31 January 2012

Jan 31

I can't believe this is the last day of January! However, I do believe a new blog post is warrented.

Lately, there hasn't been much to write about. I still have to paint my panel in the Saint Albert Mural Mosaic. I am reading The Girl who Played with Fire. I am trying to like Quentin Tarantino films. I am drinking tea. I am still getting over The Reichenbach Fall.

But I want February to have more meaning! More trips to the theater. More social engagements. More films I actually like. More Sherlock Holmes stories. More tea.

I only require the will to make it so.

12 January 2012

The Piano Speaks

After Erik Satie

For an hour I forgot my fat self,
my neurotic innards, my addiction to alignment.

For an hour I forgot my fear of rain.

For an hour I was a salamander
shimmying through the kelp in search of shore,
and under his fingers the notes slid loose
from my belly in a long jellyrope of eggs
that took root in the mud. And what

would hatch, I did not know—
a lie. A waltz. An apostle of glass.

For an hour I stood on two legs
and ran. For an hour I panted and galloped.

For an hour I was a maple tree,
and under the summer of his fingers
the notes seeded and winged away

in the clutch of small, elegant helicopters.

--Sandra Beasley

(It's been a very long while since I've liked a poem this much. Its absolutely glorious.)


This post is long overdue. These are the scarves I made over Christmas. 

Raspberry = Mum
Plum = Lana
Pink = Grandma

04 January 2012

A Breakthrough for Sherlock Holmes Fans Everywhere

It is pretty safe to say that Sherlock Holmes is universally acknowledged as one of the best characters of all time. He's smart, interesting, witty, and, best of all, uniquely Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle invented him, having been inspired by his former university professor Joseph Bell, who was, apparently, a very intelligent, logical, and perceptive individual. Doyle first unleashed his iconic hunting-cap-and-pipe-donning sleuth to the world in 1884 through A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels about the character. Doyle's writings of Sherlock also included fifty-six short stories, most of which were published in the British magazine The Strand from 1891 to 1904. Many writers have since used this beloved "consulting detective" as a reference point when writing sleuths into their novels; films have also borrowed Sherlock's likable traits in order to improve bland characters.

Oh Mr. Doyle.

Unfortunately, filmmakers have also attempted to bring Sherlock Holmes himself to life through the power of film. One can only thank them, I guess, for trying. However, in most cases, these attempts have only managed to madden fans (this one included!) and confuse/annoy average viewers. Oh, and they always make Sherlock insufferable and Watson completely unsympathetic.

Oh look, it's that one guy who dies in Star Wars Episode IV!

Of course, Basil Rathbone at least looked the part, and Peter Cushing at least tried to be witty and likable, but, in the end, Doyle's stories shined too bright and the failed attempts of filmmakers dulled too dim. Until...


... Guy Ritchie found Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law and said, "Let's make Sherlock Holmes right this time!" And that they certainly did! The first film they came out with in 2009 was funny, exciting, insightful, creative, interesting, and had an appropriate, steampunk feel. I loved it. Being a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and having read all the stories and novels as a child, I was ecstactic. FINALLY! A film that kept Sherlock's characteristics and Watson's likability! Though freedoms were exercised, they were forgivable, or, in the least, they worked well with the new setting or the characters or simply the story woven around them (a story which, I will add, had nothing whatsoever to do with Doyle). And then, because Hollywood hates us, this happened:

But... why?!

... They made a sequel. Though it was painfully hilarious and had its moments of creativity (even remnants of the original success of the first movie), Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows was overall a cinematic rape of the Sherlock Holmes we know and love. There were hardly any moments where Sherlock even bothered using his perception and reasoning skills to solve his problems. Instead, a good hard punch to the face of his opponant or a pointless series of gay innuendo was considered much more effective and entirely what the audience paid admission to see. Indeed, Ritchie must have read fanfiction or something equally horrendous, as every moment was an opportunity to portray Holmes as secretly gay for Watson, or, if that failed, to start up a perfectly avoidable and/or pointless action sequence. Holmes basically went about his problems as intelligently as Arnold Schwartzeneggar does in his movies; which is about as intelligent as a blasted machine gun in the hands of an infant! Though I enjoyed the film for its humour, soundtrack, and Robert Downey Jr., I was sadly disappointed by the sheer lack of effort they put into making it a proper Sherlock Holmes movie. In its place was a hilariously depressing mockery of my favorite sleuth, and the film left me with the fear that my beloved Sherlock would never recieve the cinematic respect he deserves.

