Tag Archives: birthdays

Things Have Been Weird

It’s been a weird couple of months. I blame turning thirty back in July. Just, since then…it’s been weird. There were some great things and some other not so great things, and mostly I just didn’t feel one hundred percent like me one hundred percent of the time.

026Some examples: My birthday falls on the last day of a month, the same day my rent is due. In July, and for the first time ever in my life, I forgot to pay my rent. That’s the level of crazy-not-myself I’m talking about. Then, in August, I had to leave town on business and was completely incapable of getting myself organized for the trip, to the extent that I took a cab from the airport to the wrong hotel, got lost trying to find the right hotel, and ended up hailing a rescue cab somewhere toward the end of the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. Not quite the auspicious start to this brand-new-to-me decade that I’d hoped for.

020And then! Just this month, the power cord to my computer died a mysterious, untimely death! Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever even heard of anything like this happening before? I hadn’t! I thought those things just worked indefinitely world-without-end-amen! And I didn’t realize the power cord wasn’t working until my computer battery was failing fast and I was afraid of Losing Everything so I shut down and my computer has been sitting cold and silent for a full two weeks while I waited for a new one. Two weeks! Two is too many.

Well, we’re back in business now, ladies and gentlemen. I had so many things to say to you when my computer was dead, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I’m pressing restart on this whole thirty thing.

Thirty

So today is kind of a big deal day. Milestones and all. Yesterday, I finished Middlemarch. And then today, I turned thirty. I’m not actually sure which of these was a bigger deal.

I’ll be honest: I had some ups and downs approaching this birthday. One thing I can say with certainty that I learned in my twenties is that sometimes, you just need to have the meltdown so you can move on. Maybe that means you just need to watch the movie that never fails to make you cry, so you can cry about all the other things you really need to cry about too. (I can’t be the only one who does this.) So that happened this month.

But I did a lot of other things, too, in addition to finishing Middlemarch; good things, happy things (dare I say, happier than reading Middlemarch).

I went hiking with friends, and oh! the wildflowers! Tiger lilies, columbine, shooting stars, and glacier lilies!

columbine, glacier lily

columbine, glacier lily

There was ice cream and conversation.

Six flavors of rainbow sherbet, one cup.

Six flavors of rainbow sherbet, one cup.

I made Momofuku Milk Bar birthday cake with my mom. It was delicious.

007

And then this weekend, I’m headed down to Ashland, Oregon, for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be awesome. Like this brand new decade.

It's high time for big wishes.

It’s high time for big wishes.

A Big Year for Birthdays

It’s a big year for birthdays (birthdays-slash-anniversaries), everyone. This year, my blog turns two (today, in fact — happy birthday, blog!), I will be turning twenty-nine (again), and we mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice.

Image via Jane Austen's Regency World

Image via Jane Austen’s Regency World

It will probably come as a surprise to only a few readers that I subscribe to Jane Austen’s Regency World, the official magazine of the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England. The January/February issue is almost entirely devoted to Pride and Prejudice, and all sorts of other enormously interesting information, including the identity of the person of who won the auction for Jane Austen’s ring, Kelly Clarkson.

I must confess, I was a little surprised that it was Kelly Clarkson and not a mysterious-and-totally-imaginary secret admirer of mine who converses like Henry Tilney, believes that I could be “the Jane Austen of the Pacific Northwest”, and was saving the ring up as a special surprise present for my 30th (ahem, second 29th!) birthday…but I digress. It turns out a replica of that ring is totally the way to go (major hinting going on, for any mysterious secret admirers) because the United Kingdom declared the ring a national treasure, so Kelly Clarkson can never take it out of the UK.

But enough silliness. The main reason I’m writing tonight is regarding an article in this issue of JARW called “Choose Your Darcy”. That’s right. Amy Patterson, the author of the article, with whom I would very much like to take a turn about the room as well as tea, compares all the different actors who’ve played Mr. Darcy on the silver screen, and, most importantly, comes up with the right answer for who did so best.

Her favorite (and mine)? David Rintoul. Mr. Rintoul plays Mr. Darcy in a so-faithful-to-the-book-you-can-practically-read-along version of Pride and Prejudice that first aired in 1979. I realize I will be alienating many of my friends and probably 90 percent of the internet by not choosing Colin Firth, and my sister by not choosing Matthew MacFadyen, but as far as choosing a Mr. Darcy that most faithfully represents the Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen’s book and of my imagination, I too have to go with David Rintoul.

The 1979 version is not pretty. The costumes seemed quite wretched. But what can I say? Give me a version I can almost read along with and I’m happy, even if Elizabeth is really prettier than Jane. Also, it’s only four hours, instead of a whopping six, largely because it doesn’t insert scenes that Austen never wrote of Darcy emerging wet-shirted from the lake in front of Pemberley, and used only one or two scenes of Elizabeth walking to communicate her fondness of that activity.

Matthew MacFadyen’s portrayal (circa 2005) is…darned sexy. The best that one can say of that 2005 version is to remark on Matthew MacFadyen’s sexiness, and the fact that it’s one movie long. A faithful representation of the book, it is not (“My pearl for Sundays?” – heaven, give me strength!). Occasionally my sister and I watch the movie together-in-time, if not location, and madly text each other – because this is arguably the most romantic of the versions…and Matthew MacFadyen…and it can be watched in two hours or less, especially if you fast forward liberally, like we sometimes do.

We weren't quite at the same part of the movie here. Nonetheless, enthusiastic.

We weren’t quite at the same part of the movie here. Nonetheless, enthusiastic.

Cut from the image above was my saying something along the lines of “Dang. Matthew MacFadyen.” We aren’t always totally frivolous, either; here you find us actually discussing the story itself:

In between swoons, we discuss authorial decision making.

In between swoons, we discuss authorial decision making.

I just can’t give “best Darcy” to Colin Firth, because, much as I respect Mr. Firth as an actor and like his looks, he just wasn’t the Darcy of the book; he brought too much of the stock “awkward Englishman” to the role. Ms. Patterson says it best in her article in JARW: “David Rintoul, my Mr Darcy, gets closer than any other to capturing the essence of this wonderful, complicated, shy, angry and passionate hero.”

I’ll step down off my soapbox now. Which actor’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy is your favorite?