MS1: The Clapham Crook

All right, here we go folks, Let’s see how this goes!

mysterywatch

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: S1E1 “The Clapham Cook”

First of all, you have to know that Agatha Christie’s Poirot is the golden standard of television in my household. My parents love it, my sister loves it, I love it. We’ve been watching and re-watching it for going on 20 years now. Mom and Dad own most of the show on VHS *and* DVD, and it’s our go-to, inoffensive family show for evening dinners and clearing up dishes post-meal. That might be weird- I definitely didn’t grow up on The Simpsons, Friends, or ER, but boy oh boy, we have every episode of Poirot nearly memorized (Second only to A&E’s Nero Wolfe, another quality production).

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Poirot was also the show that my parents would watch at night after I went to bed. Whenever the opening credits start up, piano keys and clarinet (?) and David Suchet’s face in purple triangles on the screen, I’m reminded of hearing the credits emit from my parent’s bedroom as I drifted off to sleep almost every night. There’s a great blog post discussing the main theme here, if you’d like to listen and read some more discussion about the characterization of the song.

The plot of this episode revolves around a missing cook, Poirot’s vanity, and a large leather trunk. Let’s appreciate some beautiful things about LWT’s production of episode 1:

1) the introduction of the First White Lady Protagonist of the series
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Her curls! Her carefully applied rouge! That strangely off-putting lipstick! This show is perpetually washed out and the colors overly muted and often I think this does an unfair job to the makeup in the show. EVERYTHING is SO PASTEL. Especially all of the characters’s faces. It’s a little maddening sometimes- sometimes I find the washed-outness a little distracting.

2) artfully framed shots

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Okay, I love this show, but this isn’t a show that I recall being artful, beautiful, or picturesque from previous watchings- but this episode features a few beautifully-framed shots that look like paintings. I love this shot of Hastings & Poirot in the Common- the feel isn’t unlike this 19th Century painting.

3) Hastings’ ugly sweater. I call this look ‘Confused Uncle at Christmas’

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Hastings exists to say “My God!” and loudly suspect The Obvious Suspects. As Hercule admonishes Hastings in this episode, “He is not guilty just because you do not like him”. In the books, Hastings is a the Young, Silly Foil to Poirot’s little grey cells. I like to consider him a Dumb Lord Peter Wimsey- all the frivolity, none of the smarts. The show portrays him a little older than the books, and a lot more silly, which is sometimes frustrating. I adored Hugh Fraser’s Hastings as a child, but as an adult I’m just not a huge fan, though that’s not by any fault of his own- it’s merely the writing given him. I do have a soft spot for the actor (who, by the way, recently liked a tweet of mine about Poirot. I’ve never felt so famous!) even if I cringe when I watch the show now.

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Is this a diverse show? No, not at all.

Poirot: the show full of white folk, perplexed by a fussy foreigner played by another white dude, pretending to be a stereotype of a different culture that was made up by a single lady that isn’t really accurate?
I’m sure I’ll mention this later on as I discuss other episodes. HOT TAKE: this is a really White Show. I can’t claim to be an expert in British television, but it really feels as though more modern shows with the BBC do a better job of showing people of different races and creeds in more roles, where this show exists in a very strange fantasy of White England.

Okay, but back to the plot. Like I said: Missing cook, large trunk, Poirot’s vanity. Poirot is hired to find a missing cook, a case ~completely beneath his sensibilities~ and he is set upon solving the case! From the beginning of the episode, thanks to our foreshadowing soundtrack, we know that the case is somehow connected to a bank theft. Poirot questions the household servants (including a Maid INSISTING that Cook was kidnapped by, I kid you not, white slavers) and is quickly dismissed from the case by his client’s husband… but of course, he insists on completing the case regardless of his client.

By putting a notice in the paper – I absolutely adore vintage mysteries for things like this: putting an ad in the paper, sending a telegram, consulting the Who’s Who … these things may not be so much a part of society now, but back in the day it was the most effective way to get information – Poirot locates our missing Cook, who was awarded an inheritance on the condition that she took ownership of the house immediately! The show takes us into the country, where the Cook now resides.

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INTRODUCING THE SWEETEST OLD LADY IN THIS SHOW EVER ACTUALLY
We’re only on the first episode but I want you to know is that no one more delightful is ever on this show again, we might as well stop here. Cook is DELIGHTFUL and SWEET and her little house is so WEE but of course, she has been bamboozled in some way.

Agatha Christie was a pretty decent fiction writer but she loved the ~Person in disguise~ trope and used it often. In this case it’s a man pretending to be an Australian wearing an elaborate fake beard.

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Poirot: A Show About False Beards

Sometimes the beards or wigs are better than others. Try and guess next time you watch an episode which character is pretending to be someone they aren’t! You might be correct… or they might just be wearing a bad wig. You never know!!

