Tuesday, April 28, 2009

One Egret

On Sunday Dad and I spent a few hours at his work, cutting, bending, and welding strips of metal for a trellis we're working on. We stopped by an empty lot in the industrial park where people (possibly the nearby senior's home?) dump their yard waste. We scored a giant clump of daylilies (I expect Stella d'Oro since they're so common), a handful of tiny spring bulbs that I think are Scilla siberica, and a type of rose was abandoned long ago and naturalized, which my father sort of remembers to be white with a prominent yellow center. I'll know for sure once it blooms!

We also found a young beech tree to plant, which we are both rather geekily keen on. I have high hopes that ours is resistant to the beech bark disease, since we found it in Woodside, which is one of the longest-exposed areas to the disease (it was introduced to North America via Halifax in 1891), and none of the beeches in the grove were afflicted (that I could see). The tree's name is either Beatrice or Bernice. I like Beatrice more as a name, but Bernice seems to fit Woodside better.

Then, to cap off a lovely sunny day (although the wind was puffy and cold), on our way home we saw this Great Egret hunting for little eels in a small marsh right next to the road:


bird

(The egret is over-exposed because the camera couldn't light meter properly for his brightness - and I also over-corrected the saturation when I corrected the exposure as best I could. Normally I wouldn't point this out but I'm feeling confessional tonight and too lazy to fix it).

PS: I'm still keeping up with my NS Landscape blog, I try to post once a week. My latest post is on Devil's Island.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Guestblog

I wrote my first guestblog this week! You can find it over at The Egalitarian Bookworm, which I read regularly. I actually wrote two posts for blog author Fellowette. The guestpost has me rather literally chewing over the scenery on the Little Dorrit miniseries currently airing on PBS. The other blog, which I will post below, were some general comments on Episode 4, which aired this past Sunday.

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Episode four of Little Dorrit, “In Which the Plot Continues to Build Just Like the Other Three Episodes So Far.” I started reading the book about the same time as the miniseries started airing. Last week was the first week I was ahead of the novel, and since I finished it last week, the interest is building to find out how Andrew Davies finishes up the story – his adaptation has been pretty faithful so far.

Some of the highlights of this week’s episode for me:

The “previous episode” montage – why in the world was the final clip of that montage the shot of Rigaud/Blandois barking? “Last week on Masterpiece Theatre: momentous event, touching moment, building mystery, summary of characters, swelling music, man barks like dog. End summary.”

Flora’s staircase groping – this was made even more hilarious just knowing that it is in the book as well. Doyce and Clennam

The amount of hat-wearing. I always judge the quality of a costume drama based on the amount of hat and bonnet-wearing. Poor quality versions (see: Billie Piper Mansfield Park) always have the heroine walking around in public without a bonnet on, yet if it was actually 1812/1825/1848/etc., any lady in public without a bonnet on was bound to be a total hussy. Of course, moments after I wrote “HATS. Good on the filmmakers” in my notebook, Little Dorrit showed up in scene without one on. The filmmakers were spared my hissy fit by having LD carrying her bonnet in her hands, but I remain skeptical.

I am uninitiated into the mysteries of the Anglican Church, but I thought Fanny and Sparkler’s wedding looked awfully big C Catholic to me. And I know that can’t possibly be right, because I read Georgette Heyer’s Devil’s Cub so I know that all Protestant English people abroad search high and low for protestant clergy to make the marriages legit, right?

John Chivery’s visit to Dad Dorrit was fantastic. DD was threatening and remorseful and proud and predictably changeable (e.g., same old codger as always with a soupcon of fire poker), and Chivery was suitably terrified and bewildered. I cannot WAIT for him to show his stuff next episode (provided it goes similar to what happens in the book). But I have to say, having read the book and also a chapter from Christine Stansell’s book City of Women into which garish working class clothing plays an important historical role, I wish his waistcoat was a bit flashier.

Matthew Macfadyen’s acting – this, not so much because he had a lot to work with, particularly with L.D. so far away in Venice – but because I have been watching the first season of MI5 (Spooks) on PBS and am smitten with Macfadyen’s character Tom Quinn. I mean, I’ll be honest here: I thought he was a pretty bland Mr. Darcy, rather sullen and brattish, yet meek. Matthew Macfadyen is to blankface as Michael Emerson is to wide-eyed scheming. But watching him employ blankface as a spy softened me toward Macfadyen overall, so that watching Arthur Clennam this week meant I saw gentleness instead of confusion. You get to sort of watch thoughts wash over Clennam's face, without having a clue what he's thinking (unless you've read the book). It was an improvement in helping me appreciate Macfadyen's acting (although I still think Arthur has more spirit than Macfadyen gives him credit for - he was a little too tentative when he called Rigaud a scoundrel).

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Pysanky

Pysanky red
My best friend decided we needed to learn how to decorate pysanky (Ukrainian easter eggs) this year. I was more than happy to go along. We took a 3-hour class with a local artist last Saturday, and then had to fend off headaches/migraines for the rest of the day! Note: staring into a candle for hours may be hazardous to your health.

Once I learned to only decorate in bright light, the eyesight issue was mostly resolved. I decorated the egg above - my second attempt - last Saturday, and the one below (for my best friend, hence the initials) tonight. In this second egg, I was layering light blue over red, and took the egg out before the red was completely gone. While wet it was still a dark purple colour, but unfortunately it dried navy blue. I don't have an issue with navy blue, but I know my friend J. wanted eggs in more pastel colours. Sorry, J! Maybe on my next try.

Pysanky