Monday, January 31, 2011


John Barry.

Everyone's posting James Bond clips in memory of this great film composer and that's great; but this will always be my favorite.

Wait for it. About 5.12, if you're impatient. It really is worth watching the whole thing. (It's really worth watching the whole movie if you haven't seen it!) The picture quality of this was the best I could find and it seemed worth the extra time that isn't Barry's music to have Streep's lead-in.

And Out of Africa is closely, closely followed by the brilliance that is his score for The Lion in Winter:

Live-Blog the Fourth! "Downton Abbey"

Here we all are for the last -- *snifsnif* -- installment of the wonder, beauty, and majesty that is Downton Abbey. (Have I been watching too much MST3K the last few days? Why, yes, yes, I have.)

With us here this evening we have Michael J. Nelson, Tom S---wait, wait. Sorry, folks, sorry. Minor confusion there.

We have Anna (A) of The Feminist Librarian, Minerva (M) of Hypomnemata, and me (H) of here!

Pre-episode conversation topics this evening include: Sherlock fanfic, M's grad classes, health care policy, and...Sherlock fanfic. :) And glancing up at the Aretha Franklin R&B special and goggling at 1970s clothes. And horror at Twitter commentary on picture of a pregnant Natalie Portman: apparently she is no longer the "thinspiration" for these girls. I'm sure she's heartbroken. O_o Lord love the folks who came back with, "Idiots. She's pregnant." And chatting about Gavin and Stacey and perception of body image.

9.01: Laura, Laura. Change is our theme this week. Change is apparently faster now than it used to be. A: Uh -- uh -- uh -- H: Seconded. Uh--uh.

9.02: H: It still is a lovely opening sequence though. A: Yes. M: I was wrong about Elizabeth McGovern, by the way. She is American. A: Her accent sounds like she's trying so hard!

9.03: A: Suffrage rally, must be. H: There's more men... A: But he said about votes for women... H: Have you met Lloyd George?

9.04: [Sybil and chauffeur] A: I like her hat. M: I like his gloves. 

9.04: [Thomas and Bates] A: These two people believe in politics! All the time! [O'B and Thomas]

9.05: [Lord and Bates] A: Uh -- uh -- your daughter. H: No-one! Oh, Bates...

9.06: [family dinner] H: Ohhh... A: Oh, god, man. M: She's canvassing for a husband! [Maggie Smith on husbands] M: Fuck! A: Wow! Maggie, your smarter than that! You never let your husband tell you your opinions! M: Maybe her husband was silent. [General laughter]

9.07: [Daisy and Thomas] H: Are they supposed to be sweet! A: 'Cause they're just creepy. [laughter at Maggie Smith expression]

9.08: [Carson and Ladyship] A: Oh. [as realisation dawns] M: Letters were so tiny.

9.09: [Ladyship] A: Good point. 

9.10: [Thomas and O'Brien] A: Again, why? [Lord and Lady] M: She sounds simpering there... A: Way to write the middle daughter off! H: That was what the middle daughter got.

9.11: [Carson and Thomas] M: How can he have any credibility left? H: Maybe he doesn't. [faces being pulled at re-advent of Sir Antony] M: She needs to reintegrate all of these personalities! H: I like her coat. Oh...and he thinks that's a win. A: Oh....that was really sad. M: *groan*

9.12: [Sir Antony and Edith] H: This is very boring.

9.13: [O'Brien, Daisy, Thomas, and Carson] A: And they've got whatshername in to back them up... H: Of course they do. M: *sigh* A: Carson is smarter than this. I hope he hangs them. H: Literally? A: No, not literally. I want to see them hoist with their own petard!

9.14: [Sybil and Lord] A: What a lovely skirt. M: Yes. H: And our short scene is over! A: Yeah, this is a bunch of short scenes! [Mary and Matthew] M: I think this is that scene... *pulls face* A: That was... M: That was...that was a good line. Not so bad. A: It was a good 'lets start again' kind of...

9.16: [Sybil] A: Someone's got something up her sleeve! M: Someone's not going to a charity. [Lady and Maggie Smith] M: This is that scene! A: The voice cracks... [as Maggie Smith rationalizes house geography] H: It's the delivery... M: It's fantastic... A: I could watch that scene over and over for hours. M: She's all about practicalities. A: Well, it's about image, right? Whatever you do is okay so long as society doesn't find out. M: I wonder if Grandma's going to back Mary so much now.

9.18: [Anna and Bates, 'I'm not sure the world is listening.'] A: Good point. [William and Daisy] A: That's...a stunned look. M: I'm surprised people can't read Daisy like a book!

9.19: [chauffeur and Sybil] M: Yeah, but he loses his job, honey... [Sir Antony] M: Edith. [and so it goes.] A: You don't want him, honey... H: It doesn't matter... M: Although, to be honest, I'm a big devil's advocate here: who knows what Edith wants? Maybe she'd be happy with a comfortable life. I mean, not comfortable, but not the grand passion Mary seems to want.

9.21: [Sybil at election] H: 1913...I'm trying to remember. A: Yeah, you know more about this than me... H: I'm trying to remember. There are some really contested, really violent elections. Oh, like this...[as men come out with bottles; as Matthew and Sybil go down] H: That wasn't your brightest move, was it sunshine!

9.22: [Harriet Jones and Sybil] H: Go, Harriet. [Matthew and Sybil] H: Oh, well, there's that, then. Oh, poor old Mary. 

9.23: [Daisy w/housekeeper and Carson] General awed silence. H: That's a moral leap! A: It is. M: Daisy was workin' hard on that. A: It took her awhile! But she got there!

9.24: [as Branson asks after Sybil] H: And Lady Mary's goin', "My sister has beerflavored nipples, what the fuck!" A: I'd be really disappointed if this was what Mary's story turned into: slept with a Turk, turned into failure. 

9.25: [Matthew by fireplace] H: And Matthew's like, "am I here, should I go..." A: The mother needed reviving? How so, exactly?

9.25: [servants] H/A/M: The silent enjoyment of humiliation. H: Oh, bugger

9.26: [Mary and Matthew at dinner] H: Okay, that was... M: Pick a personality, honey! A: Yeah...

9.27: [Bates and Carson] H: Is Bates going to be all confessional with no need? Yes, yes, he is. A: Is this why he isn't free to marry? H: It shouldn't make any difference... A: Canny housekeeper! Oh god! Jesus, man! M: Get off the fucking cross! A: Indeed! Carson!

9.28: [Mary and Matthew] A: He's looking a little stunned. M: He's like, which personality is this? Their hands are very close together...He said "Don't play with me!" H: Are you sure about that? M: Ooohh... ['pay no attention to the things i say'] A: But pay attention to this? Don't listen to me but fuck me?

9.30: [Bates and Anna] A & M: Ohhhh... H: Damn it. [general cheering at peck] H: *cheering* M: There was touch! there was touch! A: Yes, yes, yes... M: I mean, there was no tongues...

9.31: [Lady and Mary] M: There was some smexin'... ['what did you put in them'] General laughter. ['what we want doesn't matter'] H: Rubbish! A: You've been saying it does for the last year. M: One of my personalities does... H: Oh, rabbits... A: *sigh* general baaing noises. M: Fucking barf, lady. 

9.33: [Lord, Lady and Mary] M: That was....awesome. A: *laughter* I love the fact that the daughter is like sitting there and comments on it. Like "Everyone knows you're doing it with mom..." H: "...and that's just tacky!"

9.33: [Mary and William] M: What...what was that? H: She's trying to be sweet to everyone? 'cause she's going to get laid?

9.34: [Lady and Maggie Smith] A: With my awkward cane! ['the strength...mentally or physically..'] H: Oh, Maggie. Yes, you could. A: She's so fixated on this -- the carrying of the corpse. [and then the delightful suggestion of assassination!]

9.35: ['she reads too many novels] M: Laughter. A: Literature is the downfall of all young ladies. ['an Italian who isn't too picky'] *laughter*

9.36: ['Mary is family'] M: Ah. [Lord and Lady enter] M: What is she wearing? ['the murder of the Austrian archduke'] H: There's that. 

