Mischievous Muse

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Location: Austin, TX, United States

Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Disco Dancing in Finland

Okay, NOW the humiliation is complete - one of the hottest videos on YouTube is a clip of a Finnish geezer teaching the basics of disco dancing. Words cannot describe.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

On Absence

     When you are
                  not here
                             I feel




     I need you
                             to share

     The day's
Tags: Anniina's Poetry

When that Aprille with his shoures sote: Done

Well, fellow pilgrims, I did indeed get the audio done for the General Prologue of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. On the new server, however, I'm not sure if it allows people to listen to it, because I'm not sure how the permissions are set — I can, but I need someone to see if they can hear it or no. So if a gentle soul would do me a favor, and let me know, I'd be most grateful.



Whan that Aprill with his shoures sote...

recordingI'm working on an audio recording of the General Prologue to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, but it is frustrating: every time I get my groove, a plane flies overhead, or one of the doggies decides to click, click, on the wood floor, or slurp, slurp, slurp, at the water bowl, or the neighbors' teenager comes home blasting god-knows-what on his souped up car stereo.

The first stopping spot is after line 18 - but can I get through 18 lines uninterrupted? NO! I need a recording studio! BWYAAAH!

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Luminarium: 10 Years

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, Wenches and Brigands,

It's official. I have launched the completely revamped Luminarium in honor of the site's 10 Year Anniversary. The new site should improve organization and navigation somewhat, although those are issues I dwell on constantly, and will never cease trying to better. With around 3300 pages, it is not always an easy matter.

Luminarium Screenshot

The site has a brand new cover page, as do 'Renlit' and 'Sevenlit', and an entirely new section, English Literature of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century. I still have two authors "under construction" there, whose pages will be finished this weekend. Also missing are the Luminarium Bookstore pages for most of the 'Eightlit' guys. They are in the works also.

New features include a "What's New" page, and the Luminarium Encyclopedia project and Luminarium Editions are linked up for the first time.

I've been working on the 10 Year Anniversary Site pretty much non-stop since May of this year — when working (either on an acting project, or doing "real work"), I've put in about 4-5 hrs each day, when not working, I've worked 12-16 hrs a day on Luminarium. Today I put in 11 hrs, but now my hands are cramping so badly that I have to quit.

pancakesSo. I'm going to the diner and having eggs and pancakes with syrup, and celebrating. Wish you were all here, so we could have a proper party :)



Friday, November 24, 2006

Little Known Facts, continued

Thanksgiving was a busy day and evening of visiting an extended family of friends — entirely too much food and coffee, great conversations, and a mid-afternoon nap: priceless. Hope everyone had a good holiday.

To continue with the "Meme of 100," here are some more little-known facts about Yours, Truly:

bunny costumeLKF #2: In first grade I played a bunny-rabbit in the school play. In fifth grade, I won a ballet scholarship of excellence for playing a tree in a magical forest. In sixth grade, I played "The Sausage Princess" in a play called "Lintu Sininen," which translates to "The Blue Bird" — I was padded up with pillows under my costume, and had to pretend sausage linksto eat a long string of sausages, which were actually stuffed, painted stocking. I can still remember what the paint tasted like, if I close my eyes, but it was for effect and to great acclaim, so the actor in me loved every second.

balletLKF #3: In Fifth and Sixth grades I also danced the part of Romeo in our version of the ballet "Romeo and Juliet" — I was the tallest, and we didn't have any boys. To this day I regret never having had the chance to be Juliet in either the ballet or play — I can still quote almost all of Romeo's lines.

popstarLKF #4: When my mother asked me who I wanted to invite to my fifth birthday party, I gave her the names of then Finnish president Urho Kekkonen, the two biggest Finnish pop stars, and a few other celebrities. Never occurred to me they wouldn't come, if invited.

More silliness later :)

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Poetic Passions

Cowper finished, I turned next to William Collins, and typing up an ode by the name of  "The Passions: An Ode for Music," I was blown away by his imagery. Here's a small snippet — isn't that last line of the excerpt something! You can see how the Romantics (Keats, Shelley, Byron, etc.) are here prefigured — that line also has for me the same kind of impact as Yeats'  "And hid his face amid a cloud of stars" ("When You Are Old").

Caravaggio. Rest on the Flight to Egypt, 1596.

 While, as his flying fingers kiss'd the strings,
     Love fram'd with Mirth a gay fantastic round:
     Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound;
          And he, amidst his frolic play,
          As if he would the charming air repay,
Shook thousand odours from his dewy wings.

