Great White Snark: July 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two things:

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling! And yes, WHEN I publish my worldwide phenomenon book, my main character will share my birthday. Creative narcissism and all that.


I've already started forming my thesis and doing research for the fall term since I literally have nothing else to do all day. Dracula is on the book list for two of my classes, so I figure I'll have to do a paper on it at least once, right? Might as well get started now.

Omg, kill me. I'm that girl.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Music is like fashion, it changes. But some things will always be the same.

I've always felt like fashion and music are inexorably linked. But that has absolutely nothing to do with why I'm doing this post.

Mostly, this is the result of me having too much time on my hands and a Polyvore account. And iTunes.

I know I've already done fangirl/girlcrush posts on Grace Slick and Joan Jett (I had one all set for Stevie Nicks but just never got around to it), so I thought I'd do a fashion-esque post on 4 of my favorite "women of rock," if you will.

Debbie Harry

Let's face it. Debbie Harry is HOT. She's just beautiful to look at. She has that distinctive pop-with-an-edge voice, was the first woman (and probably the only white girl!) to have a rap single, and her style remains inspirational (just google "Debbie Harry style"). Of course I had to include her. Her look is...I'm not sure how you'd describe it, but you know it when you see it (Nylon magazine is FULL of it). Cut-off shorts, leggings, oversized graphic tee's, and awesome footwear make it. Hoop earrings, bright 80's-tastic eye makeup, and teased hair finish it all off. With the 80's revival that's STILL going on, she still makes a great style inspiration.

Stevie Nicks

When I die, I hope that my wardrobe in heaven is an exact replica of Stevie Nicks's. First of all, she's got such a distinctive voice--that deep, wavering timbre that sets her apart from everyone else. When my brother first heard her, he goes, "yeah, that guy's not bad." I thought she was a man, too! But she's not. She's just got an awesome almost-country-but-not-quite voice. And then HER CLOTHES. Anytime I think of Stevie, I think of drapey fabrics, feathers, and an almost Medieval hippie-esque aesthetic. I feel like she's one of those people who if you see her on stage, you know immediately who she is. If I saw her on the street wearing jeans and a t-shirt, I'd probably walk right by her. Her style is so ingrained in who she is, and I LOVE that, because it's a pretty sweet style. GOOGLE HER. Flowy fabrics, hippie styles (maxi dresses, peasant tops, flared jeans) and ethereal accessories (corset belts, LOTS of feathers, flowers, etc.) make up her look. Add a wide-brimmed hat and you're golden. Seriously. What's NOT to love?

Grace Slick

Grace Slick. I love you. The end.
She's the queen of the San Fransisco psychedelia scene (along with friend and fellow hippie girl, Janis Joplin), and it comes through in her music. Anything reminiscent of the late 60's is okay style-wise for Grace--bellbottoms, long skirts, beads and funky jewelry--AND she played Woodstock. So typical music festival style is perfectly acceptable (hence the outfit on the far right). Mostly, I feel, that anything you want goes as long as you have Grace's confidence to pull it off.

Joan Jett

And finally. Joan Jett. The queen of my musical heart. I adore her and everything about her--her ability to shred the guitar, her throaty, raspy, tough-love lyrics, her "I don't give a damn about my reputation" personality (and song, of course), and her general badassness. And of course, her style. I wish I could dress like Joan Jett everyday and get away with it. Alas. I'm not badass enough. I digress.
Things to add a little Joan to your wardrobe: skinny jeans, the color black, graphic tees, leather, studs, boots, corset tops, and eyeliner. I even made a girly outfit up there to show that you can mix tough and girlie and it works nicely. They balance each other out.

Anyway, that's that. Also, I wanted to share a recipe for two cupcakes that I found, and I think this is perfect for when you want something sweet but don't want to a) make 24 cupcakes, because, I mean, they're good, but who can eat TWENTY-FOUR? and b) it's cheaper than going out and buying half a dozen, which is still like the smallest amount you can get from Publix. So, enjoy! And rock on.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I know I've used the Groucho Marx quote "Outside of a dog, books are man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read," before. It's just a brilliant quote. And then, it's also the inspiration for the title of a book I'm going to review.

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Bethany got me this book for Christmas. At first I was like, "meh" because I don't tend to like nonfiction. But the subject matter is definitely relevant to my interests, so I gave it a shot.

Overall, this is DEFINITELY worth reading, especially (or perhaps, particularly) if you have a dog. Part of what made this feel less clinical was the fact that I could read something and be like, "Oh, (insertnamehere) does this!" I also like that Horowitz debunks the wolf-pack explanation that's been defacto since about the 60's or 70's. She uses fresh, recent and credible research (her own and others') to uncover why dogs do what they do and how we can understand them better.

