c o l u m b i n a

"by her keen and active wit, she [ is ] able to hold her own in every situation and emerge with ease and dignity from the most involved intrigues." ~ Duchartre

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

what literature classic are you?

The picture of dorian gray
Oscar Wilde: The Portrait of Dorian Gray. You are a horror novel from the world of dandies, rich pretty boys, art and aesthetics, and
intellectual debates between ethical people and decadent pleasure-seekers. You value beauty and pleasure but realize their dangers, as well.

Which literature classic are you?
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via bitch ph.d

sense and sensibility

as my brother says, "not again" with a groan. as one of my oldest and dearest friends says, "the perfect movie and the ultimate cure for boredom and depression, with an unfortunate side-effect of procrastination (not that there's anything wrong with that)." and so I succumb to the whims of the damn movie (I really ought to buy it and save myself the rental fees...)

this time, because of feeling crazy and perhaps because of the repeated viewings in the last couple days, with the audio commentary of the wonderful Emma Thompson. Best comment, IMHO, is about Alan Rickman playing Col. Brandon and how the character comes off as this mysterious figure whose past ends up being told in spits and starts throughout the movie: "...though [Alan]'d be mysterious playing the milkman." hee.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

which one of captain jack's personalities are you?

Always has a plan
You're "Always has a Plan" Jack, no matter what mess you get into, you can always find a way out

Which of Jack's (from Pirates of the Caribbean) multiple personalities are you?
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capt' jack gone country?

was flicking channels this evening and was forced (!) to stop on CMT for Terri Clark's video for a mediocre (but truth-filled) song entitled "Girls Lie Too" featuring a Captain Jack Sparrow impersonator as the dreamboat fantasy of a regular gal's life. too true! and with fan support, it's managed to break into the top ten.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

oh, horror!

Remember Chicago a few years ago decided to put "Cows on Parade"? I loved that. I remember touring colleges and seeing all the neat and totally different designs on every corner and thinking that the whole thing was wicked cool. I even begged a list of their names off of the conceirge of my hotel.

And then less cool cities did it with different animals and it was just sad. Case in point: Baltimore's three fish and Bucks County's unimaginative horses.

To tarnish the memory further, now there's the Militant Graffiti Artists making trouble in Stockholm. That's just mean, people.

via davebarry.com.

movie survey

Favorite Movies

Romantic Comedy: The Princess Bride
Slapstick Comedy: Bringing Up Baby
Dark Comedy: Edward Scissorhands
Sci-Fi: (tie) Stargate, The Fifth Element
Thriller: North by Northwest
Musical: Singing in the Rain
Drama: The Lion in Winter
Mystery:(tie) Dead Again, The Sixth Sense
Western: Dodge City (Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland)
War: The English Patient
Crime: The Sting
Romance: Pride & Prejudice (Lawrence Olivier & Colin Firth)
Horror: The Mummy (1999)
Noir: The Third Man
Action: Pirates of the Caribbean
Fantasy: Lord of the Rings 1 - 3
Family: Harry Potter 2 & 3
Animated: Toy Story 2
Documentary: F For Fake

Favorite Actors
1. Cary Grant
2. Johnny Depp
3. Sir Ian McKellen
4. Ioan Gruffudd
5. Alan Rickman

Favorite Actresses
1. Audrey Hepburn
2. Judy Dench
3. Emma Thompson
4. Maggie Smith
5. Ingrid Bergman

15 Favorite Movies (not listed above)
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
2. Casablanca
3. Amelie
4. Arsenic and Old Lace
5. Charade
6. How to Steal a Million
7. GoldenEye
8. Gun Shy
9. Much Ado About Nothing
10. Brain Donors
11. Robin Hood: Men in Tights
12. X-Men United
13. Jurassic Park
14. The Empire Strikes Back
15. The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

5 Most Anticipated Movies
1. A Series of Unfortunate Events
2. The Incredibles
3. The Libertine
4. Pirates of the Caribbean 2
5. X-Men 3

via bzoink!