9.37: [Rosamund and Mary] H: Hey! It's! *smacks A's leg repeatedly* It's Mrs. Bane! 
The muffin on the left isn't in Downton. Mrs. Wormwood,
on the right, is. Mary's probably lucky to have escaped.
9.38: [Lady's pregnancy: "i don't understand what we've done differently"] *hysterical laughter* A: It'll be a son -- it'll be a son. M: Either that or it's...cancer. H: Oh, you miserable thing. M: I'm sorry! A: I did think of that. But they would be able to tell...yes? H: Not necessarily. ['the child will be healthy?'] M: Well...

9.40: [Mr Napier] M: Uh... A: Hah! H: Gosh, really? M: *general looks of confusion and bafflement* M: ooohh. [Napier disclaiming gossip] H: That's kind of...nice? A: was Edith. H: Yeah, not so much with the hard to believe.

9.44: [Mrs Byrd] M: *wicked laughter*

9.45: [Mary and Rosamund] A: Might be more scope? Than what she currently has?

9.46: [Mary's arrival at home] A: Aha...that will be delightful. [as Maggie Smith outlines men of principle] A & H: Yes, she has a point. 

9.48: [servants chat about war] A: He'll be off [William], first to go. Bates won't be able to go, because of his leg. And the lord is too old. And Carson is too old. Everyone fair game. 

9.49: [general laughter as cook asks permission to sit as if in presence of royalty]

9.50: [Mary and Matthew] H: Good point. 

9.51: [Anna and Bates] H: Good for you, Anna. [housekeeper goes off to ref cooks] A: She needs a whistle. And those cards...the soccer cards. M: Bates is being all -- let me sacrifice myself! 

9.52: [Lord and Lady and O'Brien] M: Oohhh.... 

9.53: [Sir Antony and Edith] M: Ooh.... H: And Carson pronounces 'telephone' to rhyme with 'scum.' 

9.54: [admitting doctor] H: Right then. Mr Sympathy and Good Humor. A: The era of tell the patient as little as possible. M: The era of informed consent what? As I like to say, your uterus makes you stupid! You couldn't possibly understand.

9.55: [huge gold statue] H: Fuckin' hell... A: Ohhh.... H: Are you going to go see the Brigadier? [as Daisy scrubs soap into soup] M: She's sabotaging them! H: *claps hands* A: No-one told them? H: Anna would have told them!

9.56: [Edith and Mary] H: And here we go. H/A/M: Whoa! M: Yeah, yeah...them's be fightin' words. 

9.58: [Maggie Smith and Harriet Jones] A: I"m surprised she knows who HG Wells is! M: This shot... A: This really sums up the entire film. ['put that in your pipe and smoke it'] H/A/M: laughter, applause. H: Look at Carson's face!

9.59: [servants dinner] H: Oh, god, wrong soup. 

10.00: [Daisy crying] A: Oh, grow up... [admission of crime not committed yet w/other soup] A: They're all trying not to laugh! M: She's daft but she's honest.

10.02: [Lord turned away from library] M: The sigh of the longsuffering...

10.03: [discussion of phone] H: Given that they have phones stuffed in their back pockets... A: They're having fun with it.

10.05: [Thomas talking to doctor] H: What? M: And buggering the patients... Oh. A: Is he trying to become essential staff? Even so... M: He's trying not to be in the front lines. A: So would I!

10.06: [Bates and Carson arguing about Thomas; 'i hate this'] H: I don't! Make him go! A: A lot is hinging on this garden party. M: It's going to be the big denoument. A: She's got little spectacles. H: Whoa! A: You didn't see? 

10.07: [cooks outnumbering housekeeper] A: Aha! Well done. H: That was neat. A: Mrs. Byrd knows what she's up to. M: That was well-played. [Carson playing with phone] H: Maybe it will explode! M: He's practicing! A: Yes, he is. M: He's fucking adorable. 

10.08: [O'Brien listening to conversation] M: She's going to act like an animal in a fucking corner. H: Yes, she is. [O'Brien kicks soap] H: She wants her to step on it. M: What the... A: I don't understand these characters. M: I don't either. [thump and squeak] M: She'll have miscarried. H: Yup. ['it was a boy'] M: Oh, Christ... oh, dude. H: Oh....

10.10: [Bates and Lord] M: And then...kiss like it's going out of style. 

10.11: [Thomas chatting] A: I don't get it... H: What the fuck... [William and Thomas] A: Oh! nice punch, man. H: I notice no-one's really hurrying to stop them... M: No...except when...William starts to get it... [Carson pats William] H: Good on you, man... A: Yeah... H: We all wanted to do it!

10.13: [doctor and Thomas] M: Something happened. A: Are the two of them involved? M: I think that's what just happened? A: That lilt? M: Yeah...

10.14: [cooks] A: Wow, they're like best buddies. I think they're making out. [phone rings] M: They're like deer in headlights. [Sybil runs off with Branson] M: That'll cause tongues to wag.

10.15: [Branson and Sybil are broken up] A: The two of them are so cute...

10.15: [Mary sees off Sir Antony] M/A: Ohhhhhh.... H: *applause* Nice. Nice. M: That was rough! A: Slide the knife in and twist it!

10.16: [Edith and Mary] M: They're cutting off their noses to spite their faces! They're still relations! A: They're going to end up with each other.

10.17: [O'Brien and Lady] H: She's going to end up in the lake. M: She's going to sew stones in her clothes, that one. [Maggie Smith and O'Brien] M: Oh, yeah...bottom of a river. H: Oh, yeah. M: Oh, shit. A: Or maybe just a shotgun.

10.18: [Bates and Anna] A: Oh... H: Oh, fuck off...[as Bates tries to be self-sacrificing] A: *whimpering noises* M: Oh, you kill me. [Bates and Molesley] H/A/M: General laughter and approving expressions.

10.19: [Mary and Matthew] H: You walked right into that, sweetheart. ['so i've ruined everything!'] H: Yeah, more or less. A: But she was trying to do what everyone expected of her... M: Shit. No-one's ending up happy in this picture. A: As you say, the two sisters are going to end up side by side. 

10.20: [Rosamund and Maggie Smith] H: What do you expect, she's an alien!

10.21: [Mary and Carson] A: Oh... M: Oh -- oh -- oh -- ohhh....

10.21: [Harriet Jones and Maggie Smith] A: So the two women are going to end up conspiring... H: Well, the wanted the same thing from different ends... M: Can I just say in retrospect...Harriet Jones' outfit...for the win!

10.22: [telegram] A: War? H: August. Could be. M: Yup. 

A: You called it. [to H.] The beginning of the war.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Off-the-Mat Reading

I've decided to expand my blogging realm a little.

With the encouragement of a couple of friends, I'm looking forward to doing some regular blogging about yoga (which I love*) and history (which I also love). I still want to keep writing about Doctor Who and the other genre stuff that makes it worthwhile to get out of bed in the mornings, but I figure the occasional Saturday post about "something else" can't hurt, right?

So I thought a nice way to start out would be to spread the blog love around a little.

After all the time I spent last weekend talking smack about Yoga Journal, I figured it was only fair to point out at least one of the things they do very well: blogs. They have some fantastic bloggers and one of my favorites is Kristin Shepherd at Beginner's Mind. Shepherd is a chiropractor and a newbie yogi. At least, she was when she started but the blog is at least a year old at this point -- at least in my memory it is! -- so she isn't that newbie any more. But her enthusiasm for "all things yoga" -- most recently her investigations into the wonders of meditation -- is infectious; she is consistently respectful to her reading audience; and she is never jargon-heavy or pretentious. These are valuable assets in a yoga blogger! Plus, her columns are short, readable, and great for a little midday "why do I do this thing with the colorful mat again?" moment.

