Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: December 28, 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

F.U.C.K.

Watching

  • Blandings
    Based on the stories by P.G. Wodehouse, a frothy watch that is coming back for a second season in 2014.
  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  and Sleepy Hollow
    I watched the first few episodes of both and let the rest pile up on the DVR. I found, as time went on, I had no fucks for either show. I was bored, found Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. neither clever or intriguing and Sleepy Hollow was just plain boring.
  • Boardwalk Empire
    Another show, like Homeland, that I stopped watching at some point in mid-season only to have TheHusband keep me up to date on the goings on. Now that one of my favorite characters is dead, the plot is overly messy, another character has been tossed to the side, I am glad this is now over. If this gets picked up for another season, we’ll more than likely not watch this hot mess.
  • Downton Abbey Christmas Special
    This was, it has to be, a parody of the entire show. Two major events were pushed easily to the side and summarily forgotten, no real movement in the plot, and speculation about some of the characters was heightened all dressed under snark about the English upper classes by the characters playing the upper classes. Just meh.
  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Christmas Special
    Yay Phryne. Now what am I going to do until season three comes to fruition??
  • Death Comes to Pemberley
    Based on the novel by P.D. James, this three part series is currently being shown in the UK. I have yet to read the book, but, the series is interesting. It has loads of good actors, Matthew Rhys, Matthew Goode, Anna Maxwell Martin, and others. But the movement is slow, the dialogue is a bit thin, and frankly, I am not caring enough about the characters but I will continue.
  • Raised by Wolves
    Written by Caitlin Moran and her sister Caroline, it is an emphasis of their ramshackle homeschooled life from the ’80s, except placed in the current climes. I have a love/hate relationship with Caitlin, and the first episode got a slow start, but I found myself warming up to the show pretty quick.

Weekly watching: BBC Tudor Monastery Farm, Reign, DraculaProject Runway All-Stars, Breathless, Atlantis,  Elementary, 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: 2011

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes December 21, 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,

Reading

cocainebluesCocaine Blues: Phryne Fisher Mysteries #1 by Kerry Greenwood
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished
The first book in a long series that inspired the show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, is currently available for free on the Kindle via Amazon. Since I had become obsessed with the show, it seemed natural to check in on the book series to see how it lived up.
TV and book series are pretty on par with the other. Action is high, Phryne is pretty similar in both medias, and but the character development. with the exception of Phryne, in the book series is lacking whereas the TV series feels more well thought out. Phryne is a very visual character, her frocks and accessories are very detailed in the books, as is more of her backstory is explained, but the rest of the book characters seem kind of stale in comparison to their TV counterparts. I know there had been some complaints about Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (secondary character in the books, primary in the series) and the changing of some events in the book series to the TV version actually made the storyline slightly better and still satisfying.
While I found development of the characters a bit weak, the storyline seemed abrupt at times, I am rating this a 4/5 for technique, research, and content. I also loved how Greenwood walks you through elements of the mystery without spoon feeding them to you, which is echoed in the TV version as well.
Very enjoyable and fast read. Highly recommended.
dodgerDodger by Terry Pratchett
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished
A departure from Discworld, Sir TPerry takes us on a romp through the early days of Victorian London, where Charles Dickens is a journalist prowling the underbelly of streets, Prince Albert is still alive, and we’re introduced to a wealth of characters that seem almost unreal and yet, they very much are.
As most of you know, I’m a huge fan of Sir TPerry, but this book was hit or miss for me. The backstories of early Victorian London, the dialogue, the slang, the characters were all true to life. While I appreciated the nod to Dickensian themes and word styling, but there still felt like something was detached and it’s driving me crazy that I cannot put my finger on it. I read this in spurts of 50-75 pages, putting it down, and then picking it up months later for another 50-75 page spurt. The last spurt happened in a 1.5 hour long bath because I was desperate to finally finish it.
This book would be  a great companion to anyone interested in a fantasy set in reality (as Sir PTerry puts it) of early Victorian Age or who wants to get into Dickens without reading Dickens. Sir PTerry is a great storyteller and that is still evident here and while I feel he was incredibly passionate about Dodger and his companions, the magic was slightly off and a bit hard to swallow.
thisyearyouwriteThis Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished
I’m going to disagree with much of the middling and negative reviews about this title.
If you’re serious about writing, why would you dismiss something that would and could be of great help to you? Especially from someone who is as esteemed as Walter Mosley? Doesn’t that seem ridiculous?
Like most writers, I collect, read, thumb, and tag writing reference titles to keep on hand and to get guidance. Mosley’s title was recommend to me from an artist friend who thought its straight to the point advice given in bite sized allotments would be attractive to me and he was right.
Sure, yes, you can listen to CBC Writers and Company (one of the best writing podcasts out there), subscribe to a zillion magazines and newsletters, and read blogs and websites to get advice. But while some of that information is helpful and at times useful, distilling through the noise to get to the actual meat of matter is exhausting. This is why Mosley’s works is important – it gets rid of all the high falutin pretentious twaddle that seems to crop up in most writing manuals and advice how-tos and gives you the real deal.
snobberywithviolence
Snobbery with Violence by Marion Chesney
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished
Marion Chesney/M.C. Beaton has a formula that regardless of which series or persona she is writing in, is always in play: Barely existing plot, overly pulled sexual tension between the leads, content the depth of a 1″ puddle, and story devices that are thrown against the wall and then forgotten. Having read much of the Agatha Raisin series, while knowing it was to be frivolous fun, I grew bored because Aggie (don’t call her that if you value your life) never seemed to grow as a character. It was always the same shenanigans, book after book.
With this being said, I picked up the Edwardian Mystery series by Chensey/Beaton as I grow increasingly interested in this time period I’m on the lookout for contemporary titles written about this period and this is one of the few contemporarily written series currently available.
Chesney/Beaton doesn’t disappoint. You have your “oh she’s supposedly so well educated but portrays herself as a half-wit” heroine who comes from exceedingly good stock; the mysterious and fallen main male lead who “oh really publicly hates the heroine but secretly loves her” and yes, it’s all very predicable and cliche-y.
There is no stretch in the research or imagination here, and if I had not been well attuned to Ms. Chesney/Beaton’s writing style from before, I would probably like the book even less but you know, at the end of the day, it’s a frippery of a read that while it may not have educated me, it did keep me entertained.
2013 List | In progress

