Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

I’m A Little Flaky

My paper is coming along quite nicely, thank you for asking. Since I need a tiny brain break before I start belting Christmas carols at the top of my lungs, I thought that I’d get my Photo Friday post done early. So, this is not the best representation of my photography, but there’s a lot going on here. First, the photo:

Told you that I was flakey!

Now, the story:

1. The snowflake was drawn in the amount of time it took for my university’s Blackboard link to load. Come on guys, let’s get the system running better, yes?

2. I took the picture while waiting for the discussion boards to load. Really, people?

3. This shows off my mad snowflake drawing skills- also know as “Look! Miss Woodhouse didn’t mess up a design with straight lines!” It’s a big deal for me. Drawn with blue marker on a skin canvas.

4. It’s really hard to take a picture of your own hand.

5. This is as close as I will ever get to a tattoo- afraid of needles and all that.

6. We had snow all day yesterday, which is why I wanted to share this crazy picture with you today! At one point the sky was mostly blue with one dark cloud off to the side. However, that one cloud was snowing, and the wind was blowing it all around. For all practical purposes, it looked like it was snowing out of a clear blue sky. Very Hollywood. I tried to frame it, but the weirdness didn’t translate well to photograph form.

7. My brain is now rested, so on to finishing my paper! Have a great Friday.

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So Here’s What’s Happening

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve blogged something substantial, but please don’t give up on me! Truth is, I have about 8 blog posts started, but I get distracted and haven’t had the time to finish them. I will, I promise!

It’s finals week. I know that everyone who has ever been to college is probably shuddering right now- brings back bad memories, does it not? To make it worse, my school is on the quarter system, so I go through finals week 5 times a year. Yeah, it’s not fun. So here’s what stands between me and Spring Break:

-Write 500ish words on Christians and the spirit world.

-Respond to 2 other people’s opinions on Christians and the spirit world.

-Write 2-300 words on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Respond to 2 other people’s opinions on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

-Write a 7-9 page paper on Dickens’s use of children and their effect on Scrooge’s character in A Christmas Carol.

-Write 2 formal essays encapsulating everything I’ve learned about Victorian literature in the past 8 weeks.

-Take a reading proficiency quiz.

-Take a two hour exam on a month’s worth of reading materials on cults (the last test crashed on me half-way through, so this may do the same).

On a personal note:

-Go to work tonight and Saturday

-Go to Bible study

-Teach music

-Go to class

-Go to the library for research

-Teach British literature

-Attend little brother’s sports award ceremony

-Find and distribute copies of a play my club is reading to seniors next month.

All this to say if I’m not around here much, please don’t leave! Once things settle down we’ll be back to our normally scheduled programming. See you soon!

How about one of my favourite YouTube videos to keep you entertained while I’m gone? Watch it to the end; it cracks me up!

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Between a Rock and a Hard Jetty

Okay, so I thought that I would try out a new thing- Photo Friday. As you may have read in my “About Me” section, I love to take photographs, and sometimes they even turn out really well! Without further ado, here’s this week’s photo (click to view full size):

Between a rock and a hard jetty.

Okay, I love this shot for many, many reasons.

1. It was taken at a friend’s riverfront estate on a beautiful day. The lighting comes from the sunset reflecting off the river.

2. That shell had been in the same place for hours. When we first arrived it was mere centimeters above the waterline. I thought that it was pretty, but the dirty water detracted from it. This shot was much cleaner.

3. This shot was impromptu. For all the times I frame, focus, and polish a shot, this was literally a point and click. We were getting ready to leave, I glanced down, saw that the shell was still there, haphazardly snapped a photo for fun, and didn’t realize ’til later what a great shot it was.

4. The detail blows my mind (again, I can’t take full credit- it was a lucky shot). The ridges on the shell, the moss on the shell, the snail still in the shell (look closely!), and the way that the sharp focus of the center blurs as the picture spreads outwards is amazing to me.

So there you have it, my first Photo Friday! Thoughts, suggestions, tips, or tricks? Leave them in the comments!

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Justice

It’s finals time again, which is why I’ve been MIA around here this week. However, I can’t leave you, dear readers, without something to think about. In going over some papers from last semester, I found a short post I wrote on how the theme of justice is treated in Shakespeare’s plays. We read eight plays in eight weeks, plus some sonnets. I only cover five of the plays- Hamlet, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, and The Tempest. If you have any thoughts about justice in these five plays, or any other Shakespearian works, feel free to leave them in the comments field. One of the things I love about classes is the discussion aspect, so it would be nice to have that here as well. Enjoy!

One of the overarching themes I have noticed through Shakespeare’s plays is the idea of justness and rightness. With the notable exception of King Lear, the good end well and the bad end in disgrace. In plays like The Tempest, this idea is a little vague and hard to grasp. However, we can see that Ferdinand and Miranda, two innocent characters in a sea of magic and manipulation, are able to be happy together (5.1, 199-201). Caliban, the evil plotting man-fish, ends in disgrace and ruination (5.1, 299-301). Even Prospero experiences a form of justice- he can regain his place in society, but he must surrender his somewhat overused magical powers to do so (Epilogue, 1-3).

