Winding Up

Jul. 23rd, 2017 07:51 pm
osprey_archer: (shoes)
Somehow my six-and-a-half hour drive stretched to eight-and-a-half (I only stopped at Dunkin Donuts once, I swear!) but in the end I did make it to DC! Where Caitlin and I promptly made beer bread and ate it piping hot with brie (the only way to eat beer bread), and now we are going to watch The Great British Bake-Off. (The universe has been conspiring to get me to watch The Great British Bake-Off.)

But before this, I spent a wonderful few days with [personal profile] asakiyume! We baked scones with fresh-picked currants and slathered them with blood-orange marmalade, at which we looked askance at first - it is very brown-looking - but it is delicious, A++ highly recommended.

We also had much ice cream and - and! - visited Emily Dickinson's house, which is delightful and I highly recommend that too. They have Emily's writing desk, which is much smaller than I expected - really only the size of a bedside table - but it sits right by the window, overlooking the garden, in a room all done up with rose-covered wallpaper, and just seems really like the perfect place for Emily Dickinson to reside.

We went over to the graveyard, too - did you know that they carried Emily's coffin over the fields when she died, so that even her corpse could avoid the public gaze that she shunned in life? I thought that extremely thoughtful of the pallbearers. In any case, the grave is now the center of much public attention, and the top is covered in pencils and seashells - and the shells spill over onto Emily's sister Lavinia's grave, too. I'm not sure why (are sea shells particularly associated with either of them?), but it's nice that Lavinia is not neglected.

And we went to the reservoir and took a VERY LONG walk and had a picnic, and read aloud a chapter of The Railway Children (the most sexist chapter, sadly, which is too bad, because most of it is full of refreshingly equal-opportunity adventures) - the modern world could do with more reading aloud in it. I shall have to try to talk my roommate into it when I return.

Which will be on Tuesday! The trip is almost over! Tomorrow is the last hurrah - I'm going to the National Gallery (I always go to the National Gallery when I'm in DC) and perhaps one of the other Smithsonian Museums, although I'm not sure which one. I did Air & Space last time, which was delightful, but I think I ought to branch out.
osprey_archer: (nature)
Micky and I swept through Cornell today, first to the art museum, where we spent most of our time on the top floor with the Asian Art - they go all across Asia, which naturally takes up quite a bit of space and time, so we were tired out by the end and didn't stop long in the rest of the museum. Well, except for a beautiful display of Tiffany glass on the landing between the second & third floors.

And then we went to the Cornell Botanical Gardens today, although it was rather hot, and had an absolutely splendid time walking around their herb garden - which was separated into themed plots, "Culinary Herbs," "Herbs for Tea," "Healing Herbs," "Herbs from Literature," and so on and so forth. (Many of the herbs were of course in more than one plot.)

I had a brief but intense interest in healing herbs when I was a kid, so it was nice to be able to see all those herbs that I'd read about in the flesh, if you will.

And also to sniff the leaves of many, many different kinds of mint, and try to pick up the non-mint undertones that are supposed to be there - apple mint, chocolate mint (yes, that's it's own plant!), mint sage... But really they all smelled like mint to me.

***

After that, being rather hot and tired, we repaired to an ice cream shop and thence to Micky's house (where I have been TRYING to do my laundry, but I fear I have become the Bane of Washing Machines - I broke the one in my apartment not too long ago, did I tell you? Well, I don't think I did anything to break it, it just broke while I was using it, but still...

In any case I have been having trouble getting the machine to work. Nothing seems to be working this afternoon: I also attempted to write a bit more of the Adventures of Harriet and Troy and alas have come up against the rocky shoals of Peter Wimsey's inimitable voice. He never sounds like himself when I write him. i suppose I could just cut him out entirely and have Troy meet Harriet all on her own, but then Wimsey can't discomfit Alleyn by calling him by his old Eton nickname (which, I have decided, should be "Allers,"), which would be too bad...

Oh well, dear. This is all lots of fun to brainstorm about, but I really can't do Peter's voice justice, and on the whole it's really more ambitious than I think I want to write. Perhaps it's just better to accept that the brainstorming will be the final product - as tormenting as that may be. Surely it's better than having nothing at all?

