Thursday, December 31, 2009

Deserving or not Deserving...

Many times in both literature and common life we think of what it means to deserve or not deserve something or someone. In the case of my thought here, I've been thinking about what it means in relation to marriage. Today, we find innumerable excuses not to get married, even though marriage is the foundation of society.

In many cases it's not commitment that people are running away from, I think. More than ever, there is, at least I it would seem, in the Christian community a realization that we need more thought and purposeful engagement on the subject. Personally, life-long commitment is what I believe makes marriage ultimately worthwhile. However, despite many young people wanting to get married, it seems that none of us can find someone "worth" marrying.

Many times I've heard such varying degrees of accomplishment or worth described as prerequisites that I feel as though there is no longer a level playing field. On the one hand, you have those who suggest a young man who has a job, is intelligent, and believes in the Gospel (and perhaps a few other things, although I simplify here for the sake of argument) should be well off towards the path of marriage... then you have girls who will take nothing less than a man who is holier than Jesus Christ himself. Others expect to marry into some amount of money, fame, or privilege.

Is a woman to expect the spiritual maturity of one of the elders of her church? Perhaps it is that men are not wired in such a way as to feel as dependent on the unseen and instead have their heads concentrated on how to make everything work here? Does less fervor inherently indicate a direct road to perdition? Demographically, there have almost always been more women in the church than men. I'm not advocating lethargy... I will be the first to admit wanting to grow more... but I find it difficult to find the community the scripture indicates is essential to this. Why aren't more churches making a point of encouraging young people to get into relationships with wiser and older people in their churches and be mentored? I don't want to walk into a church and walk out having merely flirted with a few people in the hallway between the sermon and my drive home. I want to know there are people there who actually want and expect something from and for me. I would like to not only be able to serve, but to actually connect with people who want more than simply to point out where I am wrong. I can quite ably do that on my own, and my life is often frustrated by doing too much of it. I'm tired of everything being negative.

1st Corinthians 15:19 makes a very good point... "If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." That means that it's not just the future life that the Gospel should give us hope and encouragement for... but this life too. God put us here for a reason, it's not a waste to be concerned about what is going on about us.

Is education a mark of intelligence? Is a college degree proof of anything? Is it possible to be educated, intelligent, and competent... or do we put more worth on a piece of paper, than in the person himself? Is a man who drank his way through college and has a slip of paper more worth marrying than the man who has not the degree but is actually capable of intelligent discussion and able to navigate his career? In some circles it is thought that a woman is more of a burden than a benefit... that marriage is best reserved until everything is settled... but is it not also possible, that a wife may be the greatest source of encouragement to actually accomplish something? Is it not true that without women men might be quite content with half of what they would do when someone took the time to care and need them? Additionally, the wife who helped you build your life, would she not be worth even more because of her influence when it was most crucial?

I also wonder why women go to university at times... don't read me wrong, I like intelligent and well-educated women. My problem is that I think frequently college is merely an excuse for people to charge a pile of money and for others to waste precious time. If a family has plenty of money lying around, I can't see any objection to a woman going to formal college... but really, what good is a woman with tens or hundreds or thousands of dollars in debt for starting off a marriage? (Particularly, if she plans not to work, or spend most time at home with her children) Since when was debt a good thing? I for one don't buy the whole, 'good' debt vs. 'bad' debt. Debt is debt. There are times when it is unavoidable or justifiable, e.g. a home or vehicle... but today with all the options that are available, it is absolutely irresponsible to go into debt, particularly where significant, over an education. I understand that a woman has to provide for herself somehow and not all may expect to be married... but I'm sure there are many better ways of going about life than the usual assumptions that people follow without question or thought.

Is it wrong to discriminate against differences of opinion in small matters like dress, or does that make us the more petty? Or are the little things the manifestations of what we are at the core? Also, are we too worried about appearance, in the things we can't change? I don't think it is wrong to find someone who is similar in build or habits... but... just because a guy isn't spending his life in the gym, does that make him less manly? (BTW, I don't believe for a moment that a woman who intentionally neglects her appearance is more godly than those who put an appropriate effort in. Remember, moderation is key here. A woman's character must sustain and increase any attraction her natural beauty may have brought her in the notice of those who see her.)

