Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Supper at Emmaus - Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

As much as I love Caravaggio, this last oil panting by Rembrandt is my favorite of the Supper at Emmaus.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What We Left Behind - The Trail Band

Kind of a strange video...but I like this song. It's written by Marv Ross and sung by his wife, Rindy Ross (love her voice).

We've been listening to Trail Band Christmas music a lot, but I couldn't find a good video. Lex Browning's vocals on their Christmas albums are a big part of Christmas for me. :-)

I've been fasting from Les Miserables for nearly four whole days! This has been made possible by Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban and the fact that their Christmas CDs are now legal to play. And of course by great self-control and personal sacrifice. ;-)

Tonight we are going to watch the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast performance. This will be my fourth, but Suzy hasn't seen it at all yet...So I'm pretty excited!

Have a good Monday! I know sometimes that can be difficult. :-)

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Word War has begun!

Start typing!

Don't worry about not being able to devote all the time to writing. I certainly won't. Just start writing! (Read more about the word war.)

When it hits 6pm post your finished word count. Hope it goes well. :-)

Thanks for participating,
Miss Pickwickian

(P.S. Like the pic? lol)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Word War - Nov 27th 1-6pm

I'm hosting a Word War tomorrow at 1-6pm (west coast time).

If you haven't participated in a word war, it works like this-

You write during the specified. When it's over you count up your words and post your word count. Whoever got the most (obviously) wins!

Please be honest. Only count the words written during 1-6.
(It's a long window so that those of us that have to be interrupted still have a chance. I don't expect you all to write nonstop...but if you do, you'll probably win! ;-)

Hopefully this will help out some of you struggling to make your NaNoWrMo goal!

The prize is-

1) You will get a lot of writing done. ;-)
2) We will respect your creativity and typing abilities.
3) I will send you Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

Get ready!
Feel free to chat on the comments page about what's going on and how you are doing.
I hope you can participate. Don't worry if you can't get a lot done-- join in anyways! Some of us are going to stay in the low hundreds, don't worry. You won't be alone. ;-)

Thanks so much!
Miss Pickwickian

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

His Steadfast Love is Forever!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I can not even begin to list the many blessings that have engulfed us this year.

God is good even when we can't understand Him. Even when we go through sorrows or confusion.
He is so much bigger and wiser than I possibly can imagine.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
~James 1:16-18

We will miss you, our beautiful, loving, exuberant Grandy.
You have always been so much of our Thanksgiving, ever pointing us towards Christ and the many, many blessings he has showered on us!

One of those greatest blessings was you!

But now you are with him, enjoying a far greater feast in his presence. And you are well and there is no pain and no longing.
For now, we will miss you...
but mostly selfishly. :-)

May we rejoice in the two new lives God has given to our family. Although they may not have met their dear Grandy, they will grow in the shadow of devotion and we pray that someday mirror her dedication to Christ.

The Lord gives and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

One day we will all be together at a feast far beyond our imaginations and in the awesome presence of our Savior.

How can we not overflow with praise and thanksgiving?

May we be filled with gratitude and song while we work at the tasks He has given us.

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil--this is the gift of God."
~Ecclesiastes 5:18-19

Give thanks to the Lord for His steadfast love is forever!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Miss Pickwickian

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Back to Routine

So, today I'm having a serious talk with myself. I need to get back to my daily word count.

I've been hammering through the rewrites on my short story, but now I've sent it to some trusted friends and I'm trying to remain at peace while I wait for feedback. Hopefully they'll still talk to me. :-)

This morning didn't go so well. You can ask Suzy. ;-)

I grabbed anything in arms reach to distract me...and since I've been trying to teach myself to enjoy poetry, Suzy got a good dose of Shakespeare's sonnets, Oscar Wilde, and Lord Byron.

I did discover a few things...

I've read Shakespeare's Sonnets more than once now, but it was an interesting review.

I'm fairly new to Oscar Wilde's poetry.
Suzy rejoiced over The Grave of Keats (I think Bright Star scared her forever) and reveled in The Dole of the King's Daughter although I'm not sure we figured out what it means exactly. I like Oscar Wilde's frequent references to Shakespeare and his characters too. His Ode to Portia is kind of cool.

