• Culture and Entertainment

    Happy Things to Start the New Year

    Good news to focus on for a change:

    15 Good News Trends Reductions in polio, TB, and malaria, the top 3 I think most serious situations in diseases in recent decades (cholera is probably up there too though). I believe polio is slated to be the 2nd permanently eradicated disease ever.

    Inspiration and beautiful nature:

    This gorgeously shot Darling Desi video. Where she lives is so stunning (I think it’s Utah, I think that was on one of the videos).

    And of course, some humor:

    Of course we have to have 16 Personalities Reviewing 2020. I’m INTJ, ISTP, ENTP with a touch in INTP here. ENTJ has a point about elbow bumping, too close, also, I’ve always hated hand shakes. How about, and this was pre-2020, hi and don’t touch me and stay out of my personal space which is a 6+ foot radius for strangers?!

    And how about some major throwback to actors before they were famous and/or (not as famous) their breakout roles. There are some hilarious photos in there.

    Trey’s Kennedy’s Newlyweds

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Attitudes Toward War Exemplified in Friendly Persuasion

    Earlier this years, something in the Speaking with Joy Chesterton episode with Boze Herrington triggered me to think about the topics pacifism/just war/protection in Friendly Persuasion (I love this film, it is so sweet and homey and unexpectedly deep) with actors Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire, and Anthony Perkins. It centers around a Quaker family in Southern Indiana during the Civil War. It is not mainly a war film, but the war is significant because of the call of volunteers and the ravaging Rebels coming over from Kentucky combined with the Quaker stance of pacifism. In thinking over this issue, I realized you could really see many different views towards war in the film.

    • Militant pacifism in the mother. She is self-righteous and unrelenting in her total pacifism and her judgement towards those who think differently, even in the face of her son trying to fit his conscience to a nation at odds with itself and his conscience. She doesn’t exactly relent, but I think she soften towards others some.

    • Gracious pacifism in the father. He is steadfast in her total pacifism but understands that others do not feel the same, like his farm laborer who is a former slave, and his son, who he understands is wrestling with various commands in the Bible and his conscience and the state of his nation.

    • Conflicted pacifism in Josh (I’m started to sometimes swing closer towards here, not here, but close; however, like with many things I’m a pendulum) (also, I looooove Josh). He knows and respects his parents beliefs and has made some of them his own, he seems to definitely prefer pacifism and peace, and he doesn’t want to kill or have hate in his heart, but he doesn’t think that watching innocent people get killed is right either.

    • Traditional honorable just war view held graciously by Guard (where I traditionally fall) (also, I looooove Guard). To Guard, it is simple the war is just, the Rebels are wrong, he sees it as his duty to fight and lead and does so honorably. He goes away to war, he leads the ragtaggle group of farmers protecting the farms against raiders, he swiftly calls to order the person who gives out the Rebel yell who is spoiling for war and who jeopardizes their position by the noise and scaring the other volunteers with the yell. He doesn’t shame the Quakers for thinking differently from him. I don’t feel he pushes Josh anymore than Josh’s father does, and certainly less than Josh’s mother.

    • Selfish Hypocrite in the Quaker Purdy who claims pacifism when it benefits him and revengeful violence when it benefits him.

    • Warmonger in the Rebs ravaging the country-side as well as the farmer volunteer who gave out Rebel yell.

    All of this is portrayed so well. Any preaching is real preaching in the story, not preaching from the script to the film watchers. The thoughts and discussions and dilemmas feel real and intense. And this isn’t even the only theme of the story. Oh, this is SUCH a good movie.

  • Daily Life

    Productivity: Use Your Calendars

    I was listening to one of the earlier episodes of Not Overthinking where Ali mentions knowledge exposure and how for him and many others certain things seem obvious, but some people haven’t heard or don’t think about them. One of his examples was Thomas Frank’s productivity course which was based on this process and one of the examples was using a calendar.

    This reminded me how I really don’t use mine and also highlighted the ridiculousness of my not having phone and laptop calendar synced (I’m not an Apple user at all currently, and I never had only Apple products with the calendars and such automatically synced). I also, in the middle of our densest birthday month, realized I really need to put all birthdays and anniversary dates in my calendar.

