Friday, July 27, 2012

Follow Up

As a follow up to my very gloatsome last post, I did finish Amaranthine and I feel a little bad about criticizing it as harshly as I did. Don't get me wrong, it's not going to be a classic any time soon, and there was a Beauty and the Beast moment where we think he's dead and she's crying over his body and whispering "I love you" (called it!) however, it was not the end end, like I thought it would be. But anyways, the ending was actually not too bad, and had a very emotional familial goodbye scene that definitely got me choked up, because I don't handle goodbyes all that well, no matter what the context.So, my final judgment is that, for a first-time author, it was a good effort. The idea was creative (when not spoiled by amazon reviews), but could have been executed better. There were also a lot of YA cliches. But, it's not the book equivalent of the Vampire's Assistant (as in, it's not the absolute worst book there ever was. That would be Heart of Darkness) because it was a first-time effort, and it wasn't as if it was the 7th Harry Potter book and grossly disappointed me. It was exactly what it claimed to be: a cheesy YA book with a little mystery and a lot of unfortunate adolescent romance. I think she should get a refund from her editor because it obviously had some flaws, but an okay book if you are a 15-year-old girl. Okay, I'm done. Time to move on! Next up: The Solitary House. Or maybe Our Mutual Friend. Or Great Gatsby. I'll keep you posted.

(also, it's 4:05 on a Friday afternoon, I'm at work and not at my friend Tara's wedding, and I have to write a monstrous paper this weekend. Booooooo. On the bright side, it's Friday!!)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I WAS RIGHT!!! (Snob factor for this post: 9/10)

That's it, world, I'm quitting my life and becoming a detective. Here's why:

Last night at 10:30, knowing I had to work at 8 the next morning, I sidled into my room, brushed my teeth, did the pre-bed routine, and fully intended to be asleep by 11. Then I said, "Why, I should pick up Amaranthine for a minute or two so that I can finish it sometime this year." And then I did what has become my typical recourse for wholly terrible books: I skimmed. I couldn't handle the melodrama and senselessness anymore. After skimming a bit, I realized something very important: the big "twist" everyone is talking about, it's close. So close I can taste it. Because this is a poorly written novel and I can sense the author's plot techniques from a mile away. So I kept reading, skimming when necessary, until 1:30 rolled around and I had 9% left, and I decided it was time to go to sleep or perish the next day at work. And you know what? I WAS RIGHT. Remember my predictions from a few posts ago? I was 95% spot on. All I missed were a couple insignificant details that contribute to the pointlessness and incredulity of this story. Now, keep in mind, there is still 9% left. Things might change. I may stumble upon a literary minefield of genius just waiting to blast my smug self to astonished smithereens. But I doubt that. Actually, what I anticipate is a Beauty and the Beast ending, but that's more of a hunch than a researched hypothesis. If I'm wrong, don't let it cloud your admiration of my earlier accomplishment. Truthfully, I expect the ending to be somewhat like the rapids on the Provo River: promising enough, but actually so insignificant you don't realize it's happened until it's over. Also, I don't believe their love story.

So, once again, dear literary community at large, a plea: stop posting spoiler reviews and start writing better books.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

latest and greatest (or not): how i spend my time

Happy What-May-Be-My-Last-Pioneer-Day-Ever! It's been a good day: sleeping in, working out, swimming, cafe rio, and now lounging and blogging. my life really isn't too bad, is it?

So, remember last term, how I was so busy I nearly died? This term has been decidedly different. It still has it's moments, but for the most part it's been chill. Another big difference: I watch movies all the time. Some fun, some not so fun. And I read a lot (not abnormal). And watch TV shows online and listen to a little new music. It's basically a contemporary culture overload. And I'm going to tell you about it, because it seems like this is all I do lately, and not always by choice.


Mmkay, I still haven't finished Amaranthine, it's just soooo pointless. We did hit a plot...development? Something has changed. But I'm about 50% through the book and I Still Don't Know What It's About. There appears to be no purpose to this book. Not looking forward to finishing it. 

