Waffle Dreams, Part 1: Batter Up

•August 24, 2012 • 1 Comment


Some 1:00 a.m. silliness For a Twitter friend

Fanny sat up reluctantly, unable to ignore the sound of the cock crowing any longer. She reluctantly threw off the thin blankets and drew her legs up beneath her woolen chemise as the cold nipped at her toes. Sighing, she squinted as her hazel eyes, trying to adjust to the dark room and steadily avoided looking at the large pile of laundry against the wall. She sighed again as it all came into focus, as it did every morning. Putting off the washing was easy since her husband had passed over a year ago. No one ever visited the lonely little cottage at the base of the mountain, and so it mattered little if stains from yesterday’s pottage or cooking grease besmirched her aprons. It would be seen by no one but her. Her alone.

Fanny moved quickly now, rising and sorting through the pile of dingy linens, randomly tossing on a few pieces that weren’t too badly stained and that she hoped would be warm. She pinned her loose, untamed curls atop her head and wrapped herself in her only shawl, though she wondered if the holes appearing in it made the effort worthwhile. Finally, she pulled on a large pair of boots, boots much too large for her own small feet. She smiled briefly as she slid her legs into her husband’s old boots, blowing a stray piece of black hair from her eyes as she gazed down at them. She kept them polished and mended as best she could, and they still gave her a familiar, warm sensation as she slid them on. She pulled them over her knee and halfway up her soft thigh. Her husband had been a large man, and his clothing dripped off her petit frame on those occasions when she chose to wear them. Her smile and remembrances were short-lived, however, as she stood and steeled herself to face the day. She moved quickly towards the door, lest the memories flood her mind and sadness overtake her.

Fanny passed from the tiny bedroom, through the larger area that passed for a kitchen and common room, and tugged at the old pine door. It protested loudly, creaking and shuddering as she pried it open and stepped through; outside the wind howled as a multitude of black-dappled autumn leaves whirled past, several of them blowing into the little house. More to sweep later, Fanny thought listlessly as she stood in the center of the yard, looking around the small homestead. A cow stood in the remnants of the once whitewashed barn, waiting to be milked, something she would have to do first. The eggs needed to be collected and the hens tended to, the water fetched . . . a whole host of morning chores suddenly made her weary as the cock crowed once again.

Fanny rushed through the simplest of the tasks first–fetching water and milking the cow. She then hurried to grab the wicker basket and collect the eggs. She was still wiping sleep from her eyes as she stumbled towards the henhouse, careful to avoid the cracked and broken floorboards within. The hens flapped and cackled as she called out to them, “Halloo Margery! Good morn’ Hilda, dear!” She reached into the nests, happy to have found two or three useable eggs for the day. When she turned to check the one remaining nest, however, she froze, her cheerful tones dissipating in the cool morning air.

Not far from her lay the figure of a man. She could tell he was tall, though not perhaps so tall as her husband had been, but certainly . . . well-formed. He lay on his side, his dirty white shirt torn open to reveal a long gash in his upper arm that reached up to his rounded, muscular shoulder. His skin was tan despite the approaching autumnal season. Fanny swallowed hard, almost certain he couldn’t be from around these parts. She forced her eyes away from the well-biceped arm and examined the man’s face. Long strands of damp blond hair lay across his rounded, yet rugged cheek and clung to his full lips. She swallowed hard, willing her feet to move, ordering herself to turn and run back to the house where her husband’s bow and arrows lay in the corner of the common room. She knew how to use them and was a fairly good shot. Circumstance had forced her to learn quickly.

But her will failed her, fear giving way to curiosity, compassion, and something else she dare not name. She stood unmoving for a few moments longer then put the basket of eggs down and went to the stranger’s side.

“Hello? Can you hear me?” Fanny stroked the man’s arm, careful to avoid the laceration. Her eyes spotted a black, ebony-handled dagger emblazoned with several odd sigils tucked into his belt. Her fingers did not hesitate to slide across his waist and remove the surprisingly long dagger from his belt. She also spotted and removed a smaller dagger protruding from the man’s boot, as well as a small vial containing a thin, red liquid. She had no idea what the concoction might have been or what mischief such a thing could cause and so disliked touching it.