    I used this tutorial to get my Google Calendar in my Outlook calendar.

    I used this tutorial to get my Outlook calendar in my Google calendar.

    I then had to check the calendar box in my Google calendar on my phone so that the Outlook items showed up. Once everything synced, I think put all my family birthdays and anniversaries along with the year of birth/marriage in with an annually recurring event. How simple and smooth. And I don’t have to ask stupid questions about dates I should have memorized.

    I wrote this months ago, I’ve not done a very good job at looking at my calendar with any regularity. I still rely a lot on my memory. I need to work on this in the new year. Its usually around this time that I start making New Year Plans, actually often earlier.

  • Learning and Exploring

    Christmas History

    I tried to research Christmas history a few years ago, I read some books as part of A Literary Christmas. I basically held a vague understanding that early Christian married pagan elements (some Roman, some “barbarian”) to Christian concepts. But modern Christmas is modern Christmas with significant points (the tree, Santa Claus) brought from Germany in the Victorian period to America (Christmas wasn’t that significant until recently as a huge day unto itself although perhaps Advent season was in some traditions, early, strictly Protestant Americans didn’t celebrate it). I think that my slapdash research then rather matches both the actual history of Christmas and the way it is put together, a patchwork of various traditions put together in various ways over its history.

    And yes, I’m going to be one of those, “but ackshully” people, but I hope I don’t follow the spirit of them. I don’t intend to follow the killjoy spirit, just generally being a history, humanities, and myth nerd.

    I don’t think we are ever going to have a very clear history of Christmas. I’ve come across misinformation and confusion on Christmas history. Be wary of anything that speaks too definitively, actually be wary, there is a weird resurgence in ancient paganism generally that I think wants to rewrite things or blur the truth, particularly about the darkness of these religions and about the accuracy of our knowledge, these are ancient, ancient things, our knowledge is at best vague. I’m going to be sticking to Britannica mainly with some dictionary definitions.

    Advent. This seems to be the earliest Christian conception of Christmas, but it is far more religious and with less of an emphasis on one day.