So far this term I have read: The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Richard III, Othello, King Lear, and now I'm starting A Winter's Tale. After that, I just have to read The Tempest and I'm done! The main things I have learned in this class are that a) Shakespeare was a genius and b) not all of his plays are created equal. I hate Taming; love Dream and Merchant, hate Richard, and can't really handle the other two tragedies. I find Othello to be terribly frustrating/stupid, and Lear really is just tragic. I don't hate it like Othello, but I don't enjoy it. 

I haven't started my two new novels, that honestly might not happen until Christmas break. I found out I have about 30 items on my Fall book list, which means so much reading. I'm really excited to get into classes about genres and time periods again rather than just one author, even if it is the Bard himself. I like seeing multiple viewpoints. And can I just say that, despite my occasional complaints, I LOVE being an English major? Literature is really just one of the most amazing things and studying it opens my mind and helps me to see the world in new ways.

Summer Break (2 weeks) to-do reading list:

Finish Great Gatsby
Finish the awful Amaranthine
Maybe squeeze in one of my new novels
The Hobbit (actually never read it before)
(Prep for my upcoming Victorian Lit Capstone class)
Our Mutual Friend
The Moonstone
I think there's more, but I can't think of them at the moment. 


So, for every Shakespearean play I have been reading, I have been watching at least one adaptation. This is nice because his works really were intended to be performed, so it helps me to understand what I'm reading. And it gets me extra credit, which I can handle. (94% on my shakespeare midterm, woohoo!) One of my absolute favorites is this version of Midsummer Night's Dream. Star studded cast, visually beautiful, with a soundtrack that gives me chills and moves my soul. One of my new favorite movies period. The other main one I want to mention is "O," an adaptation of the awful, awful Othello. I hate this movie, don't ever watch it. The awfulness of Othello is only made worse by being set in a prep school among teenagers. Blech. Also, Ian McKellan is in every Shakespeare anything, ever.

I also saw SPIDER-MAN and it was sooo good! Andrew Garfield is seriously so cute and did a great job. It's hard to decide who I left the theater with a bigger crush for: Andrew Garfield or Emma Stone. Love them both! And the Lizard was the scariest Spiderman villain I've seen, they did a great job with that too! Great mix of funny, sweet, scary, emotional, and actiony, and much better than the other Spiderman movies!

And on Saturday I saw DARK NIGHT RISES!!!!! I feel like i really need to go see it again because I got so caught up in trying to figure out the story that I missed some of the experience, but it was sooo good! very satisfying conclusion to the three movies. Christian Bale is seriously so great, and even though it was a really heavy movie, there was still a lot of funny and touching moments, some even tear-worthy. I spent a lot of time with my hand over my mouth, being very stressed or shocked at what I was seeing. Some parts were hard to watch in light of the shooting in Colorado, and it was a little unsettling/sad being there and thinking about it. Also, something that was so scary about the movie is that, aside from a few stretches of imagination, it's fairly realistic. It was just bad people doing bad things, and good people sometimes intervening. And it makes you think...can the things they are doing really happen? Also, Bane is terrifying because he is just a person, but he is GIGANTIC and mean and scary and amoral. scary stuff, great movie! Batman is the greatest, even if you can't understand what he is saying.

I also watched Captain America in preparation for Avengers, which I still haven't watched. It was aight, mostly sad and kind of boring. I need to get to the theater and see Avengers before it's gone. But that gets hard to do when all I want to do is see Batman again. Also, everyone else in the world has already seen it.


I saw the top 20 episode of So You Think You Can Dance, and got really excited, and haven't gone back since. I think reality tv/dance competitions are more fun to watch live, on actual tv. Hulu doesn't really do it for me. It looks like a good season though!

I know I've gushed about this in my "What I'm Currently Obsessed With" section, but I rewatched Seasons 1 and 2 of Sherlock and I'm starting to think it might be the best show in the entire world. Words can't describe how much I love this show. I would happily sit down and rewatch it again right now if I didn't have other obligations (like writing a long pointless blog). I've also developed a massive crush on Martin Freeman:

I can't explain it: he's short, kinda goofy looking, and 16 years my senior. But there is just something so amazingly appealing about him, not to mention he's a fabulous actor. You may recognize him from this:
Yeah. If possible, The Hobbit just got cooler. Martin Freeman is adorable. And I am systematically hunting down everything he's ever done and watching it. This has included forays into the UK version of The Office, in which Freeman plays Tim, the show's Jim character, and I am loving watching him! The accents, vocab, and cultural references are so intensely British that I don't understand a solid 30-40% of what they say, and there are so many things that are identical to the American version (since the American version is based heavily on this) that it's been a weird experience so far, but he is just so cute, secretly pining over Dawn (Pam) and giving the camera these looks when David (Michael) and Gareth (Dwight) do outrageous things:
But i digress. Sherlock is the best show in the world and if you haven't seen it yet, shame on you. 

