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From 'Dracula' Chapter 3 )

I know, it's not poetry. But I was in a Dracula mood and a Whitby mood, and it's a nice mood-setter excuse to post the following photos. I would link to previous photos of Whitby if LiveJournal's memories were ever working -- they say they're off at peak periods but mine haven't worked for two days. (ETA: here, here and here.)

Whitby Abbey and Parish Church )

At lunchtime today I picked up [ profile] apaulled from the office and we went to Noon Tunes at the Gaithersburg City Hall Pavilion to see Peter Mealy & Laurie Rose Griffith -- she who featured at least by name in my stupid Harry Potter dream of the other night. (Note: she does vaguely resemble my neighbor Alyson.) They played many favorites, including some Dylan, some Paul Simon and some Dave Matthews in addition to their own songs, and they were very friendly when I walked up to them during the break and requested one of their songs. I think they were happy someone had actually come to see them rather than simply turning up to eat outside the City Hall building on an afternoon that turned gorgeous despite the threat of rain -- we got that later -- and there are always many day care groups that traipse through on the way to the enormous nearby playground, not really listening and doing lots of running around, as today the girls were practicing cartwheels while the boys were doing armpit farts.

Peter and Laurie have traveled extensively since their last album all over Asia and Africa, and their new album has some wonderful material on it including their recording of Guardabarranco's "El Salvador" and the entertaining marriage song "Hard Times in the Middle" -- it's entertaining to hear a married couple sing wittily about marital discord. But I must recommend that Master and Commander fans go look in paricular at the lyrics to "All Around the World" (the song I requested), "Vaya Con Dios" and especially "Anchor", because they all struck me in different ways as Jack/Stephen songs -- the latter is particularly lovely and poignant and sent me straight to Mahon in the HMS Surprise era.

Afterwards I picked up the kids from camp, wrote up the Emmy nominations as they pertained to Star Trek and watched "Miri" for reviewing tomorrow -- it holds up pretty well but I am not really sure what I want to say about it in the context of the series overall. I will have to do a rush job anyway, as I am meeting [ profile] beeej for lunch, then picking up my kids and going straight to a local Borders where Jennifer Cutting and Grace Griffith are performing...I love summer so much, with all the free folk music! We figure it will be mobbed with people getting in line early to pick up their copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and I find it ironic that I will be in a bookstore tomorrow but will not be waiting around until midnight for that but cannot give up the opportunity to hear Grace sing "The Sands of Time" live. The kids just wanted assurances that we would stay for the beginning of the party, free food and possible prizes.

There's one more thing I wanted to say about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince before reading it which perhaps explains my trepidation both about the book and about talking about it with other fans. It's about Sirius. ) And hey, did you read about the 'Tatooine planet' astronomers discovered? To think everyone laughed at Lucas for the humanoids with the double suns! Hey, vegetarians and vegans in L.A.: Madeleine Bistro is my brother-in-law's restaurant that just opened, go read the reviews and check it out -- he did all the cooking for his wedding and the food was beyond phenomenal. And now I must go watch the end of Restoration and finish getting my David Thewlis fix, even though a cast this good and cinematography this pretty really deserved a better screenplay.
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The Inn )

Still not organized. Cleaned up a bit as parents were coming for dinner, not, I'm sure, that they noticed. Found out that I am the Good Daughter this week as sister was beastly to them while they were visiting her, so suspect filthy house has been excused anyway. Sons had friends over after school, distracting me which caused me to miss The Making of 'Cinderella Man' on HBO at 4; fortunately it is on again on Sunday and Tuesday. Wrote a retro review of "Charlie X", which I must say has held up astonishingly well -- I was all ready for it to be awful and embarrassing, but it didn't play that way at all. It's funny how I'll excuse things in the '60s version of Star Trek that I absolutely cannot bear on TNG or later. Parents arrived for dinner, which [ profile] apaulled cooked (chicken marsala, some kind of long-grain rice, German chocolate cake...I have a wonderful husband). We sang Happy Birthday to my father, watched Return of the Jedi to complete the Star Wars cycle, then I tried to get organized to go to Pennsylvania for the weekend. Have not succeeded much at the latter.

Jedi is as mediocre as I remembered, particularly coming so soon after Empire, but I must admit that in this case I am completely in favor of Special Editions -- the loss of the Ewok "celebrate the Lord" song alone makes all other changes worthwhile. (I also must confess that I really like the Jabba the Hutt scene in A New Hope, where Han steps on Jabba's tail to get to the Falcon; Greedo shooting first just doesn't bother me enough to compel me to boycott the revised movie.) The new, improved ending of Jedi with fireworks over Naboo, Coruscant etc. struck me as phenomenally silly the first time I saw it but watching it again at the end of the arc I must admit that I rather like having it there. I'm the kind of writer who pics at every story I've ever written every time I read them, so I can't really blame Lucas for monkeying, though I do wish he'd release both versions on DVD so people can choose between the one they remember and the one Lucas himself prefers. Oh, and aww, Darth Vader makes Michael Rosenbaum cry! Now, I wonder whether Lucas actually had to pay him to say it was the best day of his life or whether any day of being wined and dined and given toys at Neverland Skywalker Ranch would do that. I did a poll at TrekToday on which was the best SW movie, and to my surprise TPM and AOTC are way behind ROTJ, though TESB is easily on top...I wonder whether this is an effect of age and nostalgia rather than anything objective.

The plan for tomorrow is to get up early, drive to Pennsylvania and go to the horse farm after lunch. Hopefully I will see Maximus (the groundhog) and his collection of wives and babies! Sunday we may go to a nature preserve or if the weather's icky we might go to Harrisburg to a museum or if we can't decide we may go to Hershey to the zoo, and Monday the kids are campaigning for miniature golf. So I have to pack for all these possibilities.