Curvy Yoga is one of my favorite blog finds for the past few weeks; I found it because of Anna's fantastic post about the same YJ article I was grumping about. Her's is slightly more...controlled than mine, shall we say, and far more like an actual, reasonable letter. :) What else is to like about the blog? The inclusive tone, consistent respect and friendliness, a desire to see everyone in a position to enjoy a fruitful yoga practice if they want to. And she recommends at least one of my favorite yoga clothing retailers (Athleta, if you must know. And, yes, I know they're really owned by Old Navy or The Gap or something else atrocious but their pants are so damned comfy!) Anna's a certified yoga teacher; she's going through further training with Sadie Nardini who also rocks (and whose blog is temporarily down as of this posting; go to that link and poke at the "Blog" tab until it works -- she's well-worth a read, too!) What is not to like about Curvy Yoga? I have more or less let myself get psyched out of going to studios; I comfort myself with the thought that most teachers seem to say that regular home practice is just as, if not more, beneficial than a 90 minute "kick your ass" session once a week at a studio; that studios are expensive; that I can't afford the time out of my week (even though I probably could). All of these reasons are sort of true -- but I really love that there are folks like Anna out there who don't let themselves get psyched out. That's just awesome.

Not last or least, Spoiled Yogi. How can you not love a blog that has posts like "Just Say No--To Yoga Guilt!" And lookie here! Guest posts from Anna over at Curvy Yoga. :) Anyway, the Spoiled Yogi spotlights lots of guest bloggers and her own posts are always thoughtful and engaging. Do you have trouble springing right out of bed into that blissful morning sun salutation we all hear we should be salivating to do? Yup, so does she. And, like Kristin Shepherd, she's exploring meditation these days. And look! She's looking for folks to talk about how/why/where/when they got into yoga.

Last and still not least: Y is for Yogini. Irreverent? Tongue-in-cheek? Snarky? Oh, my friend: yes. A healthy dose of irreverence is at least as important as a well-balanced downdog. I'm not saying don't be serious about your practice -- I don't think Lo is saying that either -- but don't let your sense of humor die every time you step on the mat. The only problem with this blog is that the RSS feed isn't working properly so it won't load into a reader -- like Google Reader or Bloglines -- correctly. If anyone comes up with a fix for this or sees something I didn't, please let me know! I've been keeping it open in a separate tab in Chrome for a few weeks now, but there has to be a better long-term solution than that!

 *Disclaimer: I am not a yoga teacher. I hold no certifications. All opinions here are only my own and only opinions and should be taken as such.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Fun Times

You might want to sit down and give this one a few minutes of your time.

(And turn up your sound; for me, anyway, it's very quiet.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"I love you!"

Oh, we're sneakin' up on the end of the season really quickly here, folks. I can feel some sad coming on; why oh why oh why can't the BBC release DW seasons on DVD for the rest of us a bit more quickly? A year and some odd is a long time to dodge spoilers.

Someone! Quick! Run over the London -- before Cams, Cleggie, and the rest shut down the TV Centre entirely and shitcan the whole BBC -- and tell them! If they sell them, we will buy!

Ahem. Anyway.

The Lodger.

The Doctor never does well at playing human.
What, really, is not to love about an episode with not only Matt Smith (okay, okay, so he's the Doctor, he kind of has to show up) but also with Timms from The History Boys? aka James Corden (yes, I had to look it up, and, yes, I find that embarrassing given that he's done so well with other projects.) I officially apologise, Mr. Corden. But, sadly or not, like Russell Tovey, you will always be identified with your History Boys character.

And that starts with something inordinately creepy? "Help me...can you help me?" Who is it in the screenwriting team who has been totally traumatized by people asking for help? We've got this, The Empty Child, The Doctor Dances, Midnight, Silence in the Library...this is just not a good universe to outright ask for help in, apparently! Especially if you have a high-pitched, creepy voice and might be speaking through something: say, an intercom. Or a gas mask, obviously. It does kind of beg the question of how foolish these people are to wander into the house in response to a completely disembodied and rather eerie voice -- but I suppose it shows a nice display of public-spirited-ness. I did see a blog post on the episode -- where, I don't remember -- that mentioned wanting some more closure with these people: like the girl who looks like she's just been mugged. Was someone waiting for her at home? Does anyone miss her? Is someone looking for her? Is she part of the alien ship now or has she just vanished?

So this is another monster o' the week episode that manages to dodge true monster of the weekitude by...not really having much of a monster, honestly. Yes, there is the creepy thing upstairs that continually wants help but no-one ever comes back which is absolutely very creepy, but the heart of this episode is with Craig (Timms) and his continually baffling relationship with Sophie who he really fancies but can't quite ask out and his strange new lodger.

The Lodger is, I think, a lovely demonstration of what much of Season 5 has done so well, which is to give some time to the Doctor as a character: what is he like? what does he like? what does he do with time off? does he get time off? and is he any good at footie? (Corden claims not.) The alien threat is there, yes, and the Doctor leaps to challenge it when Craig is temporarily made ill by it and in the end the Doctor vanquishes the problem as reliably as ever (maybe), but the point of the show is not to toss around the sonic screwdriver and banish things into the void. This is an episode that wants to see what the Doctor does when he has a chance to hang around on the couch and watch telly.

This sort of thing, apparently.
There isn't much Amy, unfortunately, since she's trapped in the TARDIS and spinning in the void due to the efforts of the invisible monster. But she does quite well and, in the end, is revealed as the one who started the whole thing off by telling the Doctor where to go and, roughly, what to look out for. As always, Amy is more critical to the entire story than she at first appears to be.

And there's that nasty nasty little crack again.

Still, most of this episode is pretty light-hearted fun: a much-needed break after the weightiness of Vincent and before the undoubted drama of the season ender.

I hear that Craig and Sophie might return for Season 6 -- I hope it's true; if nothing else, I doubt that monster of the week was really such a lightweight as it appeared. That was a pretty -- familiar-looking spaceship floorplan, if nothing else, and the way the Doctor managed never to comment on that seemed attention-grabbing. So it's just perfectly normal for malfunctioning timeships to grab onto passing semi-detached houses and grab pedestrians for potential pilots? We're not going to comment on this at all? Okay, fine, but we know there's something you're not telling us.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Live-Blog the Third! "Downton Abbey"

Will Daisy's shirt burst off? Will Lady Mary trip over her train? Will the butler's (real) dark past be revealed? Will Matthew use the wrong fork at tea! Who will the Dowager Lady snark at this time?

Nice to see you all back again and here we go with the regular crew: myself, your dedicated typist (H -- donations of wrist wraps and ice packs are accepted); Minerva, the medically informative (M); and the Feminist Librarian aka Anna, the...not so medically informative as Minerva! (A). :)

And we're off...

We're discussing the house cat -- Geraldine after The Vicar of Dibley. :) Yes, we are nerds, thank you. Discussion of the Witch in Into the Woods: A: 'Fuck this shit; I want to be the bad ass!' M: "For me, it's like the only children were sucked into this crap -- 'you're going to lose all your family; the wicked witch is going to kill you because...' I don't know. But...I always wanted to be...the wicked witch. I want to be her! At least...she's got some kind of control!"

9.00: Previously's always funny to watch these. M and A are discussing the mechanics of Skype.

9.00: [Daisy in preview] A: That poor little maid is going to get... M: Used. A: Yeah.

9.01: Laura Linney lecturing us about dinner ethics in big houses in Edwardian England. H: 1913? Are we at a 'roar' yet?

9.02: M: Okay, she's always foreshadowing. But I'm really intrigued by that one. It's not nearly so obvious... A: It's more general. The whole thing about the typewriter was so specific and we didn't have any context...

9.03: [as servants check out fair] A: Will there be clowns?

9.04: [as Mary and Anna discuss Pamuk] H: Well. There's that then. [Molesley's hands...] A: Ow. M: Oooh.

9.06: [Harriet overwhelming nurse] M: Wooo. [And then untranscribable gestures of disgust and pain at prescription.] A: Do you know what it is that she thinks he has? M: It's a...a bacterial infection.