On the flip side... rumor has it that there are young women complaining they don't find young men who are even interested in the idea of marriage. But do they give the impression that they are more concerned with today... with paying their bills... than with building up the families of tomorrow? How is one supposed to know that a woman is not slave to a career, and is merely being responsible in the present, yet longing a future that would actually mesh with his? I would find it difficult to tell a girl who thought too well of her career (i.e. a 'careerist') from the average feminist, to be fully honest. I can't stop a girl from being a feminist, but I can avoid marrying her... yet... what if she only gives that impression unknowingly? I personally want to know that a woman will be more concerned about her children, than about dollars and cents... even if she is willing to help bring in money to help pay the bills, and perhaps this will require doing it in an unconventional way.

How much of a person's character develops before marriage and how much of it is a result of the development and responsibility that comes with marriage? I think many young men if they start with their heart and mind in the right place will rise to the occasion, if it becomes necessary. Necessity may be the mother of invention... but I am convinced that responsibility is often directly correlated with the realization of the need for a man to take action on behalf of others.

I think the Christian community has shied away from these sorts of thoughts at times in favor of systems and rules to make everything mechanical. However, are we machines or are we human? I don't think any system will change the heart of the matter... that some of us may be more stubborn than others... and perhaps God's plan has a few other twists in it that cannot be anticipated in advance. Does preventing young people from even holding pure friendships create the community that Christ desired? How much parental oversight is healthy to protecting a girl's heart and how much is just simply counter-productive?

Why is it that there are those who entirely buck all these and somehow overcome all logical obstacles, as Mr Knightely complains in Jane Austen's Emma:
"...Frank Churchill is, indeed, the favourite of fortune. Every thing turns out for his good. He meets with a young woman at a watering-place, gains her affection, cannot even weary her by negligent treatment -- and had he and all his family sought round the world for a perfect wife for him, they could not have found her superior. His aunt is in the way. His aunt dies. He has only to speak. His friends are eager to promote his happiness. He has used every body ill -- and they are all delighted to forgive him. He is a fortunate man indeed!"
And we cannot accuse God of injustice, because we do not really deserve the air we breathe or the life we live. This is the frustration... it is injustice to think that we are wronged when it is our petty plans that are wrecked. This is my problem... I find it difficult to trust that God can work past silly humans that we are... it's as though I've become jaded and cynical after seeing all the silliness in the area of relationships. But then again, I want to believe right now in this moment and for this moment that God has a plan that will work out in the end, because intellectually I know that even though I may be peeved now, ultimately I do believe that God works out everything for his children. How do I translate this into a practical reality? (Philipians 2:13 and Romans 8:28)

Sometimes I wonder... maybe the real answer is that I fear pain... and because I fear pain, I set up walls to prevent my liking those God may have in mind, out of fear that I might be rejected again. Perhaps I may just be bitter and that too is sinful... yet I want to know that what I fear is not real, to know that I am fighting against false walls and unnecessary troubles. I want to know that the hope people speak about isn't just for making good essays, but rather is useful for actual life.

My note really doesn't answer many questions, now does it? I mostly wanted to share what has been on my heart lately and continue the conversation that others who are far wiser than I have begun and whose words have directed my thoughts. I am deeply indebted to many of the articles written by the level-headed folks at Boundless, for example. My note does not do the subject justice, but I hope it at least piques your interest or brings about suggestions and thoughts. I am likely guilty of the worst of everything that frustrates me; too probably it is my own fault that I feel how much I miss the mark. However, am I not a man, imperfect much like every other? (1st Timothy 1:15 and 1st Corinthians 10:13)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope your day is going well. I have done nothing very exciting today, which is not surprising, but I will pass on a nice video that you may find interesting.

