#WeekendCoffeeShare: A Short One

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If we were having coffee, you would hear the laughing sounds of kids at play mixed with the booms of video game sound effects, as the Little Jedi’s bestie and his older sister are here for the weekend. It’s nice to have the house full of laughter and fun on this long weekend, which was a sorely needed one for us at this point. It feels a bit like I can catch my breath for a few moments for the first time since perhaps June or July, when things began a quick trajectory toward the end of the summer semester, interviewing and then preparing for a full-time fall semester, and getting Little Jedi ready for and back into the school routine.

And we are really and truly settled into this semester’s routine finally, though I’m still working out some things in relation to the office. I’ve still got to get things hung up in my office (thanks for all those brilliant ideas!), but I’ve moved in my academic books and a few happies (like my tin Edgar Allan Poe lunchbox and my ceramic frog prince) and office supplies, so the office is functional at least, and it is beginning to also be comfortable. My students have their first essays due this coming week and the next, so we’re moving toward completion of the first quarter or so of our semester together. We’ve mostly been having good, productive conversations in the classroom, though of course every class has some days when things just feel a bit off-kilter.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am looking forward to Halloween season. It’s been one of my favorite times of year for a long while, and it’s inching ever closer. This year we’ll be doing our usual adult-oriented party, though I’m not sure what else the month has in store. I’ve found myself pulling up the Halloween sections at Michael’s and Target and Lowe’s, combing through pages of decorations…And of course browsing Pinterest for ideas!

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And now, friends, I turn it over to you. Perhaps I haven’t done quite enough listening lately, so I would listen to you and what’s going on in your world.

If We Were Having Coffee: Movies, Balance, and Weathering Storms

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If we were having coffee, we’d be piled on my couch watching Moana. I’ve managed not to see it yet, and since Disney is apparently pulling their movies from Netflix soon, I figure I’ll catch it while I can. I’ve heard a lot of great things about it. Next up (at some point in the near future) are The Jungle Book and Pete’s Dragon. I really do have an affinity for kids’ movies. It’s something I picked up from my mom, and since I spent so many years in school analyzing kids’ books and media, I still very much enjoy reading and watching them.

It’s a shame I can’t manage my child to sit down and watch them. 😂 He would rather watching a superhero movie, and I have a bit of superhero fatigue lately. So many of the movies are overlong and overwrought, and there are just so many of them! I remember enjoying the older Superman movies when I was young and even quite a few of the Batman films. I also quite enjoyed the Christopher Nolan trilogy in the early 2000s, but the earlier Marvel films didn’t appeal to me quite as much. These days I’m feeling much the same about both Marvel and DC, with perhaps the exception of Deadpool, and I’m holding out home for Wonder Woman, since I didn’t get to see the first film when it was in theaters but heard a lot of good things.

We have managed to watch a few really good movies together lately, though. We’ve been going to the Ghibli Fest movies throughout most of the year–My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service so far, and we plan to see Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle this fall. We’ve seen both of those before, but it’ll be really cool to see them on the big screen. We also watched Kubo and the Two Strings and The Secret Life of Pets here at home, both of which were wonderfully weird. I didn’t love the new Ghostbusters (although I really wanted to, y’all!), but the kiddo quite liked it.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m working on balance this weekend. I’m working to balance writing time with the work week, which has suddenly gotten longer and more taxing. I’m enjoying being full-time, and I’m going to get to contribute to some things that I wasn’t able to as an adjunct instructor, but I’m there quite a lot more than I was before, obviously. I’m starting to settle in, but some days I come home incredibly exhausted. As an introvert who has a lot of social anxiety, teaching is a demanding job. One night this week I went to sleep around 8:00, before we’d even read bedtime stories. (Yes, we still read aloud even though Little Jedi is 8!)

But I’ve got a lot of ideas for pieces that I want to write, and I used to manage to make more time for writing. I’ve just got to figure out a new system since the hours I’m keeping are different these days.

I’m trying to decide how I’m going to revamp this little blog, too. I still have my parttimemonster.com blog space, and I’m contemplating a way to use both sites, possibly making this one specifically a weekend coffee share site and the other a pop culture and sociopolitical space. I’ve missed flexing my writing muscles, but these days the coffee share seems like a totally separate kind of post. It’s going to take me some time to puzzle through this and make changes if I decide to.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that our house was struck by lightning last week–there was a big set of thunderstorms that worked their way through, and lightning struck the chimney of our house. I wasn’t home, but Sam and the pup were both here–Sam says it felt like a big baseball bat hit the house. We were quite lucky, as only our router was destroyed (and the cable company was responsible for that) and the TV in our bedroom was shorted out. We knew we couldn’t replace it immediately–it’s pretty low on the list of priorities, honestly–but our neighbor just got a new one, and she was kind enough to offer us her old one. Sometimes blessings come when you least expect them.