So, this plot is convoluted: the missing banker isn’t missing, but *lightning flash* MURDERED! and the Cook was lured away from her home so that her trunk could be stolen in order to hide the CORPSE of the missing banker! *lightning flash* Ah you see, the most straightforward murder plot pretty much ever.

My favorite part about this episode is that Poirot tells Scotland Yard to look for a trunk that is containing a dead body and then we see a montage of officers carefully inspecting tiny parcels looking for CLUES.

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My notes from watching this: “Great job policemen A+ searching there”

But eventually, the trunk IS found and it DOES contain a body and it is MURDER and Poirot catches the bad guy, literally by yelling “STOP THAT MAN” from a balcony- the strangest, most hands-off and completely underwhelming chase in history.

The show ends with Poirot declaring that All Cases Are Important even though historically Poirot remains vain and will still turn cases down whenever he pleases. I’m sad because I’d really like to know what happens with Sweet Cook and her Bamboozlement, but alas, that’s not to be.

Overall, this episode was beautiful, charming, and totally convoluted.

False Beard Count: 1
Luggage as a Plot Point: 1
Hastings Astonishment Ranking: Level 2

Live Posting

I’ve been thinking a lot about posting about random things and talking about my life more but also I have wanted to start doing a MURDER MYSTERY BLOG thing, and while I could make a separate blog about how much I love old murder mystery shows, why commit before I’m rich and famous?

So anyway, pretty soon we (and by ‘we’ I mean me and YOU, the reader) are beginning a joyous journey of MYSTERY WATCH with brittneigh!!

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The plan is to start at the beginning of Poirot and blog/discuss/mention each episode until the Curtain (which I have never read nor watched and before today have refused to watch). Whether I actually accomplish this remains to be seen, however, I have grand plans.

C, my lovely boyfriend and partner, is skeptical of this idea, and I quote, “Why don’t you start with Miss Fisher or a show people actually watch?” and I’m still VERY OFFENDED he even suggested that CLASSIC POIROT is unwatchable in some way (I think my love for Poirot is one of those things that makes C doubt his love for me in some way, alongside my desire to someday wear an elaborate outfit completely covered in leopard print).

Regardless, I’m going to give it a go! it should be fun !brittkneeeeeeee

2 years

Wow! A whole lot can happen in 2 years. Like, just about everything you can imagine:

  • C moved from Oregon to Texas to live with me
  • We lived in a 400 sq ft studio together for A YEAR and didn’t murder each other (and actually came out of it pretty happy and wow, that is just crazy, isn’t it?)
  • We moved into a bigger apartment with a dishwasher and also FEWER COCKROACHES
  • We got a cat??? I never thought I’d own a cat. But he is orange and cranky and full of purrs and my little lion friend. IMG_20161113_201450.jpg
  • I somehow survived and also graduated from my Master’s program?????!
  • I somehow had a tan when I came home for the summer
  • I have a full time job in my career field now??
  • I saw DOLLY FREAKIN’ PARTON LIVE and my life has changed for the better (more glitter, always)
  • UT got a new Bevo, a BABY BEVO and he’s adorable and I love him.
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But seriously. So many things have happened, and I’ve really missed this silly space! I’m not sure. I miss having some searchable record preserved in the internet about my life- I think grad school is the first era since before junior high where I haven’t kept any form of online blog (I’m not sure if Twitter really counts), and I really, *really* have missed posting photos and lists and talking about my life. So I am thinking that I’m back.

Of course, this space is going to continue to be what it is, and that is a mish-mash jumble of jokes and free-writes and nothings and lists and stupid things I feel like posting, because I’m not sure i have the attention span for anything else. So to all of my new friends, hello! I hope you enjoy my writing, even if you already see a lot of my life on twitter. And to my old friends, hello! I miss you dearly.

That’s it. I think. And more to come.

BRITTNEIGH IS MY NAAAME-O

Being a bad blogger

Man, I SUCK at keeping this updated.

Here are a few lists of things I have been thinking about:

Tower.

THINGS I HATE ABOUT TEXAS
cockroaches the size of a tennis ball
mosquitoes everywhere
mosquito bites
the itching that goes with mosquito bites
the swelling that goes with mosquito bites
smelling like bug spray & SPF 50
forgetting to put on bug spray
forgetting the bug spray at home

Yessssss!

