Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dunnottar Castle

A place needs to be pretty memorable to visit it more than once.  In Scotland that place was Dunnottar Castle.  Recommended to me by a college friend who'd been in Aberdeen the year prior to me, I visited it three fabulous times during my semester in Aberdeen (1. with American friend Ellie Feb 21, 2000,  2. with DH March 27, 2000 and with my parents June 5, 2000).  It was by far my favorite site in Scotland!

Dunnattar Castle is located just south (1.5 miles) of the village of Stonehaven, a mere 20 minute (15 mile) bus ride from Aberdeen's bus depot & train station.  It sits on a cliff hugging the North Sea.  It not an easy journey to get within its walls.  The footpath one takes after the initial parking lot walk is steep and narrow and full of stairs one must traverse both up and down.  On a sunny day, it is bright and invigorating to see a place with such history and on a wet day it is forboding and haunting as an old sea-side fortress should be.  To learn more quickly, read the Wikipedia article. Quick piece of trivia:  The castle was used in the filming of Mel Gibson's Hamlet.

Pictures are a hodge podge of those three visits.

Walking down the main entrance from the road.

The village of Stonehaven, as seen from a footpath walking north from the castle to the village.

Monday, March 22, 2010


The above picture is of a works cited card found in the stack of blank cards in the media center on Friday.  These cards are supposed to help students learn what information to write down for a bibliography or works cited page.

I know the picture is a little hard to read because it was written in pencil.  Let me write it out for you:

Author of the Article:  your mom
Title of the Article: your name
Original source title: something
Date of source:1998
Title of Database:  your grandma
Date of Access: 1993
Web Address:

And this is why I have a love/hate relationship with middle school students.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

House MD P&P Trailer

Saw this from another blog I read (can't remember which one to give it credit) and thought I'd should share this video from YouTube. If you have seen the TV show House, you will like this one. :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Plight of the Darcy Brothers

The Plight of the Darcy Brothers: A Tale of Siblings & Surprises (Pride & Prejudice Continues) by Marsha Altman. Sourcebook Landmark, 2009. 356p.

Ok, I have to get this off my chest first thing.  The cover just donesn't fit the book.  Yes, there is a duel at the end of the book.  But folks, there is not this group of onlookers.  Ok, I've said it.  I get really annoyed when a cover doesn't fit the book.  I'm done now.

This book is the second in a series (sequel to The Darcys and the Bingleys).
To read this book a Janeite must:  1. Put aside all seriousness about Dear Jane.  It's not a "realistic" tale in the least (if one can call P&P 'real' at all, but I digress), but more of a wild romp! 2. Prepare to laugh out loud.

As I've alluded, this book and its predecessor, are just plain old fun. All of the characters have a bit of wit and sarcasm about them--Bingley is constantly being made fun of for being Irish (which he claims he isn't, but that red hair?!) Caroline is suddenly happy in life, and borders on friendly.  And Darcy and Elizabeth--ok, their banter seems real.  Had we been privy to their actual banter, it may have been somewhat like theirs in this book.  The characters are funny in their own way and it's a delight.

So, up for some plot?  D&E set off for the Continent in another attempt to rescue a Bennet sister's reputation, this time Mary.  Their journey leads them to discover a deep dark Darcy family secret (no vampires here, please find go to another book if you are looking for them here) and meanwhile back at the ranch, I mean, Pemberley/Bingley's estate toddlers run amuk and every body's favorite villain arrives (enter Mr. Wickham).  Need I say more?

3 Bonnets.

The Last Man in the World

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World by Abigail Reynolds.
Sourcebooks Landmark 2010. 248p.

This title is one of Abigail Reynolds P&P variations stories.  Imagine this: Elizabeth on a rambling walk around the grounds of Rosings Park, Darcy joins her.  She pays not attention to his gentle and quiet prattle becuase she is annoyed at his joining her on her once solitary walk.  Unbeknown to Elizabeth, Darcy proposes somewhere in his talk, Elizabeth responds in what he thinks is the affrimative but she wasn't really paying attention and it's unclear what she actually responds to.  Then Darcy goes in for the kiss.  She's a bit shocked, but both are even more so when they both realize Colonel Fitzwilliam just glimsed the kiss.  Elizabeth knows her duty to save her reputation (and her family's) and goes along with Darcy in that they are engaged.

So, Elizabeth never gets to say those famous lines "even if you were the last man in the world...." but it's implied throughout half of the book.  The witty and feisty Elizabeth acquiesces to her fate as Mrs. Darcy.  She is miserable and argumenative and not the Lizzy we know and love.  But this is mostly her own fault because she seems to live in her own little self-absorbed world and doesn't really pay attention to Darcy (or his attentions or his true generous nature) or her surroundings.  She just wallows in self-pity for a while.  It's a bit of a maddening read to start because we don't get to enjoy the wit and life that Elizabeth brings to the novel.  But it does begin to ring true to Austen's characters and temperament about half-way through and proved to be quite enjoyable in the end.

Author Abigail Reynolds has a keen knack for finding subtle nuances in the P&P story and tweaking them just so to create a different turn of events that keeps us coming back for more.  Keep writing Ms. Reynolds, keep writing.  3 Bonnets.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's All About Jane.

An article to read from about Jane and her many sequel/spinoffs--The Battle for Jane Austen by Laura Miller. I thought it was interesting to say the least.

Austenblog writes some thoughts on it here.

My thoughts:  I think Ms. Miller hits it by saying this,
"However, you can read "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" pretending that you're in it for the zombies or the laughs while secretly relishing Austen's sublime romantic comedy. At least, that's how I read it -- not, that is, with any pretense, but, as I went along, finding myself increasingly skimming over the interjections of horror and combat to get back to the real story....The great advantage, the secret weapon of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," is that when you tire of the beheadings and the martial arts and the blood and guts, it's still "Pride and Prejudice." And you know that can't be bad."
It's all about Jane, folks.  All about Jane.