***

On the bright side, Micky has introduced me to The Great British Bake-Off. In fact she is at least the third friend to recommend this to me, but the first one to take the necessary step of forcing me to sit down and watch an episode, and it is just as charming and delightful as everyone has always promised.

Ithaca

Jul. 16th, 2017 11:00 pm
osprey_archer: (shoes)
I am arrived in Ithaca! The one in New York, not the Greek island, although the Greek island would also be a splendid place to visit someday.

We had a splendid dinner at a restaurant called Rulloff's, which is named after a famous nineteenth century Ithaca murderer (or famous at the time, at least; I had not heard of him until I read his famous last words written up on a chalkboard on the wall in the restaurant), and possessed of excellent food. We had crepes for dessert - or at least, we ordered crepes; I am not sure the chef understood that crepes are in fact supposed to be thinner than ordinary pancakes. However, as the pancakes were topped with raspberry compote and Nutella creamed into mascarpone, of course we forgave them their trespasses and ate them up entire.

***

And I had another thought about Oneida, which I forgot to put in my post yesterday.

Our guide mentioned that over the years in Oneida, the community voted to stop using tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine. Now on the one hand, these are all pretty normal nineteenth-century candidates for reform (the Mormons also banned, and IIRC still ban, all three).

But at the same time, hearing about this reminded me of the Rat Park experiments, which were studies in morphine addiction that took place back in the seventies. Rats in ordinary lab rat cages swiftly get addicted to morphine when they're offered the opportunity to take morphine-laced water. However, Bruce Alexander discovered that rats who lived in a less restricted environment - in a structure he called Rat Park, where they had toys and (more importantly) other rats to play with - barely used the morphine water at all.

And what occurred to me is that, for all its problems - which were after all severe enough to eventually break the community apart - Oneida was basically Human Park. Here you've got all these people hanging out together all the time, even doing a lot of their work in bees (think quilting bee, not spelling bee) so it will be more social and fun, constantly putting on entertainments for each other and playing croquet together and, of course, having lots of sex. Who needs cigarettes or beer or even tea when they've got infinite croquet?

...I mean, you'd still have to pull my tea out of my cold dead hands. But then I'm not living in Oneida, now am I.

***

Although it's also worth noting that living for five years in Oneida failed to dent future presidential assassin Charles Guiteau's delusions of grandeur even slightly, so clearly all the togetherness in the world is not a panacea.
osprey_archer: (shoes)
I discovered, FAR TOO LATE, that it is actually possible to stay in the old Oneida Community building: they have converted part of it into a hotel (and an even larger part of it into apartments). IF ONLY! But they seem to get booked up far in advance, so probably even if I had popped over to their website when the idea of a road trip first occurred to me in June, I still couldn't have stayed there.

Still. MAYBE SOMEDAY. Upstate New York is so beautiful - I've never been here before, but I love the mountains - and so full of history: I just happened to stumble upon L. Frank Baum's hometown today. They have an Oz museum, which I did not visit, but if I come back...

Mostly I spent the day visiting the Oneida Community Mansion House, where the three hundred odd members of the community lived from the 1860s to 1880, when the community broke up. (They were in the area since 1848, but it took them some time to gather the resources to build that stately brick house.) I took the guided tour, which was really wonderful - we had a thoughtful and well-informed docent, a former English teacher, who not only knew everything about the house but had read most of the books in the gift shop and helped me decide which one to buy. (I ended up with Pierrepont B. Noyes' memoir of his childhood at Oneida, which is delightful so far.)

The Oneida Community was a Christian perfectionist cult - perfectionist in the sense of "We can achieve sinless grace on earth!", not its modern meaning. They practiced:

1. Bible communism. Everyone in the community holds all goods in common; the community takes care of everyone and everyone does work for the community, and all kinds of work are held to be holy.

2. Complex marriage. All the men and women in the community are heterosexually married to each other. People at the time often figured that there was a constant orgy going on in the mansion, but in fact sexual contact had to be carefully negotiated, usually through an intermediary, and anyone had the right to say no. (Charles Guiteau, who later assassinated President Garfield, lived in the Oneida Community for five years and could not get laid.) You'd think women would be getting pregnant all the time, except the community also practiced

3. Male continence. Men were not to ejaculate during sex. This apparently worked really well - there were only forty pregnancies in the group's first twenty years of existence - possibly because incorrect ejaculation would come up during Mutual Criticism, which would be totally mortifying and also limit one's future sex partners.