A groan caused Fanny to jerk back as the man stirred and righted himself quickly in one smooth motion. His head snapped around quickly, and his eyes fearlessly surveyed the scene before him.

“I . .. er, you are in my hen house.” Fanny said stupidly, “You are hurt.”

The man may have smiled slightly. He glanced down at his arm, shaking the fine hair back from his roguish face. He looked up at Fanny and nodded. Fanny tried to tear her gaze from his eyes but found herself quickly sinking into their depths. His eyes were not unkind, but there was a whirlpool hidden within them that threatened to take her in and drown her.

“If you like, I can help you. I can tend to your wound and maybe get you something to eat if you are hungry. There isn’t much but . . .” What was she doing? Stop, now, she told herself.

“A man is grateful for a girl’s hospitality.” A smile played across his lips,”He will follow her.”

The man’s voice slid across her skin like the fine sheen of silk, causing a strange cinching sensation in her midsection. An involuntary shudder shook both her body and her nerves. There was no possibility of changing her mind now. She looked up at the man who now stood, towering over her, his smooth, tanned chest exposed, and the remains of his damp shirt hanging in folds around his taut stomach.

“A girl will lead the way?”

The sound of his voice once again sent a jolt through her body, and she turned quickly, snatched up the basket, and led him toward the cottage. She could feel him close behind her as she walked toward the house as quickly as she could in the oversized boots. The boots that now housed the man’s weaponry and potion. Was she indeed insane to let him into her home? He must know she has disarmed him, and yet he seemed unconcerned. How did he know she wouldn’t use them against him or that her husband didn’t wait in the house? Such confidence would have been insufferable in a lesser specimen.

Fanny opened the door cautiously, hoping that this wouldn’t be the moment it finally fell off its hinges. She risked a glance back at the man and saw that his eyes were everywhere, taking in the scene before him: the dilapidated door, the old bow in the distant corner, the small pine table . . . and her. Fanny swallowed hard and led him to the small cooking area, still clutching her basket. She sat the basket down and retrieved a heavy iron pan, gripping it tightly and wishing the bow wasn’t lying all the way across the room.

“A girl lives alone?”

It was posed as a question, but she knew he saw the truth. Still, she found herself answering, “Oh, my husband is out, but he will be along shortly.” The weight of the lie hung in the air between them, until the man finally nodded, his expression unreadable, though she knew he would not be fooled so easily. Not by her anyway.

“What is your name then?” Fanny asked as she turned and cracked the eggs into a wooden bowl. What am I doing? I should tend to his arm first! He must think I am an idiot. But the idea of touching him made her tremble so badly that she nearly dropped the bowl at the thought of it.

“A man is called by many names. Today he is called Jaqen H’ghar. What does a girl wish to be called today?”

“My name is Fanny. Every day. I have eggs and . . .” Oh dear. There certainly weren’t enough eggs for the both of them. But she had milk and water. “I could make . . . waffles?”

“Waffles? A man has not had such a delight in many months. Yes, my thanks indeed.”

Fanny beamed, delighted to have done well, and began adding milk and molasses to her confection. She turned and surveyed her shelves as she stirred.

“I also have berries.” She turned her head to look at Jaqen and found that he now stood directly behind her, his tattered shirt stripped off, and his hard, nut-brown chest exposed in the chilled air. Fanny tried to keep hold of the batter and the wooden spoon as her gaze roamed the expanse of his broad shoulders and slid down to the well-defined rippling abdominal muscles.

“A girl requires help?”

Fanny spun back around to stare at the faceless shelf and tried to concentrate on the canister of berries in front of her. Before she could answer him, however, she felt two strong arms slide past her waist. One large hand reached out to support her own as it held tightly to the wooden bowl, while his other hand firmly but gently encased her own quaking fingers, still clutching the battered spoon.

Fanny stood motionless, gaping as she watched her hand, wrapped in the warmth and safety of Jaqen’s grasp, stirring the thickening batter in the bowl. She gasped as the rocking motion of his hips against hers became more insistent as they stirred until she could feel his growing need in the small of her back.

“A man likes to help in the kitchen,” Jaqen’s husky voice whispered, his soft lips brushing across the tip of her ear. Fanny’s eyes closed and her mouth fell open as she imagined those lips, that voice moving across her skin. She leaned back into the hard strength of his body, succumbing to the rush of warmth that now rippled through her. She fully submitted to his embrace as Jaqen nestled his face in her warm, sable hair and kissed the nape of her neck.

