Friday, March 13, 2009

Gigi reports ... er, blogs

[Furtive glance. The coast is clear. The Grey Ghost can now report.]

It's been almost six years since I began living with the enemy. I was captured from my watcher's outpost, underneath the enemy's deck. They trapped me in a metal box and tortured me with medical probes. (They called it "going to the vet.") They imprisoned me in their house and began bribing me with tasty soft food. I know it is only because they are fattening me up so they can cook me and eat me later. So far I've managed to avoid being put in a pie, but I've had some awfully close calls. Although I usually manage to escape when the people get within ten feet of me, sometimes they trap me. It's my own fault, I suppose. The food lady gives really good ear scritches, and sometimes I break protocol and let her get close enough to catch me. If she cuddles me, I protest by purring as loud as I can. Eventually the vibrations cause her muscles to involuntarily relax, allowing me to escape.

Having observed these humans for many years, I am confident in sending this report to my superiors: the invasion will succeed. The humans are soft. They spend all their time watching strange flickering screens, both large and small. They won't even notice when our feline invasion force infiltrates and smothers them in their sleep. (Although I must note that the other feline occupants of the house, fat cat and skinny cat, will be less than useless; they can't be bothered to do anything but sleep and chase artificial mice.)

While I await your further orders, I will remain here, infiltrating the human house, preparing for our eventual victory and total world domination. If you see me sleeping on the humans' bed, it is only to stay warm and conserve my energy for the final battle. It has nothing to do with extra scritches. Nothing at all.

[Grey Ghost out.]

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Random Thoughts ... Is the road singing?

No time for long, thought-out posts today, so just some random thoughts.

How I know spring is coming ('cause I can't tell by the weather): I saw two Great Blue Herons yesterday, attempting to land in a nearby creek despite horrible wind conditions. Plus, raccoon road-kill season has started.

If I have to work Saturday for the fourth time in a row, I'm really going to have to start scheduling my time better.

I don't think my toes are ever going to be warm again.

If I never see a yellow lawn sign again, I'll be happy.

Watch out, everyone, in ten days Boy can get his driver's permit.

If TSU hadn't banned further cats I'd be seriously tempted, because there's one at the shelter who's so sweet and yet so shy that I worry she won't find a home.

I'm sure that the repaved stretch of Ford Road is singing to me. Every time I drive down it I hear harmonics that I know aren't coming from the radio. Yet any time I turn off the radio and listen to the road, it stops singing. I would be seriously disturbed by this, but because this is the ONLY smooth road within 50 miles of me, I can't complain.

I'm not sure where to stop this list. So here it stops.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Janespotting: Pemberley/An Unequal Marriage

I'm continuing my reading of "sequels" to Austen's work, in this case to Pride and Prejudice. British novelist Emma Tennant published these two works in 1993 and 1994, making them two of the first in the flood of Austen sequels. Tennant has a very good reputation as a writer, bringing feminist and fantastic elements to her work, but these sequels aren't thought of very well by Austen fans. Nonetheless, they're early and my library had them, so I thought I'd give them a try.

The first sequel, Pemberley, takes place about a year after Darcy and Elizabeth's marriage. Elizabeth is preparing to host the entire extended family for the holidays—all the Bennets, including silly Mrs. Bennet and flighty Lydia, as well as the snooty Lady Catherine de Bourgh. It's a challenge to Elizabeth as hostess, made more difficult by the fact that she has yet to bear Darcy a child, a fact everyone seems to be remarking on. In dealing with personality conflicts between her family and Darcy's, Elizabeth comes to believe that Darcy is hiding a secret from her. In the end, she discovers it has all been a misunderstanding, and all is resolved happily.

The second sequel, An Unequal Marriage, takes place almost twenty years later. Elizabeth is preparing to host most of the extended family for the wedding of Darcy's friend and cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, a task made more difficult by the fact that their son, Edward, has reportedly disgraced the family by incurring some gambling debts. In dealing with personality conflicts between Fitzwilliam's new bride and Darcy's family, Elizabeth comes to believe that Darcy has hidden the truth about Edmund, and is disinheriting him. In the end, she discovers it has all been a misunderstanding, and all is resolved happily.

Now, if what you loved about the original Pride and Prejudice was seeing Elizabeth agonize over misjudging Darcy, worry for pages and pages about her mistake, and then have it all resolved with one conversation, then you might enjoy these books. If you are like me, however, and find the characters' journey to be the interesting part of the original novel, you might not enjoy watching Elizabeth turn into a self-doubting, humorless worrywart who won't communicate with her soul mate for over 100 pages. After all, there was an element of truth to Elizabeth's original judgment of Darcy—he was too proud, and he changed to earn her love. In these books, Elizabeth's judgments are wrong, and everything is all a misunderstanding because she and Darcy don't communicate. So while these books do fairly well in creating the scenery and language of Austen's world, I find the characters too unlike the originals to really enjoy them.

That's okay, there are still two dozen more sequels for me to sample (although I'm not going to consume them all at once, just to preserve my sanity).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Photo of the Week--3/2/09

One of the (many) things I loved about living in London was the ability to hop on plane and within three hours arrive at so many different places. We had a spare day off one January, so we took a weekend break to Gibraltar. It's a small but fascinating place: attached to Spain, within eyesight of Africa, yet so veddy British in its buildings and shops and language. We had lovely weather, the better to enjoy views like this of the Rock.