Thursday, January 31, 2013

blinks on thursday.

Listening To: Stars by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Line Obsession: "I like to imagine the ties between us as strands of spider silk: practically invisible, maybe, but strong as steel. I figure the trick is to spin enough of them to weave ourselves into a net." - from Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker

Happy Wednesday to you! Feeling clicky? I've been saving up some bli--

... hold on a sec.

*turns up volume on TV*

So, The Bachelor is on in the background (I'm not proud to admit this) and I'm pretty sure he's asking the tributes the contestants to fight to the death to compete in a roller derby challenge in order to win his affections. ...yes. That's exactly what he's doing. Is this show real? Or is it scripted? Why am I watching The Bachelor?! I don't even know.

Where was I? Blinks!

I've been saving up some blinks to pass along and, hopefully, chat about down in the comments. Here goes!

* In the past couple of weeks, we've had some fun discussions about Downton Abbey, in which I shared my astute thoughts on Broody Thomas (and why I'll fight for him until the end) and Ethel, the pirate's dough-tuh!. If you missed those posts, here's our first and second recap. The comments are the best part, so smart and fun. Because that's how you people roll. On the latest episode of Downton (No Spoilers Here), I was more moved by the reaction downstairs than upstairs. And I think Thomas proved yet again, to me at least, that he's the most interesting character on the show. I think the best part of the episode, for me, was after the BIG thing happened. I loved all the little moments the camera kept pulling me toward: the quiet, almost cathedral-like state of the house. Granny Violet's slow, sad walk into the receiving room (and the moment she flung her veil back before she walked in, which is logical but also such a subtle, and perfect little nod to her endurance), Branson's ghost-like silhouette in the window. Those are classic, beautiful Downton moments. The war was huge, but what makes Downton unique are intimate moments like that. (Another favorite scene like that from this season: when Edith threw her veil over the railing and it cascaded down to the empty reception hall. So hauntingly pretty.) Holler down in the comments if you'd like to discuss the last episode. I'm still drowning my sorrows in a Diet Dr. Pepper.

*If you're an artist or entrepreneur, this is a fascinating read (sent to me via the fabulous Jenny B. Jones). Here's a sample, from the author Steven Pressfield:
"That’s the way we humans roll. We’re comfortable in the Known, no matter how crappy it is or how much we hate it. When we feel ourselves entering the Unknown, even if that Unknown is way better than the Known, not to mention something we’ve have been striving for all our lives, we panic. We freak. We melt down." - Steven Pressfield
* Project Runway: Teams. Your thoughts? I kind of ... like it. A lot. They're still responsible for producing individual pieces, but they also have to critique and help out their teammates. It's actually kind of interesting so far. I don't have a favorite designer yet. I miss Michael Kors.

* I think Katie is my spirit animal.

* If you grew up in the 80's ... thiiiis.

* Awesome author Myra McEntire wrote a post about a famous stranger who showed her what true generosity can look like. It made my heart hurt, in a good way. It's amazing how brief, unexpected encounters can make such a permanent impression. (If you ever get a chance to go to one of Myra's book signings, you should jump at it. Besides being so crazypants talented, she's one of the most genuinely encouraging and funny writers you'll encounter.)

* I am intrigued by this cookie recipe.

This is fantastic.

* This is what Harry Potter would look like if it were a teen comedy. So funny.

* Mean Girls ... The Musical?! You go, Glen Coco!

* I love the cover article Dean King wrote about Ralph Stanley for the new issue of Garden & Gun. This line is my favorite:
"I sing it the way I feel it," he says. "No put-on to it. I just sing, and it’s lonesome." - Dean King, Garden & Gun
and a few bookish links...

* THREE TIMES LUCKY, my favorite read in 2012, won a Newbery Honor on Monday! You can see my mini-gush about Mo and Dale on ye olde Pinterest. I've tried to write about the book on here as well, but I describe it with so many !!'s and :)'s that I thought you might doubt my sincere admiration for this lovely, lovely novel. The characters and the writing and the setting and all of it; it's a perfect storm of a storytelling. Mo Lebeau, rising 6th grader, is one of the coolest girls I've read in Children's Literature. Her story is smart, southern, funny and SO beautifully written. Every line had a shine to it.

* My nephew is going to flip for this series.

* VAMPIRINIA BALLERINA might be a series on the Disney Channel. That book is adorable.

* I wish this series could also be adapted for the Disney Channel. I want Mad Maxine on the big screen so bad!

