  Needless to say - there have been more "instagramable" days in my life.

I zoomed to the park and ride and had to run half-way to the bus.  And no, not the chic New-Yorker dashing for the subway like you see in movies... this was more closer to Eric-Liddell-flailing type running.  I made it to the bus.  Plopped into a seat.  And promptly went to sleep.  Having described my morning thus far, I'll let you decide how graceful I looked while asleep on the bus.  [All I can hope is that my mouth wasn't hanging open]

I finally did wake up - thanks in large part to LBD ep. 98 [we'll talk more about that later] and the new Star Trek Trailer.  The day improved & I kinda pulled it together.

Fast forward to this afternoon. A group of us ladies went across the street to Starbucks. We were chatting while waiting for our drinks at the bar when I noticed this guy staring at me. Then when my friends were pouring cream & sugar I caught this guy staring again. I thought "whoops - you're being too loud again, Samara." But then he broke into the circle of us 5 ladies:

Him: I'm sorry but do you ride the ___ [morning bus route].

Me: Yes I do. Do you take that one too?

H: Not usually, but I did this morning & I saw you.

M: Haha yes.

H: I - I noticed you.

M: [What would Jennifer Lawrence do in this kind of awkward situation? Play it cool, Samara] Oh, we'll I was kind of out of it this morning haha.

H: Yes, you were sleeping. I was just reading but, I saw you... You were stunning.

M: HA HA! [Seriously did I just hear him right?] Well thank you! Yah, I was tired this morning. Hence this [point to my latte]. It keeps me going.

H: Actually alcohol does that for me. Alcohol keeps me up & coffee puts me to sleep.

M: So why are you at Starbucks in the middle of the afternoon? Oh, well thanks again!

H: My name's Matt, by the way [thrusts out his hand]

M: Samara.  Nice to meet you [awkward handshake].  See you around.

And as we left, half of the girls gave in to the giggles they'd been holding that entire conversation!  And then a chorus of comments "He was so sweet!"  "That was so brave."  "That was hilarious!"  "Are you sure you don't want me to go give him your business card?"  Meanwhile I'm like, that just happened :?

As funny and awkward as it was, sometimes you just have to accept the compliment.  And it is so funny to me that of *all* days, it was on a day when I felt blah that a complete stranger told me I was "stunning" (and in a hushed tone I might add). 

As a girl, it's easy to look in the mirror and see teeth that could be whitened, pounds that could be shed, eyebrows that could use an intervention.  But every once in a while the Lord allows an "outside opinion" and it's a great reminder that we are indeed "fearfully and wonderfully and beautifully made."  Sometimes when other people notice that, well, it just makes you grateful.  And for it to happen on a "below average" day - all you can do is laugh :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Props to Fandom

So... one of the best things about being a fangirl is the community of other fan-girls + boys that gather around that piece of art.  With Lizzie Bennet Diaries wrapping up - can you believe it? - a week from tomorrow, I am sad to be losing not only it's new episodes at least twice a week, but also the community that goes with it.  It's been such a joy to watch and then jump on to several different platforms to discuss what we've seen.  There are texts from friends and sisters (both of the biological and "Crawley" variety) and then fan-reactions and fan-sites.  And being that the material is rather nerdy - so are many of its viewers.  

So with fandoms such as the Lizzie Bennet Diaries or Sherlock or whatnot, there are some pretty creative people in those communities.  And today I found one of my favorite "fan-made" pieces yet.  It's a Sherlock parody by the props of Sherlock.  What I believe to be 1, maybe 2 fans, have created twitter accounts personifying different key props in the show - and they are hilarious!!  So far, they've only included the floor, the staircase, the wall, the smiley face, and the skull (who they've named billy, but who I've always thought of as a Yorick ;) but each has quite the personality!

Here are a few examples of prop interactions:

Is it just me or are those hilarious??  

Whichever fan(s) out there made these - thank you!  Made my day :)

You can continue to follow the adventures "Props of Sherlock" here.

Crossing off

is so much better than marking off... 

And today I'm crossing off.
Trying to master my work rather than it mastering me.

Spring, why must you rain on my parade?

Oh, right, I live in Seattle.

Oh well... bringing Spring inside with mint and a new cuff :)

I've been on the look out for the right cuff and finally found it.  Woot!  Loving the chevron cut-outs!

