Monday, October 29, 2012

OUAT 2.5 "The Doctor"

And no, this isn't a crossover episode with Doctor Who. Spoilers below.

Okay, so I'm still ticked at how they used Frankenstein because I really respect it as a piece of literature.


They weren't drawing on the book, they were drawing on the movies, which are a staple of the horror genre. And it was actually an extremely well crafted episode, so I'll let it slide. I hate horror films, but even I got a kick out of the black and white sequence at the end.

And this was huge for Regina's character development, to see how she finally turned irrevocably evil. And what will loosing Daniel again do for her in Storybrooke? After she's trying so hard to reform for Henry? Either it'll lead way to some major healing, or turn her back to the dark side. Only time will tell.

Speaking of Henry, I much prefer his storyline of being Regina's conscience and learning how to be a knight (as opposed to last season's "I'm going to do what I want no matter what anyone says" gig.) So adorable with the horse!

It was awesome to see more of Dr. Whale and Jefferson. They're both characters with a lot of room for development, and I'm so glad that we're getting to see more of them this season - especially Jefferson. It's fun to see him more quirky mad than completely insane by grief mad.

Not much going on in the Emma/Snow storyline. Aurora and Mulan remain pretty much set dressing, hopefully that'll change soon. Emma got to do some badass interrogating... sorta. And Hook? Eh, didn't add much to this episode. Did like the ending with the beanstalk, however.

However the tidbit I appreciated most in this episode was the short exchange between Jefferson and Rumple about the globe and the slippers. Slippers that facilitate travel between dimensions? Why Dorothy's Ruby Slippers of course! Although, um, *snickers* the idea of Rumple wearing them and saying "there's no place like home"...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Downton Abbey 3.7

No review for last week because honestly I didn't find much in that episode to talk about.

This week was better, however, so spoiler alert!

First off, I'm fed up with Alfred. Seriously. Daisy can do so much better. I hope she takes her in-law's offer of the farm because that would be awwwwesome.

MARY AND MATTHEW NEED BABIES. Seriously. I feel like Mary hasn't gotten to do much lately, and it seems like some pregnancy stuff might be about to unfold, so maybe next week we'll hear some news?

I am very glad however that she and Matthew are not having relationship drama. It's so lovely to see them happy and supportive of each other. And so comfortable together... who didn't love the scene where Matthew falls back dramatically on the bed? So adorable.

Yes, yes, we all want to punch Robert in the face after the last couple of episodes, but guys, he's trying. He's given in to just about everything, and you can see how hard it is on him. I'm not saying he's perfect, but he's doing better than I expected going into this episode.

Lady Grantham rocks. She's just... she's practical and blunt but she is also compassionate. I love how she is not just 'MUST GET RID OF ETHEL' but actually 'hmmm Ethel is unhappy, must find better position for her and save my family reputation without permanently ticking off Isobel.'

Tom's brother is kind of awful. Makes Tom look moderate in comparison... I think the family realized that. AND THEY ARE GOING TO PUT HIM IN CHARGE! I cheered when this happened. It's the one major thing I did think of last episode, that Tom would be perfect. And it really is the best resolution for everyone. So huzzah!

Bates and Anna are happy at last. This was the first episode where I wanted to see more of them, rather than less (their story has been boring this season imho). So maybe next week...?

Thomas. Oh Thomas. Seriously? What on earth were you thinking? In what scenario is that a good idea? Even if it was a girl it would still be beyond creepy. Eeeeugh. I mean I feel bad for him in his position, but that was seriously stupid. Although O'Brian definitely went over the line there.

Let's end on note of awesome. EDITH. In season one I was so fed up with her. Now? I adore her. I can't wait to see where this journalism takes her! Although the preview for next week looks disturbing... I'll bet the editor publishes a story about Edith getting jilted at the alter and that makes her quit. Hmmm?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Where has all the writing gone? Also, baby Avengers!

