Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for June 21, 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 follow me on Pinterest on what I’m readingwatching, and listening.

Reading

I finished a few graphic novels this week, the short story Beyond Lies The Wub by Phillip K. Dick, and dug more into Steam Rising by Pratchett. I’m behind on reviews, so those will be coming up in the next week.

Watching

Lots of shows ending recently or that we’ve caught up on. You know what starts tomorrow? The last season of True Blood! If they end the season like they did the books, I am going to be HELLA PISSED.

  • Game of Thrones
    One can simply not write about Game of Thrones finale without planning on spending days on deep analysis for every scene. So instead, I’ll leave you with this:
    dragonroar
    Until next year!
  • Silicon Valley
    Despite my earlier reluctance at this show, it’s grown quickly to be a fav as it’s started to get its feet. TheHusband would rate this as the second best show on TV right now, after Game of Thrones. Plus, while it’s written by Mike Judge, it has all the ambiance of Party Down. And of course, Gilfoye has quickly become the favorite character, with Dinesh not too far behind. AND THEN the finale had the best dick jokes to top all dick jokes.
  • Veep
    Selena is now president, Amy is running the show, Dan is more or less stable, Jonah is still Jonah, and one day I hope Gary will find himself.
  • Doctor Blake Mysteries
    I was borderline loving this show but it’s now fading into a deep like. The finale at the end of S1 (Doctor Blake heads to China to see his long lost daughter) was tidily summed up in the season opener and left alone. The lady doctor who is now helping Doctor Blake in the morgue is only ever seen — in the morgue! And the big reveal at the end of S2, which we all know was coming, left me feeling like this show is getting kind of flat. Instead of structuring big, compelling characters as it started in S1, it’s now becoming freak of the week.
  • I Never Knew That About Britain
    Eight short episodes exploring the variety of different things that either were started, famed, created, or otherwise in Britain. It’s puffed up on the history rather than getting in depth, and we’re looking at maybe 3-4 items per 22 minute episode, and the setting is fast paced. But overall it was entertaining and informative.
  • Halt and Catch Fire
    This show has been on for a month and I cannot believe I forgot to add it. But yes, new AMC show on the beginnings of the PC wars in the early ’80s, complete with girl hacker totes styled on Angelina Jolie’s character in Hackers. Lee Pace plays a fast talking, possibly borderline genius and his Patrick Bateman potential serial killer lifestyle who thinks he can potentially (possibly? maybe!) change the world. One side story I hope that will be developed is Donna Clark’s, Gordon’s wife, struggle as a woman coder in early ’80s Texas. Watching her face and body movements as she was cuckhold by her boss, I was hissing, “Yesssss — exactly that!” at the TV screen. Also the big contrast between Donna and Cameron, the AMC’s version of Acid Burn, would be interesting if they play it out. One woman flipping off the patriarchy, the other attempting to live with it.
  • Rectify
    S2 started this week — and I promptly fell asleep because I was so tired. Here is a recap I gave last year, and hopefully after rewatching it this week, I will have be more coherent in my description.

Weekly watching: A Place To Call Home, Mr. Sloane, Fargo, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Louie, Penny Dreadful, Cosmos: A SpaceTime OdysseyElementary

Links

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

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2012

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for April 12, 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.

Listening

I’ve been heavily listening to the Icelandic indie list that was generated on Spotify (embed below), so much so, I am beginning to think I can understand Icelandic. Who knew that a country with less than half a million peoples could rock out so hard?
Favorites: Samaris (Their write music to old Icelandic poetry), John Grant (an American living in Iceland, he is the greatest motherfucker that you’re ever gonna meet. Also: He’s opening for Elbow in May! Woo!), and FM Belfast (Twee disco pop).
[iframe src=”https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:user:icelandicmusic:playlist:2duvD05TtABniQdKkDSYfv” width=”300″ height=”380″ frameborder=”0″ allowtransparency=”true”]