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 18, 2013

#SherlockS3 #cubicleparty

****Nerdy Fangirl Warning****

It's been 1 year, 2 months, and 3 days since The Fall.
And today it finally happened:

Yes.  It'll probably be another year before we get Season 3, Episode 1 "The Empty Hearse."  But, as of today, it is officially on it's way.

And that meant today was a cause for celebrating!
So today was my first ever "Cubicle Party" - and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to do it again. 
There were already about 5 other "fans" in the office (I told one friend that on a scale of 0 to clinical, they counted as positively infected).  So today was both a celebration with those fans, and a marketing push to infect introduce Sherlock to more people.  And I think it was successful because several people said they'd be checking it out :)

Alright, a run-down on the cubicle-party-components:
[I started building the "shrine" last Friday with printed pictures on the left (gift from co-worker),  Last April's Radio Times with you-know-who on the cover (gift from Lois in London), pictures I took last spring of Sherlockian chalk-art at UW, and Volumes I and II of the The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes.]

[A few details - including a parody of the telegram / text Sherlock sends John: "Baker Stree. Come at once if convenient... if inconvenient come anyway."]

[Deerstalker (aka - death frisbee), eye-glass, pipe, Sherlock Holmes V. I + II, and books published circa Sherlock's era]

[Benedict Cumberbatch & Martin Freeman
Sherlock Holmes & John Watson
Smaug & Bilbo
...can these two just please keep making art together?]

[Sherlockian Donuts (via Top Pot):
A 3 patch problem: maple bar
The Riding Crop: chocolate bar
Invisible Ink: lemon filled
A Scandal in Belgravia: bavarian creme filled
Irene: raspberry filled
Molly - raspberry glazed
M (for Moriarty): old fashioned chocolate glazed
1895 - old fashioned
On the side of the Angels: powdered
A Study in Pink: pink frosted cake
The Fall: double trouble chocolate cake]

More symbolic donut shots:

Each of the donuts have significance to one degree or another... so ask if you're wondering :)

[Houndstooth Dress]

[popped collar]

And finally, some fandom fun:

[From one of the guys I've recently got hooked on this show]

[Ok... maybe I'm not that bad.  Maybe.]

Happy filming, Sherlock!!
We've become "the Fandom that Waited" - and wait we shall... but not without unbridled excitement, intermittent squealing, and occasional cubicle parties :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

B+W Love

There is just something about black and white.

I think it automatically appears to us as art because, while we see in color, someone or thing has been cast in a black and white re-presentation of themselves.  It's mimetic while remaining boldly artistic.  Or in the words of our beloved, bow-tied Nerd-man: "the obviously constructed nature of the scene would by its own artificiality, create it’s own sense of... verisimilitude."  It is real, but at the same time it is unafraid to be art.

But I may be reading into this too much :)

I've been watching a lot of B + W films lately and have been impressed with shots from them - especially behind-the-scenes - but also of more recent shots in B + W.  Here are a few faves:

[Marlon Brando in his Academy Award winning performance of Terry Malloy - On the Waterfront]

[Because just wow!]

[Oh and he had a kitty]
[Walt Disney and Shirley Temple presenting at the 1939 Oscars]

[Adorable Audrey]

[Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard filming Breakfast at Tiffany's]

[These three!!  PS - I love Harrison's hipster glasses! Via]

And in honor of the new season they're about to start shooting, in B + W, the gents of Sherlock:

[Thanks to the dear friend who forwarded this along to me ;) ]

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day

A few quotes from some favorite ladies in celebration of International Women's Day -

"I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives." - Jane Austen

"A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment..." - Jane Austen - cheeky, but true ;)

“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” - Virginia Woolf

"Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us.” - Virginia Woolf

"Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.” - Charlotte Bronte
      And there are so many more... but I am off to lunch.  Happy International Women's Day!! :)

"A response from the author..."

I'll gladly admit yesterday's #refusetobeacog post was a bit ranty - I probably should have closed with a quote from Ecclesiastes or something.  I'll also admit that yesterday I was restless, frustrated, and emotional (which contributes to the state of mind most conducive to writing).

