Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes December 14, 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

Cunning Tales from a Systems Librarian

Reading

As of late in the mornings I am finding myself  as the sun begins to ascend into our lives or in the evenings as TheHusband gets wrapped up in sportball, snuggling deep under heated blankets with my Kindle in hand. I have traded in my old Kindle for the Paperwhite because as much as I loved the Kindles portability and technology, I was still reading ebooks on my iPad, even with its heft, simply because of the preferred backlight. The Paperwhite solves several issues for me: Diminished weight and heft compared to my iPad or bigger novels, backlight allows for better reading AND the backlight means I can read in the dark.
Below is the most current list of titles I’m reading as right now, in print and ebook forms, and as you can see I’m all over the place in taste, genre, content, and subject matter. While I made boasts of reading a book a day while on holiday shutdown, I think the most reasonable expectation is to at least clear out the list below.
2013 List

Watching

Weekly watching: BBC Tudor Monastery Farm, 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

Links

What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2012, 1998

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes December 7, 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,
I was thinking the other day with using only one post on the landing page and the titles are almost never indicators of what I am writing about, it would be a good idea to pull together a list of the top tags of topics I cover. Which you can now see in the right hand side and the list is long.

Reading

11093962
13 Little Blue Envelopes by  Maureen Johnson
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished
I need to admit I am a huge fan of Maureen Johnson’s Twitter, but had not, until this point, read any of her books. When this came along as a freebie on Kindle as a promotion to reel you in for one of her newer titles, I grabbed it. I admittedly rarely dip into YA, so this seemed like a good gateway drug.
Erm.
Not terribly sure what I read but I’m having a hard time reconciling the erudite, witty, and hilarious MJ could write such a bland book. There is no character development, no setting, no plot movement – it’s just all action. Ginger follows these steps to get to this point. The problem is the underlying premise of the book is about the growth of Ginger when her favorite aunt dies, because who else would push her to developing into something that was not just a dependable, reliable old hag. But you don’t really see any growth going on with Ginger as she flits about Europe chasing after her dead aunt.
A couple of other reviewers pointed out some major flaws of the book, such as the Mysterious Parents who apparently had zero problem letting Ging flitter her way across Europe with not a single contact to them. In fact, we never even meet the parents The second criticism has to do with the money spent by Ginger, given to her by her Aunt, which was such an exact number, £1826, that the travelling she does, even on the cheap, is not necessarily going to cover it all. Even more importantly when she has to give £500 away and ends up being charged £500 for a weeks room / board while in Amsterdam. She’s apparently crossed EU several times, via plane and train, ate, and got rooming for under £800? There is suspending belief and there is being so fucking arbitrary it’s kind of ridiculous.
I’ll give ole MJ another go a later time, but overall the only positive thing about this book is that I finished it in 1.5 hours.
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

Links

What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 1998

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: November 2, 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,
This week I’ve been at a conference and have hardly been online, so this weeks CCC is on the thin side.

Reading

thewhaleroadThe Whale Road (Oathsworn #1) by Robert Low
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished
What attracted me to reading this series was the author is a journalist, is passionate about the time period, and the best part? He’s a an active Viking reenactor. So we’ve got someone who can write and knows their history well.
But just as one can be a journalist and be a terrific writer, it does not necessarily  mean they can write fiction. Low is not one of those people, but this is not to say his story is without problems. The story meanders at times with no point, the character development isn’t there, and the plot seems thin on the ground. BUT, it’s intriguing. I love the historical aspect that is being presented, and there is a lot of promise to the series. So it’s not great, but it’s good and will keep you entertained.

Watching

Weekly watching: American Horror Story: Coven, Breathless, AtlantisHomelandMasters of SexElementaryMarvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Sleepy HollowSurvivorDownton AbbeyBoardwalk Empire, Doc Martin, QIPeaky BlindersThe Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy,  The Vampire Diaries

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2012, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2010, 1998

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: October 12, 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

