Monday, June 30, 2008

Marcel Fremont -- Memory Eternal

On Friday Erin Hanlon called me to tell me that Marcel Fremont had died.  She had received an email from Rebecca Sugars and didn't remember if we knew him or not.  I didn't quite hear her at first because I was opening the screen door to cool off our hot condo.  After many contextual clues, I caught the importance of what she was saying.

I personally did not know Marcel, but my hubby did and I said I would relay the message.  When he got home, I told him about Marcel.  He was shocked - I wondered if it was true.  The message could have been relayed incorrectly - perhaps he was just injured.  The hubby didn't think so -- he thought if anyone knew it would be Rebecca, who was a close friend of Marcel's. 

We were both hesitant in reporting this to anyone, but last night Andrei Maciag called to let my hubby know too.

And we were given this website: Marcel Fremont

I personally did not know Marcel well and would not feel comfortable posting a comment there, but I would like to write a little something here.

I remember seeing Marcel my first year at St. John's and thinking him one of the best looking men ever.  He was just very handsome and seemed genuinely kind.  Jen Rogers once recalled seeing him dance in the rain in the uppers courtyard and finding it one of the most beautiful things she ever did see (or at least by her Senior year).

Perhaps it was because we were at small community at St. John's, but there was this inexplicable way that you knew people's names.  So it was with Marcel -- I knew his name, his face, probably exchanged two words with him.

And yet his reputation was one of absolute goodness.  He was known for thoughtful comments in seminar, his music, his helpfulness, his loyalty as a friend, and his playful energy and humor.  There were plenty of people at St. John's who had a less than stellar reputation or no reputation at all, but I think Marcel stood out as a leader.

Which is why his early death is such a sting to those who hear it.  It is a tragedy and we can only hope that people will remember his goodness and try to emulate it in the world.  It is terrible to lose someone so early in life and even more difficult to comprehend when someone so good leaves this earth.

Marcel -- May Your Memory Be Eternal.

Sunday on San Juan Island

Sunday was alas our final day on San Juan.  We decided to take a day trip to Orcas and call it a day.  It was a rather early ferry and a really peaceful ride.  I finished up my baby blankets and the hubbster got some great pictures of the archipelago.

When we arrived at Orcas, we had to go off to the left, so we followed the road to a town I think was called Eastsound.  We had eaten breakfast by then, but it was a restless night on the twin bed, so I wanted my soy chai latte.  We walked around to look for a map (and a soy chai) and found a neat kayak place.  The hubby wants to kayak from Orcas to Sousha Island (I am not sure I spelled it correctly...).  After inquiring about rates, we got a recommendation for a soy chai.  There were a beach north of there from which one could view Sousha, so we went to it, saying our morning prayers, ending with saying them on the beach.  It was lovely.

The blob of land in the sea is sousha island. Yep - at some point we will kayak there from the beach and camp on the island. But, on that day, I just had my soy chai and picked up shells. Lance has a rather Pacific Northwestern picture of me:

Those shorts are not mine - they are my hubby's (but they fit...)

Then we went up Mount Constitution. The hubby suggested hiking up it (he has biked up it before) - I said I did not care about our carbon foot print for this event. I was REALLY sore after running the previous day.

So we got to the top and saw some spectacular views. Here is I am trying to cover up my cellulite.

There was a watchtower (or just a look out) at the top, so we climbed up to see what we could see. This is what the hubby saw:

I saw a boy throw a cap off the tower to his sister below. He got a teacher stare and a request to cease and desist his actions.


I CAN'T help it - I discipline children when I see behavior that needs modification - oh what the heck, when a kid is being a chode, I will call him or her on it!

Anyhow, I got a little dizzy looking down and after trying (without success) to take a picture of a swallow in flight, we left.  There are some really cool group tent sites up there and it would be a fun place for a reunion.

We went to Cafe Olga for lunch. YUM!!! Best food on island and reasonably priced - so if you go to Orcas Island, Cafe Olga is your place.

They had a really good salad that took the place of a traditional pasta salad. It was snap peas cut into half inch pieces, mandolined carrots and red onion, small pieces of bell pepper all in some dressing (very light) that had thyme in it. SOOOO good - I will of course work on re-creating it.

After that, we just cruised around the island, which doesn't take long. We walked around, checked out the cost to rent a moped (too much, just bring a car), and reflected on our journey.

"Do you think this place is less cool if you live here?"


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Saturday on San Juan Island

The plan was this: get breakfast at a nearby bakery, go to American Camp, go the the lavender farm, go to town to the whale museum, go on whale watching tour, go to British Camp, have dinner in Roche Harbor (I continually called it "La Roche Harbor" much to my hubby's annoyance), and see sunset at Lime Kiln (where the local hippies were having a Solstice Whale Singing which allegedly brings the orcas to the shore line every year).

