Saturday, November 26, 2011

Time for a Review

Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #1)Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought it was pretty well written and moved at a good pace. I didn't see the end coming at all, which was fun, but frustrating at the same time. I wanted to see more of Miss Marple, but I thought her character was very well developed - not too pushy or nosy, but with a sort of mystery about her own person that lent credibility to her skills of observation. Lettice was really irksome to me, but I couldn't help feeling for her at the end. I liked seeing it from the Vicar's point of view as opposed to an omniscient one; I could try to figure it out along with him, as opposed to just being told what to think. You also get his biases and mortal weaknesses, which are valuable in realizing that it is truly difficult to obtain a purely factual view and which also leads credence to him as a character. Christie was wise to take this path I feel, because as a writer who knows how it will end, it would be extremely difficult to achieve that unbiased anonymity. Coming from seeing the movies first, I thought I would want to read it from Miss Marple's viewpoint, but on reflection, I think that would be just as unsatisfying as an omniscient voice. All in all, an enjoyable read.

View all my reviews

The Reason For Pitstops

To guarantee at least two minutes to think in this hectic world. ~Samantha

Monday, November 21, 2011

You may have noticed...

I decided to change the name of my blog. I've wanted to for a while, I just haven't found the right one until now. Those close to me will tell you that I am terrible at making decisions and this further proves it. I think this is more appropriate. I live in the same world as everyone else. I just have different stories to tell. Maybe it should be "Novellas of a Girl..." I do seem to ramble on at times.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Great and Terrible Day

Last Friday was a doozy.

I had an eight page research paper for my Tissue Biology class due at midnight. I'd been researching like a fiend since...Monday. Now don't start wagging your I-told-you-so fingers because I've got that under control. Anyway, Wednesday rolls around and I have yet to structure any sentences. On my way home, I check my phone as per ritual, not expecting to find any missed alerts, as there never are any. But I had 2! A missed call and a message. Inquiries to my voicemail revealed that a nice young man wanted to reserve my Friday evening for a social outing. But this wasn't just any date; he wanted to go to the BYU hockey game. I want to go. Really. Badly. But I have that wonderful paper to slave over. The game starts at 7:30; the paper's due at midnight. Oh, the drama. Luckily, this young man knows this, as we are in the same class, and is very understanding of the fact that I may not be able to accept due to this assignment. So kind, no pressure. I want to go even more now. Besides, what more could I accomplish in those three hours (no way I was going to bed late just for some paper)? After pouring out the whole story plus my minute-to-minute time commitments to my mom via Tabitha (mom was driving), I came up with a plan. It was fairly simple: finish the paper! Tonight! Easier said than done. I barricaded myself in my room, which Samantha was nice enough to vacate, and worked my tail off for 3 hours straight (punctuated with food provided by my kind, loving sister/roommate) and converted all my two days of research into four or five solid pages of prose. Not too shabby. I decided that this was definitely do-able and would call to confirm the next morning, as I had another 3 hour block to finish it then.

I felt a little like this after that session, but hey! It was getting done.

I called the nice young man at 8 and left a really scattered message, hoping that the main message of acceptance was conveyed. He texted back a confirmation of my assent shortly after, accompanied by another reassuring message that he would understand if I needed to cancel. I was determined to make that unnecessary and set to work. Unfortunately, I had used up all my research and was now required to fly through research articles (not the easiest literature to peruse at high speeds) and compose my findings simultaneously, which slowed my production rate quite a bit. I only added 1 or 2 pages in those 3 hours before I had to go to work. Now, the other wrench in this system I didn't tell you about is that I also had an anatomy lab final on Friday which I had not begun studying for. So the next five free hours would have to incorporate some studying as well as research/writing. Talk about butterflies! I had cortisol coursing through my system all the rest of Thursday. I wanted to do well on these things, but I really wanted to go on that date! Thursday night I didn't make any headway length-wise because I took out an entire section and replaced it with something else. Better paper, but still not done. I felt like the clock was running my life.

Friday dawned. Judgement Day. I saw the gentleman in lab and assured him that I should be able to finish the three last pages on time (internally biting my fingernails and crossing everything I could think of). The marathon of classes whirled by and then it was two hours until the final. The final is administered to us TAs during our regularly scheduled Friday meetings which go for two hours. We as lecture TAs convinced Rachel (the professor) to let us study together and take it the second hour since lab is a little out of our element. So I had at least one hour of devoted study time. But I also had these two hours of free time before that devoted hour. I decided to write for an hour & study for the other. But as the second hour drew near, I was on a roll and decided to keep writing. The count was 6 pages when TA meeting/study time started. I could do this, right?

That hour studying was more a frazzled panic, as I flipped frantically through my old lab manual and strained to recall the difference between all those arteries/veins/nerves. It was like I'd never heard these words before in my life. I didn't know what to focus on because I hadn't gone over anything so that time wasn't terribly productive. I entered the lab in a subdued panic. What if I failed? I couldn't even remember bony structures, which are my favorite. I mentally slapped myself back to my senses and told myself to just pray really hard and take it one term at a time. The mental dialog went something like this:

No, you may not push the panic button!
#1-...I DON'T KNOW!!
Calm down. Is it a brain structure?
Is it a muscle?
 No. I think it's this term. Is that right?
Does it make sense?
 I think so. Did I spell it right?
Does it look right?
 Yes, I think. Ok. *exhale*
#2-...I DON'T KNOW!!
Calm down. Is it...

And so on for about 10 terms. Then I happened to glance over to the other side of the room where coincidentally the nice young gentleman was also poring over a specimen. He spotted me and smiled; naturally, I had to grin back. The rest of the exam was a lot smoother.

Task completed.  Back to the paper. Two more pages! Just as I set to work to write right there outside the cadaver lab, I realize I have almost no battery and have left my cord at home. Why did I have to decide today of all days to lose the bag-lady persona? I race home and tether myself in the den as the last stretch of the race begins. I am on the last paragraph just as 7:30 comes around. I notify the young gentleman who entreats me not to rush, just to let him know when to come get me. I am just going in for the kill when my computer decides it has had enough drama and freezes. It is then that the realization hits me: I haven't saved in the past hour and a half! Slinging mild phrases of frustration to the universe and pounding CTRL+ALT+DELETE 500 times were to no avail. So I frantically scribble what I can see on the screen on some random sheet of paper and hope for the redemption of auto-save as I force shut down. That boot up seemed to last an eternity as I watch the seconds whiz by. Did it save?...YES! Hallelujah! A conclusion is drawn, the paper sent and the gentleman notified. I was free! I had done it. And all by 8:02.

The rest of the evening was well worth it. I've discovered that I really enjoy hockey. :)