I confessed I laughed during Byron's Lines Inscribed Upon a Cup Formed from a Skull. I don't think it was Suzy's favorite though. :-)
I discovered When we Two Parted which is what In Silence or Tears is based of (this is on the Gaudreau, Bennett, and Auldridge album, This Old Town). I had no idea. I love that song!
That was kind of cool.

All this caused me to irrupt in a few stanzas dedicated to Suzy, but she was not impressed.

So yes...I have writer's block.

But I will conquer it this afternoon.
I just need to tie myself to my chair, remove all the books from my reach, and start typing.
So yeah...I guess I should get going.

Sorry for the ramble,
Miss Pickwickian

Saturday, November 20, 2010

King Lear - William Shakespeare :-)

King Lear Admonishing Cordelia by Henri Fuseli
We were all set up to study King Lear in highschool, but something happened and we didn't. After reading Deep Comedy I knew I simply had to make it a priority. :-)

So I read it.
I tried to read it straight through without looking at any notes or criticism the first time round. Then I watched the latest movie version, reread the play, reread the portion in Deep Comedy that talks about King Lear, and then investigated some other interpretations. It was extremely interesting.

I'm really glad I worked through it on my own to start with.
I've never really done that with a Shakespeare play, and it was very good. And I didn't get too confused. :-) And I was able to figure who was bad and who was good all on my own! Yeah!

So, anyways...I really liked it. Even more than I thought I would.

Here's a few lines from the play

Edmund 1.2.118-128
"This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune-- often the surfeits of our own behavior-- we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, the stars, as if we were villains on necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves, and teachers by spherical predominance, drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in by a divine thrusting-on. An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of the star."

Albany 4.2.
"This shows you are above,
You justicers, that these our nether crimes
So speedily can venge! But, O poor Gloucester!
Lost he is other eye?"

Edgar 5.3
"The weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long."


Deep Comedy has some really interesting, concise stuff on this play, and even if there weren't a hundred other reasons to read it, you should for Leithart's interpretation of King Lear.

Here's a chunk...

"In an important sense, this pattern of frustrated optimism is a sign of the effect of deep comedy on tragic drama. The play is filled with the unrealized possibility of restoration, redemption, resurrection, in a way that an ancient tragedy could never be. Ancient tragedy took place in a world where resurrection was unknown, where death was the end, but the world of King Lear is potentially a far happier place. The fact that this potential is not realized enhances the feeling of waste."

I wish I could quote all he has to say, but instead here's a paragraph from the conclusion.

"If ancient comedy is haunted by the fear of death, Christian tragedy is haunted by the hope of resurrection. A tragic vision of life makes ancient comedy sad; real hope of a new life in the Christian comic view of things makes Christian tragedy all the more poignant."

Christian tragedy is haunted by the hope of resurrection. I love that.

So I guess I don't have anything very profound to say about King Lear...Not surprising, I'm afraid. But I certainly recommend reading it and thinking about it. :-)

I'd love to hear your thoughts and any good film recommendations. I've watched the 2009 Trevor Nunn/Ian McKellen version (review to come).

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Les Miserables 25th Anniversary

So...where do I begin?

I am relatively new to Les Miserables as a musical. The actual story I have known and loved as long as I can remember. I have no idea why I didn't discover the musical earlier, but I'm glad I've now been thoroughly immersed.

Up until this year all I'd ever seen was some strange black and white video clips where Javert was practically dancing, something that really bothered me. (Note: All the clips I saw were not from professional performances.)

And as I am not a big musical fan in general (think Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, West Side Story, etc.) I didn't really look into it.
When I saw Philip Quast as Javert I changed my mind.

Last night we went and saw the broadcast of the 25th Anniversary performance.

First off, it was amazing. Not to say it was better than the 10th Anniversary Dream Cast, but it was really wonderful!

If I had to rate them, I'd have to say this new one is more visually pleasing, but on the whole I'd have to go with the Dream Cast's voices. Especially Marius, Fantine, and Jean Val Jean. I did like Enjolras, Gavroche, and the young Cosette a lot better in the new one. Gavroche was awesome. If vibrato bothers you, you'd probably like the 2010 performance better.