There was a very important battle fought on San Juan Island for control over the San Juan Archipelago between England and the United States.  There are now two parks on the island called English Camp and American Camp.

My husband wanted to visit American camp; I tended toward English camp.  The hubby said there would not be tea and crumpets at English camp, but I was not deterred.  We however, went to American camp.

Apparently this war between the Brits and Yanks was over a shot pig.

And it was an American who shot the British pig.  I will leave you to create your own joke here.

So at American camp you can hike around on the bluffs of the mostly undeveloped land (the Brits at their camp made a garden, dance hall, etc.  They probably had their own design for a dinner plate.).  It is really quite neat...

I am the little ecru blip in this photo heading for the little cliff by the sea. We saw an otter around here - not close up, just in the cove to the left.

Then we saw a BALD EAGLE - it landed 50 feet in front of us! We had seen a woman earlier walking around with a troop of dachshunds and we wondered if the eagle was scouting them out (it would be good eats). It was pretty cool and we tried to get as close as possible to it. I had control of the camera at this point --

--and was able to capture this lovely shot. Now, shortly after the hubby got this close to the eagle, it took off. It was totally him, NOT me, who spooked the eagle. There was a bit of a silent, eye-brow raising, argument between us, but the eagle settled a few feet from us UP the cliff and that stopped the blamefest. It was closer to my husband, so I took a picture.

He said taking the photo made him feel like an ugly tourist. I told him it would be a great shot should he ever run for political office.

"Our next president has shown himself to be patriotic. If there is a bald eagle around, the symbol of a strong and bold America, he takes a picture with it. It's the American thing to do."

Or something like that - some stupid political mumbo-jumbo that is supposed to satisfy the pleebs.

Then we decided to head up the bluffs; saw some salmonberries and got poked by various thistles. As we reached the top of the ridge, we noticed ships motoring toward the nearby waters. Then we saw little bits poking out of the water - it looked like bobbing sticks from our position.


So we BOLTED down there. I know my ancient Mayan and Spanish ancestors might have been runners, but I did not get that genetic make up. Neither did my husband - he is a terrible runner too. But we ran with all of our strength, keys jingling in my pockets, backpack bopping around on his back (he always takes a bag with him full of supplies for cold weather and nuclear disaster).

And we hustled down the path leading to that first cliff we hiked too.

As I was rounding a turn, my eyes downcast to check for rocks or roots that might twist and/or break my ankles, I spied some dark eyes looking at me. I gasped. I thought I was about to run over a little dog and stopped abruptly.

It was a FOX - a large grey fox. Well, he was kinda skinny with a white beard and the had the most delicate black paws. I think I heard him yelp a little - or perhaps scream. An instant later he hopped back into the grass. The hubby thinks we chased him for a little longer, but I am pretty sure he was giving us the paw for scaring him.

And now, for my directorial debut: little one productions presents...ORCAS!

I of course have the most amazing commentary. :|

With this little jaunt, the plans to go the lavender farm were cut and we decided to have lunch by the pier near where our whale watching trip was. Then we would go to the whale museum.

But, I insisted on going to the lavender store downtown (products from the lavender farm are sold there) and had a grand time. The hubby sat on a bench outside the store as I spend our money.

We had little time for the whale museum, but went to check on the cost ($6 - not bad) and perused the gift shop. I was SO tempted to buy a giant squid stuffed animal for Kate and Odious' little boy...the hubby was concerned about getting it in the luggage.

This was shortly before the whale watching adventure - if someone wants to photoshop away my chub I would greatly appreciate it:)

Then it was off to whale watching adventure. Here is one of the examples of my cinematic genius - I think there is even a dork in the video. The word "dork" is (allegedly) the Yiddish word for "whale penis" - which we did see a lot of since the orcas were mating. Look for a bit of pink on the belly of the whale - one of our guides called it the "Pink Floyd". Ew.

**Technical Difficulty - I can't get the video to load**

Ah well, we had a great time whale watching and we had dinner at a lovely restaurant. Then we went for drive in that sort of golden light just before sunset. We stopped by San Juan State Park and saw orcas in the ocean from the shore. A seal in a nearby cove took advantage of our distraction and was flipping about in the water (I saw him:). One of the guides on the boat said that the whales might call our tribe the "OOOOoooo and click" tribe which I found funny cause it is TRUE! On the shores of the state park one woman said "this is better than fireworks!"

I would say that whales and fireworks by themselves are equally cool - now whale + fireworks would be a spectacular show.

