Great White Snark: November 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dracula, Part I: When in Transylvania...

So, I finished my last novel EVER required for my B.A. I'm pretty excited, but I'm also a little sad, because now I don't know what to read. I've been told what to read for the last four and a half years...I'm afraid I don't really know what I like to read anymore. I have a general idea, but it'll take me a while to get into a reading niche now that it's not obscure novels from the 1700's.

Anyway, the very last book I had to read was Dracula, which is so perfect and I think it's a great ending to the journey of getting my lit degree. Anyway, I absolutely love this book. I read it for the first time in high school and was enamored with it then, but reading it with four years of lit crit under my belt made it THAT much better.

And there is no good movie version of this to watch. I've seen the BBC version from like, 1979, and it is heinously corny. I also attempted to watch the 1992 version with Gary Oldman, which was, admittedly, extremely accurate to the book. However, it was also extremely gory, so I only ended up being able to watch about an hour total of it (I jumped around a lot). But what I saw was good. They got the tone right, and actually, Gary Oldman totally looks like Dracula in the least in the beginning with the white bun hair and hairy palms.

This part? NOT SO MUCH. Creative license, ftw.

Actually, there was a lot of creative license taken. Which is frustrating, because the storyline and whatnot was pretty accurate. Curse you, Hollywood and Coppola.

Also, it's hard to watch Dracula when you're thinking of Sirius Black the entire time. I digress.

Anyway, omg, if you haven't ever read Dracula, wtf are you doing. Get off my blog, go to the library, and read it over Christmas. There's snow in it. So it's a Christmas story now.

I know none of you will actually do this, so I'm going to summarize the story. There are a lot of characters, so it helps to visualize them. Here's my dream cast of who I pictured in my head when reading Dracula.

Okay, so these are the people I pictured almost exactly. I think if Keauea Reeves and Adrien Brody had a lovechild, he could play Jonathan Harker (well done, casting dept. of the '92 Dracula movie). Also, I try not to picture Renfield because he's totally gross, but someone like Crispin Glover or Robert Carlyle would do well with the alternating between manic and civilized. And there is no one on earth creepy enough to play Dracula. So just picture whoever you want. As long as it's not R-Patz.

OKAY. Enough of that.

So. The story starts with Jonathan Harker going to Transylvania to help finalize the sale of some property in England to one Count Dracula. On his way over, all the Romanian gypsies keep throwing crucifixes at him and telling him to wear them. He's just like, "whatever, supersitious peasants, for I am a Protestant and have no need for such iconography." But he keeps one anyway. GOOD THING, TOO.

So, at night (because why on earth would any sane Englishman travel during the day?), a carriage comes to pick him up and take him to Castle Dracula. The driver doesn't speak, but he can control wolves, so that's kind of creepy. Oh, and the carriage drives through pillars of blue flame. And he drives like a maniac. So Jonathan is creeped out but remains incredibly stoic and English through the whole thing.

Then the carriage stops at the castle door, lets him out, then goes driving off. Then, a few minutes later, the door opens and it's Count Dracula. Now, Dracula in the book does not look like Bela Lugosi. He's like, old, with a white moustache and white hair and hairy palms and no complexion and super white teeth. He does sound like Bela Lugosi, though, so that's cool.

Anyway, he's all like, polite and old aristocracy and invites Harker in and feeds him this super fantastic meal. But he begs off eating because he ate earlier. Ah ah ah. Then he shows Harker to his room and goes to bed. It's like 5 in the morning at this point.

So over the next couple of days, Harker and the Count finalize the purchase of the Count's English property and they study English together and all that. Then the Count is like, "Write to everyone you love and tell them you'll be here a month. I need to brush up on my English." And Harker's like, "Wtf, bro, your English is perfect." And the Count insists. So Dracula forces him to write these letters, and he does.

Then, when he's shaving, Harker cuts himself and Dracula flips a biscuit and locks him in his bedroom. Jonathan now realizes this isn't your normal stay at a Transylvanian B&B. He understands he's a prisoner now. He looks out the window and sees the Count sidling down the wall like a lizard.

And the stiff upper lip goes out the window.

So does his condemnation of crucifixes. He starts wearing his and hanging it over his bed.

Everyone in this book keeps magnificent diaries, btw. It's an epistolary novel, which is cool, because it's told through letters, diaries and newspaper articles.