“A girl smells of blackberries. Ripe, sunny blackberries,” he whispered.

“Blackberries,” Fanny murmured, her senses on fire, “I have those . . .”

Before she could say more, however, Jaqen raised the batter-filled spoon from the bowl and let the mixture drip across her slender wrist. She watched curiously as he lifted her dripping wrist to his lips and his tongue expertly flicked the sticky drops of batter away. His mouth continued to travel along the delicate skin, coming to rest in the crook of her arm and sending another hot wave of desire through her very core.

“I think the batter is ready,” Fanny began, but before she could finish her thought or stop herself, she impulsively turned and drew the spoon across Jaqen’s exposed neck and shoulder.

“I’m sorry,” she quickly apologized, recalling herself and blushing furiously.

“A man forgives.” Again the smile. A smile that now seemed predatory. A smile that claimed ownership.

But she didn’t care anymore. Fanny latched onto Jaqen’s neck, sucking the sweet batter from his salty skin, relishing the smell of vanilla and masculinity that rose from his body. She made no protest as his large, sure hands pushed the layers of loose clothing from her eager body and guided her toward the small pine table behind them . . . .


Ok, now who wants to write Part 2? 😉


Movie Review–Keeping Mum

•August 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

First let me say that yes, I am late reviewing most of the movies I see. Years late. It is called having a baby/child and no one nearby and available for babysitting and therefore not getting out of the house for many years. With the advent of Netflix we do now get to have at least several of the videos lying about for months at a time, though we rarely have the time to actually watch them. So most of the movies I see have been in our queue of about 300 flix for some time now. Live with it. I do.

My Rose rating system for a film goes as follows:

Image This is so bad that it isn’t worth writing about.  Reserved for the truly horrible, i.e. “Spawn”

Image Not worth the popcorn money.

ImageImage Stay home and watch Phantom of the Opera again while you wait for the free TBS version.

ImageImageImage Adequate if you can overlook some serious flaws, but probably best as a rental.

ImageImageImageImage Good plot, acting, dialogue, and worthy of your time and money.

ImageImageImageImageImage You have GOT to see this! Superb in every way.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure about hauling myself to the Angelika theater, to see Keeping Mum, a nice little Britflick, but it was quite a lovely experience. It was also quite expensive, and before you hand them any money for refreshments, let me warn you that the little $5.00 bag of popcorn is stale and nasty. Maybe they should dump some sugar on it, as do British movie houses. Anyhoo, the tea there is quite nice, so I would suggest that instead, and they even offer honey with which to sweeten it instead of sugar. Those little packets get awfully sticky though, so prepare it before you get into the theater. British comedies are often an acquired taste, and watching this one along with other Anglophiles was a good experience. We were in a small but comfortable theater that offered big roomy seats and plenty of leg room. It was like flying British Airways business class, but without the radiation.

As for the movie, Keeping Mum isn’t apt to offer many surprises, but it is very enjoyable if you like this sort of thing, and I just happen to. The cast is wonderful, and my favorite part of the whole shebang is seeing a film with both Dame Maggie Smith and Rowan Atkinson in it. What can one say about Dame Maggie? She is a delight to watch in anything and one of those people who seems to draw the eye—a scene stealer, if you will. Most people probably know her as Professor McGonagall, the head of Hogwart’s Griffindor House in the Harry Potter movies. Let’s just say that she is not such a good witch in this particular film, however. She is, however, so charming that you don’t really care that much. Besides, most of the people she offs deserved it anyway. I had to sympathize with her most of the time: a young Grace kills and chops up her husband who was going to leave her, pregnant and alone, and take off with his mistress. So he really rather had it coming, something she firmly believes to the end, despite her rehabilitation and release 43 years later. Settling in as a family’s housekeeper in a town called Little Wallop (I love British place-names!), Grace packs a big punch as she returns to her old ways. She offs both the old man next door, who really is rather detestable, and marks Lance, the voyeuristic, chain-wearing American golf pro for annihilation (who cast Patrick Swayze in this role, and where did his overly-tanned, leathery Hulk Hoganesque skin come from?). Heed my advice and look away when you see any hint of the red banana hammock; you do NOT want to see this. Unless you are Gerard Butler, speedos are a no-no. The nasty little bicycle bullies also get their just desserts—you go, Maggie! I do have to draw the line at the clubbing of the barking dog though. Violence against helpless animals is never amusing or acceptable, even from a charming homicidal sociopath. Really now, Professor McGonagall. In general, however, think “Serial Mom” as a grandma with an agenda (Gloria: “You can’t kill people just because you disapprove of them!”/ Grace: “That’s what my doctor’s kept saying; it was the one thing we could never agree on”).

