A Special Project for a 600th Anniversary

On October 25, 1415, King Henry V lead his vastly outnumbered English forces into battle against the French on a field near Agincourt.

The English won.

Nearly 200 years later, William Shakespeare told the story of the king’s campaign in his play “Henry V.” When he got to the part about the battle of Agincourt, he wrote an amazing speech for King Henry to rally his troops. You’ve likely heard bits of it before. It’s used during football season a lot, and “Band of Brothers” was the title of a popular book and TV miniseries about World War II. Here’s Kenneth Branagh’s take on it:

Here’s the text I’ll be using in my version:

He which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his friends,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Here’s the project, which I’m working on for First City Shakespeare in Pensacola: I want to make a video of this speech, with the lines read by different people, preferably military veterans and service members. I want to shoot the clips at some of the military monuments and sites that we have in this area. And I want to have it ready to post to the internet by October 25.

If you are a veteran or active duty service member and would like to take part, please contact me by email no later than September 15 using the form below or you can message me on Twitter.

I work full-time during the week, so we’ll most likely be shooting on weekends. I’d love to have people in uniform, but I don’t know what the military’s rules are; dress as you feel is appropriate for a military-themed video.

This is not a paid project; it’s strictly volunteer as a way to raise awareness of First City Shakespeare, to salute some of our veterans, and to remember those English warriors who accomplished a great military victory 600 years ago.


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Not Again! Credit card info stolen for the third time!

Chip and Pin Credit Card

Navy Federal Chip & Pin Credit Card

UPDATE: Who’d’ve thought Navy Federal Credit Union would be so stupid?!

I realized tonight that my new, more secure chip-and-pin card that I started using in February had the same account number as they issued me in October. So, whereas I thought it would be quick and simple to track the thief; and whereas I thought it had to be one of just eleven retailers where I used my brand new card; in fact, it could have been any number of places where I shopped since October. It never occurred to me to tell anyone to make sure they gave me a new number. It never occurred to me to compare the number on my old card. It happened quite accidentally while I was calling to discuss why one out of five fraudulent charges still hasn’t been credited back to my account.

I was convinced that my card had been skimmed at a store or jotted down by a waiter. Now I realize that it’s probably another major data breach. I expect an announcement any time now that the breach has been corrected.

It still flabbergasts me that with all the hacking, they didn’t bother to give me a new account number. Unbelievable!!


This is really frustrating! This is the third time our credit card account has been compromised in the last 13 months.

We were hacked twice in 2014; I believe the first incident was the Target breach, and the second was probably Home Depot.

I got proactive, called the company and demanded a chip-and-pin card.

I received the card in the mail end of January. I used it for the first time on February 3. Today is February 15, and we were notified first thing this morning. The account has been closed, and I’m supposed to have a new card by Wednesday or Thursday. I’m filling out a fraud affidavit, and I won’t have to pay anything. It’s just such a hassle to deal with, and it makes me angry that thieves are out there getting away with this!

The two incidents last year were, I believe, proper hacking. The bad guys stole massive amounts of data from retailers, created forged cards, and sold them to people who used them at Walmart, Macy’s, McDonald’s, and a couple of gas stations.

This time, someone used our card and spent nearly $300 at “Wargaming,” which I gather is some sort of online computer gaming site. You apparently can’t contact the company without creating an account, so I’ve messaged them on Twitter.  We’ll see if they care.  Anyway, I think this one was probably skimming. It can happen at stores, but I believe it’s more common at restaurants, where you hand your card to someone and it’s out of your sight for several minutes. I don’t know that. I can’t prove it; this are just my thoughts.

What I can tell you is that I have used that card on two websites and at nine stores and restaurants in Pensacola.  Here they are:

I have removed the list of stores due to the fact that I used the same account number at a good number of brick-and-morter and internet stores over the holidays. 

To the best of my knowledge those are the only places I’ve used the card in the past two weeks since I received it. My husband’s card has a different account number and has not been compromised.