So after his little Spiderman stunt, the Count comes back to feed Jonathan, and then tells him not to fall asleep anywhere in the castle except for his room, because otherwise he might have a bad dream. Deciding a bad dream isn't so bad, Harker goes exploring and finds a dusty old girls' room and falls asleep. And there, he's accosted by Dracula's three vampire brides. This scene gets over-sexualized a lot in movies, but it really is a very smutty scene...for the 1800's and all. So they come and writhe around and want to bite him and come like *this* close to doing so when the Count comes back and banishes them. Oh, he does feed them an infant though. Which is gross. Harker awakens in his room and bemoans the fact that he'll probably die there. He writes sad letters to his fiancee, Mina Murray, in shorthand. And the Count, even though he intercepts all of Harker's letters, can't read the shorthand. Baller.

So like, a month passes and Harker's going insane being locked up and realizing that Dracula and his three sexy brides are eating up all the village's children. So he breaks out of his room one day and goes to the church's chapel, where he finds Dracula's coffin. He opens it, and inside is the Count and he's like, GORGED with blood. Stoker describes it so wickedly:
"The cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby-red underneath. The mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran down over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood. He lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion."

So then some more unimportant but sufficiently creepy stuff happens and Harker decides he's getting the hell out of dodge, or he's gonna die trying.

I'm going to finish this in 3 parts, because no one's actually going to sit here and read the whole thing. BUT IT'S GOOD and worth summarizing. So look for parts 2 (Meanwhile, in Merry Old England) and 3 (Hang on to Your Crosses, Boys!) within the next couple of days. :)

{Part II.}
{Part III.}

Friday, November 25, 2011

"That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!"

My reaction to the Christmas music, traffic and general mess that will be the Christmas season in Orlando:
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I think if I had snow and a pony (and quiet), I'd enjoy Christmas more.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Deo gratias.

As always, I have so much to be thankful for. I was going to do a picture collage, but some of the things in my list would be difficult to represent visually. So I made a word collage instead!

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Thank you to everyone who's a special part of my life. To my friends, readers, family (especially my family), and those who carve out time in their busy lives for me, a tremendous thank you.

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving!

To finish:

Here's the Thanksgiving scene from the Addam's Family sequel, wherein Wednesday and her band of misfits alter the end-of-summer-camp play so they can burn the snotty blonde girls at the stake (I identify with Wednesday Addams).

And a bit of Holiday Snark:


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Leaves become most beautiful when they're about to die.

I am a terrible blogger. No lie. Like, the worst.

It's been A WEEK since I posted. This is sad. Remember the good ol' days when I'd post like THREE or even FOUR times a week??

Apparently, being busy means there's less time for a) writing and b) observing things to write about.

Here's my life in a nutshell:
-I have 5 more "official" days of class, then finals, and then BOOM! I'm done! WHAAAT? This semester FLEW. I'm going to need to go have a library day so I can say goodbye, since that's the only thing I'll miss about UCF. (Can alums still use the library?? I must find out!)

-I got what might be considered a "promotion" at work. Hooray! I'm now an officially certified buyer and a key holder. Which makes me like a shift manager. Whee! That's exciting.
What's most exciting though is this awesome Plato's Closet Certified Buyer lanyard I get/have to wear. And lanyards mean flair. LET ME SHOW YOU MY FLAIR (mwhaha like you have a choice):

I got it all from this nifty Etsy shop. She has a great deal where you can pick any 6 pins for $5, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than you'd pay at Hot Topic or whatever. Plus, you couldn't get pins about reading, pugs, unicorns, and Star Wars ALL at Hot Topic. Oh, internet, how do I love thee? Anyway, check it out...they'd make cute stocking stuffers!

-I've been so tardy in posting these, but whatever, better now than at Christmas (click to enlarge!).

We tried to put Bixby in the bat costume (so we'd match) but he kept wriggling his way out of it and flopping his ears off. So since Millie is basically a piece of toast in a dog's costume, we put it on her and let Bixby be a bumble-bee again. I don't know what Chichi is supposed to Mom has a whole wardrobe for her, so she just put her in her "posh frock."

Oh my God, I need a life.

-Dracula is such a quality book. If you've never read it, you seriously need to. It's "baller," as the kids say.

-I'm done with my Christmas shopping! This pleases me. The Christmas season, however, does not. So go away, all you with your overplayed Christmas songs and movies.
This is where I'd like to sequester myself until, like, February.
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-However, Christmas means present wrapping, and I LOVE wrapping presents. So, I guess that's good. I guess.

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(Even though we all know the answer is 42.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I need to rant for a minute.

That's what blogs are for, right?

I am OVER people with abominable manners. I'm not talking people who forget to say "please" or "excuse me." I'm just talking about people who take out their anger and frustrations on random strangers. Random strangers here being me.