Watching

  • Masters of Sex
    The season finale and much is left to the open for interpretation on what is going to happen and where the show is going. I really adored this show – and it was one of the few shows in our weekly repertoire I would demand to watch live. There is certain detachedness to the show, and some of the characters are written flat, but I do love this show. Michael Sheen as the uptight Dr. Masters is a delight.
  • A Place to Call Home
    TheHusband and I have mainlined this show in its entirety. Complex, thought out, well drawn drama about early 1950s Australia. Complicated relationships, characters, and the setting is gorgeous.
  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
    Season 2 kittens, season 2!
  • Survivor
    It’s finally over. Thank fuck.

Weekly watching: BBC Tudor Monastery Farm, Reign, DraculaProject Runway All-Stars, Breathless, Atlantis,  ElementaryMarvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Sleepy Hollow,   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:

May The Lemon Be With You

Lemon pendant that arrived today courtesy of my good pal, Val.
Lemon pendant that arrived today courtesy of my good pal, Val.

Dear Internet,
Yesterday, my irritableness got worse as the day and evening progressed. TheHusband helicoptered all day, “Are you okay? Is something going on or is it just the crazy? I love you – here, let me hump your shoulder.” I wavered between telling him to fuck the right off and then shortly after, clinging to him like a wet blanket and then pounding my fists weakly into his chest.
“Why are you doing that?”
“Because isn’t that what all maidens in distress do?”
“It’s definitely the crazy.”
Before it got terribly late, and the dog had been taken care of for the evening, I popped a full Klonopin, snuggled under my warming blanket, and started main lining the second season of Miss Fisher before falling asleep. I have to be careful when I take a full dose, for it knocks me out cold and depending on how exhausted I am, I have been known to dead sleep 10-14 hours before even beginning to stir.
Whatever I was expecting the drug to do, it did it for a little while but this morning when I woke, my teeth were grinding and I was on edge. This is fairly unusual since Klonopin tends to reset me, which of course sets the pace for the rest of the day chock full of anxiety. It is a good thing I am heading to my shrink, Dr. P., this afternoon.
It was a year ago this month I went back on my bipolar meds and then started up on the ADHD drugs, while live blogging it all. For nearly a year, until I went off the Lithium again 2.5 months ago, my emotional life was in a constant state of flux. In addition to the flux, I felt so fucking defeated when the ADHD drugs would not work as promised. But I was not surprised. I had been down this road before a decade ago and I remember swearing I would never do drugs again and yet, here I went and here they were.
And here I am still struggling.
Today marks the fifth day since I’ve left the house, which is not as depressing as it sounds. We have been bombarded with snow for nearly two weeks, the accumulation probably between 2′-3′ and more is coming this weekend. TheHusband and I, neither of us keen to be out in this near blizzard like conditions, were dutiful enough to get two weeks worth of groceries together to keep us going during the time. I promised food posts and images, but i kept forgetting to take my camera with me as we cooked. But let me assure you, everything has been delicious.
Presents have been trickling in from friends and family, which has been cheering me up. The winner of Christmas this year may be my friend Val who sent me a traveling lemon, which I can wear on a chain and is a reference to one of my favorite radio shows, Cabin Pressure. My Mother-in-Law sent us books, a new crock pot, and this Hark! A Vagrant viking tshirt. You can never go wrong with buying me a t-shirt.
I have not worked on my book project in several days, of which I am not trying to get too stressed about. I keep reminding myself that while it is a lofty goal to cram a novel in 3.5 weeks, even just by the amount of work i’ve done already is far ahead anything I’ve done before.
Now it is time to leave the house for the day. Wish me godspeed!
x0x0,
Lisa
P.S. My guesstimates were not too far off on snow accumulation – since December 8, our area has gotten 22″ of snow.