There is also something oddly sexy about Benedict Cumberpatch/Sherlock Holmes

Seriously, I laugh, I cry, I scream in fear, and then I laugh and cry some more. It's SO GOOD. And there is not much more that I love in life than a good mystery and a bro-mance, and this show has the best of both.


Me and my roommates stumbled upon these guys (from Provo) and have been off and on fangirling over them. They are playing in a battle of the bands this weekend so hopefully we get to go see them! This video is, watch it!

Also, my favorite folk group The Lower Lights, also based in Provo, came out with a new album! They take regular hymns and some spirituals and do a folk take on them, and every time I hear it all I can think is, "this is how religious music is SUPPOSED to sound!" what I love about folk is that the arrangements allow for some fun and some really beautiful harmonies that keep religious music entertaining, but at the same time is so down to earth that it just feels more reverent and genuine. You can listen to their new album at that link, but just for funsies, here is a live recording of one of my favorite slow jams from them (they have really upbeat ones as well). They obviously sound a tiny bit better on album, but this is pretty true to their recorded sound.

I loooove these guys, and listen to them all the time.

Other than that, I have been doing a lot of editing for people, which has been a ton of fun! It's so fulfilling to help someone improve their writing, another thing that I truly love to do. I had midterms last week (94%, 92%, not too shabby) and am now just winding down the term and working on end-of-the-term stuff. I randomly decided to move next month, so now I need to try and sell my contract and get ready to pack. I'll be homeless for a couple weeks, but I'm also quitting my job so I won't be tied down to anything and I can wander and go visit home and hopefully some other places. We'll see. It will be sad to leave Special Collections, but with my editing internship in the fall and crazy cramming-as-much-as-possible-into-my-senior-year it seems like a good time to move on. I'm moving into a house in my old ward, my current roommates and some friends are also moving into that ward so I'm excited to go back to a place I loved, be near them, and have a nice clean start for this next year. But if you know anyone that would like a contract in my apartment building, PLEASE let me know!

So for now, I'm using up the last of my summer and looking forward to the newness and new adventures of fall semester, which is officially my last fall semester at BYU. It's been a long, winding, sometimes never-ending road, but I'm nearly there and it has definitely been a good ride so far!

Look at my long hair! Me with Kaiti (Far left) and roommates Jordan and Dana. Love these girls! Oh, yeah,
we went to a roller derby and it was so fun! Summer is great!

Friday, July 6, 2012

musings of a super bored person

So, I'm stuck at work on a friday afternoon, it's slow as death, and I'm bored out of my mind. I don't have a whole lot of things to say since I just posted a little while ago, but here we go.

We FINALLY got some rain, which was really pretty great. I've been strangely stressed about the Utah fire situation, and even more stressed that nobody else seems stressed and that the entire state has gone mad because they are still lighting fireworks every night. But as my roommate pointed out when I was venting my frustrations about the apathy I was witnessing, there's not a whole lot we can actively do about the situation. Good point. Still, people, if you can't handle yourselves, stop going outside, because you are burning down the state. 2/3 of the fire damage has been caused by humans. Ridiculous. See? I'm a little obsessed. But we got rain! And it also cooled down my apartment, which has been wonderful since our air conditioning has been broken for 3 days, I've been sleeping on someone else's floor, and it's been averaging 92 degrees in my apartment. So the rain was, as far as I'm concerned.

