Monthly Archives: February 2012

free day…

It’s hard not to call February 29 a free day. I mean, after all, we only see one of these every four years! It’s like found money, only it’s time. Wow! Time. And,  we never really realize we are saving up that quarter of a day each year for four years. So it’s like putting on a jacket and finding a five dollar bill in the pocket. It’s a lovely surprise. 

 Yesterday I read a bit in the paper that when a baby is born on February 29, doctors urge parents to pick either February 28 or March 1. I should think I would be forever disappointed in my parents if I was born on February 29 and my parents didn’t claim the day as my own. Any other day wouldn’t be my birthday, now would it? I mean really. Who believes that if you don’t have a birth day every year, you really don’t age? That, by the time the fourth February 29 comes around, you are not sixteen but four. Truly?

In my family we’ve been celebrating half birthday, well, just about forever. So why not celebrate your birthday whenever? Things like birthdays are not always convenient. Nor do they always work just the way you want them to. This year I had a terribly under-performing lackluster birthday. Seriously. And so, because of a free day this year, I’ve decided to celebrate my birthday today. The leap year day. God bless you, Pope Gregory XIII. Even though you signed the decree for a Gregorian Calendar in February 1582, you had to wait until 1584 for a real leap year. I do believe that took some courage.

But just for you buffs, who think four (4) is the most important number. Think about this:

Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100; the centurial years that are exactly divisible by 400 are still leap years. For example, the year 1900 is not a leap year; the year 2000 is a leap year.

A lot to think about on a free day.

graphic novels…

lately, I’ve been reading graphic novels. I was a closet comic book reader. I loved not just the art, because I can’t draw at all, but I loved what was immediate about it. The now. The POW! of a comic book. There are still comic books, but now graphic novels have entered the school library, the media centers, traditional publishing. There are respectable. LOL, in the same way science fiction and fantasy are respectable. Almost.

I admit. Some of them I just don’t get. They seem dark, jerky. There must be something in the art I’m missing. ‘Cause I just don’t get it. But, recently I’ve read two that decidedly intrigue me. One is Robot Dreams. A wordless graphic novel. Could have been a wordless picture book, but as a graphic novel it has the time and space to expand the story. Some have said it’s a sad story. Some have been irritated about how callous the main character seemed. Not me. I saw it as hopeful. Everyone can find their own place, sometimes that place is not where you think it should be.

The second is The Professor’s Daughter has so many levels and twists and turns. The mere fact that a mummy, thirty centuries old, could be re-animated. Not only that. Have a father? And children? And when he takes off his bandages he looks normal. A person. Certainly not in the vein of past mummy movies. Not your rampaging, brown and dirty ragged preserved specimen who has just escaped or been exhumed from a grave. No. No. This mummy is suave, a bon vivant, a sophisticate. Top Hat.  A stylishly cut suit. Walks in the park, arm and arm with a woman he loves. Truly wonderful writing and art.

Onward! I have more to read.

brave characters…

Funny, that, to think of a haughty, overly privileged young woman as brave. Lady Mary Crawley, a person who has beyond a doubt been able to get herself into the most outrageous situations, i.e., the Turkish diplomat. Or, Sir Richard Carlisle. Yes. Downton Abbey. Delicious, but  ‘course this is a highly stylized soap. Really! Just a soap. With amazing scenery. Convoluted plots. Character twists and stumbles. But still. It took me a while to see the bravery. And figure out how to translate that into my writing. Because, in truth, I usually miss that part. I talked about the ‘cringe factor’ last post. I don’t do reality shows. Or, talk shows. I can’t really believe people are that stupid. Really stupid.  So, when Lady Mary came downstairs early to have a word with Sir Richard, well, I was all set. Remote in hand. Finger on the fast forward button. Ready to speed right through it.

It occurred to me I’d really like to meet Michelle Dockery. See her in something else. Because there she was, Michelle/Mary, in all her 1920’s style, talking civilly to Sir Richard. Perhaps it was due to the social contrivances of the time. Perhaps, because, as one reviewer notes, Sir Richard is only 2D in the series. But it was civil. Even though she knew he had the wherewithal to publicly shame her, a serious offense long forgotten these days, she was willing to come down and sort of apologize, as much as an aristocrat can say sorry to a non, and wish him well. I took that as brave.