9.08: [as Maggie Smith and Matthew discuss and MS swivels, "Why does every day involve a fight with an American?"] A: Every line! Pure gold! M: They think so, too...

9.09: ["She needs taking out of herself"] M: Uh...that's quite a line. H: Oh, you bastard! [to Thomas] M: Dude! You don' don't fucking swing that way. A: [tongue-click as William looks disappointed] M: Ooooh! [as Bates tells him off]

9.09: [as youngest sister comments on frocks] M: Yeah...youngest sister. I like her better in this one. A: Mother's starting to sound like she's taking laudanum or something. Her speech is slowing down. Maybe she's struggling with the accent? H: I can look up if she's American... M: She's British. H: Then she's struggling with the accent.

9.10: [Mary at the fair] M: This woman has great coats. H: You're both such terrible, terrible shots...

9.11: [Mary and Matthew] H: And the awkward attempts at pleasant conversation continue...Why does she always look so alarmed whenever anyone talks to her? M: Wow. A: At least she has perspective. M: Exisistential crisis. Now. A: And so matter-of-factly. M: Yeah, she went from clueless to *finger snap* A: Will the anger well up later? Are we just delaying that?

9.12: [Daisy and footmen] M: You are so dumb, little lady... H: *sigh*

9.13: [Mary and Lord] H: Maybe she should just spend more time with her father. He seems to have a clue. A: Yeah... [Maggie Smith and daughters talking] H & M share look and nod as youngest daughter espouses desire for Purpose in Life. General laughter at Maggie Smith proposal that Americans all live in wigwams.

9.14: [as housekeeper and Joe Burns chat] A: Awww...housekeeper having a little romance! M: But what about him? [points to Bates]

9.15: [housekeeper and Joe Burns chat; "my son joined the army"] H&A: Oh....oh. M: Well, there's more than one way to leave service.

9.16: [servants chat] A: It's a good point!

9.17: [Bates reveals Matthew's visit] general laughter at MS entrance.

9.18: [Anna in bed] M: She is getting a visit! I'm in a very romance'y kind of mood; there needs to be kissy! A: Ooohhh.... [expectant waiting all 'round] H/A/M: OH! M: Oh, you win! You win the prize! Fucking flowers! Flowers! Oh, God yes!

9.19: [Maggie Smith bitching as she climbs into the car] H: And we're back here again. A: For a character who's so bound to tradition, she seems so eager to throw it all over to get the daughter to inherit. M: Is it the daughter or is it the option is that man? A: Yes, true. If the person was inheriting was the right class...? M: And with a mother who wasn't a busybody? As she would have put it.

9.20: [servants at fair] M: Oh....oh, fuck off! [as Thomas is prat] M: No! You're stupid! [as housekeeper gets proposal] M: This is really sudden... A: Yes, it is...if she goes, O'Brien's the housekeeper? Or Anna? H: Anna. She's the housemaid not the lady's maid. M: And what about the other guy? A: Yeah...

9.22: [Matthew and Mary] H: Oh, don't. You're forcing the deal. ["Then that will be my comfort."] M: "'Cause I'm spiteful!'" I'm just not liking that pair... A: It wouldn't be the end of the world; it wouldn't be the most imaginative thing they could do? I imagine the youngest daughter might end up going off to school? More independently? H: At least he's learning to be nice to servants? A&M: Yeah... M: That helps.

9.24: [servants chat; O'Brien is nasty] M: Actually...

9.25: [Bates knocks at door] M: Oooooh! Shit! [Thomas boasts] H: You asshole... Go, Bates! It isn't frightening 'cause he gets off on being a bottom! M: Yeah...but it seems like they're putting those two characters [O'Brien and Thomas] in the position of just being sheer malice... A: They seem to have no motivation. M: Or for each other? What's the connection?

9.27: [servants chat; William's waistcoat] M: What the fuck... A: And the housekeeper's seeing it...

9.27: [Mary and Lord] H: Okay, that's a dreadful speech, Mr. Bonneville, sir. How English of you. And I say that with all affection, but still.

9.28: [chauffeur chatting with daughter] H: Oh, fuck me... M: *groan* H: Is the chauffeur getting in line with the daughter? And why is the only Irish character the revolutionary? ["I'm a socialist..."] Oh, great, you and James fuckin' Connolly! A: He's the second socialist! The second socialist in Ireland! You [H] always said there was only one! There's the other one!

9.29: [Molesley at doctor's office] A: Probably because you're putting poison on his hands! [Maggie Smith hands the smackdown] M: Oh! A: She's not professional either! M: Oh! Oh! Maggie Smith does bitchy so well!

9.31: [Matthew and Lord] M: What's he wearing? H: He's wearing a shooting jacket, God bless him. M: He's not wearing that at the right time... H: No, he is not.

9.32: [Daisy complimenting Thomas] A: He's also a sadistic gay bastard! M: No, honey, he's going to tie you up. And leave you alone. H: Oh, you have no idea... [Daisy complimenting Thomas "he's seen and done so much"] A: The cook's like, can I put this any plainer? M: He bones the guests!

9.33: [daughters talking about dress] M: There it goes. A: What's she going to get? Trousers? M: A dress without a corset. H: You're right; she's slurring. A: The mother. H: Yes. M: And there's the butler standing right next to her with a drink.

9.35: [Mary's breakdown] A: I didn't think of this -- of course she's feeling sidelined. She was her father's confidante and now he's got an heir... M: God! Cynical pragmatic! H: You could at least check your boyfriends a little more carefully... M: Yeah, ask for heart rates -- a little physical exercise -- H: Pushups. Check heart rate after pushups.

9.37: [housekeeper and William] H: That's never helped anyone yet. A: Yeah...but still. H: At least she's trying to be nice. A: She is. She's been written as a very sweet character. Stern but fair and understands her staff. She sees what's going on and is having none of it.

9.38: [Gwen in kitchen] H: Lots of shots of characters 'abandoned.'

9.39: [housekeeper and Carson] A: He won't know what to do if she leaves... H: No. M: Oh... [as Carson urges her on] H: Oohhh...poor Carson. Not in a graveyard, she didn't! M: *sigh* [as Carson is undoubtedly sweet] Is that the moral of this particular episode? A: I think so. "This season of change." M: Just....oh. My life is complete if they all pair up!

9.42: [youngest daughter's new dress] M: Yeah, that ain't no corset. H: That's lovely. M: And I bet it's shorter, too. A: They haven't shown us the full thing, yet. M: Oh, hohohohohoho. Oh! *falls over* [applause for daughter's new outfit] A: Oh, the little Irishman! Maybe they'll have a thing! M: Everyone needs a thing! Well, preferably not one that ends in death.

9.44: [Aunt Rosamund] H: This is like the Charlotte Barlett conversations in Room with a View! [youngest daughter and Gwen] H: You could kiss. That would be okay. M: Thank you for saying that. I didn't want to seem like I was trying to pair up everyone!

9.45: [Thomas hides bottle] H/A/M: Ooooooohhhhh...

9.46: [Lord and Lady] H: You could take her to London and wave her around like that Diana Manners woman. A: She could have hairbrushing parties! Or get photographed naked by her brother...

9.47: [servants chat] M: It's haunted by you, you prick.

9.48: [Maggie Smith and Harriet] M: I want them to come to blows. H: Maggie does have a stick... M: Oh, Maggie Smith...

9.49: [Thomas and O'Brien talking] M: Why? A: If they're just spiteful... [O'Brien nags at Daisy] M: [hides in blanket] The road to hell is paved with stupid people. A: [laughter]

9.51: [Mary and Matthew; "I'm about to send a telegram"] H: Uh -- okay? [H/A/M laughter] H: She keeps swinging back and forth between "I don't care" and "Oh my god my stuff." M: She seems to be having a dissociative fugue...

9.52: [Daisy lies about biscuits] H: That was pretty clever for her.

