A MoonShadow MoonShadow

New and shiny

I’ve been slacking, I know.  I hardly write here anymore.  I’ve had a piece written in my head since my December trip to NYC.  The post has become moldy and stale but I will trim away the bad bits and let whoever happens to wander through here decide what’s ingestible.

I love NYC because its inhabitants all look like they’ve got a great story to tell.  No one is trying to blend, to pass for normal – everyone, at least to me, stands out as a character to be discovered.  Just walking the streets, riding the bus, sitting in a Starbucks even is entertaining.

I went to NYC the first week in December, way before the polar vortex tumbled south and froze the city.  The weather was grey, wet and for someone who comes from the desert, supremely enjoyable.  Central Park took on a romantic gothic atmosphere – I took photos of the orange leaves, stones dark and shiny from the rain, black railings dripping raindrops, it was all fodder for an over productive imagination.

central park 2013 gothic rails and rain NYC lights

Manhattan was dressed for Christmas, lights sparkled everywhere.   I walked up and down the streets in the rain with silly grin on my face.

The Met Museum was my home during the three days I was there and at night, the theater – the real reason for my journey.  I traveled to see Sir Ian and Sir Pat in No Man’s Land.  Unfortunately for me that is exactly what I did – I saw them, I did not hear them.  A combination of my abominable hearing and my location in the theater (in the back, under a balcony) left my watching body language and guessing at what was transpiring on stage.  Still it was a wonderful experience – Sir Ian acts with his whole body – I gleaned more about his character from his movements and reactions than I probably would have, had I heard the play.

The next night I went to see Twelfth Night – Stephen Fry portrayed Malvolio! He was magnificent BUT I found the whole play, the staging, the costuming, the music, the actors to be  absolutely perfect.  I heard almost all the dialogue and understood – for a Shakespearian play that is no small accomplishment. Twelfth Night is one of my favorites.  The play was performed as it would have been at the time of its initial production.  All the parts were played by men.  The lead part in the play is a girl pretending to be her brother.  The actor who played the girl pretending to be the boy (are you with me still) was brilliant.  The way he carried his body, the stances he took let you know that he was a girl pretending to be a boy.  And Mark Rylance! as Olivia was hysterically funny.  I laughed more at this production than I’ve ever before.  Rylance and Fry were wonderful to watch.  All the supporting characters where spot on. Oh, sorry, I’m getting carried away – but really the whole piece was so well done.

Hello blog!

Yes. I’m still around. I’ve written many, many entries …. in my head … They just never get transcribed. I’ve written reviews of Danny Boyles’ Frankenstein (both versions), I’ve waxed poetic on the charms of Jonny Lee Miller, expounded about my new love, Howl Jenkins (“Howl’s Moving Castle” – book not movie) and cried about Theo Van Gogh and …. maybe at some point I will write it all down. But tonight … tonight, through the boughs of the pine tree, I spotted the three stars that form his belt and realized he is back. Low on the horizon, Orion returns! It made me happy – winter is approaching! And Orion is back to watch over us!

Why, Even as BBC Sherlock Fans, Elementary Has Become Our Favorite

Why, Even as BBC Sherlock Fans, Elementary Has Become Our Favorite.

Well said! Now I don’t have to say anything further on the subject except I like BBC Sherlock, love their Watson and especially Moriarty BUT I LOVE/PREFER ELEMENTARY IN ITS ENTIRETY AND JONNY LEE MILLER’s PORTRAYAL OF SHERLOCK.

Wizarding news!

What!?!?!! No …. Really?   Yes, yes, yes (with much jumping up and down!). – my reaction to this news….

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/09/12/jk-rowling-to-write-harry-potter-inspired-film/2803671/ 

 

 

Happy 20th X-Files!

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This is from xfilesnews – click on photo to read.   And I agree, thank you DD for the red speedos!

Swim I say!

I just had my first swim class. It was a perfect day in the desert for it – a blanket of grey clouds, occasional light rain, temperature in the mid to high 70s. Watching my niece and nephew learn to swim these past few years inspired me to take the class. While I can doggy paddle and get across the pool, I want to learn how to do what they do so effortlessly. Getting into a swimsuit and going out in public was the biggest hurdle. I’ve lost a little bit of weight recently so I no longer look as much as I used to like my Slavic ancestors vacationing on the coast of the Black Sea. This commercial still cracks me up, even if its not PC –

Eeez next, svimwear

Okay, body image issues aside, just participating in a class for myself is something I’ve not done in over a decade or more and it took a little bit of convincing myself to just do it.  Bravely, I got myself to the pool, put my stuff down and became a female Tommy, i.e., took off my hearing aides and glasses and voila the deaf, dumb and blind girl heads for the water. I found the majority of my classmates were in pretty much the same boat as I am when it comes to swimming experience and we shared the goal of learning to swim sufficiently well enough to do laps. All in all it turned out to be a pretty good experience. I learned or am learning to put my head under water while swimming which may not seem like much but is a huge issue for me — water in the ears aaaaagggghhh! And I got these words of wisdom from the instructor: “you tense up, you sink.” Applies to all life that, …..