Much Ado presents a simplistic form of justice. After attacking the very character of Hero, Claudius is able to regain her and her love by simply mourning her “death” and agreeing to marry her “cousin.” Don John, the instigator of all things unpleasant, is captured in flight and put aside until someone could be bothered to devise a good punishment for him (5.4, 121-122).

Shylock receives the rougher end of the complication of justness when Portia’s pleas to him for grace and mercy go unheeded (4.1, 228-229; 303-307). As Greenblatt points out, the justice Portia serves is lacking in the very mercy she begged for Antonio, but that should not matter to the reader since the characters are satisfied by it (254). Though Ophelia’s death in Hamlet does not seem fair, the injustice of it is somewhat tempered by the fact that all the truly bad characters meet their death in various ways as well. Othello shares the same idea- though readers are saddened by the senseless death of an innocent woman, the event is made slightly less tragic by the clearing of her name and the death of her murderer.

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I *Heart*…

Not to be a buzz-kill, but Valentine’s Day tops the list of holidays I despise. I’m sure that it’s fine for some people, but the over-sentimentality of the day really grates on my nerves. I do enjoy having a nice evening with my family (dinner, movie, games, etc.), and that is really the highlight of the holiday. If it wasn’t for them, I’d just as soon ignore the day.

The best Valentine’s Day I’ve had so far in my life was when I worked for a florist. 600 roses in one day, and I handled most of them! It’s the most heavenly scent in the world, all those roses and tulips and lilies blending together in the air. I also went out on deliveries. There’s little I enjoy more than knocking on a door, and handing an unsuspecting woman a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Because we write a lot of the cards, I usually know some of the back story to who the couple is and how long they’ve been together. It’s even more fun when we get to deliver to people at work- the shock and awe just makes me smile.

Despite not liking Valentine’s Day as a rule, I cannot let the holiday pass by without a little nod to the nature of the day. Therefore, here is a partial list of people I love!

I *heart*:

My family

My friends

My coworkers

My English teachers

My Religion teachers

My book club friends

My favourite customers

My puppy

I also have an unusual attachment to some…erm…inanimate objects that I CANNOT live without (and yes, I know that I am shallow). Such objects as:

My COFFEE!

My 700+ books (yup, you read that correctly)

My laptop

My iPod

My cell phone

My camera

My keys (yes, I do mean my keys)

My caffeine gum

My contacts/glasses

So, there you have it! I think that I have plenty of love to spread around. Before I forget, there’s one other group of people I love:

I *HEART* YOU– MY BLOG READERS! Thanks for reading. <3

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Romeo loves Juliet… and then they die.

Yesterday I had the amazing opportunity to hear Regent’s president-elect speak on the immortal love story Romeo and Juliet. First, I must say that this experience banished all the doubts I had about choosing Dr. Campo to head the university. The man is amazing! He establishes a rapport with people in a seemingly effortless manner. I introduced myself to him briefly before the presentation, and he spent the first 10 minutes casually teasing me even though we just met. Second, it’s wonderful to have someone in power who loves literature. Going to a Christian college means that quite a few people are very religion/psychology minded. Not that this is always a bad thing, but those are not my passions. Literature is my passion. Thirdly, he gets British literature. ‘Nuff said!

He made some wonderful points about what we can glean from this story, and the things we can learn about love, life, family, and passion. The first word of the play is “two”, so Dr. Campo talked a lot about the duality of the play. Love and hate; reason and passion; reality and illusion. In short, he taught the play as a journey- a reformational journey from chaos to form and order.

I must admit that I’ve never been a huge Romeo and Juliet fan. Not that I don’t love a tragic ending, but I hate people holding it up as the ultimate love story. In fact, I almost didn’t listen to Taylor Swift’s song Love Story because of the Romeo/Juliet lyric angle. There’s just something frustrating about a guy who impulsively kills himself before he knows the whole story. A little bit more patience and a little less impulsivity would make for a much happier play. I know, I know, spoil-sport. Those are my feelings though.

Anyway, it was the perfect Valentine’s Day book club meeting. We all laughed a lot, thought deeply, and really enjoyed our time together.

Nay, I’ll conjure too.

Romeo! Humours! Madman! Passion! Lover!

Appear thou in the likeness of a sigh.

Speak but one rhyme and I am satisfied.

Cry but ‘Ay me!’ Pronounce but ‘love’ and ‘dove’.

Speak to my gossip Venus on fair word,

One nickname for her purblind son and heir,

Young Adam Cupid, he that shot so trim

When King Cophetua loved the beggar maid. –

He heareth not, he stirreth not, he moveth not.

2.1.6-15

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The People You Meet At Starbucks-1

This is the first post in a series I’ve been working on for some time. We meet so many different types of customers, making each order a new adventure. However, many customer “types” share similar characteristics, so I thought that it would be fun to clue you all in about what I see as “typical” behaviours in certain customers. So, here we go with the first installment- check in Saturday for the next edition!