The 25th Anniversary performance is also longer and fills in a lot of what was taken out of the 1995 performance. This makes the story make more sense if you are not familiar with it. It also gives Gavroche another cool section. :-) But I can see why most of it wasn't in the 1995 performance. (It's also more severely PG-13 rated, I'm afraid.)

So, be forewarned. I am no connoisseur. I'll have to say is on personal taste. Don't take it too seriously or harshly. All Les Miserables is awesome, it can't help it. :-)

Alfie Boe as Jean Val Jean.
I felt like he depended more on acting than some other Valjeans and he just lost some of the depth and general awesomeness and drama of his songs. But this could just be me.
I did like him. But he wasn't Colm Wilkinson for sure. It was an interesting to see a different interpretation.
My biggest and weighing disappointment was Alfie Boe at Fantine's death scene. He totally ruined "run", which is like my favorite part! :-)

I thought I just didn't like the Cosettes I'd seen, but I guess it's just her part...
I thought this Eponine was really good.
(Lea Salonga, who played Eponine in the 1995 performance played Fantine in the 2010. It was a little weird, but I liked her voice much better then I did as Eponine. Still, she didn't sing "I Dreamed a Dream" like Ruthie Henshall. :-)
I had very mixed feelings about Nick Jonas being Marius. Even more so after Suzy told me he was one of the Jonas Brothers. LOL.

I thought Norm Lewis aced this. I was disappointed with his suicide scene, though.

Philip Quast remains Javert for me to the end. Norm Lewis was totally awesome at some points, but I thought he changed too quickly and his last couple songs were not Javert to me. The way Philip Quast sings "Javert" is amazing!

I was pretty scared about what was going to happen to this song...
Michael Ball is so awesome, but I thought at least Nick Jonas made up for something visually.

I'm sure he's going to get a lot of flak, but I seriously thought he did a pretty good job. As a young noob type Marius he was great.

But how could it possibly compare to this...

He's got to have one of my favorite voices ever.

This was the highlight for me! Colm Wilkinson is really outstanding. I have to say he's my favorite Jean Val Jean just because he puts so much emotion into his singing, while still keeping it completely beautiful. Also, he can hold a note for all eternity. :-) Something Alfie Boe barely tried.

This video is not from the actual performance we saw in the movie theater. A couple of the singers are different but the important thing is Colm Wilkinson, Ramin Karimloo, and Michael Ball are there. Sorry about the bad video quality.

You can find more videos on Youtube, if you'd like to see more of the performance.

So, there is really so much I can say, but I'm going to quit there. Someday I'll just have to have have a week for Les Miserables book, movies, dramatized tapes, and musical. ;-)

I've listened to a London and Broadway cast and still like the Dream Cast best. Does anyone have favorites for the parts or recommendations for other recordings?

How amazing is it that a musical this strongly Christian and with these themes has effected so many?
We need to produce more stuff this quality. You can't help but love it.

My conclusion...
I had an absolutely amazing night. I am so thankful I was introduced to this musical.
And we should own both the 2010 and 1995 DVDs and CD sets. ;-)

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Les Miserables

Just came home from seeing the 25th Anniversary London broadcast of Les Miserables. What can I possibly say?

It was simply perfect, although so was the 10th Anniversary (some things even perfecter) and other renditions.

More to come
...much more than you want to hear, I assure you. :-)

A very happy,
Miss Pickwickian

A Character - Tuvia Bielski

I have an irrational love of the movie Defiance.

I know it is not completely accurate, but it is an extremely powerful movie and very well done. I own it, and although it's not one you want to watch over and over again to close together, it's well worth owning.

Please note that this movie is disturbing and really deserves it's R rating. At the beginning it shows actual German footage of a brutal attack on a Jewish village. There is quite a bit of violence, but really the most disturbing aspect is that things like this actually happen.
We've always watched it on Clearplay, so I'm not sure if I'm recommending it or not without it.

I love movies that show a lot of people together and how they change through similar experiences (think Flyboys, Remember the Titans, and Master and Commander). Defiance does this beautifully.

