I only watch it for the clothes -- and the braids, gotta have me some braids

Having survived Pledge Week on both of our local public TV stations, it was with a certain sense of entitlement that I wrapped myself in my cashmere blanket (Banana Republic's last good year, clearance, but I didn't come here to brag) - and settled back to enjoy Wolf Hall. It's not finished yet over here, but timing isn't key here what with all the spoilers swimming around the web.

We are experts on Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, both of us having read both books, and last fall we celebrated Still Another Big Anniversary by charging off to London in time to catch the closing West End performance of both. The standing ovation at the end of BUTB was of ManU caliber.  Dame Hilary was present at both performances.

So now, having watched 5 of the television installments, I offer our capsule ratings:

Pageantry and sense of trapped formality: West End. Coming soon (and expensively) to Broadway.
Foreboding and conveying what it might have been like to live in HVIII's times: telly
Best all around: unquestionably, the books.
What I'm glad I don't have to do: those elaborate dances.
Worst all around: The Tudors.

Well, whilst we await the publication of the third book in Dame Hilary's examination of the life and times of Thomas Cromwell, how to fill the aesthetic craving for pageantry, plotting and blood?

This post's title refers, of course, to Game of Thrones, in which an overdose of improbability is loosely blended with the above key ingredients. I can't watch it for more than 5 minutes at a time without wishing for a spaceship to land.

And yet, and yet - why is this setting so familiar? From whence comes this sense of déja vu? I know I haven't wasted any time reading the books.

I figured it out! Game of Thronesis the dark side, the anime version, of the adventures that Prince Valiant, Lady Aleta and Little Prince Arn would have had if they had flourished in a time with no censorship and no inhibitions. Like now. And of course most of the roles in Game of Thrones are played by human actors, not cartoon characters. But still...

A long, long time ago, I discovered a stash of Prince Valiant at a garage sale, and I was entranced. The comics were really old, the paper was smelly and crumbling and the ads for peculiar products were, um, dubious. But Val and Aleta's little family seemed just like a real family as seen on TV - wizards, misunderstandings, spells, having to get all dressed up for events, scary neighbors, rival lovers, having to practice archery, kids wanting strange furry pets, more scary neighbors...

I was delighted to learn that the strip was still going, and I still check out the noble prince and the Queen of the Misty Isles if I happen to be in a town that has a real Sunday paper (one with comics).

At the time that Game of Thrones  met HBO, I wasn't familiar with the GOT books, but I did read some of the pre-show analysis and discussion. After about 15 minutes of Episode 1, I decided that the pundits and criticas had got it wrong. It's not a badly spelled version of the Wars of the Roses. It's the dark side of Prince Valiant. And those clothes! (except for poor Daenerys, who got naked early on -- was there no sunscreen in this alternate universe?)
well, the costumes are genius.

And the women's hair! I've been inspired to let my own hair grow long enough for some elegant braids, or some uber-glam waves, and it seems to be cooperating,  at a rate of about 7/16 of an inch per month, which is slower than it sounds. Meanwhile I'm a menace to anyone with long hair who stands too close to me. I need the practice.


And because GOT doesn't have enough -- I was going to say anachronisms but you have to know what time period you're meant to be in before you say something's doesn't belong in it -- oh, well, because you've been patient enough to read this far, here's  a smile.

I absolutely think that whoever makes these things up is a genius, rivalling only the original DrunkJCrew tumblr (Jen's, not those thieves').

it pays to stay awake at the movies

We returned from circling the country to visit family in a mellow but physically exhausted condition. At one point in our travels we had a scheduled plane change, but evil weather in the southwest and Midwest blew the schedule to bits. Departures were moved back, other departures were moved ahead - the problem being that a plane which was supposed to leave Airport X early in the morning had not been able to leave airport Y in time to do so. Thus we arrived at Airport Z kind of lateish to change planes to get to our next stop, and were told that late-arriving passengers had been put on other flights, some of which were being cancelled as we stood gaping at the arrivals/departures board.