The Six Patron Saints of Graphic Design

I think I shall have to find out the feast day of Saint Anxiete - sounds very much like a saint I can relate to. ;)

via Foreword.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

a survey of random things

out of all things
Last Car Ride:errands this afternoon
Last Good Cry:yesterday, in job-hunting doldrums
Last Library Book:sniffle... it's been too long...
Last book bought:"The Unicorn Hunt" by Dorothy Dunnett
Last Book Read:"Topped" (v. bad) by Carol Higgins Clark
Last Movie Seen in Theatres:"Collateral" (not bad but not good either)
Last Movie Rented:sniffle (see library book...)
Last Cuss Word Uttered:s**t, as my printer went on the fritz...
Last Beverage Drank:sprite
Last Food Consumed:kit-kat bar (oh so healthy)
Last Crush:(tie) Ioan Gruffudd and Chris Potter
Last Phone Call:ten minutes ago (Cioci again!)
Last TV Show Watched:"The Daily Show"
Last Time Showered:this morning
Last Shoes Worn:black sandals
Last CD Played:(as I type) "LOTR: Return of the King Soundtrack"
Last Item Bought:wrapping paper for mom's b-day gift
Last Download:software updates yesterday
Last Annoyance:the ever-present (since Sun.) zit on my nose
Last Disappointment:all summer movies after HP3
Last Thing Written:cover letters
Last Key Used:mail key
Last Words Spoken:bye
Last Sleep:8am this morning
Last Ice Cream Eaten:mint chocolate chip (ages ago...)
Last Chair Sat In:my gray rolling chair in my office-cum-bedroom
Last Webpage Visited:imdb.com


via Liliputian Lilith

Monday, August 23, 2004

coveted item of the day

First edition Turandot from prominent Philadelphian antiquarian book store. Not that I have a special place in my heart for Puccini, but the cover and the promise of "decorative endpapers" are very drool-worthy. If anyone should have a spare $16,500... ;)

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

which of count olaf's henchmen are you?

Georgina Orwell
You are....Dr Georgina Orwell. You love mysterious things going around, but sometimes you use this for bad things. You should start thinking of brighter things.

Which Of Count Olaf's Henchmen Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla.

via The Quiet World.

which ASoUE character are you?

Violet Baudelaire
You're Violet Baudelaire.

Which 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla.

via The Quiet World.

hee! eye is the monarch of the sea...

hello, hello, hello again. an update on the snicket eyes- i have found all six and am desperate for more. I wish the silly site would give more information on the trading card contest- knowing this area we won't get any promotional materials until the movie's already premiered. grr... Anyway, thought I'd share the eyes with those unfortunates who have not found them yet (aren't they pretty? whoever did the production design rocks.)


my day is now made: Jaws re-enacted by bunnies. And I thought The Exorcist by bunnies was as good as it could get. ;) Check out the rest of Angry alien productions too- they're really talented folks, not to mention hilarious as heck.

via imdb.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

olivier as darcy and other austen etc.

in the desolate midst of job searching, I treated myself to watching part of TCM's Day of Lawrence Olivier, in particular the 1940 adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice." What a good shock I received- having thinking that Colin Firth and Andrew Davies' adaptation was the only one worth viewing! It was also a slightly shocking surprise to hear so much familiar dialogue in the older version (and here I thought Davies' was the genius behind some of those delightful quips!).

Not to mention finally seeing Marsha Hunt in action on screen- I've long seen pictures of her (in her ultra-fab book "The Way We Wore") and told my mother that's the movie star she most looks like (ever played that game? it can be deuced difficult at times- I still haven't a movie star persona, though Dad was declared a Gene Kelly ringer almost as soon as we knew how to play ;) ).

The latest adaptation of P&P seems well underway, with Keira Knightley, the current hot-young-thang from the UK, taking over the central role of Elizabeth Bennett. Don't the costumes look lovely so far? (And thank god B. Pitt is no longer attached! Egads, what a horrible Darcy he'd be!)