Lest I forget, also starring alongside Smith and Atkinson are Tamsin Egerton’s breasts. They suffer from overexposure in the first half of the film; in fact, I don’t recall seeing the girl’s face until the last 30 minutes of the movie. We can gleen that young Holly is a bit promiscuous from scenes involving her rocking the family van with a various unsavory boyfriends, but for those who don’t still don’t quite get it, cleavage abounds. When she actually gets to keep her shirt on near the end of the film, she does show a bit of promise, but hers is largely a reactionary character.  I am betting, however, that we see more of her (take that any way you wish)  within that small group of actors/writers that constitutes the current British talent pool.

Rowan Atkinson plays the Vicar, Rev. Goodfellow (gads, did Dickens have a hand in writing any of this?) who is just that: a good fellow, but dangerously unaware that his family is going to pieces. Atkinson is known for his biting satire on British history, Blackadder (my hero), as well as the bumbling Mr. Bean. And, of course, anyone who saw Four Weddings and a Funeral remembers his cameo as the minister who added the “holy spicket” to the trinity. He is taking on the collar again in this one, and there is a bit of Bean in him, for sure, but his character is less comedic than pathetic, as he is more intent on creating the perfect sermon than on saving his crumbling marriage. At Grace’s suggestion, he is finally inspired by the provocative “Song of Solomon,” and, after rereading it with a new understanding, he nails his sermon and, then, finally, his wife, thereby fixing, or at least duct taping, all his marital woes.

Atkinson’s wife is, incidentally, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, and she is indeed fairly incidental. Grace (Dame Maggie) is there to fix all of her problems and annoyances, but as the “straight man” in the film, so to speak, she is the only one who doesn’t get to have any fun. Gloria’s dissatisfaction might stem from the fact that she is the only one aware of the fact that her marriage is in trouble, her daughter is heading for a lifetime of STD’s, and that her son is being stalked by an elementary biker gang. Her response to it all is pretty much to do nothing except have an affair with a badly aging Patrick Swayze. Of course, that’s what anyone would do, right? She is also a little high-strung (she is the only one that seems unable to sleep because of the dog barking) and looking for a quick fix to her life’s growing pains. When she finds out that she has been not only housing a criminal but her mother, we get finally to see her divert some of that middle class anxiety into other channels—or ponds as the case may be. Like mother, like daughter. The short of it is that if you like British or dark comedies, give it a try. Or, if you like a little more wackiness in the mix, try the equally British Undertaking Betty and watch Christopher Walken (who is doing this weird casting of Americans in Britflicks?) set up some spectacular send-offs for the recently departed. He is so doing my combo Star Wars/Phantom of the Opera funeral when I go.

The good: Dame Maggie and Rowan Atkinson. You have to love them even when the film is somewhat uninspired. Dame Maggie is delightful throughout, and Atkinson and Scott’s love scene is, surprisingly, rather touching.

The bad: Apparently, the plot is predictable, or so my husband informs me: he had it figured out within the first ten minutes of the film, or so he says. I hardly thought about it, as I was enjoying the performances of the two principles too much to worry about it. Too many gratuitous boob shots as well, although some won’t see this as an issue. And whoever put Swayze on the big screen in that red speedo needs to be seriously reprimanded. Maybe with a cruciatus curse.