That’s class one. We will see how I feel next week. I just hope she doesn’t make us dive. I draw the line at diving – I’m more of an ease my tushy slowly into the pool kind of gal.

In closing, I leave you with a quote from a new hero of mine – 64 year old Diane Nyad who just swam from Cuba to Florida (click text to go to original page):

DIANA NYAD: The thing about aging is, it’s true that the clock seems to be ticking faster as you get older. It isn’t, but it seems to be. Time seems to be running out. And I wanted to swim this endeavor not to just be the athletic record. I wanted it to be a lesson for my life that says, be fully engaged. Be so awake and alert and alive every minute of every waking day, because that’s where I had to be for these fortunately years to get this done.

Stephenie McMillan Passed Away

I didn’t know her by name but when I read what she did I realized just how important she has been to the lives of all of us who love the Harry Potter movies.  She was the set decorator on all eight movies.  She is the one that made Harry’s world magical.  Ms. McMillan described what she did as a set decorator:

In an interview with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts last year, McMillan detailed her work flow — she’d read the script, make a list of all the different buildings and special props, guesstimate a budget and start her scavenger hunt.

(Click on the quote to take you to the LATimes obituary article.

Here is another quote from an article describing how she perceives what she does:

Set decorators are in charge of what is in the set from curtains, colouring and furniture to props used by actors and every detail within. Stephenie says that it doesn’t matter to her if you don’t see every detail or if it’s too dark to notice one of her intractably designed pieces in a set. The practise of designing and creating an atmosphere that is real and comfortable for all is more important than if it is seen by anybody. Stephenie’s main concern is the feeling of space and even if something isn’t seen it still adds feeling to the set.

Click on the above quote to take you to a very interesting article with photos of her work.

Her work on the films was and is inspirational.  Her work captured the spirit of the world that JK Rowling wrote about in concrete form – from the teacups used in Divination class to the wonderful chaos of the Weasley’s home to Dumbledore’s office and Snape’s Potions Class … all the details were put in place by Ms. McMillen and we thank you.

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Here I am, down here with Doc Martin …

Forgive me, I have disappeared into the bowels of Netflix – my, that’s a disgusting turn of phrase – but at its heart its true.  For the past month or so, on weekends I have run away to Portwenn, England with layovers in New York City to visit Sherlock and Tim Gunn.  Mmm hmm, yup … I have officially snapped.

I have been assisting in the total care of my mom now for over a year and I think my mind finally decided I needed a vacation.  Enter Doc Martin! Yes, that’s right Doc Martin.  After seeing one episode on my local PBS station, I went on Netflix and got lost in Portwenn for six seasons worth of shows.  I enjoyed the scenery, ensemble acting, the characters becoming each important in their own way much like in Northern Exposure, if anyone remembers the old CBS show.  Portwenn became a place to go to and have stories told me in the gentleness of the British seaside where my reality didn’t exist.  Plus I loved the ability of the good doctor to just tell people to shut up and get the hell out of the way.  Oh, to be able to do that in real life without consequences.  He is grumpy and not the most handsome of men, emotionally inarticulate and yet fun to watch.  And look they’re making more!!!

http://www.digitalspy.com/british-tv/news/a507888/doc-martin-series-six-itv-unveils-first-trailer.html

When I wasn’t in Portwenn, I was in New York City, Brooklyn to be exact, supplementing my fantasy life with heaping helpings of Elementary (CBS show).  Let it be known, that I am declaring my love for Jonny Lee Miller here and now for all the world to hear (Don’t worry Mr. Rickman, you’re still held fondly in my heart, now stand over their with Viggo).  I enjoy Elementary immensely – the relationship between Joan Watson and Holmes has grown and changed and is interesting to watch.  I obviously have always had a fascination for Holmes and Mr. Miller’s portrayal is second to only one man – I’m sorry but Basil Rathbone will always be Holmes to me, he being the one that introduced the character and the books to me.  But Jonny Lee Miller is a very close second.  His representation of Holmes is modern but still adheres to canon – he carries the humor and the humanity that Holmes was imbued with by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as the eccentricity, lack of social graces and penetrating talents that make Holmes who he is.  Mr. Miller’s performance is fun to watch – saying so much with just the slightest of eye movements. There is a childlike quality in some of his mannerisms and expressions that make him all the more endearing… okay I’m gushing here aren’t I.  Sorry.  Lucy Liu’s performance provides the perfect calmness of Watson to the stories.  Her character is a more of an equal partner to Holmes than the canonical Watson.  She does not merely stand around and say, wow, how’d you figure that one out – she actively participates and assists.  Here is video of the pilot episode where Holmes and Watson first meet – their dynamic changes throughout the show.

I think I’m going to have to buy a copy of the BBC’s Emma where Jonny Lee Miller plays Mr. Knightley, a very different character from Holmes.  Hopefully, that won’t send me careening into an Austen kick.  Actually while I like Austen, I’ve never been obsessive about her as I have been with Bronte or Doyle.