The river rushing under the ruins, Fountains Abbey.
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Garden Homage )

Friday morning I gritted my teeth and wrote a review of the very first Star Trek episode ever aired, "The Man Trap". I had watched it a few weeks ago and found it painfully dated and sexist. Some switch in my brain must have been tripped by watching "Terra Prime," "These Are the Voyages...," Sweet November and Revenge of the Sith this week, however, because watching it again this morning I found it not at all painful, only moderately sexist (plus the excuse of having been written in 1966) and encompassing everything I love about the original series...Kirk/Spock/McCoy as best comrades as well as a strong command team, the extended friendships among the entire crew -- we see as much interaction among Uhura, Sulu and Rand in this single episode than we do among Sato, Mayweather and Reed in an entire season of Enterprise -- what it means to be Vulcan, how the crew works together. These are the reviews I was afraid might ruin my love for the original series, but this one, at least, reinforced it greatly...though I haven't got any hate mail yet and I'm not reading the BBS, so who knows how I will feel if it starts getting ugly there. I only know that it was a welcome nostalgia.

And tonight, following up on The Phantom Menace last night, the whole family watched Attack of the Clones. I confess that I was somewhat less attentive than the others, as I just watched it recently with [ profile] perkypaduan and I still have to go get ice cream during the "love scenes" or risk injuring my ears, but it didn't bug me as much as it did the first time and I must admit that somehow I have fallen for Obi-Wan this week, after managing to resist him for nearly six years. I think maybe Ewan is finally old enough for me. *g* Either way it is somewhat embarrassing though quite entertaining to come stumbling late to the Q/O party, which while not as welcoming as the Highlander party is still large and diverse enough that I'm sure there are lots of fun things to read. Many of my Trek fans passed through TPM slash on their way to LOTR, HP and other current fandoms, so there are lots of familiar names when I check out some of the stories I stashed away, too.

[ profile] fannish5: 5 movies that worked better as television shows )
[ profile] thefridayfive: Moods this week )
[ profile] fridayfiver: And it's hard for me to take a stand )
And in the "Things I Learned From George Lucas" department: Het leads to the Dark Side )

Um...did I have a real life on Friday? Well, not much of one, since I spent the morning writing articles and the late afternoon putting away the laundry that got folded but not put in drawers on Wednesday night. I did spend several minutes dragging a piece of yellow string across the floor at Cinnamon's behest. And [ profile] apaulled made very good Indian food for dinner, pav bhaji and chicken masala and choley, and I got my star skirt to go with the top [ profile] mamadracula got me from Karuna Arts, so I can be as Hippie Goddess as I like. This is good, as I have an insane Saturday (Hebrew school meeting from 9-11, soccer game from 12-1:30, DC United tickets for the evening plus my son's team gets to parade at the stadium because they won a sportsmanship award so we have to be there early. It ought to be lots of fun but I am expecting to be rather exhausted after all this family togetherness. *g*

This upper-floor room in Portchester Castle was used as a theatre in the 1800s. You can still see some of the decorative painting on the walls.
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Division of an Estate )

It was younger son's last day of Hebrew school and he had a soccer game in the early afternoon, so we had a relatively mundane Saturday -- we all went to the game (they won), then we stopped by the studio where he takes violin lessons to get his new violin tuned because none of us do it very well and his teacher had promised a lesson, and then we were going to get haircuts but both kids balked at this so instead we stopped by the food store and ended up racing home to beat the thunderstorms that kept me offline for several hours.

In the evening we watched the first half of Longitude, which is phenomenal. Michael Gambon plays a carpenter who spent his life trying to invent a clock that would allow navigation at sea, and Jeremy Irons plays a veteran obsessed with restoring his machines. I'd been told that it was a rather dry story but that couldn't be more wrong; the scientific obsession is quite riveting even to someone like me who has trouble following the most basic information about maps and vectors, and both main characters are emotional, fanatical sorts who are very compelling to watch, though I'm not thrilled with the dichotomy between Gambon's character's supportive wife and the witch they've made Irons' character's wife out to be for wanting outrageous things like a husband bringing in an income and a sex life. It may be based on reality, but they could have given both characters more depth than they bothered with in the screenplay.

Here is my Russell Crowe squee for the day, mitigated by the fact that Nicole Kidman is involved -- you know, it's a pain in the ass intensely disliking Kidman and Paltrow while only being lukewarm on Zellwegger, considering that they seem to get dibs on every major script out there, while really talented people like Winslet, Blanchett, Theron, Connelly and Linney end up in smaller movies and smaller roles, which perhaps is partly their choice but one rarely hears that they were considered for parts in which Kidman ends up miscast like The Human Stain or The Hours. Even Hilary Swank, who keeps taking roles I dislike but whose talent is undeniable. Even Sarah Michelle Gellar, who makes me want to vomit in every interview I read with her but who has consistently impressed me with what she can do when she's not doing Scooby-Doo -- I don't see why she should stop, though, when she can make a cool million for goofing off with her husband instead of doing some tiny independent film. Miranda Otto's from Australia, isn't she? Let her play a lead role opposite Crowe in a big Aussie movie.

Hate mail, I get hate mail. ) Sunday we are going downtown to the Asian games exhibit -- I am not sure yet whether this will be with or without my parents. Hopefully the rain spent itself earlier -- at least the pollen count has dropped!

