19 March 2013

Mansfield Park

Today I worked on watching the 1999 version of Mansfield Park. It has a pretty all-star cast, including: Frances O'Connor (The Importance of Being Earnest), Jonny Lee Miller (Emma--2009), and Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey). I haven't quite finished it, but I've read the book and I've seen other adaptations and so I'm pretty sure I know how it ends. I definitely would say that I enjoyed it more than the other film version I've seen (the 1983 version), though it isn't as true to the novel (or at least what I remember of the novel). Several major plot points were quite different. For example Fanny's brother isn't in this version at all. And Sir Thomas doesn't seem to particularly care for Fanny here, whereas I could've sworn that he kind liked her in the book. But it still is very good. I especially like Jonny Lee Miller as Edmund. He makes such a fantastic Mr. Knightly, and he did just as well with Edmund.

I still have yet to see the recent 2007 version, so I can't comment on that one. Apparently I'm a couple decades behind on this Austen adaptation. (I just love Persuasion and Emma so much...).

18 March 2013

Crossing the Red Sea--a logistical nightmare

Last night we watched The Prince of Egypt. For whatever reason I'd never seen it all the way through the before. It's really good. I enjoyed it. It struck me though when they were crossing the Red Sea just how miraculous that is. One of the guys we were watching with made the comment that it had only recently hit him that the Israelites crossed on dry ground, not on muddy ground, or slightly damp ground, but dry ground. That's pretty amazing. That made me think for a minute. Sure I've always known it was dry ground, but I guess I'd never thought of it as actually being dry, I guess I'd always assumed that there were still puddles and stuff around. This kind of got me thinking and then it struck me how big the Red Sea is.

I've always read the story and kind of assumed that they crossed the sea and it took them just a few minutes or hours or something, but the Red Sea is huge. At its widest point its over 200 miles wide and at its narrowest its around 16 miles (I can't remember where I found that fact, but somewhere on the internet). Now I feel like it's pretty safe to assume that they didn't cross at the widest part, but they probably didn't cross at the narrowest part either.

Just as a comparison. According the National Oregon Trail Center a good day traveling for the pioneers was 18-20 miles. And I don't remember for sure, but I imagine that pioneer companies were probably 600 or so people, maybe more, but I don't think much more than a thousand (I found this chart, which seems to support my assumption pretty well).

Back to the Israelites. According to Exodus 12:37 the Israelites numbered 600,000 men on foot, (besides women, children, the elderly, etc.). So if you figure that all the men on foot were your adult aged men then they probably all had wives, and probably a couple kids. And then you include some elderly people and the Israelite nation could very easily be around 2 million people. That is so many people. That's like the population of Houston.

So, lets say the Israelites cross at a narrow-ish part of the Red Sea where it's about 50 miles across. Now if the pioneers were doing that it would probably take them a little less than 3 days (at the rate of 18 miles a day). But that's only 600 ish people. One Wikipedia estimate said that 2 million people marching 10 abreast would make a line 150 miles long (not including sheep and animals, etc). Suddenly this is sounding an awful lot like one of those horrid story problems from elementary school math.

I tried to figure out how long it would take, but I wouldn't be surprised  I'm pretty sure I didn't do it quite right, because really who is good story problems? But I think the first person who crossed the Red Sea would have been about 9 days ahead of the last person to cross (a line 150 miles long divided by 18 miles per day equals a little more than 8 days--so I rounded up). And then you account for the 3 days it took him to cross and we're looking at the better part of 2 weeks to cross the Red Sea. When it was parted. On dry land.

The whole thing kind of blows my mind. You read the account or listen to the story and you kind of think, ok that took like 20 minutes, or maybe the whole night (which is what The Prince of Egypt implies). But no, it seems very possible to me that they were camping in the Red Sea, for several weeks. It was a good reminder for me of the awesome power of Heavenly Father. He can do anything, even keep the Red Sea parted for two weeks.

13 March 2013


Back when I was living in DC, I went with one of my friends to the movies and we saw a trailer for the movie Restless. The trailer looked pretty awesome, and so I was looking forward to it coming out a few months later. Well, life happened and I missed the movie while it was in theaters.

Then I moved.