Rose rating: ImageImageImage

•January 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Best hair EVER

Ok, cats and kittens, I have recently done something bold and daring—well at least for me. I cut my hair. Really cut my hair. Short as in the nape of my neck is showing *gasp* I haven’t had it this short since I was about ten or so. I despised being a little girl with short hair, but now can appreciate the decision form a mother’s point of view. Trying to keep two little girls’ fine blonde hair neat and clean in the Texas and Florida heat was probably quite a chore. Still, as soon as I was allowed to make the choice of hair length for myself, I grew it out.  Once it was there, I dutifully twisted it, braided it, curled it, and, finally, permed it. I invested in clips, combs, styling products, rollers, and curling irons.  I hated it, loved it, abused it, doted on it, and always worried about it. Oh yes, it was my best accessory.  Long hair was essential to my Romantic illusions and fantasies as well. After all, you couldn’t imagine yourself as Princess Leia, Catherine Earnshaw, Elizabeth Bennett, Christine Daae, or even a plain Jane Eyre without the hair to back you up.  A good hair day put me on top of my game, while a bad hair day was a harbinger of certain disaster.

As I turned from teen to young adult I rose earlier than most I knew to get the hair “just right.” I remember receiving a “gag” award from my department during my senior year in college for “Best Hair.” And somewhere in the back of my mind I have to think I was still prepping for the day that Han Solo or Mr. Darcy or Mr. Rochester was to suddenly materialize, although he never did.  Still, I kept combing and twisting and curling.

Now, a “few” years later and a husband (ok, so my hybrid Qui-Gon Jinn/Boromir did finally show up)   and child of my own later I find that not only is dealing with long hair a chore, it is completely impractical. MY priorities have indeed shifted. No longer are my dreams and self-esteem bound up in my golden locks.  I spend days in the car traveling to work, shuttling the child, running errands, and worry more about getting things done than how I look doing them.  This isn’t to say I don’t want to look good, but I don’t have the leisure to spend hours doing so. Nor can I afford timely touch ups throughout the day.  So off it went. And in the process I suppose that I have accepted the fact that  I won’t be running across the moors with Heathcliff  any time soon or waltzing across the ballroom with Mr. Darcy–more likely I will be charging across the parking lot in pursuit of my itinerate four year old, and dancing across the living room with a vacuum cleaner.

So when I sat in my hair dresser’s chair, clutching my magazine of potential short hairstyles, each page carefully creased over for ease of reference, I was still wavering.  But Vicki, my hairstylist of almost two decades (geez),  assured me that my chosen hairstyle would look good, and that alone boosted my confidence—she would refuse to cut it in any way that didn’t suit me.  I took a deep breath and decided that the time had come to go short, posh and, oh my, grown-up.  My only prayer as the first inches fell to the ground was that I didn’t end up looking like a “soccer mom.” That I could not bear.

I talked incessantly during the process to keep my mind off of the curtains of blonde hair falling behind me. This was it—no going back now. Point of no return.  Vicki in her wisdom kept silent and let me yammer away. The only interruption occurred when my mother actually called Vicki to find out if we were really going through with it. The answer: We already have. And, oddly enough, I really liked it. Vicki showed me some styling possibilities and another hair dresser (also a 20-year veteran of the shop) stopped to do a double-take and tell say, “it’s bouncy and swingy, just like you!” At least I am taking it as a compliment. A lady in the shop who had been watching the process was also enthusiastic.  My mother was the first to see it, and she loved it, but, then, she is my mother. Unfortunately, that was the pinnacle of the whole experience. My balloon quickly deflated shortly after that.  So far it was like-aged and older women singing the style’s praises. What would everyone else think? My father looked at me as though I had just had my face tattooed and pierced and finally said “Did you mean to do that?” Uhhhhh . . . yes? After a few more minutes of staring, he offered, “I like it on one side.” Apparently I was not symmetrical? One side? I quickly disregarded his opinion, as he is obviously clinical.  Sadly, my sister was not on the bandwagon either at that point, and my new hair euphoria was quickly subsiding.

The compliments weren’t flowing at home either. My dear husband who had encouraged my foray into the world of short hair in the first place (less hair means less chasing down hair products on the next trip to London—see previous blog for more) looked at me funny and gave his verdict: “I’m not sure.” He too liked one side and not the other, proving that men in general are clinical. The best came last though as my four year-old ran up and exclaimed, “You have grandma hair! That’s not mommy hair, that’s grandma hair! You need mommy hair.” Grandma hair? No wonder mom liked it. Oh well, I happened to think my mother is cute. The next morning brought more of the same. My darling son ran in to wake me up early, his father trailing, and when I told him that mommy was too tired to get up, he looked at me gravely and said, “Bad hair makes you tired.”  Not much to be said by way of reply to that, but I have to wonder what life might have been like had I ever hit upon the right hairstyle all those years ago. It certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying.