Then we drove toward Lime Kiln to see how the singing was going. We took pictures near Lime Kiln (I was wearing my new Dansko Sandals which are not great for hiking) --actually just above Dead Man's Cove and watched a lovely sunset. My hubby got some nice shots of me.

Then I wanted to get some pictures of him with the Olympic mountains in the background. So, the hubbster complied, but as I was directing him, he got a little annoyed.

And I started laughing because the picture pops up after you take it and it was a VERY "annoyed hubby" picture and he starts laughing because he knows that picture must have looked stupid and I was able to get this great candid shot.

So my one lesson learned in the photography session is ''Get the hubby mad at you, then he will start laughing because he is being ridiculous, and then he will give you a good expression".

Then we went the hostel to sleep on a twin bed. NEVER AGAIN will I do that.
On to Sunday!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted... has been SO dreary in Seattle. It was a wet and muggy spring with no sunshine at all. So the hubby and I were super anxious to get out of Dodge to a place that might have some sunshine.

We chose the San Juan Islands - ok, the hubby chose the SJs and planned the whole trip.

First off, I would just like to say that islands are expensive. So, if you do plan an island vacation, prepare for island prices. We were warned ahead of time and planned accordingly. We only ate four meals out over three days - so we did pretty well. We stayed at a hostel, which would have been ok, except we booked a room with two twin beds.

Let me just say that once you are married, you should never sleep with your spouse on a twin bed. It is not fun nor romantic - it is cramped and you wake up with your hip hurting.

We left on Friday for the islands, well, just San Juan (Friday Harbor), and right away we had an activity. I did mention my hubby planned the trip? That means that EVERY moment is spent in ACTIVITY, unlike most vacations where the trip is spent in activity and spurts of inactivity.

No, not us - we were full tilt vacation. I came back sore - and not from hanging out on the twin bed.

So we took a kayak trip about an hour after we got onto the island. It was merely ok - our guide was a part-time organic farmer and had some interesting ideas about the world. However, we had to point out the baby seal that was nosing a buoy and were left to contemplate exactly what kind of fish were leaping out of the water (they were cute little things that reminded me of the "Kiss the Girl" scene in the Little Mermaid - except we were in a kayak with PFDs on).

So, the kayak trip ends (hubbster and guide talked about solar panels for an HOUR...) and we check into the hostel.

I won't even start with some Seattlelites we met there - it could be a REALLY long rant, so I will just say that these two families traveling together took over half the hostel. Seriously - if you are taking a joint family vacation, get a house or condo rental. This ensures privacy for the whole party and you will not have to constantly tell others that your kids are taking a nap or shunning people away from the one of the two kitchens or bathrooms. Those six people took over a kitchen and a bathroom - the rest of us (TEN adults total) were left with one kitchen and bathroom. These people -agh!

Like I said, I should just stop and move on.

So, after settling in the hostel, the hubby wanted to go to Lime Kiln State Park where visitors can view orca from the shores. Honestly, from any of the shores of SJ visitors can view orca (in the early summer months) - they are all over the place.

But we had been kayaking and I was hungry and not in the mood for bluffs and views. So...I got a little goofy.

I was trying to go for a summer on the beach in the Pacific Northwest shot. The Cote de Azur it is not - you wear fleece and hope the rock beach doesn't poke your bum too much. Gosh I am chubby...the cove is called Dead Man's Cove. I do not know why it is called that, but I was not really keen on hiking there.

As you can see from my expression, my thoughts were "Can we eat now?" and "It's kinda cold out here.".  I am often the subject of photos as hubbster only trusts himself with the camera.

Can we eat NOW?

I am off to look for fish and chips - it is really beautiful there, I was just not in the mood.

Then we went to eat at an overpriced pub. The fish and chips were merely ok - the salmon chowder much better. And then we planned out what to do the next say and that was Friday. The next will be SATURDAY - most exciting:)

Pallisers Part 6 - Mr. Finn Goes to London

"Everytime we say good bye...I cry a little..."

Yep - it is the end of "Can You Forgive Her" and the beginning of "Phinneas Finn". It ended well.

I still don't see how Alice is the hero, Kate, except she prevents Glencora from running away/chasing after Burgo. But, since Glencora does stay with Plantagenet, she falls in love (and he falls in love) and they have babies - so I guess Alice had a hand in it.

And Alice gets a man too - Mr. Grey finally showed some real spunk when he proposes. He ain't milk - he's gin :)

Plantagenet also SMILES in this part, a first for him. Very pleased that he could show emotion when he learns his first child is to be born.

The one thing I will credit Trollope with, as well as the series creators, is a smooth transition from Glencora and Plantagenet as protagonists to Phinneas Finn, an Irish ladies' man (bow-chicka...ok,ok, not appropriate...).