Effigies of Knights, Temple Church. (Kingdom of Heaven made me realize I hadn't posted any photos of the knights, though the Templars were scapegoats in the film -- murderous Christian fanatics and hypocrites, so that the bulk of Christians could be portrayed as noble, honest folk who didn't really want to be fighting the equally noble Muslims for the city.)
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Failing and Flying )

Had a fairly quiet day, other than the usual Thursday carpool chaos. Organized some web page stuff, caught up on some correspondence and phone calls, still haven't managed to make a dermatologist appointment even though that's been on my things to do list since February and how does that happen exactly? I'm not exactly sure where the morning went. Older son had a field trip today with his chorus to perform at an elementary school near his middle school, and tomorrow has a field trip for an environmental cleanup somewhere along the Anacostia River -- we were told to dress them in old clothes and shoes -- while younger son brought home his poetry book that each student in the class wrote -- I must remember to scan and post one of his illustrated poems. The pollen is bothering me more this week than before; there's a layer of yellow powder on the car windows every time I get into the car, even if I cleaned it off a couple of hours earlier. The azaleas are still beautiful but I won't mind when the pollen count drops.

In the evening, because [ profile] apaulled expressed curiosity, we watched The Winter Guest. (He couldn't quite figure out why it caught my attention at first, because I've never been a huge Emma Thompson fan and he didn't pay attention to the directing credits. *g*) It's a beautifully done movie, something I think you have to be in the mood for -- very slow and quiet particularly at the beginning, with absolutely gorgeous, fairly minimalistic cinematography (it's set in Scotland in winter, and there's a lot of layering of whites -- snow on ice, fog over the frozen sea, even an off-white comforter on white bedsheets in a white room, and black and white photos play a big role since Thompson's character is a photographer). Thompson's mother Phyllida Law plays her mother in the film, and the two of them are exceptional together; it must be rather difficult to play a fractious relationship with an actual family member. While she and her mother are walking through the town sniping at each other, her son is being pursued very aggressively by a girl, and meanwhile two boys playing hooky are trying to figure out what in hell their lives are about and two old ladies who go to funerals for fun are doing the same thing.

The plots aren't exactly parallel and in the case of the old ladies they don't even converge -- the only point of contact involves spying on them through a telescope -- so all the connections are very subtle and the overall effect is too. There's never a hint of melodrama and the performances are all very restrained, even during the one erotic scene where there are all kinds of other complications getting in the way. I'm definitely going to have to watch it a few more times, because the accents on the kids are so strong that it's sometimes hard to catch what they're saying and I was more focused on the acting than how the camera work (which was quite complicated -- long tracking shots) was working with the story. Oh...and there are kittens. In other words The Winter Guest did nothing to alleviate my Alan Rickman crush.

Brain quiz. ) I thought I might be going to see Kingdom of Heaven again with [ profile] perkypaduan but in classic Friday the 13th style, neither multiplex has an early show, even though it's Friday, much to our chagrin, and I wouldn't be home in time to get my kids. Woe! And of course I must spend the evening reviewing Enterprise, for the last time. I have only just discovered that Mirando Otto is in War of the Worlds so even though I'd thought the double whammy of Cruise and Fanning might make me want to miss that, I am now torn -- though I think I will wait for some reviews by people I trust. This upcoming weekend is the last for Hebrew school for the semester and younger son has a soccer game in the middle of the afternoon on Saturday, and we might get haircuts for the boys afterward, so Saturday will probably be relatively uneventful.

Another from the Lake District right outside the town of Grasmere: the sun competing with clouds on a hillside.
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The Pleasures of Fear )

It has been a week of enforced Star Trek nostalgia, as every media outlet on the planet seems to be doing some sort of retrospective on the show. Some of these I write up for TrekToday, some I save for my own amusement and some seem to be exactly the same material recycled...has JMS been passing on anonymous notes for people to crib from? I finally got to that Auberjonois interview that I had put off and put off because it's a freakin' hour and a half, and I cannot write two other articles plus a writeup of a freakin' hour and half audio interview in one day if I want to have any semblance of a life (read: if there are carpools to be driven, etc.) but it ended up being a great pleasure to listen to him talk about babysitting for Alan J. Lerner's kids and starring with Katharine Hepburn in Coco. He is just so cool.

This week's Smallville had some parts I liked very much and some parts that required shouting at the screen, trying to talk the characters out of the inevitable. I am not one of those who has ever been nostalgic for high school from the moment I graduated, so episodes about nostalgia upon graduation from high school rarely move me in any significant way; the closest I ever came to caring was while Joey Potter was giving the commencement address on Dawson's Creek and that was only because Eva Cassidy's version of "Fields of Gold" was playing in the background, referring directly back to the one time before it was played that season during one of those golden evening scenes where the creek is winding like a river of possibility in front of the characters though you already know there's a definite end to their story because the show is so obviously written from the point of view not of teenagers but of adults looking back. But I digress. Smallville. With spoilers. )

If I have nasty noir twists on the brain it is [ profile] perkypaduan's fault, as she came over and we watched An Awfully Big Adventure (being unable to go to Kingdom of Heaven whose earliest show was too late for me to pick up my kids) and then, being in an Alan Rickman Film Festival mood, Galaxy Quest. I figured the latter was perfect preparation to review the Enterprise finale Friday night; I cannot decide whether to try to write serious, analytical criticism or a somewhat whimsical "here are the things the actors are going to get asked at conventions for the next ten years" sort of review. I suppose I must see what sort of mood "These Are the Voyages..." leaves me in.

The producer for the movie Finding Home sent me some photos of Louise Fletcher in that film (which also stars Genevieve Bujold and Justin Henry) for my web site. They're here if anyone wants to see!

Grasmere on the River Rothay. Just because it's pretty and calm.
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The End Of The Weekend )

My horoscope was wrong: I did not once get caught in traffic today, not even driving older son to Hebrew school which usually takes far, far longer than it should. I did have to navigate two terrible parking lots where people park as if it's perfectly natural for them to sprawl their SUVs across two spots so that the rest of us have to circle around looking for someplace to park, but that hardly counts as traffic. I had a lovely lunch outdoors in this gorgeous spring weather with two of the usual suspects, did some running around for stuff my kids needed, wrote two articles -- oh wait, I know what kind of traffic I got caught in! It took me so long to download an interview I was supposed to write up that by the time it had finished, I had forgotten all about it, so it will not get done till tomorrow. I suck, heh.

