Odd mood

Apr. 13th, 2013 09:33 pm
hildy89: (dangerous weapons)
[livejournal.com profile] bentleywg introduced me to the BBC's "In Our Time" that covers a wide range of cultural and historical topics, some I have a passing knowledge of and others I have none. Fortunately BBC has seen fit to have them all available online in some fashion, so I've been wading in.

With the anniversary of the sinking looming again, I also listened to a few of their programs on the Titanic and its storied history. Titanic Town talked about Belfast and the Harland and Wolff shipyard and how until fairly recently they didn't like to play up their connection to the ship of dreams. I was reminded of last year's "Titanic Minute by Minute" that included a repurposed Elvis Costello song "Shipbuilding" performed by Hue and Cry. (A little odd listening to that song in light of Thatcher's death since Costello wrote it during the Falklands.) I also listened to the Titanic Letters podcast that use actual letters from Titanic passengers before and after the tragedy. The early ones sent from Southhampton/Queenstown are so jubilant and hopeful and awed and then the ones written from the Carpathia and later are so... broken. I can see why some survivors never wanted to talk about the experience ever again.
hildy89: (liz shaw)
Something to make [livejournal.com profile] lizbetann pause: CW is developing Reign, a fantastical reimagining of teenage Mary Queen of Scots:

"The CW’s project is described as Game Of Thrones meets Marie Antoinette — if Marie Antoinette had a girl posse and was coming of age as a warrior queen. It’s about the secret history of survival at French Court amidst fierce foes, dark forces, and a world of sexual intrigue."

(Full story)
hildy89: (fox in winter)
I've had an eventful week here. Monday combined both absolute joy (first day of real job, winning Nano again) and utter horrors (parents and apartment woes). I won't go into specifics over the woes, except to say I hope the worst is nearly behind me.

In my budget crunching, I changed my Netflix so I was only getting one dvd at a time. I might have switched to streaming-only if the selection was better, but I always found something else I was curious about. But there was still time before it went into effect, so I wound up with three Elizabeth I related dvds in the house. The first one was the second dvd in David Starkey's "Elizabeth" series. He also wrote a biography on Elizabeth and has some rather inflammatory comments on the "feminization" of history. His tv series included dramatizations of different periods of her history. I think my biggest issue was not identifying his so-called experts on screen. Even when I turned on the subtitles, the info was nowhere to be found.

Then I turned on "Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen", a Masterpiece Theatre series featuring Anne-Marie Duff as Elizabeth and featured Tom Hardy as a very clean-shaven earring-ed Robert Dudley. I still can't quite decide how I felt about this miniseries, especially the rather sideshow view of Elizabeth's court. In some ways, some of it felt more accurate than the glamorous Cate Blanchett movie and others more ridiculous, especially once you reach Elizabeth's older years with the brat Essex. Also felt like the first half of the series played up the interactions with Elizabeth and her ladies and the later part was all about the young courtiers/new generation gaining favor. I did adore the soundtrack which featured the Mediaeval Baebes' music.

All this made me want to rummage through my library for Elizabethan books to read -- Christmas trip is coming soon.
hildy89: (happy holidays)
GIP from [livejournal.com profile] forensicmama. I needed a local Christmas icon and this seemed to sum it up nicely, courtesy of "Bones".

Several people on my friends lists are rewatching "West Wing", so I found time this week to finish off the last disk of the first season. "What Kind of Day has it been?" still hits me like a hammer, even though I know what's coming. That to me is a mark of good storytelling when you can watch something you've seen before (or heard before) and still be enthralled. That's why audiences sit on the edges of their seats wondering they'll sign the Declaration in "1776" or if they'll rescue the astronauts in "Apollo 13". We know how what happened. It's part of history, but still we're drawn into the story. The things we notice the next time around, like the Columbia subplot. The story was aired in 2000, nearly a full three years before we lost her. Back then we were only harkening back to Challenger and Apollo 13 disasters. But when Toby was describing how much time they had before the shuttle overheated, I nearly lost it. Sometimes I'd rather art didn't imitate life or vice versa. And sadly, West Wing is filled with those moments.

Olympics

Jul. 31st, 2008 03:13 pm
hildy89: (olympic rings)
Teaching Company is at it again. In time for the 2008 Olympics, they've released a pair of specially commissioned lectures on Ancient Origins of the Olympic Games.
hildy89: (big sleep)
Three years ago, my Nano novel Alter Egos was set in ersatz 1947 version of Baltimore. I hadn't intended it to completely be Baltimore, just some unspecified comic book city, like Metropolis or Gotham City. But the rewrites are pulling it closer and closer to its original roots. I think I originally picked that year because it was when Black Canary first appeared on the scene. The more I researched the period, the more it made sense. It was a weird middle period. The war was over, but we hadn't quite hit the 50s. McCarthyism was just starting to rear its ugly head. Even Baltimore herself seemed to be right on the verge of a change.

