Black Lives Matter

This Is Important, Thumbs Down

I had quite another post scheduled for today, but I had to change it due to recent events.

Because it apparently still needs repeating: Black lives matter.

Yes, rioting and looting is bad. But property isn’t as valuable as human life. For the police to escalate violence is unacceptable. For the police to attack journalists unprovoked is unacceptable. For the police to break their oaths and kill citizens they’ve sworn to protect is unacceptable.

I may be an immigrant in the U.S., but I am a white one and highly educated. I have all the privilege my skin color and my education give me. Furthermore, I come from a small country that’s been by and large extremely homogenous for centuries. After immigrating, it took me years to believe that this racist, horrifying state of things was, in fact, true, and I still can’t believe how many whypipo apparently are just fucking fine with it. My grandfather the cop would’ve been appalled were he alive today.

So I’ve educated myself, listened, done something. And I will continue.

I say again:

For the police to kill black and brown people over insignificant offences is unacceptable. Police brutality is unacceptable.

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

FFS.

Some Thoughts on the Sanditon Screen Adaptation

Books & Mags, Movies & TV, Stunt Double

As a Jane Austen fan, I’ve followed the birth of the screen adaptation of Sanditon in this blog. Having seen the series and allowed my brain to properly chew it for a couple of months, now it’s time to share some of my throughts.

Note: Spoiler warning is in effect!

According to IMDB, the main writing credits for this miniseries belong to Andrew Davies, with assists from Justin Young (episodes 3, 4, 6 and 7) and Andrea Gibb (episode 5). I haven’t seen any of Young’s writing, but I have seen Gibb’s Call the Midwife episodes and as far as I can remember, I liked them. In the past I’ve had mixed feelings of Davies’s work, but I’d assumed it was due to the material he was adapting (Dickens just doesn’t do it for me).

I may now have to adjust my opinion of Davis’s writing. Although I should like to know how big of a say the producers and/or financial backers had, for his earlier adaptations were much more internally consistent.

The best I can say about the writing in Sanditon is that it was very uneven throughout, which hurt both the characters, plot and pacing. Moreover, the ending was left open, clearly fishing for season 2, but since this first season didn’t give us much to recommend itself, the intended cliffhanger feels rather insulting instead.

Guest blogger Yosa Addiss critiqued the costuming at Frock Flicks. I don’t have much to add except to say that for a fantasy story set in the regency (or regency-like) period the choices would’ve been more acceptable.

The same goes for the sets. Indeed, some of the interior scenes, specifically at the masqued ball, remind me of the 1986 movie Labyrinth. Just compare these two photos below, the first from Sanditon and the second from Labyrinth:

Ethical Hedonist Magazine The Dance Sanditon

Sanditon (2019) via Ethical Hedonist Magazine

Basement Rejects Labyrinth Ball Scene

Labyrinth (1986) via Basement Rejects

There were other sets that looked more period-appropriate, but I don’t know enough of the details of period architecture and interior design to really say. For instance, the Parkers’ house had a room or two with multiple faux framed paintings that were literally painted directly onto the wall (or wallpaper?). That was a very interesting choice.

Frock Flicks Sanditon Ep1 Faux Paintings on Wall

Sanditon (2019) via Frock Flicks

Overall the sets and photography looked gorgeous, and the lighting was just lovely; I just don’t know how well the design choices represented regency in general.

All of the faults would be more tolerable, however, if the adaptation cast of characters equalled that of Austen’s writing. Sadly, it does not.

The best thing about Jane Austen’s characters is that even when they’re superficially the same, they’re all different. They remain their own people. Every single Bennet daughter, for instance, has their own individual personas, habits and characteristics. Poor Jane Fairfax is different from poor Fanny Price. Notable men in their thirties like Colonel Brandon and Mr. Knightley are very different indeed from each other.

In addition, even the most odious of Austen’s characters often have one or more redeeming qualities. The Sanditon adaptation lacks in this respect, too. Our supposed hero, Mr. Sidney Parker, is initially barely distinguishable from his two foppish drinking buddies he drags to Sanditon for a change of scenery, and it looks like we were supposed to fall for the forced, artificially drawn-out, unconvincing hate-love tug-of-war between him and Miss Heywood a la Pride & Prejudice.

(Incidentally, one of Mr. S. Parker’s London buddies surprisingly turns out one of the best invented characters of the series, but I’ll return to him later.)

Miss Brereton and Miss Denham both come across as bickering sour bitches, with the only difference that Clara is a sexually abused gold digger and Esther a lovelorn gold digger. Miss Lambe reminds me of Lydia Bennet, apart from having a fortune, and the young ladies she lodges with are completely bland. The rich Lady Denham is simply a copy of Lady Catherine, only with an ailment and sans a daughter. Mr. Denham’s a slimy git who resembles Mr. Wickham; of him I have very little to say and none of it good.

Young Mr. Stringer, a builder and aspiring architect, was an enjoyable addition, but sadly he wasn’t given much to do besides complain about not being paid, pine after Miss Heywood and eye moodily at his competition, Mr. S. Parker.

Mr. Parker is defined by his monomania over Sanditon and his irresponsibility, but at least he genuinely loves his wife. I liked the little we were given of Mrs. Parker, but, again, her character fell quite flat; apart from the role of supporting wife and devoted mother, she was good-natured and that was all.

The hypochondriac comic relief characters, Miss Parker and Mr. Arthur Parker, perhaps stay truest to the kind of characters Austen had a habit of writing, and they remain simply delightful throughout.