9.54: [Mrs Patmore and Daisy] M: That cook seems to have quite a bit of authority. A: Yeah... H: Good cooks were rare; for a house this big. After the war, they'll be completely scarce. Her ladyship probably knows that and doesn't want to risk pissing off a good cook for the whole family to please one guest.

9.55 [Anna and Bates] H: Oh! M: What was that? [wordless demonstrations of all kinds as Anna and Bates try to talk in code] A: And let there be much flailing! M: Angst!

9.57: [Gwen waiting] M: Dude, staring at it will not make it go faster. A: Ohhh.... [as Gwen runs out]

9.59: [Gwen and Sybil in field] H/A/M: Ohhh! Dear!

10.00: [Ladyship and O'Brien: "You think it's going to be like Little Women..."] H: So, exactly like Little Women, then. A: Yeah!

10.01: [O'Brien and Edith] A: Why speak to her? Is she vulnerable? M: Ohhh...

10.03: [O'Brien, Daisy, and Edith] A: And not listen at the door. Which I'm sure you're going to do! M: God...she is just getting used by everyone. A: She needs her little piano-playing man. M: She needs someone to like... I don't often say this but she needs to be saved from herself.

10.04: [Ladyship at flower show] M: What the fuck are you wearing? Is white required? H: Go, Harriet! ["You are quite wonderful.... I must have said it wrong!"] M: Shit! H: Oh hohoho! A: Those two women must have had the most wonderful time filming this! M: Bet you anything they were laughing their asses off and having a great time.

10.06: [Mary and Matthew] M: This is the flirtatious personality. A: We're wearing all beige? M: She's trying to ...blend in as much as possible! A: Could we shove any harder? H: Yes. Yes, we could!

10.09: [cat drags chicken; H/A/M: laughter.] A: The cat trying to steal the whole turkey!

10.10: [dinner] M: She's trying to prove her worth by being amenable in a way her sister cannot. And taking one of her last options. A: Yeah. H: We're back in Middlemarch. Bloody cottages.

10.12: [servants in kitchen] A: She can't read. H: She can only do what she can do. M: Oh...oh. [as Carson talks to cook] M: Oh, he's being so sweet.

10.13: [drawing room] H: On the other hand, don't play with someone with sharper knives than you. M: Those two. Good God. A: They've been played off each other all their lives.

10.14: [cook and Carson] H: Oh. She can't see. A: She's got cataracts or something. I thought it was she couldn't read. M: You've got a lame valet! C'mon!

10.14: [Lord and Matthew] A: That was nicely noncommittal. M: These two [Edith and Mary] are now going to kick it up a notch in a way that's going to go into badness... A: And poor Matthew is going to be like "What's going on!" M: There's nothing more shameful to watch...than women throwing themselves. *sigh* H: [as Matthew leaves] Well, at least you have that confirmed.

10.16: [Lord and Lady] M: Nicely seen. A: To be fair to her, she hasn't been taught anything else. M: I don't think any of the women in this have...

10.17: [flower show] H: Suck on that lemon harder, Maggie. M: Oh ho! [as Lordship delivers smackdown] H: Yes! [applause] M: Someone got the last word with Grandma!

10.17: [Anna and Bates] M: Nicely done! H: The quivering rabbit look... A: Is he already married somewhere? ["I do too much of that already."] M: Is that why he's "not free"? What the fuck did that mean? If they get married did they have to leave service? H: Not necessarily. But the lord might give them some money -- enough to set up on? "You've done a good job; here you go."

10.20: [Mary and Matthew] H: Oh, stripes. Oh, stripes! M: Horizontal stripes. On the breast.

10.20: [as Edith plots revenge] M: Whoaaaa.... A: The level of hatred there is rising.

10.21: [Maggie Smith and awards] M: She's gonna do it. H: She won't! Good for you! A: That was very well-played, Maggie. Very well done. M: It just plays into her ego anyway... H: But it's still a nice thing to do.

10.22: [Edith's letter] H: Oh! The fucking Turkish ambassador! M: The middle one's always really fucking smart. And really fucking devious.

Okay, one guess each for the last episode! Drum roll, please....

A: So, they're calling this Series 1, right? So they're not going to feel compelled to wrap this up. [H inserts comment about popularity in England unpredicted.] Oh, okay. Um.

M: I"m not sure they're going to wrap anything up. I hesitate to say whether Lady Mary and Mr Crawley will...get anything together? because I feel like they could leave that hanging and then he goes off to war. because, dude, we're already in August of 1913.

A: So, if we get it up to the war, that can be closure of a sort.

H: Wait, they can't book all the way through to August of 1914 in the next 1 1/2 hour!

M: Maybe they'll get married and he goes off to war? That's all kinds of crap!

A: But then Series 2...he'd have to go off to war. Because he would. But. Actually, that would give her a lot of potential to step it up and be the lady she wanted to be, right? She wanted a job, she wanted a vocation, she loved being her father's eldest. So...if he was out of the way, I could see her stepping up to the plate and becoming the character that she's been not doing this entire time. She hasn't quite emerged this series. As a purposeful character because she's so ambivalent about the role she's been put into. Part of me really doesn't want them to get together because it seems like the obvious solution they've been gunning for since minute 1. But I can kind of see the handwriting on the wall.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Risk being okay with where your body is right now."

I don't know what it's like where you are but here in Boston it's a cold Saturday morning and Anna and I are off to a day-long yoga/meditation workshop at North End Yoga. (If you live in Boston and you're looking for a place to practice, they aren't cheap but are cheap-ish and the space is beautiful. I really recommend anything taught by Sarah Sturges. She is made of awesome.)

So I hope you're having a lovely weekend but since it's cold out -- lets all enjoy a little righteous irritation, shall we?

I'll admit it -- I read Yoga Journal. Sometimes this gets me derisory looks; a couple of my yoga/meditation buddies have made comments to the effect that "I can't stand that magazine any more" or "I just can't read that -- how can you?" Most of the time, I advocate for my reading material and I feel justified in doing this. YJ and I have had an on-again/off-again relationship for about ten years now. I started reading it back when I was fresh out of college and just getting interested in yoga at the behest of my then-girlfriend (who I now realise probably had ulterior motives coming out the wazoo, but we're not here to discuss that right now.) Back then, YJ made me feel awful: the models made me feel inflexible and fat; I didn't understand the jargon; the philosophy passed me by (although I thought it looked awful nice); and the recipes left me cold. So I gave up. Not the yoga; just the magazine.

Tree pose without a tree in sight!
I rediscovered it on an impulse buy about three years ago and have had a steady subscription for the past two years. When I picked up that second "first time" issue, I'd gained confidence in my practice. Yeah, the models still made me feel a bit inflexible and podgy but -- hell, who wouldn't feel inflexible and podgy looking at these folks? and I regularly saw letters from other people expressing the same opinions and the models seemed to get a bit more...normal looking. There were even folks of color and the occasional guy which was just awesome. The jargon no longer either left me cold or confuzzled; having been to a few studio sessions and had a regular home practice for about two years, I knew what they were talking about. Even better, I knew how what they were talking about felt: I knew how good that hip-opener felt; I knew how awesome it was to lie back in shavasana when you thought you weren't going to make it through that last vinyasa; and I knew how great it was to finally not fall out of Tree.

I'm not a "find a community" kind of person; I don't go looking for groups of folks who are like-minded because, honestly, I don't expect to find them and I don't know if I'd want to hang out with a room full of people who think the same way I do! I like hanging out with folks who push my buttons every now and then and agree on the important things -- Doctor Who is awesome; Spuffy need never have happened; and John Barrowman is candylicious -- and we can argue the rest out later. Still, I was glad to have YJ show up crammed in my mailbox every few weeks as a reminder that there was a larger yogic community in which I could be more involved if I wanted.

Until this month. This month, I happened to flip open my February 2011 YJ and find the article under the heading "eating wisely" (hardeharharhar) called "Measure for Measure," by a regular contributer named Dayna Macy. Now, apparently this short article -- only probably two pages if not split up by ads -- is an excerpt from a larger book by Ms. Macy called Ravenous. If there were any justice in the world, she would have been forced to call it If You're Not Skinny, Don't Show Up at My Studio: or, My Happy Journey to Obsession.

