The AltogetherUnexpected: In Praise of John Williams: The Beauty of Jurassic Park

The AltogetherUnexpected: In Praise of John Williams: The Beauty of Jurassic Park

The AltogetherUnexpected: In Praise of John Williams: The Beauty of Jurassic Park

Hey everyone! My wonderful friend Emily at TheAltogetherUnexpected, who wrote that amazing guest post earlier this month has allowed me to reciprocate and write a post for her blog. It’s about the film score for Jurassic Park and how John Williams could have written it like a horror movie but instead he saw beauty in disaster and scored it very differently.

I wanted to post the link here to encourage cross-traffic (seriously, her blog is amazing – check it out!) so here it is. I hope you enjoy it!

In Praise of John Williams: The Beauty of Jurassic Park

Guest Post: The East Wind Takes Us All in the End

Guest Post: The East Wind Takes Us All in the End

Guest Post: The East Wind Takes Us All in the End

This is a guest post from my amazing friend Emily B. over at TheAltogetherUnexpected. She’s a fantastic writer and just as much of a geek as I am, if not more. If you like her post, go ahead and check out her blog!

Enjoy!

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**Major Sherlock spoilers ahead! If you have not watched the entire series, then I am begging you to please not read this post**

There’s no such thing as bad. We have evolved to attach an emotional significance to what is nothing more than a survival strategy of the pack animal. We are confident to invest divinity in utility. Good isn’t really good, evil isn’t really wrong, bottoms aren’t really pretty. You are a prisoner of your own meat.

—Eurus Holmes, from Sherlock Se.4 Ep.3, “The Final Problem”

We all thought Sherlock had met his match when Moriarty came to play. Then we were all certain he’d met his match when Irene pulled at his heart strings. But never, in our wildest dreams, did we know what was coming when we met Eurus Holmes.

Eurus: the sister Sherlock never knew he had. Having wiped Eurus from his mind, Sherlock lived a life completely oblivious to the fact that he had a sibling locked up on an island called Sherrinford (cleverly named after the third Holmes brother from William S. Baring-Gould’s 1963 fictional biography). But Eurus, clever as she is, knows how to get in and out of Sherrinford without causing so much as a little fuss.

She can hide in plain sight, transform into anyone, make deductions with the sharpest accuracy, and manipulate anyone into doing anything she wants.

Many Sherlock fans accuse the show’s writers (Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat) of giving Eurus too great an intellectual capacity, but I beg to differ. While Eurus’s mind does seem capable of almost supernatural ability, all she’s had to live with for the past decade or so (the exact number of years Eurus spends in Sherrinford is never given) has been her mind. Born with an exquisite IQ, she had time to cultivate her mind into a super machine.

Eurus is an extraordinary character. She is a clever, calculating, and brilliant young woman. She surpasses Sherlock intellectually, and the reason being is her insensitivity.

Eurus does not feel. She does not care. She does not love. All she sees is reason, logic, and rationalism. While she never exhibits any kind of belief, Eurus is indeed a rationalist through and through. To make this philosophically interesting, rationalism, a philosophical stance, is (straight from Google): “a belief or theory that opinions and actions should be based on reason and knowledge rather than on religious belief or emotional response.” Eurus is definitely the perfect (and extreme) example of a rationalist.

Looking at Sherlock for a moment, he is a character who has been plausibly hyped up as being a hard, cold, senseless reasoning machine. All he cares about is solving crimes and doing what he loves.

We catch glimpses of his hidden emotions from time to time: when he begins to weep as he calls John before jumping from the St. Bart’s hospital rooftop, when he goes to hug a weeping John Watson as he cries over the loss of his wife, and especially when Irene Adler comes on the scene. #lordhavemercy xD

I think he was about to have a heart attack, poor man.

But, I digress.

Despite the rare moments we see his humanity pop out, Sherlock is a cold, socially awkward, calculating, and arrogant (yes, I said arrogant) sort of human. And, as sympathetic people, we can get on him for being so tough. Sherlockian insults are a very real thing.

