Sunday 27 January 2008

My Celebrity Crush

Considering I'm such a TV addict and cinemaholic, it's bound to happen from time to time. I blame this one on my sister.... Michael Rosenbaum.

My sister has been talking about this guy for about five years now, so really it's her fault I know who he is at all. The first thing I saw him in, at her insistence, was the film *Sorority Boys*-- and he makes a surprisingly pretty girl, in case you were wondering. =) It wasn't a film that was ever going to win any awards, but if you like stupid college humour, then give it a go. I thought it was quite funny, and he apparently has a flair for comedy. Mostly, though, he's know for being the best bad guy around, the one we can't help but hope he'll overcome his demons and become a good guy... he is, of course, Lex Luthor on *Smallville*.

This show has become one of my favourites. I was interested in the show from the beginning-- what's not to like about the premise of seeing the teenage years of a superhero? And I've always been a big Superman fan, growing up with the original films and all. But where I was living at the time, I didn't get the WB... and once I did, I decided I'd wait to see the show from the beginning (even if that meant renting it on DVD eventually) rather than jump into the middle somewhere. I am so glad I did! Last winter, ITV2 started showing it-- from the beginning!-- three nights a week. I was so excited, and was immediately hooked. They showed the first two seasons then, and are back this year with season three-- this time five nights a week! I think this has something to do with my crush, actually... I watch this show more than (almost) any other. I hear that soon it'll turn into *The OC* or *Peyton's Place*, with the focus on sex and not on story... but I've also been told that it gets better if I stick it out. I don't know how many episodes or seasons they are showing this winter, but I'll keep watching as long as it's on. I'm hooked!

Considering I know next to nothing about the guy himself, most of my celebrity crush comes from his portrayal of Lex, I'm sure. He is, for me, the most interesting character on the show in the same way that Snape is the most interesting character in *Harry Potter*. Is it the girl in me that likes the good-looking bad boy? Or the ordinary human who loves getting caught up in the comic-book world? Or the theologian in me that wants him to find redemption? Probably a bit of all three, I'm sure... but I think most of it is the *Snape factor*, as I think of it. He's not a monster, he's not evil, he's not even bad all the time. He's got the deck stacked against him in many ways, and yet he tries to overcome his family, his past, his own faults and tendencies. I have to cheer for him, to hope for him to keep fighting, to long to see him become, in the end, a good guy. Of course, I've seen the films-- I know that he doesn't stay as good as he is now (in season three, remember). He becomes the sworn enemy of Clark/Superman, a criminal genius. And yet... there is always hope for reconciliation, for redemption, for grace. Is it too much to want that, even for Lex?

So, there you have it: proof in writing of what a dork I am. =) Now all I have to do is move to Hollywood.... Ha!

Saturday 19 January 2008

2007 Update Continued...

Other University Issues

Oh look! A post that isn't about a TV show! Wow....

There was a good bit going on in my university life, other than just studying. One of the cool things I got to do was to be an official proofreader for a real published book. It was awesome! I am such a grammar nazi, and I notice every mistype, whether I am looking for them or not, which makes me a natural proofreader. I think I may have missed my calling, ha! Anyway, it was my supervisor's book, *Singing the Ethos of God: On the Place of Christian Ethics in Scripture*, and it was an interesting read-- and I'm not just saying that because he's my supervisor. =) There are only two typos in the whole thing... one in a section that was added after I proofed it, and, funny enough, the spelling of my name. Not just the spelling, actually, but my whole name: I'm Annie, of all things. But my super was horrified, and promised the second edition would get it right. ;) Oh well. I know he knows my name, at least... and I found a new way to pay my bills if I ever need it.

Speaking of paying the bills, I have been fortunate enough to get some work at uni this year, as well. I started in January as a reader, scribe, and invigilator during the exam period for students with disabilities. Basically, I do just what it sounds like: read the questions out, or write what the student tells me, and make sure there is no cheating going on. It pays well, at nearly 10 pounds an hour, for nearly three hours an exam, and it's easy work for me. I'm used to writing essays and all, so that's no problem, and it's also nice to be working with people. I did the invigilating (that's the making sure there's no cheating bit) in January, and again in June. Then in the fall, for the new term, I got hired on as a note-taker and proofreader through the same department. I took notes a couple of days a week, for students in the Law Departments, and Language and Literature. It was quite fun, actually, to be back in classes and learning new things. I never met the students I was taking notes for, but that was okay. The work was easy and enjoyable, and the pay is very good. I'm hoping to get more of the same for this term....

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I have an awesome office. I don't go in very often, as I like being able to work from home... but when I do go in, it is great. There are ten of us in there, and we aren't just all work-- we play some, too! This year, we had one party to celebrate one of our number graduating. It was a grand send off, with food and wine and general merriment. It was nice to be able to celebrate a friend's accomplishment, and to look forward in hope to the time when we can celebrate for each of the rest of us, as well. We also had an excellent office Christmas party, again with food and wine and festive fellowship. It was really great, as we included wives and kids-- so we had four little ones running/crawling around, giving us free live entertainment. I don't often get to see these ladies, and it was nice to catch up with them over wine and mince pies. =) We ended the year with a Christmas lunch for the *Left Behinds*-- those of us who were staying in Aberdeen for the holidays. There were six of us, and it was lovely (it would have been lovelier if I could have had something other than soup, but my poor throat was sore. Still, the company was fabulous!). We pulled our crackers, and wore our crowns, and read our cheesy jokes, and enjoyed ourselves immensely on our break from studying ourselves silly. I really do love my office, and the fact that they still include me, even though I don't come in as regularly as many of the rest do. I know how incredibly lucky I am to be in there-- I love my office!