In other Austen news, of late there has been some commentary on Austen as an author at the lovely Foreword blog. Peruse at your leisure- I always do.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

poster contest!

found this gem today after finishing another resume package to send out (with prayers and hopes that someone will hire me...): a contest for Speak Up posters... I found my quote, how's about you?

via veer.com

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

when indy movies and real life merge

This is a story worthy of Jean-Pierre Jeunet. (Especially if the female cop visits her felon after court...) ;) And what's Martha Gedeck doing these days? Maybe it could be her next cross-over hit after "Mostly Martha."

via anavova.com.

Monday, August 09, 2004

just call me stryder

my quiz habit resurfaces with the Hobbit Personality Test, which deemed me most like "Aragorn (Stryder), Son of Arathorn" (hopefully not comparatively scruffy...) ;)

My personality traits:
Aragorn's decisions often seem against conventional wisdom, but he knows what to do and why it must be done, regardless of the cost.

You are good at making contingency plans and come up wiith efficient means to acheive clear-cut ends. You are highly independent, and continue on with your plans even in the face of data that might suggest to others that it's no longer feasible. Time alone is important and solitary activities refresh you. You have a tendency to introspection. In your desire for clarity in life, you may have the tendency of being remote or even "heartless". You try to schedule your life as much as possible. You tend to finish your work before resting.

As the foil to Aragorn, Sauron clearly embodies the evil side of this personality.

Traits: Pragmatic, autonomous, ingenious, resolute. On the dark side you could desire power and domination.

intergalactic psychics, or i thought the Amazing Mr. Yappi was bad enough

I really thought that everyone subscribed to the aliens as little gray men in big ships theory. Apparently, not, if you listen to Sylvia Brown and her ideas about psychic-extraterrestrial contact. And it gets weirder. How about a Secretary of Foresight in the US Cabinet or Bio-Astrology, the fine art of reading auras through DNA strands? (After many attempts, I think I can safely say that DNApsychic.com is down- only the Psychic Friends Network knows for how long.)

Sunday, August 08, 2004

the bourne supremacy

scratched another movie off the summer must-see list last night. The Bourne Supremacy is, in fact, good summer fare; not quite meaningless but not quite meaningful and filled with car crashes, explosions and fisticuffs. (Not to mention spies. What's not to love?) The breakdown: Matt Damon returns as Jason Bourne, the assassin whose amnesia made him vulnerable and loveable (collective awww), who is sucked back into international espianoge when he's framed for a murder in Berlin and his beloved gypsy girlfriend, played by the refreshingly normal looking German actress Franke Potente, gets murdered before his eyes. Let the games begin.


1. Eye candy, she says shamelessly. Matt Damon is... dear god. Okay, I will admit when the hoopla over Good Will Hunting was in full swing I had thought that Affleck would be the break-out of the two, and for awhile didn't it sure seem like that? Though someone got a big head and got carried away with his publicity, while it seems someone else buffed up and found a magic studly potion... Hmm. So I was wrong. Damon certainly impresses, both physically and acting-wise as the stoic-and-yet-not-so-stoic spy. Rah rah for him. And for all of us ladies in the audience.

2. Hard-core supporting cast members. I see Joan Allen and Brian Cox going at it, head to head, neither giving an inch, and I am pleased. Thrilled. This, my friends, is what the cinema is about: sneaky people in power plays, spying and making the tough decisions, pissing people off and laying jobs on the line. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Both of these consummate actors deliver the goods and create a nice balance with Bourne's alternating brooding sessions and frenzied chases.

And the piece de resistance, Karl Urban as the Soviet secret police officer/paid assassin. (Can you believe I couldn't place him? Was royally pissed off at myself all throughout the movie almost to the point of distraction that I had seen him somewhere and couldn't put a name to the face. IMDb-ed him as soon as I got home and felt really stupid: He's Eomer!! Duh. Only one of my fav. LOTR characters. Though without the blond hair, you gotta admit, he's a bit hard to recognize...) Anyway, very sexy and dangerous and villainous. Lovely.

3. Spies! I have a weakness for them. Doesn't matter if the script has holes you can drive trucks through. Gotta love 'em, especially when they're as sneaky as this bunch (see #2).

