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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in verseblack's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
2:36 pm
OUAT Thoughts
1. My current theory is that Henry’s father is Hook. I’m not sure on the exact rules of fairy tale characters existing outside of Storybrooke, but I don’t want to believe that Bae is the father and we already have a lot of new and returning characters so I’m hoping it is someone already announced. My second pick is Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk.

2. Like the rest of the fandom, I’m going nuts wondering who Dr. Whale is. I’m hoping he’s just a scoundral and not an out and out villian.

3. Thrilled at the news that Jefferson will be showing up more next season. Now I’m just hoping that we get to see the Red Queen again…

4.The big one, RUMBELLE! I just can’t get used to shipping a canon couple and am viewing the upcoming season with a mix of terror and delight. I’m reasonably certain that these two are going to be taking over the role of Snow/Charming as the “how many ways can they be miserable” couple of the week… I just can’t make myself trust canon writers to make my favorite characters happy—I’m so used to depending on fanfic for that! Plus, it is Rumplestiltskin. I don’t expect that he will be given a happy ending until the final minutes of the SERIES finale.

5. I’m curious as to just how much of Rumple’s mannerisms will be coming through Mr. Gold now that everyone knows who he is. I really enjoy the small flashes of the imp coming through the man in the suit (love the little hand twirl he does when talking with the Mayor about killing being more difficult now that you can’t just turn people into snails and step on them). I hope that the Storybrooke character gets to keep the more quiet, icy, controlled front to contrast with the manic energy of flashback!Rumple.

6. And in the words of one reviewer, how on earth is the series going to go forward without Gold and Regina “nuking the free world”? While I’d love a good “Gold and Regina burn down Storybrooke in an epic magical battle” fanfic, I don’t see this being for the best of the series :) Very curious as to how the show is going to keep the magical Cold War cold so to speak…

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
7:40 am
Recent Reads--"The Uncertain Places"
"The Uncertain Places" by Lisa Goldstein is a book that unfortuntally doesn't quite live up to the promise of its summary. A description of this book certainly hightlights its strengths--this is a story that works with fairy tale tropes in such a way that seems imaginative rather than derivative. The tale follows a young man in the early 1970s who is pulled into a family that have made a bargain with the fey for good luck and kind fortune. In exchange for a girl each generation falling asleep for seven years (the "bondmaid"), members of the family are granted lives that fall into place with ease where no one ever so much as accidentally breaks a glass or needs to make a reservation. Their businesses and dreams prosper--the family vineyard survived Prohibition and one of the sisters at the heart of the story sees her star rise as an actress. Interestingly though, the family's romantic relationships do no run as smoothly as the rest of their lives.

The story of the family bargaining away years of their daughter's wakeful lives was said to have almost made it into the Grimms' collection before being suppressed by the faeries themselves. The write up of the lost fairy tale is very fine and will likely have you pulling down your copy of "The Complete Works of the Brothers Grimm" to see if you can find the story of the Bondmaid in its pages. But sadly the entire book is written in a style that, while coming across as simple and elegant in short piece, does not hold up as well for an entire novel. Most notably the characters are weirdly flat and lacking in individual voice. For a book that ends by lamenting the "magic" of the 1960s and early 1970s the characters come across as oddly cold. We get no true hints of the impassioned conversations the narrator refers to and I was never convinced that hippy/immediate post hippy California in any way held a candle to Wonderland.

I sound like I'm being hard on this book and I realize that many of my issues are at least partly my own fault. I think that this is a book that would work best if read in one or two sittings and my personal circumstances forced me to spread my reading of it out over a couple of weeks. In chasing after a new baby I found myself in much the same zombified state as the sleeping bondmaids and I wasn't able to supply the nuances of character from my own imagination the way I have been in the more rested times of my life. I think that this is a book that is certainly worth returning to when I'm mentally able to take some of the hints suggested in the story and really let my mind run wild with them.

For there are plenty of hints of greatness here. I mean, if the idea of Prohibition-era bootleggers set upon by faery pirates doesn't set your heart racing just a bit I have to wonder why you would be reading this sort of fantasy novel in the first place. And the scenes with Those People--the odd cleaners who sneak through houses in the dark of night were properly creepy and disturbingly believable. I also have to commend the author for not making the entire book about rescuing the "princess." Though the book sets up the wakening of the current bondmaid as the driving force at the start. this is a story that tackles the "okay dog, you caught the car, now what" aspect of what happens *after* the goal of the quest has been achieved. It doesn't shy away from the fact that while those who touch magic in this world may pay a price, there is also a price for turning your back on magic as well.

As a whole though this is one of those good books that misses out on being truly great. The ideas presented here are powerful, but the bland characters keep it from sparking to life as it might have. I'd still recommend it to those who enjoy fairy tales and I would indeed like to read it again.
Friday, April 6th, 2012
8:46 am
So the latest episode of Once Upon A Time only solidified my belief that the baby in the traditional Rumpelstiltskin story would have been better off with the magical imp rather than that being raised by a mother willing to bargin away her child ;)

Can you imagine Regina being raised by Rumpelstiltskin?  I have this humorous image in my head of him spoiling a young Regina rotten by giving her an entire stable full of dragons/gryphons/pegasi/ and so on to ride.  I figure some of his deals had him vanquishing many magical creatures and I can just see him bringing them home for a little girl to play with :)

So, what are everyone's crazy theories for how the writers are going to torment us with the finale cliffhanger?  I'm going to guess that the last episode in May winds up transporting about half the cast back to Fairytale Land. I'd see Emma, Jefferson, and Gold winding up in FTL with Henry stuck in Maine with Regina.  All of our "True Love" couples would be caught on opposite sides of the divide.
Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
10:11 am


This weekend is the "Alice" episode for "Once Upon A Time" and I am happily bouncing in anticipation. While Rumpelstiltskin has been my favorite character since almost the moment he first appeared on screen, that doesn't mean I'm not also thrilled to get another version of The Mad Hatter. I'm laughing that we're going to be getting yet another tea cup carrying fellow on the show. Honestly, at this rate the show should release an official OUAT tea service.

