2012 Finale

Over New Year’s, Matthew Perdie, the Abbotts, Rachel’s boyfriend Adamson Easterly, and David Abbott‘s girlfriend Jessica Urffer visited Fair Hills Farm. The visit was a rousing success, complete with movies, fireworks, s’mores, a game of Catch Phrase, and Matthew’s film classes (a fascinating scene-by-scene analysis of National Treasure in the school room). It’s so fitting that the Abbotts were here, considering our creative tradition.

Here’s a glimpse of the festivities (I’ll add more photos and maybe some videos as they come about):

Rachel snapped this photo of Matthew, Ms. Lindy, and me hanging out in the schoolroom.

Playing "Catch Phrase" in the sunroom.

The menfolk setting up the bonfire.

Little David fires the Roman Candle while Adam and Andrew prepare fireworks and Matthew films (see camera lens on the right edge of the photo. I held the film light to illuminate these shots).

Andrew sets up a firework while Rex prepares to attack it (he loved snarling at those things!).

What a beauty!

Adamson and David play chess on the chessboard Rachel gave Adamson for Christmas, while Andrew plays "Risk" on his mother's pink iPad.

Abigail experimented with one of Matthew's camera lenses for this shot of Joseph and me.

Matthew held his film light while Adam and David reenacted some shadowy creepers that Rachel and Jessica thought they saw on the trail.

These lovely ladies (mothers, Mrs. Lindy Abbott and Mrs. Chris Read) are working on publishing a magazine with me. To give you a hint . . . it's a magazine for thinking women!

Summer Sets In

Well, we have quite an exciting Summer ahead. First of all, Dad found a replacement camera on clearance sale. Abigail has been shooting away with it. Now I need to commission some pictures of my ring and the kennel (which we have begun wallpapering with an old fashioned toile print). It is becoming a nice little country office.

David’s 6th birthday was on the 28th of June (same as Benjamin Franklin’s birthday, according to what I’ve read). Benjamin’s 2nd birthday was on the 12th of June, by the way (just in case I didn’t mention it). We have enjoyed lots of homemade chocolate cake (an antioxidant dessert, as Mom says).

Speaking of antioxidants, we have still been able to harvest some blueberries…but the weather is really too dry and threatening the lives of some of our plants. Even the occasional rainy day isn’t a good enough dose due to the sloping ground (the water rolls right off of it) and…surprisingly…a lack of humidity. The brief storm on Sunday cooled things down to a pleasant, breezy atmosphere, but the air is parched. It is sad to think that we have spent our first three homesteading years under a drought.

Yesterday Dad took all of us (except Mom, who stayed behind to get other things done) out to Uncle Steve’s place to look at a trio of turkeys he offered to give us. They are brown – perhaps Broad Breasted Bronze, similar to wild turkeys. Two hens and a tom are a good start and the pen was very nice, but Uncle Steve wasn’t there to help us take the pen apart so Dad thought we shouldn’t bring them home with us at that moment. We visited our great grandparents for the rest of the day instead.

The Clarks arrive on Saturday. They will stay with us until the 9th, so we should have a lot of fun. Kyle and her mother will visit for awhile too.

The chickens are thriving…because they are entirely full range now. The Dominiques hop over their fence and roam wherever they please and the Red Stars have no pen at all.

Visit www.youtube.com/SincerelyAmanda to watch a funny video of Ferdinand that Rachel put together.

My apologies for not inserting the links or actual videos - my hosting service is not allowing me to do so properly. I can't even insert pictures properly yet. I hope to improve that soon.

Sigh…And Then Some

I hope that this upcoming week I will actually work towards doing everything I’ve planned on doing.
This past week I’ve just felt a bit worn out and uninspired – perhaps because it has been just a week since the ACT.

Abbott Management has still not contacted me. I have no doubt that they are exceedingly busy. They may very well end up being helpful to me, but until then I will have to try contacting individuals on my own. I haven’t worked very hard towards the producing goal recently because I was so busy studying. Now I should have no excuse!

Here is an interesting piece of information that Dad sent me:

Bill could lure movie stars, money to Anniston
By Megan Nichols
Staff Writer06-19-2008

Movie stars and money could stream into Anniston if the state Legislature passes a package of tax breaks to lure them here, local and state officials said.

A bill that would have given film production companies a 25 percent rebate on production expenses, a 35 percent rebate on salaries paid to Alabama residents and an exemption from sales, use and lodging taxes did not make it to a vote in this year’s legislative session. Local legislators said it could come to a vote if Gov. Bob Riley calls for another special session this summer.

Alabama, along with Delaware and New Hampshire, is one of only three states not offering incentives to the film industry, according to the Pew Research Center.