Veronica Mars was the highlight of my evening, and while I enjoyed many aspects of the episode, I found the revelation and the way in which it was shown rather anticlimactic. I had no strong opinion on whom Lily's murderer should be, though I felt very strongly about who it should NOT be, and it wasn't him so I appreciated that. Spoilers! )

Okay, I've been tagged before and pointedly avoided this meme, but [ profile] annathepiper hit me and since I only just started reading her journal I didn't want to blow her off. *g* So, the movie meme, with half-assed first and last answers which are why I didn't do it before:
1. Total number of films I own on DVD/video: Thousands. For ten years we taped everything we thought we might ever want to watch again at EP, so three movies a tape, over 400 tapes, and that's not counting the DVDs. We suck. *g*
2. The last film I bought: If it's me personally, An Awfully Big Adventure. If it's things [ profile] apaulled bought that I would have bought had we not agreed that he would go to Best Buy since I was going to Target, it would have been Phantom of the Opera and National Treasure.
3. The last film I watched: In the theater, Kingdom of Heaven. On DVD, National Treasure.
4. Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:
   1. Monty Python's Life of Brian
   2. Kiss of the Spider Woman
   3. Tempest (dir. Paul Mazursky)
   4. Crimes and Misdemeanors
   5. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
5. Pick on five people. Tag 5 people and have them put this in their journal: Oh hell, I can't even remember whose journal I've seen this in and/or ducked it if they tagged me! Let me do it this way: if you haven't been tagged and you feel like sharing said information, consider yourself tagged. *g*

The Cormorant, Portchester. This was one of my favorite pub signs.

And look what [ profile] miyumiyu drew for me! Snape/Lupin Celtic art!
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The Daffodils )

And a photo to go with the poem, taken at St. Oswald's Churchyard, Grasmere, Cumbria:

The graves of William Wordsworth, his wife Mary and sister Dorothy. With daffodils.

Friday, after an absurdly early alarm because my older son had to be at school in time to get on a bus for Annapolis for the state chorus festival (where his school did well, though not quite so well as they did at the county competition), [ profile] twinkledru and I decided to indulge in some mutual pimping -- I showed her Highlander and she showed me Firefly. We couldn't get the first disc to play, and I think I need to watch the pilot to have a real sense of what's going on among the characters, but Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk and Morena Baccarin were all terrific and I am looking forward to watching the rest. Though I read a very traumatic spoiler on the TrekToday message boards right after watching, and now I don't even know whether to look forward to Serenity! Oh, Joss Whedon, you are cruel. [ profile] twinkledru and I also had California Tortilla and she was subjected to a lap invaded by my cat, something to which most visitors to my house are subjected, so she has now passed the Rosie Inspection of Doom with flying colors.

My son came home tired but content from the chorus festival and instead of wanting to go over to his friend's house he wanted to stay home, so he, his brother and his friend could all play Runescape without having to compete for a computer. They and two other friends spent two hours IMing and chasing each other through the game...does this now count as having a social life for middle schoolers or should I worry about it? (Younger son was also beside himself because he accidentally overwrote his Aragorn file in The Two Towers Game Boy game, meaning that he lost -- um, items? artifacts? something he wanted, at any rate, and which it will take months of experience to gain back. I am so glad I do not play video games and frustrate myself in this manner.

We had dinner with my mother, as my father is in New York, then came home for Enterprise. Here's the "Demons" review, which may net me somewhat less hate mail since I actually liked the episode, though I am sure some people will write and accuse me of having claimed that just to get attention or something. *g* One more week, and then my Trek-reviewing-free life begins...I wonder how strange it will feel after nearly eleven years. Although I promised to review the original series for TrekToday after Enterprise has left broadcast, so I guess that's not entirely true.

[ profile] fannish5: What 5 things about your fandom make you cranky? )
[ profile] thefridayfive: Love )
[ profile] fridayfiver: Fifteen Minutes of Fame )

The local news is all atwitter because the Wizards beat the Bulls and will now have the honor of getting pounded up and down the floor by Miami. I am ambivalent, given that Kwame Brown's troubles have gotten more press than my county's decision to stop teaching sex ed until it can placate the conservatives who want homophobia built in to the curriculum and given that I hate rooting against the Bulls after many happy years living in Chicago. But since my family will be following these events closely, I shall sound my barbaric yawp. Am expecting a weekend of soccer, in-laws and hopefully some fun. And look! I leave you with HP joy: [ profile] mamadracula drew more McGonagall!
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Magician )

I am sure I have used up my rightful level of squee for the week, but in between chores and schlepping younger son to the orthodontist who informed both of us that he needs to brush better, I got even more new, improved squee! Thanks in part to a benefactor who probably wishes to remain anonymous and in part to the miracle of DVR technology, I watched certain movies today that I never expected to see on DVD. Well, I did not actually watch all of Kiss of the Spider Woman, which remains, if not the best movie I have ever seen, then at least in the top five -- and it changed the way I watch other movies -- nor did I actually watch all of The Competition, which is half guilty-pleasure with Lee Remick and Sam Wanamaker and half pure pleasure listening to all the piano music in the soundtrack.

