Friday, May 15, 2009

Busy busy busy

Too busy to write much of an entry today, at least. I've had something major going on the last three weekends (band concert, conference, AAU States), and tomorrow I'm volunteering at HSHV's Walk-n-Wag...

... wait a second, the phone's ringing ...

AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! [slams phone down, pounds head on desk]

Now, generally I'm a live-and-let-live kinda girl, not prone to wishing harm to anyone, but if I could send all telemarketers to a special fiery burning circle of hell right now, I WOULD DO IT!

It's almost worse since the institution of the No-Call list, because now everyone who calls thinks their "previous relationship" with you entitles them to be stubborn when you say no. If I say I don't want insurance for my credit card, let me hang up without the "But it's also this service...." If I say I don't need the extended warantee for my car, let me hang up without the "Yes, but...." If you ask for my husband and I tell you he's even more stubborn about saying no telemarketers, then don't ask me for a good time to call back, and don't keep calling me!

Worst are the charities, because then you feel a little guilty saying no. Still, I don't care if you're from the Fraternal Order of Police, or the Special Olympics, or if you're Mother frickin' Theresa herself, I don't do charity over the phone. And if I tell you that, don't keep going, "but we're not asking for donations..." I don't like being rude to people; I'm usually more pleasant to telemarketers than they deserve (in TSU's opinion), but I figure most of them are just trying to make a living. But if I politely say no, you should listen, let me hang up, and move to the next possibility. If you're not going to be considerate enough to let me say no politely, I'm going to hang up on you. And I'm not going to feel guilty about it, so THERE.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A feline lapse of judgment

Cats are perverse. Anyone who has every been owned by a cat knows this. You think you find a food they like, and two weeks later they turn their noses up at it. You try to read the paper and they come and sit down on it. You try to use the computer and they walk in front of the screen or nudge your mouse. You scoop their litter box and they immediately have to use it. You try to sleep and they decide it's time to play. It's like they're continually requiring you to prove your devotion.

In the case of my masters cats, the perversity is particularly obvious in their choice of lap time. My cats are not overly affectionate beasts. They have some dignity; they're not likely to grovel on the floor and beg you to pet them, and they're not continually following me around, seeking attention. If I'm convenient and they're in the mood, then maybe they'll pay me a visit. Gigi, the former feral, is the least likely to seek attention, and also the most predictable. If I'm sitting at my sewing machine in her upstairs safe room, she will jump on the back of my chair and purr while I scritch her ears. If it's cold out and I'm safely lying in bed, she'll join me for a cuddle—but that's it. For a crazy skittish animal, at least she's predictable.

The other two, however, are crazily perverse when it comes to lap time. Clio, the fat orange one, usually likes one session a day, while I'm sitting in a recliner watching TV or reading the paper. But sometimes she insists on lap time when I'm at the computer, ensuring that I can't type because she blocks access to the keyboard. This never happens in the morning, when I'm farting around, but always in the afternoon, which for some reason is prime brain time for me. Small brown Callie, on the other hand, usually only seeks lap time late at night—and I shouldn't even call it lap time, for she prefers to roost on my shins or ankles, whichever might be most uncomfortable. She has a gift for timing: if I'm thinking about getting up, or considering maybe it's time for bed, she will unerringly sit upon me and prevent any movement.

Of course, there is one rule that precludes all others, and it has to do with what I'm wearing. If I'm wearing black or navy pants, especially slacks, then Clio will seek me out so she can shed little blonde hairs all over me. And Callie, who never wants my lap otherwise, will unerringly climb into it if I'm wearing white pants—all the better to see the numerous black hairs she's leaving behind. Look for yourself: yesterday afternoon I'm minding my own business when Callie insists on sitting on my lap. I don't even have to be petting her; I can be messing around with the camera, trying to get the timer and the angle set; and still she sits. It's like a cat magnet: White pants await, and therefore must I go, says she. Luckily I know a good trick with strapping tape, or else I'd have to wear gray all the time, and that would be boring.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Janespotting: Sense and Sensibility (2008 miniseries)

When PBS announced that they would be airing a new version of Sense and Sensibility as part of their Jane Austen season, I was very curious to see how it would turn out. (Actually, my first thought was, "Why bother?," but I suppressed that in favor of curiosity.) I was particularly interested when I discovered that this version was scripted by Andrew Davies, who also penned the 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice. Give him three hours, I thought, and surely we'd end up with something much more interesting than the 1981 series.

It was certainly more modern; this version opens with the seduction of Colonel Brandon's ward Eliza, tastefully (and briefly) shot by firelight, before moving on to the Dashwoods at the deathbed of their husband/father. Then we are allowed to linger over Edward's visit to Norland, getting a complete picture of his growing relationship with Elinor, including her puzzlement over his reluctance to speak his feelings. The remainder of the series is fairly faithful to the book, including two scenes that were omitted from the 1995 film: Edward's strained visit to Barton Cottage, and Willoughby's attempt to ask forgiveness during Marianne's illness. The latter scene is a bit changed from the novel, with Marianne overhearing Willoughby's confession. It's not the only little addition; besides a few extra scenes between Elinor and Edward and Elinor and Marianne—very nice for developing character—we also get a full rendering of the duel between Brandon and Willoughby that is only briefly mentioned in the novel. Finally, we get many more scenes between Brandon and Marianne near the conclusion, so that we can truly believe her when she says she is marrying him out of love and not just gratitude.

The production values are vastly superior to the older miniseries; best of all is the use of the Devonshire countryside, including the wild, rocky coast. The cast is full of British vets, including Oscar-nominated Janet McTeer (Tumbleweeds, 1999) as Mrs. Dashwood, and they all perform very well. Hattie Morahan conveys Elinor's hidden emotions through a mere widening of eyes, and Charity Wakefield makes for a pretty and passionate Marianne who comes to realize she needs wisdom. David Morrissey is a strong and silent Brandon (who wins in a duel, taking care of that vile puppy—rowr!) and Dan Stevens is an amiable Edward. Strangely, he looks very similar to Hugh Grant's Edward from the 1995 film, which was a little distracting:

Still, overall I thoroughly enjoyed this version, which brought the novel to life—and perhaps a made it a little more lively than the original. I'm not sure I like it as much as the 1995 film, but I'll have to explore that when I'm done reviewing all the other S&S adaptations out there. Definitely, though, if you like the novel and haven't seen this version, you'll want to seek it out.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Photo of the Week--5/4/09

Low tide, red sand, blue ocean, salted tree: one cool photograph. We don't get out and travel as much as when we lived in London, but we took a wonderful trip out to Nova Scotia and PEI in the summer of 2003, and this was some of the lovely scenery we saw. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the fantastic tidal-bore rafting we did, as it wasn't healthy for the camera, but this scene hints at the power that the water can generate.