THINGS THAT ARE GOING PRETTY OK
I don’t have a dishwasher and I am doing ok at doing dishes every week!
I don’t have a washer/dryer and I am doing ok at hand washing everything I own every week!*
I have actually been going to the gym 2X a week!
I am not completely sucking at being a student!
I really like the BBQ here!
I worked** a football game and had a FIELD PASS and that was pretty okay!
I have been DRIVING in AUSTIN and that is AMAZING OKAY REALLY
I also made spaghetti last night and that was great
I have been going to happy hours with class mates and I have met some really really awesome people
I got an ENORMOUS couch and it is gray and I have yellow throw pillows and I love it.
I have been decorating my house and it is really coming together and I love my apartment so much. ❤

*minus jeans, slacks, and bedsheets, but you can't win them all.
**By worked I mean I stood on a corner and Looked Official and then went home. It was GREAT.

No, really, Texas is fantastic. And I’m not only saying that because I haven’t had a cockroach in my apartment for five whole days now. Count them. F-I-V-E. I’m sure I just jinxed it and there is now a spindly icky enormous cockroach wriggling its way into my apartment right now and that when i come home it will probably be somewhere terrible, like my bed, but whatever. I’m on a heckuva good streak right now and that is basically the best.

Classes are good. I’m in the midst of a multi-week series of Giving Presentations Every Five Minutes and that really sucks but it’s do-able… even though I am already reverting into being a Terrible Student again and I need to find a way to focus even though I feel burnt-out and braindead.

Like I mentioned earlier, this weekend I was a staff member at the UT v Baylor football game and while losing really sucked, it was fun to be on the field, watch the game happen live, and also to stand in front of Bevo the bull and wish with all my heart that I could pet his nose, just once.

BEVO!!!!

ISN’T HE ADORABLE!??!?!?!

In semi-related news, I have yet to invest in any form of taxidermy while I’m here, but I still have time. I’m somehow going to get me a set of long horns even if it means I don’t get to eat for a month.

But really. Things are great. While I’m still occasionally overwhelmed by how distant everything I know is, I’m doing awesome and having a fantastic time. I’m thankful that I have Thanksgiving & Christmas break to look forward to, but in the mean time, everything’s coming up longhorns. Or roses. Or something.

settling in

I’m getting more settled. I’m getting more used to the heat and humidity and the pace and the not-knowing-people and knowing where I am (ish).

Moving here has really solidified my complete lack of directional awareness. People keep pointing North in everyday conversations and all I can do is smile and nod. It’s incredibly frustrating. I admit I’ve never devoted much effort in truly learning my directions, but even the little I can do feels lacking. I took a walk and attempted to retrace my path in my head at one point, thinking I had travelled in a zig-zag pattern, only to turn a corner and discover that I’d walked in a circle!

That has to be metaphorical, somehow.

Grad school is fantastic. I’m simultaneously enthralled by the subject matter and overwhelmed. Management and leadership skills intertwine with academic affairs and the like. I still don’t have a clear direction (ha! directionless) on where I’m going to end up, but I’m going to keep walking, even if it’s in a circle.

In the meantime, I’m trying to focus on school and not spend money on things shaped like Texas.

I miss home. I miss the social network, I miss understanding what I’m doing at work, even though I thank my lucky stars I no longer spend any time filing documents… so far!

But it’s all right. I’m getting settled.

Moving from OR to TX!

Hi guys! I’ve been here for almost an entire week and so far am doing really great! I have been very lucky to have a ton of help from friends and new acquaintances this last week.

Here’s a breakdown of the last few weeks for me:

I moved out of my first solo apartment downtown. 😥

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Not pictured: sticky marshmallow-chocolate hands

I then went on a week-long beach trip with my girlfriends from high school! This was wonderful. It took me about four days to be able to relax and enjoy the fact that I had nothing to do and that was okay.  We did a lot of sitting around doing nothing, hanging out on the beach, eating roasted marshmallows, drinking, and being silly.

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We climbed the Astoria tower!

I came home and immediately went on another week long trip. This time to Manteca, CA, where I met most of my boyfriend’s family and saw his nephew perform in the musical, Suessical, Jr!

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Yep, that’s the guy 🙂

I finally came home to my parent’s house for a little over a week, bummed around a lot, packed, panicked, and then had a wonderful going-away party thrown by some of my dearest friends.

SERIOUS FACES

This is a group of them being VERY UPSET that I left

It was a really nice party. Even though I tripped in a gopher hole and had to ice my ankle for the following two days.

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And then I flew to Austin, Texas! So far all of my photos are instagrams, so I apologize for that. It’s great here. I am getting more and more settled into my apartment and am acclimating to the heat. I’m still sleeping on an air mattress, but now I have a table/desk and chair, a microwave, dishes and a couple of fans! I have spent SO MUCH MONEY in the last week, it is mind boggling. But I am doing great, I think!

Things keep getting real-er!

I’ve been to two orientations, received a free t-shirt, bought myself a longhorns shirt, and attended Gone to Texas last night.

