#WeekendCoffeeShare: In Which I Am Brief

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you hello and welcome you in. We’d have a quick chat, then we might head out for the morning. It’s Museum Month here, and today we’re off to visit the World War II Museum and gad about town a bit.

The week has been a busy one…It’s the first week of the semester, and it’s my first week as a full-time employee at the college, so the semester is quite different than semesters past. I’ve mostly gotten moved into my new office–all the things are there, but I have to find a way to hang some things on the concrete walls (ideas?) so that it doesn’t look quite so bare. I’m also beginning to learn the names of my students, though it’s taking me quite a while because there are about 125 of them. They’re pretty swell though, and we had some good conversations this week about writing and the current socio-political situation.

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If we were having coffee, I would apologize for this week’s short entry and tell you that you’ll be seeing more here in the next few weeks, both coffee share and other posts, as I start to get my footing underneath me at the new job and move forward with some blog plans. ❤

#WeekendCoffeeShare: In Which I Am a Wee Lazy

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If we were having coffee, I would invite you in and say hello. I’m probably still yawning and stretching, and the coffee might not actually be made. Perhaps we’ll walk just down the street to Congregation, the little coffee place on the corner, or perhaps we’ll just stay in here where it’s cool and I’ll hop up to make some coffee. Today I’m being a wee extraordinarily lazy, because this week has been a doozy. (Does anyone actually say doozy anymore?–Besides me, I mean.)

I would tell you that this week I finished up the summer semester, grading essays and averaging grades and getting everything in juuust before they were due. I generally try to finish things up at least a day or two in advance, but this time I had lots of trouble getting that done. Little Jedi is back from his dad’s house for the last 2 weeks of July, so I’ve been trying to spend time with him. I also had an interview for full-time teaching that took place halfway through the week, and the preparation and nervousness from that took up quite a bit of my time. (Side note: Not sure if I’ll have the job yet, but I do know that I have a second interview!) And there’s been a fair amount of family stuff going on that has made me both anxious and angry…Things that I’m not ready to talk about here (and may or may not ever be) but that have drained me of energy in all kinds of ways.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Little Jedi and I only get this week and next week together out of the whole year. It’s weird, but it’s true. He spends a lot of time with his dad’s family and with my parents–and that’s well and good in the sense that he has lots of people to care about him, but it makes life a little lot more complicated. It’s difficult to plan anything as a family, and it’s frustrating because the other parts of his family don’t really recognize that. During much of the year he is in school, obviously, and during the summer he spends 2 weeks of each month with his dad. Throughout most of the year he’s with his dad every other weekend, and during his Mardi Gras break and spring break he was gone to visit grandparents this year. Sometimes it feels as though he needs his own social calendar, and Sam and I get railroaded into having almost no family time.

So we’ve spent this week mostly hanging out at home, because that’s what he’s wanted to do. We’ve played video games and read and watched YouTube, and he’s had some time to play with his friend and for them to have a sleepover (or two!). On tomorrow, we’re going to the theater to see Kiki’s Delivery Service, and next week I think we’re going to make our way to the aquarium and insectarium and library. In short, we’re going to enjoy our city and one another, because we don’t actually get a lot of free time together to do that.

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If we were having coffee, I would ask what you have going on, what your week has been like. So link up your posts below, and don’t forget to use the #weekendcoffeeshare tag on Facebook, Twitter, and here on WordPress!

The Princess Bride: Book Vs. Film

When I was fairly young, my dad decided to rent The Princess Bride (1987). Back then, we had one of those huge, wood-encased TVs, and we lived too far out of the small town that I grew up the-princess-bride-posterin to get cable TV at our house. Instead, we had this huge satellite in our yard and a box on the TV that would turn the satellite, allowing us to get an additional two channels–bringing us to a grand total of four channels. But we had a VHS player, and there was a local video store. Fridays were “stay up late nights,” and my dad and I would rent a movie or two.

My dad’s predilection for romantic comedies with happy endings makes me think he chose the movie, but it could’ve been one of my siblings. The thing is–I don’t remember seeing it for the first time. I just remember loving it. I doubt I chose The Princess Bride the first time I watched it, but I remember choosing it many times after that.

It wasn’t until 2003, though, that I realized The Princess Bride was based on a book published The Princess Bride 30th Anniversary Edition_2in 1973. I was wandering through a bookstore, a sophomore college student hunting for summer reading, when I saw a display of the 30th anniversary edition. I think I probably let out an audible laugh as I picked it up. And I let out a lot more laughs as I read the novel. I’m hard-pressed to tell you whether I prefer the novel or the film. Though there are some key differences, they retain the same basic plot.