“Dear God, what is it like in your funny little brains? It must be so boring!”

“Anderson, don’t talk out loud – you lower the IQ of the whole street.”

“Because you’re an idiot. No, no, no, don’t be like that. Practically everyone is.”

“I dislike being outnumbered. It makes for too much stupid in the room.”

“Moron.”

However, that’s what made “The Final Problem” such a fantastic ending for season four. 

Because before “The Final Problem,” we equated Sherlock’s personality with Eurus’s. As we continue through season four’s final episode, we see just how good and how human Sherlock really is.

Eurus, through a series of unfortunate events, puts Sherlock in a position where he must do everything she says, because it is his only hope for not only his survival, but the survival of John and Mycroft, who are with him.

She tests Sherlock ethically, psychologically, and morally. 

Many viewers who don’t care to analyze media critically claim that Eurus was a horrible villain because she had no motive. However, Eurus does have a motive. Her motive for putting Sherlock through her tests is her desire for him. She simply wants the brother who was never there for her. She wants to play with him, and to be loved by him. And she knows that the only way to capture his attention is to pull on his sympathies: the sympathies and emotions he was always known for…what she thought him weak for.

Eurus kills people without a care, she laughs when they die, and she thoroughly enjoys tormenting her brother’s mind.

The test that really shows us just how much Sherlock actually feels and actually loves is when he is told, by Eurus, to shoot either John or Mycroft. Conflicted beyond belief, it is so plain to see how Sherlock agonizes over killing his brother or his best friend. In the end, he chooses neither and turns the gun on himself. He would rather die than kill two of the people he loves most.

And if he was as heartless as we had believed all along, he wouldn’t have cared. If he had been like Eurus, he wouldn’t have hesitated in killing John or Mycroft to “play the game” with Eurus.

But, like Irene (as I mentioned in my post “…Let Me be Vulnerable.“), Eurus acted invincible. She was calloused, hard, and icy, but when she had a chance to be in Sherlock’s life, she took it. Posing as a young girl on a plane about to crash, Eurus finally gained Sherlock’s attention and his genuine care: the sympathy she had always wanted from him.

Realizing that the girl in the plane was all a façade, Sherlock took his sister in his arms and gave her what she had wanted from him for her entire life: love.

“Open your eyes. I’m here. You’re not lost anymore.”

I cried.

I’d never seen Sherlock get down on his knees and cradle someone in his arms like he did for Eurus. He was a solace for his sister, rocked her back and forth in his arms, and told her it would be all right.

And finally, here, at the end of season four, we see the full, 100% caring, emotional, and loving side of our hero, Sherlock Holmes. Here, as he gets down on his knees to hold, caress, and hush his drowning sister, we see the humanity we have longed to see throughout the entire show.

When Sherlock mourned internally for the “death” of Irene Adler, Mycroft told him, “All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage, Sherlock.”

And it’s true. 

Caring isn’t an advantage, and it’s most certainly not a way to get ahead in life, but it is worth it. It can be argued that Mycroft’s statement is, truly, the pulse of the entire series. It’s seen everywhere. And it popped out fully at the end of season four.

And when Christ chose to love us, He did not do it for His own benefit. Indeed, caring did not give Christ an advantage. On the contrary, when He chose to love us, He died. He rose again victoriously, yes; but first, he died. His care for us was what killed Him. 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:34-35

There are people in this world in the exact likeness of Eurus Holmes. Lost, lost in the sky. No one can hear them. 

And then there’s us. 

Will we choose to be the ones who can tell them just what Sherlock told his broken sister: “Open your eyes. I’m here. You’re not lost anymore.” Caring is a choice. Loving is a choice. Choosing to love and care is never an advantage. We will always be vulnerable in love, and we will always be endangered in care.

But to live our lives in that risk is what this life is all about.