In case you don't know, writing is only one of my jobs. My main source of income at the moment is my costuming business, where I sew everything from princess gowns to steampunk band vests. As this is the week before Halloween, it's obviously a pretty crazy time for a costumer, which is why my posting has been less than average. Sorry about that! I'm hoping to rest up after I get the last piece finished, and then take a day just to write. Got a heroine, a unicorn and some nuns to deal with, not to mention those mermaids!

Meanwhile, if you're an X-Men or Avengers fan, you should really check out the one shot comic Marvel released today! It's called A-Babies vs. X-Babies and is a spoof on the recent AvX storyline (and much, MUCH better!). Yes, it literally has baby Avengers and baby X-Men with their diapers and pacifyers and Captain America's Bucky Bear. Marvel has long had fun with baby heros, and this is probably the best storyline I've read. Tons of fun, so if you're looking for a laugh, check it out! Need more incentive? Check out just one of the pages below...

Monday, October 22, 2012

OUAT 2.4 - "The Crocodile"

Spoilers Ahoy! Watch yourselves, mateys! Or rather, watch the episode if you haven't yet ere you venture below!

I'm a Peter Pan purist. It's one of the first classics I ever read, and to this day it remains very dear to my heart. I grew up  on the book, the Mary Martin Musical, the Disney film, and various stage productions. I love Peter and Wendy and the idea of Neverland - a place where the imagination leads you on never-ending adventures.

So yeah, I've been wary about what this episode was going to do with turning the evil Captain Hook into a sexy swashbuckler.

And, well, I'm still annoyed, mostly because it becomes way too easy to romanticize Milah and Killian's story. Seriously? Nothing romantic about it. Not only are they adulterers, but Milah ran off and left her son. And Killian helped her. It may seem a romantic 'true love' story, but it's not.

Other downside? The vital part of the Peter Pan story is that Hook swears vengeance against Peter after Peter cuts off his hand and feeds it to the crocodile. That's what fuels the whole story. So what happens to Peter Pan if you don't have that? Will we ever know?

On the other hand, I thought they did do a clever job writing Rumplestiltskin as a figurative crocodile. I loved how they worked in Mr. Smee so that you didn't realize it was him until the end. And I loved it when Hook declared that they were going to Neverland.

Which, although it hasn't been confirmed, it seems more and more likely that the refugee haven is indeed Neverland, as it would explain why no one has aged over the 28 years of the curse.

Big part of this storyline was Rumple's journey to understanding that even becoming the Dark One didn't stop him from being a coward. Coming to terms with that is a huge turning point for his character, and I'm looking forwards to seeing where that goes.

The Rumbelle storyline was wonderful. I loved Belle, loved that she wasn't putting up with any nonsense - and of course, best of all, that Rumple finally gave her a library. That was a beautiful nod to the Disney film and executed perfectly. And can we all gush over Belle's clothes? They'll be featured in my write up on the Season 2 costumes, I'm sure!

And can we all love on Charming for taking on his daughter's role as Sheriff in her absence? It's kind of adorable.

Now, what threw me... Rumple killing Milah by taking out and squeezing her heart. I thought that was a Cora/Regina trademark? Of course we know now that Cora and Regina both learned magic from Rumple... so they got the heart squeezing move from him? Curiouser and Curiouser...

Now, if only we can see Captain Hook's trademark red coat at some point...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

EW Interview with Robert Carlyle/Mr. Gold

Heads up "Once Upon a Time" fans! Entertainment Weekly has a great little interview with Robert Carlyle, the actor who portrays Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold. Actors especially will appreciate some of the behind-the-scene details of how Carlyle created the character.

And fun fact? Apparently the Rumple we meet in the 'present day' is 300 years old.

Read the whole interview here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

JP2H - Books 3 and 4

Hey, so this is a random shout out that I meant to write earlier this summer but, hey, life intervened.