My Fourth of July was pretty low-key. We laid out/went swimming at the Spanish Fork reservoir, which is super gross but serves its purpose. I am pretty brown now, and even though I totes put on sunscreen, my back still burned. We (me, roomies, et al) also went and toured Provo center street which isn't as magical as I remember. My two goals of getting a henna tattoo and obtaining some ethnic jewelry were not reached, but it's probably all for the best money-wise. I'd still go for a tat though. Then a few of us who weren't going to stadium of fire went home and were sooo tired because we were burnt and had been walking in the heat all day and i passed out on a couch (not mine, because my apartment is a sauna) and slept through fireworks. pretty lame, right? but all in all I was very satisfied. I also had a crazy good taco from a mexican food stand that I can't complain about. The crazy thing is there is a 50/50 chance this was my last 4th in Provo eveeer. But I think that's more exciting than sad.

I just had a panic moment that i missed my dad's birthday, but it's definitely tomorrow. whew!

So I've been reading Amaranthine and it just keeps getting worse. If it weren't on my kindle, i would throw it against the wall repeatedly. I'm starting to catch some ominous hints about various characters, which makes me reeeaaalllllyyyyy excited that there is a point to this book. Based on the spoiler reviews i read and what i've seen so far, here are my predictions:

  • ireland (main girl) [or her entire family?] is actually dead and doesn't know it. they and everyone else in "vancouver" is actually in some sort of limbo state. orion is trying to steal her soul OR he is miscast and is trying to save her soul. Also, her dad hasn't been around since the accident, maybe he is alive and they are all dead? existing on two different planes?
  • Ireland is alive but shouldn't be, cheated death, orion is death, and we've got a meet joe black/final destination situation on our hands.
  • Orion has sold his soul to the devil or IS the devil, i don't know, and has to fill a quota of souls and ireland is in his sights. 

Okay folks, those are my predictions. My money's on the first one. I'll let you know what happens, because I don't think anyone should read this book, so I don't feel bad spoiling it for you.

I also just downloaded two new books that look a bit more promising (I think they came from the "grown up" more 16 year olds!) They are:

Thieftaker by DB Jackson and The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd. Both are historical and mysterious, two of my very favorite things. Thieftaker is set in Revolution-era America but involves the seedy underground and has a lil magic mixed in. The Solitary House is set in Victorian London (!) and pulls integrates Charles Dickens' Bleak House. Cool? You betcha. Both have the potential to be awful, but I'm staying optimistic. Also, both have great cover art. 

Other than that I've been indulging in marathons of Arrested Development and ER, both being fabulous shows (Younger George Clooney, anyone?). AAND tonight I'm going to see Spider-Man and tomorrow I'm going to a roller derby match and hopefully my roommates softball game. And on Sunday I'm making my world-famous chicken ranch pizza. and there may be a bollywood movie at some point. Awesome weekend in store? heck to the yes. I'm feeling a little burned out on school right now, so lots of playing and sunshine is doing me good. Although I don't know if anything is going to salvage my sociology grade. We have these weekly one-page write-ups that they have one answer that they want from them, but I'm used to seeing texts from multiple angles, so I'm struggling. The first one I got 7.5/10, and I thought I made all the corrections they wanted, and I got a 6.5/10 on the next one! GE's are the literal worst. Shakespeare is going quite well, though. Except I have to read Richard III over the weekend :\

Okay, I effectively used up my boring afternoon and need to close down the desk. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Emily, what the heck have you been doing with your life lately?

Well friends, let me tell you! I know I haven't done a real post in a long time, but tomorrow is 4th of July and I have some fun stuff planned so maybe I'll have pictures and happy things to say about those pictures. In the mean time, here are some thing I have been doing:

-Considering and then deciding to go to grad school. That's right! I want to go to grad school! Shopping around for affordable programs with low standards, because I'm not that competitive of a candidate.

-Rethinking and then ultimately rejecting the decision to go to grad school at this time. It's expensive, and an MA in lit just doesn't get you the jobs it used to (ha ha, good one emily). But if I wind up in a job that wants me to get a masters or wind up fabulously wealthy with plenty of time on my hands, then I for sure will head back to school, because guess what? I love studying literature.

-Dusting off my desire to edit that I put on the shelf as I considered doing lit. I have an editing internship in the fall, and there is one in New York (Oxford University Press) that I could do next summer. It would combine my ability to edit and my love of academia. Win/win, right? Plus, I would be in NEW YORK! But applications aren't due until next May so it's definitely on the distant horizon.

