Monthly Archives: April 2011

Maisie Dobbs

I’m going to blame Cloud Atlas, the novel of much buzz and fanfare by David Mitchell.  Once I got over the hump of struggling to get into it – to read more than a page or two at a time, I found that it was a really good book.  Really good. But the journey up and over that hump was a rough one.  I almost didn’t make it.  And I never give up on a book, no matter how bad, boring or bucolic.  Whatever.  Alliteration.  It’s where it’s at.

After finishing Cloud Atlas, which was around November of last year, I took a book reading vacation.  Which is weird.  Because I would usually devour a novel a week.  On this book reading vacation, I did read myself some YA, because let’s face it.  I couldn’t truly go cold turkey.  And reading material intended for someone half my age (or, erm…. crap.  A third of my age) totally counts as reading.

I finished that Sweet Valley Confidential piece of garbage in about a day.  It was bad.  And not bad like “oh come on, you knew it was going to be bad,” but bad like Francine Pascal had a conversation with herself that went like this:

– Why will these vapid little tween girls not desist in sending me their pitiful fan letters?
– What has become of me?  I know the word “tween.”
– After all these years, they still love Jessica and Elizabeth!
– The fools.
– Fools who have paid me millions for churning out saccharine trash.
– Perhaps if I were to wipe my ass and call it a novel, they would buy that.
– That is a brilliant idea!

But I read it.  No book left behind.

And today, I finished my first adult novel (at least I’m pretty sure it’s for grown-ups… kinda.  It is sort of Nancy Drew-esque.  Please don’t burst my bubble.) in months and months.


Also, it was really good!


It was the first in a series of eight, which means that I can just go chomping through these for a while.

So, Maisie Dodds.  She’s this World War I era British girl who goes to work as a maid.  Her employers pick up on her extra cleverness and sponsor her education.  Cambridge is interrupted by the war and Maisie goes off to France as a nurse.  Afterward, she starts her own business as a private investigator, and this book is the story of her first mystery solved.

Sometimes she wears a cloche.  And she has a pearl tipped hat pin.  And a nurse’s watch.  And from what I can tell, her nurse’s outfit was just like the one that one of my paper dolls had when I was five.

It is entirely possible that I fell enamored of the style and sentiment of the era more than the actual story telling, but I was engaged in the story and the character.  Although she is a little stuffy and not so quirky, but she’s awfully smart and sensible and always knows just what to say.

Even though it wasn’t a challenging read, I’m still feeling pretty chuffed* to have finished a whole grown-up book that perhaps I will do it again**!

*See what I did there?  I used a cute little British word, just like a Maisie Dobbs character would.

**For my next act, I will be reading the 2nd Maisie Dobbs book.

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Filed under Book crave

tilt shift

Like the entire universe, I’m fascinated by tilt shift photography.

The first time I encountered it was in a friend’s photo stream on Flickr:

photo by kaiser pelagic

Neato, right?

And then I started seeing it everywhere!

Like this: 

and this:

So of course, I want to make cute miniature photos, too!  How can I get me on that bandwagon?!

I could buy myself a nice new lens.  For $1,400.00.

Or I could jerry rig a hand made lens.  But that smacks of effort.

But you knew that prohibitive cost and effort wouldn’t keep me down, right?  Right.

Because there’s an app for that.

Straight out of the iPhone

Edited with the Tilt Shift application

I had tried using this application a couple of times before, but always with the wrong sorts of pictures, and not very interesting results.  It just won’t work right when the images are of something relatively close.  Apparently, high up views looking down on a scene are good ones to work with.

And now wondering if there’s roof access to the building here…

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Filed under Photography