Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for May 31, 2014

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,
Yesterday I updated Put A Cravat On It, the mother of all period piece series list that I wrote up back in December. It’s now closing in on nearly 100 shows to tap that vein when waiting for Downton Abbey or Miss Fisher. Enjoy.
P.S. You can now follow me on Pinterest on what I’m readingwatching, and listening.

Reading

Finished
ravenswarrior
The Raven’s Warrior by Vincent Pratchett
(Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads)
This book, a recommendation I saw somewhere, had all the right ingredients: Vikings, Arthurian legends, fantasy, and retellings. How can it be bad?
Hoo boy.
Let us start on page iv with the Editor’s note: Viken is a historical name in southwestern Norway, believed to derive from Old Norse word ‘vik’, meaning cove or inlet. Etymologists have suggested that the modern word “viking” may be derived from this place name, simply meaning “a person from Viken.”
This little note is almost entirely lifted from Wikipedia page for viken. The etymology of the word “viken” is correct, but how it relates to Vikings is horribly incorrect.
So there’s that.
The prologue which is a to give the book ambiance is lifted from Norse legend, except our bro dude here is Celtic (yes, there were some heavy influences but this is a very direct lifting of Norse mythology) and then we’re told the protagonist’s name is Vincent (Mary Sue much?). Vincent is kidnapped by Viken raiders who sell him at a market to a Chinese monk with a VERY mysterious past and then the story shifts to the monk’s backstory for a zillion pages that had no bearing on the story itself.
The prose is terrible. It’s written in mostly stream of consciousness with some dialog thrown in to make it a “story.” And there is description of everything everywhere about everything, which just reinforces the stream of consciousness technique. You have no idea who is talking when, about what, or to whom. The jump in direction and sudden shifting in points of view were edited badly.
Other points to consider:

  • He claims to be the nephew of Terry Pratchett – who is an only child. Vincent also marks it pointedly that he is related on his book bio.
  • His publishing house, YMAA, publishes titles mainly in martial arts / spirituality, but rarely fiction.
  • He (or someone) paid $69 to enter in the USA Best Book Awards, which after viewing their site just screams, “scam.”
  • People have commented on GR and other places they were embarrassed to hand his book out for World Book Night
  • The misuse of plain/plane, their/they’re/there, and other grammar and spelling atrocities.

I just can’t. Nope. Not gonna even try.
Currently reading
Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham
(Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads)
Still plodding along.
unexpectedsuperhero
Unexpected Superhero by Kitty Bucholtz
(Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads)
First book NOT in Worldcat, so that’s interesting.
I picked this title up via the author’s booth when I was at Cherry Capital Comic Con last weekend. The cover was eye catching, the concept of a local to the area superhero was intriguing, and lately I’ve been hunting down superhero as prose novels. See Kelly Thompson as another, yet delightfully better, example of this emerging genre.
First thing I need to note: This is a Christian romance, first and foremost. Full stop.
Nothing wrong with Christian romance, there is a huge market for the material, but it’s not a genre I regularly read in. I’m having a hard time with someone writing a superhero novel while integrating all of the reasons why the characters are so superhuman is because of The Lord.
I’m only about 40 pages in to Unexpected Superhero, and I’m finding other issues as well (mainly plot and editing issues), so there will be more later.
raisingsteam
Raising Steam by Sir Terry Pratchett
(Amazon | Worldcat | GoodReads)
After The Raven’s Warrior and Unexpected Superhero being disappointments for a variety of reasons, I decided to dig back into good old Sir TPerry, for this has been hanging out on my bedside table for ages. Sir TPerry’s wonderfully taut prose and gentle merry making is a palette cleanser after the dreck I read earlier in the week. Long may he reign.

Watching

  • Mad Men
    I am feeling much better as to how this season progressed and I’m a bit sad at how some of the things have turned — Megan/Don, Peggy, and of course, Burt. I thought I had a good idea of where the show was going, but it seems I do not. I hope this doesn’t end up becoming another Sopranos.
  • Mr. Sloane
    Nick Frost plays a conservative 1960s accountant whose life is not heading in the direction he wants it to go. Or as the tagline states, who found the 60s were not all that swinging for him. Funny and dorky — fundorky? — you can’t help but want to cheer Frost on.
  • The Crimson Field
    During 2014, the Beeb is planning on running 2500 hours of television dedicated to WW1, and this was one of the shows. Crimson Field is about three field nurses, near the front, during the Great War and the people they encounter, the lives they change, and those who work with them. There is a lot of FEELINGS and you can feel the heavy influence of Downton Abbey. I really liked this show and the ending was set up for a second season. I hope.

Weekly watching:  FargoLast Week Tonight with John OliverLouiePenny DreadfulGame of ThronesSilicon ValleyVeepCosmos: A SpaceTime OdysseyDoctor Blake MysteriesElementary
What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2012, 2012, 2012, 2012, 2012, 2009

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for April 19, 2014

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,
You can now follow me on Pinterest on what I’m readingwatching, and listening.