Net-net: the travel day that was meant to begin at 7 a.m. and finish at 3 p.m., instead began at 4:30 a.m. (text messages from airline re schedule changes on first flight) and ended at 2:45 a.m. when we staggered into our hotel). It was all the frustration and pain of a business trip put together at the last minute by someone who'd never booked a flight before, except we weren't getting paid. When I have achieved a little distance from these events, I may do a little travel post, because the real part of the trip was lovely.

Returning to New York was uneventful but for the residual tension from the Travel Day of Horror and Self-Pity, and so a day or two of rest perked us up.

Or so I thought. Yesterday Himself suggested a movie, and since we'd been wanting to see The Lady in Gold, we stumbled over to the theatre and arranged ourselves in comfortable seats. The room was warm. It got dark, and then darker. Images spun before me, Klimt's dazzling painting, cute little girls, furniture, elegance, bad guys in armbands, chase scene, bad guys in uniforms, Casablanca(?), courtrooms, library stacks, bad guys in suits, California... 

Even someone who's wide awake will have trouble staying attentive while watching an actor do a research scene - unless of course the research invokes loud noises or puffs of smoke or some substance lighting up or changing color. A film with multiple scenes of "research," even varied by the use of computers here, documents there, oh look a folder... will not keep a sleepy traveler focussed. Or even awake. I'm not making excuses for what happened as we left the theatre. I'm just setting the scene. 

Me: She just gets better and better, doesn't she?
Himself: Sure does.
Me:  Hair and makeup were perfect. Only I thought she didn't quite hit the accent. When she spoke German she had kind of a Russian accent.
Himself: Who did?
Me: Meryl Streep.
Himself: That was Helen Mirren.
Me: eeps. I really need a cup of coffee.
Himself: Yes, you do.
Me: Mit Schlag.

For more information about Maria Altmann , her life,  and the fascinating story of the recovery of the wonderful portrait, see this article.

a return to the classics!

we spent most of Easter Day traveling, well, so much for plans...

Anyway, here's a little old-fashioned rabbit love!

Um, do not try this at home.
(and by the way, the already well-travelled Anthro skirt is on the road again,
but this time it's traveling with me.

some bunny loves me - coming soon to a sweater near you.

 the New York Times has published these pictures 
of lovely lazy angora rabbits 
just in time to brighten a rainy morning! 
Oh, thank you, Times!

These pictures were taken at a Rabbit Show.
The reporter learned that 
bunnies that are not show quality
are eaten.

hmm, just like human show business.

more evidence that the Monty Python show was really a documentary series


It's been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. This pithy remark has been attributed to everyone from Bismarck to Albert Einstein to Marilyn Monroe. I can only suggest that it must have been said by someone who knows me very well, BECAUSE I NEVER LEARN.

This all has to do with a sudden desire to appear svelte and graceful by means of a particular ankle-length skirt offered by Anthropologie. The skirt, however, does not seem to reciprocate my feelings, and has taken great pains to avoid me.

Our first match-up didn't go well. Anthro's web site had it listed as "web only." This is Anthro-speak for "We hate you and want to torture you, so to get this skirt you will have to deal with LaserShip."

Did you know there are whole blogs/websites dedicated to letting people vent their feelings about LaserShip? Yep, there are, and on none of them does anyone have any kind feelings for Lasership.

This reminds me of the time I left a job in a hellhole, and the first call I got at my new direct number was from another former employee of the hellhole, inviting me for a congratulory drink. OK. It turned out to be a gathering of more than 20 survivors of Lucifer Beelzebub Baalam & Bile LLP. I attended the irregular meetings, happily joining in the ill-wishing of various named individuals, until I learned that my ex-boss had left the firm, relocated out west, was required to take a local exam and was carried out of the exam site, shaking and gibbering, on a stretcher. Wow, it doesn't get much better than this. After that I concluded that my presence at the gatherings was no longer needed. Naturally I don't believe in curses and witchcraft and the like, but if a whimsical spirit wants to throw me a boon...

So, anyway, the first time I ordered the skirt and dealt with LaserShip and Anthro's gormless customer service, was mentioned here. The skirt did finally arrive via Pennsylvania, Northern New Jersey, New York City, Queens, back to New Jersey (via New York City), and then finally on a truck that was allowed to stop in New York City. The attentive reader will note that even then, I had already had a disheartening encounter with LaserShip and UO (an Anthro company) and the Jersey Swamp Tour, and I DIDN'T LEARN FROM THIS. Whatever. The skirt was a thing of beauty, and the size I had ordered  was large enough for two of me. I sighed and returned it.