(emphasis added)


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Harry Potter Teaser Trailer

Harry Potter teaser poster
Thanks to Katja for alerting me to its coming out today. Yahoo! has a whole page for it, and high quality trailer options. This teaser also plays before the movie "Happy Feet" which is (of course!) on my short list of things to go see.

Now, how to last until next July!!??

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Teaser Trailer

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Musings on a Monday

I must admit, I was entirely too general in my rash remark about how the eighteenth century is a literary abyss. I was mainly reflecting on how bored I was making sites of the journalists and moralists of the period. As Mark pointed out, there is delightful poetry in that century as well, and some gems if one takes the time to sift.

Today I'm working on the poet William Cowper, whom I cannot say I had ever read before. He's got a vibrant voice, an original and lively way of seeing and describing, and thus I'm quite enjoying the work. Here's one I liked:

Nightingale. Herb Fogler Photography.

by William Cowper

A NIGHTINGALE, that all day long
Hath cheer'd the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when eventide was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite;
When, looking eagerly around,
He spied far off, upon the ground,
A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glow-worm by his spark;
So, stooping down from hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop.
The worm, aware of his intent,
Harangu'd him thus, right eloquent—
     Did you admire my lamp, quoth he,
As much as I your minstrelsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song;
For 'twas the self-same pow'r divine
Taught you to sing, and me to shine;
That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night.
     The songster heard his short oration,
And, warbling out his approbation,
Releas'd him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.
     Hence jarring sectaries may learn
Their real int'rest to discern;
That brother should not war with brother,
And worry and devour each other;
But sing and shine by sweet consent,
Till life's poor transient night is spent,
Respecting in each other's case
The gifts of nature and of grace.
     Those Christians best deserve the name,
Who studiously make peace their aim;
Peace, both the duty and the prize
Of him that creeps and him that flies.

The Complete Poetical Works of William Cowper. H. S. Milford, ed.
London: Henry Frowde, 1905. 301-2.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Here There Be Berke Breathed: A Warning


Bill Maher Rocks

Have I ever mentioned I love Bill Maher? There's a guy who is intelligent, eloquent, and witty. In the following clip, from 11/17/06, he states his "New Rules" on Rewriting the Constitution, et cetera....


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do... A Movie Review

Movie Poster for Break-UpTAG LINE: "Vince Vaughan and Jennifer Aniston star in the charming and upredictable comedy The Break-Up. After two years together, Gary and Brooke's relationship seems to have taken a comical wrong turn on the way to happily ever after. Now the break-up is on, the lines have been drawn, and their honest feelings for each other are coming out. Get ready for an all-out war of the exes in this fun date movie that's hilarious and heartfelt."—Universal Pictures.

THE BREAK-UP. Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughan — previews on TV and at the movie theatre selling a quirky dark comedy. Theeeeeeee biggest "Bait & Switch" marketing con in cinema lately.

Let me explain.

If I had gone to this movie expecting to see a relationship drama, about a brokendown relationship and a couple trying to work through the pain and miscommunication of a very real situation, I would have said that the movie succeeded. The dialogue was deftly-written, absolutely believable, the characters' isolation and unhappiness in an untenable situation well supported by the acting performances, the direction, the art direction. I would have probably given it a B or so. As a DRAMA.

Renting this movie on a Friday night, expecting a quirky dark comedy, with likeable and familiar comic actors — a movie, the marketing campaign of which suggested something along the lines of the brilliant Addicted to Love (1997), or the morbidly furious War of the Roses (1989) — and instead watching two hours' worth of scarce-a-light-moment, very-real-every-day-garden-variety-
sad-and-wistful break-up movie, one could say... "What the hell happened here?"

The movie, by its very definition in basic Aristotelean terms, is not a comedy; it does not have a happy ending, there is next to no humor, and at least to me, not one moment of enjoyment. It's like a watered-down pale version of Kramer vs. Kramer, without the high stakes, without the cute kid, and without the acting talents of Hoffman and Streep. In every way, reviewing it as a comedy, which the marketing team spun into existence, it deserves a flat F.

Nor does the movie qualify as a proper tragedy — there is no conscious decision made by a protagonist, according to his/her hubris, bringing about his/her own downfall, nor any trace of catharsis for the viewer from sympathizing and releasing one's own negative or sorrowful emotions.