Phinneas seems alright - comes to London with big ideas and a lot of spirit. Let's hope it lasts.

The DVD set is sectioned into three parts: red discs, blue discs, green discs. I just have one more disc to go to finish the red ones, and I think I will do one more review of that (so a review of parts 7 & 8).

Then I will do a review of the blue and green discs separately. As much as I love writing all these little reviews, it is a bit much to review every disc or part, so I think just a review of the eight episodes would be good.

So, the next post will also have Phinneas Finn spoilers, so if you haven't read it yet, you might not want to read it (I will tag it).

Kate, you know I am talking to you :)

Overall, I didn't think I would like this series, but it is highly fascinating. The hubbster is always drawn in when I have it on.

But I have a feeling that the plot of the series has been very streamlined from the plot of the book. I own a book called "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Played" that gives an account of life in Victorian England overall - the politics, laws, and money system are discussed in detail (unlike the Victorian Home which is an equally fascinating book, but only describes the home life). I wanted to re-read parts of the book because of all the politics and seasons in the Palliser series.

When I looked up "Can You Forgive Her" in the index and examined the passages, 30% of the time the book mentions characters that were not in the series. So I am sure Trollope's books are much richer and detailed than the DVDs, but some how I think I will watch this series and not read the books.

Unless there are other Trollope books that folks recommend.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Pallisers Part 5 - Oh No You Didn' George!!!

George Vavasor is a jerkface and a half. If I had to list the jerkfaces in the series so far in order of jerkfaciness, it would be:

George Vavasor
Duke (old dude with really bad advice)
Burgo "Fratboy" Fitzgerald
John Grey
Plantagenet Palliser

George smacked Alice around!!! What the heck!!! And he was still shacked up with Jane!!! And he comes at John Grey with a whip!!!


I really like the actor though - he plays the rouge very well...and Alice (as a character) is coming up the ranks in my opinion. She is pretty level headed and I always appreciate that in people (see above remarks - I am WAY passionate).

Oh, and about the Grey and George fight scene - first of all I love that Mr. Scooby (that's what I cal him - the Dodo guy) spilled the beans without knowing he spilled the beans. And the fight scene was REALLY scary (yes, I am easily scared) but the one thing it lacked was good fight scene music. Every fight scene should have really good music.

And I was yelling at the TV during that time: "SHUT UP! OH MY GORSH MR. SCOOBS SHUT UP!!!" (when Mr. S was spilling beans)

My husband, who had wandered into the room to see what I was yelling at, says : "You really like making it interactive, don't you?"

Well, yes - yes I do!

And TEE HEE, my husband has not watched it from the start, but I suggested we watch part 5 last night and he said "I would rather watch something else more interesting."


I said "Fine - you don't have to watch it with me."

So he wanders off and comes back to find me yelling at the TV - then hears the words "Chancellor of the Exchequer" (I so cannot spell it, but I know it is a funky English word). That was all the hook he needed and he sat down and watched the whole rest of the episode with me.

Why would "Chancellor of the Exchequer" be a hook word for him? Well, we watched the Amazing Mrs. Prtichard (which was a pretty amazing series - and short with only 6 episodes) and we now know how the British Parliamentary system works. Granted, it was a bit different during the Victorian Era, but still very similar. Anyhow, I think he felt he would not understand anything (IE it was a "Soap Opera"), but he caught CoE and he got that part.

Why is it that boys need politics to be interested in a drama? It is like in War and Peace - a PERFECT novel, except for all the war and philosophy of history ramblings. Except, most men see it the other way - PERFECT novel except for all the bits where Sonya and Natasha bore them to death.

Anyhow, before I got off on that tangent, I was talking about jerkfaces.

Another part where I was yelling at the TV is when the Duke went to Palliser's uncle (the old dude who is also a Duke) to discuss Palliser's rejection of the CoE seat. I was SOOOOooo mad because the DUKE IS THE CAUSE OF ALL THIS MISERY!!! If Palliser and Glencora had married people they loved, then Palliser could become the great politician he is meant to be because his wife would have understood and supported his choice. Shoot - ALICE gets it! But NOOOOOooooooo the old dude has to have things his way and everyone is miserable.

Well, George caused his own misery, so I guess I cannot place ALL the misery of the world on the old dude, but still - WHAT A JERKFACE! If someone does not tell the Duke this to his face by the end of the series, I will be VERY disappointed.

But the scene I like the best was the opening scene where Glencora flat out tells Plantagenet that she cannot love him.


I felt the actress did a really fine job with portraying the misery Glencora is feeling - that Glencora is still a little girl who has no parents, who still needs to sow her wild oats, who cannot put her feelings aside for duty. I completely empathize which is why I am scared of becoming a parent.