The key word of the whole thing is "umwelt," which luckily I've dealt with before in lit (my major wasn't totally useless! I felt all excited because I UNDERSTOOD SCIENCE. This is a big deal to people like me. HOORAY, SELF!). But basically, Horowitz breaks down how dogs experience the world.

Most of it was stuff I knew--dogs are olfactory creatures, they are dependent on attention, etc.--but it was the depth to which she explained these things that was interesting. Like, how dogs can smell age. I had NO idea, but apparently this is fact and what makes them good trackers; they can smell decay, so they track the scent of decay.

Anyway, it's very clinical and definitely scientific (it reads like a long research paper). At least, in my mind it was super sciencey. To someone who does science all the time, it's probably simple. Despite its jargon and analytic tone, it's accessible. I mean, I got it. So you can, too. And anyone with a dog will appreciate the inside look at their best friends. So do I recommend it? Yes. To anyone with a dog. If you're dogless, not only am I deeply sorry, but you probably won't find the motivation to read this in its entirety.

Also, this:
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I already kind of rec'd this in my last post, but this book was SO good. I couldn't put it down. I finished it within 24 hours, finishing it in the wee hours. It was amazing. The Bronte family is just fascinating. This is a fact-based, fictionalized account of how the publication of Jane Eyre affected the Bronte family--most particularly Charlotte but it does mention her father, Anne, Emily and Branwell at length, which is great. Diminutive Charlotte and nearly-mad Emily always tend to take the spotlight (plus their books are the most famous), but the insight into the other members of the Bronte family was really interesting.

Do you have to have read Jane Eyre? Not necessarily, but it CERTAINLY helps. The author tends to switch tenses and scenes a lot, so one minute Charlotte is nursing her ill father and the next Jane is in Lowood. So it helps to know the story (having read The Professor and Wuthering Heights would be helpful too). Anyway, anyone who likes Jane Eyre and the Bronte family should DEFINITELY read this book.

That's all. How boring am I becoming? I'm literally on countdown for school to start. CAN'T WAIT.

And that's sad.

Oh, here's this:
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Monday, July 25, 2011

We were born and raised in a summer haze.

I heard this song on the radio this evening on the way home from the gym, and it just really struck me. Not sure why since it's not exactly relevant to me, but it just really hit a chord. I wanted to share.

Also, I'm reading this book, and I cannot recommend it enough for fans of Bronte and Jane Eyre. If you were in my Bronte class with me, you NEED to read this, guys. For reals. And for everyone else, you just should read it because it's really engrossing and awesome.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I am a thistle sifter. I sift thistles.

My mother and I had a disagreement about the above ad. Or rather, the model in the ad. The male one.

According to her, he is hot and she thinks that I should be, and I quote, "locked in a room with him for 4 days." My reaction?
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He looks creepy! He looks like a total tosser with no personality and fewer brain cells. Also, his quasi-beard-thing looks like it could potentially injure you. Also his chest hair weirds me out. I don't know. He just does NOTHING for me.

SO, who do you agree with? This is purely out of curiosity.

Is this guy hot or not?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

You're looking good like a snake in the grass.

Since I love getting music rec's from people I know, I figured I'd return the favor with a list of 10 songs I'm currently digging.

10 Songs Mary's Currently Digging:
The Dangerous Type , by The Cars. Love it. ♥
Catch , by The Cure
Zombie , by The Cranberries
The Great Beyond ,by R.E.M. True story: I had a major childhood crush on Peter Buck after seeing R.E.M. on Sesame Street.
Price Tag , by Jessie J
Rapture , by Blondie. Brb, loling forever at the hair and dancing in this video. But it's cool despite its cheesiness because it's pretty much the first single to do well that featured rap, and probably the only song with a WHITE GIRL rapping on it. So, you go, Debbie Harry.
Edge of Glory , by Lady GaGa
99 Luftballons , by Nena. We only had the German version growing up, so I have no idea what the actual lyrics are. I just butcher my way through this version. "Na na na na CAPTAIN KIRK, na na na da na na na!"
Spirit in the Sky , by Norman Greenbaum
Palladio , by Escala

It's a pretty eclectic mix.

What I'd really like to know is why THIS SONG isn't being abused on the radio:

It's so catchy! It's fun! It has popular artists (right??)! Why is this not on the radio?? It's my favorite song this summer. Even though the music vid looks like it takes place in a filthy club in the islands. Still. So fun!