And what made me love the ending of Sherlock season four even more was the violin duet played by Eurus and Sherlock “Who You Really Are.” Eurus doesn’t speak, but she feels the love. Look at that smile already beginning to take over her face:

What will we do in this life to bring Christ’s unfailing love, to bring His joy, and to bring a smile to someone else in this world? It is our calling from on high, our sacred duty, our “manifest destiny” if you will!

But really, what will we do?

I know you two, and if I’m gone, I know what you two could become, because I know who you really are: a junkie who gets high to solve crimes, and the doctor who never came home from the war. Will you listen to me? Who you really are, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about the legend, the stories. The adventures. There is a last refuge for the desperate, the unloved, the persecuted. There is a final court of appeal for everyone. When life gets too strange, too impossible, too frightening, there is always one last hope. When all else fails, there are two men arguing in a scruffy flat, like they’ve always been there and always will. The best and wisest men I have ever known. My Baker Street boys: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

—Mary Watson, from a posthumous recording to John and Sherlock

Because that’s truly what it’s all about: the stories. The adventures. The refuge we give to the desperate, the unloved, and the persecuted.

Shall we go on this adventure together, then?

“The game is afoot!”

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Thanks for reading! :)With Joy in the Lord,Emily 🙂“He must increase, but I must decrease…”- John 3:30

Narratives of Infidelity and Revenge: Euripides’ Medea vs. Gone Girl

Narratives of Infidelity and Revenge: Euripides’ Medea vs. Gone Girl

Narratives of Infidelity and Revenge: Euripides’ Medea vs. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Disclaimer: I have not seen the 2014 movie Gone Girl just yet – this review is based on the book alone. Warning for sensitive readers – the novel contains graphic sexual imagery and quite a bit of profanity. In this review, I am analyzing the story and not critiquing the content; however, quotes used in this review were carefully chosen to avoid these aspects while still giving weight to the argument.

One of my New Years’ resolutions that I’m striving to uphold is to get back into reading more. I used to read book after book but last semester I found it hard to keep up the habit.

So last week I went to the library and picked up some books to read, and incidentally ended up choosing the novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. The book had been recommended to me by a friend so I decided to give it a shot.

Coincidentally (or incidentally, I’m not sure which is more appropriate), my theater class this semester kicked off by reading the play Medea by the Greek playwright Euripides.

We all volunteered to read for characters, and I volunteered to read for the role of Medea. I was about halfway through Gone Girl at this point.

When I got back to my dorm that night and picked up the book again before going to bed, it suddenly hit me that these two narratives, written over two thousand years apart from each other, deal with the same basic concept – what would a woman do if she found out her husband was cheating on her? To what lengths would she go?

Now, if it was me (and hopefully I would never end up in this situation), I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t go as far as trying to kill my husband/children/husband’s girlfriend/whoever else gets in the way as the characters, Medea and Amy Dunne, do, but it still begs the question: If I was placed in a situation like that, how would I react?

I’ve known the story of Jason and Medea at least since I became fascinated with Greek mythology around the age of 11 or 12, and it’s interesting reading for Medea, knowing the monster of a character she is, and ending up sympathizing with her position a little.

As a reader, I can’t sympathize with either main character – Jason or Medea – because both characters have committed grevious wrongs and have not repented of them. They still believe what they did was right and their ego or their anger gets in the way of truly realizing the horror of what they have done.

And the same goes for Nick and Amy in Gone Girl.

Without giving away the plot of the book entirely, I was rooting for Amy for most of the first half of the book, especially when I found out Nick had been cheating on her. But then Amy’s true character starts to be revealed and I start to side with Nick a little. By the end of the book, however, I’m shaking my head at both of them. I can’t pick a side here. Both characters are in the wrong.

The interesting thing here is, though I can’t condone the characters’ actions, their motives and emotions are easy to understand. Medea is upset at how women are treated in her time, like possessions and trophies instead of people:

“Of all Earth’s creatures that live and breathe,

Are we women not the wretchedest?

We scratch and save, a dowry to buy a man –

And then he lords it over us: we’re his,

Our lives depend on how his lordship feels.

