Miss Woodhouse's Musings

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

What, With All The Ballyhoo….

It’s December 15th…1939, in Atlanta GA. The town is abuzz; Gone With the Wind is having its world premier. And, according to The Last Night of Ballyhoo, a silly little 22 year old Jewish girl is trimming a Christmas tree (!) and dreaming of being Scarlet O’Hara…and a novelist…and at the premier…and of going to Ballyhoo.

What is Ballyhoo? According to Lala (no, seriously), it’s a two week long celebration for young adult Jews in the South, held at the end of every year. At the last night, there is a huge ball- to miss it just isn’t done. So, Lala and her mother Boo (yes, seriously) are determined to find someone to take her to Ballyhoo. Lala is determined to turn into Scarlet O’Hara. Her uncle has hired a new young Jewish boy from up north- maybe he will take her to Ballyhoo. Her aunt’s daughter is coming home for the holidays- yup, that’s going to cause some trouble.

And everyone is more than a little snarky.

I don’t want to give anymore away then that, but suffice it to say it’s a wonderful play. If you have a chance to see it, do! It’s sweet, touching, and so hysterically funny.


“Free Wifi”

Scene: Starbucks

Time: Inconvenient

Characters: Barista (me), Random Person, Laptop, Starbucks Card

Setting: Cafe is fullish, there are several customers waiting for their drinks.

RP: *walks into the store with laptop bag. Finds a table, drags three chairs into the “perfect position”, sits down. Pulls out laptop. Does not make purchase. Turns on laptop. Does not make purchase. Opens web browser. Does not make purchase. Attempts to load a webpage. Does not make purchase. Fails to load a webpage. Does not make purchase. Attempts once more to load a webpage. Does not make purchase. Discovers AT&T login screen. Does not make purchase. Tries to log-in and fails. Does not make purchase. Approaches register. Does not make purchase.*

Barista: Hi there, can we help you today?

RP: Yeah, what’s the deal with your wifi? Do I, like, need a code or something?

Barista: It’s actually kept a paid service here. You can purchase a pass from AT&T using a credit card, or you can load a Starbucks card with $5, register it in-store (this takes only 2 minutes), and get 2 free hours of wifi a day.

RP: So it’s not free?

Barista: Technically no, but if you do the Starbucks card option, that money is still yours to spend here at the store so you aren’t actually paying for the wifi. It’s like getting it for free, plus getting the other Starbucks card reward benefits.

RP: *Returns to table, slams laptop closed, walks out. Does not make purchase.*

***End Scene***

I’m not exaggerating (much) when I say that this scene plays out in our cafe at least twice a shift- sometimes more often. There is a massive outcry from customers for Starbucks to provide free wifi, but I think it’s a bad idea. Here are a few reasons why I think Starbucks should never go to limitless, free wifi:

1. It’s a marketing gimmick to get people to stay longer at your store. Starbucks already has a solid base of homesteaders; we don’t need anymore people setting up camp. When we have a cafe full of free-loading computer geeks, then our regulars don’t have anywhere to sit. Let’s face it; we *heart* our regulars.

2. It’s expensive to pay for high-quality, limitless wifi. Should this happen, quality is going to drop and people will be complaining about that instead of price. At least now you have little chance of being kick off the network.

3. We will lose a LOT of business should we go to free wifi. People won’t ever feel like making a purchase, and they will keep our paying regulars from having a “third place” environment.

There you have it, my thoughts on free, limitless wifi. What are yours; good, bad, helpful, harmful? Leave your thoughts in the comments!


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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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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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.


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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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That Thing’s A Play?

I recently attended a play, which for reasons that shall become more obvious later on shall go unnamed. Allow me to preface my remarks with the disclaimer that nothing I say is meant in any way to be a criticism of the actors involved- I have seen them all in other roles where they have spellbound me for hours on end. This is directly related to the content of the play itself.

The play is told in retrospect, and is heavily autobiographical. Perhaps it has worth, and perhaps there are messages within its layers that I missed. Overall though, I found little to recommend it. There was no meat, no substance. Every line that was meant to be poignant fell flat. Things that could have been expounded upon were treated in the sketchiest of ways, and things that were painfully self-evident were nonetheless harped upon for minutes at a time.

We left at intermission. I don’t think that ever before in my life have I been lured away from a play before its end…especially not tempted by the promise of IHOP like I was that night. I don’t even really like IHOP all that much. Desperation I say.

Later that night I looked up the plot of the last act of the play. Nothing different happened in the act we missed; nothing new was introduced or discussed. All the startling revelations that would have made the second act great were given away in the last speech of the first act. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time- it wasn’t worth it.

What makes writers think that just because their play purports to be “introspective” that they are exempt from the rules of plot and character development? Significant words do not inspiration make. There must be tangible meaning, deep introspection, and a reason to look at humanity in a new light. Those criterions are what make certain plays enduring- for their ability to transcend time, setting, and situation and get to the heart of the human condition. It doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom either. Sometimes the funniest of lines can underscore perfectly the condition of the human soul.

On the other hand, I did get pancakes out of the deal….