Joint Powers Authority member Pete Conroy, who is a proponent for bringing the movie industry to McClellan, said the state had already missed opportunities by not having an incentive package. He said the Lifetime television show “Army Wives” could have been filmed at McClellan if the state offered incentives.

“That one project would have brought in nearly $90 million in on-the-ground spending to this area,” Conroy said. “We’re talking to friends in California who have a really strong interest in bringing projects to Alabama.”

Conroy said he had heard that George Lucas was working on a film called “Red Tails” about the Tuskegee airmen that could be filmed at McClellan if the incentives package passes.

“I don’t know where that project is right now, but the point is that this is no longer a specialty industry,” Conroy said. “It’s one that every state should be part of. We’re missing out on some low-hanging fruit.”

Todd Stacy, deputy press secretary for Riley, said the governor supported the incentive package and wanted to see it pass.

“When it comes to economic development, Gov. Riley wants to see bills like this succeed,” Stacy said.

JPA board member and Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said he has supported the tax incentive bill.

“I thought it had a pretty good chance last session, but it just wasn’t one of the bills that managed to get through,” he said. “I think it would have a good chance of passing.”

Marsh said he believed McClellan would be an ideal spot for filming movies because of its scenery and buildings, like the old barracks.

Rep. Randy Wood, R-Anniston, also said he supported the bill. He said if it was placed on the legislative calendar he believes it would pass without a problem.

Bringing the film industry to town could be an economic boon to northeast Alabama, said Rep. Steve Hurst, D-Munford.

“It’s not a goal that’s out of reach,” Hurst said. “I will do what I can to help pass the bill.”

But Reps. Barbara Boyd, D-Anniston, and Lea Fite, D-Talladega, had some reservations concerning the film incentive package.

Boyd said that although she believes McClellan would be a beautiful spot for movies, she was worried about films that would showcase the city’s issues with environmental contamination. She also said she would have to research the idea more before she could vote for film industry tax cuts.

Fite said the bill was a “pie in the sky issue.” He said he would continue to support the bill, but wanted to see proof of a guaranteed return on the tax cuts.

Proponents of the bill have said that is difficult because the film industry would simply move its productions to one of the 47 states offering incentives, rather than pay more to film in Alabama.

As for the Lucas film about the Tuskegee airmen, Fite said if that deal was concrete, he would support the bill.

“Maybe if George called me at home we could work things out,” he said. “We’ll sit down over a cup of coffee down here at the Waffle House and make this thing happen.”

So, perhaps the producers will eventually come to us!

Among my other goals for this summer: Finish my landscape painting of the pond and begin on some more paintings. To be precise, there is one photo of Beth and her friend Jenny that I really want to attempt capturing on canvas.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t sketch the chicks when they were at their cute stage (I might resort to using Abigail’s photos as models). However, we do have another hen setting now, so if all goes well I’ll get another chance next month!

I’m trying to sketch out new writing ideas as well. Quite awhile ago I began planning a blog series of writings about dramatizing history based on things that I learned while working on The Crusading Chemist along with an in depth look at other plays and screenplays based on historical events. Yes, that actually sounds like fun to me.

I would also like to research movies and plays that were based on novels and other works of fiction. It would be interesting to see what styles different people follow as they adapt the writings of other authors. Especially when their worldviews may be completely different!

Last night we went to Aunt Betty’s (our great-grandmother’s younger sister) house for a cook out. Granddaddy came along with us. We had a great time…Ben especially loved catching lightening bugs after supper!

The tiny default font size on this blog is driving me crazy! I’ve got to get this blog template fixed…


Becoming Drama

Click here to read my revised review of Becoming Jane at the Cross Eyed Blog and Webzine!

When most contemporary writers attempt to explore the literary motivations of the renowned Jane Austen, they often follow a nearly stereotypical trend of thinking.  Because she so masterfully portrayed the cliques and prejudice of Regency era society (a study of human nature quite relevant today), it is often assumed that she must have been feministic and somewhat rebellious, or else she would have given a less sharp view of her culture.

I was relieved to see that Becoming Jane does not follow that trend as closely as one might expect.  The young Jane (played by American actress Anne Hathaway – who did surprisingly well in my opinion) is seen as quiet, introspective and slightly eccentric, but not rebellious.  She is a middle class country girl, content as long as she is allowed to be.  She is happy for her elder sister Cassandra’s initial engagement, and of course, very absorbed in her writing.

Jane – unique and eccentric to family and friends, but not rebellious

The elements of the film that began to confuse me were that of Mrs. Austen’s rash, unsympathetic attitude towards Jane and her literary talent as well as her “Mrs. Bennet” like behavior.  At certain points of the movie I almost thought I was watching one of Jane Austen’s novels being played out on the screen.  From what I read years ago, the Austen family was not nearly as tense and socialite bound as the characters of Jane’s novels.  I’m sure that she based some of her writings on experiences in her life, but I doubt they were that autobiographical.