Reading

seatingarrangements
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)
Apparently it’s a thing to hate the output of alum from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, because as you skim through the reviews on GoodReads, the comments are peppered with snide remarks and tut-tutting of the decline of quality of IWW’s output. Who knew?
Was Seating Arrangements a tour de force and innovative? No. Was it sloppy and a bit amateurish at times? Absolutely. Was the language overwrought? At times. But is this a bad story? The short answer is no. It’s clunky, some of the plot points felt like they were thrown in at the last minute, and some of the characters were definitely there to fill a quota but there is something here. You just have to be patient as you dig through the muck and Shipstead can turn a beautiful phrase more often than not.
I could be a bit biased — I have a weakness for anything relating to farces surrounding blue bloods and their world. And this felt like someone had done their research and wrote as if they knew this particular world without ever having stepped into it. So think of this as if Whit Stillman and Bret Easton Ellis were high on acid, conceived Shipstead as their prodigal daughter in their ultra preppy way and you’ll have encompassed the writer completely.
enchantmentsEnchantments by Kathryn Harrison
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)
How a story that begins with the end of the Romanovs, the killing of Rasputin, and told from the viewpoint of a teenager who entices the beloved son could be yawn inducing is perhaps a mystery, but there you go. I made it through 67 pages before giving up as I was neither titillated nor engaged by the content. The characters are flat, the exposition was repetitive, and it felt like someone had whipped through Wikipedia to get descriptions and recarved them into their own words. Harrison has been applauded by her use of language and world building, but as this is my first introduction to her, I saw none of the magic that apparently makes her beloved.
Do not recommend.
mabBridget Jones: Mad About A Boy by Helen Fielding
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads)
It’s Bridget Jones. People expecting a tour de force of impossible construct and setting need to get over themselves.
YES, shes’ the godmother of modern day women’s fiction, heavily influenced by herself Jane Austen. And YES, I swore when I heard this book was coming out (and having read the mini-come back Fielding did in the Independent in 2005 which describes how Bridg gets knocked up (is it Daniel’s? Or Mark’s? Of COURSE it’s Mark’s. Durrr, how can we be so silly??)), I would not read MAtB because who wants to their perfect fantasy destroyed?
But reader, I read it. It was a compulsion as it was available via eBook at my local library, so I could read it under the cover of Kindle with neither a fear or judgement to be made.
Helen Fielding is the Dan Brown of chick-lit world. Language and concepts are on an 10th grade level, plot is fairly dimmed, set-ups are noticeable a mile away. Some things in Bridg’s world will never change — and I wished she would remember her own history. Fielding seems to have forgotten Vile Richard was not actually vile and there is a scene in book 1 or 2 in which Richard gives Bridg a good over on her and their circle’s perception of him. That was all seemingly forgotten in book 3. Daniel is has become a caricature of himself, Shazzer is in LA, and the rest of the group seem to not be desperate to discover their world, but sad, pathetic shallower (if that is even possible) versions of themselves. There is no growth.
MAtB is similarly based on Fielding’s life — she too had children in her late 40s, she went through a breakup, she’s floundering on what to do next. Did she bring back Bridg, our beloved anti-herione because it was time to move Bridge forward or because Fielding was lacking in cash?
Does it matter, and more succinctly, do we care?

Watching

  • The Hill Farm
    A  tease of show that follows a working farm in Snowdonia, Wales beginning in January and ending December. Similar to other working farm shows, like Tudor Monastery Farm, the big difference is those shows are six to eight episodes long and about an hour long to capture all that happens in a year. In The HIll Farm, however, it is four 28 minute long episodes. This attempt to encapsulate an entire year in 2 hours is staggering. Its brief touches of family life, farm life, and community life were so minute, you’d blink and miss an important part. Even with that being said, there is something that calls to a community who have, with the upgrade of modern convenience, continue to farm in the same area for nearly four centuries. The emphasis on organic, free range, and farm to table experiences and connecting people back to where food comes from speaks to those of us who are done with ready meals and food by-products. Gareth Wyn Jones, the face of the farm, came up with the intriguing idea of a “local food aisle” in supermarkets, a scheme to showcase just what is available near you. I would love to see something like this take off here in the States.
  • Moone Boy
    Season 2 is coming to Hulu April 24, so I won’t spoil it for you. But I will say it looks like season 3 has already been filmed before season 2 started — so there’s my jumper.
  • Edge of Heaven
    Written by Welshman Robert Jones (who also plays Camp Gary in the show), it’s a Britcom around a family who own and operate an ’80s themed B&B in Margate. This show is 100% formulaic, the writing is often sloppy, and the characters are pastiches. But it’s got moxie and I think that is the point — it’s a send up of every other dramedy and it is not above on not taking itself seriously. Even if the send-ups make you roll your eyes at the obviousness of it all, it’s a froth of a drama that may not improve your knowledge or IQ, but will definitely keep you entertained.
  • The Bletchley Circle
    I apparently missed the last episode of season 2, which ties up the mystery at hand. Huh. I always feel like there is something wrong with this show — something is off, but I’m not quite sure what it is. I know it’s pretty beloved but while I watch it, I don’t actually yearn for it.
  • Veep
    Will POTUS run for re-election or won’t he? Will Selina be recognized for who she is? Will Jonah ever stop being Jonah?)
  • Silicon Valley
    New series, by Mike Judge, about the foibles of living in Silicon Valley. TheHusband found it to be pretty spot on to what he recalled those days while I thought it seemed a bit lacking. But it does present an interesting conundrum: Do you take the money and run OR do you follow your dream?
  • Game of Thrones
    Winter has arrived and Arya is counting down the Lannisters to kill. Welcome to season four.
  • House of Lies
    Marty, Marty, Marty. And Jeannie. What the ever living fuck.
  • Shetland
    A taut, 2-part thriller based on the northern Scottish islands of Shetland, who killed the grandmother in her croft? But of course, this being the remote isles of Shetland, nothing is ever done easily.  So much so, they came out with a second series.
  • Dead Famous DNA
    An intriguing look at finding, and genome categorizing, DNA of dead famous folk. There is apparently a huge trade in “famous body parts,” such as hair, nails, and other things by collectors worldwide. We’ve seen two episodes in and it’s actually kind of fascinating with the process, and the lines drawn, on sequencing. They apparently want to sequence Hitler, from DNA pulled from his reported here, but 65 labs in 25 countries said, “No.” Except for Belgium — so we’ll have to see what happens!
  • The Musketeers
    This is coming to BBCA this summer, so I won’t spoil it for you — BUT, I will say while it does not follow the book, it’s a fun, swashbuckling show with your standard simple story over arch and your freak of the week episodes thrown in for filler.
  • Justified
    Who really is the bad guy: Raylan or Boyd? And what the everloving fuck is Ava DOING?

Weekly watching: Cosmos: A SpaceTime OdysseyDoctor Blake MysteriesThe AmericansSurvivor: CagayanVikingsUniversity ChallengeArcher, Under the Gunn,  Reign, Elementary
What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

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