Reading

Finished
panopticonThe Panopticon by Jenni Fagan
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)
Drugs. Cutting. Pedophilia. Prostitution. HIV/AIDS. Alcohol. Cunt. Fuck. Twat. Mental abuse. Death. Paranoia. Fights. Rape. Molestation. Zoophilia. Love. Human kindness. Hope. Survival.
15 year old Anais, 50 foster homes, three name changes, and a rap sheet taller than herself is here to give you a tour. A tour of the realities of the foster care system, of treatment against the mentally ill, of how once you’re locked into a system that is designed to spit you out and eat you alive, there is a shred of hope still alive for change. A world that while it may take place in Scotland, is not out of the ordinary here in the States. A reality in which only the strongest will survive, even if it means you have to become feral to do so.
Anais’ story is not pretty, it’s not easy to read, and is not for the weak stomached. But you will fall in with love her, even as she sniffs, sucks, snorts, and fights her way around her world. Anais is the mirror being held up to our world and while we may not be 15, we may not have a penchant for Dior lipsticks and pillbox hats, there are secrets within ourselves that help us cope with our day to day lives.
Think Charles Bukowski with a dash of Hunter S. Thompson with bits of Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series mixed with Irvine Walsh, and you have The Panopticon.
This is a beautifully written and actualized story that while may be hard to swallow, needs to be said. Needs to be told. Needs to be read. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time.
Currently Reading
sexandrageSex and Rage: Advice To Young Ladies Eager For A Good Time by Eve Babitz
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)
I was introduced to Babitz recently via a recent article about her in Vanity Fair. The idea of an intellectual good-time girl intrigued me as it should, and I was dismayed to find that her work is not only largely unknown but also out of print. I was able to get a first edition copy of Sex and Rage via interlibrary loan to read and boy, am I ever glad I did. Babitz is glorious as a writer, the work hums with the fastness of the era, of the good time unapologetic choices that Jacaranda makes, doing so with such easy going nature you are desperate for the drugs she’s on.
beekepers
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (Mary Russell, #1) by Laurie R. King
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)
One sentence review: Twee as fuck.
We meet precocious Mary Russell, who has a fairy tale background replete with wicked aunt, who happens one fine day in 1915 to stumble upon the now retired Sherlock Holmes in a random field near her home and bedazzles him with her skill of deduction. Much of the book is twinged with a bit of Mary Sue-isms (Mary goes on to Oxford to read theology, a nod to the author, but there was not one iota of set-up prior to this declaration of WHY she was studying theology, which makes the declaration much more Mary Sue). We meet the venerable Mrs. Hudson, Doctor Watson (Uncle John, natch), and so forth. We see Mary work with Sherlock on solving cases chapter by chapter that read like a crime report rather than a true whodunit.
While the series is turning 20 this year (and the earlier titles are being repubbed for the celebration), I can’t help but get the sense the Flavia de Luce series (which I adore) is much better handling the twee elements the Mary Russell series tries to emulate without being so sickeningly sweet. I have issues with tortured heroines who are completely unawares of their own folly and Russell is in that camp. Laurie R. King is a skilled and technically competent writer, but her characters development and building interest in wanting to like these worlds amateurish. Once I finish book 1, I may go on to book 2 to see if there is improvement but I don’t see myself making a huge investment in this series.

Watching

  • University Challenge
    Another season is over and Jeremy Paxman has sold us with his glamour shots portrait that thumbnails the show and his snide commentary when contestants get it wrong. Trinity College, Cambridge has won — surprise!
  • Under the Gunn
    Project Runway re-dux, but, with less tension and more drama. Nice filler, not too much of the stretch of the imagination to watch, and could be at times entertaining.
  • Nurse Jackie
    Beginning of the sixth season and Jackie’s tricks haven’t changed, only the players in her game. Even with an almost new cast injection that has been happening for the last few years, the show is a one trick pony. SOmething has to change, Jackie has to change, if the show wants to continue but it’s pretty clear they are milking the storylines for all the same bag of tricks to keep the series going. The show is not moving enough forward to really warrant a seventh season, but yet Showtime went ahead and ordered one anyway. Will I stick with season 6? Stay tuned and find out.
  • Mad Men
    My reactions via Twitter on the season opener: Mad Men is existential white people dude bro bullshit. It’s so tired, I can’t even summon up the anger for it anymore. And also, Don Draper’s “I have to go to work” is the Mad Men version of Patrick Bateman’s, “I have to return some video tapes.” Thank fuck this is the last fucking season. It’s pretty clear Don can’t handle the duopoly of his life and he is so worn down by the lying, scheming, and switching between selves, the ONLY redemption he will have is death by his own hand.