Film noir/crime buff that I am, I had forgotten what else happened that year. In January 1947, Elizabeth Short was found brutally murdered, nicknamed the Black Dahlia. So apparently a blogging group decided to research 1947 era Los Angeles and the results are now at 1947 Project. Now they're researching in 1927, equally of interest to me for Where or When. Through Esotouric, they also run a Crime Bus tour of Los Angeles, showing all the grisly sights and sounds.

My father would probably enjoy the Raymond Chandler tour. Or he'd grumble and gripe about what they'd forget or gloss over...

Over there

Mar. 28th, 2007 09:15 am
hildy89: (reading glasses)
Fascinating US Today article on one of the last remaining WWI American veterans left alive. I hadn't realized how much of that era and that war is largely fading from memory and knowledge. An odd end for the "war to end all wars"... (Google only sometimes assumes you mean WWII. In my own attempts, I hit the actual WWI searches pretty easily.)
hildy89: (crumblingwalls)
Fascinating program for the mediaevalist in me on History Channel. The Battlefield Detectives asked the question "Who got lucky at the Battle of Hastings?", using mappers to show the actual lay of the land in 11th century England. Also how the weather patterns affected the crossing of the Channel. For the needleworker in me, they also featured the Bayeaux Tapestry, showing for instance how different pieces were stitched by different people. There were eight joins and apparently when you took them apart, you could see where the overlapped colors didn't quite match. In one instance, a horse wound up with half yellow and half chestnut. However they did not think the Harold's eye injury was historically accurate, rather period symbolism. I was left thinking William was far less of a general. Maybe it is better to be lucky than always smart?

Of course I can't help seeing this program and remembering one of my old SCA events "Hasting Revisited" (or as I called it sometimes "Hasting Revised") during an anniversary of the battle. You see we sorta changed history with our battle. Everyone chose up sides and fought each of the battles... and the Vikings won.

Great, now I have "Song of the Shield Wall" stuck in my brain...
hildy89: (library card)
New research by NASA has come with explanations for the 1930s "Dust Bowl". They fed in surface sea temperatures into their computer models and apparently the Pacific was several tenths of a degree cooler than the Atlantic at the same period. The research appeared in Science magazine.

http://www.nature.com/nsu/040315/040315-12.html
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040319072053.htm
hildy89: (cuff)
Russia's Jewelry Box: A Resurrected Amber Room Glows With History and Mystery
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51244-2003May28.html

Hidden for now behind a white screen from the prying eyes of visitors to Catherine Palace, the painstakingly re-created Amber Room glows with the yellows, oranges, reds of the late-afternoon sun. Intricately carved frames of amber showcase four elaborate mosaic pictures made of semiprecious stones. Amber roses and amber people and amber landscapes festoon the walls.
hildy89: (Default)
We're thankful for many things our food, our family... not having to see them again for awhile. I love my family, really I do, and I wanted to spend time with them on Thanksgiving. After all, my parents are now in Florida, visiting family in South Carolina, who else was I to spend the holidays with? I should find a nice cat... or an owl. Or something friendly. Something that doesn't fuss over me wondering if I'm all right. Something that doesn't spend agonizing amount of time discussing subjects I have zero interest in.

Since moving out to Fauquier County, my uncle has become obsessed with the Civil War. He attends reenactments and living history events and he's now an officer in the Mosby Foundation. He even singlehandedly organized the "Blue & Gray Ball" complete with people in period dress and uniform. Even if he looks a bit too... well-fed to be a Confederate officer. He showed us the pictures and video from the ball. His wife looked stunning in her dress. Several people commented she must be a reenactor because she looked so authentic. One thing they discovered: they need to come up with a Ball etiquette for the event next year. Men are supposed to take their hats and sabres off before they come to the ball. And he should have been wearing his hat outside when he welcomed the Black Horse troop inside, something even I knew from one semester from ROTC and he should know from his time with the Navy. And both men and women are supposed to wear gloves during the dancing -- hands weren't supposed to touch. Things like that. Apparently the ball went off very well, but I really do wish he'd reconsider doing the whole organizing next year. He was worn ragged this time around.

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