Then Anthro Day arrived, 15% off everything. I ordered the skirt again, in a smaller size. It seemed to be selling faster, no doubt due to the unusual discount, which had the effect of covering the shipping and sales tax. It was again shipped via LaserShip, same repeated postponements of estimated delivery dates, same claims of unfindability, same incomprehensible "explanations".... And then a PACKAGE ARRIVED! Once again, my skirt had been bundled into a small plastic bag. Oops, not my skirt, but a pair of rayon mom jeans that would only fit a small frumpy hobbit on a budget.

The first person I spoke to at Anthro that day simply could not understand why I wanted to return jeans when I had ordered a skirt. I hung up. Times like these make me wish I hadn't stopped smoking.  I called back, and the next person was so helpful and sympathetic that part of me wanted to hug him, and part of me why he seemed to have had a lot of practice in dealing with "mispacks." Unfortunately by the time he was able to understand my frantic babble, the size I had wanted sold out. Anyway, my refund was processed, a note was made on the order that whatever had been sent was not what had been ordered and the "mispacked" item would be found in the returned package, and all was well.

Not five minutes later, I realized that I really really really wanted that skirt. I took one last look at the website, meaning only to tell it goodbye and find closure, and - it had popped back.

Yes, I did. By this time I had Anthro on speed-dial. The nice lady controlled her amusement, said she understood perfectly, honored the Anthro Day price and waived shipping. Email confirmations followed. Many, many email confirmations followed.

I am advised that the skirt has shipped and is on a truck to be delivered. Huh.

UPDATE! The skirt arrived, again packed by demented amateurs, and it fits perfectly. All relevant credits have appeared on my card.

Why do I feel that somehow I will pay for this?

how an endangered species list develops - and more words of wisdom from Mildred, remember her?

If I decide I like a particular cosmetic, it will be discontinued within 13 months, or the manufacturer will be acquired or go out of business.

If I like a particular style of tights - same thing.

Or my size will disappear, or at least disappear from my price range. No joke, when was the last time you saw a ladies' shoe in a AAA width? Or a ladies' hat in numerical sizes?

Am I a harbinger of retail doom? An old friend who wishes to remain unnamed has tried to reassure me by claiming that after Ali MacGraw wore clothes by Villager in Love Story, that company had had it. Oh, she admitted, it lingered, but it lingered in pain. And then there was one hell of a Going Out of Business Sale. I didn't find this comforting - I don't want places to lose cachet and then lose money and then close their doors. I want them to be there when I need, well, anything. Otherwise I'd have to build a loom.

And now fabrics and notions are on the endangered species list. I'm afraid to like stuff. Or, like a certain drugstore brand of makeup, I pro-actively buy multiples, knowing my choice will disappear, and then I decide I like something else better and am stuck with - let's call it emergency back-up makeup. There's a lifetime supply on hand.

Is it possible that the elderly homeless are so badly dressed because all the stores and companies they knew have gone out of business?

On a happier note, here are some rules and fashion pronouncements that I learned/heard from Mildred, she of the muscular arms and whiskey-sour lunches:

                 Only sluts wear half-slips.

                 No matter how hot it is, in this office 
                 there will be no sandals, no open-toes, 
                 and no bare legs.
                 Mascara is not daytime makeup.

Well, times change, some of the time at least.
some things don't change --
where's his other hand?
and where will it be if she
doesn't take that step forward?

And here are some of Mildred's rules for general health and safety. Mom said Mildred was dead right about the watch and the coat. I didn't discuss the drink thing with Mom.

                  A lady does not wear diamonds during the day or 
watches in the evening, 
so if some chump wants to buy you a diamond watch, 
that's enough to tell you his life history.

 If you've never heard of a drink, 
don't try it for the first time on a date. 

Don't let a man help you on with your coat. 
If he won't let go of  it, take a step forward
 as your hands reach the sleeves, 
and shrugit on by yourself, 
with another step forward and to your open side.