Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for April 26, 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

clarice-lispector-near-to-the-wild-heart-entrekin
Near to the Wild Heart by  Clarice Lispector
(Amazon | WorldCat GoodReads)

I haven’t swayed too much from my original impression of the book, but one thing I need to note is to take this in small bites. I was so intoxicated by her work, I was drowning in her words.

Watching

  • Nurse Jackie, Reign
    I decided I did not care enough about either show to continue watching, so I stopped. I couldn’t take another season of Jackie fucking up her life and the when it became pretty clear the producers of Reign gave no fucks based on the sheer amount of anachronisms, I decided I did not either.
  • Archer
    Drug lords, a baby, cocaine, and a budding country star. Only Archer can contain this much awesome in such a short amount of time span and I’m thrilled they are coming back for another season.
  • Dead Famous DNA
    This three part mini-series was interesting in the search for dead famous DNA, how we react (and collect) that DNA, and what we will and won’t do with it. Spoiler: Turns out Eva Braun (Hitler’s love) was Jewish.

Weekly watching:  Mad MenGame of ThronesSilicon ValleyVeepCosmos: A SpaceTime OdysseyDoctor Blake MysteriesThe AmericansSurvivor: CagayanVikingsElementary

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

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2003

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: June 22, 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

life-after-life_original Life After Life ( Amazon | Local Library | Goodreads)
by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson, along with Terry Pratchett, Jasper Fforde, and several other writers, are ones whom no matter what argument I make to save cash, I always pre-order their books when said boks are released.  For Atkinson this year, I found out a friend was going to give me an ARC she had received of Life After Life, so I dutifully canceled my pre-order. Except, I apparently didn’t. The pre-ordere arrived before my trip to see my friend, so I kept it in the hopes I could get it finished before heading to see her so we can talk about the book. It didn’t quite work out that way for it’s two months later and I’m just now getting started on the book.

While I would describe myself as an ardent Atkinson fangirl, I’m only 25 pages in to this title and have no opinion of this offering as of yet. But at least I’m reading, and that’s something.

Watching

  • Case Histories, Season 2
    I found out season 2 of Case Histories was being shown in the UK by accident, even though I had thought I had tapped myself into the places that would keep me abreast of such things. I greedily watched all three episodes in two sittings, and I can’t get enough of Jackson Brodie or who he is or what he does. Sure, sure, Jason Isaacs isn’t bad to look at, but the tortured soul of a man who walks (rather runs) to his own moral code is amazing to behold. I don’t know if there are plans to show it in the US on PBS this year or if there will be a third season or if Atkinson has plans for another Brodie book. I’m really hoping all of those things become true, the Brodie world of Edinburgh is one where I want to live.
  • True Blood
    Speaking of tortured men with complicated pasts, True Blood started its sixth season this past Sunday. To me, TB is always the start of the summer, the days feel better knowing I have TB to watch on Sundays. As for the plot, well, what’s being set up in the first episode of S6 is slow. TheHusband and I raised several eyebrows during the hour and we’re hoping TB picks up some speed (and interest!) during the forthcoming season. TheHusband put forth the show has finally jumped the shark, but I don’t think that’s happened. Yet. I DO wish they would clarify more on Pam’s dick whipped attitude towards Eric, since it’s been made pretty clear they were never really lovers in so much as BFFs during their 100 years together. Pam’s randomly shown weakness for Eric when certain conditions apply (but not all conditions that match, just some) is annoying.
  • Sons of Anarchy
    I had no interest in this show, really, until Beth forwarded me a video of Walton Goggins (Boyd Crowder on Justified) as Venus Van Dam, a transvestite prostitute on SOA. After getting over myself of extreme jealous of how beautiful Goggins makes as a woman, I decided to check the show out. I had been working on finding a nice long show I can get into while I do things around the house, knit/cross-stitch, or fall asleep to and SOA fits that bill. TheHusband, on the other hand, was razzing me that I seem to be haphazardly watching all the FX originals as I come across them (The Americans, Archer, Justified, Louie (TheHusband’s choice), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (TheHusband’s choice)), but hey! That’s ok. FX has created really great content in the last few years and they are pushing the boundaries of what network television should look like. Other networks better start taking notes.
  • Nurse Jackie
    Just when it looks like Jackie’s life is finally getting under control, a twist. There is always a twist. While I do like this show, this season was definitely not the best and it ranked pretty poorly. Dr. Roman? She just needs to go. Though I do love Zooey’s new love interest and that made me very happy how that panned out.