The individuality of the Bielski brothers and their relationships is amazingly done. Simply awesome.

The Bielski Brothers
Zua, Aron, Tuvia, and Aseal

Zus (Liev Schreiber) and Tuvia (Daniel Craig)
Probably the most complicated relationship in the movie.

Zus and Tuvia
This is the part where I want to-
1) Die
2) Cry my eyes out
3) Rave about good acting
4) Wish I could write something like this

The reason I think Tuvia is just an awesome character are many.
I guess the most obvious and over all is that he is fully drawn. He is not perfect, but he is believable and he is extremely likable. He's a strong character.

He is a true leader.
He is both strong and compassionate.

He is an awesome brother.

And on a more trivial note....
He has an awesome white horse.

An outstanding collar.

I love most World War II era clothing...but this coat...
Yes. Very good.

He's a down to earth character, strong character. It think he's interesting to study and I'd love to be able to create one as fully drawn.

Edward Zwick directed and wrote the screenplay with Clayton Froham. I don't think I've seen anything else done by Edward Zwick, but he does an amazing job in Defiance.

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

1 & 2 Kings - Peter Leithart

1 & 2 Kings: A Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible by Peter Leithart
Brazos Press 2006

Rating: 9
Readability: 8
Impact: 9

Read it Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes

What to Expect

A stout Reformed perspective on 1 & 2 Kings, it's Gospel message, and it's applicability in issues of today.

The Brazos Theological Commentary series is written by theologians, not Bible scholars and digs deep into the issues of the text, but not so much every detail. (Both have wonderful places.)

Leithart takes a small bite at a time and addresses important issues in Kings that are often issues today. He also gives an excellent over all look at Israel's history that pull things together.

The chapters are short. This could be an excellent Bible study companion to read over a long course of time, or a sit down and get through it read. :-)

Very good. Exciting and pertinent.

My Squib

I went through 1 & 2 Kings in my Ligonier course, but the book was so...uh..boring. Mostly caught up in the historical arguments against it and very little about the actual text. (Not to say it didn't have some interesting things to say and learn from.)

So...When I saw this at Exodus Books I got really excited.

It talked about so many different things and really made me think more about the implications of Kings. I really, really enjoyed it.

I've always loved Kings and it has some of my favorite people...Benaiah, Elijah, Jehu, Jehoiada, and Josiah.
So glad I read this. I wrote so many notes...gah.

From the Book

This book covers way to much for me to give you a quote that would properly represent the book, but here's a few a copied out in my journal.

"Always, the church's greatest tests come not from the kings who call for imprisonment and torture; Christians relish martyrdom. The great tests arise from lying prophets, from wolfish bishops, and priests, pastors, and preachers."

"If memory shapes our sense of who we are, it is no accident that the communal amnesia of the modern church produces churches without root or rudder, churches that trim their sails to every wind of doctrine. Forgetfulness is ingratitude, and ingratitude is one of the original sins. Worship is history class, where we are renewed in our communal memory and where we confess our forgetfulness of the Lord and his commandments.
Memory binds our past with our present, but in Scripture memory of the past is never nostalgic, but always evokes confidence for the future."

"The book of Kings leaves Isreal east of Eden, awaiting a return that is not yet come. And so it leaves us, a divided Christendom exiled in modern secularism, enduring the times of the Gentiles. It leaves us in exile, but it does not leave us without hope."

Hope this was helpful and, if you haven't read it, I hope it piqued your interest. :-)

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNoWrMo Failures

Sounds like an uplifting post, doesn't it?

While, I have a few problems.

1) I am not altogether pleased with my story

That's not really a new problem...but, you know.

2) It is written in first person and "I" doesn't have a name. In a family that names kitchen knives and dead seagulls, this is especially unacceptable. He is referred to as X.

3) I only have 11, 372 words.

Considering the fact that I've been sick and I had a niece born..what's with that anyways? :-)
Alright, so I'm okay with how much I've gotten done considering the circumstances, but it still isn't enough.

4) And WORST of all- My story ended.