If you’ve used your card at any of those places recently and your account has been compromised, please get in touch  with me. I’m @Auriette on Twitter.  If we can go to law enforcement with several cases linked to one or two possibilities, I think it would give them something to go on to start an investigation.

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Rich is Relative

With the arrival of tax season come the tax tips. Hey, did you know that you may be able to write off the mortgage interest on your boat? Yeah, like us ordinary mortals have cabin cruisers sitting around to be counted as our “second home.”

When I start thinking about how poor I am, I remember two girls, sisters, who I knew growing up, and I begin listing in my mind what my husband and I have and what we don’t have. We have a home, not a huge home, not in the best neighborhood, but it’s almost paid off. We’ve only taken half a dozen vacations in the last 20-some-odd years, but we have been able to travel occasionally or just take a week off work with pay. We eat at restaurants pretty regularly.  When we need to go to the doctor or take the cat to the vet, we use the credit card and it doesn’t hurt too badly. So, maybe we’re not “poor.” But we’re certainly not rich. Right?

Those girls who lived down the street always said we were. My dad was in the Navy but my parents had built a house in Pensacola before he went back in the Navy (he got out and worked at the local paper mill when they first got married, then he re-enlisted). We ended up living here off and on (my dad was stationed in this area a couple of times, plus sometimes my mom and I would live here while he was at sea for several months). These girls lived down the street and through the woods, and we played together and walked to and from the school bus stop together. Sometimes, if I lamented not having something or said I wished my parents were rich, they would say, “But you are rich!”

Now, my dad was an enlisted man. My mom made me help write out the bills one month so I could see that when all those checks were written and the month’s groceries were purchased and I got my $1 a month allowance (50 cents each payday), they had less than a dollar to last until the next paycheck. We weren’t rich. And I told my friends that.

Uh-huh, they insisted. Your family is rich.

I walked down to their house with them a couple of times. My mom didn’t like me going down there very much, I think because their uncle had some mental problems of some kind. They lived in a shack. I mean, really, a shack in the woods. It was really small with low ceilings. I’m not even sure if they had a separate bedroom or if they all stayed in the one room; I don’t remember.

Our house was made of concrete block with hardwood ceilings and an attic, three bedrooms, two bathrooms. Sure it was built in the ’50s and the paint was peeling in a few spots and the asphalt tiles were scuffed. To me it was old, on a dead end street not too far from the projects. The rich kids lived in the shiny new neighborhoods over by the mall.

My friends were on the free lunch program. My mom wanted me to take my lunch sometimes, and I didn’t want that, I wanted to buy lunch. I said she ought to check into free lunch, and she did but even an enlisted man’s salary was too high to qualify.

The only things I ever had to sell were for school fundraisers. On my street, we had half a dozen poor people. How could I compete with the rich kids who lived in neighborhoods where they had dozens of potential customers right next door? And their parents both worked and could take their catalogs and candy boxes to the office to help them. Me, rich? Right.

My two friends sold things to earn money for their family. They got them through some sort of program. Candles in tall glass jars with pictures of the Virgin Mary on them. Seeds. Sachets. Sometimes we were able to buy something from them. One summer, when my mother couldn’t get me to help out pulling weeds, she hired my friends to pull dandylions. She paid a penny a piece and they earned $10. They were so excited. This would have been in the late ’70s, when $10 was still pretty good for kids. My mom had offered me the same deal, but to me, it wasn’t worth the back-breaking labor. (I still hate pulling weeds.)

Despite having so little, they were always generous, always offering to share the little they had. Always with a smile.

The younger sister, the one I played with the most, married a military man, moved away, then came home with her four kids. She couldn’t bear to be away from Pensacola and her mother. Not long after that, she disappeared. She was from a poor family, some of her relatives had had run-ins with the law, and the investigators brushed it off. Said she probably just ran off. Right, the girl who left what she said was a good marriage to come home to her mom. The girl who loved kids and said she wanted to live in a big house with an elevator, she just left her children and ran off.

Six years later, someone hunting for golf balls found her remains, dumped under some bushes. They eventually arrested someone; he was convicted in 2001 of second degree murder and is still in prison.