Finally, I don't know if this counts officially as an university issue, but it is related. My visa expired at the end of December, and I've been trying to get it renewed. However, it seems that government agencies are the same from country to country-- never a straight answer, out to take as much money as they can for as little in return as possible. It took me a few weeks to get all my paperwork in order, and to meet with an international student adviser to make sure everything was in order so that my renewal would go smoothly. Yeah, right. Honestly, it wasn't her fault-- but things have not, so far, gone smoothly. I got it sent in just in time, but it was returned to me after the first of the year. The letter said there was an issue with my payment (which is an unbelievable near-300 pounds), and that I should read the paragraph next to the ticked box to find out what the exact nature of the problem was. But, of course, none of the boxes were ticked. My student adviser said that they have applications returned for the same *reason* all the time, and they've never been able to get any answers as to what the exact problem is. She told me to just choose another payment method and send the whole thing back in. I did that, and haven't yet heard anything from them. So technically, I am an illegal alien just now... hopefully they'll take my money this time (the thieves!) and actually give me a visa extension this time. If they don't, I have no idea what I'll do....

Wednesday 16 January 2008

Captain Jack is Back, Baby!

Who, you ask? If your first thought was of Johnny Depp, then you have good taste... but no, I am not talking about Jack Sparrow. I mean the OTHER Captain Jack... Harkness! Friend of the Doctor, loved by and lover of all, leader of the Torchwood team... and if you have no idea what I am talking about, I pity you. Seriously.

Tonight was the first episode of season two of Torchwood. It even did so well last year, it's now on BBC2 at 9pm-- up from BBC3 at 10pm. And boy, did it start out with a *Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang* as promised by its title! This year they are going for a little more comedy, a little less dark and edgy, perhaps, but nonetheless it's just what I expected from Torchwood. (For those of you not in the know, you really should check it out-- we do some great shows here in the UK, as well! Torchwood is a spin-off for adults from the cult classic Doctor Who, which was recently revived and will be soon starting its fourth season. They are alien, time-travel, sci-fi adventures, and it doesn't get much better than this! Pretty much the best of this kind of TV since the X-Files left our airwaves, in my opinion. Check 'em out, really!) I have been waiting for this season for more than a year now (and we didn't even have a writers' strike!), and although I knew that it was good stuff and I really liked it, I had practically forgotten how great it really is... until today! I love the stories, with the aliens and the conspiracies and all, of course-- what's not to love? But I had forgotten how fabulous the team is on this show. They each have their specialty on the team (gadgets, medic, what have you) and their own distinct personalities... and when you get them all together, it is explosive! And not always in a positive way, ha! Ach, I love it! My Wednesday nights are looking up now, yessirree!

Okay, commercial over. Back to work! =)

Sunday 13 January 2008

Dancing On Ice

I just have to say that, all of you who don't live here in the UK, you are missing out on some great winter TV watching! =)

We here are the originators of the celebrity-paired-with-professional competition show, most notably Strictly Come Dancing (which y'all probably know as Dancing With the Stars). We just finished, at Christmas, the fifth series-- and of course it was fabulous. But I must admit, as much as I love Strictly, I love this one more!

Dancing On Ice is just what is sounds like-- celebrities paired with professional ice skaters, who have to learn not just the turns and lifts and dance moves, but to do it all on skates! This is the third season I've watched, and it is amazing to watch their progress. I don't mean to say that it isn't difficult to learn ballroom... but the thought of doing all this on the ice makes me even more impressed with these celebs. It would scare me to death to get out there... I know I'd break my tailbone or bust my head or something equally painful! Still, when I have some extra cash, I am going to check into some basic skating lessons down at the rink by the beach... I'm inspired, and it looks like so much fun! =)

Coincidentally, one of our celebrities is the host of the show *Phenomenon*... although since it's an NBC show, I have no idea what that is. ;)

Anyway, that's my random thought for the day. I am such a TV addict... but I love it!

Thursday 10 January 2008

2007: A Review Continued


It feels like last year has been the most productive for me in terms of actually getting things done. Whether that's actually true or not, it was still nice to actually have a good bit to show for the time I've put in. I *finished* two chapters (of course, they'll need a lot of revising before they are really good to go), and presented my first paper at an academic conference. Yippee!