I know some of the fairy tale scholars (and some casual fans) are sniffing a bit at the idea of "Alice" being lumped in with fairy tales. Spoilers for the episode indicate that Wonderland is going to be another alternate world and not just another country in Fairytale land; I think that is a nice nod to the idea that the place Alice goes when she steps through the Looking Glass or falls down a rabbit hole is *not* the same place that Snow White grew up. However, I don't have quite the same problem taking Alice and Cinderella in the same breath that some people do. I think part of the fact is that I'm simply a lover of variations on a theme and am greedy enough to take new tellings of my favorite tales where I can find them. And Alice is one of my very favorite colors to see storytellers paint with. (Indeed Carroll/Dodgson is also one of my favorite "characters" to see reworked as I have a bit of a pet hobby of tracking down books that feature fictionalized versions of this fascinating man.) I'm rather old-fashioned in that I tend to prefer reading new tellings of my favorite stories to reading tales that are (well, that try to be) totally new and original.

One of the things that hit me very hard during the Jabberwocky fight of during Tim Burton's Alice movie was the fact this is a story that originally came out of one man's head. And it just floored me as someone who spends a lot of time surrounded by fairy and folk tales. Sure, Carroll didn't pull the story from thin air, but we know who wrote the Alice stories in a way we certainly don't know who first told a Cinderella story. And it amazes me that these images that carry so much mental and imaginative weight with me--the Cheshire's cat's smile, the Mad Tea Party, the fall down the rabbit hole--can clearly be traced back to one author (and illustrator to give Tenniel his due).To think that such a collection of magical moments can be traced back to one man living in Oxford rather than a thousand and one men, women and children sitting around fireplaces in a a thousand and one lands! To have the chance to watch these two books enter the culture through all the different movies/theater productions/short stories/tv shows/fanfics is just fascinating to me. It's interesting to see what particulars of the original are magnified and which are discarded in each new telling! I can't help but wonder if this is what it is like to watch a folktale being born.

And I think that this distillation and dissemination of story elements is one of the things that is letting me consider Alice, and the Hatter, and Cheshire Cat as fairy tale characters. While we know who came up with these characters, they've been re-envisioned and retold in so many ways in the years since Carroll's publication. With the OUAT previews, already people are bringing up the SyFy "Alice" Hatter of a few years back. In fact, I think I've seen the Andrew Potts Hatter referenced more than the Carroll/Tenniel Hatter. That version of the character has become more "real" to some people than the original. And to me personally that is not only one of the best things about fairy tales but one of the defining things about them--the fact that there are many different versions that are accepted as the "true" version.
This is actually one of my favorite things about the internet and one of the reasons that I intellectually believe that fanfic is a positive cultural artifact--not something to be tolerated (or worse yet outlawed). I believe that with the advent of the printing press, and especially as books became cheaper and literacy grew more widespread came a decline in the art of oral storytelling. And as people came to look to books, radio, TV, and movies as their sources of "story" entertainment, I think that we all started getting a bit more passive about our interaction with tales and their telling. When we read Cinderella out of a book we are consuming the tale in a less active way then if we were telling our friends a version that combined the "Cinderella" our grandmother told us with the "Cinderella" our best friend liked (and maybe throwing in a bit of our favorite "Beauty and the Beast" for good measure.) I'm not saying that people have stopped telling children stories all together and that people weren't pondering alternate endings to stories well before the internet. But the sharing and conversing that goes on over ff.net and blogs makes me think of people sitting around taverns and fires in the (perhaps mythic) past and distilling out the parts of stories that most resonated with their own towns and lives.

Friday, February 24th, 2012
7:47 am
Some recs...
I hope to do a better job about keeping up with all the wonderful fic coming out for OUAT, but here are a few of my favorites so far.  I'd love to hear what gems other people are enjoying!

Cyprith http://www.fanfiction.net/u/454361/ is turning out tales at an amazing rate, but these are finely crafted little gems where each sentence shines like a line of poetry.  Go, read them and weep!  I actually signed up for tumblr because she was posting first over there and I just couldn't wait for the pieces to hit ff.net.

A bit of humor to cut to the angst http://randombattlecry.livejournal.com/255910.html#cutid1.  Just who were Vera and Margie anyways? :)

A great look at the curse http://auri-mynonys.livejournal.com/81274.html#cutid1

A story on the power of names http://skye-white.livejournal.com/20045.html  I'd love to see more pieces playing with the theme of names and naming with this ship, I can never get enough of that...

Belle finds a hobby :)  Some grand dialog in this one http://randombattlecry.livejournal.com/253742.html#cutid1


Some Beauty and the Beast thoughtsCollapse )


Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
9:13 am

Alas, this coming weekend brings no "Once Upon A Time" (giving all of us Belle/Rumpelstiltskin shippers an extra week to form theories/catch up on the wonderful fic lighting up the internet/actually talk to our families....)

However, fairyland isn't gone from TV all together: 

Friday Grimm is back.  Is it just me or does it seem like this show is only on every other week?  I'm not *as* excited about the "creature fight club" premise that is coming up, if only because I haven't figured out what fairy tale the episode is going to be playing with.  However, I am happy to have my favorite Pilates-werewolf back.