Now, maybe, you’re saying, that’s the way she was raised. After all, old 2D Sir Richard was not of her class. True. But something stuck with me. I liked that straight back. That lack of humility. That willingness to dress and come down stairs. Regardless of just how soapy this series is, Lady Mary has a bit of fearlessness about her. Perhaps that why we, on this side of the pond, do love the ‘below the salt’, above the stairs stories, soapy or not. Because there is always one character for whom we cheer. The one who is out on the limb. Struggling to keep what is theirs, and yet…recognizes that the past is gone. Forever.

happy endings….

…brutal things, happy endings. Neal Caffery, of White Collar, quotes Orson Wells “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” So where will Once Upon a Time stop? We’ve already seen Snow and Charming marry. We know they’ve a daughter, Emma. Will the happy ending include Emma? And, what about Henry? Will we know his father really isn’t the yuck that Emma remembers? Or, will we not go through the looking glass? Will Storybrooke Maine cease to exist and the EQ will wither and die in grand tradition and Snow and Charming will have Emma. And we’ll never every know Henry?

Yikes! Happy endings. Hecuba, wife of King Priam of Troy, wanders with the women of Troy the defeat of the city. Her comment, at least in my version in High School was “Count no man fortunate, however happy, until he dies.” Those Greeks! Optimistic. Happy souls. And earlier version of Orson Wells perhaps?

Page Eight didn’t have a happy ending. Johnny’s best friend, who is married to Johnny’s ex-wife, dies suddenly of a heart attack. Johnny is left to clean up the mess Benedict, the friend, left behind; the item on Page Eight of a confidential top-secret report. The mess is a swipe at US interrogation methods and the unsuspecting Brits failure to be outraged. A rather awful indictment of the Prime Minister, Alex Beasley [Ralph Fiennes] , who is a little snarky. Say what you will about life being more simple and easy to understand in the mid 20th century, this drama shows the 21st century is a moral slippery slope, and doing the ‘right thing’ is, well, unclear. So unclear, that Johnny, sort of saves the day. oh! and does not get the girl.

Nope. No happy ending. But a satisfying one. So. I was happy.

what the?…

I am the opposite of a Luddite. Toys are awesome! Techy toys are more awesome. And, a DVR is the best for watching just programs and not TV. I realized that my ‘cringe factor’ is not only alive and well, but able to control the fast forward button on the remote and I don’t have to listen to every word. When the character makes a stupid mistake [like Arthur killing the king in  His Father’s Son on the advice of Uncle Agravaine ] I can speed past. I mean. I know this will only come to no good. Duh! Plot device! When the character is duped, I’m back to speeding. If there were DVR police,  I should get speeding tickets. Hear every single word? Not necessary. Except. I do listen to every word of Once Upon A Time. Confession time. I’m a willing suspension of belief TV watcher. Go ahead. Throw it at me. But this, now this, I’m baffled by the last (?) scene in the Skin Deep Episode. Okay, here’s the scene.

EQ walks to a door with an Exit Sign. Looks semi-furtively back at the flower man, Belle’s dad and a once upon a time ruler. EQ punches buttons on a control pad, walks down stairs, hands a rose to the nurse at the counter and asks if ‘She had any visitors?’ The nurse says, ‘no’ and then ‘not ever’.  But EQ’s gone by now, with the Cheshire Cat knowing smile, and looking through a door at Belle, only not Belle, because we don’t know her Storybrooke, Maine name. Interesting. Yes. Intriguing. Maybe. More like disconnect. Total.

So. EQ? How many people know the exit door goes down stairs? How many have the code? Who was the sketchy guy in the hospital gown and broom in the hallway? Seriously? Visitors? You don’t make mistakes like that. So. Armor chink?

Of course I’ll watch tomorrow’s episode. But. Hello, producers, directors, writers…you’ve put me in a difficult place. You’ve made my willingness to accept your twists and turns a bit more guarded. Beware!