I tend to think if I disappeared, the sheriff’s office would have treated the report more seriously. Would not have assumed that I just ran off. Would have done a more thorough search when the first tip came in about a body on the golf course — several years before her remains were found. That the killer would have been convicted of first degree murder and faced execution instead of life in prison.

Because I’m rich.

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Steampunk Shakespeare Props

Time-Travelling Device

Time-Travelling Device

web fancy box_IGP4916My husband has been busy the last couple of months designing and building steampunk-style props for a production of “The Taming of the Shrew.” The Southeastern Teen Shakespeare Company is putting it on, June 6-15, 2014, in Pensacola, Florida.

At left is Petruchio’s time travelling device. It doesn’t actually function, of course, but the lid lifts off, so it could be used as a carry-all or purse.



Here is a letterbox designed for the set. The lid is hinged and it has a slot in the top.




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My Latest Jewelry Designs

For the past few years, I’ve been putting together some “original” jewelry. I put that in quotation marks because, for the most part, I use existing pieces, either from a thrift shop, clearance sale, or craft store.

Red and Gold NecklaceThis is my most recent creation. I used a pendant and matching bracelet made by Monet (and bought on clearance) along with some findings and chain bought at a craft store. I could use a different chain; it’s really hard to match the color gold if you don’t have the piece right in front of you at the store. That’s mostly hidden under my hair right now.

Imperial Snowflake PendantThis next piece was laser-cut by my husband. If you don’t recognize the symbol, it’s the Imperial snowflake emblem worn by the Empire’s officers in the Star Wars films. It’s cut out of wood, and I used chain and findings from the craft store.

He was very romantic when he gave it to me, and said “Don’t say I never gave you anything.” Sweet, huh? But I love that it’s one of the first things he cut on his laser cutter just for me.

By the way, I usually buy jewelry findings when it’s either on sale or I have a coupon. The Monet necklace and bracelet were each priced at $22, but I paid far less on sale AND with a coupon around the holidays.

Necklace made from a matching pendant and bracelet.
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Book Review: The Other Woman (Mystery)

Hank Phillippi Ryan made her novelist name with the Charlotte McNally Mysteries, starting with “Prime Time” in 2009. Those were taut, well-plotted mysteries in a short form.

Now, she’s digging in and deepening the plots for long-form novels. The first Jane Ryland mystery is “The Other Woman” published in hardcover in 2012, and now out in paperback.

otherwomanbookcoverJane is a reporter, a star of the Channel 11 news until a businessman denied her report that he was seeing a prostitute and took her to court.  When “The Other Woman” begins, she’s starting a new job at a newspaper, the Boston Register. She doesn’t want to rock the boat in her first 90 days, but when she’s assigned to profile the candidates in the upcoming senate race, her investigative journalist skills kick in.

Who is the woman in the red coat at all the rallies and fundraisers? Could she be a candidate’s mistress, in an affair suspected (off the record) by his wife?

At the same time, Jane’s friend – and source – Boston police detective Jake Brogan is investigating a series of murders. The bodies of young woman are turning up under area bridges. The media is already branding the murderer “the bridge killer” – but Jake’s not convinced the killings are linked.

As Jane develops her story and Jake investigates the mounting murder cases, they begin to ask the same question: Are the killings connected to the political race? With the election looming, time to unravel the mystery is running out.

“The Other Woman” is a fantastic murder mystery. The intricately woven plots keep you guessing, and Ryan’s knack for ending her fast-paced chapters on a cliffhanger make the book next to impossible to put down. Ryan is a detail-oriented writer – the settings are easy to picture, every character has a unique voice, and the action is all believable. It’s easy to see why she’s won (or at least been nominated for) all the top mystery-writing awards.

I started figuring out what was going on about two-thirds of the way through, but even so, it was still very suspenseful until the last few scenes. By then, the denouement seemed a bit over-the-top melodramatic and drawn out. Aside from that, I really enjoyed this book.

wrong-girl-225The Jane Ryland novels are very suspenseful, but the descriptions never get explicit or gruesome. Jane and Jake have some serious sexual tension, but these books don’t have anything I’d be embarrassed about showing my mother or a teenager. I recommend them for anyone who loves a good mystery.