What follows is the first televised Christmas message from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1957. She shares many good thoughts, which are often forgotten today. Those of you republicans should remember that a constitutional monarchy has a number of advantages for the common good that a self-serving individualistic democracy does not. God Save the Queen!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dinner Services, ideas and thoughts...

I've been researching elegant dinner services, lately... not because of any immediate need, but more that I like to know what is available and be prepared for when I do decide to purchase. Partly because of this, I thought I'd bounce some ideas of things I like off of my readers to see if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions on this matter.

I personally want something highly elegant, formal, but simple and not over the top. If it hurts to look at, it's not what I want. Good taste requires in my opinion that the design not be so simple that it is non-existant or overly modern... but at the same time, there should be a certain refinement to it. I also think some natural patterns, geometric shapes, or flowers/fruits (or a combination of these) would look nice. Preferably I would also want gold or platinum on the dishes too. The material should also be of good quality. (This is something I don't know much about as I am just starting my research.)

I've noticed that the brands that are most easy to find on Amazon (I always start my research on the internet, especially during snowstorms) are Lenox and Noritake. (Royal Albert seems well featured too, but there is a very limited selection on Amazon... and there are plenty of other companies too, but I know nothing of them)

A couple of patterns I liked that are still being made: (photos from Manufacturers' websites or Amazon)

Noritake Manassa...

I like how there is the platinum band, not too many colors, simplicity in the design, and a decently elegant pattern. I am not hugely fond of the design as drawn on the middle plate. I think it should have more flowers and less leaves. Otherwise, I really do like this.

Noritake Sweet Leilani...

I like the simplicity of this pattern... not too many colors, a nice floral pattern to go with it, elegant platinum stripe at the edges... but I don't quite like the angular cut of the cup. I also think it might not be lively enough and perhaps almost too many angular shapes in the pattern.

Royal Albert by Royal Doulton: Baroness...

Once again I'm quite predicable... I like the simplicity of the design, there's not much going on... and it's classy. However, I almost think I would prefer some sort of a natural element mixed in... it's almost too mechanical as it were.

Royal Albert by Royal Doulton: Countess...

This is basically the same pattern as the Baroness, but in a different color. I tried to zoom in so you can see the pattern better, but you had better go to their website and see it. Like I said about the Baroness, this pattern is almost too simple, but at the same time it is sufficiently elegant, I think for its role.

Royal Albert by Royal Doulton: 100 Years of Royal Albert Collection, 1930's Polka Rose...

This one is worth mentioning, even though it isn't worth buying as it is a one-off collectors item... I like the colors and the simplicity... but I think overall it is too plain. I would have at least made the center of the plate another color and the rim would have a more orderly set of polka dots arranged such that they were set up as rays from the center of the plate, rather than a grid. However, I think this design does speak well for not overdoing a design while still having one. I also like the 1960's Golden Roses design and the 1980's Holyrood design. They also have a very nice set of figurines in this collection... I wonder if they would work as centerpieces on the dining table?

Lenox: Pearl Innocence...

This pattern is interesting, in that it uses raised dots to add texture. However, I don't like the shape of the cup very much... and overall, it doesn't really have what I'm looking for. I found the Lenox sets either too plain, too boxy, or in some cases even gaudy. They seem to have more the modern consumer in mind, which is probably good for their bottom line, but not helpful to me.

Lenox: Butterfly Meadow...
This is actually from their casual dinner collection... I must confess though, that I do like these dinner plates. If they took some of the themes on them and integrated them on a formal dinner service, I might find myself tempted. I like the colors, the shape is interesting, and there is something of the natural order depicted. :)

And some discontinued items I like...

Noritake: Brookhollow...

I love this pattern! My only complaint is that they should have drawn the pattern a bit more formally. It looks too much like a pencil drawing. The colors are just right and notice how the plates have texture to them and the gold edge...

Noritake: Nottinghill...