I read the last few paragraphs of the article first because I have, like my father, a habit of flipping through all publications from back to front. Don't ask why; I don't know. And I came across this little gem:
"Weeks, then months, pass. I begin to lose weight--5 pounds, 10 pounds, then 20, then more. I start buying clothes one size, then two sizes, smaller. Yoga poses that were once extremely difficult become more possible, and more fun." 
And I'm thinking, "Wait. This sounds just like all those crap women's magazines I don't read because, well, they sound like this. This sounds like my coworkers when they're having a bad day and I wish my MP3 player went up louder. This sounds....awful." Lose weight and do yoga better? like some kind of magic formula? Uh -- no, no, I think not.

So I flip back to the beginning of the article and read the whole thing. Twice. Then I find Anna and make her read it just to make sure I'm not crazy.

Editors of YJ, why? What were you thinking? This is the worst possible advocation of weight loss that I have ever read and I've read some doozies. If this is an excerpt from the book and the rest of the book is like this it should instantaneously be remaindered in order to avoid bolstering the incorrect, self-harming thinking of thousands of people suffering from eating disorders! What were you thinking? Publishing an article like this, that implicitly says, "If you are overweight, yoga is not for you -- you won't do it right" is an insult to those of us who don't look like your cover model.

Crow pose. No crows, I know. Disappointing.
If I dropped 20 pounds, could I do some yoga poses more easily? Yeah, I'm sure I could. You know what would also make it easier? If my left wrist wasn't shot from years of typing and handwriting. If my back didn't give out on me at odd moments. If I hadn't sprained my left ankle three times in eight months. And if I didn't get intensely nauseated in inverted poses due to some long-term inner ear problems. Are you or your author going to suggest that I should stop doing yoga because I will probably never do a perfect arm balance? I sure as hell hope not -- because I'd have absolutely no intention of listening to you. So I can't do shoulder balances; so I can't do a perfect Crow: so what? Patanjali isn't going to appear out of my mat and bitch-slap me.

And, yes, I read the additional interview with Ms. Macy that went up on the YJ site a few days later and, no, I have no intention of reading her full book to find out what the "full" story is because, frankly, I don't care. The excerpt was so profoundly offputting that I can only say I hope she has found fulfillment through her chosen path and I hope no-one else does.

On the upside, I can say that in reading the rest of the magazine -- which I did after waiting a few days to calm down -- I found nothing else quite so horrific. There was a great article on meditation by Sally Kempton; some neat stuff about car rentals; and a nifty little alignment/anatomy article about twisting triangle and your knees. (My knees hate twisting triangle; I don't know about you -- I wish you happier knees!)

There was also a few page feature on the YJ 21 Day Challenge. For those of you who don't know about it: it's exactly what it sounds like: 21 days of free yoga routines, meditation and pranayama audios, and recipes from YJ, all online, to help bolster or create your home practice. I've been cherrypicking routines from there since the 10th and some of them are really awesome; I've also discovered two new teachers, Rebecca Urban and Elise Lorimer, who I dearly hope have done standalone DVDs 'cause they are just fantastic stuff.

Anyway, in the midst of the little puff piece -- and it is a puff piece, pretty self-admittedly -- there's a interview with Jason Crandell, one of the teachers who is doing routines for the Challenge:

[What if you're] Too chubby? [the interviewer asks]
"If you're letting your weight keep you off the mat, you've got a self-esteem issue," he says. "Ignoring your body won't help; doing skillful things with your body in an asana practice will make it easier to nurture the kind of body you have now."
Well, thank heaven the teachers are smarter than the editors.

Edit: In all editorial fairness, I have to say that neither Anna nor myself made it to the workshop. A late-breaking anxiety attack on my part and girlfriendly sympathy on Anna's part prevented both our attendances. I still think the studio is awesome; I do suggest you check it out; and I'm sorry I can't give a more positive review of the whole thing 'cause I wasn't there!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Fun Times

Even if you aren't a fan of the original series, even if you have never seen any of the original series, really, you should watch this.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"...See what I see, Doctor."

And we're back to Season 5 of Doctor Who! Are we all happy? Yes, I knew we were.

I mean, seriously.
The only issue with this is that the next episode I have to talk about is Vincent and the Doctor. And I have a similar problem with Vincent as I do with Amy's Choice. What do you say? It's just fantastic. There is Bill goddamn Nighy, for heaven's sake! In a bowtie! (There is no conceivable way that man can get cooler now, by the way.) And possibly the world's only Scots Van Gogh. :)

To a certain extent, the entire episode is one long love-letter to Van Gogh; it's just the DW cast being prompted to fangirl by the scriptwriter. And you know what? I'm totally okay with that. Van Gogh is...a game-changer. If his life story -- misery compounded by depression made slightly worse by no money and some bad drinking habits -- doesn't grab your attention, then try some of the artwork:

If that doesn't do it for you on some level...I would really be interested in knowing what does.

Anyway, Vincent is a brilliant stand-alone: it manages to combine "monster of the week" with "story arc advancement" with character development and some rather unexpected darkness and pull the whole -- potentially very volatile -- mix off with grace, humor, and a great sense of gentleness.

Tony Curran was, I thought, excellent as Van Gogh. If Curran himself does not suffer from depression -- and I sincerely hope that he doesn't -- then he has watched those of his friends or family that do. Vincent's mood swings didn't feel faked or melodramatic: they felt, sadly, both convincing and familiar.

The Doctor's bafflement when confronted by Vincent's difficulties feels a little disingenuous -- but in the besthearted fashion. It feels to me as though he is trying to jolly someone out of something he feels himself, far too often. He knows where Vincent is coming from and, sadly, where he's going to -- and he can't do much about it. This always troubles him; it's one of the things that continually make the Doctor sympathetic: he wants to help and, too often, he simply can't. If he interferes, then he might make things worse or, more frequently, be unable to change anything. In Vincent's case, as in so many others, we as watchers want him to interfere: by the end of the show, we want him to save Vincent from himself but he can't.
Off to find a monster.

Amy, too, gets some nice moments, most around her memory as Vincent clearly realises there is something very, very wrong in her recent past and tries to empathise but fails since she can't remember what's wrong! Mostly. Sometimes it seems as though she can remember feeling very sad about something -- but not why and the Doctor is being no help here. He doesn't seem to have made up his mind yet about what he's going to do about Rory's death and Amy's memory.

The "monster of the week," too, gets a complicating touch at the end. For most of the episode, it seems like a pretty simple, almost Supernatural-style "find and kill" caper: the monster is the Krafayis (and if you wonder if I had to look up how to spell that...why, yes, yes, I did), invisible, lethal, and exceptionally badtempered. The Doctor explains at one point that it's a solitary killer, abandoned by its packmates when it fell behind, now lost and alone on Earth with no other drive than murder. Seemed a little unlikely even at the time, but okay, and Matt Smith sold the concept really well.

Vincent and the Krafayis. Well. Vincent anyway.
When the creature is half-accidentally killed...things are slightly different. It can speak -- at least after a fashion -- and it's afraid as it's dying. This was really unexpected for me: I was anticipating, as I said, a basic "find the bones, salt, and burn" deal -- something even the Winchester boys could take care of! This complicated the entire episode: suddenly the Doctor was uncomfortable, even guilty, at events he had pushed along, and Vincent was left with a grim parallel to his own existence as the town vagabond. The Doctor comforts the Krafayis and Vincent tries his best to philosophize something good out of it -- but I'm not sure how convincing that is. What felt more real was the pain all three characters felt as the Krafayis died -- and they all realised there might have been a different way.

Not to end on a bum note -- but can we talk, just for a minute, about the end of the episode? No, not the actual end end -- I'm not that fascinated by credits! -- but the bit in the museum. You know the bit I mean:

Doctor Who 2005 5x10 Vincent and the Doctor 3
Uploaded by IDavros. - Classic TV and last night's shows, online.