This weekend we’re just waiting and watching. We’re in a part of New Orleans that isn’t prone to flooding, but much of the city has already had problems with flooding in the last few weeks. I’ve been watching the brunt of the storm start to hit Texas (and gosh, what a storm–stay safe people, and let us know how we can help), and we’re prepared for any effects that we start to feel over the next few days.

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And what about you? What might you say if we were having coffee? Drop your link here, and we’ll all stop by for coffee with you!

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Flooding, Facebook, and First Days

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If we were having coffee, I would first apologize profusely for my absence last weekend! I honestly forgot what day it was until sometime late Sunday afternoon, at which point it was far too late to write and publish a link-up. That’s honestly never happened before–well, the forgetting to post part, not so much the forgetting what day it is part, because that’s definitely happened before. But in all fairness, the last few weeks have been a doozy.

I keep making plans that get knocked down a bit as things change. I finished the summer semester in a whirlwind of grading and interviewing, and I found out about the job that next week. I wanted to spend my small break between summer semester ending and work on the fall semester beginning as a jump-start on some writing, but…Last week was bound up in working on syllabi for the semester, because (as always) I decided at the last moment that I wanted to change around the assignments for my courses.

And then large portions of the city flooded as we went into last weekend, and all thoughts of other things went out the window. We are fortunate in that we are in one of the more elevated portions of the city, so we only had a bit of flooding–the water was up to the edge of the sidewalk at its highest point. But much of the city was underwater there for a while, with some areas flooding as much as they did during Katrina. And even though the water has receded, there are still warnings and things are still in an upheaval, as we’re still getting some rain each day and now the Sewage & Water Board have admitted that 8 of the pumps weren’t working during the storm. Oy.

So, needless to say, last week’s plans for writing went out the window. I didn’t manage the coffee post and certainly not any other writing, but I’m here now!

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I deactivated my Facebook account yesterday.

If you know me and how much I social media, that’s probably a shock. For those of you who aren’t aware, though…Facebook and I have been good buddies for a while. I use it to keep up with old friends–being an extreme introvert (and a busy person), the social interaction there is easier for to manage on a consistent basis than phone calls or coffee dates. I also use it to procrastinate, though. I spend time and energy writing Facebook posts that may be entertaining and thought provoking–or even just silly–and that time and energy could be better spent writing something that I post here or as a guest on another site.

The bigger issue, though, bigger even than how much time I spend crafting posts that could be netting my own site views instead of adding to Facebook’s views, is the relationship that has developed between Facebook and my life outside of it. They bleed into one another, and not always in good ways. For one thing, if I’m in a manic or irritated mood, I am much quicker to engage in debate on FB and far less nice when I do so. I have little patience, and I’ve both said some unpleasant things and had lots of unpleasant things said to me–and of course when that happens, my mood plummets. I’ve noticed myself feeling keyed up during arguments with others online and spending far too much time and energy in those debates. When it comes down to it, they’re not productive (mind you, I am not saying that I don’t think dialogue on social media can affect change; I think it can, but there is a point at which the debate becomes counter-productive), and they are stressful.

So I spent the last few days blasting out my contact info to friends who I want to keep in touch with, and I started getting rid of the account by increments. I changed all my linked accounts, and then I deleted the app from my phone. (I subsequently tried to check it on my phone about 3 times in an hour, but hey, who’s counting?) Yesterday I officially deactivated the account. And although I did spend part of the afternoon looking at Twitter and Instagram, I get an entirely different feeling from them (because I have cultivated happy feeds) and spend far less time on them than I ever did on Facebook.

Now if I can just keep it that way…

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the Little Jedi and I both start school this week. I spent all of this week in a flurry of activity preparing for that, so I haven’t written much, but hopefully I can get myself back to some sort of regular schedule once we both get settled in. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were full of faculty meetings for me, Thursday was mostly spent helping students with registration, and yesterday we carted school supplies up the 3 flights of stairs to the kiddo’s classroom and my office things up the flight of stairs to my new office.

The coming week will be full of things for us to do as we fall into the routine for a new semester. I’m teaching more classes than I’ve ever taught before, but for the first time I am a full-time instructor with my own office in which to work. Little Jedi is going into the 3rd grade, and it looks as though his classes are going to change quite a bit. With Sam working mostly from home now, all of our routines are changed from the way they looked last year, so it will be an adjustment!