But that is a whole 'nother can of worms, so let's move on to the cold demeanor of the actor who plays Palliser. Does this guy know how to smile? The actor has one expression and it is driving me NUTS. I know Palliser is serious and very virtuous, but I am sure he can give some sense of what he is feeling inside on the outside.

But, again, perhaps that is the character.

Onward to the final episode in the "Can You Forgive Her?" section.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Review of The Darjeeling Limited...

...or How I Managed to Behave in Front of My Husband...

Let me explain why I would need to behave...

See this guy?

Most women would say "HAAAAaaacheee Machee!"

Me: "Meh...he looks like a bloated chipmunk"

Now...this one...

and this one...

even...this one...

(not even kidding on the Harry Potter - back when GoF came out I was in Chicago...and not a Harry Potter fan at all...I saw this cover in the Borders I always hung out in and thought "Whoa! That fictional character illustration is kinda hot!!!" :| Don't judge me!)

So, then I hear Wes Anderson, one of my FAVORITE directors, is doing a movie and I get super excited because this is the movie poster:

I almost fainted...just get rid of the blond, and it is droolfest for me.

Now, if you do look at my profile, you will know that I absolutely ADORE Rushmore; it is my FAVORITE movie and the debut for Jason Schwartzman.

If I was the type of person to say I have a "boyfriend", I would COMPLETELY "boyfriend" Jason Schwartzman!

Anyhow, I also like the plot and characters of Rushmore. It is just the type of movie that appeals to me. Now, I didn't like Bottle Rocket and not just for the absence of the hot menz...the characters just didn't appeal to me.

What I love the most about the characters in a Wes Anderson film is that quite often the protagonist is someone of mean abilities and little intelligence but they are reaching for greatness and with all of the pomp of someone who should rightfully achieve that greatness.

So, the protagonist is quite often like me :D

There is also usually a character (quite often female) who is super intelligent, knows the protagonist well enough to see his weakness, and she knows exactly how to steer the sinking ship (without actually steering - she usually let's him fall on his bum).

And there is a beauty and goofiness to all the proceedings that I just ADORE and ENJOY watching. I honestly think Rushmore is the best work because there is a darkness there, an innocence lost in Max, but then, a come back at the end that makes the film fantastic.

I next enjoy Steve Zisou and then Royal Tenebaums - but they are not my favs.

The Darjeeling Limited attempts to have THREE such protagonists - three very different brothers all trying to come to terms with the lack of parents and direction. All three are very flawed and do not care for each other at all - this idea is well established at the beginning.

I enjoy all the quirks of the characters and the ridiculous situations, but there is no real STORY here. I think the conflict is that the brothers must get to know each other and come to terms with their father's death and feel a need to find their mother for some sort of conclusion (again, an intelligent, but flawed, female who understands her family) - but it is not a very interesting conflict.

I am not compelled to love these characters - at the end of the movie, I sort of understand who they are and their motivations, but the characterisation is so shallow. It is mostly quirks and neuroses.

The set was pretty cool - I really liked the journey and train aspect of it all.

So, I just sat back and contemplated why the above gentleman (sans Pitt) are so attractive to me...and enjoyed some eye candy:)

I suppose it all starts with my father - at least that is what Freud thinks. But I am inclined to believe that we are so attracted to those who resemble us or our parents NOT because we are sexually attracted to ourselves or our parents, but because that is our environment. Our parents, our own features, create a Platonic "form" in our mind of what is comfortable and good.

So, my dad has large eyes, dark hair, thick eyebrows, and a moustache. So, naturally I would be attracted to dark haired men and facial hair.

But not moustaches - NEVER moustaches!

But, somewhere along the line I also found large noses attractive. It could be from watching Bert from Sesame Street (his unibrow was pretty cool) - but I think that my family has some pretty large noses too (me included).

So there you have it - dark men with prominent noses - large eyes and nice smile...longish, slim face...that is pretty much my dream guy...

Which is why I always feel like my hubby is the hottest man in the room...

This is why it was SOOOO difficult to behave - what with all the eye candy in the room! I am seriously lucky to have such a sexy man for a hubby!

Pallisers Parts 3 and 4...

...nothing interesting to note here...just kidding! The series just got immensely interesting and I have to pace myself because I have other things to do.

I figured out Moocher Fratboy's name (finally): Burgo Fitzgerald.

Seriously - who names their kid "Burgo"?

Anyhow, he has made several attempts to abduct Glencora, but she had evaded him. Thankfully - though he did get a kiss (or two) in at the ball.