* The enviably talented Sarah Wylie did an interview for hypable about her first novel, ALL THESE LIVES. I'm going to write a much longer post about Sarah's novel this spring, but the short version is that it's heartbreakingly beautiful. (If you love authors like Sara Zarr, Nina LaCour, and Sarah Dessen ... then Sarah Wylie's novel will settle in quite happily on your bookshelf.)

* One of the books I'm most excited about this spring is Mindee Arnett's THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR, which is described as Harry Potter meets Veronica Mars. Can you even?! It will be available in March, so I only have to wait another month to read it. If you're feeling lucky, you can enter here to win a copy from Goodreads.

* Liz & Darcy celebrated their 200th wedding anniversary this week. USA Today published a lovely article about the impact of Pride & Prejudice and why it has such an enduring legacy. This piece from Sunday's Parade is also interesting. Two. Centuries. I wonder if Jane Austen had any inkling of how special that novel was back when she was writing it? Why do you think the novel has so much staying power?

Let's have a moment, shall we? (I still prefer the BBC adaptation.)

Fact: Mr. Darcy wouldn't make his tributes his dates throw down in the roller derby rink for a rose.

But you know who would? Wickham. 

* Here's a picture of my critique partner in action:  

She's going to start demanding extra treats for all the work she's been doing lately.

* Any particular songs rocking your 2013 so far? I've been in a Grace Potter mood lately. One of my favorites: 

Happy almost Feb--

... hold on a sec.

*turns up volume on TV*

This is an actual quote from The Bachelor: "I don't think the girls were prepared for the physicality of roller derby. But they embraced it, and they gave it everything they had. And so tonight, I want them to be able to let loose, spend time with me, and not worry about cracking their jaw."

And people think chivalry is dead. Bah! (*sarcasm*)

(WHY are women fighting over this guy?)

(The Bachelor = Mr. Wickham)

Happy almost February to you! :) I'll catch you in the comments.


  1. Hi Natalie! I love your blog. Your words always make me reflect, smile, laugh out loud, and just generally feel better. I got Brio magazine back in the day, and I always loved what you wrote then. I have to say that I agree with alot of your Downton Abbey musings. I have loved this show from the beginning, but I feel like the majority of the Abbey residents need to be slapped. The only one that seems to show any true gumption is Edith. I agree with you and hope that they give her a fantastic story of her own. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your words! And the music recommendations- you always give the best songs to check out. I have been listening to "Annabel" by The Duhks and "Devil's Waitin'" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I don't think these are new songs, but they are new to me. You might like them too! I hope you have a great February! :)

    1. Hi there! :) Thank you so much for this comment. I love hearing from people who got Brio back in the day, always makes me nostalgic :)

      Totally agree about Edith - even though she's a little snooty and high falutin (no more than anybody else, really), I think she's showing some real spark this season. I'm gonna go find some of your songs and listen to them pronto. I'm a fan of The Duhks, so I have no doubt these are awesome. Thanks for saying hello! :)

  2. I read In Between for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Seriously, Maxine is my favorite character. I want one of her in my life. :)

    1. I love that you just experienced In Between! :) And I agree. Everybody needs a Maxine. She's one of my favorite characters ever.

  3. The last episode made me feel slightly better about Thomas, so I felt a bit guilty about one of my recent comments about him here. :) I bought the DVD Tuesday and spent all afternoon watching the rest of the series. So. Many. Tears.

    I read Three Times Lucky after you wrote about it and it was so good! One of the things I remember most was how impressed I was that "Nabs" were mentioned. I have never heard anyone other than the people in my little community call those crackers Nabs, and that made my day. But of course, it was a really awesome book otherwise. :)

    Have you watched the Lizzie Bennet Diaries? If not, you definitely should check them out. :) Apparently Wickham seems like even more of a creep in a modern-day setting. I can't believe Pride and Prejudice is two hundred years old! I think it has staying power because Austen's characters are so amazing. We know people like them, even those hers might be slightly exaggerated. :) I know Mr. Collinses (*shudder*) and Mr. Woodhouses and Lydias. {Unfortunately the Darcy has remained elusive so far.} And also, it's hilarious. What people find funny changes, I think, and for something to still be clever and make you snort-laugh two hundred years after it was written is pretty special.

    But I have to disagree about the BBC version. I love it, of course, but the 2005 version is my absolute favorite movie ever. It's perfection, in my opinion. :) The scenery, the music, the casting, the first proposal scene and the dawn scene...*swoon*


    1. You made me smile! I'm a little bit too easy on Thomas. Somehow, he's really endeared himself to me. And then after this past episode, I was kind of happy to see that what I was picking up on was accurate. Even when I don't like all his scheming and plotting, I like the spice that character adds to the mix. I read that he was originally going to be written off the show in the first season. Crazy!