The Story:

Buttercup and Westley fall in love. They are parted as Wesley goes to earn his fortune; Buttercup is betrothed to Prince Humperdink after Westley fails to return for several years. Huperdink arranges for Vizzini, Fezzik, and Inigo to capture and kill her to start a war; Westley, disguised as the Dread Pirate Roberts, steals Buttercup back from the group. But Buttercup and Westley are lost in the Fire Swamp, after which they are captured by the Prince. Wesley is killed but then rescued and revived by Fezzik and Inigo; the group escapes on the night Buttercup is supposed to be married.

Film Versus Book:

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Perhaps the biggest change from book-to-film is the frame story. Both frame stories involve the book being read aloud, but the frame story in the novel is more elaborate. In the novel, we are introduced to the story as an abridged version of a longer work by S. Morgenstern. We’re led to believe that Goldman bought the book for his son, not realizing that he enjoyed the story because his father read it aloud, skipping the boring parts. This is supposed to be Goldman’s abridged, only-the-good-parts version. And that makes for really good reading—we get moments that Goldman is able to satirize the publishing industry, question the literary canon, and explore just what the differences are between what kids enjoy and what adults enjoy (if there are any).

That frame is partially eliminated in the film. What we get instead is a grandfather reading a story to a sick little boy. The retention of a frame works to keep us considering the film as a text (and really, that’s one of the most important functions of the original frame story). We’re aware that it’s all made up, and every time the film stops so that the grandfather and young boy can talk, we’re thrown back into that realization.

In addition, the back-stories of the characters are mostly simplified or lost in the film. Naturally, this has to happen. Goldman’s book is a bit lengthy, with a sprawling cast of Princess Bride_3characters and events that occur over time. On film, the simplifications work to provide a cohesive visual story that works within the also simplified frame. Fezzik and Inigo are both given fuller back-stories in the novel, rendering them more fully fleshed out characters. In the film, it is enough to know that they are with Vizzini and to know that Inigo’s father was killed by the six-fingered man. The book, in addition, gives us more reason for the conflict between Florin and Guilder, as Prince Humperdink feels tricked when he discovers that his betrothed, princess of Guilder, is bald.

The love story between Buttercup and Westley is also simplified. In the novel, Buttercup realizes that she loves Westley after becoming jealous of the way the visiting Countess Rugen looks at him, and she tells him, only to have the door slammed in her face. He of course informs her soon after that he does love her but must go and make his fortune first. In the film, this is simplified to Buttercup realizing Westley’s love one day when he says “as you wish” and the two professing their love before he leaves to seek his fortune.

Vizzini’s plot to capture and kill Buttercup and Westley’s pursuit of the group are almost identical in film and book. The film has Fezzik knock Buttercup unconscious; in the novel it is Vizzini. The group notices the ship’s pursuit before Buttercup throws herself overboard in the film; in the book the group notices the ship after Buttercup is returned to the boat. The film has shrieking eels; the novel has sharks. During the sword fight, Inigo is able to wound princess-bride-westley-and-buttercup-8476325-1280-720Westley in the book, but in the film he is not able to. Vizzini’s death is much the same in both versions. And the pacing of the swamp scene is faster in the film version, the couple barreling toward Prince Humperdink.

In another large change, the book’s Zoo of Death is replaced by the Pit of Despair. In the book, one of the first things we learn about Prince Humperdink is that he’s an avid hunter. The Zoo of Death is a 5-story building full of dangerous animals; Humperdink kills one of them a day. In the novel, when Westly is caught by Prince Humperdink, he is sent into the Zoo of Death. He is tortured for a month or more before being finished off by the Machine. In the film, he is instead thrown into the Pit of Despair, attended
by the albino, is only hooked up to The Machine, and his torture only seems to last a day or two. This vastly simplifies Westley’s rescue, as Fezzik and Inigo only have to walk in to retrieve Westley rather than fight through 5 levels of creatures.

The visit with Miracle Max retains its book form, though the film makes a small change by not mentioning the 1 hour limit that the novel places upon the miracle pill. In each version, though, Westely manages to remain alive, fight Humperdink, and leave him tied up, and retrieve Inigo (who has gotten revenge on the six fingered Count who killed his father), Fezzik, and Buttercup, and the group escapes on horseback.

The Verdict:

I find it difficult to choose between the two. The nostalgia that I experience when I watch the film gives it big ups. And the quotable quotes are everywhere. Rob Reiner masterfully directed, and the film had the bonus of having the novel writer as its screen adapter. But the entertainment of Goldman as an editor in the novel’s frame story is difficult to match, and I miss the back stories of Fezzik and Inigo when we lose them in the film. So the film wins, but only by a small margin. If you haven’t I seriously suggest checking out this book—it’s well worth the time, and you’ll probably laugh out loud.