This Saturday the Syfy channel is doing a fairy tale marathon with "Witchslayer Gretl" and "Black Forest" making their debuts.  (Well, my DVR says that "Black Forest" was shown last month, but I never heard about it, so it is new to me!)  I'm most excited about "Black Forest" which reportedly deals with tourists and the Fairy Tale Route in Germany.  I'm hoping for some pretty scenery. You can also catch "Red:Werewolf Hunter" Saturday as well.  Syfy channel movies don't tend to be high art, but are often good for some lazy weekend fun.

http://fairytalenewsblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/syfy-premieres-two-new-fairy-tale.html

Next Monday Castle has its fairy tale episode with the victim showing up dead in Central Park dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, apparently killed in a wolf attack.  This show is always so much fun--I really enjoy the lighthearted tone this series normally keeps and the Castle character has so much joy and glee in him.

TLB gave us a bit more sleep last night--I think she had been in the midst of a growth spurt and was just getting hungry every couple of hours and needing to eat more.  She's been giving her hands some serious study the past few days, which means she hasn't been working on her sounds as much.  I'm hoping she gets back to "talking" as she was getting sooo close to being able to say "hello." Right now she is a bit sounds a bit like a very excited version of the little blue worm in Labyrinth--" 'el-looooo!!"

Monday, February 20th, 2012
11:53 am
Introductions
As I believe there are a few new names on the f-list, I wanted to post a bit of an introduction for myself and the cast of characters likely to show up in this journal.
I primarily use this journal to talk about things that I'm reading or watching. Right now I am utterly delighted in the fact that the latest Hollywood fad seems to be fairy tales. As someone who freaked out many a poor English Comp student by making them read Tanith Lee's short story "When the Clock Strikes" where Cinderella is an evil witch, I'm a big fan of alternate tellings of these tales. I take my fairy tales light and with sugar or dark and with teeth. I tend to get snippy when people claim there is only One True Telling of these stories or when anxious/PC types start claiming these tales are dangerous for children. (I'm not saying that it isn't important to consider the versions you're reading and the mental maturity of the child. I just get peeved with the theory that reading Cinderella to a little girl is going to make her helpless.)
Where my user name comes from-- "Verse" comes from the fact that I started off focusing on Victorian poetry in grad school before veering off to fairy tales. "Black" is simply my favorite color and not a reference to the Harry Potter Blacks. My infatuation with Phineas Nigellus Black came well after my name was picked. :)
Mr. Black--My husband and longtime best friend.
The Littlest Black (TLB) --Our daughter, born just a couple of months ago. One of the first things I ever read to her was Neil Gaiman's "Instructions" (advice on how to behave if you live in a fairy tale), her father just bought her a CD of Doctor Who inspired music, and we sing her "Soft Kitty" when she's feeling bad. We're doing our best to raise a geek :)
Moon--My dearly beloved Arabian mare whose picture is in my icon. I grew up horse insane, but never had a horse 'til I was nearly 30. She is the result of my wishing on every birthday candle I ever blew out, every falling star I saw, and every wishing well penny I tossed before I got her. She is spoiled, quirky, and quite perfect. She spooks at cats when I'm riding her and doesn't tie very well, but she also stops if I start to come off balance when riding bareback and she defended me from pushy horses in the field when I was pregnant.
Mystopher (Kitten Little)--My big, fluffy, orange cat who has lived with me for longer than Mr. Black has. Currently, he's getting a great kick out of the fact that I'm so sleepy in the mornings that I can't remember if I've given him his morning drop of cream and if he plays his cards right he often gets a second serving.


Thursday, February 16th, 2012
12:54 pm
So after "Skin Deep" I've been plotting on how to get Belle out of that hospital and wondering how she would manage to get word out Mr. Gold that she's still alive.  So here's the result.

Title: A Memorable Detail
Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Character: Belle

Every madness needs a memorable detail.

She remembered a princess conversing with a horse's skull
She remembered a king with a robe of sunlight
She remembered a queen with heart in a box
She remembered a girl who kissed a beast


However, locked up in the roots of a tower Belle had no access to hearts or skulls other than her own, and it was simply too cold to abandon her clothes. Even madness must have its limits, she reasoned.

She needed something eccentric, but not dangerous. Some small tic or ritual. Nothing to suggest that she might be a danger to herself or others. Something poetic, perhaps. Something to get people talking, but talking quietly, around lunch counters or pawn shops where they might be overheard. Nothing that would call down the orderlies who would come with shots and pills that sent her thoughts scattering like straw.

She remembered a wheel that spun gold
She remembered curtains that opened to the sun
She remembered a rose that wasn't a rose
She remembered a girl who kissed a beast


In stories, trapped maidens could escape the tower by climbing their hair or calling birds to carry messages to faraway princes. In stories, kisses unfroze hearts and beggars never cursed those who fed them.
She tries watching her hair, to see how long it might take to grow a ladder. Even though the seasons appeared to change outside her window, leaves budding and falling, her hair never seemed to inch longer than her shoulders.

She tries to make up a song, something the nurses might hum on street, but no one ever stays in her room long enough to learn the lyrics. Her meals always seem to arrive when she was sleeping, and had she been just a little more mad she might had thought that the tasteless sandwiches were delivered by invisible hands.