Tom Doherty Associates is publishing “The Wrong Girl” –  the second book in the series – in hardcover in September 2013. Watch for my review on Fresh Fiction.

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10 Reasons NOT to shop at Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble has a page on its website listing “10 Reasons to Shop at Barnes & Noble.com.” After my recent experience, I can easily give you 10 reasons NOT to shop there.

1. Their claim: “We Ship Fast!”

I placed my order on April 1. I received the books on July 6. Not very fast at all.

2. Their claim: “Our Lowest Prices Ever”

These are the books I ordered with a Barnes & Noble gift card. They’re all cheaper at Amazon, and I would have gotten them all from Amazon if not for that gift card. Amazon would have shipped what they had in stock as soon as I placed the order then shipped the one that published July 2 by itself, at no extra charge. And they wouldn’t have shipped it ON July 2, like B&N. Amazon would have shipped it a day or two sooner, so I would have had it closer to the publication date. Check out the savings:




  • The Other Woman
  • Hank Phillippi Ryan
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9780765369130



  • Always the Vampire
  • Nancy Haddock
  • Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9780425240885



  • Paris in Love
  • Eloisa James
  • Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9780812981902



  • Blonde with a Wand (Babes on Brooms Series #1)
  • Vicki Lewis Thompson
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9780451228925



  • All the Queen’s Players
  • Jane Feather
  • Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9780594234753
  • B&N cancelled this order, Amazon has it in stock



3. Their claim: “Selection You Can Depend On”

Apparently I can’t depend on their selection. Three months after I placed my order, they informed me that “All the Queen’s Players” was unavailable and cancelled the order. They told me after they shipped all the other books, or I would have selected something else to be shipped at the same time.

4. Their claim: “Everyone is eligible for Free Shipping when you spend $25.”

They only give you free shipping if you choose the “Ship In As Few Packages As Possible” option. That gives them the opportunity to sell your books to someone else and never fill your order.

5. Their claim: “Your personal information is safe with us.”

I don’t know about the website, but their store checkout systems were hacked in 2012.

6. Their claim: “We’re No. 1 — in Customer Satisfaction.”

Compared to whom, I wonder? They certainly haven’t satisfied me. I ordered five books. I chose “ship in as few packages as possible” to save on shipping. One of the books was coming out in July. I thought they’d ship everything else, or at least reserve those books for me. Instead, they waited until the day after they shipped my books to notify me that the fifth book was cancelled. Now, I have $3.33 left on a gift card, and even if I find a book for that price, the shipping would cost more. They refused to refund the difference, and they ignored my request for a free shipping code. The person who responded to my complaint also acted like nothing had shipped yet, therefore “Heather” didn’t even read my full email or research my order.

7. Their claim: ” The Ultimate Destination for Book-lovers.”

Yeah, not so much. Anything you can do on the Barnes and Noble website, you can do at Amazon. You could also choose to go to Goodreads or FreshFiction for reviews, sharing, lists, and other special features.

8. Their claim: “The world’s most advanced eReader is available exclusively at Barnes & Noble.”

First off, their Nook eReaders aren’t “exclusively” sold at Barnes and Noble. You can also pick one up at Walmart, Best Buy, and a number of online stores. Second, I find plenty of reviews that give higher, or at least equal ratings to Amazon’s Kindle and other tablets. Check out the comparisons for yourself at CNET and ABC News.

9. Their claim: “Barnes & Noble does not sell or rent your personal information”

They may not sell it or rent it, but when you actually read their privacy policy, you find out that they will share your information with a whole lot of people, including “partners” and “third party providers.” Giving it away still counts, guys.

10. They don’t claim to treat your order with care, and that’s just as well, because they don’t.

My order arrived in a ratty box that looked like it was re-used. It was barely taped and falling apart. The books were a little dogeared, but I feel fortunate that all the books they shipped were still in the box and not wet or seriously damaged.

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