As far as my chapters go, I am now *done* with my section on parenting. Finally, and thank goodness. I now have four chapters all together, for what will be about 60% of my thesis. The first half of the year I was working on a book by a Roman Catholic theologian, Florence Caffrey Bourg. Her book, Where Two Or Three Are Gathered, deals with the doctrine of domestic church-- the idea that a person's family not only can be but should be a small version of the church, and the place where all members (especially children) can best come to know Christ and learn how to live lives of faith. This is done by learning to see Christ in everyday, *ordinary* events, and of learning to better love and serve Christ through any and every thing we do. Needless to say, I really like this view. =) So I've now added a chapter on Bourg and domestic church to my previous two on Barth and Hauerwas. That was the first chapter for this year, and let me tell you, it was like pulling teeth to get it written, even though I actually enjoyed the concept of domestic church. It didn't much help that I had to get it finished before I could write the paper for my conference presentation... it was down to the wire, but I got there. And it was okay, at least for now.

The conference was the Scottish Theology Postgraduate Conference, which met for a day here in Aberdeen in July. My paper was a short pre-chapter version of what turned into my latest chapter-- I took my three theologians and put their different emphases and views together to make my own picture of Christian parenting. Three chapters of 15-20,000 words each, condensed into 8 pages, or 20 minutes. I was nervous, both about the content as well as the presentation, but it all went better than I expected. There were only about 20 people there, plus Brian (my supervisor), who was the one running the session. Luckily for me, the front row was full of my fellow female *theologicans*. =) That made it much better, to have smiling friendly faces cheering me on. Although it was very nerve-wracking, and I always get terribly nervous, I am sure there will be more chances to perfect my public speaking and share my work in the future... although I hope there aren't too many, ha! =)

Finally, I had to turn my three individual theologian chapters into one big chapter, where I expanded my own thoughts on their approaches to Christian parenting. After having distilled it all into eight pages for the paper, it was actually harder for me to expand it into 30 pages. (I didn't quite make 30, but it was close.) Having dealt with this material for so long, you would think it would have been easy to pull it all together-- it wasn't! I'm still not happy with it, really, and I'll have a heckuva lot of work to do on it before it'll be worth submitting... but it's at least on paper, and a passable work-in-progress. The progress will just have to wait a bit longer; I just couldn't keep going on the parenting stuff any more. It is nice to have that behind me for now. The going back to it will probably be better once I've been away from it for a while (or at least I hope). Besides, it was getting harder and harder to keep thinking and reading and writing in that area-- I feel like an imposter writing on parenting when I don't have children of my own. At times, it gets kind of depressing, as well, since I would like to be married and have children... so I'm glad to be taking a break from that and going back to the literature side of things. That's the part I really love anyway!

Up next... Other University Issues!

2007: Year in Review

Since I wasn't in touch for most of last year, I thought I'd use this opportunity for a brief catch-up on my life in 2007. I'll start with the enjoyable bits....


I saw a ton of films last year. I'm just going to list them here. If I weren't so lazy, I'd link them their IMDb page... but I guess you'll have to do that yourself. =) If you want to talk about any of them, let me know. I just won't take up the space with my thoughts and opinions since this is already more than a film a week. And yes, I am a cinemaholic. I thank God every day for my Unlimited Cinema Card... God bless CineWorld Cinemas! =)

2007 Films I Saw

Flushed Away
Night at the Museum
Happy Feet
It’s a Girl/Boy Thing
The Holiday
Déjà vu
Miss Potter
Last King of Scotland
Music and Lyrics
Rocky Balboa
Notes On a Scandal
The Science of Sleep

Blood Diamond
Ghost Rider
School for Scoundrels
Freedom Writers
Arthur and the Invisibles

Charlotte’s Web
Good Shepherd
The Number 23
Stomp the Yard
Becoming Jane
The Fountain
The Illusionist
Hot Fuzz
Amazing Grace
The Messengers
Blades of Glory
The Last Mimzy
Mr. Bean’s Holiday
Curse of the Golden Flower
Meet the Robinsons
The Reaping
Wild Hogs
The Painted Veil

Reno 911! Miami
The Shooter
Spiderman 3
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
The Namesake
Shrek the Third
Ocean’s 13
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Die Hard 4.0
The Simpsons
Surf’s Up
The Sound of Music
3.10 to Yuma
The Brave One
The Bourne Ultimatum
Michael Clayton
Mr. Brooks
Eastern Promises

Death at a Funeral
August Rush
American Gangster
Beowulf 3D
The Golden Compass
It’s a Wonderful Life

Next up, my academic year....

Monday 7 January 2008

In the Beginning....

... I finally decided to start a blog! Imagine that.

After a year of failing miserable at keeping in touch with the people I love and miss (that's y'all), I decided that this might be worth a try. At least this way y'all won't have to read massive missives, and I can share the same stories over a longer span of time. It doesn't feel quite so oppressive, the idea of short entries here as opposed to long emails the old way-- so I'm hoping that I'll be more likely to let y'all in on what's going on in my life here. One of my New Years Resolutions was a post a week... so stay tuned!

For tonight, just getting all this set up is enough trouble to be getting on with. I'll add some more about the holidays in the next days. I still would love to keep in touch with y'all, and hear about what is going on in your lives-- so please feel free to comment here, to email me, to send me the links to your own blogs, anything and everything! I miss y'all and hope that your New Year is off to a great start. I can't wait to hear what it holds for everyone!