The opening bit -- if you haven't seen the episode and feel like spoilering yourself for a good cause -- until about two minutes in or so.

So often when the Doctor grabs someone out of time and thinks, "I know what will make them think of ice cream and puppies!" it ends badly. Lets think. What's a recent example? Oh, yes, I know a good one! Adelaide Brooke from Waters of Mars.

This felt rather like a reaction to that: "Look, it doesn't always have to end badly. Sometimes there is the ice cream and the puppy." And a fantastic, tear-jerking monologue from Bill Nighy that attempts to boost Vincent's ego and, for Amy anyway, give hope that he won't go back and commit suicide. Of course, we know the Doctor can't really change time; he never can -- part of the reason, I imagine, he looks so sad throughout most of this episode. Vincent's fantastic and he can't do anything to help him.

So what's the end call on Vincent? "The good things don't always soften the bad things, but, vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant." Oh, my, Doctor, what could you be talking about?

"There's so much more to the world than the average
eye is allowed to see."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Live-Blog the Second! "Downton Abbey"

Good morning! Welcome back to part two of the Feminist Librarian (A), Minerva (M), Crowgirl (H) (this is a totally transparent pseudonym, but it amuses me) liveblog of Downton Abbey!

And here we are again.

9.01: Laura Linney again. Going on for servants? I'm not quite sure. Something about the typewriter. Don't blame me -- we were talking about Doctor Who! A: We don't have any secretaries yet? M: Ah -- we're foreshadowing.

9.02: M: Well, there's far more interesting shit going on downstairs. We still need a maid in the family way. A: And the gay footman. We're 2 hours into this shit and she hasn't gotten pregnant yet!

9.03: M [referring to logo]: That was very Alan Ball! H: Oooh! That was lovely!

9.03: H: Concerned butler is concerned! [As Carson opens letter...] H: Concerned butler goes to pub! A: And concerned valet follows....

9.04: [as doctor ignores Harriet Jones] H: Well, that was interesting... A: Well, you're just a woman...

9.04: [as boy coughs up blood] M: Stop lying to your patients! H: It was popular.

9.05: [as Crawley's butler describes his habits] General laughter. M [quoting butler]: "I feel useless."

9.06: H: Why are we talking to Bates about this? M: Bates would be a better valet for him.. A: Yeah...

9.06: M: Suspicious butler is suspicious!

9.07: [as O'Brien "sails close to the wind"] A: She's of course Irish. H: Yorkshire. They came across to work in the mills. Two strikes.

9.08: [as doctor lectures Harriet] M: Whoa... A: Yeah, 'cause you just trained for the Crimea... H: South Africa. If she actually went to the Boer War...nasty. Lots of ew.

9.09: [as Harriet describes medical treatment] M: It's actually...actually right. H: Her bit or his bit? M: Her bit. It's more than reasonable; it becomes standard medical practice in 20 years.

9.09: [as Carson talks to Anna] A: He's just compounding his mistake...

9.10: [Maggie Smith: "You amaze me."] General laughter, applause. H. Oh, God, I love everything she says. M: She is made of win!

9.11: [as Mary pokes Matthew] M: Did I just detect a slight on masculinity? A: I think you did. M: And class. [as butler picks up small silver item] H: Oh...oh, that was unfortunately shaped... A: Oh, yeah... M: What was it? A: I don't know... it... it was dildo-shaped.

9.12: [as Mary tells Perseus story] H: What? M: Oh, the silence. H: What the fuck? A: Even Maggie Smith didn't have an answer! M: That wasn't very subtle.

9.13: [as Daisy and Thomas dance] A: Oh, is the footman... M: Well, they're both frustrated. H. And here comes the cook again. M: [laughter] [as cook commands Daisy back to bed]

9.14: [as O'Brien and Thomas mutter] A: What does she want? Her only upward mobility is to be the housekeeper, right? Who's nowhere near retiring? M: Maybe she wants to be the daughter's housekeeper?

9.15: [as Lord and Matthew talk] H: Yup, the conversation about land. Lord sees a complete system; Matthew sees a business. Sort of.

9.17: [visitor at door] A: And who is this? H: What merry chappie is this? ["Charlie Carson"] H: Again, another accent. Oh, what fun the BBC does have... A: What does he think he is?

9.18: [Lord returns!] M: Oh...this isn't going to be good. M: Whaaat? ["You were on the stage?!"] Hysterical laughter at Lord's reaction. H: Um...whoa! M: Whoa! This just got maudlin.

9.21: [as Lord refuses resignation] H, A, M: Thank you! A: They're like, "Oh my God -- he's in a chair!" H: And class confrontation ends. ["I think it...because it is true."] H: [whistle] M: Oh...snap. And a look on his face that he didn't like saying that. H: No. M: They're really setting him up to be the good man. H: Well, this story desperately needs one! M: True!

9.23: [as Bates and Anna giggle] M: Kiss. Each. Other. Please, honey! Make him drop the cane! I'm sorry; I need some smexy times! A: Yeah, he needs to grab her ass... M: There's a table right behind you!

9.24: [Harriet shows up] H: Go, Harriet! M: Oh, I like you!

9.25: [as Maggie shows up] M: Oh, Maggie -- I don't like you now! M: [as wife defends procedure] Oh, good for you! A: She's so good at that "What? People are contradicting me?"-look.

9.26: [as procedure continues] M: Whoa -- that so ain't right! H&A: Hush!

9.27: A: Is this something they're going to have to repeat? M: No. [explanation -- ask her. :) I can only type so fast!]

9.29: [as Lord lectures Matthew on servants] H: Go, Lord You! You tell 'em! A: You could possibly find other things to do... H: Yes, but a couple of the menservants are a little old for retraining.

9.30: [as daughters chat] M: I don't like you... [to Mary]. A: The younger one is quiet all the time -- what's going on in her head? H: She's watching. All the time.

9.31: [as butler and housekeeper chat] M: These two. H: Oh..distressed butler is distressed. M: Sad eyes! A: No tears! We're British! [as Daisy and William chat] M: Oh -- stupid, stupid girl! 'Cause I'm Dumb! A: 'Cause I can't tell when someone's gay even when it's smacking me in the nose.

9.32: [Matthew and Molesley] M:'re trying! H: Oh, that's so sweet. M: It's like you watch him visibly propping up the other man's ego with teeny little pieces of silver. H: There. You did the right thing. It's stupid, but you did the right thing. M: It's almost there --- smiiiile! You just made your valet smile!

9.33: [at hospital board investiture] H, A, M: Ooooooohhh -- burrrrrrrn! M: Maggie Smith is doing like 'ticky angry' so well! A: I'm surprised sparks weren't flying out of her eyes!

9.34: [as maid mails package] M: What's with everything being tension filled? Like you can't tell what's vaudeville past and what's important?

9.35: ["What's he writing about?"] H: Your coat, Mom, and how disturbing it is! M: Was that -- let me teach you how to be manipulative?

9.37: [as Mom, Lord, and Maggie Smith talk] M: It's like a conversation in non sequitors.

9.39: ["It corrects limps."] H: Ta. M: For someone who works with the disabled, he's really crotchety... M: Whoa... [demo of gizmo] H: Endless pain! M: And loss of circulation and...shit's fucked.

9.40: [as Matthew and blonde daughter talk] M: She's also being incredibly manipulative...and inevitably the good end up with the good in those stories. H: Their coloring matches.

9.41: [as servants admire typewriter] M: God, I hate this lady [O'Brien].

9.42: ["I want to leave service."] Laughter at servant blinking.

9.43: [mother reads letter] M: Then you'd best learn to say his name right. H: Oh, and international politics clash with class politics. Oh, God, lady...shut up. M: I like how they're trying to simulate these kind of Grecian flowing dresses...with a corset underneath!

9.45: [as Gwen has collapse] H: Well, she gave up easy. [as Bates clearly gets pain'y feeling] A: He's gonna fall downstairs or something.. H: He's going to lose his fucking leg.