Office Drone (Mark 1)
This specimen is a Starbucks junkie in their own right. All it takes is for the boss to glance sideways at a coffee mug and this assistant is gathering crumpled $20 bills and credit cards from everyone in sight and half listening to orders. Since this is a paid break, the drone is in no hurry to return to the office. Good thing too, because half listening to orders makes for a confusing time at the register.

They consult their hastily scribbled notes to discover that the “shorthand” they used to save time didn’t really help them at all. Was that “chocolate” Frappuccino the one with coffee or without? What size was that 5 shot cinnamon dolce latte supposed to be again? But never fear- this drone is not worried about making mistakes. Life is what it is; besides, they brought in their own special to-go tumbler with their order pre-written on the side. At least one drink will be right!

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Rolling Down A Beach With A Guide To the Galaxy

In my Victorian literature class last week, we discussed the end of “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold.

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast, the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,

Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

In the last stanza, the speaker describes the condition of the world to the woman with him, “the world, which seems / To lie before us like a land of dreams.” The speaker describes a scene of hopelessness and despair, a world where nothing is real, nothing matters, a world that has become a battleground. For the speaker, this is the end of the world, the end of all his hopes of finding a reality. Faith is withdrawing from the world, and all is a dream.

We discussed in class how this seems to be Arnold’s way of working through the changes in society at the time. Darwin’s theories of evolution and the descent of man were talking hold of the world, and Christianity was slowly beginning to disappear from the forefront of life.

Fifty years later the same subject would jump the pond and show up in the poetry of the American writer/poet Stephen Crane. In his poem “Should the Wide World Roll Away”, Crane addresses the idea of the world disappearing to leave only darkness and terror.

Should the wide world roll away,
Leaving dark terror, limitless night
Nor God, nor man, nor place to stand
Would be to me essential
If thou and thy white arms were there
And the fall to doom a long way.

Like Arnold, all Crane thinks that he needs is the love of his woman- he does not need religion or a foundation if she will just hold him through it all. However, Arnold mourned the loss of faith, and hoped that it would come back. Crane acknowledges that faith is gone, but he thinks that God and faith are not essential to him.

In the 1970s, British author Douglas Adams addressed again the subject of the world dissolving away into nothingness. Where Arnold sees religion as ebbing and Crane sees it as unnecessary, Adams sees religion as a thing to mock. It does not matter what happens to the world, religion, God, or love. In fact, Adams goes so far as to talk about how God went wrong, and uses the idea of faith to “prove” that God does not exist and never has. For Adams, all you need is your towel, a portable guide to the galaxy, and improbable luck.

I really don’t have much point in posting this here, other than to show how quickly godlessness took hold in the world of literature. A scant 100 years after the first seeds of doubt about God and the Bible were planted in society, they became a weed that took over secular literature and eradicated all thought of faith.

Today we assume that “secular” means godless, religionless, faithless. This is the product of the changing times. Before 1850, it was not uncommon for secular literature to deal with religious and faith issues. As the issues seen above spread, though, the religious sphere and the secular sphere began to separate. Now, we have complete separation, but at the same time total confusion as to what matters in the world, why we are here, and what our purpose is. Unless we can unite our spheres again, the world is only going to become more and more confused, until it actually does disappear.

I’m not sure if we can do anything about this, but it is worth thinking about.

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Snow!

This is my obligatory post on snow. Not that I’m a big fan of the cold wet stuff myself, but seeing as how we’re all having trouble remembering the last time our city was covered in white, a few words are in order.

First- that whole “no two snowflakes are alike” thing is a myth. I swear I totally saw twins out there, but I couldn’t grab my camera in time.

Second- snow makes people do stupid things. Case in point- I never wander around my neighbourhood. I just don’t. However, throw a few snowflakes in the mix and I’m tramping around like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Because of this, my friends and I had a snow ball fight in a complete stranger’s driveway. It rocked!

Third- snow fall reveals what kind of people we work for. Chick-fil-a decided to close the night before the storm hit. Starbucks had employees in at 4:30 am as usual before letting them out around 3. The state schools decided to close down today, and sent out a text to let students know. My university finally decided to close down, but no text message- just a hard to find news article.

By the way, this is the same university that woke us all up at 5am the first day of spring break last year to tell us that classes (that we weren’t having) were delayed two hours (which didn’t matter because we weren’t having class- spring break and all that). Oh yes, and not just one text, but texts and phone calls until we acknowledged receipt. More than one phone was hurled across a room that morning; but I digress.

Fourth- snow days are uninspiring on weekends. Just thought I’d point that out.

Fifth- impromptu snow parties are fun. Add fire, cookies, and coffee and you have a winning day!

Sixthly, enjoy some of my pictures, because it really was a nice change from the norm.

My backyard:

Back fence 5-6″ deep in snow:


Well, we did have a lot of fun. Enjoy whatever winter weather you have right now, and snow long until next time!

(You didn’t really think that I could make it without one bad snow pun, did you?)

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