    December 25th. Per Britannica: this is the date of a Roman holiday (dies solis invicti nati) about the rebirth of the sun which, in one view Christians then connected with the rebirth of the Son. Another view ties the conception of Christmas with the Spring Equinox which timeline puts Jesus birth at Christmas.
    Modern Holiday. Britannica again confirms the German origin of some significant modern Christmas concepts as well as the fact that the Puritans didn’t like Christmas.
    Saturnalia. This is the Roman holiday of the Winter solstice that I think most people with any conception of an understanding of Christmas use to point out the pagan origins of Christmas, that all we did was Christianize it. I think that is too simplistic, especially since Christmas wasn’t that big of a conception really until fairly recently. Clearly the dates are what we did directly take. However, it certainly seems to be a far more like Saturnalia now, at least New Years is. Such days as the first of the year are always going to have an ancient pagan emphasis.
    Yule is the Germanic celebration of the Winter solstice. Britannic didn’t have a separate entry for Yule while googling it brings up tons of articles. I think this is a subject where modern imagination takes a very little source or historical knowledge and runs wild.
    St. Nicholas is the origin of Santa Claus (North-Western Europe and American via the same) and Father Christmas (UK, I think I prefer Father Christmas, maybe because it is less familiar, I just don’t care for Santa or at least how we have him) and Père Noël in France. He is an actual early Christian saint, I’m not sure I knew that or I’d forgotten, we don’t have documentation, just Christian canon tradition, but it seems like it is fairly believable tradition? Obviously, tons of mythic traditions have been added on and then those myths were revived more recently to morph into Father Christmas and Santa Claus.
    Christmas Tree. While trees did have significance in Yule in Germany, apparently that is not the source for the modern Christmas tree, which yes, did come from Germany. It originated in an Advent play.
    Mistletoe. I don’t know how this transforms from having to do with Druid sacrifice (potentially human! although this isn’t mentioned in the Britannica article, I think it was in the Celtic book I just read, but again, tread carefully this is ancient) to kissing at Christmas.
    Wassail. Basically originally an Old Norse toast that turned into an English drink.
    Christmas carols and songs deserve a whole post. We shall see if I get to that in this 12 Days of Christmas or not. I read a book about some of the carols and songs, but I know that the story told for the 12 Days of Christmas song is inaccurate, so I will have to spend more time carefully researching songs. I am more interested in getting to a post about the different tunes between the UK and US for different carols.
    Failure in research: “Happy Christmas” for the Brits vs “Merry Christmas” US. In U.S. there is a sort of, I don’t know, phony debate over “Happy Holidays” vs “Merry Christmas.” Why not both, its a huge extended holiday season anyway? I’m not going to get into that.* What I wanted to know was why the Brits say “Happy Christmas” while we say “Merry Christmas.” I first learned of this, I think in, wait for it, Harry Potter. I thought I remembered reading something about Queen Victoria and snobs preferring “happy” because “merry” was plebian or something, but I can’t find any source I’m happy with (and the stupid debate above mentioned drowns everything out). What I could gather is that the word “merry” had different connotations, like, um drunkenness, and that possibly snobs preferred “happy.” I found a blog post, but I would prefer a more creditable source. I’ve given up sorting through the absurdity, maybe I will tackle this next year better. Anyway “happy” nowadays is about as specific and useful as “nice” in my opinion while “merry” feels specific, jolly and a bit mischievous.
    To sum up. First of all, wow, this took longer than I meant. Anyway, I don’t like fossilizing things the “well, ackshully” way, nothing new gets created plus I have no personal connotation of the pagan (no one does!) or Advent aspects anyway. I like the patchwork history. Pick the traditions or “traditions” you like, make up new ones, take pagan, Christian, whatever you like, change what you like, just don’t create a false history!
    Sources:
    *Actually (ackshully) I am, if you take offense at “Merry Christmas” would you like to go to Hell? Hades? Sheol? Gehenna? Jahannam?
    . . . I, at least, find myself funny. I got a little tired of sorting through those stupid articles.
  • Handicrafts

    DIY Christmas Inspiration Videos

    3 DIY Christmas Ornaments Inspired by Anthropologie. I’m determined to make those gold temporary tattoo ones with those exact ones from Rifle Paper co and their peacock ones. I almost got them this year, but mistakes and budget happened, maybe I can get them soon for next year. I did get tiny glass ornaments for this, and they look lovely, like little bubbles just hanging on my tree. I will do my little tea set that I bought last year for the tea cup ornament. And I’d like to do the globe as well maybe in a different color scheme, silver and teal maybe.

    DIY Cozy Christmas Decor: Ornaments, DIY Stocking, & Village. I might have to do some of these next year too. I usually just love about anything she does, we have similar tastes. I am hoping to do a lot more DIY next year when I will be in my own place and have more room and less fear of disaster with pets and people.

    DIY Hand Painted Christmas Tree Ornaments. I think I want to see if I can make a few of these as gifts if I can find some at the dollar store or Walmart maybe, I know we have acrylic paint in the house somewhere I think. I especially love the beige and white.

    3 SIMPLE last-minute gift wrapping ideas that also act as gifts!  I love gift basket type of gifts, it feels like opening a treasure chest, I thought this one was especially unique. I think I might have to make those little hats for gifts.

    Cinnamon ornaments. I’m also planning on doing these this week. I had a fail with the orange garlands this year. I’m hoping I will be more patient and careful with these.