Tower lit up for the class of 2018! #gonetotx

I haven’t really met that many people so far, but I’m doing pretty good. The campus is lovely and about a 15 minute walk from my house, even if it’s like 50%+ humidity.

Austin is beautiful though. So colorful! I’m having fun slowly exploring the city! I haven’t made it to the trendiest of spots yet, but to be honest, I’m okay with that. I’ll hit up the trendy spots eventually, I’m sure.

#tiger

Church on my walk home.

The biggest thing about Texas I have noticed so far is that Texas is on EVERYTHING. Even the eggs.

Eggs! #texasiseverywhere

So far, so good! I’ll be back later with more updates!

 

BRITTNEIGH IS MY NAAAME-O

stagnancy

I admit, I’ve been a little stagnant on here, lately. I’m not really sure why. The initial excuse was because work got INSANE this tax season. And then I was busy with my new(ish?) boyfriend. And then I’ve been busy with moving out of my apartment. And now I’m busy with quitting my job. MY LIFE IS INTENSE, OKAY?

I think a big part of my lack of writing on here is that for the first time in awhile, I am being forced to constantly express myself to the people around me. More and more people are popping in and out of my life and wanting to say something (usually hello or goodbye) to me before I leave. And they all ask me the same questions, most of which I’m going to answer in this post.

Also I’ve been blocked on twitter at work for the last six months, which… really is where I get 90% of my material. Hopefully I can start tweeting often again soon. I really miss my twitter buddies.

So let’s try to start from scratch!

Facts about me:

My name is Brittknee, Brittneigh, Brittnooooooo. Yes, all three.
I spell my name these ways because nobody ever gets the legal spelling of my name correct anyway and also these ways are way cooler and much more me than anything else.

13/30! #me #selfie #selfies #blue #30dayselfie #ABeautifulMess
Yep, that’s me, but I bet you knew that.

I’m about to move from Portland, Oregon (land of hipsters, craft breweries, and rain) to Austin, Texas (land of hipsters, craft breweries, and heat).
I’m starting a graduate program at the University of Texas. When I am done, I’ll have a Masters in Educational Administration, which means that I’ll have a Masters degree to work at higher level administration in academia. I’ll hopefully eventually end up running a tutoring center, but we’ll see where I end up.
I have a graduate assistantship in my department and I start almost as soon as I get to Texas. I’m simultaneously terrified and excited.

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Yep, that’s Austin.

I am only taking four suitcases and attempting to minimize my life. (So far I’ve taken six loads to Goodwill, only more are to come!) I move out of my downtown apartment tomorrow and have… significantly more than four suitcases worth of stuff. Hopefully I can make a little more headway into that in the next month.

I haven’t seen my studio in Austin yet, only a few craigslist pictures. Google Maps tells me it’s a fifteen minute walk to campus / the building I’ll be doing most of my work at, so that’s a relief! I have yet to see how I fare walking around outside in extreme heat.

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This photo is almost ten years old! I’m not in it, but I was there.

Next week I am going on vacation(BABECATION) with a group of my closest girlfriends. The plan is to sit around, read romance novels out loud to each other, and eat a lot of food. We’ll be on the Oregon coast for six days- a perfect goodbye to my beloved west coast. After that, I’m off to California to meet part of my boyfriend’s family for a few days. Hopefully I’ll get to spend some quality time with my parents in the weeks following before I move.

Man you guys. This summer is already crazy and I haven’t even done any of these things yet!!

BRITTNEIGH IS MY NAAAME-O

HOLY CRAP, YOU GUYS

(On one hand)

I AM ABOUT TO QUIT MY JOB… THIS THURSDAY!!!

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I GO ON VACATION NEXT WEEK!!!

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I WILL BE UNEMPLOYED FOR ALMOST AN ENTIRE MONTH!!!!

troy

I’M MOVING TO AUSTIN IN 45 DAYS!!!!

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I am SO ridiculously excited! I have prepped for three different graduate programs and never gotten as far as actually going. I’m getting rid of most of my possessions and moving and going to live in a new place and that is so incredibly cool. I’m thrilled to quit my job, not work, vacation, travel around, and pack for the next month.

On the other hand… This is me whenever I think about actually leaving.

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And saying goodbye to the people I love (even though it’s temporary).

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It’s ridiculously bittersweet. I keep feeling like I’m dreaming, you know? Like, there is no way the plans I have for next month are actually about to happen to me, rather, they must be happening to someone else. Or maybe I died? Like, awhile ago? And I’m just a ghost and I don’t know it? It’s a weird sensation to describe.

Thursday, I quit my job.
Friday, I move back into my parent’s house
Sunday, I go on vacation.
Tuesday after, I go meet my boyfriend’s family.

August 20, I land in Austin.

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