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Showing posts from July, 2018

Downton Abbey Reflection: Part Three

I do not claim to be any sort of professional critic, but over the years I have read a lot of praise and criticism for Downton Abbey and have formed a lot of contrary opinions to much of it.  I am not sure if it is because perhaps American viewers do not understand British television, or if perhaps I am just an ignorant viewer.  In either case, I will enjoy expounding on my thoughts about certain criticisms I have read over the years.  Please note, this post will contain spoilers for those who have not seen the show.

One of the strongest criticisms I read was regarding the rape scene with Anna Bates in season four.  Some of the criticism I read about this detailed how this violent and "gratuitous" scene was a departure the series, unnecessary and gruesome.  I read this review before actually seeing the episode, so I was on the edge of my seat expecting something far different than what was portrayed.  Perhaps in contrast to the elegant opera singer performing for guests upst…

Downton Abbey Reflection: Part Two

One of my favorite aspects of Downton Abbey is that often the most climaxing parts of each episode actually occur off camera, while what viewers see is the fallout from these story lines.  For example, the weddings between Sybil and Tom, or Mary and Matthew, we see the lead up, we see some fallout, but we do not have to endure a drawn out wedding scene.  Julian Fellowes allows these things to take place in our imaginations, freeing up time for the dry humor and gossipy byplay that this series is so good at.  This post will contain spoilers for those who have not seen the series.

This tactic allows for a little extra mystery.  You'll see a scene where Mrs. Hughes gets ready to share the details of some scandal with Mr. Carson.  Before the cut scene, you get a glimpse of an expression on her face, but by the time the cameras return to this story line, the conversation is over and we are dealing with the reactions.  This affords us the opportunity to imagine Mr. Carson's response…

Downton Abbey Reflection: Part One

It has recently been announced that there will finally, officially be a Downton Abbey movie.  My love for this series must be well known, because at least five people sent me news articles to let me know!  In anticipation, I have been re-watching the series from the beginning (again), and I always find when I re-watch it reminds me of things I questioned at first, or detailed I may have missed.  If you have not watched the series in full, this post contains spoilers.
One thing that always gets me is the whole dilemma with "Patrick Gordon" during the war.  Patrick Crawley, as we know, was the heir to Lord Grantham's title and estate.  He was reported killed in the sinking of the Titanic.  However, years later, a man claiming to be Patrick Gordon arrives at Downton Abbey as a patient recovering from war injuries - injuries that leave his face unrecognizable.
During his stay, he convinces one of the daughters that he is, in fact, Patrick Crawley.  His story is that he was r…

Review: Watching Baseball Smarter by Zack Hample

One of my newest pursuits, as I am done school and have a new and unfamiliar amount of free time, has been understanding baseball.  I am educating myself on its history, strategy, rules and analytics.  This is all in an attempt to successfully play Fantasy Baseball next year, but it also satisfies my love of math and statistics. 

Six months ago, what I knew about baseball could have been summed up by saying this: "Some dude takes a bat and hits a ball and some other dude tries to catch it."  Not very intricate.

Over the last few weeks, I have watched Ken Burns' Baseball: A Film, which is a long series depicting the origins and history of baseball.  This series is so well done.  The commentary is fantastic, but best of all is the original (and probably quite rare) early photographs and footage.  This series educated me on the long history of baseball from its rules, the early players, stadiums, racial segregation and media coverage.

From there, I purchased myself a set of…

Now What?

As my life as a graduate student comes to an end, I am surprised to find myself in my current mental and emotional state.  I fully expected to be overjoyed, bouncing off the walls and brimming with excitement, but so far I just feel tired (and many of my classmates have mirrored this sentiment)! 

Perhaps I need a few more days to let it sink in that I have achieved this major accomplishment.  Not that I am so much smarter now that I have a master's degree (though, let's be honest, I am), but I have reached the finish line in a long race.  I have written thousands upon thousands of words and read even more in case studies, compiled projects and participated in what seems like countless academic discussions.  I have become a little more of who I am as a person, as a student and most of all, as a leader.  As different theories have resonated with me, I can feel that I am truly better equipped now to move forward in my career.

But at the same time, my academic pursuits have been a…