  • Daily Life

    Christmas Countdown Activities 2020: Week 2

    Sunday, December 6
    • Started decorating my tree and room.
    • Pinterest failed on the orange slice garland.
    Monday, December 7
    • Listened to Bing Crosby’s Christmas on the way to work.
    • Watched Hallmark’s A Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas.
    Tuesday, December 8
    • Started rewatching Hallmark’s With Love, Christmas.
    • Finished cleaning and decorating my room.
    Wednesday, December 9
    • Listened to some Christmas songs. Not really in the mood for that. Just needed something Christmassy for the day.
    Thursday, December 10
    • Listened to some Christmas music.
    • Watched Hallmark’s USS Christmas.
    • Rewatched a Hallmark fav, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
    Friday, December 11
    • Listened to some carols. A bit of the struggle during the week to do Christmas stuff if we don’t watch a Hallmark. I’m looking forward to getting my Christmas books from the library.
    Saturday, December 12
    • We did our family gingerbread decorating via Facebook messenger. I’m going to attempt to build mine today (I’m finishing the post Sunday the 13th). We’ll see, its a bit fragile.
    • Watched Hallmark’s A Little Christmas Charm.
    • Finished rewatching Hallmark’s With Love, Christmas.
    • Watched Hallmark’s Christmas Ring.

     

  • Reading

    Coriolanus: Play and Performance Review

    So, this is very late. I’d definitely skimmed or read the story version of this play as well. I wrote my notes as remarks, so I’m going to have to pull my brief reviews from these somewhat cryptic responses.

    Ugh. There is a reason this one is not one of Shakespeare’s super popular plays. Coriolanus is arrogant, but its not played interestingly. And there are parts where he lies and flatters the people to obtain power I think, I preferred his open contempt. There isn’t much humor period.

    And all things above, HIS MOTHER! Who can respect a man with a mother like that-she unmans him no matter what he does? Everyone is awful, but Mummy and the tribunes are the worst.

    Ok, such was reading the play. Now for the Donmar Playhouse performance. I’d seen almost all the main actors is very different things and some of those roles were ludicrously different (while fitting the actors far better than the ones in this play) for example one tribune is Aunt Marge from Harry Potter and Volumnia is the silly Miss Phoebe Browning.

    This play did great at showing how his relationship with his domineering mother pushed contrasted with his relationship with his weak wife.

    I at least first thought that Tom Hiddleston played Coriolanus less hateful and arrogant and more honest and maybe he was playing Coriolanus somewhat self-deprecatingly, as having as sense of humor? I also thought he made Coriolanus more dignified (or tried), but he could not fully be so because I felt that I could see the flattery and sycophancy from everyone highlighted so much in the performance, and I was heartily sick of hearing of his wounds.

    I didn’t care for the odd mixture of modern, and modern with historically inspired elements, AT ALL. I don’t think it was creative, I thought it reminded me of a small town community, high school theater that doesn’t have enough money. I found it distracting, and his wife is made to look even sillier with her entirely modern outfit (which granted might be a point but could have been made more creatively). Also, this is a very Roman play, some plays are more timeless and better lent to modernization or modern vs classic juxtaposition, for example, Romeo and Juliet. Coriolanus loses impact when this was done to it.

    I felt that the flattery (oh, it was constant!) highlighted the relationship boundaries crossed, especially the mother-son boundary that Volumnia doesn’t appear to think exists. So the flattery is creeping and the relationships are all creepy (they added another relationship boundary busting bit between the tribunes). And then play takes these things further with T. Aufidius and grossed me out and made Coriolanus looks absolutely ludicrous. I think also that this was one way to make the play have more humor but it wasn’t clever, didn’t fit, and all attempts at humor felt forced. So I quite watching.

    Again, I need to stop having high expectations, that guarantees that they will be dashed down.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    Laughter: Screen Rant Pitch Meetings

    Y’all, after I schedule this, I will have under 30 drafts! I started out with over 80!

    So, this channel has over 7 million, but I only this year discovered this hilarious series.

    Mulan. The part about “removing all the fun stuff,” yeah, that was basically my view of Mulan. I thought it at least was supposed to based on history, and more culturally accurate, HA, apparently there are also videos critiquing that. Yeah, I decided not to waste my time, I don’t like the animated except for the fun stuff which they disappeared, I saw bit while I was eating and my sisters were watching, but yeah, I’ll pass.

    Hunger Games.

    “Well there is not really any food in the district, so by the way the actors are gonna have to look skinny and malnourished, and well, hungry.”
    “Okay, would you settle for having beautiful, well-fed actors that are in terrific shape?”