Yeah... I don't think I've ever finished a story yet that wasn't somehow related to school (I have no idea why I'm admitting this). This one just comes to an end 38628 words short.

I have never in my life been able to handle a short story, and here I write one by accident. It's ridiculous. I mean, Where Loyalties Lie is over 50,000 words long and I'm probably only about 1/3 through...

Bleg...I am such a failure.

But on a brighter note...
I loved writing this.

It was an idea that has been stewing for some time, but repressed because of the magnitude of my current story. I thought writing a novel in November would be the perfect opportunity. I knew 50,000 words would be stretch for the idea, but I certainly thought it would go farther than 11, 372.

I sat down to this story to just write.
I didn't go back and read anything. I just went. I didn't even use the synonym finder. I wrote what I wanted and kept going.

And now I'm anticipating some major and deep revisions and editing (if not throwing it away altogether..:-).
But I had one of the best times writing ever. I mean, writing hadn't been so much fun in a long time. It was marvelous. And even if the whole thing is a piece of junk, I think it helped me get over a hump and I'm now very refreshed.

I printed it and handed it over to my sister. She already knows the idocentric aspects of my spirit and I'm too afraid to show it to her (okay, not very afraid, anyways).

It probably has the most of me in it since I wrote about Erich, Peter, and Gabriel at their boys boarding school when I was nine. That's not really a good sign.
But I feel at peace.

I know my sister likes me, even if I don't come across very sensible on paper. :-)

Now, the question is-

a) Do I completely bag my goal of 50,000 words?

b) Do I go back to Where Loyalties Lie and try to get 38628 words written before the end of the month?

c) Do I start another and try to make it come to about 38628 words?

My sister wants one on about a Huguenot...I've never seen myself writing historical fiction, but I do think the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre has a lot of story potential and people should certainly know about it. (All the dying would certainly fit into my general writing style...lol.)

e) Just write what I can in Where Loyalties Lie while I slog through some serious edits in this new story?


So, yeah. That's what's been going on in my writing life.
Thanks for listening. You're very kind.
Miss Pickwickian

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Leonardo DiCaprio - Polka Dot

So...my sister is a learning artist and this last year she's had a wonderful opportunity to take portrait classes. She's really improving and some of her pictures are just awesome! (No bias involved, I assure you.)

They don't come out quite as nice in photographs, but I want to post some anyways, and she has very graciously allowed me. So, in the future, you shall be seeing some Polka Dot art. :-)

If you are an artist of some sort and would like to be mentioned, recommended or linked back to, feel free to email me and we can talk about it. I'd absolutely love to!

Leonardo DiCaprio
Polka Dot 2010

(And just in case you were concerned...No, she does not always go around drawing actors and she is not particularly obsessed with DiCaprio. I just thought this was a good example because he has a very unusual, if pleasing countenance that I think would be hard to draw.)

Please encourage her! :-)

Thanks for looking,
Miss Pickwickinan

Friday, November 12, 2010

Howl's Moving Castle - A Ramble

I was first introduced to Howl's Moving Castle at a friend's house three or four years ago. I came in about 1/3 of the way through and was properly confused. The friend loved the book and couldn't reconcile herself with the movie. She gave me a good lecture on how much better the book was. ;-) I still came home wanting to see the rest, but my family isn't big into anime, so it got dropped somewhere.


I was at another friend's house and I saw it sitting on the shelf and I was like, "Dude! Can we watch this?" And we did. :-)


We were out at a gigantic mall and had just gotten high on cheesecake before we went book sniffing in Borders. We ended up both buying a copy of Howl's Moving Castle, partly because we wanted to read it and partly because it just smelled so good. Later we felt guilty, so decided to purchase them as gifts for each other. Somehow it felt less like a unwarranted expense.


I made my sister read it. So far everyone I had talked to liked which ever they experienced first. Book if they read first, movie if they watched first. I liked the movie better, although I enjoyed the book. My sister was far from eager to watch an anime film, but I actually got her drawing pictures from the movie before she even saw it. ;-)
It was getting bad. "I hate fish", "what a pretty fire", and other quotes kept hindering our communication. She simply had to see the movie...and by this time she really wanted to.
(I actually do not hate fish, btw.)