What are you guys listening to these days? I WANT TO KNOW.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

General life update (complete with loads of GIF's. What did you expect?).

"I am a writer, writer of fictions,
I am the heart that you call home
I've written pages upon pages
trying to rid you from my bones...”

--“The Engine Driver”
The Decemberists

So. I guess I promised you all the saucy details of my life, and far be it from me to lie to my adoring readers.

The video game class trudges on. It was really interesting in the beginning when we were learning about the dawn of the industry and all that. Now we're in the 90's, and it's not as cool. Although, I was reminded about DreamCast and the fact that we still have one, so I might have to dig that out sometime and give it a go.
School expectation:
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Interviewed at one of the off-campus college bookstores (name and address withheld). It was the shortest interview of my started at 10:30 and by 10:35 I was on my way back home. Needless to say, not too optimistic. I'll find out tomorrow or Friday for sure, though, so we'll see.
Work expectation:
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Personal Life
This shouldn't even get a bullet.
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What the hell do I actually do during the day?
I have no idea. I tool around the internet. I read. I run errands. My brother got a job at Universal Studios (AT THE HARRY POTTER THING!!!), so he has my car most days. It's very quiet. But here's the deal. This may well be my last summer of doing nothing. I'm very sincerely hoping by this time next year to have a career-type job and be working towards getting that apartment I've wanted so badly. And then, I'll be DYING for a summer of doing nothing. So I'm trying to appreciate the slow-paced laziness for what it is. We just never get what we want when we want it, do we?
My life expectations:
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Be a geek
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Play dress up...
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...sometimes with Bixby
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Have a deep and meaningful relationship with the interwebs
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But you know what?
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I'm happy. And I hope you all are, too. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

"It's not really goodbye, after all."

I feel like I have to do a little thing to close all this out. "Little thing" here meaning "movie review."

I don't want to say too much since I'm already one of those a-holes who spoils movies (sorry, Michael!), but I will say the following:

-It was REALLY good. Such an awesome ending to a phenomenal film series.

-Did it do the book justice? The parts included in the film were definitely done amazingly well. They did leave out some major plotpoints (or at least they were major in my mind). I understand that there just simply isn't time to cram everything into a movie though, so given what they had to work with, yes, absolutely, they did a wonderful job. You really need to read the books though.

-Professor McGonagall is a BAMF. She kind of kept herself on the DL for the last few movies being all like
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but then she BROUGHT IT in this one. And it's even more touching because Dame Maggie Smith has been battling cancer throughout the filming of the last few movies. And she OWNED. So mad props to her.

-That being said, ALL THE AWARDS TO ALAN RICKMAN. ALL OF THEM. The HP movie franchise has never won an Oscar, which is like "okay whatevs," but omg, Alan Rickman, you wrecked my heart (apparently his performance generated some Oscar buzz. So ironic, because he's been in some of the most iconic films ever, and "greasy-haired, hook-nosed Professor Snape" might get him an Oscar nod.). The Prince's Tale was done, in my opinion, in a heartbreakingly perfect way. I bawled. Thank GOD no one sat next to me. This, to me, is like the whole story of Harry Potter. I mean, there's the "kill Voldemort" bit and all that, but this just adds something to the story (SOMETHING LITERARY) that makes it like, "whoa." So anyway, well done on that.
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-Was it epic enough? Um, yes. For those of you who disliked the world's longest camping trip Part 1, this should more than make up for it. It literally starts right in the middle of the action. There's way less emotional drama crap and, actually, very little "sitting around and discussing things" (which is almost always for the audience's benefit). But yes, definitely a perfect climax. And plenty emotional for the pathos-addicts among us.

-I feel like I need to give a nod to the actors and actresses who played the Weasley's and the Malfoy's, too. Kudos, Weasley fam, for making us believe that you guys were crazy close-knit (Julie Walters, Rupert Grint, and Oliver Phelps, you guys were amazing) and that this battle (I am so struggling to not be spoileriffic here!) tore your family apart. Awesome job.
And Helen McCrory did an awesome job as Narcissa Malfoy. I've always loved her portrayal of Narcissa (and Mrs. Radcliffe in Becoming Jame. Anyone? Anyone?) because she gave her the level of complexity I feel her character deserves. The moment when she lies to Voldemort is the turning point of the whole Malfoy family. That being said, I so wish they'd gotten their more redemptive moment. But I've waxed eloquent about this before and will shut up before I've wasted three paragraphs on something nobody else cares about.

