Thursday, May 28, 2020

My Sleeping Quarters/Library/Art Studio

     I love seeing where people live and especially backgrounds of their own rooms. A couple of years ago there was a tag that went around of people posting pics of their bookshelves (I have 3) and I thought it would be fun to give a photo tour of my room. There is no general theme for my room, but it's kind of an augment of Bag End and an art museum. It's unique and I love it. I think I have the cutest room in the house!

My quickly overflowing art box

 My stationary box

Private mementos

My great grandmothers tea set

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Sherlock Blog Party: Mind Palace or Prison

     In The Sherlock Blog Party tag, one of the questions was 'would I rather have Sherlock's mind or John's compassion?' 

My answer:

Compassion always wins out in the end. Sherlock's mind was incredible, but ultimately very damaged and that damage caused a great deal of problems with the society he lived in. The trauma that Sherlock faced in his early life caused him to retreat to the only place he knew he was safe and that was his mind. So he honed his abilities of deduction to push out his trauma and by doing so made himself unapproachable and cut off. He was brilliant, but his brilliance and inability to understand people around him is what made him so unlikable to many and basically an outsider.

     William Sherlock Scott Holmes is the definition of enigmatic. His brilliant mind has made him a hero and an enemy to society. He is both selfish and sacrificial. He wants to be alone, but not necessarily left out. He insists that he is an emotionless sociopath, yet time and again he has exhibited intense emotion that ranges from pure rage to absolute comic.

    Over the course of the show, Sherlock's family life is slowly revealed . He and his older brother Mycroft and younger sister Eurus all grew up in comfort and safety of loving parents. Their mother was genius mathematician who passed down her skills of deduction to her children. Both parents took the extreme intelligence of their children carefully and raised them in a safe and normal family setting. In a nutshell we gather that Sherlock's early childhood was nothing short of idyllic. 

     Then his sister Eurus became the bullet that ended Sherlock's innocent upbringing. Eurus immense loneliness and using her mind as her own sanctuary caused her to kill Sherlock's best friend. These actions put Sherlock through immense shock and trauma. His family sent Eurus away and clearly never spoke of her or actions ever again. As Sherlock was only six when the murder of his friend took place, it's quite easy to forget someone in your life when you're that young and was maybe made easier by his early trauma and wanting to forget it ever happened. 

 This trauma was so strong that Sherlock needed an escape. He found it in the retreating of his mind. 

     Fast forward 16 years later. Sherlock has now developed the extreme use of deduction. By pushing out his emotional childhood trauma, Sherlock created his mind to be void of feeling and replaced it with deduction, reason and intellect. His only exhibiting emotions are arrogance and disdain for people who can't keep up. He has an insatiable desire for danger and a competitive streak a mile wide. He has no friends and believes he doesn't need them. 

     Sherlock Holmes retreats into his ever evolving mind palace. A mental safe-hold where any amount of information is kept and stored. His mind palace helps to control his rapid pace thinking. Whenever Sherlock gets agitated or nervous he starts to deduct anything and everything around him. So, while the mind palace is where all information is stored, it also doubles as Sherlock's emotional reserve. 

     All of Sherlock's mental and emotional energy is fueled into his mind. His mind is where he knows he's the safest and where no one can touch him. Yet, has the mind palace can also become Sherlock's prison. If Sherlock is able to retreat into the safety of his mind, then he is unable to emotionally respond to people around him. 

     Sherlock's emotionally devastating childhood trauma of losing both his best friend and his sister caused him to retreat into the only world he understood. His mind. Fear, death, sadness, loss, separation can all be triggers for self isolation. Sherlock's family made the mistake in not telling their son the truth about what really happened to him and his sister. It is interesting that Eurus killed Sherlock's friend because she was lonely. By doing so, she damned her own brother to a life dominated by loneliness, seclusion and self doubt. 

     Then along comes John Waston. Broken down by war, John is also trying to readjust to a normal human world. While the two men are very different, they are both connected by trauma. John's from war and Sherlock's from childhood. They coped with their trauma by doing what they knew they were good at. Sherlock, living from his mind and John, understanding the human heart.