She sits on her bed, regarding her serving of milk. The perfect rim looks odd to her eyes, so each day she carefully breaks off a bit of the cup. A small thing, nothing dangerous, no fingers sliced on the soft material. But in a small town, gossip flies faster and surer than doves. And someday soon a kitchen worker will start to talk about a strange girl who chips her styrofoam cups.
Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
8:40 am
Wow, this post has been sitting in my e-mail in-box for a few weeks.  Should probably go ahead and post it...
As proof of the level of insanity in my life, I offer up the fact that I didn't get around to watching Sunday's episode of Once Upon A Time until Tuesday evening. I wonder if The Littlest Black will ever appreciate the sacrifices I make :)  And not just any OUAT episode, but the mid-season return, Rumpelstiltskin meets Grima Wormtongue episode. My current favorite Trickster character meeting up with the first character I ever posted fic for--my fannish heart swells.
Well, sometime Tuesday night I had collapsed on the couch with the remote within arm's reach and finally got my shot at Mr. Gold's back-story.  And it was indeed as delightful as I had hoped.  I think my favorite thing was perhaps the fact that we got to see Robert Carlyle playing what amounted to three different characters in one--Fatherly!Rumpelstiltskin, Mr. Gold, and Imp!Rumpelstiltskin
I'd like to think I'd still love OUAT even without Rumpelstiltskin.  And I would certainly enjoy it.  But I have such a weakness for witty villains who have complex motivations (and are played by actors with accents...)
Rumpelstiltskin's story has a special place in my heart for two reasons.  It and Little Red Riding Hood are the first stories I remember hearing where I felt as though I were disagreeing with the accepted interpretation.  I just wasn't feeling what I thought the author likely intended me to feel.  I suppose those little moments are the things that make for an English major...  In LRR I always felt sorry for the poor, hungry wolf who was acting as nature intended by eating a little girl who didn't have sense enough to follow her mother's explicit instructions.  (And how on earth could Granny--a grown woman who lived in the woods--not have sense enough to keep the door locked when a wolf came knocking?)
Rumpelstiltskin gave me even more problems.  I was deeply troubled by the fact that the Miller's Daughter seemed quite delighted to marry the king who was willing to chop off her head if she didn't spin straw into gold.  Add in the girl's willingness to barter with a child AND then try and go back on the deal and she did not come off as a character I had much sympathy for. (Even as a child I took vows/promises very much to heart.) I seriously thought that the baby would be better off in a hut in the woods with Rumplestiltskin than stuck with those two losers as parents! 
Wow, I'm realizing I was was quite a judgmental child when it came to characters in fairy tales when I put that all down in black and white...
Rumplestiltskin was also the subject of the first "alternate telling" of a fairy tale that I came across.  "Truly Grimm Tales" by Patricia Galloway still holds up well to me even after years of reading the Windling/Datlow collections.  I still remember standing in my childhood public library, picking that strange little book up and reading "The Name" before even checking the book out.  In it a crippled nobleman's son falls in love with poor girl.  The nobleman forbids them to marry, and buys the girl a husband (a miller) when she becomes pregnant by 'Pel.  In "The Name" Rumplestiltskin is spinning straw (actually swapping out the straw for the remaining family gold he inherited.  But as he says, the king is a greedy man and didn't care that the gold didn't look "spun") for his own daughter.  In the end he has to decide whether to hold the girl to her bargain so he can raise his granddaughter as the child he never knew or send a messenger to the queen letting her know "that elvish name of which my father was so proud." I remember standing in the library, feeling my heart break over that story, and in my mind it has remained the "real" version ever since.  It was also my gateway to alternate versions of fairy tales, and perhaps the first time when I saw that other authors had sympathy for "villains" in the same way that I did. And to someone who grew up in the days before internet fic writers delved into the "nice" sides of "bad" guys it was truly earth-shattering to see that.

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
8:20 am
I seem to have gotten into a rut where I feel as though I can't post anything because I haven't posted in a while.  Well, that and I've been rather busy...
 
The Littlest Black arrived safely about 2 months ago.  While labor was long, I'm ever so grateful that I did not have to get an epidural--not because I had any desire to experience natural childbirth but because I was TERRIFIED something would go wrong (I've had too many family members have bizarre complications to everyday medical procedures and an uncle even die from routine knee surgery). I can honestly say that pain wise, it didn't even crack the top ten if I made a list of the worst pains I've ever felt.  (And I've actually had a pretty pain free life--3 of the slots of the worst pains ever are occupied by menstrual cramp episodes.)  My favorite story from the hospital is when a nurse came in on the first night and greeted TLB saying, "Hello, pretty baby."  Then the nurse looked at her again and said, "Oh, you ARE a pretty baby."  I previously thought all babies looked alike at that age (if you thought one baby was pretty, you'd think all babies were), but I've since been told that isn't the case.  At our first doctor's visit a fellow in the waiting room said one of his 4 girls was "butt ugly" when born but now "she's the prettiest of all of them!"
 
TLB is a VERY good baby, which I am daily thankful for as I had NO experience with babies and don't consider myself a kid person.  She only cries if something is wrong and aside from one night where she was sick from her shots and one night early on when we didn't figure out that she was cold we haven't had any long cries or fusses. She's very smiley and is already doing her best to imitate sounds and sometimes she will stick her tongue out if you stick out yours at her.  I've naturally started reading to her--the first things I read to her were the Lord's Prayer and Neil Gaiman's "Instructions."
For myself I've been sticking with fun/easy books.  I read the Lloyd Alexander Prydain books which I had somehow never gotten around to reading, and joined up at goodreads to join the Black Stallion reading challenge (I'm Inkyhooves over there).  I've not had the time/concentration for more challenging works at the moment, but I've been putting together a reading list for the year and am hoping to catch up on some of the books published recently (I'm really wanting to get my hands on "Among Others" and "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making").  I'm also hoping to read "The Man Who Rained" sooner than later as I adored the author's "The Girl with Glass Feet."
On TV I'm very pleased with both Grimm and Once Upon A Time (I adore Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold!).  On my DVR The Lost Girl is sitting and I can't wait to give it a shot.
Fingers crossed I'll be back around here a bit more.  I really do need to hunt down some OUAT fic and I have the latest SS/HG exchange to explore.  I believetimestep was writing a story for that and I definitely want to check that one out!
Wednesday, August 10th, 2011
8:55 am

Bad news first...
 
It's been a rough couple of months in a lot of ways.  It seems the combination of personal and world tragedies are hitting at draining speed. 
 