For better for worse: we can’t divorce him.

However he turns out, he’s ours and ours he stays.

– Medea, Euripides

And Amy Dunne has a similar rant in Gone Girl – a different era, a slightly different situation, but the same idea:

“You don’t ever want to be the wife who keeps her husband from playing poker – you don’t want to be the shrew with the hair curlers and the rolling pin. So you swallow your disappointment and say okay.”

Gone Girl, Pg. 157

Now, I’m not saying that I agree with these generalized definitions of men in these passages, but I do agree that both women are in the sort of situation where their husband is that type of man to them. And it’s easy to be bitter. It’s easy to want to get out, to plot revenge against them. And the women in these stories go incredibly far.

One thing my theater professor kept polling the class about was whose side were they on: Jason’s or Medea’s? Are you Team Jason or Team Medea? And I didn’t raise my hand for either one. Because the other side of this issue, the flip side, is just as bad because the characters’ reaction goes WAY too far, to the point of murder.

Yes, Jason and Nick cheated on their wives. In Medea, Jason doesn’t even repent of it. He makes excuses instead, about needing more sons and wanting status to protect her and the children. It makes me sick just reading it. He doesn’t care about her at all, it’s obvious.

In Gone Girl, Nick realizes that he did wrong and sincerely repents of it, but then grows bitter at what his wife is doing to him and the pendulum swings the wrong way. Now he wants to reveal her as the murdering deceiver she is, send her to jail and make her pay for exposing him and plotting against him. But he’s now also afraid of her, of what she might do to him.

Medea and Amy have a right to be angry, to be upset, to feel like they need to do something about it. The problem is, they deal with that anger in the wrong way and lash out. They use their intellect and cleverness not in trying to make it right, but in getting revenge.

Medea, describing her plot to kill the princess Glauce, Jason’s lover, and Glauce’s father, Creon, and eventually her and Jason’s own two children, to deprive Jason of everything he’s ever loved:

“Evil, evil on every side,
But watch and see.
Unhappy times await that happy pair,
And all who fawn on them.
D’you think I’d have crawled to him,
Pleaded with him, touched him,
If I’d not had secret plans?
The fool could have banished me today
And aborted my revenge. Instead,
I have one whole long day. One day
To make all three cold meat:
Father, daughter – and that man I hate.”

Medea, euripides

And Amy, fed up with her husband’s attitude and behavior:

“It’s rather extreme, framing your husband for your murder. I want you to know that I know that. All the tut-tutters out there will say: She should have just left, bundled up what remained of her dignity. Take the high road! Two wrongs don’t make a right! All those things that spineless women say, confusing their weakness with morality….”
But it’s so very necessary. Nick must be taught a lesson. He’s never been taught a lesson! He glides through life with that charming-Nicky grin, his beloved-child entitlement, his fibs and shirkings, his shortcomings and selfishness, and no one calls him on anything. I think this experience will make him a better person. Or at least a sorrier one.”

Gone Girl, pg. 234-35

Suffice it to say, neither of the stories end well for any of the characters. Not a single character is unaffected. The moral we can take from these stories is to stay far away from the cancer that is vengeance. The Bible is very clear on this:

“Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written: Vengeance is mine,
I will repay, says the Lord.

Romans 12:19

So what are we to do instead? You know what the answer is, turn the other cheek. The problem is that’s it’s been used so often it’s become cliche, and that’s a shame because it is just as relevant today as it was when it was written, as evidenced by these two stories.

All the evidence tells us that revenge is a bad idea. It never fixes anything. You can punch a bully in the nose and rejoice over the temporary feeling it gives you, but in the end it never helps. We risk exacerbating the problem, or worse, becoming a bully ourselves.

In fact, I just watched a Supernatural episode (After School Special, Series 4) that involves that very thing: Sam, in high school, defended a friend against a bully by fighting back and winning; but the bully ended up becoming the bullied one and killed himself.