It is NOT my own personal fault if we can't buy any of your clothes at Plato's, especially when I've already explained to you IN DETAIL what it is we're looking for and how the process works. This is no excuse to yell at me, accuse me of lying and wasting your time, and then storm out of the store and ruin two displays on the way out.

It's also my right and my prerogative to let my dogs out IN MY OWN YARD late at night. I understand you're walking and this is your neighborhood, too. I always leash Bixby because he's eager and tends to run after people and jump on them (in greeting. If you've met Bix you know he doesn't have an aggressive bone in his fat little body). But my older two, if it's not a busy time in the neighborhood (early morning, when the school bus comes, early evening, etc.), I usually just let out front IN MY YARD so they can go pee. DO NOT yell at me if Millie comes meandering over to you. She was not running, jumping, growling or barking. She pranced in your general direction. Don't tell me how to care for my own pets when you don't have any of your own.

There are myriads of other instances in my daily life in which people just absolutely fail at sensibility and common courtesy. And I'm not even on the worst end of it. I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed people screaming at their hair stylists and nail techs like they're freaking GOD and everyone else is just put on earth as peons to serve them. GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE. You breathe the same air as the rest of us and your blood is red just like everyone else's. People make mistakes. Sometimes things, like dogs, act or react beyond our realm of control. For God's sake, just be UNDERSTANDING. You don't have to fart unicorns and piss rainbows. I'm just asking for some empathy and compassion from humanity at large.

Being rude and aggressive with total strangers is something I just DON'T understand. I have been to hell and back quite a few times, and I still manage to function like a bearable member of society. I certainly never take it out on people I don't even know. We might not be rolling in the dough or have fancy titles or anything, but my mother is a lady and she raised me to be one, too. Meaning that you always act with the utmost dignity and decency towards others, even (and especially) people in positions lower than your own. Discrepancies arise, and it's your right and responsibility to ask for fair treatment or a correction when a mistake has been made. But you do so with grace and dignity. NOT yelling and screaming at people whose fault it most certainly is not.

Also, you might think just because you've never seen me before you can get away with this kind of behavior. But in a couple of instances, I've seen you before. I've heard you talk the talk and seen you NOT walk the walk. Be careful of the first impressions you leave on people, and don't think that no one's watching you so it's okay to act egregiously. You may very well be seen by people who know who you are and what you're about. Or supposedly about.

PLEASE, people. Just have some decency. I know life is frustrating and I know time is valuable and I know that shit happens. But there is a right and wrong way to handle every situation, and if most people would just take a deep breath and consider what they're about to do before they do it, I think the world would be a much more pleasant place to be.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

And for once it might be grand to have someone understand...


So not a whole lot is new. I'm overall glad to be back at work, because it makes me feel like I'm actually doing something. And it's just the right amount this time (SCORE!) because I feel like I'm maintaining a normal level of stress. So this is good.

School is going well, too, even though I've become very lazy and lackadaisical about the whole thing. Which I guess is to be expected of 5th year seniors. I'm just ready to be done, I think.

Which leads me once again to the crisis of "What do I do after school?" I haven't worried about it yet because there's no sense in me looking for a job when I'm still finishing my degree. Come December though, I need to start at least looking. My manager today informed me she'd be happy to hire me on eventually as a store manager. You get paid an annual salary which increases based on how well your store does, but the starting pay is $27,000. Which is, admittedly, more than I've ever made. But I'll also be living alone--no roomates, boyfriend, husband, etc. to pay the difference. And I feel like I've KILLED myself getting my degree in English, which is something I'm so passionate about...the age old question is "what do you do with a degree in English?" and I'm not entirely sure, but something with words or books would be preferable.

Although, beggars can't be choosers, I suppose (and I'm like, worse than a beggar. I'm like a 20-something leech who never left home. THE HORROR!), but can you blame me for wanting something more? Something where I'm at least working in/around books and publication?
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The nice thing is that I've never really had a "dream job." I'm not the kid who grew up practicing her Oscar's acceptance speech, so I can't be hurt if I don't win it. I'm completely open to any career path, which works well in the current job climate. At least I have an offer of some kind if nothing else works out, which is a blessing.

In other news, this show is AWESOME and I love it and omg, I'm so excited that it exists:

Anyone who likes fairy tales should at least check it out.

ALSO, I can't tell you how excited I am for the Sherlock Holmes sequel. It looks absolutely ridiculous, but STEPHEN FRY IS MYCROFT. Cannot wait.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011