4. Music for running. Great score- dramatic and insistent strings for action sequences. V. nice, considering its an action film.

5. A really cool last line. Yep. *snickers* Don't you miss those?


1. Come back when you're relevant. Julia Stiles isn't as forgettable as she was in the first Bourne film, but her presence still seems really pointless (with the exception of the scene when Bourne gets to reveal he's been watching them all the while...)- does Nikki have some kind of central role in the books or something? The other Treadstone guy? What the heck was the point of that? Zip. Nada. Similarly, there were a few minor characters who had enough of a part to warrant some more development and since they never received any, could just as soon been cut from the film altogether. Now I understand a Russian mastermind was needed, really, but who was he? I don't know. Oil company something. Not nearly enough info on him to let me be impressed with his evilness.

2. Angst-factor is high. Jason Bourne is a tortured soul. I can tell because he has blurry nightmares, broods while driving a lot, runs without purpose, went a little overboard with the eyeshadow, wears all black, spends a great deal of time communing with spirits in hotel bathrooms, and fingers a photograph with extreme care. Bite me. I don't care about his soul all that much, or his reconciliation with his past. Boo hoo hoo. Just let him shoot someone and feel better.

3. Not for the epileptic prone. Hand-held camera work is indeed in vogue. La-di-frellin-da. This movie took it to extremes, especially in the fight sequences and car chases where you couldn't tell who was who (dammit, you're wearing black too?!) or up from down because of the jerky camera movements. The switches over to steadicam were blantly obvious and really jarring, because all of a sudden things were clear and in frame... life was a dream... and then it's back to the bumpy, desperate for focus camera and a major headache is foreseeable in my future.

4. I've seen this before... The same credits from the Bourne Identity. Yeah, they were cool and the Moby song wasn't that sick-making. But again? The SAME lines and the SAME song? Come on, guys, show a little imagination.

The camera work (or complete lack thereof) is my only real beef with the film. Yeah, there are irrelevancies and it is really easy to figure out what's really going on. But Brian Cox being malevolent and Matt Damon spying are truly lovely and worth my seven-fifty.

Friday, August 06, 2004

the spring of the ram

Just finished the second book of Dorothy Dunnett's Niccolo series and I still say the Lymond Chronicles were much better. Nicholas continues to rub me the wrong way, and I can't tell if it's his persistance to alienate himself from his friends or his weird vendetta with Simon (who I am utterly convinced is not his father, no matter what hints are being laid down; I think I can spot a Dunnett red herring after eight books...) or if it's just the fact that all of his friends are meant to be more interesting and worthy of sympathy.

I miss Lymond. *sniff*

Simon's subplot continues to persist, and it continues to irk. Doesn't either one of them have better things to do? I mean, if Simon believes Henry to be his son, then why doesn't he smear that in Nicholas' face and leave it at that, damage done? And Jordan, who is shaping up to be a much better villain and more believable, is sidelined in favor of this?? Katalina obviously will be making waves in the future books, but considering that Henry and his birth was all her fault anyway I don't see how she can attack Nicholas without compunction. I don't like her much either- both her and her sister whine too much.

Violante was amusing, once one got used to her, and I rather have a bit of a soft spot for John le Grant (him and Tobie and Julius. They're my guys.) I still have homicidal feelings towards Catherine for being such a ditz, though the whole scheme with Pagano made for an interesting story-- I liked the battles between Doria and Nicholas and felt really cheated when the great encounter didn't happen. (Come on, daggers with their names on and everything! Stupid Noah.) Still rather puzzled about "the Greek with the wooden leg" and his involvement in the denouement-- I had rather liked him but now I'm not sure if I should...

Only finished one chapter of Race of Scorpions though Carlotta seems to be my type of lady (there's something of Sybilla in her, I think... I hope...). Was snickering all morning with her final lines:
She watched the girl run, and wondered what quality of men Sante of Bologna employed, and whether they were sober. She had no great hopes. She had long ago concluded that the world would be a more efficient place if managed by women.

Hee. ;)

Thursday, August 05, 2004

it's raife not ralph!