But I did watch The Miracle, a movie I have not watched in years because the former rental videotape I owned was in such bad shape that I was afraid of destroying it. I watched it through, though I had intended only to put on the scene where Beverly D'Angelo sings "Stardust"...and it is the perfect movie to watch the day after An Awfully Big Adventure, because the two movies thematically are almost mirrors of each other. They're both set in rundown cities and center around struggling theatrical companies, they both play around with the idea of life as performance and the difference between reality and illusion, they both involve young people being raised by people who feel like they can't tell them the truth about their mothers, and the rest involves spoilers galore. )

I can't decide if TV has been disappointing me because I've had good movies around, or if TV has been disappointing me because Veronica Mars and Smallville both sucked this week...well, the latter more than the former, but I am more disappointed in VM because I have come to expect that show to be really good. I still hate Logan, but his ickiness doesn't make me feel good in this mess. ) And then there's SV, which -- no matter how much terrible, awful, agonizing Lana dialogue we must sit through, has Lex and Lionel which absurdly makes me excuse everything else. Lex himself didn't have too many moments that made me ngggghh this week -- well, maybe that look at the very end -- but he figured in my two favorite scenes even though he wasn't onscreen at the time. Lionel and Genevieve are my second SV OTP! )

My other point of televised disappointment was the Revenge of the Sith trailer shown during Smallville. I understand that preview was targeted for the WB audience, but after that wonderful one I saw in the theater attached to The Hitchhiker's Guide, I was just not prepared for so much badness! How can a preview be so painful? ) However, I must have this Christian Bale action figure as Batman! If only there was a Phantom of the Opera action figure, I could introduce them to each other and then they might be my OTP. No wait, I'm confusing life with Reign of Fire, or maybe RPS. *g* Um, ignore that.

When I posted all those photos of things blooming in DC, I did not mean to give the impression that we did not see plenty of flowers while we were in England. Here, an effort to remedy that...

New Blossoms, Antique Places )

Am shouting love to [ profile] melina123, [ profile] valis2 and [ profile] fuschia. They know why. *g*
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A Story About the Body )

It rained most of the day, so we went to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which was twice in two days for me. My kids loved it -- in particular the whale, the yarn and the towel -- and my husband agreed that it was like Terry Gilliam taking on Dr. Who. I did realize that I should have warned people about that song, though; it's been stuck in my head for two days now and I am ready to cry or tap dance, I can't tell which. Oddly, we saw different previews in the upstairs theater in the multiplex than [ profile] perkypaduan and I saw on my great annoyance, we did not get Revenge of the Sith, which I forgot to mention was a highlight of my day Friday! I was thoroughly bored by Attack of the Clones and not really a fan of The Phantom Menace, slash or no slash, and having read the kids' novelization of Sith I really did not expect to be impressed, but I was utterly thrilled by the preview -- I hope the movie is half as good as it looks in that. Saturday in its place we got Batman Begins, which looked great as well, but I kept being pulled out of the moment by too many familiar faces...I wasn't seeing Batman, I was seeing Christian Bale, luscious though he is (I worry about what he's doing to his body, the extremes from The Machinist to this), and I was seeing Michael Caine and Liam Neeson and Katie "Not Getting Enough Publicity For My Films Alone" Holmes...I wonder whether I will be able to suspend disbelief during the movie.

Belated TrekToday review of "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part Two", for which I have already received hate mail! No surprise there, really. ) In other excitement, we picked up the van and watched bits of the Nationals game, which was ultimately rained out, though we got the unexpected pleasure of a M*A*S*H rerun while the station was killing time waiting to see if it would be called. Then, completely by accident, we caught the very end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on ABC. I have been meaning to watch the very last scene of that movie ever since we came back from England, because after having been at Goathland Station, I wanted to see how it looked on film. I've stood where Hagrid was! Yay!

Some different views of Goathland Station. )
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O Navis )

[ profile] perkypaduan and I went to the early show of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which was great fun -- Monty Python meets Dr. Who on crack. I haven't read the book in more than a decade, so I went in with few expectations and a willingness to be pleased, which I was; the casting is wonderful and the film hit on most of the highlights from the novel, though many of them were curtailed (and the forced romance caused the film to drag unnecessarily in spots). My entire family wants to see this one so I may even see it again over the weekend, since thunderstorms are forecast, which means that both the local azalea festival and the University of Maryland's celebration of education, sports and food in College Park may be abbreviated, cancelled or just not as much fun. If the weather is good, my younger son has soccer both days which will take up quite a bit of the weekend.

Today both kids went to their friend Omar's after school to play Runescape which the younger one had been barred from after lying about his homework but I'm not supposed to know that. We took the new van in for maintenance, which required both adults to drive so one could take the other home. Otherwise there was little excitement this evening besides by-kids'-request POTC DVD extras and some fighting with our Pirates of the Spanish Main ships.

[ profile] fannish5: Real Fake Universes )
[ profile] thefridayfive: International Travel )
[ profile] fridayfiver: Favorite Brands )

Masthead of the HMS Warrior, Portsmouth. (Goes with the poem.)
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The Connoisseuse of Slugs )

[ profile] perkypaduan announced that it was an Alan Day, so after eating leftover Indian food for lunch, we watched Blow Dry This is only the third time I have seen the movie and I still have no words for just how much I love it. The soundtrack alone puts an enormous smile on my face, and it's one of those big family stories where everyone's family is dysfunctional and tense but love wins out in the end in most cases. And the cast is mostly wonderful, and there are a lot of very funny moments, and it's set in Yorkshire and there are scenes with sheep that just made me so nostalgic for being in England. And Alan does Sean Bean's accent. We loved it so much, we think we are going to go see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at the first showing, because Alan as the voice of Marvin is only one of the many things I expect to enjoy...I haven't read the book in years so I have few expectations/demands.

