Q. What do these two films have in common?
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First: The 1981 miniseries adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's classic novel Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder. This British production ran for 11 episodes and starred Jeremy Irons as the somewhat awestruck protagonist of "no family or money" who becomes entangled in the intense family drama surrounding wealthy and eccentric school-chum Lord Sebastian Flyte. Themes of aristocracy, addiction, decadence, and redemption dominate. The series won several prestigious awards, including BAFTA television awards for best drama series, best costume design, and best actor, and numerous Golden Globes and Primetime Emmy awards in the U. S.
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If you guessed, "These are the two movies personally recommended to the author of this blog by the authors of DarwinCatholic Blog during a jambalaya-fueled, nine-children-strong sleepover, complete with a midnight power outage that necessitated burning their Advent wreath down to waxy nubbins so we could see well enough not to spill our drinks," well, then, you win.
Somewhat improbably, I suppose.
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"This is great, Dad! It's just like a movie!" exclaimed my twelve-year-old when Darwin and Mark brought some candles up to the bedroom that my two oldest boys were sharing with us.
"Yeah! And now's when the monster should come and get us!" chimed in my nine-year-old.
No monsters, sad to say, but I think it will have been memorable nonetheless.
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Despite never going to any official convention-type gatherings, I have been lucky enough to meet several other bloggers (or mail-list colleagues) in person by now. Blogging is an exhiliarating hobby for a semi-recluse like me; to myself I seem more expressive in writing than in person, certainly more comfortable. I love getting to know other people through text, and it's always a little intimidating meeting them in person -- because I know that sometimes there are surprises, wow-your-voice-doesn't-sound-anything-like-I-imagined-it moments.
Not always, mind you. Some of the people I've met have meshed seamlessly with the picture in my head created by their online persona. But there are enough discrepancies to be jarring, and that makes me wonder what kind of impression I produce when I am "finally" met face to face.
Having met the Darwins, kids and all, for two multi-hour visits (about a year apart) now, I have discovered something: Time resolves these discrepancies.
Having gotten to know their online personae pretty well in years of blogreading, I had had a real "wow, you're different from how I imagined you" moment on that first visit. The second time, though, the dual images before us ---- the real people who welcomed us into their big old house and let our kids pack down the snow in the driveway with their sleds, and the husband-and-wife blogging team we know from the combox -- seemed to me to waver and cross, to come together and make more sense. Maybe it was me loosening up (like I said, I'm intimidated by these first-time meetings), or maybe it was the chance to read Darwin Catholic Blog for a year while hearing the real voices of the narrators in my head, or maybe it is just the effects of a few hours' conversation.
I wonder if it's related to an odd thing I noticed: When you're heading out to meet a blogger in person for the first time, and you're on the road with your cell phone and you've got their number, and you need to say "hey, I'll be just a couple minutes late, you'll know me because I'm wearing a red hat"--- doesn't it seem like it would be wrong, a major faux pas, to call them on their cell and make them answer it and listen to their voice? You send a text or an instant message, don't you? Doesn't it feel impossible to do anything else? Am I right?