-Also, how about that awkward moment when Voldemort tries to hug you?
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My whole theatre erupted in laughter. Oh, Tom Felton. I think I love you.

-THE EPILOGUE. I'm trying very hard not to spoil this for people who haven't read the book or seen the movie yet, but I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean, granted, if it were up to me, none of those people would've ended up with each other (which is why if I'd written the books, about 30 people would've read them). But those are just semantics. I loved it in the book, and I'm not sure how I felt about it on screen. Daniel Radcliffe was the only one who looked somewhat age-appropriate. Rupert Grint, Bonnie Wright, and Emma Watson all looked the same to me. And then there's the issue of Draco Malfoy suddenly being 1000 years old. He's seriously like a walking fossil. Wtf, makeup department? The kiddies were cute though, and I LOVED how they used John Williams' original score from the ending of The Sorcerer's Stone to close out the whole thing. So if for no reason other than an epic music win, I think I liked it.

My TV dinner has now been sitting in the microwave for like, an hour while I wrote this. So I should probably go and get that. But anyway, yes, movie = good, and one of these days I'll post something about my life. Because it's soo interesting and I know you all are absolutely apoplectic with desire to know the scandalicious details of my innermost doings. ;)

What did you think of the HP movie? If you haven't seen it yet, wtf, get off your lazy derrières and go. Tomorrow. Regal Cinemas has $5 Tuesdays, so you have no excuse.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It was beautiful magic, wondrous to behold...

Welcome home.

{My last Harry Potter themed post! As of tomorrow or the day after, I'll be returning to regularly scheduled programming. I'm sad about that though! I've really enjoyed geeking out BIG TIME these last 2 weeks. Thanks to you guys for putting up with it, especially those of you who don't even like Harry Potter. Enjoy the movie tonight, guys, and don't be sad!! You can cry though. I sure will.}

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Until the very end...

The first and last posters.

Cast photos, in character and out.

Have you stuck with Harry until the very end?
I suppose so. I mean, I'm here aren't I?

I was 11 when the books came out, and being an avid reader even then, I couldn't WAIT to get my hands on them (fantasy has always been my favorite genre). I bought the first book and devoured it in a matter of days. I distinctly remember being on vacation in D.C. when the second one came out, and I made my parents stop at a bookstore on the way up there so I could get it. I finished the next three in days when they came out.

Then Goblet of Fire came out. At this point, they were getting longer and longer and it was taking what felt like eternities between the books for them to get published. Plus, the ending of GoF really bothered me--the fact that Voldemort was reincarnated from blood, bone and flesh seemed rather Satanic to my young, sheltered mind. So I decided between the series getting creepier and taking a long time to be finished, I'd just wait until they were all out before I finished. So I had a nice HP break in high school. Though I did keep up with the movies. We used to go see them when they came out.

The last book was published in 2007, the year I graduated, and as soon as I got into college I wanted to re-read the beginning and finish the series. But then I decided to become an English major, which meant that all I do is read. Constantly. And I knew that if I started to re-read the HP series all my schoolwork would go out the window until they were finished. So I tried to prolong it as long as I could.

Then I finally caved sometime last year. Although I didn't allow myself to read the books (because, again, I'd still rather read those than my school books), I did listen to the audiobooks. One blown out car battery later (note to self: parking for hours on end with the motor running so you can listen to The Half-Blood Prince just ISN'T a good idea), I'd finished up to the 6th book and finally decided "the hell with it," and read the 7th. I finished it in about four days.

So, have I stuck with Harry? Overall, the answer is yes. Even though I was late to finishing the series. Part of me didn't want to--I'd grown up reading and loving the books when I was the age Harry was in the first half of the series. Seeing Harry and his friends grow up meant that I had to grow up too. But the wonderful thing about fictional characters is that they live forever. As soon as I turned the last page of The Deathly Hallows, I was sad, but it was like, "DUDE. Now I HAVE to re-read them!" And Harry becomes, once again, the little boy in the cupboard below the stairs.