-Reading/watching/listening to/breathing Shakespeare. I'm in a Shakespeare class right now, and it's sped up for summer term, and it's a little intense. Let me rephrase that: it's not that intense because it's pretty concentrated, but it's a lot of Shakespeare! In 3 weeks I will have read and studied 4 plays and seen 8 productions, read 4 critical articles, done 2 presentations, and written 4 thesis statements. But it's pretty fun. My teacher is a Shakespeare nut in a good way and I'm learning a lot.

-Occasionally attending my Sociology 111 class. I'm seriously trying so hard to care about this class but there's not much homework and it's not in my field and...yeah. Not my top priority. It's interesting though. And I was feeling pretty condescending toward all the freshman in my class, but they are actually kind of smart. Like, smarter than me when it comes to sociology.

-I did some babysitting for my brother and had a lovely time with his 3 kiddos. They are so fun! Especially Benjamin the 18-month-old. I just love ages 1-3 sooo much. Also, kids are hard.

-I watched "Shakespeare in Love" to get me primed for the Renaissance/Reformation setting and it might just be one of my favorite movies ever. Gwyneth Paltrow is Gwyneth Paltrow, but Joseph Fiennes is AMAZING! I just love how much he loves her. Plus a little poetry and well-placed facial hair go a long way. It's also really funny and emotional. Fast forward through a little nudity and you're good to go. Whoever did the trailer should be shot because it does no do it justice.

-I've also watched "The Town" and became a hardcore Ben Affleck fan for a week, but I am currently swooning over Chris Hemsworth after seeing "Thor." Chris>Liam. You may have caught on that I have more free time this term to waste my life watching movies, just the way it should be.
 -Reading wise I started "The Great Gatsby" with the intention of reading it with a friend of a friend, but he has since not gotten back to me. He is either a slow reader (no judgment!) or forgot. So I'm in Page 65 limbo. So far I haven't loved it, I don't care for the narration style, and I just watch this on repeat to keep me motivated that something interesting might happen. Whoever made this trailer should receive every award in the world!
I also stumbled across a book on my kindle that I forgot I had downloaded. It's called "Amaranthine" and I'm about 10-15% in and I can't believe how bad it is! Maybe I'm just over 16-year-old heroines. I don't know why I'm surprised, here's the synopsis:

Sixteen year-old Ireland Brady is sure she's losing her mind. After a horrific car accident leaves her barely clinging to life, she wakes from a coma with a renewed sense of gratitude to a world more surreal than she could have imagined, a world which includes Orion Alexander. Darkly handsome, Orion is cool and confident and has his sights set on her, something she's never experienced and she finds herself falling hopelessly in love. But when Orion's betrayal sends her straight into the arms of his rival, Damien, things go from bad to worse. Despite Orion's warnings, Ireland is attracted to Damien. He's strong and protective, and harbors an intense dislike for Orion, which makes him...perfect. But Damien is not one to be crossed. When all the secrets are revealed, will Ireland trust the boy who broke her heart? Or is she doomed to suffer a fate worse than death?

Yeah, so it's obviously a cheesy YA read, but here's the kicker:

"I had read this book on wattpad and I thought it was amazing. Definitely worth your time to read. Im going to order a copy of it today or tomorrow and make sure all my friends read it as well. This book is purely amazing. Unlike any other its original, funny, dramatic, suspenseful all in one. Good job Leah Crichton! Keep the writing coming. You truly are a amazing writer.:D "

"It's like I said, Brilliant! There's romance, mystery, betrayal... the perfect combination for a great read. And the twist completely blindsided me. When I finally got my jaw to stick shut, I practically inhaled the rest of the book. Trust me, you'll be so grateful you picked this one up."


Seriously??? Are we reading the same book?????? It's Twilight-circa crap! But now I have to keep reading to see if it gets better, when right now I have to stop myself halfway through a chapter and call Bri because I can't handle wading through this awful (I almost spelled that "offal" yikes!) writing on my own. So I'm mad. ALSO a little beef with reviewers on Amazon--use common sense in your reviews! Do not say "there is a mad twist half way through" "this is about life and death" and "a sixth sense type twist" all in the same review! Or any one of those when any of the others appear in reviews right below yours! All I have to do is apply a baby bit of logic and BOOM, my need to read this book is gone because you just revealed the plot to me!