After I got a job at the library here I decided to see if I could check out Restless, because by this point it had come out on movie. And while on paper I feel like paying $1 to get it from redbox is reasonable, in practice why would I spend money if I can get it for free at the library with a little patience? Sadly, only a couple libraries in our system have the movie, and none of them were eligible for me to put on hold because they were too new. I could have driven to one of the libraries in question and picked it up (but I'm too lazy to do that). I decided I could be patient and wait a few months. And then I forgot about it.

Then late last fall, I remembered that I still hadn't seen this movie, so I put it on hold and just had to wait a few weeks for it to come in (since it's still popular). It came in right after Christmas. For whatever reason I was insanely busy that week and didn't have a chance to watch it, but I couldn't renew it either since there were still holds on it. It always makes me sad to return items that I haven't watched or read yet. But that's the beauty of libraries. I can put it right back on hold.

It finally came in again several weeks ago. And I almost didn't have time to watch it this time either. But I did take a couple hours out of the middle of the day one day and watched it. I'm so glad I did. It was a fabulous movie. It was just cute and fun and worth the wait.

Restless is about a boy (Enoch) who is friends with the ghost of a kamikaze pilot who goes to the funerals of people he doesn't know. And while at one of these funerals he meets Annabel, who later admits to having cancer. They begin spending a lot of time together. It is a really interesting film. I'd recommend it.

12 March 2013


Remember the good old days? When I lived in London? Oh those were the days. One of the many things that I fell in love with in England were  baguettes. I remember mostly eating ham and cheese ones--usually a Swiss cheese like emmentaler or something. One place (or maybe the main place, it's hard to recall now) that I enjoyed getting baguettes was at Pret A Manger. They were good. Though thinking back I don't remember them being particularly cheap.

A number of months ago I was walking around in Back Bay and I walked past a store front that had a sign saying something like "coming soon Pret A Manger." I had to cross the street to investigate. A couple of weeks ago I was on my way to class and I decided that what I needed was some lunch and that a baguette would fit the bill nicely. I decided that I'd swing by Pret and see how they compared to London. They are definitely a little pricey (which is what made me think back to the pricing in London--really I think they're comparable). And they wouldn't heat up my sandwich. Apparently Americans are to lawsuit-happy and they ruin things for other people. The sandwich was still tasty, though it could have done with a little English mustard.

11 March 2013

Thai food

I had plans to go into Boston today and I thought it'd be a nice treat to have pizza at Ernesto's. But then I discovered that the store I needed to go to has a branch in Cambridge. So I decided to go to that one instead. Of course this ruined my North End plans. Luckily, I am resourceful and it didn't take me too long to track down the name of a good restaurant in Porter Square. So, today I had lunch at Rod Dee's. It's a Thai place. I had the pad thai, it was delicious. This restaurant is a cash only place, so I had to run to the ATM, because my limited amount of cash just wasn't enough. And that got me thinking if there is a correlation between good food and cash only. The best pastry shops in the North End are cash only. I feel like it's the mom and pop shops that don't take cards and they always seem to have such good food. I should eat at more of them.

06 March 2013

Food Advertising

I bought a package of tortillas when I went to the grocery store last week. I am super picky about my tortillas, but I decided to give the store brand a shot because good tortillas are hard to find in Boston. When  I went to use one the other day I noticed that right under where it says that they are 10" burrito sized tortillas, it advertises them as being "microwaveable." I find this slightly disconcerting. I don't think I've ever heard of food that was advertised as being microwaveable. I mean it's food. Of course it's microwaveable. It makes me wonder if this is a "new feature" of these tortillas. Where they previously made of metal? Sometimes I wonder who makes these sorts of marketing decisions.

In terms of actual tortilla quality they were only about half a step above Mission brand. blech. I may have to go back to importing tortillas from home like I did when I lived in Utah.

01 March 2013

February Goals re-cap

According to the calendar the dreaded month of February is finally over (it still amazes me how that month drags on while being so short). And with the advent of March it is time for me to report on my goals for February. I had three main goals that I started in February:

1. Being Facebook-free for all of Lent.
2. Finding homes for the homeless items in my room.
3. Taking care of the stack of magazines by my bed.

So far I have been good at staying off Facebook. It is funny to me that I really don't miss it. ever. And it is also interesting to me to note that every time I find myself with an urge to check Facebook is always when I'm bored and avoiding doing something more important. If nothing else, this is a good learning experience for me. I'm learning about my own habits. It's quite enlightening. As for my other two goals, I've failed pretty miserably at them. But, this just means that I can recycle them for my new March goals.  I am excited for March.