From the Atlantic:
If someone told me I would hunt down a way to embed a player in a post, I would tell them they’re nuts! However, I saw this playlist of British actors from Tom Hiddleston to Richard Armitage reading selections from literature, then discovered I could embed it in a post. Perfect Midweek Geekiness, I thought.
After supper, I put my TV to Galaxie then got down to how to embed something in my post. There’s a short code for a WordPress website plug-in and I am not a website. Finally, thanks to one of WordPress’ support pages, I managed to embed the playlist by someone running a Facebook page entitled ‘Socially Awkward Darcy’. (Is there any other Mr. Darcy? Oh, yes ‘Dripping Wet in a White Shirt Darcy’.)
Why do all this?
Besides the internal sense of accomplishment. (Hey, I could do this!) Valentine’s Day is this Friday. Why not have a bunch of handsome men, read selections of prose and poetry from Shakespeare to e.e. cummings? The player should play, but if it fails to for whatever reason then click here.
I did a few tweaks to the blog, while my content are scribbles in my journal. I have a direction and trying to talk about how I got this player embedded is part of the direction. Part of what I do as a Library Technician involves troubleshooting and problem solving. I embed a player one day while earlier I learned a student needed a few more steps before their school wireless gets up and running. Next it’s figure out where a printer jam resides, or nudge people to the right resources.
I didn’t see this coming going back to school in 2007 at age 37. Now I can hardly wait to see what I can do next for the students and staff where I work. For now put on a pair of headphones, steady your pulse, and enjoy the spoken words.
Last week my friend R and I went to see American Hustle. It’s my second time seeing the film. I know, a film without superheroes, aliens, or other fantastical beings getting seen yet again. Although many people have described the film in superhero-type terms. My favourite states:
It’s a film about Batman and Lois Lane pulling a con on Hawkeye and that guy from The Hang Over.
Let’s rewind for a bit…
In the spring of last year, I signed up for a Tumblr account as a place to lurk for information. This illustrates the best example of ‘be careful what you wish for’. I just wanted to know what movie Jeremy Renner will do next. I heard about this film based on the ABSCAM scandal originally called ‘American Bullshit’. I saw David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook and Three Kings in the past. In the case of American Hustle nothing prepared me, or anyone, for what came out of the set.
Things like this:
(Should I write a caption for Mr. Sexist Man Alive? Nah, didn’t think so.)
I am not bothering with Amy Adams costumes. How many times has a woman been deconstructed for what she wears, how she wears it, and what hangs out of what she wears. No, this time I put the guys front and centre.
Thanks to the power of Tumblr, I followed the filming. What I saw on the screen felt a little jumbled plot wise. The movie seems to want to be a con movie, but the story does not lend itself to it. In the middle of the film, the plot veers off into the triangle/quadrangle between Irving Rosenfeld (Bale)/Sydney Prosser (Adams)/Richie Dimasio (Cooper)/Roslyn (Jennifer Laurence). The film talks about seeing what we want to see, with each character trying to shape their reality to their own vision. We have the FBI agent wanting to hit big, the cons simply setting up their scores, a housewife hanging on to a dead marriage while a mayor simply wants to ignite a better economy for the people of Camden.
If this post seems a little jumbled imagine watching the film. The keep saying to people, “It’s not a bad film, but it’s not a great film.” As an actor’s showcase it’s a fun film to watch. Nearly everyone does play a character different from what they played before. Renner plays a likeable character trying to do the right thing. Polito makes a dumb choice, but he did it believing he could help the people of Camden. I say ‘nearly’ since Bradley Cooper seems to play a childish version of the character he played in Wedding Crashers. I guess the jury is still out about Ritchie Dimasio and Bradley Cooper, regardless of any magazine-bestowed titles. (Then again I am biased in favour of Jeremy Renner.)
I joked with a friend of mine this film needed 3D for the hair styles along. However, part of the appeal lies in not needing too many special effects or 3D. In a way American Hustle reminds me of the films made in the 70′s. Studios seem so busy trying to appeal to EVERYONE, sometimes adults just want to watch ‘adult’ stories. I want a complicated plot, multiple points of view, and not feel like someone needed to check all the marketing boxes. I find myself, with a few exceptions, looking forward to the fall/Christmas movie season. Every so often I want to watch a film like this one, to take a break from the comic book world. People also need to remember these actors every so often need a break from that world and do something like this movie. Not your cup of tea? Fine. Filming for Avengers 2 starts in March and Jeremy Renner has his ‘Hawkeye’ hair back. Enjoy the film, and its actors, for what it is no matter how many awards hauled over the course of the season.