      Haven't seen The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, but I need to check it out! I hear so much good about it, and John and Hank Green both seem to be big fans. I should probably backtrack b/c I don't really think The Bachelor is smarmy like Wickham. He's probably a nice enough guy. The show is just crazy-go-nuts. Love your reasoning on P&P so much. I think you are exactly right, and it's kind of neat to think that "the more things change, the more they stay the same..." really is SO true when it comes to falling in love and first impressions and all that. Jane Austen had such a great eye for how people interact with one another.

      Sigh. I remember now that you liked the new, pretty version. That scene at the end is ... hard to beat. And it's such gorgeous cinematography. I love that version too. Maybe the BBC was just b/c I discovered it first? Or Colin Firth? She's definitely my favorite Lizzie Bennet of the two. I hope Ruth chimes in on this post, because I'd love to see which one she likes better.

    2. The Bachelor might be a nice enough guy, but Wickham in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries is even worse than in the book. Or maybe it just seems like it because you see him more. :) If you start watching LBD, be sure you watch some of Lydia's videos, too...especially the last few, because they're the ones that involve Wickham. In the book, I always got the impression that flightly Lydia fell for Wickham's smooth moves. But in these videos, he's even more of a creep because there's almost like a mind control/mentally abusive relationship thing going on. Ugh.

    3. The Lizzie Bennett Diaries... I just started following them about two weeks ago and caught up within two days :) They're that addictive. I love the progression of the story, the characters. I think Hank Green was actually the mastermind behind the whole series, but a friend of his sort of pulled everything together. I've never actually read P&P thus far, but as soon as LBD ends, I think I'll have to...
      And I'm with Kristin on watching Lydia's videos. And look for Charlotte's and Gigi (Georgiana) Darcy's too. Don't make my mistake of forging ahead and assuming you can go back and catch up. I mean, you can, but it follows a very specific timeline and I feel like I actually missed a lot. I got the general idea and still love it, but...

    4. Hey Alyssa! I'm definitely going to check this out since y'all are so into it, but it sounds like I need to wait until I have time to watch it in bulk? :) Thanks for this tip. I'm so excited to see what they say about all this. Have Green Squared ever talked about P&P in their videos? Are they fans of the novel? I wonder.

    5. From what I can tell, they're obsessed :) Watch Hank Green's intro to LBD, which is also on YouTube for some context about the whole thing. The introspective, background stuff starts at 38 seconds, but the other stuff is also mildly entertaining...

      Another thing I love about this whole thing is that when he introduces the series, he has this air of somebody who's about to do something crazy for something he loves even if it may blow up in his face. And it SO didn't...
      Anyway, looking forwards to hear your opinions about LBD and whatnot :))

  4. I believe you'll appreciate this: Les Mean Girls. You're welcome.

    1. I love it! So, so funny. I hope they keep it going. Hahaha :) THANK YOU!

  5. Shut the front door! I'm like "yes!" to everything on that 80's list. Wow. We are really old(er), aren't we? :-/

    1. It's crazy. You know what makes me so happy though? That we all played with so many of the same toys and watched the same shows. It's like instant bonding. I had SO MUCH stuff on that board. The Happy Meal toys make me so nostalgic. And Heathclif! That was one of my favorite cartoons! Sigh. The old days.

  6. I'm honored that my 80's board was featured on your blog! Makes me happy! :) Love you friend!

  7. Grace Potter opened up for The Avetts the last time I saw them. She reminded me so much of Jenna Maroney playing Janis Joplin as "Jackie Jormp-Jomp." She was great, but it was like watching a seven year old who just snorted a pixie stick off of a pile of sugar cubes.


    2. Hahahaha. I've never seen her play live. I'll look into this and report back to you. She opens for the Avetts pretty regularly, right? (I'm seeing them this spring!!!)

  8. Downton. I knew that was going to happen, spoilers! And I balled. But my favorite moment was Thomas' reaction, he is by far the most interesting character.
    Half Blood Prince is my least favorite Harry Potter movie, maybe because it's like a teen comedy :)
    THAT is a photo bomb. Awesome.
    Happy weeekend!

  9. I knew it was going to happen, too ... and it was still so sad. I know the other BIG spoiler too ... so I'm hoping that better prepares me for when it happens. I don't even know where they can go from here, but it's an intense season. I'm thinking about buying it and just watching the rest. I wasn't expecting Thomas' reaction either but whoa. Not only did it make me like the character even more, but that guy is a really, really good actor. Have you seen him not in character? I watched him on The View and it was like looking at a different person. So cool when they're able to do that.

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