4. Which brings us neatly to Mutual Criticism, during which people were allowed - nay, encouraged! - to tell you all your faults so you could try to correct them and thus approach nearer to spiritual perfection. This sounds excruciating, but Pierrepont Noyes, in his memoir, comments that "because members had the opportunity to criticize each other openly, Community life was singularly free from backbiting and scandalmongering," so perhaps it's a case of ripping off the bandaid all in one go rather than taking it up millimeter by excruciating millimeter.

And also everyone except John Humphrey Noyes, the founder, underwent Mutual Criticism, so any impulse toward harshness much have been tempered by the knowledge that the criticizer might soon by the criticized.

I have no idea if the Community owned this many portraits of Noyes when it was active, but now they are everywhere. It reminded me a bit of the omnipresent Lenins in the Soviet Union, although this comparison is unfair to Noyes: he seems to have been about as benevolent a patriarch as it is possible for any human being to be, spoken of with love and respect even after the community fell apart.

Although I do think the comparison does serve to show the limits of the Oneida community, as enticing as certain aspects of the experiment seem. (I for one like the idea of living in a mansion full of like-minded people with a well-stocked reading room and an endless round of entertainments: the Oneidans, no ascetics, played croquet, put on plays, read novels aloud to each other, and fielded a full orchestra.) Communes seem to need a charismatic leader to succeed - hence the mayfly nature of most nineteenth-century commune experiments - and there's no guarantee you'll get a benevolent Noyes rather than someone voraciously power-mad.
osprey_archer: (writing)
I have to leave Lily Dale today, and feel rather as though I am being pushed out of paradise. It is so quiet here! So quiet – and so many flowers – and I’ve gotten such a lot of work done – 7,000 words on a new novel!

Which is perhaps too similar to The Time-Traveling Popcorn Ball in some ways, by the by, but perhaps that one was not quite ready for prime time yet, poor thing.

But there are no rooms at the inn, so I must be moving on. I’m heading up toward Oneida, I think. We shall see if I actually make it all the way to my stated destination this time…

***

Oh, and also – I hope you’re happy, you monsters:

“Lord Peter Wimsey was one of your schoolfriends?” Troy asked.

“A schoolmate, at least,” Alleyn said, after a slight hesitation. “We investigated a case together at school.”

Under other circumstances, Troy might have laughed, or pressed for details. But now she simply smoothed the letter in her hand and frowned down at it again. “And now he wants me to paint his wife, the suspected murderess.”

“Acquitted,” Alleyn reminded her. “Not all suspects are guilty, you know.”

“Of course,” Troy said. Her own days as a murder suspect rose in her mind. She pushed them ruthlessly back. “But no one seems to have impressed this on the press. A suspected murderess painting a suspected murderess – soon I will be painting nothing but pretty murderesses for their rich foolish fans. So many criminals have the most boring faces.”

As she spoke, a newspaper photograph from the Vane case floated up in her mind. The girl had looked almost ugly, with a sullen mouth and a strong, dark brow.

It was the brow that made Troy pause now. There might be something in that. One could not tell from a newspaper photograph.

“I suppose,” she acquiesced, “it will do no harm to meet her.”

Lily Dale

Jul. 13th, 2017 10:42 am
osprey_archer: (shoes)
A few years ago I read a book about Lily Dale, a small town - a hamlet, really - founded in western New York in the late nineteenth century as a center for Spiritualism. It is still around today, a bastion of slightly faded gentility: the white paint feeling, the dock sinking into the lake, but all the buildings bowered in daylilies and hydrangeas and black-eyed Susans.

I know this because I saw a sign for it as I was driving to Chautauqua a couple days ago, and skidded round the curve (well, not literally, but psychologically, if you will) in my haste to visit the place. It might make a nice afternoon, I thought.