I was going to post a comparison with the BBC Sherlock but I’m opting out after seeing the mayhem and vitriolic hatred that having two good versions (altho’ I find Elementary is much more entertaining) of a modern-day Holmes available for enjoyment has engendered – particularly the Cumberbatch fans (not all of course) on Tumblr.  Makes you want to shake people and yell – Its two different interpretations – one does not take anything away from the other.  Here is a nice sane comparison of the two shows without drool or drama http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/79347119.html

Anyway, that’s where I’ve been – on a mental vacation.  Introverts like myself need alone time, down time, get the hell away from me and don’t ask me anything time.  I’ve enjoyed it.

An opinion …

Can we cut Florida loose? Please? Can we, the 49 states, decide to pull a Lorena Bobbitt, and detach Florida from the union? They clearly have no regard for the lives of children – how else can you account for clearing Anthony and Zimmerman of murder and/or manslaughter. Plus they are incapable of holding proper elections (hanging chads anyone?). The only thing the state has going for it is Orlando and that’s not enough to make it worthy of being kept as part of the United States. I say we sell them off to Cuba and bring Puerto Rico in as a replacement, that way we don’t have to change the flag.

What? I have to wait until when?

Continuing on my Sherlock Holmes ramblings … Please be aware that there will be spoilers for CBS’ Elementary and the BBC’s Sherlock below ….

As stated in the previous post, Holmes, Watson and I go way back. Watching Elementary on CBS rekindled that friendship.

Disclaimer: The opinions herein are completely subjective. I decided to take a look at the recent round of modern Holmeses (not sure what the plural should be – Holmesi?) on t.v.(Elementary and Sherlock) and just for my own fun, critique what works or doesn’t work for me. Truth be told, I started with a strong bias as I am thoroughly smitten with Jonny Lee Miller’s Holmes.

So, being familiar with Elementary, I set about watching the BBC Sherlock series. I did so reluctantly. I had formed an adverse opinion without watching the program mainly because of the lead actor. I had been aware of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock for quite some time but just the look of Mr. Cumberbatch had put me off watching the series. He does not fit my image of Holmes.* As I’ve stated many times, I’m shallow. I finally sat myself down to watch episode 1, season 1 of Sherlock on Netflix.*

The opening with Watson was a great way to ease into the show. I was taken in by Martin Freeman’s Watson. He has the look of Everyman and the sincerity of his Watson won me over. My first impression of BC’s Holmes was not as favorable. He looked too pale, too thin, too young and a bit effeminate in my estimation. But I watched the whole episode mainly because of Watson and Mycroft. I wanted to see more of them. The Mycroft character was a surprise. I wanted to see how the Watson and Mycroft characters interacted with the over the top character of Holmes. I enjoyed the detail of Dr. Watson’s military service in the current war in Afghanistan — the literary Watson having served in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. This John Watson comes in fully formed – we immediately understand who he is, the military medical background and his problems adjusting to civilian life, something not uncommon in this age on both sides of the Atlantic. He is quiet, patient, responsible, just the man you’d want as a companion on an adventure and a wonderful counterpoint to the manic Holmes.

BC’s Holmes comes across at first as a gifted petulant adolescent – boorish to the point of having no charm. I still wasn’t convinced nor did I strongly connect with Holmes but I soldiered on through the three episodes of season 1. They got better as they went along but what sold me on watching season two? Moriarty! What a great performance by Andrew Scott! Funny and creepy at the same time, completely believable as the arch-nemisis. Had me busting out laughing one moment and cringing the next. Season two was better than one in my opinion. Cumberbatch seems to have mellowed Holmes’ manias. His Holmes’ character is a study of a man who suffers from bipolar disorder to a certain extent but you begin to see that there is a feeling human being in there among the Asperger-liker quirks. And so I came to the end of season two shouting – what! I have to wait until when to see the next episode!!

What I don’t care for in the BBC series is the use of graphics and words to try to interpret what Holmes is seeing or thinking. We don’t need that. It’s distracting and the actors are good enough to suggest all that through their craft. I also thought some of the story plots contorted themselves in order to put a new spin on the literary plots. In the Hound of Baskerville story I fully expected to see Scully and Mulder emerging from the mist wielding their flashlights. The whole H.O.U.N.D. thing was a bit silly. What really worked in the episode was the Watson Holmes interaction.

Interestingly enough, what caught my imagination as a child – the solving of cases through sheer observation and intelligence is not what intrigues me as an adult. I still love the puzzle solving but I am much more interested in the characters themselves and their interactions and motivations.

I’ve rambled something fierce, I’ll try to be more coherent in the next post on Elementary.
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*Before you bring it up, yes, Robert Downey, Jr.’s Holmes does not really fit into my Holmesian stereotype either but I made allowances for him because he is attractive, funny and charming and Guy Ritchies’ Holmes movies are at their heart comedies which gives them more latitude.

*By the way, I have also been slowly won over by the convenient charms of Netflix, but more on that some other time.

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