I dare say I like this one quite a bit too... I just think I would have liked it more with a gold band rather than black on the edges.

Noritake: Shenandoah...

My thoughts on this are basically the same as for the Nottinghill pattern, but I think this one may be a bit on the girlish side... otherwise, I do like it... with a gold edge, of course... ;)

So what do you all think? I believe there is much more out there to see (and a number of other designs which I find nice and yet I have probably forgotten to mention here), so any suggestions would be wonderful. I'm quite the perfectionist, so what I'm looking for probably doesn't quite exist, lol!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Young Victoria... My First Impressions...

On Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of seeing a preview screening of The Young Victoria... the film was lovely. It was filmed nicely, had good costumes, incredible music, etc. Here's the trailer:

I particularly liked how the end tied everything together, it was really moving. After watching the film and seeing the historical facts about what happened after the period of the film, it was particularly endearing. The thing that struck me most, was they mentioned that Queen Victoria had Albert's clothes laid out every day until her death. To not forget his existence, I think makes a good case for their strong attachment.

I found the movie provided a lot of insight into how the court operated in Victoria's time and in the way customs were executed. It's one thing to read a book and another to see them illustrated in live action before your eyes in gorgeous film like this.

What I will say though, is I was a bit afraid after seeing the trailer, that there might be a bunch of inappropriate scenes. I can assure the reader that all the scenes in the film that border on inappropriate are no worse than anything in the longest version of the trailer. I still thought they had more of these than was absolutely necessary, but at least they weren't nearly half as bad as I had worried.

The moral of the story is good... Victoria is vindicated against those who do not have her best interests at heart... both in thwarting a regency and in marrying Albert who sees through the cunning of her advisers. The movie shows us how Victoria gets past herself to truly take advantage of these auspicious events and things.

The music for this film is also a delight... when I was in the theater, I was effectively wrapped in beauty from the beginning to end. I also purchased the soundtrack from Amazon, and it is quite nice. They did a good job of combining it with the Coronation anthem, Zadok the Priest by Handel. It is a bit on the quiet side, with occasional bouts of excitement, so keep your volume control at hand or use headphones.

The costumes are well done too, but as I previously stated, I'm not a huge fan of the women's wear from the period. Prince Albert, however, has number of amazing outfits... which may yet be featured in a future blog post. (particularly after the DVD is released, so I can take some screenshots)

The action at some points may appear a bit slow, but in the end, it probably is good they don't go too much faster, as they cover a lot of ground in the retelling of the story. Therefore, my conclusion is to recommend this film to all fans of period dramas and the like! :D

For the rest of you all in the United States, I believe the film comes out on the 24th or 25th of December.

(I feel as though there are plenty of things I should also cover, but I'm sure they've been covered elsewhere, or perhaps I will write again upon seeing the film again to have the opportunity of noticing more details)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Random Style Notes and New Musical Improvisation...

I thought I'd write up a few things regarding style. Most of these are common sense, but enough people fail to notice that it is worth mentioning in one place, I think. Amongst other things, following these tips will likely improve the chances your outfit will work. They may also prevent certain homeschooler cliches that may have embarrassing consequences. My goal isn't to be legalistic, but to lay out my opinions as to what seems to me to generally work best.

Oh... another thing, this is not a guide to dressing casually... if you want that, you will have to go elsewhere.

Anyhow... let's start... first with things applicable to both men and women...

1. No tennis/athletic shoes, except for exercise, yardwork, and hiking/sports. One of the easiest ways to ruin an outfit is to wear these sorts of shoes. Instead, find yourself a pair of proper leather shoes.

2. If you must wear denim, it's generally better to wear dark colors. However, I would advise, to the consternation of most of the entire world, not to wear denim. Denim is appropriate for yard work, construction, gold mining, and anything that might require additional protection. However, based on the origins of the material and the association thereof, those who wish to preserve their dignity will generally avoid denim in all professional settings and whenever else they can possibly manage. I personally find denim uncomfortable, but I'm told that most people disagree with me here.