When the dashing and worldly young lawyer Tom Lefroy (played by Scottish actor James McAvoy, also quite well) bounds into the scene, the atmosphere becomes amusingly more conflicting.  His elite character slyly taunts Jane, as he tells her she needs to “have her horizons widened” and learn more about “the real world”.  Some of the best dialogue scenes in the film are her clever rebuttals to his argument for worldly novels.

The dashing and worldly Tom Lefroy

The story follows the gradually intertwining lives of these two very different characters as they both experience the typical money/family struggle and each learn a thing or two about propriety.  The expected romantic plot eventually sets in.  Not surprisingly, the match is unfavorable to aware superiors.  Contemporary cinematic patterns of passion and tragedy begin to rise, with a thread of history still left.  Cassandra’s fiance dies on a mission trip, and Jane is pressured to marry a “Mr. Collins” type suitor.  Tom Lefroy pursuades Jane to elope with him, hoping they will escape their trials and tribulations.

As they are part way along in their rendezvous to Ireland, the breathless and passionate Jane becomes the wise and sensible Jane who realizes her foolishness and decides she cannot do such a thing to her family and the Lefroy family.  She returns to her home, much to the relief of her family, particularly her mother, who has also sobered down substantially.

While the movie attempts to make some interesting use of the more obscure issues in Jane Austen’s life, it is still a conventional movie about an unconventional authoress.  You will walk away feeling like you haven’t exactly learned much about the writer herself, but because no one claims to really know much about her, there isn’t a whole lot to say on the matter.  The acting is good, dialogue witty, characters believable and plot surprising.  There is a brief 1-second-or-so long unnecessary thematic element or two not worth discussing, but beyond that the movie is about as nice as any little paperback historical fiction novel.

I read about the film in a screenwriting newsletter some time before I watched it.  The critics praised screenwriters Kevin Hood and Sarah Williams for not being “slaves to history” and instead using it as “a launching pad to combine threads and events into a much tighter story for the screen”.  While dramatizing history you have no choice but to take a little artistic license in order to make a long story fit into an interesting 2-hour segment.  But you have to remember that you are still telling a story about an actual person – not a figment of your imagination…and most of the time the more historically probable is actually more intriguing to the audience that is interested in the historically based film in the first place.

One interesting point the secular critics did make was, “What makes this love story stand out, odd as it may sound, is the complete lack of physicality between Jane and Tom…only a handful of stolen kisses. They walk chastely though the woods and along streams. They discuss books. Some of their most physical interactions are the various society dances they attend…Keeping to the sensibilities the real Ms. Austen became known for…this screenplay is all about language and subtlety…”

Perhaps a little path has been paved for more becoming dramas rather than trashy flicks.

Becoming Jane – a conventional movie about an unconventional authoress



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Saturday, September 29, 2007 – Hello

Posted by nancysnook
Thanks for the email notification of your blog update! I was very pleasantly surprised to hear from you. Thank you so much~

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Sunday, September 30, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by Bluejane
That is the first time I have heard good of that movie. Everyone I have talked to did not like the movie at all, and did not recomend it.

It was interesting to heir what you had to say about it,

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007 – Howdy!

Posted by melarooski
Nice meeting you too! :-)

Though I’ve not seen that movie, nor, most likely, ever will, I must say that was a very well written movie review. Your thoughts seemed biased neither for nor against it. An honest look at it with an open mind and from many different angles as well.

Very nice!


P.S. As far as templates go, your lavender rose template is very lovely. Suits my taste quite well. :-)
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Tuesday, October 2, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by BlogBoy
Great quotes, I’ll be writing the next entry of the series soon.

NJAO will be starting back up in the winter.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by ChristineDaae

We saw the movie Becoming Jane. There were several bad parts in it though so we are not really recommending it to other people. Without the scenes that were in it, it would have been a great movie. I wish they wouldn’t have put those in!

God Bless,
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Wednesday, October 3, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by BlogBoy
RYC: I know! Totally! Go IM! ;) Paul uses “ha ha ha” a lot.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by SandBetweenMyToes
Please stop by and wish DancingFeet a Happy Birthday today. You can see some of her baby pictures on my blog at SandBetweenMyToes.

Her mom
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Thursday, October 4, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by christianmusician1
I have seen that movie. I thought the acting was superb, the music, beautiful, and the scenery, breathtaking. The thing that bothered me was that “one scene” and some of the conversations contained vulgar, unnescary implications of the “real world’. Over all I liked it. I cried, I laughed, and it was just one of those movies, but still there are defiently a few querks to keep in mind. God bless.