Chapter 11, Twelve Years a Slave

Self was wrong: the good former master is STILL ALIVE! She was so sure the other planters would kill him, since he rescued his former slave, Solomon Northup, from a lynching, back in Chapter 8.

Anyhoo, in Chapter 10, Solomon’s new master has a foreman who tries to split Solomon’s head with a hatchet and Solomon runs through the bayous to escape. He ends up running all the way back to his former master’s plantation. The good man takes him in (even though there was a law on the books at the time, that a runaway slave must be returned to his master).

And this is what happens in Chapter 11: Solomon is walking by the side of his former master, when who should come galloping out of the bayou towards them but — the evil foreman! He comes alongside Solomon’s former master, and the two begin a conversation.

Self is thinking: any minute now the evil foreman is going to take out a hatchet and kill Solomon’s good former master! But self is midway through Chapter 11, and the two white men are still conversing. The good former master says he knows the foreman tried to kill Solomon, then the foreman explains why he was moved to try and kill Solomon, then the good former master tells the foreman that was not the way to treat a slave, then the foreman says his hound dogs aren’t worth their keep, and the good former master tells the foreman it is evident that the foreman will keep trying to kill Solomon, and Solomon will keep running away, and therefore the foreman must sell Solomon. He says: Unless you do so, I shall take measures to get him out of your possession.

Self does not remember this part of the movie at all, so she has to go on the movie’s imdb page and scroll down the cast list. She has to read practically all the way to the bottom to find that Ford (the good former master) was played by Benedict Cumberbatch! Niiiice! The real shock, though, is when self discovers that the evil foreman, Tibeats, was played by Paul Dano!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

#currentlyreading: MANDERLEY FOREVER: A BIOGRAPHY OF DAPHNE DU MAURIER, p. 17

Cannon Hall, Hampstead, London

November 2013

As I emerge from Hampstead tube station, in the north of London, the first thing that comes to my mind is that I have been here before: I came when I was a teenager, to visit the house of the poet John Keats, on Primrose Hill.


In self’s mind, memories of 2015 (or could it have been 2016?) when she met Emily in Chez Nous on Hanway Place off Tottenham, just before Emily moved from the Bloomsbury Hotel to Hampstead Heath, and offered to show self around, in a bid to get self to move from Russell Square to Hampstead, where Emily rented a room from a woman who lived in a big, old house not far from Benedict Cumberbatch’s.

Fun times.

In the end, self listened to her old Assumption Convent classmate who advised her to stay put. She’s lived in Russell Square every year now for five years, when she comes to London.

Stay tuned.

Details 2: Spring and Summer 2016

Discover the intimate details of something unexpected.

— Jen H., The Daily Post

Self’s go-to summer sandal: low heel, super-comfy, and bright orange. Summer’s all about comfort and freedom: her feet are happy.

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This is New York City, May 2016, during an unexpected lull in a frantic week:

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Park Avenue Nocturne: Self only just noticed the little squares of lighted windows from the buildings across the street. The view is from her brother-in-law’s apartment in Manhattan.

Finally, self was able to visit Bletchley Park, just outside London, in early June. It was an overcast day, self got to the park early, before the crowds arrived. In fact, self was the only person walking from the train station that morning.

She hasn’t seen The Imitation Game, the movie about the codebreakers of Bletchley Park, but there’s an exhibit of costumes used during the filming, and Benedict Cumberbatch is on the audio guide.

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Whatever self expected when she visited Bletchley Park in June, she never expected the grounds to be so lovely. There was a lake full of ducks and very approachable swans.

Highly recommend a visit to Bletchley Park. The exhibits include an actual Enigma machine. The history is just palpable.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Numbers 3: More From Bletchley Park

Each building in Bletchley Park has specific displays and documentary films. In the codebreaking huts (a total of 11, self thinks there were), the lighting is purposefully dim, as if to give the impression of how much secrecy was involved.

Yet the grounds themselves are beautiful.

Self never got to see the Benedict Cumberbatch movie, The Imitation Game. The film has a special exhibit in the Mansion House — there’s very interesting information from the costume designer, about the thinking behind the way the actors — who played a constellation of codebreakers that included Alan Turing and Stuart Menzies — were dressed.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fan Fiction, Sherlock and Self

In Edinburgh, in the Surgeon’s Museum (which is located in the University of Edinburgh Medical School), there is a special exhibit on the man who served as the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (Doyle studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh).  Since self is extremely nosy, she decided to open a closed door that was at the far end of the exhibit area, and saw an empty amphitheater, with rows and rows of wooden desks all facing a proscenium.  Class was not in session.