3. Never wear t-shirts out of doors. T-shirts were originally meant to be underwear... and the discerning dresser today will still recognize them as such. Anytime you refuse to wear a t-shirt and either wear something different or use it like it is supposed to be used (as an undershirt) and place a proper shirt over it... you instantly give yourself additional respectability.

4. Ironing... matters. Either get yourself non-iron clothing, which comes out crisp from the dryer if removed promptly and hung up, or learn to iron. Excessively wrinkled clothes are inexcusable. I will mention that Brooks Brothers makes an amazing non-iron dress shirt, which I have found is virtually unwrinkled even after being worn for a whole day. (The only thing I have found to wrinkle these, is sleeping with one on) Many people I know use these and have been able to reduce their expenses by no longer having to send their shirts to the dry cleaners. (if you know how to time the sales, you can get a really great value and save in the long run)

5. Eliminate silly winter clothes. I have found it generally unnecessary to wear feather coats or nylon in general. Proper trench coats and wool/cashmere topcoats will quite suit a gentleman. For ladies there are similar things available. In addition to the general style points, there is the additional advantage of not having feathers arrive on everything in sight. It is true these solutions are generally not as warm, but by layering and not loitering in the cold, generally this is not too much of an issue. Besides, people have worn these for decades, even centuries.

6. No elastics. Trousers and skirts should *never* have elastic hems or waists. The only way to get around this are the 'comfort waists' which layer two waists (one inside the other) and hide the elastic such that the waist is flat (as the two layers slide in and out from each other) and the elastic is not perceived. The real evil is when the elastic is obvious and scrunches up the waist or hem. This is generally used when someone is making a 'one-size-fits-all' garment or is too lazy to properly tailor/alter the garment... and that is exactly the message sent by it. Avoid whenever possible.

7. Simple elegance is always classy. Gaudiness is to be avoided at all costs. The whole idea of bling and excessive jewelry should always be guarded against by true gentlemen and ladies of taste and discernment. The point is not to show off everything in your closet, but rather to gain respect from the restraint and good sense in putting together an outfit that has all the necessary elements in their proper places and dimensions. For example, large earrings on ladies or any sort of piercings on a man generally distract from a clean crisp image. However, a nice necklace and discreet earrings on a lady or a nice pair of cufflinks on a gentleman will do much to personalize an outfit and not get in the way.

For men:

1. Always tie your neckwear. I know this seems obvious, but it's not. Most guys will not wear a pre-tied necktie, (although many leave their ties partially tied out of laziness) but what is forgotten are the bow ties. The only proper neckwear for a present-day formal or semi-formal occasion is a bow tie. I realize it is now considered the 'in thing' to wear a necktie. However, for the classically minded gentleman, this is a clear violation of decorum and tradition. Most men opt for the pre-tied bow tie, which is extremely tacky and generally obvious to the informed eye. (There are better ones that really do look much like a properly tied one, but that's still cheating) A proper gentleman knows how to tie his own bow tie, and will not attempt to take shortcuts in doing it properly. For those who don't know how to tie these, you should try the guide at The Bowtie Club, it is probably the easiest to follow as they use different color halves for the bow tie, making it easy to follow the directions. Brooks Brothers has another set of directions, although they are basically the same steps.

2. Whenever possible, a gentleman wears leather-soled shoes. Not only do they look better, wear evenly (cheap rubber ones often start looking like the hulls of boats), but when you leave the office they also work great for dancing. It is true that rubber soles may last longer and that they keep drier in the rain... but as long as you wear overshoes rain should not be much of an issue with leather.

3. Black and blue do *not* go together. Which is to say, that navy blazer of yours, should be matched with grey, tan, or even green trousers... but *never* black trousers. Also in this, remember to match blacks... don't wear a non-matching set of trousers and coat.

