Saturday, February 23, 2013

British Accents and Summer Camps

I have been tagged by the lovely Rose of The Golden Road, and since I've been at a loss for something to post about, as well as feeling a bit guilty for ignoring my tags for so long, I've decided to do it.


*Acknowledge the person who passed the award to you and provide their link.
*Include the award logo on your blog.
*Answer the ten questions posted below.
*Make up your own ten questions for the next people.
*Nominate blogs and link those you have especially enjoyed reading. The number you can select is up to you.
*Notify each individual that you have nominated them.

1.  What is your favourite accent? (British, Irish, Scottish, etc.)
This is actually a hard one.  Of course, like every other American girl, I go crazy for English accents, but I find most European accents highly intriguing.   A few days ago I watched an interview of a Romanian singer who spoke pretty much perfect English, but with a slight, rich accent.  Another singer, C├ęcile Corbel, speaks English with a noticeable French accent, which is also really interesting.  Ooh, and Regina Spektor.  She's Russian and Jewish and from NYC, and she has the coolest accent when she sings. Russian accents are pretty high on my list.  I dunno, accents are just a "thing" of mine.  But to answer the question properly, I'll go with typical old British.  It is, after all, the only accent I can properly imitate.

2.  Your house is on fire; you have 60 seconds.  What is the one thing that you grab? (Yes, I stole this question from the movie Leap Year.  If you haven't seen it, you should.  It is marvelous.)
 (I did see that movie, actually, a long time ago.  It was definitely fluff, but everybody needs fluff once in a while, right?)  
The one thing I would grab...well, in real life, chances are I would be too freaked out to grab anything but my shoes.  If somehow I had a bit more presence of mind, I'd grab my purse.  You definitely need money (and a library card?) when your house is burning down.

3.  You are taking a ramble through the woods heedless of time or place.   Suddenly, you find yourself miserably lost.  What do you do?  (Hysteria is a acceptable option.)
Hysteria would definitely be my first reaction, followed by a decision to randomly choose a direction and walk until something pops up that gives me an idea where I am.  I've done this in real life (though not in a forest) and it usually works, surprisingly.  I do not, however, necessarily recommend it as a desirable course of action.

4.  What is your worst fear?

5.  If you could instantaneously be fluent in one language, which would it be?
French, because I need it to graduate.  Also it's pretty.

6.  Would you rather have plain vanilla/chocolate ice cream or a sundae with all the toppings?
Much as I like plain vanilla ice cream, if you put it next to a sundae, the sundae's gonna win, hands down.

 7.  Would you rather watch a scary movie while at home alone or ride the largest roller coaster in the world?
DEFINITELY ROLLER COASTER.  The stupidest scary movies will have me in a heart attack.  I don't know how I ever got through Doctor Who with as little emotional damage as I did.  Roller coasters, on the other hand, are about the only thrilling activity I indulge in.  

 8.  You're stranded on an island for a year.  Choose one fictional character to have on the island with you.
Ooh, I like this one.  It's really hard.  It'd have to be a female, of course, for reasons of propriety, which should narrow it down...but I still can't decide.  Maybe Rosalind from As You Like It? Or Elnora Comstock from A Girl of the Limberlost. This is much too hard.  I've read too many books! I can't choose.

Elnora Comstock. [x]

9.  What is one of the most thrilling things you have ever done?
Well, as you may have surmised, I'm not much of a thrill-seeker.  You might laugh, but I think one of my most thrilling experiences was going to a traditional Catholic girl's camp for the first time three or four years ago.  Of course, as a little girl living in Germany I had all sorts of adventures, but unfortunately I sort of took them in stride, not finding anything particularly unusual about driving into Spain near midnight or going to Rome in one of those trailer things the week of my ninth birthday.  A lot of the "thrill" quality of a thing is in how you see it.

This was taken during my last year of camp, in 2011.  I'm closest to the front on the right-hand side[x]

10.  You are swimming with a group of friends when a splashing fight breaks out, describe your methods of warfare and survival.
Um...well I actually can't swim.  But if I was wading with a group of friends, my method of warfare and my method of survival would be the same: constantly splashing around myself in a circle so that nobody could get near me. And shrieking.

 Now for my questions:

1.  If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which would it be?
2.  You're in a play, and you can pick any part you like.  Are you a main character, a supporting character, or the random person holding a tray in Act II?
3.  Who is your favorite saint, and why?
4.  Would you sleep outside, with no tent, in the summer? 
5.  You're at someone's house.  There's no one there around your age.  Do you talk with the grownups, play with the kids, or awkwardly pet the dog and hang around the snack table till it's time to go?
6.  What qualities do you look for most in a friend?
7.  If you know about the Four Temperaments, tell which one(s) you are.  If not, just tell about your personality/temperament in general.
8.  What sort of blog post do you have the most fun writing?
9.  Are you more likely to fall in love with the characters of any given movie/TV show, or the plot?  Or maybe something else, like cinematography or costumes?
10.  Do you act the same way in public as you do in private, or do you act in different ways depending on the situation?

 I shall pass the tag on to Treskie at Occasional Randomness.'s all.  The rules did say that you could tag as many people as you want.... I just don't seem to have many tag-inclined followers who haven't done this one yet.  If you'd like to do it, don't be put off by the fact that I didn't tag you.  Help yourself, do.

Well that was fun.  Thanks for helping with my writer's blogger's block, Rose!

