Friday, April 10, 2009

I M Lazee

Lots of things going on this weekend, so I'm being kind of lazy today. Not much work going on; maybe I'll sew a bit and finish the book I'm reading. It's spring break, so I'm looking forward to a week and a half without the 6 am wake up call.

I can't leave you without something fun, though. Unfortunately, I can't embed this video, ABC won't let me. But I promise if you click through and play it, it will make you smile.

Aaaaahahahahahaha hahahahahahaha!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I wonder where the flowers iz?

In theory, spring has sprung here in Michigan, even if I did have to shovel the driveway last week. The tulip bulbs I planted last fall have managed to poke through the layers of mulch and snow, so I should get some pretty flowers by the end of the month. I am impatient, though. I want warmer weather now! I want pretty colors now! Good thing I have my orchids.

When we moved back from England, I thought I might try growing orchids. The Spousal Unit even installed a very nice greenhouse window over the kitchen sink, so I could keep them (mostly) out of the reach of silly kitties, who like to nibble on greenery and knock pots over. I have about half a dozen orchids, both cattleyas and phalaenopses, which are usually the easiest to grow. I call the one on the left "Old Faithful." It was the first orchid I bought, and I got it at a Sam's Club at least five years ago. Every year without fail it reblooms, sending up a spike that has at least a dozen flowers on it. For the last couple of years, Old Faithful has sent up a second spike, either at the same time or later, during the summer. Not bad for a non-fancy phalaenopsis I bought on a whim.

I haven't had as good luck with getting my cattleyas to rebloom, or even survive. I bought one the year after I got OF, and it didn't do anything but collect kitty bites until last spring, when it finally gave me lovely, delicate, bright-orange blossoms. Another one I bought shrivelled up and died. :-( But I keep watering and being patient, in the hopes I'll get more blossoms someday.

I've had better luck with this other phalaenopsis, which I'm pretty sure I bought at an orchid show. I love to go to orchid shows, although I have to restrain myself from buying more plants when I don't have any space left in my greenhouse window. Even though I forgot to repot this one last summer, and it's a little cramped in its current home, it has favored me with flowers this spring. It sent up a spike even before Old Faithful, and the spike split in two, so I'll get double the blossoms. On mornings like today, when I get up and it's still dark and freezing outside, I like the reminder that growing season is coming, and soon enough I'll be complaining about all the pruning and weeding and planting I'll have to do!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Janespotting: Lost in Austen

I had heard inklings about this 2008 British TV miniseries—someone commented about it on an earlier Janespotting post, and I recently read that director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) is producing a film version of it—so I thought I would keep on the lookout for it. The premise sounded fairly intriguing: a modern Austen fan somehow exchanges places with Elizabeth Bennet, right at the beginning of Pride and Prejudice. When I saw a marathon was airing on Ovation TV, I set the DVR and thought I'd watch the four hours over the next week or so.

Whoops. I started watching the first hour on a Sunday night, and got completely sucked in. The main character, Amanda Price, finds herself in the Bennett household and attempts to make the events of the book happen, even though Elizabeth is not there. Because of her modern dress and knack for saying or doing the wrong thing, everything gets messed up. By the end of the first episode, Bingley is infatuated with Amanda, not Jane; Jane ends up married to Mr. Collins; and Charlotte Lucas has left for Africa to become a missionary.

Well, I had to watch the second episode right away, and thought about starting the third, but decided I should get to bed before 11. I went to sleep wondering what would happen, and woke up thinking maybe I'd just watch a little bit. I managed to hold off—I had an assignment due that day—and watched just a little bit at lunch. I finished my assignment and was sucked back to the TV. I devoured episode three and had to leave episode four behind to go help teach TKD class, but all the while I was wondering how in the world they would resolve Amanda's dilemma: would she fix the storyline of the novel—messed up even more in episodes 2 & 3—or would she find a way to stay with Darcy? I wasn't sure which ending I wanted to see, but I was ultimately pleased with it once I got back home and forced the boys to let me finish watching. The DVD goes on sale in a week and I'll be snatching up my own copy.

Give credit to writer Guy Andrews, a longtime British TV screenwriter who will also be writing the film version: it's a wonderful concept, one that I'm sure many readers have imagined. What if I could live in the world of P&P? I bet I could be just like Elizabeth, and have Darcy fall in love with me. This series explores this idea to the hilt, complete with all sorts of anachronistic amusements; yet there are several poignant moments as well. The series somehow re-creates and reimagines Austen's world and characters (many have backstories to discover), at the same time it explores our fascination with it. While there were a few logical holes (for someone who gets thrown out of polite society so often, Amanda keeps getting invited back), I thought it was clever and funny and tender and just plain hard to stop watching; I loved it and I'm sure it will be in regular rotation with my favorite Austen-based DVDs in the future.

If you want a peek, take a look at the trailer here; be prepared, you may want to freeze it around the 1:20 mark, to enjoy the full "wet Darcy" effect.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Photo of the Week--3/30/09

Well, if you're going to visit a medieval walled city, it's a bonus when you get the kind of eerie foggy weather that lets you imagine you're back in the 12th century. (Although this wasn't the oldest site we visited during our trip to the southwest of France: we also saw rare prehistoric cave paintings at a site which only allows around 30 visitors a day, in order to preserve the site.) Today, on a "spring" day that required me to shovel the driveway, a little fog seems like perfect weather.