Happily, things have mellowed since those first dark days, and my DH has wisely decided to love both sides of my  hair. My son has found that the back of it does indeed bounce in a funny way in the car on the bumpy streets of Dallas, and finds it terribly amusing, so he is finally happy with it as well. The question now looming is will it stay short, or will I eventually let it inch its way back down my neck and onto my shoulders? Hard to say, but for now I am enjoying the time it saves me and the absence of wet, sticky hair on the back of my neck in the hot, humid Dallas summer sun.

I do have to add that most women like the look in general, especially those who are similarly coifed. I can only imagine those women reading this shaking their bobbed heads with a smile, wondering why it took me so long to grow up to join the ranks of self assured, confident, self-actualized  women who no longer feel the need to hide behind their precious adolescent top-mops and unruly locks. To all of you I can only hang my head and shamefully hand over my well-worn copy of Wuthering Heights. Romanticism made me do it.

Desperate Romantics–The Stunners and the Stunning

•September 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Rossetti's Beata Beatrix

Rossetti's Beata Beatrix

I hesitantly begin a review of the series Desperate Romantics by request, with the full realization that I have little to say about it other than it is a vastly entertaining, over-the-top delight. And full of breasts. The latter will no doubt recommend it to many a male viewer. That said, those readers I would encourage to view this work are those who are already familiar with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood or those who, once their interest is sparked, would be willing to dig out the truth behind the fiction. Anyone hoping for an easy biopic or history lesson should steer clear, as should any die-hard enthusiasts whose sensibilities would be offended by misrepresentation.

Caveats duly employed, I do have to admit that the casting of the “stunners” was amazing, particularly the lovely Amy Manson as Lizzie Siddal(l). The women were outstanding and made the most of their stereotyped, marginalized roles, much as their Victorian counterparts most likely did with theirs. I was dismayed to see Lizzie reduced to a henpecking, histrionic, banshee shrieking ludicrously in the middle of the street. Her stillborn daughter was also overlooked in favor of a single faked pregnancy announcement that did not do her justice and made her possible suicide more about Rossetti than it probably should have been. I was also very disappointed not to hear a word about Christina Rossetti, author of the amazing Goblin Market and an artist/poet in her own right. She was perhaps represented marginally by a candid shot of Rossetti’s The Annunciation, in which he used his sister’s head and a prostitute’s body to represent the “virgin” Mary (a whole ‘nother discussion in itself). That said, I can’t complain much on this topic, since the “Brotherhood” was, in fact, a boy’s club if nothing else.

Rossetti emerges as the leader of the PRB, played by the exotic, oddly vampiristic Aidan Turner. Turner is all energy and roguish charm, at times seemingly channeling one Jack Sparrow in manner and delivery. He carries the spirit and excitement of the early movement well enough, though we must wait until the very end to witness the most moving, awe-inspiring moment of the series, the moment when emotion and genius call upon that manic energy, megalomania, and unique vision of the artist—this is the moment when Rossetti, bereaved and inspired is moved to envision and channel his beloved, his object, his muse for his Beata Beatrix. Interestingly, in a series chock full of wit and repartee, it is this silent, brief, and stunning scene that is the most powerful and memorable and played to perfection by Turner.

Rossetti’s friends Hunt and Millais make up the core of the PRB, and there is decidedly not much use for any of the other members. Hunt spends most of his time trying to decide if he is in love or not with Annie Miller, while an effeminate Millais’ eventual marriage and sexual fulfillment with Effie Ruskin presumably render his work dull and sentimental. Rafe Spall as Hunt is particularly difficult to watch, as his eyes seem to be glued open as wide as possible at all times, leaving him with a single stunned, wild expression during every scene. Equally distracting is Hunt’s signature beard, though the thing attached to Spall’s chin that looks as though it houses most of the vermin in London. Barnett’s Millais is a charming, though credulous, fellow who balances Hunt’s mania and fanaticism with his ingenious nature and almost innocent acceptance of the PRB and its depravities and eccentricities. Unfortunately, the same costume designers who so faithfully recreate Hunt’s favored Middle-Eastern garb seem to have raided Willie Wonka’s closet for Millais’ wardrobe so that I half-expected him to do a pratfall at Ruskin’s gate in the midst of serenading Oompa-Loompas.

