1. Snow White's Pizza Palace
, the Rep Club's Christmas show, opened this week, to large and appreciative audiences. I've been getting a lot of approving feedback about my performance, which is nice. (I'm playing the King, Snow White's father.) I've been enjoying it, too; it's been a while since I've done this kind of comedy, and it's not very deep but it is a lot of fun. I'm particularly enjoying the Audience Participation Bit, which inevitably involves a certain amount of improvisation; improv is another thing I haven't done in a while, and I'm thinking I should try to get back into it.2.
My big internet timesink at the moment is the blog Adventures with the Wife in Space
; I'm about halfway through the archive, and keep sneaking just one more post when I should be doing other things. The premise: Neil, who is the kind of Doctor Who
fan who has a bookshelf full of action figures and can tell you many "interesting" facts about the actor in the third rubber suit from the left, and his wife Sue, who isn't, are watching their way through the entire classic series in order, and blogging their reactions. Well, mostly Sue's reactions: she's not a card-carrying Doctor Who
fan and had only seen a handful of episodes of the classic series, so she's seeing it with fresh eyes, and being a blunt northerner she's not hesitant to call it how she sees it. It's hilarious, and at times remarkably touching and insightful.
(And for anyone who's more interested in Blake's 7
than Doctor Who
, check out the entry for The Silurians
, which includes an entertaining aside about Paul Darrow and the Blake's 7
In less happy news, I was disappointed by Sard Harker
, and I think my opinion of Masefield as a novelist has permanently shifted from "sometimes amazing, sometimes disappointing" to "mostly disappointing with one or two shining exceptions". I stop short of saying they're bad -- if you can forgive flat characters and lumpy plots for beautiful descriptive passages, both novels have something to offer; myself, I generally read for characters and plot first, and descriptive passages, however beautiful, can't save a book for me where those are lacking.Sard Harker
is an adventure story wrapped around a South American travelogue: the middle third consists of the protagonist trekking across the beautifully described wilderness to rejoin the plot. (It's one of the novel's big pacing problems that it does feel like the plot goes on hold while the trek occurs, where it might have managed to make the trek feel like the necessary continuance of the plot.)Odtaa
is the same again, except that the travelogue is longer (both in page count and as a proportion of the novel's length) even though the period of time it covers is half as long, and the protagonist is even less interesting. Oh, and instead of the plot going on hold until the trek is over, it carries on elsewhere, off the page; the protagonist eventually emerges from the wilderness (by way of a blatant dea ex machina
) just in time to have missed all the excitement. Masefield appears to have been going for a point about how life's experiences have the value we give them, as the protagonist eventually considers the whole experience worthwhile in its own way; but since the novel has utterly failed to make me care about the protagonist or respect his opinions, this fails to comfort me.
Both novels, taken together, also give me the uncomfortable feeling that Masefield's beautifully described South American republic seems to exist only for Englishmen to have adventures in.
I'm going to read The Taking of the Gry
, since it's there and it's shorter than either Sard Harker
(and the premise seems to rule out the possibility of yet another travelogue), but after that I think I may be done with Masefield-the-novelist.4.
Back to cheerful news: I have a new washing machine. It's a front-loader, the first I've ever used; I'm happy with it so far, though I think my knees and back might be grateful in the long run if I find a small stool to sit on while I'm loading and unloading it.5.
A request for assistance: I have a blogging project in mind which I think needs its own space, not just to be a subset of this livejournal.
Anybody have any recommendations for a blogging set-up to use? To avoid using? Any other pitfalls to avoid?
(I think that I would like to be able to have posts post themselves at a pre-set time. There may be other constraints that I only discover as I run into them.)