I am still here. It's just so peaceful! And quiet! And full of flowers! The hotel has no telephones, television, air-conditioning, or internet (I'm eating a cinnamon roll in a WiFi equipped cafe right now), which appeals to a strange luddite part of my soul. Although perhaps not so strange, because the lack of any distractions means that I have gotten quite a bit of reading and writing done.

And speaking of writing - I think this town, suitably disguised of course, would make a fabulous setting for a book. Something with ghosts, naturally, or time travel, or not so much time travel as the layers of time shifting and overlapping each other, because time is an illusion - and never more so in a place that has become such a sink of spiritual energy. Everything that will happen, has already happened, and is still happening, all at the same time...

Montreal!

Jul. 11th, 2017 08:27 am
osprey_archer: (cheers)
I am returned from Montreal! Which was a delight! Emma and I took the train from Toronto and discovered that the entire street to the art museum is positively lined with statues for an art fair - I have some photos which I must post later; there were so tinselly metal trees that looked enormously like truffula trees.

Naturally we discovered this while walking to the art museum, which was also delightful. I wish we had more time there - I think you'd need at least two days to do it properly - we spent most of our time in the Canadian art building, on the grounds that one probably sees the best spread of Canadian art in Canada. And indeed, it had a lovely exhibit of modern Inuit art - in particular, a really lovely piece of a great glass sea creature rising up beneath the ice, a mermaid with much more fish to her than an everyday mermaid: arms melting into fins instead of becoming hands, the slits for gills across her breasts, tiny sharp teeth in her mouth as she gazed up at the men in a canoe far above.

Unfortunately the glare on the Plexiglass case meant I couldn't manage a good photo. Alas!

And there was a room below with the paintings hung salon-style (from the days when Canada had salon exhibitions), which is something I've seen before but always, always enjoy. Such a visual feast! If I could go back in time, I believe I would attend a salon opening somewhere - France would be most exciting but I don't speak the language (as a visit to Montreal cannot but drive home), so perhaps England. Or Canada, clearly.

And then we acquired a bottle of wine and a bag of croissants and hiked up the Parc du Mont Royal. We settled in the shade of an stately tree on the gentle green slopes around a small lake dotted with canoes and miniature sailboats. "Are they remote-controlled?" Emma asked. "They had them in Edwardian times, so they couldn't have been then," I said; but we never did find out if the modern ones are.

It was all very Sunday Afternoon in the Park. There were even a few parasols, a bright red one shading the ice cream cart that slowly perambulated the lake, and a little tiny one over a baby in a stroller.

I am a convert to the idea of wine in parks everywhere; the Montreal rule that the wine must be part of a picnic seems only sensible and likely to increase enjoyment in any case. In general I quite approved of what I saw of the city (wine in the parks, sculptures on the streets), although I remain puzzled by the massive staircases on the front of so many of the houses. They're very picturesque, of course - I bought no less than four postcards featuring their staircase glory - but they look like they would be such death traps in the winter.

Heading back to the United States today! Have not quite decided where I will go next. I am torn between Oneida (one-time home of President Garfield's assassin, Charles Guiteau! Who lived in a nineteenth-century group marriage cult where he couldn't get laid) and Seneca Falls, which seems like an awfully out-of-the-way place for the first women's rights convention, but there you are.

Chautauqua also beckoned me briefly - it was a great center for educational talks in the late nineteenth century - and there are of course the pleasures of hiking along the Finger Lakes... I have five days before I have another scheduled stop, so the possibilities simply multiply in all directions!
osprey_archer: (snapshots)
A most successful hunt through the bookstores yesterday! Although amusingly I got the most books at a bookstore I had not realized existed: I stopped in the library for a drink of water, and there was the Friends of the Library bookstore, and I found TWO books there, hooray!

I also found a copy of E. Nesbit's The Railway Children, which I have long intended to read, in a Little Free Library, which is the first time I have found something I really wanted in a Little Free Library and marks an epoch in my life.

The Little Free Library! )

And eventually it grew too hot for traipsing from bookstore to bookstore, so I stopped at a cafe for a lemon bar and finished Strong Poison (v. much approve, have already started Have His Carcase, Peter has proposed to Harriet approximately five times including by telegram:

FOLLOWING RAZOR CLUE TO STAMFORD REFUSE RESEMBLE THRILLER HERO WHO HANGS ROUND HEROINE TO NEGLECT OF DUTY BUT WILL YOU MARRY ME - PETER

I feel that this persistence ought to be annoying but instead I find it weirdly charming.)