    Harry Potter.

    “Voldemort’s going to plan something evil every year, in the spring.”
    “Nice of him to keep the school schedule like that.”

    “I’ll be honest, that plan sounds super inconvenient  . . . seems like there would be an easier way to get that done especially with magic being a thing.”
    “Yeah, well that’s going to kind of be a theme in these movies . . . well, we’re gonna establish some magical things that would solve a lot of problems but then the character aren’t going to use them.” Bahahahaha!

    Beauty and the Beast. The servants getting a worse punishment than the prince . . . Also. This:

    “This all takes place in provincial France, so you’re going to have to find a bunch of you know British actors.”
    “Don’t you need them to French accents, cause I can get French actors?”
    “No, they should be British and speak with British accents. They can also be American, but they have to speak with British accents.”

    This logic brings the Scarlet Pimpernel to mind . . .

  • Culture and Entertainment

    So, Like, Why Do I Like, Use “Like” All the Time?

    When and why did we Americans, particularly American young women start using “like” as filler or whatever we are using it for?

    I mean like I can’t even discuss this point with my family without saying it like a million times, and I’m homeschooled, I was wondering, like, where or why did I, like, pick it up? I picked it up when I was still mostly around other homeschooled people, and none of our parents talk like that.

    I don’t use, “um” except for emphasis, I don’t believe. I know I use “like” instead of “said,” so like “he was like” because I’m not directly quoting and saying “he said something like” or “he said something to the effect of” is so tediously long. There has got to be something in the middle of valley girl and pretentious prick.

    I also use it instead of “for example.” Even when I don’t need to, see above “I mean like . . .”

    The strange thing is, I don’t write like this or at least to the extreme that I talk like this (this is proper usage, but oh, my stars, I’m annoying myself), except, obviously when I’m trying to imitate myself and make a point about this.

    It’s not the word itself, its the sheer number of times I can manage to say it in one thought.

    I literally (oh, goody, another over/misused word of mine) searched this. I found this article with the various usages of “like.”

     Why Do People Say Like So Much?

    Per this article there are about 3-4 ways to use “like” informally, not quite grammatically. And I use them all. I think lots of us do in addition to the proper usage, and that is how we end up with the “like” overload.

    Quotative “like.” This is the one I’d like a good switch for, but the article didn’t give one. I’m not going to simply use “said” when I can’t recall the words. And as the article points out, it covers more than speech, also reaction, now, I can switch that to “I felt like” or “I felt [emotion]” when referencing myself, but I can’t do that when talking about other people.

    Approximate adverb “like.” I think I probably do use “like” in speech perhaps more than “about.” And that is an easy, one word switch.

    “Like” as a discourse marker and “like” as a discourse particle. This is pure filler usage. This would require pausing, thinking, slowing down.

    I don’t think the “for example” usage of “like” falls into any of these usages. In any case, it’s pretty easy to say “for example” if needed or eliminate it if unnecessary.

    The last three just require slowing down and thinking. Quotative usage on the other hand . . . as I mentioned (oh, “as” instead of “like”!) is trickier. Using “like” generally can be very defensive. And if I just said “she said” followed by an inexact quote which then gets challenged . . .! I guess that is why “she said something to the effect of” sounds bad too, its long and very defensive.

    I looked up how to stop using “like” so much, but I didn’t get a satisfactory response to this usage. People, if it was merely switching to “said” it wouldn’t be that complicated, and we wouldn’t be asking.

    Oh, and lots of the articles I looked up featured a photo of Cher from Clueless. The why they talk in that movie is hilarious and feels exaggerated, but I’m not sure it is as much as it feels. I don’t think we are used to hearing in movies how we actually talk.

  • Daily Life

    12 Delights of Christmas Tag

    I was tagged by Ivy for this tag. Bring on the Christmas people!

    1) A favorite Christmas tradition?

    There are so many. I think just all of them, we usually go to Christmas Eve with extended family 🙁 Then do those still at home Christmas morning and then our whole family and grandparents.