It’s a vicious cycle – one that can never be escaped unless someone has the guts to realize what’s going on and take a step back. And lest you think that turning the other cheek involves becoming a doormat to keep the peace, Scripture has a slightly more proactive approach. Here’s the next two verses:

If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In so doing, you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.

Do not be conquered by evil; but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:20-21

Basically, the only way to reverse the cycle is to turn it around. Not only turning the other cheek, but also to do good to those who hurt you. It might not be easy, it might not be pleasant, you might not even see lasting benefits, but if you’re not perpetuating the cycle, the buck stops with you.

Ever heard the phrase, “Be the change you want to see in the world”? This is your chance. Don’t be like Medea. Don’t be like Amy. Revenge isn’t best served hot or cold. Healing begins when you decide to take God’s advice and leave the vengeance up to Him.

Leave a comment below to tell me what your opinion is on these two narratives – have you read them before? Did you side with one character or the other? What would have been your reaction? Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to have revenge on someone? What did you do?

My 2019 List of Upcoming Media

My 2019 List of Upcoming Media

My 2019 List of Upcoming Media

Hey everyone! Since its the beginning of the year I thought I’d update everyone on the books, TV shows, and movies coming out this year that are on my radar. I’ll see how many of these I can catch (and possibly write about) through the year and I’ll come back to this post in December and see how much I accomplished.

Some of these I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while, others I just discovered in my search for new things coming out this year. Either way, here’s my list and I hope you find something that interests you!

If you have something I should add to my list, let me know in the comments!

It would be a very long post if I introduced each item on here, so I decided to just list their names and release dates for now. Links lead to the trailers for the movies and shows. If there’s no link, that means the trailer isn’t out yet.

Movies:

  • Spiderman: Far from Home (July 5)
  • Cats (December 20 – based on the musical)
  • Inversion (release date TBD)
  • Boss Level (release date TBD)

TV Shows:

  • Good Omens (first half of the year, release date TBD)
  • The War of the Worlds (later in the year, release date TBD)

Doctor Who series 12 doesn’t look like it will be coming out until 2020.

Books:

  • The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm by Christopher Paolini (sequel to the Inheritance Cycle)
  • Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
  • Mind Games by Shana Silver
  • Dragon Ghosts by Lisa McMann (Book 3 of the Unwanteds Quests)
  • We Walked the Sky by Lisa Feidler
  • The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix (first book the the Greystone Secrets series)
  • The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick
  • Time Jumpers by Brandon Mull (Book 5 of the Five Kingdoms series)
  • Invisible by Andrew Grant

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I feel like my TV shows list is kinda small, though of course I’m not counting the shows that are not coming out this year or that are releasing new seasons but I haven’t seen the previous seasons yet.

If you have anything else you think I should be interested in, mention it in the comments and I shall be eternally grateful (I feel since I mentioned Toy Story I had to say that).

My Top 10 Fandom Christmas Posts 2018

My Top 10 Fandom Christmas Posts 2018

My Top 10 Fandom Christmas Posts 2018

Merry Christmas, everyone! For this post I decided to pick my top 10 favorite Christmas posts off Pinterest and Tumblr to share with you guys. Most are fandom-related, some aren’t. I’ll try to be fair – one post per fandom. I won’t let Doctor Who hog all the glory, even though it has so many of the best Christmas memes. Let me know in the comments what you think of my picks, and if you have any other memes you’d like to share!

Let’s get started!

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This meme is from the Christmas episode Voyage of the Damned, and my brain was doing the same thing as the Doctor’s face while hearing Mr. Copper’s wildly extravagant rendition of our Christmas escapades.

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Most of the time, I don’t get the fascination with text posts involving the young versions of characters, but this one is so stinking cute I had to make an exception. And the fact that it doesn’t involve Johnlock (which I do not ship and which there are a bajillion posts about) is a definite plus.

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Woo! Way to go, Loki! Just the idea of Loki in a Santa hat is hilarious, though. I want one of those cardboard cutouts….