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*Note: This post initially appeared as a contest entry for The Artistic Christian’s Summer Blogging Challenge (And it won! :D). It gets a re-post today as part of the Princess Bride Linkup Party at WriteOnSisters.

#WeekendCoffeeShare: In Which There’s a Party!

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If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting on my big purple couch for the first time in a while today–or perhaps if it’s not too warm (though if I’m honest, it probably is), we’ll sit out on the back deck. It’s a bit quiet around here for a change, and that feels nice. Little Jedi is gone to visit his dad this weekend, and Sam is out most of the day working on finishing the rough cut of Rolling with Kings and scripting the first issue of The Chronicles of Count Carlos. Meanwhile I’m here, hosting the coffee share—and I’m also doing a few other things too, like co-hosting the Princess Bride Linkup Party with the fabulous women of WriteOnSisters and working on the posting line-up for October.

princess-bride-linkup-partyI’d tell you that I hope you’ll join us for the linkup party at WriteOnSisters and share a post about The Princes Bride, of course! It’s quite possible that you’re here while I’m actually watching the movie, which is definitely on today’s agenda. PB is a movie that I watched growing up, a favorite that I chose again and again on the weekends when we rented movies from our local video store. And it’s one of the few movies that has really stood the test of time for me, only getting better as I grew old enough to understand the nuances of the story. And old enough to read (and to enjoy) the novel, too. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a post I wrote about it a few years ago that focuses on the book-to-movie comparison, and all weekend long I’ll be sharing and commenting on posts that are linking up. (Pssstt–If you participate, be sure to use #PrincessBrideParty to share your posts on Twitter and Facebook so we can find each other and share!)

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A Greenland shark faces off against a diver named Jonathan in Little Jedi’s shadow puppet play

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this has been another busy week, and it has also been a rather long one. It hasn’t all been bad, though. The highlight of the week was being able to pay all of the bills on time and then have enough cash left to do something fun for Little Jedi. His school was closed on Wednesday for a teacher workday, and of course Sam and I both had to work. We were going to have him stay with a friend, but the kids’ art center down the street had a day camp going to make a shadow puppet theater and shadow puppets. When I picked him up that afternoon, he and his classmates performed their short plays. Since there were only 4 of them, it seems as though they had a really good day together. This was a pretty big thing, too, because Little Jedi was nervous that he mightn’t be good at making voices for the characters or cutting out things–but what he discovered was that everyone else needed a little help too, and he enjoyed it so much that he wants to go back there again. It’s just down the street from us, and in addition to day camps when the kiddos are out of school, they also have some open studio hours each week and some summer camps. They even did a claymation camp this past summer. Lots of cool stuff happening there.

Anyway, other than that the week was mostly unremarkable–class was much smoother this week, and I don’t have grading to do this weekend, which is nice, as I’ll definitely have some to do next weekend. I had a bit of a difficult Monday, and I felt like a big ol’ mess at the end of it, but mostly that was PMS combined with some work stress, and a wonderful group of friends reminded me that we all fall down, and we get back up again. And I did. The end of the week was still busy, but at least it came to a close peacefully for me…And I know that there were those who weren’t so lucky. The news of another black citizen killed by police, of riots and unrest, are haunting.

I’ve been escaping into fiction a bit this week, finishing up The Red Queen and starting the 2nd book in the series, Glass Sword. And I picked up The Map of Bones at the library, only to realize that it’s the 2nd in a series, so I had to put The Fire Sermon on reserve at the library and go and pick it up–because you guys know how I am about reading things in sequence! Anyway, I picked up the other book, too, and I managed to pick up the last collection of Runaways. I even played a bit on Pottermore, discovering that my patronus is a Siberian cat, my wand is fir wood with a phoenix feather core, 10″ and hard flexibility, and of course I’m still a Hufflepuffin. Ahhh, distraction.

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If we were having coffee, I would say thank you—thank you so much for listening, for showing up to say hi, and to share your own coffee. It’s delightful, this little community. And I’d bid you adieu, for now, with a reminder that next week’s coffee share will be the kick off for a re-launch of this new space, starting with an October full of monstrosities, including the return of Monster Monday and some horror-themed guest posts!

Link up your coffee posts below! Just please follow our few little rules:
1. Posts should be framed as a chat over coffee or some other beverage.
2. Posts should be current (written within the week).
3. Links go on the link-up, not in the comments section.
4. Comment and share each others’ posts using #weekendcoffeeshare on Facebook and Twitter!