Weekly watching: Game of ThronesSilicon ValleyVeep, Dead Famous DNA, Cosmos: A SpaceTime OdysseyDoctor Blake MysteriesThe AmericansSurvivor: CagayanVikings, Archer, Reign, Elementary
What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2003, 1999

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: April 20, 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’m back from conferencing and my laptop is also out of the shop. Work is ramped up as the semester draws to a close and my juggling balls are still up in the air. I feel like after graduation date, when we start calming down inside the library, I can finally begin to breathe.
I’m adding a new section to the rotation list (Reading, Watching, Listening, Writing, Links) called Reviews. I’ve gotten enough requests on Twitter for how I/we use/like things I mention, trying to contain it all in 140 characters is tough.

Reading

I finished my second book of the year: I Am Half Sick of Shadows, which I had started reading when I went to LibTechConf last month. FINALLY. I’m not close to being on track to finishing a book a week, but, it’s something. Fingers crossed this can get ramped up in the next few months.

Watching

  • DaVinci’s Demons
    I am not sure what to make of this series, nor is TheHusband. In fact, 15 minutes in the first episode and he was on his tablet reading ESPN he was so bored. The time period, costuming, art direction are all totally up my alley but I have to agree with TheHusband on this show – it’s not keeping me engaged. Sometimes, you need to give a series a few episodes before making a full commitment.
  • Justified
    We started watching this a few weeks back but I didn’t get an opportunity to get this listed. Now streaming on AIV (free for Prime), this has become the staple show to watch after our DVR has been emptied. From episode 1, we’ve been hooked. And personally? I’ve got a bit of a crush on Boyd Crowder.
  • Mad Men
    Two hour premier kicked off last week and you know, it was the same shit, different day. The most exciting thing was Betty finally growing her metaphorical balls to reject the patriarchy. I just cannot get into this show any more nor do I care. It’s the sixth season, and the seventh one will be the last, thank the fates. This has jumped the shark.
  • Nurse Jackie, The Borgias, and Veep
    5th, 3rd, 2nd season premiers and meh, meh, and vaguely funny.

Weekly watching: Doctor WhoGame of ThronesVikings, The Vampire Diaries, ElementaryThe Americans, and Project Runway.

Links

Reviews

Sodastream
If TheHusband and I have any shared vices, it would be sparkle water. We love the stuff. Pellegrino for him, Ice Mountain flavored for me. In the state of Michigan, soda, beer, and sparkle water bottles have a 10 cent deposit on them on top of the price. It was getting to the point that we were buying between 6-12 cases a month of water, 24 bottles per case, so we had bags of bottles and cans growing in our kitchen to redeem for the deposit we paid.  The last, and final, batch of bottles/cans we took to redeem for the deposit totaled $16. The week before, it was $12.
Grand Rapids tap water is fine (actually, it’s quite tasty), but the fizz in bottled water that gets us. The mountain of empties to return, the growing cost per month of our water addiction, plus the environmental impact was taking its toll. We needed to find a solution where we could get the sparkle water, without having the growing bags of returns, and have it on demand. Getting a soda maker/carbonator was the obvious solution and after much research,   we found the highest rated  and reviewed was Sodastream.
Bottom line: we love it.
Our initial investment was $80 for the Fountain Jet, which included a 60L carbonator,  1L reusable bottle, and a sample pack of soda flavors. Within a few days, we loved it so much we purchased a twin pack of 1L bottles and a twin pack of 1/2L bottles (total of four bottles + the original) via Amazon. Each twin pack was roughly $20, so our total investment is now $120. While most of the sample sodas were okay, we were in it just to carbonate our water and less about making soda, though TheHusband found just by adding splashes of lemon or lime juice after the carbonation is tasty.
It took us a month of getting through the 60L carbonator, which costs us $15 to exchange at a local hardware store (Sodastream has a list of places you can exchange carbonators and buy new). A new carbonator is $30. We decided to keep an extra carbonator on hand in case we run out and we can’t immediately get an exchange set up.
So previously we were spending easily $125  on sparkle water a month. After our initial investment recoups in the first month plus, our monthly outlay will be $15 or so to do the monthly exchange of the carbonator. We have five bottles (3 1L and 2 1/2L), which we rotate through the day. The bottles are reusable and have a “use by date,” so we’re not stressing the make of the bottles and the bottles are recyclable.
$15 dollars a month compared to $125? Yeah, we can dig it.
What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2012

Edited April 20, 2013 at 11:26AM

It's a nice day for a white wedding.

I am currently getting ready to leave to drive to A2 for Erika’s wedding. 006 is going to be my date and we’re also going to be looking around A2 and Ypsilanti for apartments for me on Sunday. I’ll be home sometime Sunday afternoon, in which the new season of Mad Men begins. I’m so terribly excited about the new season, you have NO idea. 😉
Consequently, you can follow me on Twitter as we dance and drink the night away.