    I also love vegetating and watching Hallmark with Mom many nights

    2) Say it snowed at your domicile, would you prefer to go out or stay curled up inside?

    Inside, but it might be nice to step out and enjoy the beauty and take photos for a bit.

    3) Tea or hot chocolate?

    Hot chocolate, I’d like to try old fashioned hot chocolate this year, with real bars of chocolate.

    4) Favorite Christmas colors (i.e. white, blue, silver, red and green etc)?

    I have red and green with touches of gold and cream. My grandmother did her tree a few years with whites, pearls golds, and silvers which I loved. I’d also kind of wanted a blush and rose gold this year, maybe next year. Don’t like a blue theme.

    5) Favorite kind of Christmas cookie?

    Mom does a cookie exchange, I can’t remember all the cookies we’ve gotten, not all of them traditional. I love gingerbread and Mom has made a chocolate cookie with hugs on top, I think mint hugs. I do like traditional sugar cookies as well.

    Aside from the cookie exchange of recent years, we are more of a fudge, peppermint patties, buckeyes, and truffles group for Christmas.

    6) How soon before Christmas do you decorate (more specifically, when does your tree go up)?

    I don’t like rushing Christmas, it definitely has to be after Thanksgiving. This year, the first week of December, last year I couldn’t budget it in until later. I will also leave it up until after the tradition 12 days of Christmas.

    7) Three favorite traditional Christmas carols?

    I need to research all Christmas music, I’m sure I’m missing old favorites, but music is not my thing, and I’m not really in the mood. I listen to podcasts all the time at work, and I just feel like I have noise overload, noise pollution, per an old post, I like

    “Carol of the Bells”

    “Sing We Now of Christmas”

    “Do You Here What I Hear”

    “Angels from the Realms of Glory”

    “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

    8) A favorite Christmas song (i.e. something you might hear on the radio)?

    See above about my attitude, nerves. “Here We Come A-Wassailing.” This I like because it is sung in Little Women (1994). I like the David Archuleta and Celtic Women version.

    “Ding Dong Merrily on High.” Also because of Little Women (1994).

    “Last Christmas” The Brit Nicole version.

    9) A favorite Christmas movie?

    This is hard. I’ve not seen all the classics, but the favorite classic I’ve seen is White Christmas. We also watch Narnia. For Hallmark, we have several favorites. I’m going to do a post about those soon.

    10) Have you ever gone caroling?

    Yes, mandatorily years ago at nursing homes for church.

    11) Ice skating, sledding, skiing, or snow boarding?

    Ice skating. I’d love to get my own skates and take lessons, I’ve been meaning to for awhile.

    12) Favorite Christmas feast dish?

    Thanksgiving is more of our feasting, Christmas is lighter with more emphasis on the desserts. We usually have ham, last year we had hors d’oeuvres as a meal both for Christmas Eve and Christmas. I love this! We always have deviled eggs.

  • Daily Life

    Christmas Countdown Activities 2020: Week 1

    Since if one wants a unique or really just any advent calendar, one must start looking in SEPTEMBER and since I haven’t scored a sort of choose your own adventure from a thrift store (my mom has found a lovely sort of advent calendar cabinet, and I’ve seen a too expensive log house version, still hoping for a reasonably priced gem), I decided that doing a Christmassy activity every day was the way to go.

    Tuesday, December 1
    • Watched Hallmark’s Christmas Waltz
    Wednesday, December 2
    • Watched Hallmark’s If Only I Had Christmas
    Thursday, December 3
    • Wrapped Christmas presents
    • Put away Fall decor
    • Helped  decorate our family tree (I think it’s one of, if not the prettiest, we didn’t overkill on the decorations and the colors were more cohesive, also it’s a new faux tree that is super realistic looking)
    • Watched Hallmark’s Holiday Engagement
    Friday, December 4
    • Bought my little real tree!
    • More Hallmark
    Saturday, December 5
    • Watched I’ll Be Home for Christmas on Disney+(they have quite a few Christmas movies to choose from). Its funny how you can have 90’s nostalgia without having seen the actual 90’s movie itself.