And literary world in general: can we please see some love stories that involve just two people who face obstacles other than "this unlikeable girl is faced with the dilemma of choosing between two inhumanly beautiful men who inexplicably want her even though based on reality none of them should be happy together"? 

Okay, soap box vacated. But this will be my great project, to get through this book and see if it is really awful or simply a diamond in the rough. (sadly, i couldn't find the aladdin clip of the giant tiger head saying this) 

Anyways, that's about all that I have been up to in the recent past. I know I still need to blog sanfran. Maybe someday soon! Until then I hope you all enjoy your fourth of julying (i know i will, my roommate just informed me our AC is broken. woohoo!) and hopefully i will blog again before my 40th birthday!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I feel like I should do something to mend my image-killing ways. First off, campus is seriously glorious right now. It is green, it is quiet, and you can smell the delicious beds of flowers as you walk past them. The weather has been a dream: warm but not too hot, a mix of sunny and overcast days but no rain, cool breezes. If it was like this all the time in Provo I might stay here forever. 

That being said, I'm mounting a petition for a cease and desist order against EFY, which will be starting shortly and stamping my reverie under it's trendy, sing-songy, adolescent feet. I'm not sure when I became a curmudgeonly old person, but somewhere along the way it happened. 

Speaking of old people, I was taking a round-about stroll through the blocks south of campus on...Saturday? My weeks feel like months, I'm not sure of time anymore. But yes, I think it was Saturday. And I happened to stroll past a cute little house (there are a plethora of them in Provo, something I love about it) and I glance over and there is an older woman (I would say probably 70s) sitting in a chair on her back porch, listening to an oldies song, and sewing/doing some sort of craft that involved cloth and hands. The image of her plus the music plus the stunning afternoon just gave me such an impression of contentment. I almost walked up to her to chat and see who this lady was, but I needed to get to campus. And I'm a chicken, let's be honest. There just seemed to be something so lovely and pure about what I imagine to be a sweet lady who has lived a good life, sitting in the pleasant weather, listening to the songs she's loved since she was young, and doing something skillful and useful in her own quiet way. I don't know if that is what she is really like, but it's what I imagined and it's what I want for myself. To look back on my life and be content. To still be enjoying and creating things 50 years from now. Not such a bad goal to shoot for, is it?

So, in dedication to you, my new semi-fictional hero, a few of my personal favorite oldies:

Stardust, by Nat King Cole

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, by the Platters

The always-classic Unchained Melody, by the Righteous Brothers

And of course, Fools Rush In by the King himself, Elvis

I hope you all have a lovely night thinking about happy memories and beautiful music. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

i'm not proud of this

I just want to start off by saying, I know I'm pathetic. I know I know I know. But I just need to talk about Glee for a minute. I'll keep it short. So, I watched the 3rd and 2nd to last episodes of the season and *Spoiler Alert* WE WON NATIONALS!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the most perfect Glee performance I have ever seen (well, show choir style performance. Toxic might still be my favorite, just ignore the hormonal audience members and the disgusting display of midlife crisis). And then they sang to Mr. Shue and I had tears streaming down my face as I sat in the FOOD COURT at school and watched on my laptop. Here are their videos:

It was just so amazing to see their dreams come true after so long. I remember the first time I saw Glee, I was living at Glenwood and I just stumbled on it on TV I think, and I was like...what is this? So I found the first few episodes online and I was hooked. I remember Laurel was out at the complex pool and I went to go join her and I was I found some cool new shows. And now...this....

And now I'm sitting in my room crying watching this. I'm so sad! Next Wednesday is going to be rough. And this time I'm going to make sure I'm home so I can cry in the privacy of my apartment. 

Just think, they went from this....
to this:

Sorry the video is weirdly zoomed in. But I love them, I just can't help it! And also, notice a pattern with Mr. Shue sneaking up on the Glee club with tears in his eyes. Creeper? A little. Anyways, go ahead, judge me, I can take it. And I'll get to work on rebuilding your opinion of me. Just give me a little time to grieve first.