Over the summer the college shockingly lost a beloved professor to an unexpected heart attack.  This was the kind Dr. Biology who rescued the black snake from the library and spent much of his time dashing around woods and jungles turning over rocks and logs in his study of things that creeped and slinked.  At his funeral I had to smile at how many of the survivors' fond memories involved him being bitten by some scaly creature he was trying to help. 
 
And I can scarcely bear to write this, but last week two of my cousins lost college age sons.  Teenage boy takes a curve too fast and the world falls out from under two families.  These were good kids, kind, cheerful with the perfect sorts of resumes for where they were in their life--one lettered in 4 sports in high school while keeping a 4.0 and getting a 32 on the ACT.  The dark miracle is that it could have oh, so easily have been 4 boys lost in that wreck as each had a slightly younger brother and they were all hanging out together shortly before the accident. I feel I should say more about them, but it is all still too raw. 
 
Add in Borders, the heat (which is hitting me even harder than usual in my "delicate condition"), the national/world news, and the fact that it seems as though I can't open an Arabian horse message board without news of another farm going under/burning down/or facing neglect charges and it has been a rotten summer.
 
Better news...
Yesterday I saw 5 fawns all in one play group with one doe keeping an eye on the whole lot.  They were incredibly adorable and it's hard not to smile watching a little spotted critter bounce around happily.
 
Reading-wise I've managed to finish off quite a few this summer.  "Spirit Dances" (one of the Walker Paper books about an "urban Shaman" with Celtic connections) was an improvement over some of the books in the series.  Not so much wandering around in the Spirit World this time and I'm now wanting to go to a dance performance like the one described.  It's fun, fluffy urban fantasy, though I did miss Gary here!  Currently reading "The Dervish House" and it is a fascinating near-future tale set in Istanbul.  It is a very busy book--swarming is the word I would use to describe it.  This is a book about tiny parts making up a whole--lots of individual people making up a city, lots of characters making up a story, lots of tiny robots coming together to make a larger one...  Nano-technology, politics, terrorism, and an historical curiosity also help make this one fun.  Oh, and djinn, can't forget the djinn here :)
 
Moon is adorably protective of me in the field.  She's never liked other horses coming up to me (think she's afraid someone else might sneak some of her treats ;), but since she figured out that something was up with me she's been insisting everyone give me a wide berth.  Yesterday she was threatening to kick the boss gelding and the way some of the other horses have been acting around her I think she's stomped a few of them as well.  Maybe she's just taken up a new hobby since she's not being ridden...
 
I've received my first BPAL order and am having a lot of fun with the scents.  Seems like a few years back all the HP fans were into BPAL perfumes, so I'm a little behind the times.  I'm discovering I like citrus/food smelling perfume a lot more than I thought.  Perhaps those orange smells will perk me up a bit?
 
Baby dragon quilt continues apace.  Perhaps I'm overly optimistic, but I'm hoping I might be able to start binding it this weekend.
 
Weather is cooling a bit and I'm eager for fall temperatures!  Fingers crossed I'll get a few wears out of my beloved boots before my size/balance renders any sort of heel impossible!
 

 

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
8:12 am
Ready for the plagues to stop hitting my library...
It is a good thing the end of the world sorts didn't catch wind of what's been going on at our library for the past few days or they might be even more convinced of the end of days.  We've had an invasion of ants, a broken pipe/flooding, freezing offices, and then yesterday the snake.

Student came up to the desk to say there was a snake on the 3rd floor by the elevator.  I head up, expecting an itsy-bitsy garter snake and instead find myself facing a 4 foot long critter of unknown snakey heritage.  I'm a bad nature fan--while I know we have copperheads in the area I don't know what they look like.  We have a few students studying up on the floor so I let them know about our guest and post signs saying the floor is closed.  We have a couple of fellows who are fascinated by Mr. Snake and are determined to keep watch over it.  I warn them as best I can and head back downstairs to call physical plant and start warning the rest of the library staff in case some of them are phobic (I have a couple of relatives who will go into hysterics when faced with a snake and I don't want anyone upset).  Well, one of the staff lets me know that maintenance is likely to kill the snake and that I should call one of the biology professors.  At which point *I* nearly go into hysterics (well, not quite hysterics, but I get pretty riled up) and start frantically calling the biology department, convinced I've just doomed a poor, lost woodland creature to terrible death and trying to arrange a snake rescue.  I finally get a hold of the right professor and I'm sure I sounded just a few degrees off nuts at this point.  Thankfully, Mr. Snake is corralled in a trash bag (the cold temperatures brought about by the boiler trouble slowed it down) and Dr. Biology shows up to cart him off to the woods.  Turns out it was a black rat snake (Dr. Biology remarks that it was bigger than he expected--I'd told him it was about 4 feet but I think I sounded so anxious when I spoke to him that he was expecting me to have been using the crazy ruler).  It was rather displeased at having been photographed by various students before being caught, chased out of its quite corner and off the bookcase, then bundled up in a plastic bag, and finally shown off by the professor--it kept biting at the completely unconcerned man.  I was just glad that no one hurt the snake (well, and that it wasn't venomous and no students/staff got hurt, but honestly I was thinking the snake was in much more danger than any of the people).

I have to reflect that BOTH of my grandmothers would be extremely disappointed in me ;)  One of them was horrified of snakes and would have thought I should have had someone kill it and the other would have thought I should have taken care of the thing myself.  There's a favorite family tale about how that grandmother was working out in the garden when a huge snake came by.  She reported that she said, "Run along little snake," and then when it didn't leave, "I just chopped its head off with the hoe."  (You have to imagine a little old lady saying this in the calmest voice imaginable).  When her family started laughing at how nonplussed she was by the whole thing she would always say, "Well, I *told* it to run along!" 
Friday, May 20th, 2011
8:05 am
Bordertown

Somehow I missed out on the Bordertown series when I was perhaps of age to run away to this magical place.  While I have spend many happy hours in Newford, I didn't find out about Bordertown until the internet started buzzing about the upcoming anthology.  I'm looking forward to reading it, seeing all the wonderful authors assembled together. 