4. Historically, a gentleman's outfit has been constructed of trousers/breeches, a shirt, waistcoat/vest/sweater/sweater vest, coat, and a piece of neckwear. Depending on the weather, a combination of these will yield the best look. Today, dress shirts are designed such that the wearer may combine them with any of the above, or omit that which they may choose. The note here is balance. Particularly with bow ties, it is my opinion, that unless a man be a waiter, a bow tie does not work optimally alone on a dress shirt. For the sake of keeping the outfit from looking awkward, I advise trying to pair a bow tie with at least one of the following: a coat/blazer, sweater/sweater vest, vest, or suspenders/braces. This will balance the attention the bow tie draws to your neck across the entire outfit. Clearly the weather and other factors may prevent these from being the case, but as a rule, I try to follow this principle.

For women (as I am not a woman, these are to be used as suggestions, and not necessarily infallible hard-fast rules):

1. I personally would suggest that trousers are not the most flattering for a woman's figure. To this, I would apply to history, tradition, and general observation. Very often I find that beyond just my personal preference, a woman wearing trousers does not do herself full justice. I think I would be hard pressed to find a woman who did not appear more feminine or elegantly dressed when wearing a tasteful alternative to trousers. Frequently I have found that there is not much common ground between modesty and femininity in the cut of trousers... often a pair will be designed such that it truly looks as if it were for a man... or it will be cut to be so close to the woman's figure as to be serious trouble to the thoughts of those in their vicinity. (And no, I don't think trousers will send you to hell... so don't even try that one...)

2. Not all skirts and dresses are created equally. Yes, I know, this is obvious. But... unfortunately, many conservative women are quite satisfied with anything that falls in these categories, and appear to have assumed that it is therefore becoming and proper. This is a mistake. The classic example is the denim jumper + athletic shoes look that pervades the jokes about homeschoolers. This is to be avoided at all costs.

3. It's not wrong to let people know you're a woman by your dress. This goes back to t-shirts and baggy clothing some will wear for fear of overly tight clothing. Modesty should always be paired with good taste and femininity. It's one matter to be concerned about exposed cleavage and miniskirts and another to allow for a tastefully cut neck and bodice within the boundaries of reason. Being beautiful and feminine is not a sin... in fact, it displays the glory of God's design. Yes, guys will notice the way you look... but it is up to you to not make displays of flesh be your attraction. Let your heart and soul permeate and carry the notice that your good taste has brought you into more perfect love and proper admiration. Your outward adornment should be an expression of your inner worth rather than your sole recommendation for notice. (1 Peter 3, has good notes on this)

4. Both flats and heels are nice... but... when picking out heels, in my personal opinion, it is more becoming and proper to keep the height of the heels to no more than an inch or so. (My real goal is to advise against extremely tall heels, and I have arbitrarily chosen an inch... you can probably get away with more, depending on the thickness of the heels) Less is probably better, but the ladies reading this will be quite capable, I'm sure of exercising their own judgment. Additionally, not only will the lower height probably be better to your health, but it will also send the right message of simple elegance and restraint.

All right... I think I have pontificated sufficiently here... please comment and offer suggestions or thoughts. I've probably heard everything under the sun, so don't be afraid to say what is on your mind! I will probably follow this up with more articles like this, perhaps focusing in detail on one thing or other too... perhaps I may also add pictures to reinforce my points or provide better explanation... :)

New improvisation on the keyboard...

And lastly, I should share the improv I just made today on the keyboard. It's not quite so polished, but for something made in about 5 minute's time... I think it not entirely horrible. I layered 2 tracks together for effect. :D Click here to listen to It's Sunnier Inside. (goofy name, but it was raining today)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

JASNA DC Meeting and New Emma Soundtrack

I just got back from my first local JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) meeting, which was nice. It's good to meet other Janeites and enthusiasts. I had the pleasure of being able to assist them with making the speaker's DVD projection work, despite requiring a trip to Best Buy for additional audio cables. Folks, just be aware, Clyde's of Tyson's Corner does not carry the right equipment for you to show a video with their supplied projector. That not withstanding, the event was nice, the food was good too. In short I've had an interesting day! :D