Ruskin, well-played by the talented Tom Hollander, probably comes off as the creepiest and most maligned of the featured depictions, complete with scary, old-man mutton chops and probable pedophilia, of which I will not attempt to absolve him. He functions as a both a foil to the celebration of sexuality and womanhood that the PRB reveled in and as an odd bedfellow, supporting the PRB’s taste for the lush and sensual in theory if not in practice. Not so interesting or successful was the depiction of the incredibly talented Morris as a big ‘ole hairy gumpuss and the terribly boring narrative figure of “Freddie,” who seems to be based on a friend of Dante’s. Was the narrator necessary? Not really—I suspect the PRB can tell their stories without him. And finally, though he’s hardly important except as a representative of the PRB’s blow-hard critics and nay-sayers, there’s Mark Heaps as Dickens. I do admit to tittering as the puffed-up, hypocritical Dickens was taken down a peg, prat that he was (yeah, not a fan; sorry Tiny Tim lovers).

As said, and repeated ad nauseum, see this series for its easy, engaging manner, the artwork, and some wonderful performances (and breasts if that’s your bag). And do be so inspired by the intertwining works, lives, and talents of these extraordinary men and women that you delve into the truth afterward.

Okay, so I did have a little bit to say on the subject.

Rose Rating:

Stunners: Energetic performances, excellent casting, sumptuous works of art, luscious sets and wardrobes, and wit aplenty.

Everyone’s a critic: Take story with a grain of salt, absence of key figures, and Hunt’s beard which has by no doubt by now developed a life of its own and residing in a sewer near Cheapside.

Road Rage! Wonder why?

•July 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment


OK, maybe this is the result of having to drive 45 miles to and from work back several times a week for the past several years. Maybe it is because I have to drive to work in rush-hour traffic when everyone else is taking their lazy-ass time getting home. Maybe I am just getting old and crotchety, but I am seriously beginning to think that some people need to be bludgeoned and left on the side of the road to die. I hate people who drive. And why is this? Because people are self-absorbed, narcissistic morons. So if you are one of these people, STOP IT! Just stop it now, and I won’t have to aim for you in traffic.

First and foremost, STOP TALKING ON THE PHONE! Yes, you are a BMOC. You the man. You have a mo-bile phone! Woo hoo! Look at you! This entitles you to drive 20 miles under the speed limit and to swerve aimlessly in and out of your lane, right? Wrong, butt-nut. And to the old lady who had to stop in the middle of the street yesterday while she tried to figure out how to work her cell phone and then situate it in her bag, hit the retirement home and give up the keys! Enough is enough. Wankers, the lot of you. Hang up and drive.

Teenagers and old people—stop driving. If you can’t drive without your stereo playing so loud that you rock other people’s cars, you are an inconsiderate lout who has no business being out in public. You are probably under 25 and male at that. In any case, you need to learn some manners. Go home, and sit in your room and annoy your parents with that trash. And if you race through residential neighborhoods playing that crap, I will report you until the useless cops finally get tired of me calling them and find time to stop handing out easy tickets for parking and inspection stickers and call on your mommy and daddy.  I am sick of it. On the other side of the spectrum, the older you get, the smaller your car should be, not vice versa. I do not want to see big Bonnevilles and caddies cruising around seemingly without drivers.  If nothing but your little tweed cap or frizzy blue hair is showing over the steering wheel, and you are inching along at 10 mph because you can’t see to drive, stop it! Don’t drive! You are a menace! How many parked cars must you hit before you take the bus or get junior to drive you about?