The boys are back on PBS:
I confess to already seeing it. I knew someone who downloaded the episodes for me. It is not unique to me. As soon as the shows broadcast in England, people hit their favourite torrent sites to get the episodes. People usually discuss the show with a spoiler warning out of consideration to others patiently waiting for last Sunday’s broadcast on PBS in North America.
I don’t want to berate PBS for waiting until January. Unlike Space, the station usually showing Dr. Who episodes at the same time as the UK broadcasts, PBS does not have the resources to do the same. Remember Bell Media owns Space while PBS relies on donations hence why we get the pledge drives on some stations. (I stayed up until 2 am to watch Peter Davison’s début as the new Doctor way back in the day.) In that respect, I cut PBS a bit of slack. The viewers usually watching PBS do not have the resources, or the know how, to get the downloaded versions. I am not characterizing public television viewers as greying Luddites. (Let’s face it I am pretty much middle-aged here.) Some people want to wait, and PBS made the smart decision to broadcast just after the UK, and not months after.
Netflix and Torrents have changed the rules of television, and the old boys want to tighten the noose. HBO offers HBO GO, but still do not understand people just want the ‘Go’ service rather than commit to a cumbersome package. In my case, to get HBO I need to get Movie Central. It does offer programming from Showtime, Starz, and even USA. However, it is a case of who buys what in Canada. Movie Central had Dexter, a Showtime series, but it does not mean they have their sister show Homeland. Homeland belongs to Superchannel. Those guys have four channels, depending on their carrier, and even then it is $16.99. Even then that’s the new seasons. Head over Showcase, owned by Shaw media, and it’s a waiting game between a slightly newer season on the channel, or a DVD release.
This whole thing reminds me of prohibition with television taking the place of booze. (Although what is the difference between the Dionysian ‘Cumbercollective’ and whiskey anyway?) Perhaps the best illustration comes from a Vice President of Content for Rogers, David Purdy who said:
*“If the customer isn’t given a simple, easy, legitimate alternative they’re going to find illegal ways to get access to the content. As long as rights holders withhold content from customers, you’re going to encourage this type of behaviour.”
Believe it or not, people will get the DVD of whatever show they happen to pirate. What goes on now with television happened with the music industry. Guess what happened there? Of course networks will claim people take money out of the grips, camera crew, actors, etc. while ignoring the rather huge, top-heavy sums made by those in the entertainment industry. The business model has gone topsy-turvy and it is time to get real, or alienate the very people you’re trying to court.
It doesn’t take Sherlockian deduction to know that.
*Bolen, M. (2013, 12 13). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/12/13/netflix-canada-vs-us_n_4435459.html?utm_hp_ref=canada
Last winter I knew my mood takes a bit of a dip. While I look functional, behind the scenes everything felt ten time harder to either start, do, or complete. My goal is to move this blog to a slightly bigger league. When I am not posting, I am writing, but if I am not writing I think about spring.
I think about the snow going away along with the layers I wear. I want to shed my greys, burgundy, and blacks. I have bold colours in my wardrobe, all waiting to come back along with the leaves. I pride myself on being a tough Manitoban. I bundle up and head out. I keep my whining to myself, or to a few friends also feeling the same way. Then I head out, bundled up, knowing January means the light increases if I can simply look carefully at the amount I see as I leave work.
When I wrote about remembering having a summer in me during the winter, it is the knot on the end of my rope, tied with books and movies, to simply hang on. I see other people with their own tied ends, and I remember their crabby moods really say I don’t know if I can handle one more thing.
So this is not really a post about anything. It fit what I tried to do as part of the Zero to Hero Challenge. It’s an aside. A small note in cold temperature. An unstructured plea in metaphor for spring to bud, perhaps so I may start to flower as well.