Weekly watching: Burn NoticeBorgiaDaVinci’s DemonsMad MenThe BorgiasVeep, The Vampire Diaries

Links

Reviews

Fitbit Flex

Lisa-mas was a few weeks ago and presents were still rolling in so I decided to divvy up the reviews over the next few weeks to not overload this post. This week, it’s the Fitbit Flex.

I know Fitbit has been popular around the social sphere for some time, but what got me interested was when Kate and I were discussing fitness regimes and she mentioned the Flex, a Fitbit product designed to be a bracelet with the Fitbit unit cleverly hidden and unobtrusive.  I’ve tried pedometers in the past and found most of them lacking. I know some friends have had good luck with phone apps for sleeping and pedometering, but I found this was not a particular good solution since many pairs of my bottoms don’t always have pockets to put the phone in and the way some pedometers are designed to be clipped, also doesn’t work with how my body is shaped.

The line of Fitbit products are designed to track, learn, and help you manage:

  • Fitness goals 
  • Food consumption
  • Water consumption
  • Sleeping
  • Much, much more

Much of this is done by your input on the website or app but the core information, steps walked/calories burned, is done by the device. You can manage, within the app and website, all of your health needs fairly simply and easily, which is of great interest to me.  It is also shower proof and mostly water proof (though, I’d probably take it off for swimming).

What I really loved is the Flex, because it was something I could wear, like jewelry, and only time I’d have to take it off is to recharge the Fitbit unit, which is about once a week. When I wore the Flex to work, one my student workers thought it was a post-modern bracelet, another person though it was a fancy watch. Inso far as design aesthetic goes, Fitbit gets top scores.

TheHusband ordered the Flex and the accessory bands from Amazon, and the items was on massive back order until mid-late July at Amazon and at Fitbit.com. So imagine my surprise when I received the Flex a few days after my birthday! But the accessory bands, which were scheduled to arrive first, still haven’t arrived and are still marked on backorder.

The package comes with the Fitbit unit, two bracelets sized small and large in a single color (you can choose between black or slate, TheHusband ordered slate), charging dongle, and wifi synch dongle. Setting up the Fitbit was fairly easy, as well as setting up an account. I choose to create an account rather then use Facebook or Google as the login. You can also find friends via Facebook/Google but Kate and I found this was kind of a pain in the arse (Kate had ordered another Fitbit product a few weeks prior). In addition to the website dashboard, there is also an app, available for iOS and Android. You can also sync with other products, like MyFitnessPal, which rocks if you’re already using MyFitnessPal to track your food.

Downsides:

  • You can sync your Fitbit to your phone using bluetooth when you have the app installed, and you can synch the Fitbit when the dongle is plugged into a computer, but you cannot synch it with any other mobile devices using bluetooth. This means if you want to synch it to your iPad or another device, you’re out of luck.
  • The iOS app is available on the iPhone only, and while you can install it on the iPad, it’s clunky. You also don’t have all of the options available you do when it’s in its native environment.
  • The Fitbit Flex system includes the bracelets, Fitbit unit, charging dongle, wifi synch dongle, and yet they did not include a pouch or any kind of carrying case for travel. I was able to find a small pouch to use to hold all the accouterments (and have space for the other bracelets), but it just seemed odd the pouch/carrying case was not included or even made available in the store as an accessory.
  • Going into sleep mode, to track my sleep habits, can be a bit wonky.
  • The dashboard via the web is different than the app version, which is okay, but some of the options available on the website are not available on the app, which is annoying. This always seems to be the biggest problem I run into with software developed for the web and the mobile apps come later: it’s assumed behaviors are not the same in both places, or expectations, when many of them are.

Overall, I really like the Flex. My goal is to figure out what I’m doing now and then improve on it to get more healthy. I also love that I can sync MyFitnessPal with Fitbit so that makes things easier for tracking food/exercise. Fitbit also uses gamification, which can be fun, but since I’m still pretty low on the totem pole on some things, it doesn’t seem to have the thrill yet. I do like how I want to walk everywhere to improve my  total steps per day, but step count on the app is slightly off I’m a spaz and move around a lot without necessarily walking, thus the Fitbit counts those as steps. But so far, out of the other things i’ve tried, this is a really good way to get started getting fit.

x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2011