Anyhow, have you heard of the "John Paul 2 High" series? Originally published by Sophia Institute Press, they've recently be acquired by Chesterton Press which immediately released books 3 and 4 and will hopefully soon have book 5 out.

It's books 3 and 4 I want to talk about. Because while I enjoyed books 1 and 2, there was still sort of a 'meh' quality there. 3 and 4 change the game.

Quick recap. A new private Catholic school has opened, the first year with just seven students. Some were homeschooled, some are transfers from public school (and one recent convert to Catholicism). There's a school shooting. A poltergeist - or at least someone who is up to no good. And a murderer on the loose.

I read books 3 and 4 in about 24 hours. And I say this as a Protestant. Book 4 deals with some intense Protestant/Catholic stuff, so it's a real tribute to the quality of the writing and the realness of the characters that I loved it so much.

These books feature a new viewpoint character - Brian, who is a geeky homeschooler with pretty much no understanding of girls whatsoever. I wanted to beat him over the head sometimes, but he was still a fascinating character.

And then there was Allie, a girl struggling with her faith, her self-worth, and the recent death of her best friend.

I don't want to say too much, but if you're looking for well-written Catholic fiction, you really don't want to miss out. Tried the first two books and didn't think much of them? It's worth giving them another try.

Protestant reader? This is a great and gripping way to learn about the differences and similarities between the Protestant and Catholic faiths. Plus it's just a good story. I, for one, can't wait for book 5!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

OUAT - 2.3 "Lady of the Lake"

Spoilers here, comrades. You have been warned.

Parenthood has always been an important part of "Once Upon a Time." Last week we dealt with children making the same mistakes as their parents. This week we got to look into Snow's heart and see just how much her child meant to her (and I don't think it's the last time we're going to get this theme this year). 

Lancelot was pretty great. They alluded to some nice Round Table stuff, setting up potential for future episodes, but not in a way that overwhelmed the episode. He was a great character that we could be introduced to, serve his function in the episode, but not detract from what was really happening.

I wasn't expecting to see James' mother again, but I'm very glad Snow got to talk to her before she died. And I was excited to see the swinging pendant superstition make an appearance! (They credit it to a gypsy spell, but actually it seems any metal on a chain can predict a baby's gender fairly accurately and was a common method for expectant mothers in the past.) 

Was anyone else surprised by the King's story? I wonder who his wife was, and why she drank a cursed potion? Does this ring any fairy tale bells for anyone? 

It was kind of adorable to see Emma trying so hard to be badass, and just not getting how different this new world is from the one she knows. She's using to having to protect Mary Margaret, and it's hard for her to accept that Snow is quite capable of defending herself. 

Emma and Aurora, weird new best-friends-to-be? I like the circle of gals we've got here, but I would have expected Emma to bond with Mulan more than Aurora... although both Emma and Aurora are out of their depth here, so it does make sense that they'd be drawn to each other.

In Storybrooke not much happened, although we got to see Jefferson reunited with Grace. Huzzah! Did anyone else's heart break when they saw how happy Regina was that Henry called her, and then he stood her up? 

One of the best moments was definitely when David pulled out the swords and told Henry that he would teach him. "After all, you're the grandson of a prince!"

No Rumplestiltskin this week, but he and Belle are due to be the stars of next week's episode, with new character Captain Hook making an appearance. Hook is apparently being reinvented as a sort of Jack Sparrow look-alike and already has the fangirls swooning... there's no denying that he's good looking, but he's still the man who killed Tinkerbelle, right? 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

So about those Facials and Mask things...

Everyone who is wary of facial scrubs and masks, please raise your hands. Ah, all the guys in the audience? Not surprised...

I've been, well, not a skeptic, but an uninitiated and cautious outsider. I tried a honey/egg thing once that was supposed to be good but I didn't notice any difference so I scrapped that. Then I did more reading into how to have a healthy complexion (which means using natural products and not facial washes, etc), and learned that exfoliation and the like can be really hard on your skin so you shouldn't do it very often. The Ph of your face is a delicate balance and I've actually found a lot of luck using coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Yes, it works!