Today, self is thinking about Sherlock Holmes because she is once again tackling her Pile of Stuff (which is absolutely exploding with unread magazines).  The January 27, 2014 issue of The New Yorker is what she is looking at this afternoon.  There’s a very interesting article by Emily Nussbaum called  FAN FRICTION:  SHERLOCK AND ITS AUDIENCES.

As self proceeds through the article, she learns that a particular scene in Sherlock Season 3 was inspired by Sherlock Holmes fan fiction.  Can you guess which one, dear blog readers?

One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four, one thousand five . . .

Time’s up!

We’re at a critical moment:  Holmes is on the roof of a building, preparing to jump. Somehow,  Moriarty winds up there, too, and leans in for a kiss.  Self’s jaw almost dropped to the floor.

Self knew it!  She knew it!  Because it’s in the same episode where a group of London geeks (fan fiction practitioners) sit in someone’s cramped and cluttered apartment and conjecture about the two years Sherlock was thought by everyone to have perished.  (They also tweet theories using hashtag #sherlocklives)

Anyhoo, self loves the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock.  The first time she saw the actor was in a movie called Amazing Grace, where he played anti-slavery parliamentarian Pitt.  At that point in time, there was only one reason self wanted to see the movie, and that was Ioaon Gruffud.  She had absolutely no idea where the filmmakers had picked up the beady-eyed Cumberbatch.  Only years later, after watching her first episode of Sherlock, did self finally “get” the Cumberbatch affect:  the lankiness!  The floppy, messy hair!  The cigarette pants!  The sexy!

In the series, “when Sherlock reads a crime scene, enormous words appear on the screen, like an on-line word cloud.”

Sherlock, Nussbaum writes, “has inspired reams of slash fiction.”  Today, “you can find slash fic about almost any character you can imagine, from Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy onward.”

Self recently registered for membership in fanfiction.net, and she can attest how addictive it is.  There are actually people who leave comments like these:

“I work as a waiter and I’m right now in an alley behind the restaurant, hoping for an update to your story before my boss comes out and catches me . . . “

“I’m on a cruise of the Mediterranean and I keep thinking up excuses to go back to my room so I can check for any updates of your story.  My family thinks I’m nuts . . . “

Never, ever will self reveal her fanfiction.net identity, because she’s doing very fluffy writing.  She follows seven writers.  She hopes with all her heart they don’t turn out to be 14, but they might be.  Because they still worry about getting “caught” during chemistry class or skipping math class to do some urgent reading in the bathroom!

She’s heard it so many times:  The internet is the death of books.  It may be the death of books, but it is definitely a clarion call to the imagination, and to the power of the simple act of reading.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Episode 4, “Parade’s End”

Self knows that Tuesday is Justified night.  But there’s still an hour to go, so she asked The Man to find her another episode of Parade’s End.

Since she’s already seen Episode 4, he expected self to want to watch Episode 5.

Ixnay!  Episode 5 is the last and concluding episode!  Give her Episode 4 again.  It is just so delightful.  Among other things, in Episode 4, Benedict Cumberbatch gets to flash a wee bit of naked chest.  And a very nice chest it is, indeed!

Second, there is such bloody wicked dialogue, from first to last.  Ah, those British and their stiff upper lips!  So indispensable while under aerial bombardment!

Self particularly loves the shelling of the barracks.  Private Morgan salutes, then falls Read the rest of this entry »

Tuesday Night Television: The Cumberbatch/ Olyphant Effect

The thing about Benedict Cumberbatch is, his appeal is not apparent right away.  Unlike Timothy Olyphant’s.

The reason self is pondering BC at all is that there is a new BBC mini-series, an adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End, which had its HBO broadcast premiere last night, just before F/X’s Justified.

And self wouldn’t have decided to watch if she hadn’t, on one of her previous visits to Bacolod, caught the new BBC Sherlock, with Cumberbatch in the lead, showcasing his lean and lanky frame, his floppy hair, his intellectual-yet-boyish affect.  OH HOLY COW!  This guy is playing Sherlock as if he’s got Asperger’s!

In preparation for last night’s TV watching, self had the absolutely brilliant idea of running to Trader Joe’s and buying all of The Man’s Read the rest of this entry »

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