But thank you to those who have inspired and supported the challenging of the status quo. I've been reading responses to this post for a day now - both here, on facebook, via email and texts, and even a friend's response on her blog.  I've mulled over these and I've slept on it.

I see that it's not capitalism that I take issue with - well, not just capitalism.  I still see issues with capitalism and whole heartedly believe that there is a more Kingdom, more personable system of economics just waiting to be discovered.  "Creation yearns in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed..." - Romans 8.19.  And I'm yearning too.

But I see that I equally take issue with the mediocrity and materialism people settle for when they forget or ignore that they were made in the likeness of their Deity-Creator. The translation of that oft-quoted verse from Romans in the Message reads:
The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead.  Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens...
Annnd I'm back to the title of my blog - wait AND hope.  Don't just wait for things to change, allow the "joyful anticipation" to deepen while you challenge the status quo and ask tough questions.  But also, let the passion for change fuel the determination to do whatever you can - big or small - to change your piece of the world... starting with your mindset.  Yesterday, via Braden [which could now be via-via-via :) ], I read this quote from Graham Cook:
To say YES to Jesus we must also say no to something else. A YES is always accompanied by a no. To be a world class musician, athlete, or actor, it means you have to know what your distractions are going to be and have a plan to overcome them.

We have to affirm the need for personal discipline and develop a desire for it. We have to endure hardness, learn to persist when people around us want to give up, and cultivate perseverance as a way of life. Some people call it obsession because it suits their own purpose. It's PASSION - an intense enthusiasm for something, and it requires disciplined pursuit and a focus of intention that mediocre people never attain.
We don't have to settle.  We don't have to accept the status quo.  We don't have to embrace mediocrity.    But it depends on what we see.  What do you see?        
* * * * * * *   And to those who have encouraged my writing - thank you!  I have always placed myself on the reader side of the reader / writer dichotomy.  But when it comes to things I'm super frustrated by or super excited about, I must write or blow a fuse.  It's the discipline of writing I'm no good at.  But even that has been changing lately.  So, thank you for the encouragement and I can only hope you feel encouraged too.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I have to admit that there are times when I think there might have been something to Marx's critique of the way our economy is set up.

I think about it when I wait in line at 7.34 am to get on the bus with a whole line of people.  Everyone seriously stands in a line as if they were about to be reprimanded by their kindergarten teacher.  Or maybe they do it for a reason worse than social reprimand, maybe they do it because it's easier.

And the whole scene reminds me of the issues with capitalism.  The bus-lady cog picks up the line of other cogs to take them off to the factories to make widgets.  But before that, we sit in a line on 405 with all the other coggy-cogs heading off too.  And some cogs are more important than others, but a lot of cogs just seem interchangeable.

I think about it on days (like today) when I feel like saying, "You seriously expect me to reply to emails and put a smile on and update the schedule and create another excel spreadsheet and make copies and just go about business when I should really be a. under my desk crying or b. at a therapists?" 

I think about this whole 8 - 5 thing.  We spend - at a minimum! - 40 of 168 hours per week (only 167 this week - thanks a lot Ben Franklin!) working to pay for the rest of it.  That's 24%!! An approximate 29% is then spent on sleeping.  So once you add the "time to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet"* and the commute... we get to spend about 40% of our time on life. Real life.  And that's when capitalism does feel like a contract saying "I will be your cog for a quarter of my life so that you can give me paper that I can then trade to fulfill my needs."  [Josiah, if you're reading this right now, you probably hate me... Sorry.]

Then we went and made the whole thing worse.  Someone had the brilliant idea to make a machine to make the work faster.  Let's build a computer.  First binary computer - 1936. Fabulous. Then in 1982 - the world wide web.  Why web? Something a spider uses to catch its prey.  The Internet with a capital I (until Apple made it lower case).  Great - we can email.  Do away away with memos.  And, they seriously thought, people will spend less time working.  Perfect.
But then it got really messed up when someone thought - lets make it portable. So circa the year of my birth we got "lap-tops." But they wouldn't stop there.  Now, 2013, you're expected to put Outlook on your iPhone and you get to never really stop working.  [Ugh... now my secret luddite sympathies are coming out too.] 