Otherwise my day was taken up with news bullets and more news bullets, a late carpool in horrible traffic, a walk in the evening with my older son around the neighborhood taking pictures of flowers and wandering cats, my younger son remembering as usual on Thursday night that he has an assignment he was given on Monday that's due Friday that he has not started and family-wide panic trying to get him to do it, dinner and things like that. Also, I made the mistake decision to let [ profile] ariestess interview me back after I interviewed her. This is her fault. ) I'm way behind on comments and notes, I know...shall catch up over the weekend. Maybe even tomorrow night, as I must review Enterprise a day late because of a baseball pre-emption.

Tourists on the cruise we took from Greenwich to London taking photos of the Royal Navy's RV Triton.
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Touch )

My work hate mail is back to...well, hate mail, now that people are back at work themselves and not writing from their personal addresses. In the Enterprise review round-up this week I didn't include Jammer because, frankly, I've stopped checking his site particularly on weeks where we have more than eight reviews to include already, since his are pretty much never done within a week by the time the roundup is posted. He gave "Bound" one star and called it one of the worst episodes ever. I also pretty much never include Cinescape since they don't review every episode and when they do it tends to be a preview short, not a full review, and they rather liked "Bound." So over on the BBS I am now getting bashed for 1) obviously choosing only negative reviews, as I left off Cinescape, even though it is noted by the same people that I 2) left off Jammer, who thought the episode sucked like a sucking thing. I wish people would decide whether I am guilty of gross negligence or a deliberate and evil attempt to sabotage Enterprise by citing only bad reviews...

My day elsewhere involved packages, kids, late afternoon sun serving as a distraction, fighting with dreaded amnesia!fic that is going to be a long scary mess and must be finished by July 16th (of course I wrote the climax first), fighting with even more dreaded fic that I dare not even name, neither the title nor the fandom and certainly not the pairing as [ profile] seleneheart may unfriend me, going to CVS to get shampoo and discovering that they have little pirate ships too, rearranging my bookshelves to make room for the Patrick O'Brian biography by Nikolai Tolstoy that my friend from London sent me since I never found it while I was there, trying to make my son do his spelling, writing a couple of articles including a really fun one about Star Wars and Star Trek simultaneously coming to a halt in May and the attendant fan angst, having to let son #1 stay up till nearly 11 because he is supposed to observe the moon for science class and things like that. In other words, I have no other exciting news. *g*

The five questions meme. My questions are from [ profile] gblvr. You know the drill. )

One of my last photos of England, taken through the window of the plane. I need to get that Above Britain book; I love looking at things from the air.
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Near Halloween )

Sunday my older son had a meeting (possibly the final one, for now) with his science group from school, so we drove out to watch them rehearse their class presentation which needs to be somewhat more detailed than the brief one they did for the school science fair. Then we went to Borders, which kindly sent internet users 25% off coupons good this weekend only and because [ profile] apaulled still has birthday gift cards. Since they didn't have the new DVD release of An Awfully Big Adventure, I got Longitude, the Jeremy Irons-Michael Gambon miniseries about the 40-year effort of an 18th-century clockmaker to find an accurate way to measure longitude at sea and the later effort of a Royal Navy veteran to restore his work; most of the reviews I've read have been glowing, and really, how bad can any miniseries about navigation and sailors starring Irons and Gambon be?

We had dinner again with my parents, not a real seder but most of the food from the holiday, and watched part of the Wizards-Bulls playoff game. Then we came home so the kids could do homework and chores and I watched the catch-up episode of Desperate Housewives, which was very helpful as I've missed more episodes than I've seen. I can't decide whether this show is purely guilty pleasure or something I actually like, but I have never been bored. Elsewhere in entertainment news, a PSA courtesy [ profile] fileg: Russell Crowe and Alan Cumming without pants. Something so many of us need. As is the [ profile] _dangerpants_ community -- what a brilliant idea!

It was drizzly and cool most of today, so although spring is still in full bloom, I didn't get any outdoor photos this weekend. Instead here is spring in North Yorkshire...

Daffodils and tulips around the Temple of the Four Winds at Castle Howard.
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After this, and attendant commentary at the TrekBBS, I did get a few notes like this one. ) But most of my mail this weekend was more along the lines of these. )

So I guess there are still some people watching Enterprise to whom IDIC means something. I had really begun to wonder whether they'd all tuned out, and the only people left were the young white boys who had been UPN's target audience until the sudden "actually we're an urban and women's network!" switcheroo.
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The Hawk )

Today was taken up with work, younger son's soccer game (they tied) and relatives. My in-laws drove down from Pennsylvania to spend the afternoon with us and come to the seder at my parents' house, along with [ profile] perkypaduan and friends of my parents who have known them since before I was born. It was a nice seder, relatively low-key since my sister and her family were not there though it also felt less "family"-ish since they weren't there; our kids disappeared down the basement to play card games on a couple of occasions and we all talked politics, religion, education and how good the matzoh balls were, though it's a different atmosphere than when there are multiple children running in all the time to interrupt with some episode or other. The food as always was fantastic and I got so full from the appetizers, charoset, carrot souffle and gefilte fish (say what you will, I love the stuff) that I barely had a bite of dessert.

Every year I have a slightly harder time with whatever haggadah we end up using; this year I persuaded my mother to bypass the Wicked Child, the one to whom parents are instructed to say, "You would not have deserved to be freed from slavery in Egypt had you been there!" as if it's not perfectly reasonable for any kid to say, "What does this service where we talk about God killing Egyptian babies mean to you?" My parents made it very clear throughout my childhood that they were agnostic, which has not had any detrimental influence on my theological convictions, but I don't want my children to become tradition-bound Jews any more than I want them under the influence of Jews for Jesus. I can't stand holidays that ostensibly celebrate the interference of God in history. Does anyone know of a hippie haggadah that maintains the celebration of freedom while omitting references to plagues of locusts or soldiers drowning in the Red Sea?