And, on Tuesday in the exhaustion of our recent experiences and the battle against nasty colds we watched it...snuggled up on the couch in the darkness.
It was amazing.

So, that's my experience with Howl's Moving Castle, but I'm pretty sure you want to actually hear about it, not my boring history in relation to it.

The Book
by Diana Wynne Jones and published in 1986 by a division of Harper Collins.

Rollicking, quirky, funny, unexpected, and just plain random. I loved the characters. I enjoyed the story, but felt like it lacked some of the depth and cohesiveness of the movie. It was was really was just plain good story telling, unapologetic and fun. Not a great work of literature, but a good story...especially if you like randomness.

It's uniqueness, surprise words, and characters make it pretty irresistible.

The Movie
Directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki (2004)
English version starring Christian Bale, Jean Simmons, Billy Crystal and Emily Mortimer.

You should see this movie even if you aren't a fan of anime (which there is no reason not to be unless you were scarred by the Pokeman craze...like me).

It's creative and winsome and beautiful.
It's not necessary to love, but I think it is necessary to appreciate. Besides...I'm pretty sure you'll love the characters at least.

The best movies (animated, action, drama, anything) you can watch over and over and still notice new things.
I wouldn't have expected this from a simple (but beautiful) film like this, but it is true. A lot of creative weaving was put into the details to make this story one much larger than two hours can hold, but at the same time very understandable and fun in those two hours.
I noticed new things every time I watched it.

I admit that some of the lines, especially of the romance, could be taken as cheese. For me, they worked. It wasn't taking itself too seriously and somehow Christian Bale (Howl's voice) can just pull of those cool lines that would seem cheesy by anybody else (think Batman Begins). To me it was awesome.

The movie is creative (almost disturbingly with it's flying battleships and hatted blob men), gives food for thought and conversation, has outstanding music, and is beautiful and colorful.
You should try it.

Book vs. Movie

The movie plot is drastically different than the book. I think I like the movie's better.

Normally I think the movie should stick closely to the book. After all, you could just make up your own story if you're going to change it that much. But in this case, I think everything was justified. (I also saw the movie first, so I'm going to be bias.) The most important thing is to stick with the characters. It is unforgivable when when a movie director takes a well loved fictional character and twists them to do something totally uncharacteristic. This is where Howl's Moving Castle comes clean.

The characters are very true to themselves. Howl and Sophie, while they might end up doing some things not in the book, are very true to the spirit of the Howl and Sophie on the printed page. Micheal is a much younger boy in the movie, but his lines and character are very similar. The bad characters are rather drastically changed, but that's okay. :-)

There were three things that were different in the movie that I really liked.

1) Howl, although girls are mentioned, is not always chasing them.

2) The whole Howl curse thing made a lot more sense and was a lot cooler. (Not sure how to explain it better than that.:-)

3) They break out of their various spells without using added magic. Wizardry in general is not portrayed very positively. Sophie does not have magical powers (which I liked better). Although there was a very clear line between "black" magic and not black magic, in the book, it was still used in ways that hardly seemed fair. And at the end Howl goes on being a wizard and Sophie is learning more about the power she has.

I liked how the movie, by the end, kind of seems to be saying that magic has created a lot of problems and when they reverse that magic, life is how it should be. Kind of almost like, Howl was grabbing to much power and that's how his whole curse thing started out.

I don't know how to explain this all very well, but it had a more Lord of the Rings message then a Harry Potter one. (Even if you love Harry Potter, you have to realize that there is a big difference.) It was just more "deep" and cohesive, I thought.

Special Issues

Howl is very interesting.
I love that he loves beauty and that his room is full of color and stuffed animals.
That is just down right awesome.
Near the end Calcifer says that Howl's heart is still that of a child. For some reason, I think this is the sort of child-like wonder G. K. Chesterton and N. D. Wilson would approve of. A fascination with the colorful and the beautiful and the unusual.

In the movie, the character development with Howl is well done and he is certainly more mature in the areas he should be at the end. He loses his selfishness and self proclaimed tendency to run.

Is the movie anti-war?
I don't think so.