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I’m a fairly new SPN fan and I haven’t made it all the way through the show yet, but I’ve seen enough that I understand this one just fine. You get that grandma-killer, Sam and Dean!

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That’s a lot of cookies, for sure. My family used to do something like this every year, though I was little so I don’t know for sure if we really had that many cookies.

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Whoa. Cool it, Peeta. What’s Katniss supposed to say to that?

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I’ve always wondered about that myself….

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Ruuuude! That’s just rude. Dumbledore, you leave my baby Severus alone! I will admit, it is kinda funny though.

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Not many Jingle Bells parodies are this well done. I have seen this one a lot and it has made me laugh every single time.

What did you think of my list? Please comment and let me know! Christmas posts are fun – I wish I could have picked more than 10 for this post. Merry Christmas and have a wonderful week!

How Halloween Turned into My First Attempt at Cosplay – Part 2

How Halloween Turned into My First Attempt at Cosplay – Part 2

How Halloween Turned Into My First Attempt at Cosplay – Part 2

Okay. Sorry it took so long to get the other half of this out. I would have done it last week, only the Avengers: Endgame trailer dropped and that took priority. If you haven’t read the first part of this post, go ahead and read that first.

But, back to my cosplay story….

After my successful Amy Pond, I was feeling pretty confident that I could pull off Loki.

I mean, it wasn’t going to be perfect, since I didn’t have a black wig or hair dye and I don’t have the skill at the moment to make movie-accurate armor. What I did have was horns and a scepter provided by my friend Emily, a green cape from Party City, a cardboard box, a paper bag, markers, glue, Scotch tape, and a whole lot of determination.

So I mentioned in my last post that I had cut out armguards off a template I found on Pinterest. I got them wet, bent them around my forearms, then let them dry in that shape by putting my water bottle and a glowstick package on their sides on my desk and placing the cardboard pieces on top.

When they were dry the next morning, I very carefully took orange and brown markers and drew a design which I copied from a couple different Pinterest designs. I drew the original design in orange, then highlighted the edges and important sections in brown. Here’s a picture of the finished design:

Next time I go for a costume like this I’m going to try to recreate this look with craft foam, spray paint, and a craft awl to create actual texture, but overall, I was pretty impressed with how it turned out. I then decided to make guards for the upper arms to match, and ended up with this:

I then cut strips off my paper bag, taped them to the sides of the guards, and strapped them to my arms.

Cool, right?

So, with the horns, scepter, cape, and arm guards, I felt like I was pretty close to done, but I wanted to add just a little bit more. So I took my paper bag, and cut a long strip that I taped across my chest from my left shoulder to my waist like a sash.

I was going to leave it at that, but I wore the costume all day on Halloween, and halfway through the afternoon I decided I needed a little bit more. So I cut up more of the paper bag to put over my shoulders to suspend the cape a little more, and also added some strips around my thighs to add to  the aesthetic. Those didn’t last very long (needed to use something a little stronger than paper and tape on fabric) but it looked great if I was standing still.

I wore my tall brown boots because I always feel impressive when I wear those (and I don’t own any black ones), and slicked my hair back behind me. The horns were a little top-heavy as you can imagine, and I had to really cover them in packing tape to get them to stay together, but it was so worth it!

I wore it all day, through all my classes, and got so many compliments on it (I want to point out that I didn’t’ carry the horns and scepter around all day, though!). Then I wore it trick-or-treating with a bunch of friends to all the theme houses next to the campus, and over to the university president’s house, where he was serving cookies and cider. I put my name on the list for his costume contest, and he took a picture of me in my costume for future reference.

Guess what? The next, day, my picture appeared on his Instagram along with the announcement that I had won the contest! The prize was a $50 gift card to the campus bookstore, which is super helpful for next semester’s books.

So, thanks to Emily and my obsession with fandoms, my first foray into cosplay was successful and I can’t wait to do it again!

If you have ideas for which characters I should cosplay next, comment below and let me know! Thanks for reading!