The wonderful [ profile] megthelegend wrote me "Replacements", Kira/Odo fic! I am so happy! Now I just need to catch up with [ profile] col_kira_nerys again. Oh, and I watched "The Return of Amanda" while folding laundry -- between the cabaret, the airport sequence and the look on Duncan's face when he realized what she was up to with the money, I was a very happy Highlander fan. I must confess that as much as I love Duncan/Methos, I thoroughly enjoy Duncan with a number of women, too. Probably because a lot of the women on this series are great, which is sadly unusual for a lot of television.

[ profile] fannish5: My Fannish Vacation )
[ profile] thefridayfive: Marvelous Music )
[ profile] fridayfiver: We're Moving On Up )

Seagulls on the wall around Scarborough Castle overlooking the water. There were also seagulls on the walls of the castle itself, above the castle, on the hillside, all around the town...I will forever associate Scarborough with the calling of gulls.
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The Dead )

Tonight we watched last night's Smallville, "Heathers Meets Carrie" (that wasn't the episode title but it might as well have been). It had no Lionel and not nearly enough Lex, but it did have enough queens to keep me smiling. )

Besides lunch with [ profile] beeej, I had a successful work day in that I now know a producer at The History Channel who wrote to TrekToday hoping we would do a news bullet on their new Voodoo documentary narrated by Michael Dorn. I love Michael Dorn and it sounds like it's a "truth behind the myths" documentary rather than a sensationalistic one (not another movie-version The Serpent and the Rainbow) so I sent him a note asking for more information for an article, and we exchanged a couple of e-mails. I would love a job like that -- writing and casting historical documentaries. My other article was on Eugene Roddenberry Jr. who distinctly told Chase Masterson in an audio interview that he is now a father, and I got a pile of notes telling me he doesn't have any children and I'm an idiot, so I am a little befuddled...

My sister and her family went back to New York, so things were calmer with the kids, though today is the day when son #1 stays late for math team and son #2 has violin at the same time so coordinating carpools is always hectic. A friend from England had sent me some of the little pewter figures that you can buy at some of the historical sites -- little Roman soldiers and Vikings and Tudors -- and I spent an absurd amount of time rearranging in my bedroom, putting those away and the William Morris book I bought at Castle Howard and the Druid-themed Tarot cards I had seen at Avebury and my latest pile of books. I don't know where to store my miniature pirate ships -- would it be excessively dorky to get little plastic cases? Do I care? *g*

Let's see, what else...I am caught up on Veronica Mars (at least as caught up as I can be having missed the first quarter of the season), I am totally loving The Eyre Affair where the bad guy was threatening to plant a nail-bomb in Barchester because he hates Trollope, I updated my web pages, I remembered to change my personal information in all my other journals which it just hit me today I needed to do or I was just going to point everyone to stuff I had locked, and I only have about 20 e-mails left to answer. Gee, I might be almost caught up just in time for Passover and getting behind again!

The parish church of Whitby seen from the ruins of the abbey. I shall allow Bram Stoker to describe it for me: from 'Dracula'. )
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Beginning )

I have had an utterly chaotic day...entertaining, but I am so behind on everything I could cry. My sister and her family are leaving town tomorrow, so we were trying to fit in as much time seeing them as possible. I had a quick lunch with [ profile] perkypaduan (no Highlander, sorry [ profile] beeej), then ran around cleaning up in case my nieces came over to see the cats, picking up my kids, etc. I got two articles posted but didn't even start listening to the hour-long interview that I was apparently supposed to be able to play, typing out the good bits, and write up in detail on a day when I also had to resize photos, type in bullets and other time-consuming sorts of news-reporting activity (as opposed to writing up "Minor Trek Star To Appear On Past Its Prime TV Show" based on a single source article, which can be done in 20-30 minutes). I have no idea where this week has gone.

In good Trek news, though, I finally got around to reading O Deus' review of "Bound" at TrekWeb, and he hated it so much that apparently someone thought he and I were the same person! I am going to take this as a compliment. Online reviewers seem split between "wow that was bad" and "aw, it was a fun nostalgic romp!" Most of the reviewers I respect came down on the "bad" side, so I don't have to scoff at them, fortunately. *g* I really cannot regret that Enterprise is going off the air -- gives me a firm excuse to look for a job in the fall. If I'm going to spend this many hours a day working, I have got to make more money.

In entertainment news in general, [ profile] vertigo66 tells me that Skin will be broadcast on Soapnet, which makes me very happy as Fox never aired half the episodes and I really liked the series from the start (oh but wait, I'm supposed to be anti-sex and that show was about the porn industry...hmm, must consult with my Trek-bashers). Also, the very sweet [ profile] melina123 sent me the Veronica Mars I missed, though I have still not had a chance to watch it. Thank you! And the wonderful [ profile] penguingal wrote me fic-to-order; I had asked for Josh/Matt DNC, and she obliged with Pushing Forward, and it was just what I needed on a Wednesday night with no new West Wing (not that I would have been home to watch anyway, as we were all at my parents' still).

So I lost my iTunes virginity downloading and buying "Raewyn" -- the first single off Russell Crowe's upcoming album My Hand My Heart (lyrics on that site). I like the song, though I must admit I still like some of the ones he did with TOFOG better (I am not sure anything will replace "Other Ways of Speaking" as my favorite). "Raewyn" and four other songs on the album were co-written by Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea, with whom I am familiar thanks to [ profile] ribby who sent me Sea of No Cares (am thinking of buying Rant and Roar). The guitar in this song is quite lovely. And while I was at iTunes, I looked up Russell's playlist...any man who has the Indigo Girls' "Closer To Fine" named as a song that helped him grow up, and Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" and David Bowie's "Sorrow" and k.d. lang's "Constant Craving" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" on his list, is deserving of my adoration. It makes me so ridiculously happy when celebrities justify my love. Oh, what the heck: here's the playlist. )

And now can I admit that I secretly grinned that we were staying in Russell Square in London across from the Russell Hotel, and everyone can laugh at me for this? I am near collapse again and have nearly as much to do Thursday as I did Wednesday; sister is leaving town with her brood but it's double-carpool day and I still haven't made it through that audio interview I have to write up. But I do get to see [ profile] beeej at lunchtime! And the awesome [ profile] perkypaduan brought me James L. Nelson books. What's the verdict: do I finish the Hornblowers first, or take a break and read one of these? I need a nautical fiction schedule!