Sophie is believable and relatable and still maintains uniqueness and individuality. She is polite and compassionate. Sophie and Howl seem to fairly easily forgive the Witch of the Waste and actually harbor her in their castle. Come to think about it, compassion and kindness play a big part in the movie.

What about the poor prince at the end? The once adorable turnip head? Sophie is his true love, but he is not hers. It's so sad. But you can't stay sad for long considering the circumstances. The Witch of the Waste is awesome in this scene, by the way. :-)

From the Movie

Sophie: "Let's run away. There's no use in fighting."
Howl: "Why? I'm done running away. Finally I've found something worth protecting with my life. Its you."

You can see more awesome quotes here, which for the sake of brevity, I shall not include.

In Conclusion

I could probably ramble on forever...but I'll quit.

I know several other people who have read the book that have not seen the movie, so we should be having some more parties soon. ;-) That will give me some more time for analyzing and enjoying.

If I was going to give this a review I would give the book about a 7 and the movie a 9.

If you watched it and/or read it, tell me what you thought.

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vivo Per Lei - Andrea Bocelli

With Giorgia
This is the original version released in Bocelli's album, Romanza.

Judy Weiss doesn't have my favorite voice in the world, but this is a pretty awesome duet.

with Martha Sanchez...I'm not a fan of how she sings this, but she does have some pretty songs.

It's interesting with the choir in the background.

With a Brazilian Portuguese singer.
Sandy seems a little more innocent and I like her voice. The sound isn't great in this video. :-P

Three things I love-- Haley Westenra, ice skating, and Andrea Bocelli.
I have watched this video so many times it's crazy.

So yeah...Vivo Per Lei is awesome.

Hope you enjoyed,
Miss Pickwickian

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Joyfully at Home - Jasmine Baucham

Joyfully at Home by Jasmine Baucham
The Vision Forum, Inc 2010

Rating: 8
Readability: Very readable...
Impact: Very good reminders.

Read it Again: Probably.
Recommend It: Yes.

What to Expect

A relatively balanced book on Christian womanhood directed towards unmarried girls, young and old. I was skeptical, mostly because of the title, but Jasmine Baucham does not try to argue that you must stay at home, and instead gives a quite argument for a woman's general calling.

Conversationally toned, but pretty well organized. Laid back. Stays out of your face. Good at going back to the Bible.

Not sure if I agreed with every angle she took, but certainly worth the read and with plenty of wisdom and encouragement...both for daughters at home and young women who have moved out.

My Squib

I was wary at first. Vision Forum has produced some excellent recourses, some of it seems pretty romanticized and since So Much More was so not my favorite, I had low expectations. (Note: I'm not saying So Much More had nothing good to say, but the tone and priority management of the book did not agree with me.)

I believe Jasmine Baucham takes on a tamer, humbler view that she has diligently tried to back up by going back to Scripture over and over. I ended up really liking the book.

There are a lot of really amazing recourses out for Christian young ladies now. I own and love a lot of them.
But it seems like so often the emphasis gets confused. Our #1 priority should be to run after Christ, and I know the authors of many of these books sincerely believe that. Somewhere, it seems, that that direct goal gets pushed behind other implications.
I mean, we focus so hard on this or that, but if we were just pursuing Christ this or that wouldn't be an issue. Or if it was, it would be a long way down.

I'm not trying to say that if we are correctly focused we won't have other issues...but it seems like it sure takes care of a lot of them.
If your focused on God you won't be focused on yourself.
If your focused on God you will want to serve Him.
If your focused on God you will not be focused on boys.

I'm not trying to say that we shouldn't do in depth study of service or humility or purity, but it so often seems like we approach things the wrong way.

I think that's part of what sets Elisabeth Elliot's Passion and Purity apart. Instead of causing you to think more about a current relationship or coming one, it points you strait to God. How can you glorify Him in your singleness now? How will approach dating/courtship/marriage in a way that will glorify Him when/if God's timing comes?

It also seems like so often something is encouraged because you will need it when you are married. That's a reasonable argument, but it seems like just that...reasoning.