As I said, it was quite a surprise to find Lord Babbington rise to the level of an Austen hero. He accidentally meets with the pining Miss Denham, falls for and attempts to pay court to her. As we learn more about him, Lord Babbington starts to redeem himself in our eyes and to display quite a different set of characteristics than his drinking buddies (one of whom’s a drunk git and should never have been given as many lines as he was).

Babbington was looking better and better, and the we hit episode 7 where Mr. Denham bursts into a ball and makes a final plea for Miss Denham’s affections despite her obvious disinterest. Mr. Sidney Parker and Lord Babbington physically stop him from getting close to Esther. Later Babbington tells her: “Your brother is not going to make a victim out of you. I’ll not allow it.”

Seriously, crushing hard here! He’d become attractive before, but this kind of determination and caring? Romance novel stuff. Jane Austen romance stuff! This here, right here, is exactly how Austen heroes behave. So why the everloving fork is it that the whiny Mr. S. Parker is the protagonist of the adaptation and Lord Babbington is not?!?

In fact, Lord Babbington and Esther Denham’s story is more compelling to me than that of Miss Heywood and Mr. S. Parker. Babbington and Esther even get the gorgeous wedding at the end:

Ethical Hedonist Magazine Babbington Denham Wedding

Sanditon (2019) via Ethical Hedonist Magazine

I seriously suspect I have a headcanon coming…!

I still need to watch Sanditon again to be sure, but it seems I’m leaning into the direction of not considering it a Jane Austen work, but a more generic (fantasy) regency drama.

Have you seen Sanditon? What did you think of it?

February 2020 Recap

Newsletters

If there’s one thing I’d rather NOT recap, it’s being sick. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened this February: the whole first half of the month was cough-y and achy. And I was tired; so tired.

Sick in Munchkin Terms

I’m so glad flu shots exist, for this bug was hard enough without having to deal with the full force of a nasty virus.

Despite being wiped out, I was able to return my first tax document of the season. It was a week later than planned, but still very much on time, thank goodness! (And this is exactly why I prefer to start on my paperwork ridiculously early!)

Tax Time Prep

The two-week flu pretty much threw everything off sync. I’d just caught up when I got sick again after Hubby (who was also sick) was well enough to go back to work. Understandably, my sewing was almost non-existent, just a little mending for myself. I certainly wouldn’t want to inadvertently mail this virus (these viruses?) off to anyone else along with my products.

I was able to watch several new-to-me series and movies while sick, so that was a plus. One definitely worth recommending is the HBO miniseries Chernobyl. Excellent, excellent acting, writing and filming; such high stakes and drama almost entirely without guns or violence, and certainly completely without the disgustingly thoughtless gunplay so prevalent on U.S. television.

On the wild life front, we had a fox visit our yard one day. We’ve seen one now and then over the years, but always from further away and only in passing. This time, though, Mr. Foxy took a couple of laps around the house, stayed right outside our kitchen window to enjoy a scratch under its chin, then loped off across the road to visit the neighbors.

Grey Fox Visiting

It was fascinating!

We’ve also had turkey visitors come round the latter half of the month.

Two Turkeys Visiting

These two were a part of a flock of three. The next day we had twelve(!) and the day after that six or so. They’ve clearly been somewhere else for the early winter. I wonder whether we’ll be seeing more of them from now on?

Among my minor home organizing projects, I inserted tension rods vertically inside one of our narrow lower kitchen cabinets to make slots for the big cutting board, the baking sheets and the splatter screen et al. not in the picture).

Tension Rod Cabinet Organizer

It’s so fantastic not to have them fall around the cabinet anymore. 🙂

I really hope you have been well this February!

New to Me: Mermaid Skeleton Print Fabric

Design & Designers, Fabrics & Materials

I was looking for something quite different when this print fabric caught my eye: skeleton mermaids. (Skeletal mermaids? Mermaid skeletons? Mer-letons??)

JoAnn Novelty Mermaid Skeleton Print

I see one playing a panflute, another a harmonica, yet one more a guitar; some are wearing sombreros or crowns on their heads. What?!? LOL! 😀

Sadly, the vendor doesn’t describe it in any more detail than “novelty cotton”. I wonder whether it might be a Day of the Dead print? It’s fun, nevertheless.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

What Brexit Means for Playfully Grownup Home Customers

Ahem Ahem!

I’ve been following with increasing alarm Britain’s exit negotiations with the European Union simply because of the massive, unprecendented uncertainty they have created. No-one has been able to say what aftereffects there will be, either for businesses or private citizens and residents.

No-one is even able to say exactly when Brexit happens. April 12, 2019, used to be a deadline, but obviously that never happened. At least it will give me a chance to address the issue here.

Flickr Tief im Brexit-Dschungel

Tief im Brexit-Dschungel by Twitter Trends 2019 on Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

At the moment, Playfully Grownup Home customers in the UK can submit orders as normal. I will not make any immediate changes.

I will continue to fulfill my seller obligations as before, but any post-Brexit duties or changes to the customs process when packages enter the UK will remain the buyers’ responsibility.

However, I will be keeping an eye on the situation. Should the shipping be slowed down or otherwise encumbered too much by the new processes in place after Brexit, I reserve the option to end shipping to UK. I hope it won’t be necessary.

P.S. I do also think it’s incredibly shortsighted of Britain to leave EU, but whether they do or not is really not for me to decide. For the sake of UK friends and others, I hope the effects are minimal and manageable.