I say "thankfully" 'cause Burgo "Fratboy Moocher" Fitzgerald has been getting AWFULLY friendly with his own aunt. What is going on with all these people getting too cozy with their familias? Why can't they just stick to the time honored family tradition of talking behind each other's backs instead of getting all physically affectionate? Burgo is just weird :|

Glencora knows that she is weak and it makes me appreciate her character more. The actress also well represented the struggle her character has with some pretty fine acting. So, I guess I *must* like Glencora.

But Alice I am now worried about - especially after Kate's comment that she is the hero. Alice needs to get a spine and toss off George and Mr. Grey! George is now the moocher and Mr. Grey is interferring with the whole business (via Alice's sneaky father).

The scariest part of this disc was when Mr. Grey is giving the money to Alice's father to give to the bank for George (it's complicated, no?) and he says:

*super creepy eyebrow raise* "It won't be a debt...if she marries me...if she'll still have me..." *fade to black*

I do not think I am able to capture the creepiness of it all, but MR. GREY GET A CLUE!!! You're milk (that is BORING) and unless you show some real passion, Alice ain't yours!

There was a rather passionate make out scene with Alice and George that had me rooting for some bodice ripping - but Alice puts the kiabosh on it :( But then again, she is...a hero? I guess I will have to see.

Some of the extras are pretty cool - I am really liking George's policitcal partner. He reminds me of the Dodo from Alice in Wonderland.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pallisers Part II...or How It Got VERY Interesting...

So, here goes my second post of the summer...I watched part II of the Pallisers while I stitched up a baby blanket today (pictures coming soon).

It was MUCH better - totally bit for Plantagenet and Glencora.

She TOTALLY zoned out during the wedding - BWAAAAAAHHH...idiot.

Seriously, the guy she liked before (no clue what his name is, so I will call him fratboy moocher) is a LOSER...he's not even that cute (in the movie). He is living off (from what I understand) Cousin Alice's cousin, George.

Might I add here that I am SOOOOOOOOoooooo glad it is illegal to marry your cousin. It is the same problem with polygamy - too many names. Imagine if your Aunt was also your father's second wife (I saw this on Oprah) - your cousin would also be your brother or sister. Ew.

And if you had to marry your cousin, then your cousin would also be your husband or wife. TOO MANY NAMES!!!

Cousin Alice (Glencora's cousin) was once engaged to George Vavasor!!! (Alice's cousin is George - that is George Adam St. George Vavasor, not to be confused with his father George Michael St. George Vavasor...I read the glossary, so I should know...)

And she broke it off because George had some action on the side. And now she's torn because she is engaged to some total bore (Mr. Gray - she knows she doesn't love him). George knows it (it = Mr. Gray is boring and Alice knows he is boring) and is trying to seduce her. He makes a HILARIOUS scene in this part.

He compares himself to whiskey...


And Mr. Gray to milk!

I guess they don't do vodka in England, 'cause Alice could have a nice white Russian if she played her cards right...

Moving along.

Glencora and Plantagenet make a tour of the Continent and she "runs" into her former lover at the fencing school while he is all tight-trousered and masked.

But Plantagenet reigns her in before she starts throwing herself at him again...she just gets to drool a little before her new husband is at her side. She is SOOO obvious - didn't she have some lessons on how to subtlety ogle guys?

George and Fratboy moocher are in cahoots to take Glencora off the path of virtue - George because he is a rake and Fratboy because he desires Glencora. In his words "I used to be able to touch her and have her melt in my hands."

Ew - do guys really talk like this? I don't think my hubby even in his courtin' days thought like this.

But then what do I know?

And I MAKE A PREDICTION: George is financing this whole operation, but the novel is called "Can You Forgive Her?" so I predict that Glencora gets seduced, runs off with moocher fratboy, does not get any of her inheritance, fratboy drops her, and she goes running back to Plantanget and HE FORGIVES her.

His uncle, in his part, says that Glencora should be allowed her dalliances, but only in the shrubbery and not on the drawing room floor.

Because he has experience with rug burns - seriously, how does...where does know he has some nerve giving his advice to both Glencora and Plantagenet (he received it in part I) because it will only lead to ruin.

Overall impression:

I think all of the actors are quite good, but the style is somewhat stiff and theatrical. I think the only reason I pay attention to the character of George is because he is the only one that seems real. The others seem so...two-dimensional. Glencora is a bit melodramatic, but I think that is her character.

So...on ward to the rest...of the 11 discs..

D@mn and Blast! - The Palliser's Part One Review

I TOLD myself I would write a post every day of the summer holiday and it has all come to naught.

I was so very busy procrastinating from cleaning my classroom that I did not get to write any posts. I did post comments on other folks' blogs, but no writing on my own.

So, here I go...

The Palliser's - I think that is how you spell it.

I received this DVD set from Kate who received it from her mother-in-law. Kate likes Trollope and I had heard things from Mr. Franks (tutor extraordinaire at St. John's).