The cafe also had this delightful little door in the wall.

The fairy door )

I have always loved stories about tiny people who live in the walls. In fact when I was in kindergarten I invented a long one to amuse myself at school. The Paintwater Witches lived in the drains in the back of the classroom and used all the dirty paint water we poured down in their potions. Clearly the tiny people living in a cafe can expect far more gourmet fare!
osprey_archer: (books)
I have begun Strong Poison, and it is fabulous! Peter Wimsey has just proposed to Harriet Vane at their very first meeting (while she is behind bars on a murder charge) and is adorably taken aback when she tells him he's #47. Everyone wants to marry a possible murderess!

A part of me wants to just stay in and read it all day, buuuut I am in Ann Arbor, Land of Bookstores, so I think I must sally forth to contemplate their offerings. After I've had my tea. During which I can surely read a couple more chapters.
osprey_archer: (snapshots)
Some photos from my Chicago trip! I went to attend my friend Rachel's wedding shower, and I was worried about it beforehand because a) I didn't know most of the attendees, and b) I spent so much of last week so anxious about my possibly impending health problems; but actually I enjoyed it very much and I think getting away for a bit was good for me.

Cut for excursions into my health )

In any case! On to the photos!

Chicago yards )

The wedding shower had an amazing view of the city )

The shower lunch )

The next day, I had time to mosey downtown to the Art Institute of Chicago, which I love and enjoyed very much. They had an exhibit about American Art in the Thirties which I particularly wanted to see, and it did not disappoint; I liked the Edward Hopper paintings in particular, but probably my favorite painting in the exhibition was this one, Philip Guston's Bombardment )

Mother and child )
osprey_archer: (art)
I am back from my journey to Bloomington to visit Caitlin and see the opera! It only lasted a night, so it was a bit of a whirlwind trip, but still quite nice.

We had a delightful dinner at Quaff On - or rather, we had a delightful appetizer and dessert at Quaff On; my entree was a prosciutto-poached pear pizza which turned out a little insipid. But that was all right, because the buffalo wings that we got for the appetizer were delightful, with a wonderful mouth-burning barbecue sauce - and this was the regular sauce, by the way; there was also a spicy and an extra spicy sauce, which presumably causes literal steam to blast out of your ears.

Then we went to the opera, Cosi Fan Tutte, which unfortunately I wasn't too keen on. Two soldiers, engaged to two sisters, pretend to go off to war - only to come back disguised as handsome strangers to test their fiancees' honor. This is the sort of thing that could be hilarious with a light-handed treatment, but unfortunately the opera plays it just a little too straight. The sisters (and later the fiances, as the sisters begin to succumb to the handsome strangers' charms) often seem truly distressed, which made it hard for me to find it funny.

Apparently - as the program informed us - not being too keen on Cosi Fan Tutte is a long and hallowed tradition. The Victorians regularly performed it with a significantly altered libretto, in which the girls figure out the imposture and go along with it to revenge themselves on their perfidious fiances.

I'm with the Victorians on this one. That story sounds way more fun.

But never fear! Despite the disappointing opera (which did have a gorgeous set, at least - they used the same set throughout, and just a few couches as props, which was ingenious and economical and charmed me), we had a lovely time. We watched a few episodes of Natsume's Book of Friends in the morning, and then met my grad school friend for sushi, and dropped by a bookstore and a bakery.

The bakery had this sign, which I thought was pretty perfect.

My philosophy )

I can't believe I don't have a theater tag yet. Clearly I should correct that.
osprey_archer: (snapshots)
I have, quite belatedly, gotten a bunch of photos from 2015 (and...2014) off my camera onto my computer, so I thought I'd share a few.