Well, it works as long as you do it. When I get sick I tend to slack off on the face washing, and then my face is already breaking out more because I'm sick and it's not a pretty mess. This week was an example.

My sister was home from college and she's a bit of a facial mask/scrub expert and was trying a new recipe. I was fed up with my mess of a face, and wanted to spend time with her, so I joined in.

For the scrub, we used a mix of ground almonds, coffee grounds, and honey. After applying it we looked like coal miners. "We're from District 12!" we exclaimed.

For the mask, we pulled together a concoction of boiled carrots, pineapple, tea tree oil, and green tea. After running it through the blender we had a mush that, once applied, looked like orange juice had exploded in our faces.

Then we washed it off and that was that.

Or so I thought. When I went to ready my face for bed, I realized that it was really, really clean. And smooth. And nice. And I did a double take and realized that the whole process had worked. Color me surprised.

Anyhow, I wouldn't want to do them too often for the reasons I stated up front, but as a once a month treatment? Heck yeah.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book Geek Heaven

Okay, so here's an adventure I have to tell my fellow book geeks about. (I meant to write this up earlier this week, but alas, sickness!)

One of my very favorite places on earth is a Half Price Bookstore. I think it's one of the most fantastic stores ever invented, and I love that I can find something new every time I go to one. When I was in Kansas last year for a wedding, we drove past a strip mall that had one. I exclaimed "OMG it's a Half Price Books! I'll die if I can't go in there!" I mean it half jokingly, but everyone else thought it was a good idea, so before I quite knew what was happening, half the bridal party was browsing through the bookstore.

Anyhow, there are quite a few of these stores in my state, and a couple times a year they put all of their clearance books together, lug them to the State Fairgrounds, and sell everything for $3 a piece or less. I'd been wanting to get to one of these for awhile, but it never seemed to work out. Last weekend, however, I was feeling well and I had a friend who wanted to go as well, so we bundled up (it was cold!) and went on over.

It's weird to be on the fairgrounds when the fair isn't going on. You can drive through the streets, for one thing, and it's surprisingly busy. We had to walk a ways to get to the grandstand where the books were, but we got good exercise. And although I knew there would be other people there, I was surprised at how many there were. And at the ones who were dragging in wagons or carts or suitcases on wheels. We hadn't even brought bags!

Well we walked in the door and were hit with the site of rows and rows of dvds, cds, and books. This was a conference center sized area and it was filled with tables overflowing with books. Half the tables had books and DVDs underneath as well. It was insane.

At the entrance some people were selling bags for $1, so my friend and I quickly bought some and began searching. After five minutes in the DVDs my head was reeling from the over simulation. My DVD collection is fairly complete right now, so I switched to the books which were easier for my eyes to process (bigger type and all).

Wow. There was almost no organization other than fiction, non-fiction, and children's. There might be ten of the same title, but they were spread out over twenty tables. You walked and walked and walked and grabbed whatever you wanted and walked and read and processed...

I loved it. I crammed my bag with every title possible. I found lovely hardcover copies of books I'd been wanting for awhile, and paperbacks in good condition. There were three items that I paid $3 apiece for, but most everything I got was $2 or $1. I stocked up on fantasy novels that a friend has been recommending to me. I nearly completed my Phillipa Gregory collection. I found a classic I'd been meaning to read. I got a copy of "The Hobbit." And then I found several books with interesting titles and premises that were New York Times bestsellers and I thought "Well, I'll give them a try." The ones I've read so far have been great. I also got two DVDs.

I spent less than $50 for about 20 volumes, and told my friend "I'm going to have to sneak these in so my parents don't see how many I got." We're sort of running out of bookshelf room.

Anyhow, it was book heaven.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


A year ago I was too sick to get out of bed for more than a few minutes, and just three weeks away from major surgery.