... as I corrected everyone today. The sublime Ralph Fiennes has been selected to play Voldemort in the upcoming Harry Potter film, The Goblet of Fire. (Earlier reports that John Malcovich had gotten the coveted role of the super villian were erroneous and didn't agree with the films' policy of having an all-British cast.) Hee. Lovely news- a perfect addition to the fourth installment along with Miranda Richardson as the persistent Rita Skeeter and Brendan Gleeson (Menalaus of "Troy," the father of the dead child in "The Village") as the wacko new DADA professor Mad Eye Mooney.

selling the true Texas cowboy...

In a hilarious parody of Dubya's own campaign ads, ACT and Will Ferrell have created "White House West," a kind of 'making of' video of the Bush commercials. Get out the vote people!!

via Bag News Notes.

the engraveyard

A very neat site! Or rather, only part of a larger and neater site, this area focusing upon old paper money from around the world with v. funny commentary. Particularly fond of the Egypt bill with "The Guy Down at the Garage who Located the Wrench Everyone Had Been Looking For." ;)

via the weird new "plog" thingy they've got going on at amazon.com.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

the world is quiet here...

Another Lemony Snicket site. Lots of info, and they found all six eyes!! I can't believe it- I've only found 5 and have been on the hunt for days (isn't *that* sad?)!! Luckily, they post some hints so we'll see how I do...

via the Snicket Source.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

which humour are you? (because i seem to be on a quiz kick at the moment...)

You are Melancholy. Melancholics are often gifted, even prone to genius. You are deep and thoughtful, but this can lead to your being too introspective, to the point of moodiness and depression when you find flaws within your self. You strive for perfection in all things, most especially your self and your immediate world. You are sensitive to the needs of others, and loyal to your friends, but can be hard to please. Melancholics do well in the Arts, science, and math.

Which of the Humours are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I rather like the "prone to genius" part. ;)

via scribblingwoman again

Monday, August 02, 2004

what kind of elitist are you?

You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every book ever published. You are a fountain of endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and never fail to impress at a party. What people love: You can answer almost any question people ask, and have thus been nicknamed Jeeves. What people hate: You constantly correct their grammar and insult their paperbacks.

What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Hee. Of course.

via scribblingwoman again. ;)

which loreena mckennitt song are you?

The Old Ways
You are "The Old Ways".

Which Loreena McKennitt song are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

And wouldn't you know, I had to pull out my old (and rather beat up, poor thing!) cd of The Visit to figure out which one that was? More Celtic than I thought I was... though I guess the sentiment is the ultimate decision-maker... ;)

from scribblingwoman.

the village

Post-viewing wrap-up of M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. Overall, I'm still not sure if it was more good than bad, or more bad than good. (warning: some little spoilers ahead.) Let's start with the good stuff...


1. Misty moors and quivering aspens. The cinematography, as always, was superb. Eerie to the extreme, simplistic and muted (v. much like the villagers themselves), and v. atmospheric and beautiful. A nice movie to just *look* at, really. Roger Deacon, you da man.

2. Kissee-wissee, girly-stuff. Night made a romance. What a twist! The lovey-dovey business between Lucius Hunt (brood dude Joaquin Phoenix) and Ivy Walker (newcomer Bryce Dallas Howard) was actually very well done, extremely romantic, and not sick-making. These two fit well together, and have good chemistry in the scenes that they share. The only qualm I have is that Lucius didn't get enough screen time to really develop his character and this nice little sub-plot. Insofar as the assumption that this little relationship is actually a love-quadrangle, well, the hints laid for that story are too weak to really be taken very seriously (and quite frankly, it's not needed).
However, where Night succeeded with this couple, he completely flopped with what appeared to be a second hook-up (see CON #2 below).

3. Eureka, the credits! Night took our criticism to heart after the typographic nightmare that was Signs and made some sexy type appear on screen once again, this time using the exquisite small caps from the font family Eureka (a personal fave). Spooky with alternating between negative and positive prints of the trees in the beginning and then as an accent to the end credits, falsely ageing photographs of village sites... brava. (Have no idea who made them though. Anyone know??)