I thought it would be a COMEDY.

My first clue that this series would NOT live up to that expectation was on the back of the disc case- a word,in a small font in the upper corner: "Drama".

My second clue was the small booklet that comes with the 12 disc set. It contains an overview, history, and glossary of characters.

No comedy I know of contains its own glossary.

Nor is it 12 discs long.

Well, I have never read any of the books, so I just decided to go for it. What the hay!

The first six parts correspond to the novel "Can You Forgive Her?" (yes, I know books get underlined, but I can't underline in this particular program, so I went with quotes).

Disc 1 - Part I: Everyone is SOOOOOOOO happy. Plantagenet Palliser has his nerd love; Glencora has her own passionate love affair.

Then some old women and Plantagenet's uncle get cross and want them to marry each other.

It would be like asking me to marry...a football dude (I am the ultra-nerdy Plantagenet in this scenario and football dude = ultra-hottie Glencora).

With some careful scheming, all goes according to the evil old people's plans - former lovers are driven off and Glencora and Plantagenet find themselves stuck.

The whole series is set up like a play - there are definite sets and (for the time period) some technologically advanced outdoor scenes. The set designs and layout make me grateful for the realism that is demanded by American cinema and television series - and grateful that the British have adapted this style as well (I refer to recent BBC productions). While nowadays television series still have sets, one never feels like a well-placed banana peel could bring the whole illusion down.

But I digress.

One of the better scenes of part I is when Glencora goes to her cousin Alice after she has decided to marry Plantagenet "Decimal Dude" Palliser and says (in my words) "Look - I did what you said! I don't love him! Now my life is over! OVER!!! Thanks a lot @^#*$!". The actress is a little spacey (well, I think that is just Glencora's character), but really pulls off the emotion well.

Then the BEST scene follows where Glencora and old ladies and Plantagenet and his old-and-rather-morally-dubious-rich uncle meet in a field. IT IS LIKE A DUEL - beautifully set up really if you think about the characters and their wills. It is an actual field, not a painted backdrop and there is this tension as the two parties meet together - just REALLY well done.

I would totally have run off with my nerd-lover rather than marry some football/fratboy like character. Fortunately, I did not have to choose. I got my nerd-boy.

Glencora and Plantagenet - not so much.

And I really FEEL for them in that scene. It is a duel of wills, of who might cave first and say "NOOOOOOOOooooooooo - I don't want to marry you".

But they do agree to it in a show of perverse duty. It is a lovely and a REAL punch way to end the first part. You, the audience, are now sucked in - what will happen next? Will she marry him? Will he marry her? Will they fall in love??? See, as most people well know, interesting stories are never about happy people - there must always be a conflict! (And for some reason middle school students don't really GET this idea, which is odd because they have so little power,so you would think they would be all about conflict with their little dramas and tantrums - but they don't...and perhaps it is better that way because they might rise up in rebellion)

And this brings me to the problem of arranged marriages. I listen to this podcast on Ancient Faith Radio ('cause I'm Orthodox like that) and one of the podcasts was about finding the right marriage partner. I listened because I am married, have single friends, and thought it might be an interesting interview.

The gentleman interviewed did have some interesting ideas about finding a spouse, some that I feel come naturally when you think logically about the person you love. It is not easy by any means to think logically about someone you are physically and mentally attracted to, but at some point it must be done.

One thing this guy said that I did NOT agree with is that arranged marriages are a good idea. He advocated that those who have known you the longest would ultimately know what is best for you and that is why your parents should select one's marriage partner.

I think Glencora and Plantagenet would have something to say about that...even Elizabeth Bennett would have something to say! Imagine if her marriage prospects had been ONLY left up to Mr. Bennett...she would not have gotten a husband at all!

While it is true that one's parents and guardians do know one probably better than one knows herself, it is also true that their motivations and vision of a potential partner might be blinded by their own desires (see above Pallisers/evil old peeps).

I see it ALL the time in my line of work (education). Parents pile onto their own child their past dreams and hopes and get frustrated or upset when their child achieves standard below their own. This situation, I find, usually occurs when there is some sort of deficiency in the parents' lives. For example, that mother who MURDERED a cheerleader so her daughter could make the squad. Or this dad at my school who always chooses inappropriate talent show music for this band he has created around his son - the dad has gone so far as to make up BUMPER STICKERS for this band...they are in sixth grade!!!

No one benefits from a parent's skewed vision of their child's abilities - a parent can encourage, but it is selfish to demand a goal for a kid that the kid did not select herself.

So, imagine if such a parent were in charge of finding a spouse for her child - poor Glencora and Plantagenet! They each had such guardians and were not happy.