The Chicago skyline from Lincoln Park. I like the scalloped clouds )

A Little Free Library! )

The Rapunzel Look )
osprey_archer: (window)
Last night in Chicago, we couldn't decide where to go out to eat, so in the end we went to a cheese shop and bought bleu cheese and goat cheese and brie and some hard salty cheese that was very good even though I can't remember its name; and we bought a hard salami, and a loaf of take & bake bread, and a jar of fig jam, and by the time we'd sliced the cheese and salami and opened the fig jam and a bottle of wine, the bread was piping hot and ready and we sliced it too and put the cheese on it so it melted just a little, and it was very good.

I was going to post photos, but I can't seem to upload the darn photos to LJ and in any case, the only photos I seem to have are of the cheese plate in progress. Once it was complete I was much too busy plotting the best eating strategies to take a photo.

Also not pictured: the eggs benedict with smoked salmon instead of Canadian bacon that I ate for brunch this morning. Most excellent. Plenty of salmon, and a perfect hollandaise sauce, and the egg yolks still golden and liquid and just waiting for a fork to release them all over the plate.

I also had an almond apricot strudel at the Christkindlmart - which was not quite as scrumptious as the almond apricot strudel I got last year (a bit too heavy on the apricots this time around, I think), but still quite nice, and I soothed my almond-deprived soul by buying a cone of almonds coated in amaretto sugar.

Also we watched the first hour or so of Julie and Julia this morning, because clearly no food-obsessed weekend is complete without a little Julia Child. I do love that movie - although every time I see it, I am struck yet again by how much stronger the Julia portions are than the Julie. It's sort of a shame that it's not a straight-up biopic.

I thought I owned that movie, and could therefore watch the rest of it when I got home - we had to cut it short for brunching purposes - but alas, I was wrong! Clearly a defect in my movie collection that I should rectify.

We also watched Fried Green Tomatoes. My main thought at this time is pretty much "IDGIE + RUTH, SITTIN' IN A TREE, K-I-S-S-I-N-G." That's practically canon, right? As close as a mainstream 1991 movie could get to canon? I would say "everything but the kiss," but there actually is a kiss - or two or three - just not on the lips.

Also Spoilers )

I also really liked the friendship that sprung up between Evelyn and Ninny. It occurs to me that Fried Green Tomatoes has a similar structure to Julie & Julia - a modern-day woman's story as the frame for the more dramatic story of a woman a few decades past - but it worked better for me in Fried Green Tomatoes - maybe because Idgie and Ruth's story is tense and sometimes tragic in a way that Julia Child's isn't, so it benefited from a frame story to cut the tension? I may have to think about this some more.

Oh, and has anyone read the book the movie is based on? I might like to read it. Which reminds me, I've also been vaguely meaning to read Derby Girl, the book Whip It's based on. And I did read Julie & Julia, as well as Julia Child's My Life in France. I really like that movie, okay.

Chitown!

Dec. 12th, 2015 06:39 am
osprey_archer: (friends)
Off to Chicago for the weekend!
osprey_archer: (books)
No picture books this Monday, as I am in DC and thus was not at the library to repair any. Although I did go to a Barnes & Noble and convince Slavena to buy Miss Rumphius for her little niece, so that was clearly a picture book win!

I also bought a Captain America keychain. Slavena says that it would be mean to freeze it in an ice cube, though. :(
osprey_archer: (art)
In other news this weekend, I went down to Bloomington to visit Caitlin and see South Pacific. I first saw South Pacific in an amphitheater when I was about eleven, and fell in love with Joe Cable (I can't actually remember, but I presume the actor was very attractive, as indeed the actor playing Joe Cable was this weekend), but I have to say his romance with Liat seems way less sweet when you're old enough to realize that they take one look at each other and are ten seconds later doing the frick frack.

I'm not sure what, at eleven, I thought Joe Cable and Liat were doing, but it must have involved soul communion or something, because I definitely felt like there was a little more substance to their relationship than "You are so so so hot."

But I still enjoyed it. The actor playing Emil was especially excellent - there's a moment where he does an imitation of Nellie singing "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair," and it's just so goofy and fun, and it really solidifies for me why they are a good match, despite being quite different. They have the same sense of humor.

***

We also watched a lot of Star Trek, in memory of Leonard Nimoy's death. I'd never seen the pilot episode, and it's really odd to watch it - like you're peering into an alternative universe Star Trek, which is like and yet oddly different than ours - because Leonard Nimoy is the only actor the pilot has in common with the show.