4. Haunting music. This was the best example, I think, of Night's collaboration with composer James Newton Howard. The music was absolutely perfect-pitch and the solos of violinist Hilary Hahn were exquisite (was not surprised to see her name as the first of the ending credits, she deserves all the mentions she can get).


1. Waste of an all-star cast. William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, and Adrian Brody, three actors generally considered to be quite talented, right? And here with nothing to do. Hurt is understandably a cold fish as a mayoral sort of figure (though he managed a modicum of emotion when his older daughter proclaimed she was in love...) not to mention the pauses at random... points in his sentences he does not pause at the beginnings and ends of sentences... (For once, I agree with Gleiberman in EW, his vocal patterns were just weird.)
Weaver is a great actress, who can do spit-fire ladies very well. Here she is treated as a highly respected member of the elders, seemingly with a certain degree of clout, and yet is tame as a bunny rabbit. You get the feeling that she could have been much more- could have forced the quasi-relationship thing with Hurt's character (see CON #2), could have revealed more of a fierce attachment to her son...
Brody gets about one line of dialogue. Maybe three at the outside, and spends the rest of the movie fidgeting and skulking around creating mischief that only he finds funny. Now, he proves that the Oscar was well-bestowed, because for a character that doesn't talk, he sure does a lot that overcomes that handicap. (However, I'm not entirely certain if people acquainted with forms of mental illness would take his performance all that well.)

2. Edward Walker: widower or married? So, Lucius tells his mom that Walker must have a thing for her because he won't touch her. This is then displayed later at Kitty's wedding, right? So they must be struggling with all kinds of emotions and the burden of concealing them, right? And then Walker is seen in several scenes thereafter with an older woman who is not his mother, but would do as a wife in a jiffy. Therefore, was his character married? Was the woman his sister? Either way, there was zero chemistry between Hurt and Weaver and the whole sub-sub-plot, if there ever was one, completely flopped.

3. Thematic relevance of innocence. Night has said in interviews that he wanted to make a film about innocence. Okay, fine. Whatever. And the Village is, indeed, a tiny little harbor of innocence. Yet it becomes clear that the only thing that keeps it so is a reign of terror. Fear maintains innocence. (A very biblical sort of notion, but not without the requisite grain of truth.) So is then innocence good or bad? My brother and I had a nice little debate about whether sending Ivy into the Woods is an act designed to preserve this way of life (and in so doing, praising the simplistic, innocent existence over that of the knowing squalor of the Towns) OR if it is a tiny rebellion against the innocent life (ultimately revealing that such an existence is dangerous, vile, and etc.). We couldn't come up with an answer. I still can't.

4. Dickensian influences? I've noticed recently that Night relies on some pretty heavy-handed coincidences to make up his plots. "That's why he had asthma!" kinda stuff. So I was a little miffed when Ivy gets sent off to the Towns, and of course, can't report back of its true nature, because (ha HAH!) she's blind!! And there were an awful lot of kids in that village, so I'm hoping that the photograph (those who have seen the film know which I mean) didn't show all of the founders of the Village. Cuz then I think there'd have to be more crazy kids like Percy running around...

5. Missing conspiracy theories. Lucius makes a point of the fact that the town is full of secrets. Now, yes, eventually the big secret is revealed, flippity-doo-dah. However. All is idyllic, even after the creatures attack. They call one and all to come before the elders to report if they've done anything bad... but what of the elders themselves? If Walker was to be believed, the brunt of the suspicion fell on them anyway. Why all the goodwill and working in harmony together? Why not toss in some suspicious glances, minor outbursts of emotion, ANYTHING other than catatonic yes-men and women???

FINAL THOUGHTS: Okay, so it was easy to figure out the twist. Ridiculously so. But does that make it a bad movie? Well, you expect more from a Shyamalan film, this is true. And it's hard to say if the writing lacked, or if it was just the delivery of the dialogue, which was forced (but was it supposed to be, given the circumstances??) I will grant Night this: it makes you think and that's more than any crappy end of summer fare like "Anchorman" is gonna do for the movie-going public.