9.46: [Harriet reads letter] A: She's got the score at least. H: Harriet is smart!

9.47: [as hunt begins] H: What is that? Fruitcake? Gingerbread? Fruitcake? A: Chocolate? H: She was cutting  it with a serrated knife. A: Oh, dear, someone's going to break their neck. H: That's fine. M: At least the tension will be justified.

9.48: [as Turkish diplomat shows up] M: Oh...and, Lady Mary -- "Pardon me while I close my legs tighter! Maybe I'll ride in front of him and give him a good view of my bottom!" H: I know that theme! That's from The Piano! Stop it! H: Is she going to get all dramatic and fall off her horse showing off? M: We do need a wounded young lady! A: We're nearly three hours into this! M: What do they call it? We need some hurt/comfort -- I'm sorry... [laughter]

9.50: [Mary and diplomat] H: Hunting and metaphor for sex. M: How much more cliche can you get? H: That horse did not take that jump in one go! M: You will take the jump and you will fall and you will have a Marianne/Willoughby moment...what a dismal end...

9.51: [as middle daughter and Matthew explore church] M: Oh,'re not doing this -- you are! This is why men are dumb! H: Oh, how boring...

9.52: [as Thomas scopes out guests: "Is that one mine?"] Hysterical laughter. A: Once again we have footman and eldest daughter in competition for the same man...they really need to coordinate their schedules! M: She's positively breathless. Everyone in the room wants to shag him! A: He's not that tasty! H: He's pretty damned tasty.

9.54: [as Thomas dresses diplomat] M: My God, this man... A: Could we just not have...ugh. H: Oh...poor Thomas, though. ["I've always been attracted to the Turkish culture."] M: Oh -- you don't come on that strong, little buddy! [after deal is cut] M: Wow...that just got really fucked up.

9.55: [Maggie Smith talking about service] H: Do you think you're pleasant? M; Youngest daughter is awesome. H: Go, Harriet! M: Oh, will kill you.

9.57: [as diplomat propositions Mary] M: Okay, that was creepy! H: Yeah -- it was! M: That was "I like to tie you up and flog you" and not in a "You will enjoy it" kind of way. H: Well, she's not gonna marry him; he's not English; we're not doing that kind of story. M: But she can be disgraced by him.

9.59: M has left the room momentarily.

10.00: [diplomat stalking Mary] A: It was a mistake to make this the one foreign guy. Could we not make this the one Turkish guy? H: Yeah.... oh, she's gonna be talked into it... She isn't being very...fierce in her resistance here. A: [long sigh] H: Oh, dear... A: Like heavy, heavy coercion here... H: This is not 'sweet funny romantic music' moment. A: That is not a happy face. Ugh.

10.01: [approx.] And M has returned. :)

10.02: [someone wakes Anna] A: You go to the maid 'cause the maid always knows what to do. Uhhhh... H: The fuck?! He's dead....! Someone went to get Mom! Whoa!

10.03: M: Did he do a lot of cocaine? [as they carry body in sheet] H: They've got him in a sheet! M: But...the footman knows. H: And Daisy knows!

10.05: [Mary with body] M: Beautiful things -- not always good! A: And he tried to rape you -- would have! It was just the fact that he wasn't in the room and wouldn't leave. M: God...that mother loses points in my respect scale. moments. A: And it's very unclear what she's expecting to get. H: And -- Thomas has a nasty moment.

10.06: [as Evelyn propositions Mary for garden] H: Does she have beer-flavored nipples? [manic laughter] M: She must have beer-flavored nipples -- she has a horrible attitude.

10.08: M: Watch it, Daisy; if you think too hard, it might hurt. [3rd daughter brings ad to Gwen] M: Third daughter, yes! A: Oh, yes...

10.10 [Mom and Napier] H: That was...nice. About one of the most civil ways that conversation could have gone. [Lord and Carson discuss death] Laughter and applause. ["They are finer and more fragile than our own."] M: [laughter] They moved the body!

10.11: ["No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's house."] H: Oh, Maggie, you are gold. M: Something makes me think that Grandma was a lot like Mary and she gives Mary a lot of slack. A: And she has a great deal of interest in getting Mary to have the money.

10.14: [Carson and Mary chat] H: And Mary gets philosophical... A: They must have gotten further along on more amiable terms than either of us thought. M: Either that, or she's happy she's alive. H: She's just having survivor glee. ["I don't feel it."] M: Just wait 'til your breasts start sagging, honey...

10.16: [Bates and Lord] H: Could we...fix him...please? M: Take. It. Off. A: Yeah, really... [Housekeeper closes the door] A: Yeah, she's like... H: Oh, I don't want to see this... M: This I can look at. H: Oh, fuck...oh, God... Oh, yeah, he's fucked it up -- he's fucked it up real bad. Please get a doctor.

10.18: [housekeeper and Bates to lake] M: Yes, go, you. Go you, little buddy! H: Now throw that fucker. There! You got a good overarm! M: Yeah! That was a cricket swing -- I mean a cricket throw.

10.20: [new chauffeur] H [snorking desperately: Oh....and the new Irishman would be interested in history and politics! M: God, I love those little outfits... H: My soul hurts...

10.22: [Maggie Smith on foreigners] M: ...What? I...what? A: We can't worry about foreigners otherwise we'd collapse every time we opened a newspaper.

And we're done!

I do have to say that I got sick of typing "Dowager Lady," and it was just quicker to type Maggie Smith -- I do not believe the Dame believes any of the nonsense she spouts here! I am not attributing opinions or attitudes.

Harriet Jones being awesome.
Plus, if you're wondering why I continually refer to Mrs. Crawley as Harriet Jones -- and that is who I mean -- then look here and learn: "Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North." :)

A: If we end up with Mary marrying the lawyer -- we've just come full circle. M: Yeah, if the youngest daughter marries him, then she travels... A: And she would have the imagination he has to look at the manner in a different way.

Halfway through the show! Guesses all 'round...

A: So the little redhaired girl is going to go off to be a secretary.

M: Bates and whatsherface need to come to some kind of agreement. Understanding.

A: Yeah.

H: Thomas needs...a shagging or a comeuppance...

M: Thomas is going to blackmail his way out of that house.

A: He's going to use that information to get himself leverage somewhere, somehow.

M: I do think it will backfire.

A: Yeah, he's going to try. I don't know what O'Brien wants...but she's going to be there with him.

M: Her motivation, other than being spiteful, is...

A: If she was acting as if the family was under threat...but she hates everyone!

M: I think she just wants to see people ruined.

A: It's a very malicious sort of...youngest daughter needs to find some sort of voice.

M: She's gettin' close. Middle daughter -- all middle daughter is going to end up a little shafted in this story.

A: Which is sad. But yeah. I want to see Maggie Smith and Harriet Jones...

H: Go at it. Oh, god, yes.

M: ...preferably in that little cottage parlor. Epic.

[General agreement and headnodding]

Okay, if you desire more, bug them or me! Goodnight and see you next week!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Fun Times: "...twelve jammy dodgers -- and a fez."

End of the last week at job I'm leaving! Three cheers!

Thanks to my friend Ashley for pointing out that such Youtube gloriousness existed!

And in case anyone hasn't seen what the real TARDIS is likely to be up to in the future...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Let me tell you about some girls I know very well..." "And why I'm being fired!"

We're a little low on content this week, folks. It's my last week at the job I'm quitting and my schedule as all kerblooey (technical term there). So enjoy some short(-ish) videos and return next week for thoughts on Torchwood: Children of Earth (yeah, I know I'm the last person on the freakin' planet to watch it!) and the end of DW Season 5 and assorted other things, including some thoughts on a recent article in Yoga Journal -- novel, yes?

 Since people seem to enjoy my DW posts so much, I'm pondering doing a couple of "retro" reviews from the original series. We'll see what happens.

In case you decide you want a job as a maid at the Abbey...

and Part 2: