30 July 2012

The Dead Witness

So, over the last 6 weeks the only book reading I've done (as opposed to audiobook listening) has been from a collection of Victorian mysteries called The Dead Witness, edited by Michael Sims.  It's about 550 pages and includes short stories, excerpts from longer works, and even a bit from the news of the time regarding Jack the Ripper.

The collection starts with "The Secret Cell" by William Burton, which has apparently not been published since its original publication in 1837.  It isn't the strongest story but is a good start.  Sims proceeds chronologically and brings in some rare stories from outside the US and Britain and several by women authors.  Rue Morgue is the second story but Holmes doesn't show until page 267, showing how many people were writing between the two authors. The quality does go back and forth but it's hard to compare detective stories written by Mark Twain or Arthur Conan Doyle to someone unknown to you

I'll be looking up C.L. Pirkis, who wrote about a woman detective Loveday Brooke, and George Sims, whose detective was an ex-actress Dorcas Dene.  Robert Barr wrote about a proto-Poirot named Eugene Valmont and Hesketh Prichard about a backwoods detective called November Joe, who seems to know as much about life in the forest as Holmes knew about life in London.  Finally, Anna Katherine Green wrote about a society debutante, Violet Strange, whose position allowed her to access to places the police and other detectives could never go.  

Unfortunately, finding more by some of the authors is going to be a bit difficult.  Quickly glancing around amazon found collections by some authors but my library doesn't seem to have them.  However, much should now be in the public domain and i did find a couple of anthologies for free via Kindle.  any book that sends me off to read 4 others gets a recommendation for sure!  a 6 from me and anyone who enjoys old mystery stories should check it out. 

28 July 2012

Wedding post!

I've been silent the last few weeks because I was just too busy leading up to the wedding!  Not really reading, though i was slowly working my way through a book of Victorian mystery short stories, because i could only concentrate for 20 minutes or so.  I was so scatterbrained and will certainly not miss the ADHD feeling i had.  Now, onto the wedding.
B and I.

We got married at a friend's house here in Nashville.  We rented tent, chairs, tables and other various things.  We planned for around 40 guests and I think that's around what we had.  They have a huge backyard and we had plenty of room, even to set up a bar tent.

part of the ceremony area.  stole the sign idea off Pinterest.  We didn't need the umbrellas!

The weather pretty much cooperated; it was hot directly in the sun but under the tent or in the shade was fine. The wedding was supposed to start at 5 but i think we ran about 15 minutes late.  We had music and dancing, plenty to drink and eat, and books on the tables! Several times i spotted people flipping through our decorations!

Probably the first time in four years my brothers and i were all together with our parents.

A huge highlight, besides the actually getting married bit, was seeing so many members of our families together.  Our flower girls were our nieces, one from each side, and they really hit it off!  Our mom's got on great and everyone was so caring and helpful and amazing. 

The Wedding Party, minus the kids.

 My Best Woman D and her partner.  They were so gracious to let us use their house and yard!

More details: we walked out to a couple tracks from The Lord of the Rings soundtrack, Concerning Hobbits and the instrumental version of Into the West.  It was really a Do-It-Ourselves production as most of the decorations we made (those big flowers behind us above, the fans, the bookmarks), were family made (those cool table runners were made by B's mom) or were things we already had (like those books on the tables).  A friend pitched in to tend bar, a different one did the pro photos, a third married us, a fourth made amazing jambalaya for the reception while i whipped up red beans and rice.  B set up the sound system and we made a "mellow" playlist to have running while everyone ate and then a "dance" one for, well, dancing!  

 B and I, first dance was to "Librarian" by My Morning Jacket.  

B's sister and her son.  Had a train gone by during the ceremony, he had a "Pause for train" sign ready to go!  

My brother and his youngest daughter.  She turned 1 the next day!

The kids used the music as an opportunity for a game of musical chairs.

oh, ceremony bit!  Civil, not religious.  We used Union by Robert Fulghum and part of the ruling on the case that legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. Did our own vows and they were great. I couldn't decide what shoes to wear so we all decided to be barefoot, even the officiant!
The ringbearer, my nephew, passes the ring box to the Best Man.

Some part of the ceremony.  

Everything just came together so well. I definitely stressed too much prior to the day.  Not about the "getting married" bit but about organizing for and feeding 45ish people.  That's not what i'm used to doing and our moms, the Best Woman and her partner deserve super thank yous!

Our parents and us.

Ok, I'm done!  Gotta go write more thank you notes.  

Photos by Richard Call Photography, B's mom and my sister-in-law J, mom of the ringbearer, a flower girl and the little one!