     As their friendship progresses, Sherlock witnesses John's ability to reason with people with decency. When things get too hard, John doesn't retreat. He carry's on. He doesn't hide away. John doesn't have to bury his emotions with people. Instead he allows his emotions to reach out to people whether in kindness or anger. By doing so, people respect John and want be around him. 

    Overtime and with John's help, Sherlock begins to depend less and less on his mind and instead allow his emotions to understand the world around him. While Sherlock's mind palace has solved many cases as well as saved Sherlock's life, the palace is visited less and less. The prison walls begin to crumble. Sherlock is beginning to rediscover the world again just as he did as a boy. After Eurus is found and saved and Sherlock is no longer a victim of trauma, he becomes the person he has always desired to be. A good man who has a good heart. A man that people can depend and rely on. 

    Sherlock might have solved Eurus final puzzle with his mind, but he rescued her with his heart. His compassion, love, dignity and understanding that had been bottled up for so long came through. He has faced the worst evil and defeated it not with deduction, but with sacrifice. He no longer needs to retreat to his mind when fear or doubt set in. He can handle fear and anger because he's no longer alone. Sherlock knows he can keep himself and the people he loves safe. Sherlock's life is finally his own, and his mind and heart finally able to coincide peacefully. 

Goodreads Reviews: Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

13 year old Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, gears up for his third term at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. After yet another disastrous summer with the Dursleys-that included the blowing up of Uncle Vernon's terrible sister, Marge,-Harry is desperate to get back to his true home with his friends, his sports and no small amount of trouble following behind. Trouble is exactly what Harry will encounter even before he boards the Hogwarts Express.

The Wizarding World is on high alert when Sirius Black, a murderer, mad-man and follower of Voldemort escapes the heavily fortified Azkaban prison. Black is responsible for the death of Harry's parents, Lily and James Potter twelve years ago and many people believe that it's only a matter of time before he gets to Harry.

Harry hits the ground running for his third year at school and must quickly adjust for the changes that have come with it. Hogwarts has enlisted the aid of the fearful dementors, Azkaban guards that Harry shows immense sensitivity to, a shabby but kindly Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher brings a new life and energy to the dreaded class, while the loopy Divination teacher is as foggy as her cheap crystal balls and Hagrid gets a promotion that quickly goes downhill.

Meanwhile, Harry must endure Draco Malfoy who is worse than ever and Ron and Hermione's endless bickering that is putting their friendship at a breaking point. Thank goodness for Quidditch. However, Sirius Black is forever on the front pages and slowly begins to creep to the front of Harry's mind. When a detrimental secret about Black's connection to the Potters is revealed, Harry-once again-disregards all rules and safety to track down the mass murderer before Black can get to him.

Prisoner of Azkaban has always been a consistent favorite among the fans, primarily because of the introduction of the much loved Remus Lupin and enigmatic Sirius Black, two pillars in the Harry Potter story. This book also sees Harry at both his happiest, but also his loneliest and his final understanding that he is different from everyone else and always will be.

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Sherlock Blog Party: The Danger of Sherlolly

     As you may have gathered from the Sherlock tag, I'm not a fan of Sherlolly or really Molly Hooper in general. The truth is I have never really been able to like Molly at all. Sure she's pretty, intelligent, good at her job, she's probably a lot like me in many ways. Molly actually had the potential to be a great character, however, the writer's really messed up with her unrequited love story with Sherlock Holmes. 

  Molly's primary attraction to Sherlock is probably based solely on his looks. The man is gorgeous! Any woman who has fallen for an attractive guy can understand the absolute thrill and delight that this person may actually find you desirable as well. However, more often than not, there's always going to be someone prettier and more interesting than you. A harsh truth, but a truth all the same. 

   Looks set aside, what is also attractive about Sherlock? He's different. He doesn't run with the crowd. He's not the typical guy you meet on the street. And his difference is what has made him an enemy to so many people. However, to other people who find themselves different or on the outside, Sherlock Holmes can be seen as intriguing. 

    To be honest, Sherlock Holmes is not boyfriend/husband material. His intelligence is extraordinary, but anyone who refers to themselves as a 'high functioning sociopath' should be an immediate red flag. He isn't exactly the type of guy I would bring home to meet my parents. I think people love the appeal of Sherlock Holmes; he's a mystery to himself and everyone wants to solve the mystery.

  Women don't always want the ones to be saved; more often than not, they want to be the ones to save others. And that's what Molly wants to do. Be Sherlock's savior. Sherlock is alone, he has severe psychological issues, possible depression/bi-polar disorder. The problem is Sherlock doesn't want to be saved and the only person that can save Sherlock is Sherlock himself. Even when he seems to go off the deep end, Sherlock usually has a reason and a plan.

     Example, in season 3 - episode 3, His Last Vow, Sherlock has to engage in drugs to catch Charles Magnussen's attention. When he tests positive for drugs, Molly takes it upon herself to slap and chastise him for what he's doing. However, Sherlock does know what he's doing. He's putting himself at risk to bring down a madman and he is safe in the knowledge that he can recover. It was not Molly's place to punish him when he was trying to do his job. She certainly didn't chastise him when he needed her help to fake his death.

     I compared Sherlock's unrequited love toward Molly Hooper to Marius and Eponine. Their story was a tragic one too, but the fact was, Marius just wasn't interested in Eponine. He loved the pretty, young Cosette, a lady who had a good father. Nothing wrong there.

      Yet, I find it hard to accept a female character who does nothing but pine away for a man that just isn't right for her.  And yet she's made a living love martyr because of the man's rejection. That's unhealthy and not worth any recognition. If you can only identify with Eponine or Molly because a man rejected them, you must not have much of a life. (I'm not sure how many people can truly identify with Eponine's actual life situation and that's not including Marius)

     Writing a woman that chases after a man who is not interested in her is not a good role model for girls and women. In this day and age, women should be portrayed as not needing anyone (especially a man) to prove their value to. In the time of Victor Hugo, maybe, but certainly not in the 21st century. 

   We gather very early on in the show that Molly's feelings for Sherlock cause her to do whatever he asks of her. 

Break the rules of St. Barts

put her own life in danger 

and even lie to her friends 

Do not forget, Sherlock, while certainly not evil, is a master manipulator. He knows how to get into people's minds, find their weaknesses and use them to his advantage. As a private investigator, you do what you can to solve the mystery and you use whatever sources you have. Molly was a primary source due to her job as a coroner. Sherlock (like everyone else) was aware of Molly's feelings and he knew that he can use those to serve his own work purposes. 
  • Access to cadavers without permission
  • Constant access to to private rooms at St. Barts
  • Using her solely to escape Moriarty
  • Eurus Holmes' own psychotic plan (getting Molly to tell Sherlock she loved him)
  • Only apologizing when he's called out for it (Christmas scene in season 2 - episode 1, A Scandal in Belgravia)

     Molly's constant chasing after Sherlock, a man who certainly is not right for her, is a dangerous sign for young women. In her mind, if she always did what Sherlock asked her, looked the way he wanted her to look, then maybe he'll fall in love with her. There are flaws and red flags when it comes to people and within the first 5 minutes of meeting Sherlock and Molly, we saw immediate red flags.

     Unfortunately, Molly Hooper is the victim of bad writing. After 4 seasons, Molly never changes or grows. She's still just on the show, hopelessly in love with Sherlock Holmes, which badly effects their relationship. Molly has never been able to get a clue and move on. She needed to accept Sherlock as he was and what he was, was not in love with Molly Hooper. However, Sherlock's treatment of Molly did change. Overtime, Sherlock did grow and develop and he become warmer and kinder toward Molly. He eventually considered her a friend. Yet, Molly was never content with that.

    Sherlolly is not romantic. It's an example of a what feelings for the wrong person does to somebody. Molly Hooper simply shows young women that if I just wait and wait or if I just do what he wants me to do, he'll fall in love with me. Or the dangerous idea that you can save an emotionally damaged person. Molly had potential to be the next Mary. Someone the men could depend and rely on. Someone whose own personal experiences could help others. However, at the end of the show, we still see Molly as timid, shy, and unable to move on from her own broken heart.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Goodreads Reviews: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Things don't start well for 12 year old Harry Potter when he goes back to Hogwarts. After a dreary summer with his insufferable magic-hating relatives, the Dursleys, Harry is desperate to return to the Wizarding World. However, a strange meeting with an even stranger magical creature that warns Harry not to return to Hogwarts is only the start of Harry's second Hogwarts year.

When Harry doesn't listen, things go from bad to worse. From the Dursleys jailing him inside for ruining their dinner party, finding himself in a dangerous section of Diagon Alley, not being able to get through the barrier at Platform 9 and 3/4, risking his life in a flying car and getting attacked by a tree on Hogwarts property. Just ordinary life with Harry Potter.

With the new year comes new changes including an eccentric and egotistical Defense Against the Dark Arts professor as well as Harry's nemesis, Draco Malfoy, becoming his rival on the Quidditch field. While all seems to be a typical time at school, strange sounds from inside the corridors, messages written on the walls in blood and petrified students begin to put all of Hogwarts in terror.

A threatening figure from Hogwarts' past begins to reappear which may cause the school to close. And with no Hogwarts, there is no home for Harry. Desperate to save the school and their friends, Harry, Ron and Hermione break all the rules to find and stop who or what this threat is, no matter what it takes. Eventually Harry, still the famous Boy Who Lived will come face to face with not one, but two horrific monsters hidden in the dungeons of Hogwarts.

Still one the best Harry Potter books. Chamber of Secrets was balanced in its storytelling and the mystery element of the 'Heir of Slytherin' that is revealed in the end as Harry's greatest enemy was exciting. Meeting the Weasleys' in The Burrow was exceptionally fun and Gilderoy Lockhart was a riot whether you love and or hate him.

Even though it's the second book, Chamber of Secrets is considered one of the darkest in the Harry Potter series. Dealing with the murder of students, multi-generational racism and the manipulation of a little girl from an older guy are all heavy subjects. The flashback parts to Hogwarts past was also intriguing and seeing young Tom Riddle as a lonely and vulnerable student with the same desperation for a home, just like Harry really makes you feel for him.

A little bit at least.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Would You Rather Fictional Grab-Bag Edition

Cordy over at Any Merry Little Thought has brought back one of her tags
and this just seemed to cute to pass up.

Would you rather, be a tenant of Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley?

- Ohhh...Uhhhmmm....Knightley, I think. I love Pemberly so much though and I would love to have Georgiana as a sister-in-law, but Mr. Knightley didn't have as much emotional baggage either. Ok, Mr.Knightley!

Would you rather spend a day in the 100 Acre Wood or Neverland?

- 100 Acre Wood, definitely. I love Peter Pan, but I've been terrified of Captain Hook since I saw Dustin Hoffman's portrayal in Hook (1992). I mean that man traumatized me as a child and I still have nightmares! The 100 Acre Wood is a little safer. I want to live next door to Piglet.

Would you rather attend a tea party with the Mad Hatter and company or meet the Wizard of Oz?

- Meet the Wizard of Oz.

Would you rather spend a summer at Netherfield with Jane and Mr. Bingley, or at Hamley Hall with Squire Hamley?

- I'm only associated with Pride and Prejudice, (my Jane Austin knowledge is very limited) so I'll have to say Netherfield with Jane and Mr. Bingley. They're so cute!

Would you rather be "rescued" by Gilbert Blythe or Colonel Brandon?

- (This is as bad as the first question)...Gilbert was such a sweetheart, but Brandon also had money...I'll have to say Gilbert Blythe on this one.

Would you rather marry Laurie or John Brooke?

- John Brooke. I always found Laurie annoying.

Would you rather have to participate in a skirmish as a member of Robin Hood's Merry Men, or as a member of the Musketeers?

- I've wanted to be a member of the Musketeers ever since I saw the 1993 film, The Three Musketeers when I was 8 or 9. 

Would you rather have a jolly holiday in a chalk painting or enjoy a tea party on the ceiling with Uncle Albert?

- Holiday in the chalk painting.

Would you rather have to chaperone, through their entire courting experience, Lydia Bennet or Anne De Bourgh?

- Lydia didn't really have a courtship, but I don't think Anne De Bourgh would be that bad.

Would you rather marry Mr. Wickham or Mr. Elton?

- I have no idea who Mr. Elton is, so Mr. Wickham.

Would you rather spend the rest of your life in Middle Earth (starting from the time of the journey of the ring), or Narnia (starting from the time of the Pevensie's first visit)?

- Narnia! Always Narnia!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

The Sherlock Blog Party: The Tag of Ten

Head over to Thunderbird Queen for the blog party rules!

~ A Tag of Ten ~

Would You Rather....

1. Spend a day with Sherlock or John?

- Sherlock. With John I would have to be polite, because I couldn't bear hurting his feelings (or anyone else), however, I could have a good snark fest with Sherlock and feel no guilt at all. 

2. Watch the first episode or last episode?

- The first one. Everything was simpler and just getting started. Our characters still had to grow and learn and understand. The last one was really good, but I hated Eurus, and Sherlock's family keeping her a secret from him was so damaging for all of them. They owed their son the truth.

3. Have Sherlock's mind or John's compassion?

- Compassion always wins out in the end. Sherlock's mind was incredible, but ultimately very damaged and that damage caused a great deal of problems with the society he lived in. The trauma that Sherlock faced in his early life caused him to retreat to the only place he knew he was safe and that was his mind. So he honed his abilities of deduction to push out his trauma and by doing so made himself unapproachable and cut off. He was brilliant, but his brilliance and inability to understand people around him is what made him so unlikable to many and basically an outsider.  

John's compassion however is what won him the so much love and admiration. It's why so many people depended on him, because they knew he would be there. But he didn't allow his compassion to be taken advantage of either.

4. Work with Molly or Lestrade?

- Lestrade definitely. He was such a great guy. I can't stand Molly.

5. Face off against Moriarty or Magnussen?

- Moriarty. While Moriarty might have been devious, he didn't have the extreme intelligence that Magnussen had. That was why the only way to end Magnussen was to kill him. And even though Moriarty killed himself, Sherlock manged to clear his name by bringing down Moriarty's network and therefore, defeating Moriarty once and for all.

6. Be best friends with Molly or Mary?

- Mary. She was fascinating with such a intense background, but also very understanding. Like I said, I can't stand Molly Hooper. I have a problem with women who are forever pining for someone who clearly isn't interested in them. Sherlock wasn't right for Molly, but they kept on making this Eponine/Marius love soap opera between the two of them that just ruined the character.

7. Prevent the events of The Reichenbach Fall or The Six Thatchers?

- The Six Thatchers. Mary didn't need to die at all, even though it provided some great story context for our lead characters. Mary was the most well written woman in the show and really stood out against the other badly written female characters (Molly Hooper, Irene Adler, Sally Donavan, Eurus Holmes).

8. Deal with a grumpy Sherlock or a grumpy Mycroft?

- Mycroft. He doesn't really get grumpy because he knows how to handle his emotions so well. Unlike his brother...

9. Ride in Mrs. Hudson's car or Mycroft's helicopter?

- Mycroft's helicopter!

10. Babysit Rosie or help plan the Watson wedding?

- Babysit Rosie!! I love babysitting and that's how I got my start in childcare! Wedding planning...not my thing at all.

Bonus: Which version of "Sherlock Lives" scenarios would you choose to make canon?

- Probably the one he explained to Anderson. I kind of got lost in the midst of all the scenarios.