It's not a bad movie, but not a great one either. The only feeling of comedy I got was thinking with horror of those poor young couples who went out on their third or fourth dates, thinking they were going to see a date movie, during/after which they could do some smooching; tee hee! Not bloody likely! I think those poor saps got suckered even worse than I did.

Think Universal would refund me my $4.99 rental fee, if I threatened them with a lawsuit, based on "truth in advertising" and the whole "bait and switch" and "misleading the public" aspects? Hmmm? :P


Friday, November 17, 2006

Flynn for Friday

There is a meme called the "Meme of 100" which Dr. Virago actually completed: KUDOS! I will probably attempt to do it over the course of a year or so. If I run out of things to tell you and have to start inventing outrageous lies, I'll be sure to put (lie!) next to it.

Little known fact #1:

When I was 11, I saw Erroll Flynn in Captain Blood (1935), and instantly fell in love—this madly flaming passion was further fanned by seeing Robin Hood, after which a piece of my heart was destined forever to belong to Flynn. I've seen nearly everything he was in. The following clip shows the sword fight between Sir Guy of Gisborne (played by the delectably evil Basil Rathbone) and Sir Robin of Locksley. *fluttery sigh*

Flynn and Rathbone were both fencers in real life as well and were known to choreograph parts of their fights themselves. To this day, a move where one blade is deflected by the other blade quickly circling around it and flipping it, is being taught to students in stage combat as "a Flynn." In the clip below, there's a super-quick one at around 1:23 minutes into it.  A few years ago I had an extended fight sequence in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (the scene between Viola and Sir Andrew Aguecheek), and you can imagine my feelings of fulfillment when I got to do "a Flynn." The 11 year-old inside me was tickled pink.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mad Mapper's Meme

These are cool - they ask you which places you have visited, and then paint pretty pics about it for you. As you can see, I gotta head NW in the US, and to the Eastern Block in Europe, to complete my map. As for the Europe map, my claiming Ireland is debatable... I only flew in and out :)

create your own personalized map of the USA

create your personalized map of europe


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No LOST for 13 Weeks!!! ARGH!!!

It is a Wednesday with no LOST — they're on hiatus until Feb. 7th.


Now tell me the writers of LOST weren't avid Calvin & Hobbes readers:

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Eighteenth Century Literature

It's KILLING me. Apart from a few authors (I've always had a soft spot for Daniel Defoe, for example), I have a deep distaste for the Augustan Age authors. I'm working on the "Eightlit" section of Luminarium, and taking little pleasure in it. Lemme tell ya: after the Restoration, English literature went down the tubes for a long, long time. I can't wait to have this section finished. Next, planning on doing an Early Modern Women Writers section, and another for Middle English Drama. Much more my speed.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday Morning

No Katja to play with, she's gone back to Finland. *SIGH*


Friday, November 10, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction

Katja and I have been having a great time — we've gone bargain hunting, seen lots of movies, eaten cheesecake, indulged our Starbucks obsession, and watched loads of junk on TV.

(Side note: someone explain to me please, how I'm going to last 13 weeks until LOST returns?!!)

Unfortunately, Katja is leaving tonight. I think both of us wish we lived in the same place, so we could spend time together on a regular basis. Alas, Katja loves living in Finland, and I don't see myself ever moving back, so a few weeks a year is all we get; but, we'll always be best friends anyway.

Today we went first thing in the morning to see "Stranger Than Fiction," which both of us had been waiting to come out. It wasn't exactly what we expected, but it delivered nonetheless. Without spoiling it, I'll just say I thought, in its genre, it deserved an A-.
So, go see it, and then we'll talk :)

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All Hallow's Day

Well, All Hallow's Eve was fun — Katja was Wednesday Adams, and a very cute one at that, and I was a pirate. We had quite a few kids come trick or treating, and it was fun.

After the excitement waned, we went to see "Prestige" at the movies. It was long. Cut half an hour out of it, I think it would have been much better. The director was crafty at the technical aspects; art direction was brilliant; costuming superb... but. The director was not "an actor's director"—he had a strong cast, and made the least of them—he did not utilize or show-case them properly. And somehow, being that it was a movie about the world of magic, his world was unmagical. I think this movie makes a great example of how with a different director we would be watching a better movie. Ah well. Hugh Jackman was yummy, Christian Bale was like a block of wood, and Scarlett Johanssen should reconsider before doing more period pieces. I don't know if I'd quite recommend this movie. I give it a lukewarm B-.