Cunning Tales from a Systems Librarian

Reading

silverpigs The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished
Widely recommended by historians and booksellers for its authenticity to the period, incredibly detailed research, and snappy pacing, in the end I found that while I enjoyed the book, ultimately I wasn’t in love with it. There were some inauthenticities that drove me slightly mad (like the use of the word “fuck” which while rare in the story, is not true to period. That word doesn’t show up in English until the high middle ages. I’m also fairly certain there was not a Latin equivalent of the word, which makes it a bit more annoying). I try to keep my prejudices in check knowing that if this was written true to language of the period, modern eyes would be bored so the work had to be given some leeway to make it more palatable. I couldn’t relate to or connect with any of the characters, which while not a terribly huge problem, is not exactly easy finish the work.
But I do like the concept of the series! And I did feel like not only was my brain getting entertainment, but I was also getting a bit of an education too. I’ll give this a few more books before I either fully commit or ditch them. Davis also has a new series with a female lead in the same period, which I also want to check out.

Watching

  • BBC The Fairytale Castles Of King Ludwig II With Dan Cruickshank
  • Atlantis
    A new spin on the mythology of Atlantis coupled with Greek mythology, this new series from the BBC is also produced by the same folks who did Merlin. Expect to see a lot of familiar actors popping in and out, slightly changed storylines, and a same kind of goofy feel. Not a bad show, but not something to absolutely love either. More of background noise than rapt attention, and more a long the lines of binge watching rather than catching it every week.  Atlantis is coming to BBC America in November.
  • Homeland
    Third season has begun and I’m a bit weary after the first few episodes of their portrayal of Carrie’s bipolarism. Not everyone who goes off of lithium, automatically gets tossed into the crazy hospital. Even more importantly, while ECT is commonly still used for treatment, you don’t just “get it” just because you’re having a moment. There are some wretched side effects to ECT that aren’t even addressed in the show. I get the point is to underscore her craziness to mean her unreliability, but it’s beginning to feel slapstick rather than serious.
  • Masters of Sex
    A quasi-historical romp of the late 1950s, following two of the pioneers of the science of sex. Two episodes in and I’m hooked, not on the obvious (it’s sex. For science!) but by the subtle interplay of characterizations and relationships. Sure, there are some stereotypes, like the hooker with the heart of gold, but overall this is great fun to watch even when it’s attempt at being serious.
  • BBC Four – A Very British Murder with Lucy Worsley, If Walls Could Talk: The History of the Home, BBC Four – Tales from the Royal Bedchamber
    I realised recently that if my life was a choose your own adventure, I would have chosen a path similar to Lucy Worsley‘s. By day, a Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces in England and historian/writer at night, Worsley’s interests not only match my own but what I’ve come to adore about her is how she makes history accessible and fun, no matter what the topic. I also love the fact that she’s willing to get into a historical thing to experience it herself, whether it is dressing like a Georgian queen, sleeping in a medieval bed to find the pea, or not bathing for a week to get a sense of how they did it in ye olde tymes. Her interest in a broad range of topics makes her exploration of them fresh and compelling. She also has several books out to support her topics, which I’m hoping to check out in the near future.
  • Da Vinci’s Demons
    I finally got around to see the final two episodes of this season and it was much better than my previous impression. Like Atlantis in that it’s kitchy and background noisy, it’ll stay in the rotation with the hopes it will get stronger in the future.
  • The Bridge (US)
    Slow, slow pacing; the murder solved mid-season, the fact I couldn’t get “it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again” out of my head whenever Ted Levine walked into the screen, the unbearable hotness of Demian Bichir, and the confusing actions of possibly Autistic Diane Kruger made this show hard to watch at times. It just felt utterly confusing, some main characters dropped for a few episodes with no mention, and then magically reappear, the too many sub-plots floating around, and the strange build of romantic tension (or not) between Bichir and Kruger. TheHusband really liked this show. Not not loved, but liked. This is an American take on the Danish/Swedish version, and soon there is a joint English/French version, The Tunnel, coming in a few weeks. As one critic intoned, this is a format that works. Apparently so.

Weekly watching: Elementary, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Sleepy HollowSurvivorDownton AbbeyBoardwalk Empire, Doc Martin, QIPeaky Blinders, Project Runway, The Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy, The Vampire Diaries

Links

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2003

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: October 5, 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

Watching

Weekly watching: Sleepy HollowSurvivorDownton AbbeyBoardwalk Empire, Doc Martin, QIPeaky Blinders, The Bridge (US), Project RunwayThe Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy, DaVinci’s Demons,  The Vampire Diaries

Links

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 1998

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