Looking down the spiral staircase from the top of the keep in Portchester Castle. There was centuries-old graffiti inscribed on the walls on the way down, signatures and curlicues dating from the 1700s. (It's a long way down from here. I better start with the stairs. *g*)
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For My Son )

I had an insane Monday -- mostly good-insane, though seriously marred by my not being able to find [ profile] eklisiewicz's cell phone number to tell her that my sister's family was arriving in town a day late and I couldn't get out to Great Falls at the time I told her I would (I am very, very sorry, EK). I spent a lot of the morning waiting for my sister, organizing stuff for her kids and dealing with LJ stuff. )

I rushed through three Trek articles today, including new DVD sets, Coto on the Trek future and the world's wimpiest article on the collapse of TrekUnited -- all sorts of allegations surfaced over the past week from alleging minor fraud to alleging enormous lies on the part of various officials from that organization, very much justifying the skepticism I have harbored from the beginning, but all I said was that the campaign was over, there would be no fifth season of Enterprise and the officials have promised to begin refunding money immediately so let's hope that happens quickly and efficiently. Then I had to race around getting my kids, both of whom had dressed for the 50 degrees it was early this morning rather than the 80 degrees it was this afternoon, so they had to change before we could go over to my mother's for some quality time with their cousins. I had bought all the kids Robin Hood hats in Sherwood Forest and my boys insisted on bringing their wooden swords, which they then left to the younger girls so they could attempt to teach the older one Runescape. We spent all afternoon and evening there, had a very chaotic dinner, then came home and first had to attempt to make boys do homework after 8 p.m. So I am more than a little frazzled, and obviously way behind on comments, mail and such.

My older son's school chorus made the state championship so they have all sorts of rehearsals and excitement in preparation for that. In more good news, [ profile] apaulled went to the orthopedic surgeon who said based on the x-rays he does not think he will need surgery on his knee. And I have artwork to share: [ profile] bloodraven77 drew me Kira and Damar (after much begging and groveling on my part) and I adore her for it, Kim Schultz has a new luscious Christian Bale, and [ profile] mamadracula has some very pretty Laura Roslin drawings from the new Battlestar Galactica. And since I am feeling like a sheep tonight...

The sheep on the farm that was right outside our door at the cottage where we stayed most of the time while we were in England. There was another ewe with two babies in the same pasture and a great many lambs in the next field, though we were warned not to go walking there because there was a cranky ram.
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Tacking Ship Off Shore )

Tax Day was yet another glorious spring day in the DC area. I got to have lunch with [ profile] gblvr, rant about baseball in Washington disrupting my UPN-watching, read lots of articles and watch lots of video clips of the Enterprise wrap party for an article summarizing it, discover that Lupin is still not going to let me write about Lockhart, become the meanest mother in the world (again!) because I made my son start reading the book due Monday that he has put off for a week rather than letting him go over to a friend's to play Runescape, remain the meanest mother in the world (again!) by telling my other son that his father's grounding of him from video games still stands when he is not home, have dinner with my parents, review Enterprise and watch a few minutes of the Mind Meld DVD, which is every bit as much of a slasher's dream as I had hoped and I'm not even a quarter of the way through it yet.

Speaking of Enterprise, here is my very, very scathing "Bound" review at TrekToday, and I didn't even set phasers on kill; I didn't feel like there was any point in unleashing the full feminist rant on something so obvious. It was worse than any episode of the original series, because the original series was the original series and has being made in the '60s as an excuse for some of its stupidity; Enterprise has NO excuse, not with so many fans still trying to save it even though the sets have been packed away and the actors are out auditioning for other shows. In fact, there was only one thing that amused me in "Bound". And of course it was slashy. )

[ profile] fannish5: So you're cleaning all the pollen off your TV screen and a genie pops out. In return for freeing her, she offers to grant you 5 changes to any TV show(s) you wish. With only 5 wishes, what do you wish for?
The complete disappearance from canon of the last nine episodes of La Femme Nikita.
2. The eighth season and following that X-Files should have had rather than the ones it got.
3. The disappearance of Cordelia from Buffy and Angel except as a once-in-a-blue-moon guest star.
4. A conclusion to episode, a miniseries, another season...
5. I feel like an idiot saying this, after all this time, but...Janeway/Chakotay. Was anything so obvious ever botched so badly in the history of television?

[ profile] fridayfiver: You-Who
1. Who inspires you?
See my icon.
2. Who disappoints you? 9/10 of the elected officials of the United States. And an unfortunate percentage of the people who elected them.
3. Who makes you angry? See above.
4. Who makes you laugh? Monty Python.
5. Who do you love? This is the kind of question that makes these fiver things silly. If you read this journal you already know who I love. I'm not bothering with [ profile] thefridayfive, which is about illness.

Family stuff. ) It's supposed to be a gorgeous weekend but we have two Hebrew school model seders, two children's birthday parties, two soccer games and assorted relatives. And I am sure it will be fun doing all these things, but I hope I get a quiet hour in the woods somewhere.

Seagulls approach the rigging of Grand Turk in port at Whitby.


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