For the latest news, check out http://bordertownseries.com/blog/ . 

Bordertown is a place where the Faerie Realm and the everyday world sit side by side, but not overly comfortably.  Which, of course, makes for the best stories.
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
10:47 am

 Rules:

1. Comment with a mysterious comment of your choice.
 
2. I will give you a letter.

3. Post the names of five fictional characters and your thoughts on each.

Phoenix089 

gave me D.  (Thanks for taking pity on me and not going with V :P
 
1. Doctor--MY Doctor is 10.  My first episode was "Utopia" and I still remember Mr. Black smiling and saying "Look what I found!" when first discovering that Sci-Fi was showing the series.  At the time the only thing I knew about the show was that it was about a time travelling alien who was able to take on different forms and travelled around in a blue box.  (Well, and the fact that I'd been told for years and years that I HAD to see the show and that I would LOVE it.)  I'd actually forgotten the part about the Doctor being an alien until 1.2 seconds after seeing Tennant on the screen--I instanstly knew that was the Doctor (it was a scene with Jack, the Doctor, and Martha) and that he was NOT HUMAN.  I'm constantly amazed at people that say 10 is the most human Doctor because my split second impression of him was as being so incredibly, delightfully alien in the way that the fey are alien. Granted, I've only ever seen 9, 10, 11, and just a bit of the Baker Doctor, but the idea that 10 could ever pass as human just makes me giggle. I love the combination of humor, kindness, and sheer danger that the Doctor encompasses.  It makes me quite sad that I would make for a terrible, terrible companion--I'm way too uptight, nervous, and suspicious of people to be a proper adventuring companion.
 
2. Darth Vader--I'm actually cheating a bit here because he's always Anakin to me.  It gives me a certain fangirl smugness to know that I scoured the novelizations of the Star Wars novels for any hint of what Anakin was like before the suit years before the prequels came out.  I love a proper villian, but even more so I love stories where the villian gets redeamed.  I think it ties back to my Christian faith, the idea that no one is beyond forgiveness, the idea that no matter how bad we are, no matter what we do we always have the option of turning from evil, even in the final moments of the game.  I've said this many times before, but I saw the Star Wars movies at the exactly right moment in my life.  I was born in the year of Star Wars (the first one), but I didn't see the films Christmas morning of my sophmore year of high school.  My combined literature/history class had just finished up an intensive course on Joseph Campbell and the Hero's Journey immediately before break.  So I was able to recogonize all the Mythic structures going on <i> but I had not fully processed those lessons enough to be able to predict what would happen </i>. 
 
3. Dracula--like most girls (I'm guessing most girls anyway...) I went through a vampire phase.  Er, never left it if my appreciation of Tesla on Sanctuary is any indication.  But I grew up in the years before Twilight, so Dracula was my vamp of choice.  When I was in middle school I went to a local play of the story and was enchanted--the local theater company had the good fortune of nabbing a graduate of our area college who was coming back for homecoming who was at the time working on a soap opera.  So he had a professional dose of talent.

 

4. Duke from Haven--I can't wait for Haven to come back on!  It is one of my favorite shows as I love the urban (small town, even better) fantasy aspect and unlike the X-Files not everyone who has a bit of magic gets killed.  (One of my pet peeves is stories all about "The End of Magic" or "Must Kill All Magic.")  Duke is a smuggler and a pirate in a domesticated, modern sense.  I really like Trickster characters, even if Duke is rather "fluffier" than I typically take my Coyotes. 

 

5. Darcy (Mr.)--I really enjoyed P&P (both the book and various movies), and while I'm quite fond of Darcy and would *certainly* take him over Heathcliff, I never truly swooned for him.  My most interesting Mr. Darcy moment comes from watching "Bridgett Jone's Diary" with Mr. Black and realizing that while I was focusing on Bridgett and cringing, hoping that I would never, ever, turn into her, my husband was focused on Mr. Darcy POV of the situations.  As a man who works hard to do the *right thing* I think Darcy's confusion over "What am I doing wrong?"  and the anguish of "What am I supposed to say when the woman I love is acting crazy?" really resonated with him ;)  It was one of the few times when I realized that while we were both seeing the same things on the screen, we were really watching different movies.


Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
10:38 am

Some days I just want to send the cat to work and take over the feline duties for myself for a few days.  You know, take care of all that sleeping on the couch that has to be done.  The weather had turned damp and cold here, and while I'm one to celebrate, not bemoan, a chill in the May air it does make me want to curl up under a blanket at the moment.

 

Lots of TV happening lately.  I was happily pleased with the latest Doctor Who episode--some fantastic lines that other people have already quoted all over their journals (I'm still laughing at Amy's "Did you wish *really* hard?" and "spacy wacy").  I was a bit nervous about Gaiman's episode as I do adore much of his writing, but I didn't quite trust all the glowing reviews I'd been seeing.  Gaiman is one of those authors who tends to attract very loyal fans who seem quite willing to glow about anything he does :)  The "who's going to die???" episode of Bones proved yet again how completely emotionally detached from that show I am.  I still watch it for the clever lines and I enjoy crime shows, but that show can't stir up any feeling in me since what was done to Zach.  I am looking forward to the "Finder" series--my husband and I didn't even realize at first it was the set up for a spin off, er another show with different characters set in the same universe.  And we were *crowing* the first few minutes about how we would *totally watch THAT show* and how much fun these characters were and oh, wait, this much time on new characters must mean something is up!!  NCIS, well, I was very sorry to see Franks go, but as Mr. Black was thinking it would be Ducky it made the whole thing much easier.  (Heads up, Bones writers, NCIS shows how you deal with characters leaving a show.  I LOVE that after all these years, we still know that the main crew misses Kate and remembers her.)