But wait! The BBC still exists, right?


Oh yes, my darlings, it certainly does! This 3-episode show aired in 2010 on BBC 2, and has  become my new husband (sorry, Thor). After dicovering it (mercifully) only a week after seeing Guy Ritchie's abomination, I made it a priority to find and watch. When, at last, my awesome friends got a hold of it and showed it to me, I was hooked like a cod to a fisherman's pole.

Oh yes. This 21st Century adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes has so few flaws that I dare say it has NONE AT ALL. Benedict Cumberbatch, a bloke I've seen in many films playing minor, jerkish roles, is the most natural choice for a modern day Sherlock than I could ever have imagined. Martin Freeman, Bilbo Baggins in the up-and-coming Hobbit film, is even more naturally a modern Watson. They maintain the mannerisms, the relationships, the integrity... everything.

Yeah... no one will grieve the hunting cap.

Each episode of this God-given show is a blessed hour and a half long, containing classic plot-points adapted to modern day, and countless in-jokes and subtle references to the original material. They live on 221b Baker Street, they have a Mrs. Hudson, Watson admires Holmes and thinks he's the coolest (like he should --they never seem to include that bit in other films), Sherlock plays the violin and "does drugs," and... well, the list could continue on and on because there are that many praise-worthy attributes for this show. In short, then, I'll say that it has been the first show to ever capture Holmes as he is supposed to be --minus his original setting-- and is therefore one of the most succussful visual adaptations of a book series that I have ever seen. Even Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings isn't as admirably accurate to the original material!

I mean, there's artistic license and then there's Looney Toons.

In addition, the whole "modern setting" element makes this show all the more charming. For instance, Watson carries on a blog about his and Holmes' adventures, rather than a series of books. Sherlock has his own website describing himself as a "consulting detective," which is a super clever way to let the audience in on his character without the obvious medium of dialogue. Watson is a veteran of Afghanistan, rather than the Second Anglo-Afghan war. The first episode is "A Study in Pink," mirroring the first novel, "A Study on Scarlet." Seriously, this show does not leave fans of Doyle's books disappointed!

That's right, Jude... YOURS was the disappointment!

And with that, all I have left to do is recommend that you watch this show straight away! Netflix has it. The Internet has it. HMV has it. And your library has it, if it's as cool as mine.

So, Happy Viewing, fellow Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts! If you're like me, this show will resurrect your faith in good filmmaking --or, at least, where your favorite iconic detective is concerned.

Sherlock, BBC 2 - created by Mark Gatiss & Steve Moffat - Season 1 aired 2010; Season 2 released Jan 1, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Hello, 2012. What do you have in store for me? Well, I know what I have in store for you:

- less films
- a driver's license
- more books
- more sewing projects
- more origami
- lots of knitting
- more social engagements
- more attempts at painting
- more walking/running/swimming
- less Facebook
- more finger-nail-painting
- more trips to the theater
- more socializing
- less idleness
- more cultivation of talents
- more poetry memorization
- more praying

02 January 2012

ring out the old

New experiences, too many films, legal alcohol intake, a trip to Europe, graduation from childhood, not enough books, a new job, Harry Potter, and a renewed interest in art has come of 2011. Though I have bigger, better, more productive plans for the New Year, I think that this last one has not been totally wasted. Highlights, anyone?

- 29 books
- 273 films
- 6 tv shows
- 3 colds
- 4 concerts

- Got a job as an aquatics instructor
- Read all of Harry Potter (finally!)
- Graduated from high school
- Turned 18
- Got my ears pierced (at last!)
- Underwent some serious driving practice
- Uncharacteristically purchased an iPod

- 3rd year as props coordinator of Love According to John
- Went on a 13 day tour of London, Paris, and Rome
- Saw a rowdy show at the Avenue Theater
- Went to HeLa Ventures summer camp near Rocky Mountain House (where I scaled a mountain, repelled off a cliff, and white-water canoed down the Saskatchewan River)
- Strolled down the Whyte Avenue Art Walk