I say all of that to intentionally mis-quote Churchill -
[Capitalism] is the worst form of [economy] - except for all those other forms that have been tried.**
Sorry for the rant... I'm getting "back to work" now.  But I can't wait for an economic revolution. Even if it was just a group that would stand for Monday - Thursday 10 hour days with a 3-day weekend.  Even if it was startup who's motto was "we're artists, not cogs."  Even if it was a group who danced to Billie Holiday while waiting for the bus.  Life is too short to accept the monotony!  It's too precious to spend it as a coggy-cog!!  God made us for more than settling a paycheck so we can accumulate more stuff that will tie us down to a system we never agreed to.

Join me in the revolution!  #refusetobeacog

*taken from TS Eliot's "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" - which is a stunning piece on the "cog-ness" of modernism
**Originally "Democracy is the worst form of government  - except for all those other forms that have been tried."
Still slowly recoverring from being sick.  Last week Bob was calling me "Typhoid Samara" and I had lots of people telling me I looked "tired" or "not so well" [read: awful].  But this week my energy is up and the tissue consumption is down, but the best sign of recovery came just now in the form of a compliment from Bob:
Well, you look better...  I knew you were too young to die.  You know, you don't want to become one of those tragic figures in a Victorian novel.
Thank you, Bob, you just articulated one of my life goals :)

Still silently cracking up at my desk

Monday, March 4, 2013

Of Tangled and Typology :)

This weekend I had one of those great "Wow!  Not everyone thinks everyone thinks the same way I do (thank God!)" moments. 

I was at my sister's watching Tangled with my neice and nephew. We were watching the scene at the end [er...Spoilers?] and I exclaimed how much I love this film.  My sister asked why.  I rambled off a few things quickly:

- Mother Gothel's mirror breaks - a symbol of the shattering of the power of vanity [very much a Mirror Mirror relationship going on here... interesting since Snow White was Disney's 1st feature film and Tangled was it's 50th :]
- Flynn chooses to save Rapunzel rather than himself - amazing!
- The shards from that mirror would prove the very weapon Flynn would need to free Rapunzel and defeat Mother Gothel.

- There's a brief, but powerful shot of the rapidly aging Mother Gothel looking in the broken mirror - representing her fractured psyche [unfotunately, I couldn't find a picture of that shot]
- Pascal uses Rapunzel's hair (of all things) to trip Mother Gothel and she falls out the window to her death.

- Then of course we get the touching death of Flynn Rider - and even though you know Disney is going to bring him back to life, giving Rapunzel a haircut and killing off the "prince charming" in the same scene automatically qualifies it for "Most Unpredictable Disney Clip" - if not entire movie!

- And in one final, gorgeous shot before the resurrection a la Beauty and the Beast... we get this: the shattered mirror and shattered dreams - the (seeming) finality of death - bathed in rays of light.  And the Sun has not lost it's healing power after all.

So anyway... I rambled off most of those thoughts about the power of imagery very quickly, until my sister said, "Stop it, you're hurting my brain!"  After laughter and a "Wait - really?" - I had that wonderful shock to the system that, yes, I am odd.  And maybe people who are not constantly reading into things have a less stressful life.  Maybe they actually get more out of it!!

But its actually come at a wonderful time.  I've been learning so much about people lately - about our differences. We took the Meyers Briggs / Jungian Typology test at work [seriously, take it if you haven't and then visit the personality pages to get a scarily accurate description of your Type].  There are 16 different types of personalities according that test.  I'm also reading the 5 love languages.  I've had some really eye-opening experiences with family members and friends and co-workers. 

And I'm becoming aware again of the variety that exists in the human race - and that ALL of it is a reflection of who God is.

Some of you may just get this easier than I do.  But I've seriously been amazed listening to people who think in an entirely different way - not just from a different point of view, but an entirely other grid. Yet that grid is as much in the image of God as any other - even when they seem contrary.  And when I say "grid," I'm not talking about worldview as much as I'm talking about the personality and perspective each of us was born with.  Obviously each personality has its strengths and weaknesses... but there is something God just LOVES about each of them.  He's put a piece of himself in introverts and extroverts, in people who see black & white and those who see color, in the nerds and the free spirits.  They all reflect who He is!  And that's incredible!!

So even when you get bugged or someone doesn't understand you - take a moment to enjoy the variety in other people and to discover an aspect of God's character that you might not have seen or appreciated before!