Monday, April 28, 2014

April Miscellany

Some smaller bits and bobs...

  • I've lately been seduced by Phryne Fisher. For whatever reason I never picked up the books, and I'd heard of the Aussie TV series, "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" but it wasn't showing anywhere I could get to easily, but recently it's turned up on US cable TV and after watching a few episodes, I'm in love. I bought the first season of the show (there was a sale on Amazon) and read the first book, Cocaine Blues. Naturally, the show condenses the book terribly, but it's still a load of fun, especially with Essie Davis as Phryne, the penniless Australian lass turned British noble. I am a bit curious to see if they incorporate aborigines or other uniquely Australian elements, as so far, while the series is entertaining as hell, there's not a lot to differentiate it from a British show. We'll see.
  • Yesterday, I got out to see a movie for the first time in months. 'Twas the new Hammer film, "The Quiet Ones" which I found entertaining but not as good as "The Woman in Black." Set in 1974, it concerns an experiment by a psychologist and his students, trying to "cure" a woman of psychological problems and poltergeist phenomena...only to have things quickly get out of hand. It's got some good chills, but there's an abrupt shift partway through that needed a bit more buildup than it got. Still, it's not as bad as all that, and is a decent gothic thriller, which we need more of. And for pity's sake, it's Hammer! And any new Hammer project gets my support! 
  • I came across a 1945 edition of Emily Post's Etiquette and am enjoying reading it. There's so much that's out of date, like how to write invitiations on your visiting cards or where to put the musicians when you have a tea with dancing. But there's also some practical stuff, like how the secret of popularity is being unselfconscious, interested in everything, generous in spirit, and above all, polite. She's also disarmingly modern, even for 1945. While she does discuss debutante balls, she also makes it clear she views them as archaic. She also hails the growing equality between men and women, and derides the notion of "the Victorian lady dependent for her safety in public upon the protection of a chivalrous gentleman." Quite refreshing.
  • I bought a car last month, a 2003 Toyota Camry, and so far it's functioning beautifully and I'm getting around Baltimore easily. I've spent a few days just driving around when the weather's good and going places I haven't been yet. I've decided when there's more leaves on the trees I'm going to go mad photographing some of these places, and maybe doing some sketching. I'm taken with the idea of learning watercolors. Anyway, brace yourselves for reports of future adventures. I've already spotted the obscure former mill town of Oella, an intensely picturesque and architecturally interesting place.
  • I hope to have an official Facebook page for this blog set up soon; friends have said they're waiting for it. So watch out...

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