 

And I can't wait to get home and watch "Castle" and "Sanctuary" which were recorded last night.  I keep hearing a lot of *arrgh flail* about Castle and a bunch of *SQUEE flail* about Sanctuary :)  I really can't wait to see Sanctuary and am counting on Tesla to pull the show back from the blah, *nobody cares,*  "would you fastforward through this meaningless flashback, honey?" of the past few episodes.  I somehow keep forgetting how forgettable this show is when lacking at least one of the fellows from the Five.  The fact that the actor who plays Druitt is on most every week as Bigfoot makes this somehow more painful.  I mean, I know the Tesla actor is busy with theater so I can grudgingly accept that we don't get him every week.  But Druitt's actor is RIGHT THERE!  And playing a character I find boring at best and annoying at worst :(

 

Trip news, Quebec City is well planned and I think Montreal is mostly planned.  At the moment I have Chinatown on the list to do the day we arrive--websites say that the stores stay open a bit later there and it is something I can stand to miss if we're too wiped out from the flight.  (On that note, what is there to do in Chinatowns?  I've never been to one and am wondering what I should keep my eyes open for??)

 

And finally, any thoughts on this http://www.jpeterman.com/Womens-Things/Pintuck-Dress as a maternity (or early maternity...) dress?  It isn't exactally my style--I go for more fitted/Victorian/English typically, but it is Peterman and it is on sale...

 

ETA: OH MY GOODNESS I JUST SAW THAT ALI SHAW HAS A NEW BOOK COMING OUT THIS WINTER!!!  I think some of you out there read and enjoyed his first book "The Girl With Glass Feet," so this should be good news to you as well.  I simply love what he has to say about his writing as "travel writing" here http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/1210715-field-notes-from-an-imaginary-universe .
Thursday, May 12th, 2011
11:54 am
Just wanted to pop in and send my best wishes to all those dealing with an upcoming end of term.  To students writing papers and teachers writing papers, hang in there, it will be over soon!

Right now I'm getting ready for an upcoming Canada/New England cruise.  I've never cruised before, so I'm a bit leery and hoping for the best.  Initial plans had been for Mr. Black and myself to do a Greek cruise, but a lot of things didn't line up (air fair to Italy was fainting appalling after our London deal of a couple of years ago, and I wound up getting my heart set on Istambul and those cruise times wouldn't quite align with how much vacation time I have).  After looking at the costs a bit more we decided it might be best to try out a cruise a bit closer to home to decide if it was really for us.  Hence Canada--interesting, English/French speaking, and if we wind up despising the ship we can just hop off and rent a car! 

We'll be spending some time in Montreal and then doing Quebec City on our own.  I've been to both places, but my memory is a bit hazy (I think my brain froze in the winter weather!) and much of that trip was arranged around my friend's examination of McGill for graduate work, so I spent a good deal of time on campus.  Any good suggestions for things not to miss?  I'm hoping to get another look at the Plains of Abraham and the Citadelle  (French and Indian War geek here) when not covered in snow, but I'm eager for tips of places to see!  And, as always, I'd love book suggestions for ways to get in the proper mood for spending time on a ship or exploring Canada :) 

I'd also appreciate any "must know" ideas for being on a cruise ship.  I'm not expecting to get seasick--I've not spent much time on the water, but the crossing from England to France never bothered me and I figure a cruise ship is even bigger (less motion) than a ferry...
Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
8:04 am

Well, right as I discover a new TV delight CBS goes and puts the show on hiatus.  I was busy tracking downs news on the new spy show "Chaos" but now I'm finding myself dashing off letters to try and let the network know that *someone* is watching the show.  I'm not sure if the title was supposed to be a play on KAOS from the old "Get Smart" series (these are the good guys after all), but that alone was enough to catch my attention when I first saw the ads.  (Yes, I was one of those kids who spend many happy hours watching "Nick at Nite.")   "Chaos" is a lovely blend of action and comedy that is right up my alley.  It reminds me of "Chuck" back when I was still finding that show fun and funny.  For all my love of dark fairy tales and brooding heroes, I really got into the lighthearted wackiness of the show.   It has plenty of engaging characters, but my favorite is Casey, the Human Weapon.  I love incongruous characters, and so I'm naturally a big fan of the small, unassuming looking fellow who can take out a private army in hand to hand combat.  I think some of that fondness goes back to how very much I enjoyed the Agents (particularly Smith) in the Matrix films.   *laughs* Non-bodybuilder type guys in suits beating people up catches my attention infinitely more than your typical fighter-looking types doing the same.  Add in the Scottish "charmer" character with his delightful accent and I'm very well satisfied with the show.  I would like to see the "leader" character acting as more of a mastermind than we've seen him so far--right now I think he needs some lessons from Leverage's Nathan Ford (or the A-Team's Hannibal for that matter).  Episodes are up online--the first was is delightful, the second one is good, but the third one has been my favorite so far.  The entire "Shadow Warrior" bit has me rolling on the floor and Casey's small smile before ducking into the garage to take out a roomful of bad guys is hilarious.  Episodes here http://www.cbs.com/primetime/chaos/  if you want to catch a couple. 

Back to wandering around looking for some fanfic of the show...


Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
9:22 am

Considering the amount of damage I'm able to do to myself with tea, I'd say it is a good thing that I don't drink alcohol...

 

Dumped an entire cup of English Breakfast across my lap only seconds after pouring the boiling water into the cup.  I'm much better now, but I spent a good portion of that evening crying on the floor.  The scars are fading, and I'm hopeful they will be gone soon.

