Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

Month: March 2012

Revisiting Hot Men of History

I’m spending the week gallivanting around town for spring break, so I’m revisiting one of my favorite posts. Enjoy!

-oOo-

I am a dork for history, and one of the side effects of this affliction is my tragic tendency to crush on men from the past. This is, I suppose, the epitome of unrequited love, second only to that other disorder, falling in love with fictional characters (a blog post in and of itself).

However, I’m not alone in this.  My high school American History teacher, for example, used to talk at length about her undying love for former U.S. presidents John Adams and Teddy Roosevelt, and over the years, my friends have confided their own hidden attraction to prominent historical figures, both famous and infamous. The internet has helped to reinforce my silly crushes, especially blogs like My Daguerrotype Boyfriend and Hotties From History.

For fun, I offer a selection of my Top 4 Hot Men of History:

"Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) in the Uniform of the New York Artillery" by Alonzo Chappel (1828-1887)

Number 4 on my list is Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), also known as the gentleman whose face graces the United States’ ten dollar bill.  He was a smarty pants, co-authoring the Federalist Papers with such luminaries as John Jay (the first chief justice of the Supreme Court) and James Madison (the 4th president of the U.S.). The Federalist Papers were a series of essays defending the American constitution, published during the Revolutionary War, and continue to be cited by constitutional lawyers and judges today.

Hamilton was also the country’s first Secretary of the Treasury. As part of his job, he helped to construct the Bank of the United States, the first central bank in the country’s history. He also helped to establish the national mint, which created a single currency for the whole country (as opposed to the hodgepodge of over 50 currencies being used in the latter part of the 1700s). I still haven’t quite forgiven Aaron Burr for killing Hamilton in a duel.

Yes, I hold grudges against historical figures. Don’t judge me.

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ROW80: We Are The Champions

First, a heads-up: I am doing my first guest post ever over at Nicole Basaraba’s blog. I’m chatting about the basics of the steampunk genre, so if you’ve ever been curious about the ins and outs of steampunk books, swing by and check it out.

-oOo-

All right, all right, I know — Queen’s “We Are The Champions” is such an over-done anthem theme these days that it almost verges on cliche and corny, but it is still such an awesome song. Better yet, it captures the sentiment that I have as we close out Round 1 of A Round of Words in 80 Days.

This is the end of my 3rd round of ROW80, and I’m more grateful than ever for participating. I’ve faltered on a few of my goals here and there. The bottom line, though, is that I have done more writing — and more learning about writing — in the last few months than ever before.

What Went Well:

  • TELL ME NO LIES isn’t finished, but I’ve made a lot of progress in plotting and rewriting the first 1/4 of the novel. The new characters and subplots that I have introduced are going to make the book a lot stronger, and give it more depth.
  • For the most part, I’ve managed to integrate exercise into my weekly routine. I’ve had a few slip-ups here and there, and I’m trying to learn how to exercise when I’m feeling stressed out, but I still count this as a win.
  • The day job still saps most of my energy, but I did manage to defend my MA thesis, which means I can sign my name “Lena Corazon, MA.” Squeee!
  • I’ve succeeded in being social during this round, which is a huge shock. I was such a loner last round that I thought I would really have to work at reminding myself to go out and see people, but apparently not. 😀

What I Can Work On:

  • Ugh, blogging on a regular basis still seems to elude me. I have to be in a specific mood and frame of mind to write blog posts, and I still haven’t learned to summon it on a whim. I’m hoping to try and build up a cache of posts over spring break, but… we’ll see how that goes. Next round, I may try to set aside 1 writing sprint each week to work on blog posts.
  • I’d like to make time for reading. After my delicious book binge over Winter break, I’ve been reading in dribs and drabs, and it makes me cranky.

Things to Eagerly Anticipate:

  • Finishing my last class ever, and moving closer to narrowing down a dissertation topic.
  • Enjoying my last few months in Santa Barbara, and prepping for the big move back up to my parents’ house in San Francisco.
  • That tattoo I mentioned during the last check-in? It’s one step closer to becoming reality. I snagged an appointment for May 4th (the only opening the artist had before July), so now I’m just busy counting down the days. For those of you who have asked, I am getting my inner right forearm tattooed with my favorite quote from POSSESSION by A.S. Byatt: “Words have been all my life.” It will be accompanied by a peacock feather quill, similar to the one below.

So rock on, ROW-ers! From what I’ve seen over the last 80 days, you are all doing an amazing job, even if you have experienced some rough patches here and there.

Because we’ve all worked so hard, wouldn’t you say that it’s time for a PARTY? 

Our first ROCK THE ROW was simply epic (if you need a reminder, check out Jenny Hansen’s recap of the shenanigans and mayhem that occurred), but I think we can ratchet up the crazy even more for our next ROCKING celebration!

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Barbara McDowell and I are taking on hosting duties from our glitterific predecessors, Jenny Hansen and Nicole Basaraba. Plans for further madness are afoot, but for the moment, mark APRIL 4, 2012 into your calendars. More details to come!

ROW80: Spring Break is (Almost) Here!

Happy Sunday, ROW-ing loves! I trust everyone is doing well?

After my big ol’ thesis win, I sort of unintentionally dropped off the radar. I went from prepping for the defense to prepping for a guest lecture the following week — my third of the quarter, and the first time ever that my advisor has seen me present (no pressure, right?). It went really well, and I even got a chance to show a short clip from Kate and Leopold — fitting for a lecture on “Love, Commitment and Ambivalence” in American films from the 1970s to the present-day.