Today's talk was about self-respect and the role of laughter in improving the people in Austen's novels. It was by Dr. Lorraine (Lorrie) Clark Ph.D. from Canada, and as you might imagine, contained a good deal of things going back to the ancient Greeks and much technical terminology. It was interesting, but I'm not sure I can say I entirely agreed with the perspective of the speaker, although she really was a very nice person to meet and work with today. I must sadly confess, her talk also reminded me of why I was never a lit major in college... I'm still trying to figure out how she tied in the apocryphal archery scenes from two of the films into Austen's actual works... :P

And sadly, I was too busy to take any pictures... I suppose I'll have to wait and see if any float around...

I should also mention, I now have a ticket to go see The Young Victoria next week, compliments of JASNA, so hopefully that will be good too. I'll blog about that after I see it.

For those who have been following the new 2009 BBC production of Emma, you are undoubtably aware it will come on US television in February, as well as on DVD. (I'm thinking of pre-ordering a copy off of Amazon) What I want to mention however, is for those of us who like movie soundtracks... they have already released the music! I was somewhat surprised, as the last couple period pieces the BBC have made did not have soundtracks available for public purchase... the common thread seems to be that Martin Phipps composed most of those scores. Alas, it is such a pity, as some of his music is simply amazing. But, I have lost my thought here... please visit Austenblog to see where you can download the new Emma soundtrack. It is absolutely gorgeous! I used the 320kbps link, which is the same price as iTunes, but higher quality.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Musical improvisations...

These aren't exactly new, but I thought I'd share them here... at various times I will record impromptu things I play on the piano. Here are two of the better ones. I only play by ear, and do not use music, so it's generally spur of the moment. I also realize my song titles aren't overly brilliant, but I had to find something to call them... ;) Enjoy!

It's May!

Sometimes it's fun to play around with more synthetic instruments too... here's a synthesized piece I made with an instrument with built-in syncopation.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wives and Daughters BBC

I just recently finished watching the BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters. The series is delightful... I particularly like the main character of Molly Gibson. As depicted in the BBC series (I haven't yet read the book, so cannot say anything about the original) she is nearly the ideal of what a woman ought and should be. Her strength is not in loudness and impertinence, but rather in the gentle persuasion and love that she has for those around her. She empowers those around her, without suffocating them. Additionally, her modesty and reserve is truly what makes her beautiful... a girl like this wields the power of queens, because she is trusted as matter of course and to offend her must be pain enough to prevent it being overly frequent.

Anyhow, I will probably write another note in more detail on Molly Gibson, perhaps tying her in with Fanny Price of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Girls of this quality are extremely rare... and for some reason they tend to be singled out for the hatred of the masses who do not appreciate them and often view them as weak, usually out of a misunderstanding of femininity and relational politics.

I also wanted to mention some of the things I liked about the costumes. This film appears to be set in the early Victorian period. I generally do not like Victorian costume for women... because it generally creates extremely unnatural shapes in the cut of the garments (I don't like overly large hoop skirts, overly tight corsets, ridiculous sleeves, or overly puffed up blouses). Also, particularly with the War of Northern Aggression (U.S. Civil War for those of you who are insecure about the legality of secession) many of the costumes are overly plain or gaudy. Since I believe in simple elegance and refinement, I generally pass over these. However, all this said, there were truly a few outfits that were worth noticing, in my estimation.

I tried to find everything, and I have not had time for finding halfway decent examples of more than very little. I will do another article in further detail...

I love Molly's blue and white dress with the chemisette...

I also really like the outdoors outfit she has, it goes together so nicely!

I'd like to know how the bow is tied here, if it is done in the same manner as I tie my modern bow ties... hmm...

Alright, more later... good night everyone! :)

Since no one reads the blog on my website...

I've decided to try blogspot because no one seems to know how to find the blog on my website and it's not exactly straightforward to add pictures to articles I write. Now you all will be able to better connect. We'll see how this goes.