It's not like we don't have a calling NOW. Marriage is a powerful tool of Christian warfare, but it's certainly not the only tool. Service, patience, submissiveness, humility, and self-sacrifice are not things that you need to learn so your marriage won't crash, but there things to do right now, because they are a command!
It just seems like the argument of learning to do something before you get married, while it may make complete sense and be true, is not the argument we should use.

(Please note that I am not criticizing stay at home daughters or trying to minimize the importance of marriage or proper prep any way. I am a daughter at home who has chosen to stay home.)


Joyfully at Home didn't leave these issues out, but saved them, for the most part, for last section of the book. I thought they would have been much better in the front and then constantly brought back through out the rest of the book.

Over all, I thought this was a really great book. Jasmine Baucham is a convicted Christian that sincerely wants to honor God.
I also love the fact that she's so into writing, loves literature, is pretty much a hopeless (but self-aware) romantic. Although I'm not, I know and love some amazing people who are and I appreciate them. :-)

So, yes, it's a good book.

From the Book

Biblical womanhood, at its core, is merely embracing Eve's purpose: serving those around you with the gifts the Lord has given you; making a home, yes, or being willing to pull up your sleeves and build a wall like the women in Nehemiah's day.
Taking joy in the raising of children, you bet...and being able to get dirty chasing them in the backyard. Beautifying, you bet, but also possessing deeper traits than mere beauty: intelligence-- competence-- true joy (Nehemiah 8:10).

If you read it, tell me what you think!
Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pen in the Ink

I want to be able to say this...

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

- G. K. Chesterton

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Trinitarian Justification... and the Importance of Artists and Story Tellers!

Listen to this Reformation Day Sermon...

Trinitarian Justification by Peter Leithart
The sermon uploaded 11/1/10 #1589
And here is a excerpt on Peter Leithart's blog.

The sermon itself is extremely good, but the part before is amazing too.
I had to listen to it twice. :-) What an mission for writers and artists. May we take this to heart. This so important. May we encourage each other!

I hope you have time to listen.
Miss Pickwickian

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fall Picture - Daniel

This picture was taken by one of my amazing brothers.
I love it.
Fall is beautiful!

Thanks for looking,
Miss Pickwickian

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm Guilty - KJ-52

A friend recently introduced me to KJ-52. This song is amazing...and sobering and exhilarating...and I don't know what else.

If you have not listened to Lecrae's Praying for You and Don't Waste Your Life, you should. :-) Here's a link to other awesome rap songs.

Thanks for reading/watching,
Miss Pickwickian

P.S. How do you feel about the new template? I'm hoping it's more readable since I was getting some complaints about the dark background and light letters.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reform the World

We always have good sermons, but the last two have been especially pertinent.


These are things I need to work on and attitudes that will change the culture!

As a side note...I've been messing around with things on the blog...
Probably because I was exhausted yesterday and had so much to do that I didn't know where to start. I fell asleep reading in the morning and my reading glasses fell off and my study Bible fell on top of them. They are toast. It's absolutely horrible. Really. That and a combination of being very tired and eating more candy than my blood sugar can handle the night before and getting up at the crack of dawn (okay...not crack of dawn, but it felt like that after the night before) and helping clean out our kitchen for a complete remodel... Anyways! The point is, yesterday was hectic and I took it out on revamping my blog. Somebody's got to pay. ;-)

Actually, I have nothing to complain about (except myself for breaking my only reading glasses). And yesterday was greatly improved by going over to my brother's house in the evening for a voting party and being in the company of two very adorable nieces.

The point is...the blog is a mess and hopefully with some technical and aesthetic support from Suzy it will look better soon. :-)

Let me know if you have any suggestions. And of course, encouragement is always welcome. :-)

If you have the time and inclination, listen to the sermon links. They are very good. There things we need to hear!

Can you believe it's November?

Thanks for reading.
Miss Pickwickian

Monday, November 1, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Thank you so much everyone for entering my giveaway.

Congratulations Eldra! You won!
Please contact me and let me know what you'd like and where. :-)

All you who didn't win, thank you for entering anyways and for helping spread the word. I wish I could send these amazing books to all of you!

Thank you!
Miss Pickwickian