Now? I'm doing a lot better. Okay, I'm sick this week but that's because I got hit by three things at once, and I'm still coping better than I did a year ago. Thank goodness I have plenty of handsewing to do...

I miss the sun. Fall is entirely too cloudy for my liking. Whenever it does come out, I thank God for it. I've been trying to thank God more often now, for everything. Recently I saw something that struck me "what if you only had tomorrow what you thanked God for today?" And it was pretty moving. We take so much for granted in this life, but there is so much to be thankful for.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Once Upon a Time 2.2 - "We Are Both"

Wow! Well despite that ---

wait. Spoiler warning.

Okay, we good? The uninitiated have left the room? Let's proceed.

Despite the fact that we only got to see about 60 seconds of Snow, Emma, Mulan and Aurora, this episode was nonetheless full of really important stuff.

First of all, we know that August is alive - but wood.

Secondly, Jefferson is back! And still crazy.

Thirdly Charming and Ruby are doing their best to be awesome, and the dwarfs ROCK!

Fourthly, they can't leave Storybrooke without loosing their Fairy Tale Identity for good. YIKES. This means Rumple can't leave and search for Bae.

But the biggest stuff we learned in this episode was about Regina. Following where "The Stable Boy" left off, we saw how Regina dealt with her mother and started using magic. We also got two things indirectly confirmed.

#1. We already had pretty good reason to believe that Cora was the Miller's daughter from the original Rumplestiltskin, and this episode pretty much confirmed it. Regina was obviously supposed to be Rumple's payment, as he refers to their first meeting having taken place when she was much smaller and "portable."

#2. While there could still be a major switcheroo (like with the August/Bae/Pinnochio bit from last year), it seems pretty obvious that Cora is the Queen of Hearts, now that she has actually gone through the Looking Glass into what we can be 99% sure is Wonderland.

It was wonderful to see young Snow again (she is a fantastic actress!) and to see Regina go from young innocent girl to hardened woman on the path to magic. And to find out that Rumple was her teacher! It fits, but I'd never guessed that.

Meanwhile Snow and Emma are prisoners, although it looks like they'll be getting 'help' from an unlikely source. I can't wait for next week when Snow wakes up and recognizes Cora...

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Legacy of River Song

A week or so ago I was inspired to sit down and write a short story in the Doctor Who universe. It's not your typical fan fiction, as I wanted to explore more of a theme than a plot (unusual for me!). We always see River Song in relation to the Doctor, but I wanted to look at what her life apart from him was like. Don't worry, the Doctor does make two appearances!

We all loved Professor Song. She made history come alive for us in a way that no other teacher could. It was like she'd fought the Daleks hand to hand, flown the first mission to our Galaxy, or been best friends with Liz 10. 

But though she made history real, there was a part of her that seemed false. She talked about her parents, her husband, but we never saw them. They never came to the banquets, the ceremonies, the unveiling of her wing in the museum. We wondered why, but never dared to ask. 

Sometimes she would miss a class. There would never be a warning, but everyone seemed to know that if she wasn't there when you arrived, she wouldn't be coming. She was never, ever, late.  (Continue reading)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Autumn smells and fires

I was walking outside yesterday and noted that the air smelled like fall. Then I started wondering what that smell came from and realized it was most likely from the leaves dying. (Science majors, feel free to add details/corrections!)

Isn't that weird? It's such a beautiful smell, but it comes from something dying. I can't think of any other decomposing substance that smells nice at all.

Fall is usually my best time for writing, especially when we get the fireplace going! One of the benefits of living at my parent's place for the time being is that I get access to the fireplace (which is lacking in most lower end apartments!) Dad has to start the first fire, though, to make sure everything is working right. It got below 50 degrees today... I wonder if I can convince him to start one tonight?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Update on the writing...

Synopsis just got approved by the publisher, so I can now start writing book 3 of the Ruah Chronicles in earnest! Huzzah!