Sunday, December 28, 2014

Finally watched To Kill a Mockingbird this weekend... some 10 years after reading the novel for the first time (my review here).  It was astonishingly beautiful!  But I most wanted to share this exquisite opening:

The music, the creative shots, the panning, the san-serif block titles... the whole thing strikes me as incredible for 1962!  I feel like Wes Anderson must have been very inspired by this opening--kinda makes me wish he'd do a black and white film.  Anyway, I thought I would just share that one with you.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Seattle Day

I'm on break, but my boyfriend has to hour and a half away.  So today, when I wanted to visit downtown Seattle, I decided to "take him along" by sending him pics of all the different steps of my adventure - including some of my favorite places.

Step one: Mercury's chai. Always

[Hello, my old frenemy]

Ok, so this is where I got off, but it is also pretty significant for our relationship.  The day I met my boyfriend, he offered to walk me to the bus. It was raining slightly, we got to this covered gate area and stood talking for quite a while about arts and faith.  I watched my bus come, I watched my bus go, I kept talking to this cute boy I had just met.  At one point in the conversation, he leaned against the gate, not realizing it isn't secured, and totally got off balance.  And I took it as a bit of a sign that, as I hoped, this fella may like me.  Turns out...he did :)

The room where we met!

Then I visited the Sheraton's famous Gingerbread Village.  Here was an incredible Seattle replica, complete with a motorized Great Wheel.

Here's another, I loved the Seahawk Crane with a 12th Man Flag, Mrs. Seahawk, and Hawk's nest.

Another had this ode to Up :')

"Typical Tourist" moment

The back side of the Market

And the wheel we took on our first date...

I can't visit the market without a stop to Le Panier

Cafe time calls for a journal moment

And then, after a secret little stop, it was time for a visit to the impressive Seattle Public Library.

Just a few different angles of the library.

I brought my current read...

One more angle from outside...

And then it was back home.
I've missed Seattle, and it was lovely to reconnect with some familiar spots.
Next time, I hope to get some more exploring in to discover new ones.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Grad School: Term 1 of 6

Orientation Week, before the term:

Last week of the term:

I survived my first term of grad work and you guys... I love school!
Teaching is a lot of work, but has been very rewarding thus far. 
I've produced two essays on adaptation that I am proud of,
and that my professors have encouraged me in pursuing further.
I've said this before, but... grad school is hard.
But if I'm going to do something hard, I want it to be what I love.
And I really love school.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Guys! Guys!  Today I got to present my paper on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and it went reeeally well!  My professor said the paper it was based on was "compelling" and I got to have discussion about the form of new media adaptations--"So...the characters can tweet at you?"--and it was amazing!  Also, I had been planning to expand this project into my MA Thesis (a 60 page, 3-chapter document due April 2016) and today my professor told me, "Yah, I think you really should."  I just had to note this small victory.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Samara from one year ago,

Keep. going!  Your crazy idea is just crazy enough to be "compelling"!  I know it seems--especially in the coming weeks--that grad school is unattainable and that you'll never be allowed back in that world.  I know that you're going to go to bed exhausted, bleary-eyed and emotional far too many times.  I know that the future seems very dark--that you'll be waiting eternally and that what you've hoped for will never happen.  But have faith and take courage, because your hard work will open doors and your faith will be answered.

I know that even now you are considering giving up on OSU--it's the most expensive choice and has the earliest application date.  But thank you for not giving up on it, because God knew this interdisciplinary school was exactly where you needed to be.  I know that you are going to hear voices--both in your head and from other people--that this idea isn't "academic enough" and that you just don't have it together.  But by immense grace and running hard after a dream, somehow it does come together.  So don't give up.

As for me, I have to get back to this other crazy paper on Heart of Darkness, Impressionism, and the Lost World (I'm on page 13 of 20 - woohoo!).  But keep your chin up, "When the sun shines, it'll shine out the clearer." :)

Samara Surface
Graduate Teaching Associate
MA Candidate - Literature and Culture
School of Writing, Literature, and Film
Oregon State University

Sunday, December 7, 2014

First Lines: 2014

Here's my 2nd-annual "first lines" round up from the past year.

2014 - Page 1 of 365. 
It's been almost two weeks since my last post. 
It is late, dark, wet and I'm trying to get home as fast as possible. 
A week ago Sunday I got to go to Seattle's biggest Con and it was loads of fun!
[Oh!  Little did I know...]  
Anyone who chats to me long enough is bound to discover I love adaptations.  
And here we have Emma Stone displaying how adulthood feels quite succinctly. 
My favorite of all Shakespeare comedies is Much Ado about Nothing. 
I'm excited to share a little project I've been working on for the past week. 
This place doesn’t smell like home.  
Last October, I participated in an October blog challenge called "31 Days." 
You are one of my heroes
This day and every day
but especially today. 
If you're looking for me this week, I'll be paper writing next to this crackling fire...
It's so fun looking back at just snippets of the past year and yet still being able to piece that year's identity together.  And this year... this year has been a good year.
"I'm having an emotional response to art!  
Is that normal?"
- Tom Haverford 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ethical Gift-Giving - How to shop smart!

"Every day, the dollars we spend are a vote for the kind of world that we want."

Last year I did a sort of shopping guide for bibliophiles.  This year, I wanted to do one on ethical gift-giving, but did not get to it before Black Friday.  And then I came across Relevant's version and thought I would share it here.  

Shopping ethically can seem so complicated--like, does this mean I have to make soap from scratch and only wear hippie-styled, fair trade ponchos?  But I've decided to educate myself and incrementally adjust my shopping habits.  But the best thing anyone can do is simply start educating themselves.  Contrary to my initial assumption, it doesn't even necessarily cost more.  

So if you care about what your money is voting for, I'd encourage you to explore some of the resources Relevant suggests.  Get gifts for the people you love with the knowledge you're not hurting anyone else or this planet.

And Happy Advent!

* * * * * * * * * * 

Just an update that if a quality, new bag is on the list of someone you might know (or yourself), I just happened upon this pretty cool company called better life bags.  You can check out their awesome mission here.

* * * * * * * * * *

Second update that I just made a new pinterest board for this because I keep finding fun new companies that give back.  If you'd be interested in contributing to that board, let me know!  Cheers!

Monday, December 1, 2014

If you're looking for me this week, I'll be paper writing next to this crackling fire...

This is our common room.  They've decorated it up for the holidays and someone stokes the fire every hour or so.  It's marvelous!

As for the papers themselves, I'm working on a 10-page piece that is half-review of theories of adaptation and half-application to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  Then I have a 20-page piece for next week looking at the use of impressionism in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now--also using adaptation theories.   Those are the biggies between now and break.  Wish me luck!

And, finally, Happy Advent!


Update: Just submitted the first paper of my grad school career!
Also, who ever decided the term for "approaching something as a whole" should be "holistic" rather than "wholistic"?  Lame.