Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: November 30, 2013

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.

Dear Internet,

Writing

The Lisa Chronicles

1998

1999

Ephemera – Prose Companion to The Lisa Chronicles

Reading

shewolves
She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Currently Reading

First heard about on the BBC History podcast when they interviewed the author, Helen Castor, and I had been looking forward to reading this for ages. Like many titles that specialize on European history, this came out in the US nearly a year after first published in the UK. It is now available in paperback and ebook in addition to the hardcover in the States. It also has an accompanying one-off TV series that is also available in the US on DVD which I’ve seen and is very good.

While I adore the topic Castor covers, I had a problem with her presentation of the TV series in which it is a little too dry, a little too academic-y, and a little too author centric. Although very well versed at the topic in hand, she’s very staid when she presents. I had hoped the book wasn’t going to be in the same vain and unfortunately it is.

This is not to say She-Wolves is not an entertaining read because overall it is, but it is to say I am 25% in and with a subject area that has more drama, violence, romance, and intrigue that could rival any fictionalized TV show, and I’m puzzled at how Castor can almost make it almost a snooze fest. I’ll give a more indepth report later once I’ve finished the book.

Watching

Weekly watching: Reign, DraculaProject Runway All-Stars, Breathless, AtlantisMasters of SexElementaryMarvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Sleepy HollowSurvivor,  Boardwalk Empire, Doc Martin, QIPeaky Blinders,  Sons of Anarchy,  The Vampire Diaries

What have you read/watched/listened to this week?

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

weekenders on our own, it’s such fun

Dear Internet,

It wasn’t until the day was almost over that I realised today was a pretty perfect day.

I was intent on waking up early this morning, hopefully naturally, so I could spread out my day in larger chunks rather than waking up at noon, zombifying it around the house until I realize it’s almost 5PM and then it’s time to get ready for the week.  Nothing ever completed, nothing ever done, not even relaxation. The almost insurmountable stress of trying to do ALL THE THINGS in a short amount of time while feeling strangled with reproach.  There is always some residue guilt of not having done laundry, waxed my ‘stache, vacuumed the house, or the million of other chores. Somehow this week I wasn’t feeling that pressed to get much done chore wise other than swap the sheets on our bed and I felt totally okay with that.

I got my wish for an early rising when one of our smoke alarms started chirping it had a dead battery at 730AM. Not too ungodly early, it seemed, and instead of rolling over and hoping it would magically die on its own, I woke up and got ready for the day. And by getting ready for the day, I mean put on my glasses, yoga pants, and stealing one of TheHusband’s hoodies when I took the dog out for a walk in the drizzly mess outside and not taking it off when I came back into the house.

TheHusband, who was grumpily complaining he did not want to wake up at some inhumane hour while the alarm continued to annoyingly chirp, was fixing the broken alarm when I came back from the dog’s morning constitutional. We foraged for breakfast, which was simple since we had thrown boxes of Yummy Mummy and Count Chocula into our grocery basket last night. Coffee percolated, bossa nova on the home stereo, some kind of vanilla concoction candle lit, and I settled on the couch to read the New York Times.

Four hours of near vapid article reading later, coffee was consumed, toast nibbled, and paper tossed into the recycle bin, and it wasn’t even noon.

With my afternoon free, I opted to do some organizing on the site and work on some back-end work, which I did while catching up on podcasts. When was the last time I sat down and really listened to a podcast, more importantly, for longer than say 30 minutes? Months maybe, if not years. I was able to plow through five or six of the BBC History podcasts, putting me firmly now in July 2013.

I had no plan on mind rather thinking I’d start cleaning up some of the broken links, several consisting of near full nude of pics of me from the past when I was getting photographed for my earlier tattoo work and a NSFW pic of my very spanked behind. The images are not going to be easy to find — the content of the pages, tags or titles doesn’t lend itself to the images at hand. Consider them easter eggs linked somewhere in the nearly 700 pages on this site. Happy hunting.

(I remember the spank picture, hysterically so, for it was taken with an analog camera on a roll of film that had everything from pictures of flowers to sexy time pics. The boyfriend at the time was near lunatic thinking the processing place was going to turn in the images for their content or refuse to print them. Neither of course happened and I have both the images, complete with very vivid date stamp, and the negatives still on hand. Ah, the momentary discretions of youth.)

TheHusband had started slow roasting a roast beef dinner this morning (which ended with smashed sweet potato/squash and amazing green beans for sides), which was filling up the house with delicious smells. For the rest of the afternoon until dinner, I plugged away at cleaning up broken links, adding new to the site content, and whatever other miscellany the rabbit hole took me. Including a link to TheHusband’s 1997 Geocities site.

It is becoming increasingly clear I need to set up a plan of what work I’ve got up and how it is formatted as well as a more concrete path. I came across a folder today I had forgotten about, while cleaning the broken links, containing works written for the web but were not blog pieces but more prose and flash fiction. I ended up scrapping a few of these that were already up as blog entries, turning them into pages to make the work consistent, and viola! A new section, Ephemera was born. Stylized as the prose companion to The Lisa Chronicles, this contains pieces that were written as mainly non-fiction creative prose rather than a diary entry as well as some earlier flash fiction I had written for contests and the like. Most of this stuff hasn’t been up for a decade, and a list of the works added will be on this weeks Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes, so please do keep your eye there.

Dinner rolled around, which was delicious as almost always (the one incident of TheHusband adding corn to chili has kept me on guard on his cooking for the last few years), and by 6PM, I was back to finagling some more back-end work on the site and mulling over other ideas.

I did have plans on doing some fiction writing today, but I got so wrapped up on getting the site back-end cleaned,  but time just slipped by.  And for once I do not feel guilty about losing that time, for finding that trove of written work I had forgotten about was a brilliant replacement. Now the question is – what to do with it?

The day meandered slow and steady, there was no rush, no plan, no agenda. TheHusband and I, and of course the hate-pooping dog, just went our own ways, meeting up in the hallway or in one of our offices for stolen kisses. Neither of us bathed, brushed our teeth, and the bed was only made because I changed the sheets. My desire to treasure the day, even if the day glossed over with the seemingly mundane and the wink of a cliché, was a success.

x0x0,
Lisa

 

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2010, 2003, 2003

Discoursing on the Beeb

Dear Internet,

In the not too far off past, a friend commented that if he wanted to know what British shows to watch, all he had to do was read my Twitter timeline to garner a list. He wasn’t too far off. I find that about once or twice a week, at least, I’m making recommendations to someone that if they liked X, they may also like Z.  And it’s not just TV either, as it tends to also move into radio, movies, and music.

Usually the first question asked is why I’m so obsessed with British television shows? While it is no secret that I’m an anglophile, I genuinely don’t remember how I got into watching British shows almost exclusively. I think it began about ten years ago when I noticed most movies, music, and books that I was watching, listening, and reading all happened to be from the UK. It also got to the point for awhile where I knew based on a riff, a plot line, or a blurb where in the UK that piece came from.

The follow up question usually ends up moving towards HOW do I get all this content? For the music and books, the answer is usually through Amazon.co.uk. Sometimes in the case of books, UK friends may sort through charity shops or other stores for my wants. I also have a couple of friends who ship me things on a regular basis. A lot of the times, the reason I am buying from a UK site is due to it may be an item that has a long US release or will never be released in the States. Movies are a bit tricky, since the region encoding is different, but I still make do. Radio programs can be had live via the BBC,  or whatever the broadcasting network happens to be, or  archived directly from the show’s site without much fuss. UK licensing scheme is not applied to radio, it seems, only television.

Television, on the other hand, is a whole ‘nother beast. Sometimes UK shows show up on PBS (like Downton Abbey and Call The Midwife), BBC America (Doctor Who and Top Gear),  Showtime (Episodes), or SyFy (Merlin) as a regular series. Other times, they just show up in Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu,or iTunes. Perusing my local library has also unearthed treasures.  Sometimes I have to resort to the back of the truck to get something, but not that often.

Even after explaining all of this, the next question is: How do I find out about all of this stuff? The books and music is pretty easy – usually via recommendations from friends, magazines, samples I read/heard from blogs, or recommendation engines on a website (GoodReads, Amazon, whatever). A lot of the time it comes from pure research on a topic I’m interested in, with suggestions for authors/musicians in that genre. An example would be I used to listen to a Scottish podcast that showcased unsigned Scottish bands, so finding their music usually meant buying directly from the band.  With television, it typically follows along the same lines as the research, and almost always there is an influence. Since I have a love of history, I check BBC History Magazine’s weekly TV/radio suggestions. Podcasts that are UK centric that I listen to on occasion also make reference to upcoming shows/movies.

Alice keeps me updated on older shows I may have missed and most especially my beloved radio shows. (V. important.)

TheHusband jokes that if it’s British, I will almost certainly like it  – and I can’t fault him too badly on this observation since it is most always seemingly true.  This doesn’t mean I glorify everything from the UK as being awesome, for that is certainly not true. In terms of television and movies, the productions values, continuity, acting, and subject matter are almost always inline with my tastes over something produced here in the US. Does this mean all UK series are full of wonder and splendor? No, but it does mean if I have an option of watching Shameless UK vs Shameless US, I’ll pick the UK version every time. I’d also be hard pressed to find a US version of a UK show that was superior to the original.

Note: Seemingly only twelve actors work in all of the UK. This is truth.

I think ultimately it is the rich and long history, coupled with the diversity of island that draws me to it. So much has happened! So many cultures, peoples, languages, and histories, it’s overwhelming. The US is a great plucky upstart, but it has nothing on the depth and breadth of the UK.

It is with this introduction I decided to start (and keep updated) a guide to UK tv& radio, so next time someone says, “I really like X, can you make a recommendation?” I can just give them a link.  (You can also contact me if you think something is missing!)

x0x0,
Lisa