But we the audience get CONFLICT and hopefully some good story telling!

Friday, June 13, 2008

LAST DAY!!! (And other random thoughts)

It was SWEET! Well, sort of an odd feeling...we were discussing this at the faculty party afterwards. The sky was grey, we were all huddled around with blankets on our lap to keep warm - it felt more like November than the beginning of summer.

And I bought some really cute sandals (Dansko) at REI - just wondering when there will be the requisite sandal wearing weather.

I have been writing a lot lately - I think JK Rowling's recent "pre-quel" set my mind going. Not that it had much to do with my favorite pairing (Lily/Sev in case you have not picked up on that), but it did get the wheels spinning on my own lingering question: "WHY DID SHE MARRY HIM???" (HIM = James Potter).

So, I started the beta search again. Gave the beta this URL, so if you read this: "hi!"

Oh - and I get home at 3:00 ('cause school's out for summer!!!) and my hubby's home! Which was great - not for him because it was a bit of bum day, but we got to spend some quality time together.

I had been wanting to watch a is so fun to snuggle up with the one you love and watch some great film.

I rented Enchanted.

It was not a great film. It was formulaic, offensive (SOOOO many bad stereotypes - especially for African - American females), and sexist-but-not-trying-to-be-sexist (the worst sort).

I was not impressed. I would rather watch Mulan than this (and I haven't watched a Disney film in AGES). Rah - Rah females, breaking out of romantic idealist constrictions whilst "saving" the guy. Ugh!

The hubbster did not think much of it either - it made us agree with Conservatives (for once) that the whole "Hollywood" set of ideals deviates from actual morality. There is a real liberal slant in these "movie ideals" and (IMO) a lack of duty - Kantian and non-Kantian - when it comes to relationships. That it is not easy to be in a relationship, and THEREFORE should not be entered lightly. I certainly wouldn't want my children watching this load of...well...crass commercialism with a dose of prejudice.

The chipmunk was animated well, I will give them that.

I better rap it up - the hubby wants his ipod synced.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No Wonder I Never Received a Thank You...

...the shawl was totally...well, it looks like an oversized placemat.

Let me give you the back story: at the beginning of the school year, a mother of one of our students was diagnosed with ovarian cancer :(

Really nice family and the mom was undergoing chemo and could hardly move. So the family mostly stayed at home to keep her company. So, our junior high teacher team thought it would be cool to make them a gift basket with fun stay at home activities, like movies, board games, snacks, etc. :)

I volunteered to make a prayer shawl. Everyone thought it was cool, and I even finished it up at the staff Christmas party (so the whole of the teacher population thought it was nifty too).

And...I was cleaning out my folders today and found these pics I and the husband took - and realize it looked COMPLETELY wonky. :S

Now I feel really bad that I gave someone some really cruddy stiching - but she is much better, so maybe my lopsided efforts worked...or not. I am just glad she is better:)

The moral of the story: A good effort...will always be a good effort!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Upcoming Posts Schedule... has been awhile since I last posted. I had the Talent Show to organize, then once it was done, I thought "Ahhhh...I'll just relax..."

Boy howdy was I wrong! It has been non-stop grading since because the end of the year is approaching! Several poorly written short stories, final exams, and last lessons graded, I am exhausted and striving to achieve a place where I can write fair report card comments. The students, their parents and I would prefer comments that do not include "useless lump", "demonstrates academic dishonesty", "is a whiny prig", etc. in their phrasing.

It IS a struggle.

My hope is that during the summer I can spend some time refreshing myself so I can enjoy my students' company next September. I might not be able to tolerate a child till July - with the exception of a few cute ones who have not achieved the obnoxious stage that is junior high.

So, a brief outline of upcoming, post school year posts:

1. Martha = FAIL (Martha Stewart - not a student)

2. Against Arranged Marriages/Review of The Pallisers (episode 1)

3. A Review of "The Darjeeling Limited" or How I Managed to Behave Myself in front of My Husband while Viewing the Film

4. I totally rooted for the spelling bee winner and only spelled three words correctly in the televised rounds - also, can ABC network NOT be in charge of televising the spelling bee...EVER!

5. Why the sentence"I want my child 'challenged'." is such a funny thing to me

6. More pysanky designs - and how sitting through an eighth grade graduation ceremony can lead to creative designs

7. My sweater (becoming less of an unidentifiable crocheted object) and baby blankets (on how to make a pile of granny squares something useful)

8. On JK Rowling commencement speech at Harvard and how she is MY HERO - almost as good as Jane Austen

9. Wuthering Heights = Snape and Lily inspiration (I am on to you JK Rowling)

10. Gardening plans...and how Feist is really cool

Lots to look forward to...and maybe some fan fiction