Hope you all are having a good Lent!
(By the way, please excuse the highly uneven sprinkling of pictures in this was too hard to find pictures for all of the questions, so I just did the easy ones. )

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Do you have joy without a cause, yea, faith without a hope?"

Once again, this is a post which I began some time ago and never finished.  I am no longer writing the essay in question - it has long since been graded, and I got an A, so you should listen to me when I talk about it.

The eponymous White Horse. (via google images)
I am continuing my time-honored tradition of procrastinating on English essays by writing about the subject of the essay here on my blog.  (See here, here, here, and here.)  It's like a passive-aggressive reaction or something.  I dunno.

This time the essay - and thus the blog post - is about my favorite epic poem in the history of ever - namely, The Ballad of the White Horse.  What's so great about it, you ask? Well, first and foremost, IT'S CHESTERTON.  I have about as much respect for him as I do for Tolkien, though in rather different ways.  Chesterton's intellect is intimidating, but that doesn't mean he's difficult and boring.  Au contraire.  His writing is the most hilarious, colorful, gorgeous thing that you can imagine.  But anyway, back to the the Ballad.  Just in case you don't really know or "get" what it's about, I'll give you a bit of a synopsis. 

The Ballad of the White Horse is the tale of King Alfred the Great of England and his battle against the Danish invaders in the ninth century.  On a greater scale, however, it is the endless story of the struggle betwixt good and evil, Christian and pagan.  Religion, history, legend, and myth blend seamlessly into an epic poem deserving of the name.

There.  Publishers should totally employ me to write their blurbs.

Really, I hardly know what else to say.  Does that every happen to you, where you like something so much that you don't know what to say about it? Maybe not.

I suppose the best thing is to let it speak for itself.  Here's my favorite part, which also happens to be the most famous, thanks in part to a certain Regina Doman, whose novel The Shadow of the Bear included the first stanza about the Men of the East.  That was actually the way I was introduced to the poem, and as it is quite lovely, it sparked my interest, so thank you, Mrs. Doman.

To give you some background, this is Our Lady speaking to King Alfred in a vision.

"The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
We do not guard our gold,
Men may uproot where worlds begin,
Or read the name of the nameless sin;
But if he fail or if he win
To no good man is told.

"The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.

"The men of the East may search the scrolls
For sure fates and fame,
But the men that drink the blood of God
Go singing to their shame.

"The wise men know what wicked things
Are written on the sky,
They trim sad lamps, they touch sad strings,
Hearing the heavy purple wings,
Where the forgotten seraph kings
Still plot how God shall die.

"The wise men know all evil things
Under the twisted trees,
Where the perverse in pleasure pine
And men are weary of green wine
And sick of crimson seas.

"But you and all the kind of Christ
Are ignorant and brave,
And you have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.

"I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

"Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?"

Isn't it just lovely?  Maybe it's just me, but I think it makes you feel very strong and fearless, like you could withstand anything in the strength of the Faith .  I don't know why.  Paradoxes (like "joy without a cause" and "faith without a hope") just really appeal to me.

Now to make this a proper book review.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars, suitable for....erm, anyone who can understand it, really.  In general, I'd say highschool level.

Have you read The Ballad of the White Horse? (If you haven't, go get it now.  You can read it on Project Gutenberg here, if you like.) What did you think of it, if you did read it?  And have you read any of Regina Doman's books?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Septuagesima: Preparing for Lent

This is a bit late, seeing that Septuagesima started a week ago, but better late than never, right?

"So," you ask, "what on earth is Septuagesima?"  You've probably guessed from the title that it has something to do with Lent.  See, traditionally there was no "ordinary time," but Sundays after Epiphany, Septuagesima season, and Sundays after Pentecost.  These seasons emphasize that there is no such thing as "ordinary" in the Church.  Septuagesima is a three-week period between the last Sunday after Epiphany and Ash Wednesday - a time of anticipating Lent and beginning to prepare for it.  Just goes to show how intense Lent is really supposed to be...

"Okay," you say, "so it's a time of preparation for Lent.  But what in heaven's name does it mean?"  Well, the word "septuagesima" means "seventieth." The season consists of three Sundays, as I said, named, respectively, Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima.   (Those are really fun to say. )  So since the first one means "seventieth," it follows logically that the next two mean "sixtieth" and "fiftieth."  If you know any Latin, you probably figured that out.  Supposedly Septuagesima Sunday is "roughly seventy days before Easter." (source)

Traditionally, during Septuagesima the priest's vestments change to purple and the Gloria isn't sung again Laetare Sunday or Easter.  I'm not sure which.  *blushes*  It's a good time to start "training" for Lent by making more sacrifices and generally getting your soul in good shape for all the self-denial you'll be practicing in the coming weeks.  I mean, really, isn't it much easier to eat small meals and give up sweets if you've already been cutting back?

This is also the perfect time to plan out your Lent: what you'll give up, what prayers you'll say, what spiritual reading you'll do...that sort of thing.  Also, cleaning.  I'm certain that it's easier to keep your soul clean if your room/apartment/house is clean.  Really.  Here's a little thing my mom did that's really helping me already: she simply took the lace cloth off of the mantle.  Our mantle is now bare except for two statues and two electric candles.  (I know you're cringing about the electric candles.  So am I, but it's better than nothing.) It reminds one of the altar on Good Friday. Every time I glance at that room, I see the bare mantlepiece and I remember that it's nearly Lent.  It's quite exciting, actually.

Sorry about the slightly random picture.  I typed "septuagesima" into google images and this is what came up. :)

What are you doing for Lent?  Did you know about Septuagesima before now?
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