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If we were having coffee, I would ask how you are, what you have been up to! And I’d promise to answer comments this weekend and to pop by for coffee and a chat with you, as I’ve felt terrible about missing you guys the last few weeks! ❤

#WeekendCoffeeShare: In Which I Am Late, and I Have News to Share

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If we were having coffee, I would apologize for missing you yesterday. I just couldn’t get myself together to finish the posting in time, unfortunately–But I’m here now! I’ll leave the link-up open until Monday afternoon so that everyone has a bit longer to add their posts to the linky. 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would also tell you that I have big news! My interviews went really well, and I accepted a full-time teaching position at the college where I’ve been an adjunct for the past year. It’s really exciting for me, and it came at just the right time. I’ve been feeling really discouraged for the past few months, especially in regards to my career and finances. Leaving grad school a few years ago before I totally finished my PhD was the right decision for me, but it also threw me into a tailspin. It’s taken me a while to recover, and I’ve had a series of part time jobs that have been fun and that have also been good learning opportunities, but that haven’t been ideal as far as advancing my career or keeping us financially stable. I’ll be able to do both of those things now, and it’s a major relief.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve spent the past week hanging out with the Little Jedi and Doing Nothing quite a lot. Since this was our last full week together before he heads back to his dad’s and then back to school when he is home again, we wanted to spend the week together. And we did–he had a friend over and visited a friend for a day or so, and the rest of the time we spent together just playing games, watching movies, and being together. All things considered (since I had the second interview this week and found out about getting the position), it was a nice way to spend a week. Sometimes I find myself disappointed that he doesn’t want to *do* more–I offered to take him to a movie or the library or the aquarium, all of which he said no to–but if he’s happy just hanging out, then I suppose I am, too.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m almost out of steam, so I would like to see what is up with you! ❤

#WeekendCoffeeShare: It’s Moving!

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If we were having coffee, I’d advise you to sit a little bit away so as not to catch any of my flu germs–because yes, unfortunately, the flu has finally made its way to our house. I’m a bit of a sneezy, coughy, runny-nosed mess right now, so perhaps it’s best that we’re sharing our coffee virtually.

I would also tell you, over our virtual coffee, that you’re about to see some major changes where the weekend coffee share is concerned, because it’s getting a new home. Starting next week, the weekend coffee share will be hosted at Nerd in the Brain, and Emily will be taking over the week-to-week operations of the link-up.

It’s taken me a long time to make this decision and to commit to it. I’ve hung onto the link-up for a while now, though writing each week has taken a great deal of energy. The community is a vibrant and close-knit one, with far more readers and commenters than I imagined would be a part of this when I started the link-up in 2014. So part of me really wanted to hang on to this part of my little corner of the internet, this thing that I’ve built. But another part of me knows that it’s time to make a shift. My posts have become less compelling conversation than chatter about my week, and over the past few months I’ve become more and more lax about doing the things that keep the coffee share community close–answering comments and reading, commenting on, and sharing everyone else’s posts. In large part, this is because when I didn’t calculate how the coffee share would fit in with the content I wanted to run when I switched my blog over, and in large part, this is also because I’ve done this each week for a little more than 2 years now, and the routine has become overwhelming.

Of course, moving the weekend coffee share link up doesn’t mean that I won’t ever be writing coffee share posts anymore…It just means that I’m taking a bit of a backseat and becoming a participant rather than the sole person in charge of making and running the link-up. Emily has agreed to do that, and I think that she will do a fantastic job. Emily currently runs Three Things Thursday, another weekly link-up, and she also runs hosts challenges and give-aways at Nerd in the Brain so the link-up is in safe hands.  And I’ll be popping in and out, adding my own posts to the list on the weeks that I write one and blissfully free to read and share posts that you guys write.

The content here, at Part-Time Monster, is going to get louder and more political. In the face of DT’s presidency and the massive sociocultural and sociopolitical problems that we are facing, I can’t stay silent. Feminist Fridays will resume this week. You’ll also see me talking more about mental health, focusing on my ongoing problems with anxiety and depression. And you’ll also see me talking about books, films, and comics–because not only does art tell us things about our society, but art is good for us in times like these. Art is not just frivolity, though it certainly can be frivolous.

And so…This is goodbye but not goodbye. I’ll be here, talking about all sorts of stuff, and I’ll sometimes jump into the coffee share as a participant, but this is my last week hosting the coffee share. Starting 2/18, look for the weekend coffee share on Nerd in the Brain!  🙂

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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.