 

Had a rather delightful Saturday which convinced me I maybe should never go to a mall again.  Started out the day at a vintage store where I found a fantastic plaid skirt (long, pleated) and a magnificent long, fitted velvet skirt.  And the most remarkable thing of all was that they both fit me.  Me.  Given the facts that I'm not only very short but also have a small waist, and yet have still passed puberty (I have hips) finding things that fit are a rarity.  I usually settle for, "eh, close enough," or "Maybe I can wear a long sweater with it," or "I guess I can get it taken up."  But two great finds at a tiny vintage story?  It was like magic.  There was a sign in the dressing room warning people not to force the zippers as vintage clothes often run small and I thought at first that it was just a polite way of saying, "Please don't destroy our fragile clothes" but now I'm not so sure.  After that adventure I did wind up at a mall.  UGH.  Crowded, smelly (nearly passed out from the cologne emanating from Abercrombie and Finch), and loud.  I keep hearing news reports about how young kids are getting these special cell phone rings that adults can't hear as they are so high pitched.  But if those kids spend any amount of time in those "young" clothing stores, I think they're going to get enough hearing damage to make them miss a lot of calls.  Next Mr. Black and I headed off to a Half Price Book store where earlier in the day there had been a Doctor Who costume contest.  Sadly, our schedule wouldn't allow us to make it--due to the closing times of certain stores and an evening party it would have required a ridiculous amount of driving back and forth across a large city.  BUT we did manage to get pictures in front of the life size TARDIS before it was carted away.  And let me tell you, there was something odd about seeing a time and space machine lying down on its side in the back of a truck.  Finally, we wound up the evening at a Clue party.  I went as Miss Scarlett in the Library--red dress and a necklace made of cut down book pages.  I won the game and Clue the movie is still hilarious :)

 


Sunday, February 13th, 2011
12:36 pm
Reading/Watching/Listening
Reading--As I've mentioned before, I'm on a bit of a re-reading kick at the moment.  I'm planning to have re-read HP and The Golden Key by this summer in honor of the upcoming movie and prequel releases.  I've only re-read the first two HP books so far,  SS was made even more delightful than usual by imagining it being read in Doctor 11's voice.  I'm not quite sure how I got going on that, but it really added a delightful layer to this reading .   CoS I think still stands as my least favorite of the series, perhaps because I should love it so much--the Diary idea really works for me, but somehow this book just isn't as enjoyable as the rest.  

I'm a few stories into "My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me" (fairy tale reworkings by modern writers).  While all that I've read so far are strong, the shining star has been oy Williams’s Baba Iaga and the Pelican Child,  This is a haunting tale that captures the feel of a lot of fairy tales to me in tone and wording. I think this one particularly resonates with me as I find Audubon's artistic methods chilling.  

Watching--Last night was a bit of a disappointment.  I'd been looking forward to seeing "The Brothers Bloom" ever since seeing a sparkling trailer a few months ago.  Rachel Weisz was in my beloved Mummy movies and I had not seen anything with Adrian Brody in it.  The movie starts out in glorious form--it is as if "Pushing Daisies" and "Leverage" had a loving marriage and raised this film as their child.  It is a con movie with the beautiful stylization of "Daisies" full of witty lines, great costumes, and characters just a half-step off possible.  And then the last 10, 15 minutes went and turned this from a "I must buy this movie and show it to everyone I know over the age of 15"  movie to an "eh, I'm glad I got to see it" movie.  I don't think I've ever known a film to go down in flames in my opinion quite so spectacularly as this one did at the ending.  My husband and I went looking to see if there was an alternate ending in hopes of redeeming the movie, but no luck.  Such a shame, with just a few minutes of difference this picture would have been one of my all time favorites.  I'll try not to say more for fear of spoiling it.  

Listening--Finished off "Shiver" yesterday.  Great audio book, really enjoyed the readers.  This book was a decided improvement over the author's first book "Lament" that I had read.  Highly recommended if you're a werewolf fan who enjoys YA.  I liked the changes being tied to the temperature rather than the moon--it gave a nice touch of partial control and more unpredictability to the tale.  Even this vampire girl liked it, but I'm not going to read the rest of the series at the moment.  I think the book ended in a nice place for me and I have a bit much on my reading list at the moment.
Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
9:11 am

So far this year I've been holding to my New Year's Resolutions.  I made one frivolous resolution--wear more jewelry, and one serious resolution--read the Bible each day.  I've managed to keep up with both of these and here we are into February!  I have a lovely assortment of pins/necklace/rings that had not been getting enough use lately so it is good to get them off the dresser and out of the drawer and out in public.  I'm always buying interesting pieces at flea markets, and wearing them is a good excuse to buy more. 

 

These past few months I've been doing a bit of time travelling when it comes to my reading.  Now, I've always enjoyed visiting the past by reading books written or set in my favorite time periods.  But lately I've been doing some personal time travelling by re-reading books I first read years and years ago.  I don't know if I'm just getting older or if it had just been a while since I read "Phantom of the Opera," the Black Stallion books, and so on, but on these recent reads I was really struck by the sensation of feeling the exact same emotions in the exact same places that I first did 20 years ago.  I'm now looking forward to getting a chance to re-read "The Gargoyle" and get mentally thrown back on the plane flight back home from London and feeling the shiver/fear/revulsion I first experienced reading that wrenching description of a severe burn victim's recovery.  I'm realizing I need to become more conscious of when and where I'm reading--like songs have the power to throw people back to certain times in their lives, books do as well.  I always intellectually knew this, but now that I've hit my 30s I think I'm able to experience it more than I did at earlier stages in my life. 

 

Anyone out there watch "True Blood?"  I've not read the books, but it looks like the public library has some of the DVDs and I'm curious.  Particularly curious as I just learned that James Frain appeared in some episodes last season.  He's been keeping me watching the abysmal "The Cape" with his accent and sense of evil fun, so I'm intrigued by the idea of him playing a vampire.  I'd love to hear what people think of the series! 


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