The pilot also has a woman as the captain's Number One (which I guess is space ship for first mate?), which I think would have been so cool and wish the show had gone with, even though the pilot also makes it fairly clear that the show would have been regularly trainwrecking itself on gender issues. ("I don't feel comfortable with women on the bridge," says the captain, after a cute little ensign hands him a report. Number One turns sharply to look at him. "You don't count," he reassures her, which is not reassuring at all.)

***

And also we had delicious food! I had eggs benedict for lunch yesterday, with perfectly poached eggs and fresh golden hollandaise and cheesy biscuits: scrumptious and immensely rich.
osprey_archer: (friends)
December 26: Your dream holiday. (for [livejournal.com profile] littlerhymes)

While there are specific places I'd like to see - Paris, St. Petersburg, Japan (I'd pick a specific city in Japan, but really, all of Japan) - if someone dropped a million dollars in my lap and said "Go, spend this on your dream vacation!", I would probably just crisscross the world visiting all my scattered friends from high school and college and LJ.

Conveniently, many of my friends live in cool places: Chicago, DC, Toronto, Japan (so I would get to see Japan after all!). It would end up being a bonanza of sight-seeing and eating at delicious restaurants as well as friendship.

And if I had a million dollars, I could totally pay for a friend or two to come to Paris and St. Petersburg with me.
osprey_archer: (window)
Back from Chicago! I'll maybe post some photos once I've uploaded them off my camera. We went to Christkindlmart and ate the most amazing apricot-almond strudel (I'd never had strudel before! Can you believe it?) and watched Elf and White Christmas and went to ZooLights in Lincoln Park (which is freeeeeeeee) and had a delicious cinnamon roll for breakfast. OM NOM NOM.

And also I have a December meme question! December 16: the lost prince! headcanons, favorite aus, fic recs, best crossovers, anything :D (for [livejournal.com profile] egelantier)

I think my favorite Lost Prince headcanon is the one where Stefan Loristan manages to prevent World War I by virtue of his calming presence on the international stage. Because you know he could! He would be all, "Kaiser Wilhelm, how about you show me your battleships and then we can toss horseshoes in the park," and by the end of the horseshoes game Wilhelm would have completely forgotten about his dumb plan to offer Austria all the help they wanted in smashing the Serbians.

Although I'm also fond of any and all headcanons about Samavian customs - [livejournal.com profile] surexit has a fun story about Samavian aphrodisiac liquor - and about Marco's possible difficulties fitting into his homeland after his nomadic boyhood. Sure, his father taught him all about the country's history and presumably its customs, but there's a difference between learning about something and actually living it.

Plus, the Loristans haven't lived in Samavia for five hundred years. (Frankly I think this time gap is a little ridiculous, but The Lost Prince is a basically a fantasy about the divine right of kings, so you just have to go with it.) Some of their information about the culture has to be a little out of date. Imagine trying to understand modern day England solely through Shakespeare, right?

I haven't put a lot of thought into Lost Prince AUs, but I feel like there's some great potential for crossovers with all the World War I-era things ever. The Lost Prince meets Downton Abbey! Rupert Brooke visits Samavia and probably sleeps with everyone!

And, of course, there could be a charming crossover with Frances Hodgson Burnett's own The Secret Garden. The Loristans are related to the Lennoxes somehow (you know they've probably made all sorts of unsuitable matches during their years of exile) and when Marco takes ill, he is sent to Misselthwaite manor to convalesce with the Rat for his companion, and they become part of Mary's polyamorous harem and also learn about flowers.

Chicago

Dec. 13th, 2014 08:34 am
osprey_archer: (friends)
Off to Chicago for the weekend! Don't burn down the internet while I'm gone.
osprey_archer: (art)
While in Glasgow, I stopped briefly at the Kelvingrove Museum. "Briefly" is not really long enough to see the Kelvingrove, which seems to be a museum of everything ever, but I did have time to explore the exhibit about the Glasgow Boys, Glasgow's native impressionist movement.

And, of course, I got some pictures.

E. A. Hornel's children in woodland settings )

Peaceful river scene )

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