I bookmarked the Zero to Hero Challenge as I will go back after this month is over. The latest tweak can be found up top as I moved my blog list to its own page. One of the challenges I already did over the past few years. Since I started blogging with WordPress, I must have used three or four themes, although the number is closer to the former. In each move, the sidebar always looked cluttered. I decided to clear up the sidebar by moving the blogroll. The move also prompted me to look for some fresh blogs. I felt a little stale anyway, therefore, time for a little shake up.
At last year’s C4 Literary Conference, I learned a lot about building worlds from Kelley Armstrong, author of the Women of the Underworld series. (One of the books, Bitten, will début as a television show for Space.) Although set in ‘our world’, she still had to set some rules for her supernatural protagonists. Her werewolves need society rules to keep from getting discovered, and she had to figure out what rules would govern her lone vampire character, and that’s only two I can remember off the top of my head from the session.
In order for reader’s to suspend disbelief, a world needs enough structure to make it ‘real’, and I think that what made a place like Hogwarts real to Harry Potter readers. J.K. Rowling had notes about Diagon Alley with a sense of its location in Muggle London.
Have a look at a short video on world creation from author Kate Messner from TED-Ed:
We did have some mild weather. Keep in mind a change in weather usually means swapping for something else. We have a sunny day, but it is really, really cold. Friday we had mild temperatures, but nearly zero visibility with all the snow. Winnipeg just had its roads cleared of its ruts, only to have a fresh layer of snow to make driving all the more interesting. Once I mourned my car, now I feel glad to be rid of it in times like these.
People complain about the weather in Winnipeg. Those who can book tickets to far off warm places. Those of us, like me, with neither the time or the money at the moment try other ways to get away from it all. Right now I have a warm cup of coffee and Christmas decorations to put away. Netflix, as if reading the minds of Canadians everywhere, just added a bunch of new shows to its lineup.
I just finished Season 2 of Wallander featuring the talented Kenneth Branagh in the lead role while the co-crown prince of Tumblr, Tom Hiddleston, plays a supporting role as Magnus Martinsson. It’s one of those programs a viewer will find their favourite Brit, or Brits in this case, but stays for the taut storytelling as the mystery unwind itself at a leisurely pace. Oh, and there’s a reason why I call Tom Hiddleston the co-Crown Prince of Tumblr. In a word-hair. He once talked about his natural curls in an interview I don’t remember which one, but he describes it as ‘Gene-Wilder hair.’ I call it a ‘British Afro’.
Take him and this other curly-haired bloke:
Voila! A handy set of book ends.
I have milk in the house for tea and coffee. I have eggs and veggies for an omelet. I also have lots and lots of soup. I have loads of books to space between the programming on the television. Add something productive like laundry, and I will do just fine.
This windchill warming will carry over into the wee, small hours I take the bus. Try getting up for that, in the dark, despite intellectually knowing more light is coming. During January and February it is an endurance contest. Scratch that…it is a battle of wits with you against the Canadian elements. (Please feel free to substitute the cold elements one feels familiar with like Minnesota.)
In my case I wake up and it is dark. I go home and it is dark. (Notice a theme here?) Forget keeping my hair neat with my hood pulled up, my mouth covered, making me look like an overstuffed ninja.
Don’t forget ‘Blue Monday’ is coming up. I know it is pseudoscience, but some time in January the cold and the post-Christmas hang over hits people like a ton of bricks. This year Blue Monday falls on January 20th. The credit card bills come due, money seems like dust in the bank account, and it is always cold and never Christmas to borrow a phrase from the Narnia series.
Luckily I also plan to catch up with people in this cold weather as a way to get out of the house. (Some friends reading this blog are quietly saying get your ass in gear, Fatima, and email me!) I have a feeling these same people, like the people in your lives, need to get out too. Bundle up, go for a movie, or meet at the pub. (We have those in Winnipeg too.)
Netflix just announced The Immortals starring Henry Cavil will now stream on Netflix. Luke Evans also co-stars in this production as one of the Greek Gods. I love sword-and-sandal epics; All men are in short tunics if they are in anything at all. If that’s not your thing Netflix just posted the Tom Hardy version of Wuthering Heights. In geek-speak Bane co-stars with Rick Grimes in a tale of passion set in the bleak, Yorkshire Moors. I know a Bronte fan who would love to see this.
It does not matter how one deals with Winter here in Winnipeg, or Minnesota, or England only the mind-set to take it on. Albert Camus meant something else, but I think it applies to dealing with weather, and those complaining about it, when he wrote:
Find your summer and hang on.