Once all was said and done, I was a little exhausted. I’ve spent the last week and a half doing nothing but grading papers, playing Mass Effect, and streaming television shows on Netflix. So far I’ve learned that Downton Abbey really IS phenomenal, that Friday Night Lights is just as brilliant as all my friends promised, and that I should’ve been watching Supernatural since the day it premiered in 2005, because it was MADE for me. Supernatural is kinda like crack, and I can’t get enough; I watched the first season (21 episodes, folks) in under a week.

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester (left) and Ja...

Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) are my new favorites. Image via Wikipedia

But it’s the end of the quarter, and once I finish grading term papers, spring break begins! Better yet, my mom is coming to visit me next weekend, and she’ll be here for a week. We will embark on our usual adventures of shopping, drinking, and eating out, along with a trip to see my sister and head to DISNEYLAND. [Insert major squee here]

Anywhoo, here’s a review of my goals from the last couple of weeks:

Day Job: I’m on track to have final grades finished by Monday or Tuesday at the latest. I’d like to do a little dissertation research/thinking/planning over spring break, but I’m not sure how realistic that goal is.

Writing: I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I won’t have a full draft of TELL ME NO LIES finished by the end of this round, which was my original goal. One of the hardest things about all of this is the fact that I am trying to learn how to write a novel, and that sort of thing takes time. I’m trying to push myself, to make sure that I am moving forward and not wandering in circles (I realized a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been rewriting the same 3 scenes over and over again — whoops). However, I’m also trying to be patient with myself and enjoy the process.

In the past week, I’ve taken time for (1) brainstorming and plotting, (2) research, and (3) character development. I’m really excited about #3, because I’ve finally taken advantage of the character profile pinboards in Scrivener.

Squee, so pretty! One of the best things that I can say is that I think I am achieving greater depth as far as this story is concerned. There are growing layers of complexity, and both my characters and the plot are getting more interesting (in my opinion, anyway).

Exercise: I actually fulfilled my exercise goal and used my glider 4 times this week.  Yay!

Social Time: Last weekend was the department’s “recruitment weekend,” so I had way too much social time: dinners out and movie nights and a department beach bbq, among other events. I’ve been hiding out the past few days, and it has been lovely.

50/50 Challenge: Last weekend I saw John Carter (fun, and better than I expected), as well as Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla, starring Gerard Butler, Tom Hardy, Thandie Newton, and a host of other amazing actors (abso-freaking-lutely awesome). I also read two books: Maggie Stiefvater’s Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception and Gabrielle Kimm’s His Last Duchess

I have lots of fun things to look forward to this week, like the midnight showing of The Hunger Games. And I just might get myself a tattoo next week, ’cause my mom finally gave me the green light (!!!). My current idea is to have the phrase, “Words have been all my life” (from A.S. Byatt’s Possession) tattooed on my right forearm, with a peacock feather quill… but we’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you all posted. 😀

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Babies and Puppies, Oh My!

There’s really not much I can say about this video, except that I now want ALL the babies and ALL the puppies in the world.

Improbable, perhaps, but there is so much darn cute bound up in this 41 second clip that I don’t know how else to react. Watch it, my friends, but be prepared for massive squealing.

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ROW80: Another One Bites the Dust

Well, folks, somehow I did it: on Thursday, I successfully defended my MA thesis, and received a “high pass” in the process.

Can you hear my squealing screams of delight?

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has encouraged me through the long, lengthy process of writing and revising my thesis, and to everyone who told me that I would clear this hurdle in my grad school career. All of that encouragement has meant the world to me, and I think I walked into my defense all the stronger for it.

The experience itself was surprisingly pleasant. Really, it’s hard to go wrong when you have three really smart people who care about you and support you sit in one room and discuss the various implications of your work. They had so many wonderful things to say about my project, and a ton of ideas about what I can do with it in the future — a very, very good thing, since I only have a few months to churn out a dissertation proposal.

With this challenge completed, I feel like I can finally move forward. I’ve already made a reading list for the next month, and a list of research questions/concerns that I may want to address. This, really, is where I excel: wading through a vast world of research, mapping the scholarly and theoretical terrain, reading broadly and widely (something the committee commended me for doing) and pulling together various strands of thought in order to formulate my own theories.

I’ve learned so many things from this process, things like patience and dilligence. I’ve learned that it’s not the end of the world when projects change, and to follow my intuition, even if it contradicts all of my initial plans.

Even better, I’ve learned that I know more than I think I do. Really, it goes back to the goal I set for myself last week, to abandon self-doubt and tackle my goals with an increased sense of confidence. In the conversation that ensued during the defense, I let my knowledge flow, and it was a remarkable feeling, because I didn’t realize how many crazy facts I had stored in my head.

I have a lot to consider in the days and weeks to come, but I am looking forward to hopefully getting back to a less stressful state of mind. This last week was absolutely ridiculous — didn’t do any writing, barely worked out, ate lots of fast food — but I’m taking this weekend to rest up and recalibrate. I have watched lots of cartoons, taken naps, sat outside and stargazed, and just relaxed. It feels so darn good.

I am still on a Queen kick, as you can tell from this post’s title, which means I have to add a video clip. 😀

How’s everyone else holding up? Can you believe we’re already in the first week of March?

Don’t forget to swing by and visit the other ROW80 participants to see how they’re doing this week.

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