Thank you, Harry, for being immortal in the way that only book characters can be. And thanks to the cast for sticking with the project (the same cast for almost 11 years of filming?? Impressive.) and doing the films the way they needed to be done--with quality and integrity.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

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Are you inspired by the Harry Potter series? In what ways?
Again with literary high-horsiness, but yes, I think it's a very inspirational series--in many ways! JKR has inspired thousands (millions?) of kids to read, and reignited that spark in a load of writers. If I ever try my hand at novel writing again, I'll definitely be taking writing tips from the HP series as far as plot, character development and point-of-view go.
As for the stories themselves, yes, they're inspirational. It starts out as such a simple child's story about an orphaned boy who can do magic. But it evolves into something so much more than that. Throughout the series so many different issues are explored--socio-economic status and opinions, corrupt governments, classism, race, sexuality, and acceptance on all those fronts. It's a story about love and how that's the inherent magic--it's the thing we're all capable of experiencing but no one can define scientifically or otherwise. It just is. It's the magical ability we all have within us. And it's a story about bravery, about overcoming impossible circumstances and emerging victorious in the end. That's the other real bit of magic about the stories--we all have that capability for courage and strength within us. It's just a matter of nurturing that inner bravery through our choices, allies, and growth as human beings.
So overall, yeah, it's pretty epic. And I think J.K. Rowling summed it up best when she said,
"We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already...It's important to remember that we all have magic inside us."

Monday, July 11, 2011

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"The happiest man on earth would look into the mirror and see only himself, exactly how he is."
What would you see if you looked into the Mirror of Erised?
I think this question varies depending on the stage of life in which you find yourself. For me, personally, as of this very second, I would see myself with someone I loved--boyfriend, fiancee, husband (since someone's going to be all 3 at some point anyway, right?)--and financially secure. Not obscenely wealthy, but enough for me to live on without concern and take care of my family as well. I'd be independent of them, but still in a close and loving relationship. Also Bixby would be there. And since the Mirror shows you in brutal honesty what you really want, Sassy would be there too, because sometimes I really do want her back.

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A Patronus is a kind of positive force, and for the wizard who can conjure one, it works something like a shield, with the Dementor feeding on it, rather than him. In order for it to work, you need to think of a memory. Not just any memory, a very happy memory, a very powerful memory… Allow it to fill you up… lose yourself in it…
What form would your patronus take?
This is the second question after, "What house would get sorted into" that people love to discuss. Assuming I could even conjure one (it's supposed to be very difficult, advanced magic)...hmm. The most common animal, I think, people want to have as a patronus is a dog, since a lot of people get along with them. I think I fall into this category, too. But I also have a good rapport with horses. I have one friend who planted the idea of a rabbit patronus in my mind, and I have to admit, it's grown on me. A fox is kind of like a rabbit and a dog, right? I had one quiz tell me it was a penguin. As long as it's not a fish, frog, or slug, I guess I'm okay with it. But if I had to choose, a dog or a rabbit. But you don't get to choose, do you?

What about you guys?? I am WICKEDLY curious as to your answers to these questions.

Here's a brief "Link Me Up: HP Edition" for you!

-Cool and sometimes unknown Harry Potter facts, taken from interviews with JK Rowling.
-Make your own "Undesirable" poster like my profile pic!
-"Harry Potter and the Well of Medical Research" is a cool article discussing various ways that medical research has been influenced by the series. I hate to get all lofty when it comes to books changing the world and influencing society, but it is pretty cool.
-You aren't a Harry Potter fan until you've been to Mugglenet. It's just a cool resource with news about the movies and cast, quotes from the books and movies, funfacts, games, discussions and more. Have a look around one day if you're bored.
-I get asked a lot where I get my gif files. Well, here's where I get the Harry Potter ones.
-This is a great resource for when you have questions or want to understand something within the series better. That weird hummingbird in a jar in the Ministry of Magic? Totally looked it up here.

If this doesn't bring a tear to your eye, you have no soul.
On another note, though, this is hilariously awesome. WAY TO GO, MARKETING DEPARTMENT.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Those of you who know me know I love to shop. So how could I do a whole Harry Potter feature without doing a highlight on merchandise??
My humble collection of HP stuff (which is mostly bookish in nature): Quidditch Though the Ages and Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them; my Ravenclaw scarf; Hogwarts crest pin; house cups (which were a great buy, btw, because I actually USE them); and my collection of HP lit crit books.

Here are some things I want/thought were cool and wanted to share. Click the pics to go to their respective places of purchasing.
Image and video hosting by TinyPicI would literally prostitute myself for these books. No, I'm just kidding. I wouldn't even come close to prostituting myself for them. I wouldn't even go on a date for them. But they are pretty awesome, right??

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I love this artwork. It's really detailed and just cool.

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Or you can get one with the Golden Trio (plus Ginny) here!

Check out Etsy (obviously), Hot Topic, and the WWOHP online store (overpriced though I believe it to be) for more! Or if you're poor like me, you can laugh at/snark/envy other people's stuff at this Potter merch Tumblr.

Do you have something HP-related that you love, or something that's on your wish list? Feel free to leave a comment!