Ever have one of those intentions then the universe, whatever you believe in, decides to pop up and say ‘here’s a little hand’. Today proved to be one of those days. After mulling over how to get better as a blogger, WordPress decides to come out with its Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog. It is not one of those post-a-day challenges. Some of the tasks involve behind the scene things like customizing a blog. Switching themes is step one in an overhaul for my blog.
It’s time for step two…
While many people already know Stacks and Ranges, others may come here wondering what kind of blog is this? I would say after writing in the sandbox phase of this blog after transferring my posts from another provider, it is time to move into the brain-like-a-public-library phase of Stacks and Ranges. Looking for pop culture ponderings? Step right up. Looking for that thoughtful reflection? I will do my best. Looking for information? My favourite saying is ‘I don’t know, but I will find out’.
I blogged since 2003 or 2004 starting with Livejournal. At the time, people could only join if they have a code, and I knew people with a code. I signed up and started writing. Most of the time I wrote about my life, the rest I reserved for my private journal. (I journal to allow a safe place to deal with complex emotions/issues.) I remember one day, someone I worked with wrote in the comments after another post about Nathan Fillion. He said I was obsessive among other comments. I thought I shrugged it off.
I was dead wrong.
Even now my fingers hover over the keys, wondering will someone think I am some crazy, library cat lady with teenage-type infatuations over actors? First off, I don’t own any cats. Second, and it took me a long time to get here, WHO CARES! The only things I care about regarding Stacks and Range involves learning and having fun. We are on earth for a short time it only feels long. I feel fortunate to write in a time with access to things like blogs. It is the universe once again saying you should write, Fatima we know you can do it. Just believe it and do it.
Welcome to Stacks and Ranges, a place to browse around libraries, pop culture, and beyond. Pull up a seat have a good time and enjoy.
Fire up Your PVRs, DVRs, or *Cough* Favourite Torrent Sites
Hear that high-pitched squeeing…it’s Sherlock fans beside themselves in the UK for the return of the third series. (It’s season to North American Folk, but I like ‘series’ it’s more dignified, at least I think it is.)
After smashing hearts with Dr. Who on Christmas, Steven Moffatt, with his partner in crime Mark Gatiss, now have to explain how Sherlock survived falling off a building in Reichanbach Falls today. Unfortunately, we in North America have to wait until Sunday, January 19th for the première. Remember the lesson on delayed gratification? On the outside, I look patient, inside I want to troll for spoilers to figure out how the heck will they explain this one.
The return of Sherlock is one of many this new year. For Walking Dead fans, February 9th marks the return of that show as the survivors find themselves scattered to the four winds, while Carl and Rick hobble away from the prison. January 19th also features the return of Downtown Abbey. Yes, it’s totally soapy, but it’s fun! Plus I feel proud not knowing anything about the upcoming season. Maggie Smith‘s barbs as the Dowager countess are a given.
Moving on to Game of Thrones a return date simply means people will use their torrent of choice. Game of Thrones once again won (?) as most pirated show on television. Another Top 10 pirated show is Vikings coming back on February 27th. Season 2 on The History Channel show will have the fall out of Rollo’s alliance with Ragnar’s rival. On a personal level, I seem to like shows with sweaty, dirty protagonists now what’s up with that?
WordPress has instituted monthly/weekly goal selections under their ‘Settings’ menu. I like that idea as I try to think more about ‘goals’ than ‘resolutions’. While Midweek Geekiness will continue as a weekly feature, I want to do more library-related posts as it is what I do, and libraries have so much to offer beyond books.
Speaking of writing, I want to do a lot more of it in 2014. I already invested in getting better by trying Grammarly. Sometimes I do well with grammar while others I fall off the rails, not out of laziness, but I simply didn’t know. English was not my first language, and I had some grammar training in school. I needed to see it in action not in drill after drill. I had some drilling during my Library Tech diploma program, but this time I felt ready to receive it after writing my own pieces to see mistakes in actions. Trust me, I have made plenty of them.
While I have a friendly, conversational tone in my writing (at least I think I do) I take what I with pride. I hit my two-year anniversary with WordPress, and to quote the Bachman Turner Overdrive song, ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet.’