water off a duck’s back

water off a duck's back
Dear Internet,
We’ve recently discovered RuPaul’s Drag Race, which shockingly I haven’t been watching before this. If you need to get your fix, seasons 4 through current are on Hulu. It’s like Project Runway, but much cattier and funnier; an obvious perfect complement.
Expect my mouth to get raunchier thanks to new phrases and saying I’ve been picking up, like “cock sucking dick pigs,” courtesy of Jinkx Monsoon! Which speaking of Ms Jinkx, the episodes we’ve seen so far (seasons 4-6), she’s by far my favorite queen. There is something about her, even though it would seem Sharon Needles or Bianca del Rio are more my speed, that grabs at bits of me and wakes me up.
(We’ve started on season 7 and in one word: meh.)
The resonation of Jinkxy comes from a few weeks ago when someone on the internet made various disparaging comments in regards to my writing. (I know, I know, I KNOW.) The sum of which can be distilled down that I was/am a pompous, illiterate hack. The thing was this didn’t feel like your average internet trolling — this felt personal. Very personal. The person, of course, hid behind an anonymous name but I have my suspicions. I may be way off base on who it was but the commentary hurt. A lot. It’s been banging around my brain as if none of the small steps I’ve taken have amounted to really anything or what’s been published is worthy. I have my fans but then again so does Dan Brown.
This phenomenon is known as imposter syndrome which according to Wikipedia is, “…a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.” I first became aware of this in the tech community, primarily women, who struggled with their accomplishments in a male dominated world. I didn’t really see myself, then, as having a modicum of feeling under accomplished but stepping back recently in this new world I’ve created for myself, I can see it whole heartedly.
The biggest of the impostering happening is for my writing, which is why the anonymous c0ward’s comments was a broadsword into my side.
A few weeks ago, Jim C. Hines, in a nod to the Hugo awards kerfuffle, discussed a recent conversation within the SF/F community about the “cool kids.”  The tl;dr breaks down that several of the sad puppies accused the more well-known of authors / personalities within the community of being too cliquey and why Hines, and others, reject theses ideas presented.
I remember in high school (and after) always feeling extremely left out of everything. No matter what group I was hanging with, there was always a clique within that group that seemed cooler than me. It never occurred to me those I deemed more awesomer of having their own insecurities, issues, and even jealousies. Basically the same as me and everyone else we know. Their feelings just felt impossible to believe they shat like the rest of us. All we ever see is the finished project not the pain, sweat, and tears that went into them.
It’s always hard to feel your worth, that your contributions are worthwhile, that you are worthwhile or matter. It’s hard to shake the demons snapping at you  as you run towards your dreams.
Isn’t it easier to “what if” your way into not doing anything? Isn’t it easier to presuppose your failure before anything happens? Isn’t it easier to lock yourself in the closet of your brain and not do anything, ever?
It’s hard, I know, to move forward and do what you want. It’s hard to believe in yourself. I know it’s hard; I still don’t believe in myself 99.999% of the time. It’s hard to shake off the old demons that reverberate from your entire life. But you matter. Your work, your dreams, you matter.
Water off a duck’s back. Water off a motherfucking duck’s back.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 1999

Put A Cravat On It Part II

Richard Armitage, in a motherfucking cravat!, as Mr. Thornton in NORTH AND SOUTH.
Richard Armitage, in a motherfucking cravat!, as Mr. Thornton in NORTH AND SOUTH.

Dear Internet,
364 days ago, I wrote a blog post chronicling my extensive knowledge of British television and period dramas, which spurned me to create a list. The list went from about few dozen shows to now over 100. And it continues to grow.
I’ve been updating the original list every couple of months, but because of the length and breadth of the explanation before the list, it seemed wise to stop updating the blog piece and move the list to its own page to keep it better contained AND alphabetized it because woah, I had a lot of duplicate entries.
Some notes:

  • I follow the following blogs/websites to find out about upcoming stories: Digital Spy, Telly Visions, Tellyspotting, TVWise, Radio Times, and BBC History Extra.
  • The Lady and the Rose has a regularly updated list of period dramas (including movies), fairyland and fantasy costume dramas, and a list of movies/series coming up in 2015 and beyond.
  • I linked to streaming, if available, on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Acorn.tv. If a show is also on a premium channel like HBO or Starz, linked there as well.
  • Acorn.TV is a streaming service that allows you to watch as a channel on the Roku or online. If you’re a big fan of Britishisms, it’s absurdly cheap and packed with a mighty list of things not available anywhere and also gets a lot of exclusives, such as they ran Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries before anyone else had it.
  • Hulu and Hulu+ have a ton of Britishisms and other related foreign shows not found anywhere else.
  • Lots of Masterpiece shows (stuff that is normally aired on BBC or ITV) is now available on Amazon as well as more non-US stories not found anywhere else.
  • Your yearly outlay for all four services will be about $150. Absurdly great deal when  you consider how much TV/Movies you get on top of the period pieces.

As always, contact if you have any questions, updates, or etc.

this day in lisa-universe: 2013

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,




  • 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?

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2011

Put a cravat on it

STOP! The list and links on this post are now over at put a cravat on it: the list, which will be regularly updated. This article will no longer be updated. Please update your bookmarks accordingly!

Richard Armitage, in a motherfucking cravat!, as Mr. Thornton in NORTH AND SOUTH.
Richard Armitage, in a motherfucking cravat!, as Mr. Thornton in NORTH AND SOUTH.

Dear Internet,
A couple of years ago, my friend Matt (apparently astounded at my knowledge of British television) said half seriously/half jokingly that if he ever wanted to know what British TV shows to watch, he’d have to just read my Twitter feed.  He then suggested I should put together a list of all recommended shows to point people to so they can get in on the action rather than combing through my copious tweets. On a snowy day this past January, I did exactly that. I called it telly watching: a guide to uk tv & radio and it took me forever to put together and it is no where near complete. Or even started for that matter – it’s not even a dust mote of a dent in my ever growing list.
Last night on Twitter, a conversation broke out about several period, mainly British, shows which ended up as a recommendations engine powered by librarians. The problem with this, as you might have guessed, is how much sheer knowledge of British / period film / TV series existed between us all. So I thought I would draw up a list as methadone until the next season of Downton / Miss Fisher / Sherlock start.
The list is in no particular order, mainly British period pieces up to the early ’60s with primarily strong female leads. I KNOW I am missing a lot, so if you feel there is an absolute MUST HAVE, let me know via email or comments and I’ll update the list! Due to sheer volume, I left out movies and every incarnation of Dickens/Austen/Bronte and others. Everything below is either a mini series or a regular series. One day there may be a movie version of the list — maybe.
Show name links take you to information about the show. I checked all three main US streaming sites — but be warned! Some of the shows are not available for free as part of Amazon Prime OR on regular Hulu. If you end up paying for season pass or buying Hulu Plus — don’t say I did not warn you. Acorn.TV is a streaming service that allows you to watch as a channel on the Roku or online. If you’re a big fan of Britishisms, it’s absurdly cheap ($30/year!) and packed with a mighty list of things not available anywhere. Some shows are exclusive to some specific stations, like Parade’s End on HBO, and since those shows are available streaming to subscribers, I added those too.
Shows that are not streaming in the US (such as Breathless and Up The Women), I kept because they fall into the genre and are available off the back of the truck. Please do not ask me to get shows for you or where to find them. I’m only letting you know they are available for you to find.
Updated: December 6, 2014 Total: 107

Maybe now I should go finish the telly watching: a guide to uk tv & radio guide?
P.S. I get a lot of questions on where I find out about all of my Britishisms – other than the usual internets chatter, I follow the following blogs: Digital Spy, Telly Visions, Tellyspotting, TVWise, Radio Times, and BBC History Extra.
P.P.S Updated at 12:07 PM and added nearly a dozen more shows.
P.P.P.S. Updated 1/4/2014 with another dozen shows.
P.P.P.P.S Updated 5/30/2014 with 30 more shows.

This day in Lisa-Universe:

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

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!

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2012, 1998