On that note, if you can’t keep it in your lane, it is probably too big for you to be driving. If you are so penile-challenged that you need to visit a car dealership to get a hummer, then you need to think about public transportation. You could probably impress the people there and would have the added bonus of being out of my frickin’ way. Stay in your own lane. That goes for all of you who think you need to put on makeup, style your hair (worst offender here was a boy who was all over the road while trying to get his ponytail just right and attempting to drive with his knees), eat your fries, or read (how low can your IQ drop?), etc. while your car is in motion.  I hope you choke on your food or stab yourself in the eye with mascara. At least you give us all a good giggle as you hit the curb, lamppost, or the Volvo next to you.  Morons. Smokers, there should be a special level of hell for you along with the mobile phone people as you search for a cig, slow down to light up, and then inch down the road with your cigarette hanging out the window. You should be forced to pick up and eat every cigarette you toss out your window. You filthy losers. The world is not your ashtray. Do not throw any of your crap, and that includes your hair or nose-pickings, out the window. You people deserve to be set upon by rabid squirrels or perhaps listen to Adam Lambert and Susan Boyle sing duets.

When the light is green, GO! Enough said. Do not change radio stations, continue to eat, or start talking to the person next to you. Don’t you have somewhere to go? I assume you do. I do, so stop sitting there staring at the light. Just GO! By that same token, a red light means stop, not be a self-important dumb-ass who thinks that red lights are for the people behind you.  Stop before you cause and accident, you freak.

If you are driving in the left lane, do not go under the speed limit. Move to the right. Lexus drivers, you are the worst offenders. Is there a driver of a Lexus that can go over 35 mph and not smoke or talk on the phone at all times? Does Lexus mean “inconsiderate, selfish clod?” If there are 50 frustrated drivers lined up behind you and big wide spaces in front of you, move aside! Or don’t be surprised when someone else moves you. You do not own the left lane, simp.

To the bloody tossers who think that the HOV/carpool lane is their personal passing/speed lane. It is not. You endanger people who aren’t expecting you to be an asswipe and shoot across four lanes of traffic from or into the HOV lane. A solid white line is not enough to keep your sorry asses out, but I think a speed bump big enough to cause the bottom of your car to fall out when you jump it at high speeds would be freakin’ hilarious. I am submitting this idea to the DPS, because we all know how proactive they are. Until then, I will keep reporting you to the cops who are supposed to be policing you instead of sitting around eating donuts with the construction crews at night.

Motorcyclists:  Stop whining about motorists not sharing the road. You don’t share the road. You speed down about at 100+ mph, swerve in and out of traffic, cut off every vehicle on the road, and drive down the center lines between cars—I see it everyday. Do not be surprised when I open my car door the next time you come screaming down the white line. Sit in traffic like everyone else, and, for the record, you are not attractive or cool with your shirt flying up over your head and your hairy ape-like back showing to the world as you blow past; you are an idiot who, I hope, becomes a damp spot on the dividing wall soon. I feel the same way about the doped-up truck drivers in the big rigs doing the exact same thing. The language I use for them not printable, even here.

Hey, if your car is smoking or has a flat tire, get off the freeway, dumbass. Don’t just put the blinkers on and keep cruising. You have a problem. Remove yourself from other drivers who don’t want to get hit when your car explodes or your wheel falls off.  By that same token, if your blinker is on you had better turn, and soon—after ten blinks, you are fair game. Pay attention to what you are doing instead of the billboard you are busy reading. Look at the road for a few minutes. There you go. See all those other cars? Try not to hit them or cut them off because you were staring at the new dirty video store that just opened up off that last exit. Stupid git.

And, finally, no, I do not think that the crap pasted all over your car is interesting or cute. In fact, your “I love Jesus,” “I voted for George Bush,” or “Daddy’s little girl” bumper sticker serves only to make me hate you that much more.  I wish all manner of evil upon you and, yes, that’s me in your rear-view mirror counting the minutes until you perish in a ball of flames. HAHA!!!

That’s all. You can all bugger off now.

Oh, it’s you.

•July 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment


Greetings, Merry Meet, and Good Day, eh? That should cover the formalities. Now be warned–you are entering a strange and terrible world.  Actually, if you are reading this you are already living in a strange and terrible world, and that’s the sort of thing I will be blogging about here.  Some of it will be strange and most of it terrible, covering all things that either keep me spellbound or leave me disenchanted.  Expect many rants, a few raves, and reviews of movies that are already several years old, but news to me since I have a young child who keeps me from frequenting the movie theatre often.  By Jupiter, love Netflix.  I will update when the tides of the moon move me to do so.