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2012, 1998

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

I am concealing many things; that is what a lady does

MissFisher
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

Dear Internet,
I love Sundays.
This is the day I give myself complete freedom to do whatever I want. Sleep in late, read the paper in full, don’t get out of my jimjams, read all day in bed, mainline TV shows, bake all the things, take a two hour bath, or write the great Canadian-American novel; doesn’t matter. Sunday is the day that I do all, some, or none of those things. Sunday is the day for me.
This morning I woke with a purpose and the dreams of my sleep still vivid (but now fuzzy as the day has progressed). By noon, the bed linens had been the changed, the dog had been walked, several loads of laundry were completed, and TheHusband was in the process of making his chili for our consumption later. I had declared this to be a day of “reading::writing,” which apparently meant I was going to mainline Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries all day long. This turned out to be a very fine idea, indeed.
I first came across Miss Fisher on Acorn TV. If you are a fan of British or British-esque television series, serials, and movies, hie thee to their website and sign up for their streaming services, which are ungodly cheap of $30 a year. Yes, that’s right — $30 for an entire year of Britishisms. Acorn TV is available as a channel on Roku and can also be watched on your computer/tablet. Acorn is the company that produces many (if not most) of the Britishisms DVDs that are made available via PBS, so the company is legit. While their streaming catalog is small, it is often mighty, and routinely updated.
[According to Acorn TV, they are going to start streaming seasons two of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries in January. Since Netflix picked up the show almost a year after Acorn TV had it for season one, this might be a good time to sign up!]
So let us hurry back to Miss Fisher for we must not keep her waiting.
The premise is this: Honorable Phryne Fisher, she who is named after an ancient Greek courtesan, returns to 1920s Melbourne after years away. Rich, beautiful, young, and clever, Miss Fisher has seen a thing or two of the world and decides that her next calling in life is to be a lady detective. The first episode, Cocaine Blues, deals with a murder, cocaine ring, and an illegal abortionist.  Series one follows the trail of the books and series two is apparently based on original to the show work.
Most who fall in love with the series do so for varied number of reasons: the costuming (bloody hell, her frocks!), the time period, the location, Miss Fisher’s general bad assery, and the murder mysteries are not spoon fed to the viewers. For me, there are a couple of things about this series that stand out, namely the subjects and topics that even by 21st century tastes could be construed as being provocative: Education, abortion, women’s rights,  worker’s rights, family planning,  slavery, adoption, religion, and the list goes on. These are very big topics to tackle, and the show has done them with grace and tact. It is not sensationalized or feels phony as there is a level of understatement that cannot be missed about the problems and issues that wrapped up 1920s Melbourne.
Some of the critiques of Miss Fisher, the books and the television show, stem from the unlikelihood of her “modern sensibilities and mannerisms” would be real in the 1920s, which means someone has not been paying attention to history. Much of the women’s rights movement began in that era and Miss Fisher’s seemingly flippant devil may care attitude and sexuality are right in line with the period.

My sins are too many and varied to mention, and frankly I intend to continue sinning so I won’t waste your time.Miss Phryne Fisher, S1 Ep9 Queen of the Flowers

And that is perhaps why I fell so deep and hard for this show – Miss Fisher is a strong role model breaking with gendered traditions to live the life she feels best suits her. She does not have misguided notions of marriage, family, or love. She takes lovers with the same ease I use picking out what pair of Chucks I’m going to wear and makes it clear to them she’s not the type of women to be committed. She makes a fabulous aunt and ward, but would never dream of being a mother. She bucks against the traditions of ladies etiquette, deportment, and social graces by finding them damning and of ill use in her modern world but is still skilled enough to use them when needed. Instead, she becomes a Renaissance woman in the purest sense of the word: She speaks several languages, learns how to protect herself with martial arts, can tango as well as juggle balls. She’s lived a paupers life and a rich life, she’s traveled extensively, she was an artists model and worked in the circus. She can pick locks and fly an airplane. She is kind, generous, and she chooses and creates her urban family of misfits who are fiercely loyal to her.
Miss Phryne Fisher sets to prove a woman can and should have it all but she does it with an elegance and grace many of us in this modern world, I myself am highly guilty of this, lack. There is a ring of criticism that Miss Fisher falls into the camp of “she’s-too-perfect-itis” and while I can see the value of that criticism, I think the writers have done well with giving Miss Fisher backstories to illustrate she is not so perfect after all.
Because Miss Fisher becoming the new hotness, I’ve collected some worthy links to the TV series, books, and other interests to get you started:

If you’re a fan of mysteries and looking for something to take the Downton edge off, I would highly implore you to check out Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries post haste!
xoxo,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2012, 1998