Monthly Archives: November 2015

‘Tis the season . . . & other musings (& some shameless marketing)


I’ve started a new business venture of sorts that combines my love for animals with my love of photography and photo editing–more on this and an update on the Crick Bank Kitties in my personal blog’s latest post. ❤

Musings from a Mid-Century Modern Girl

I have always loved the holiday season. First there’s Thanksgiving, and its opportunity to reflect on blessings and share a meal with those I love. Whether it’s a big extended family gathering as in years part, or as it is now, just Benny and me and the pets, it’s a special time of the year (and one on which I personally refuse to do any shopping).

This year our own furry family expanded with the rescue of our Crick Bank Kitties. I grieved the loss of Spock and Tiger; I still miss them and think of them often. I feel truly blessed to have had them a part of our lives, even if only for a short time.

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A favorite pic of mine--Spock sleeping with Grey in a sweet cuddle. A favorite pic of mine–Spock sleeping with Grey in a sweet cuddle.

But the other six CBKs certainly seem to be flourishing. We finally finished with the daily ringworm meds (and my own…

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My seasonal guilty pleasure; or, surprised by a former RA co-star! Who’da thunk it.


For most of the year, my TV is likely to be tuned into Investigation Discovery for a good whodunit, PBS for the classy Masterpiece Theatre or a thought-provoking documentary, or BBC America for fantastical fun via “Doctor Who.”
But somehow, come late November, this gal’s thoughts turn in the direction of sweet, snow-capped sentiments, predictable plotlines, sprightly holiday tunes and Norman Rockwell-esque small town Americana at its finest, where the denizens never meet a stranger and often speak with distinctly Canadian accents.

Yes, I fall down the rabbit hole of Hallmark holiday films, and willingly so.  They may frequently be sappy, corny and require the viewer to suspend their disbelief, but there’s just something about them that makes me come back for more.

What can I say? I have always loved Christmas and I’ve always had a sweet tooth.

(All images courtesy of Crown Media)

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When Riley Vance is hired after a case of mistaken identity, she keeps the truth a secret so she can help her boss William Young save a town at risk of losing their main livelihood just before Christmas even as she gets closer to William. Photo: Steve Lund, Shenae Grimes-Beech Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Ben Mark Holzberg

One of my favorite Hallmark holiday films is this one, and not just because it features some adorable felines.

One of my favorite Hallmark holiday films is this one, and not just because it features some adorable felines.

The holiday movies are pretty much non-stop on both the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries this time of year, with a dozen or more new ones churned out every annum for Thanksgiving and Christmas, almost all of them filmed in Canada (hence those distinctly North of the Border vowels).

I find I can go about my business online, doing photo and video edits, creating and flogging my Crick Bank Kitty merchandise, working on humane society projects and have one of these films playing in the background without it being a distraction from RL work. I don’t have to hang on to every word or every visual to know how it’s all going to end. Into every life there comes a need for some feel-good fluff.

The films usually star actors who had hit TV shows in the US back in the ’80s or ’90s, or beloved character actors in supporting roles (these folks often steal the show). One of the leads might come from a stable of Canadian actors who have become familiar faces to me and my fellow sugar addicts. Make no mistake, there are some genuinely talented folks who appear in these films (and often make them watchable in spite of lackluster/ludicrous scripts). Let’s be honest, though–you don’t find a lot of current A- or even B-listers roaming around the set of a Hallmark film.  Certainly not one of the oft classically-trained Brit actors I so admire.


Lucas and Adam meet on RA's first (and RPJ's last) episode of Spooks. They had nice on-screen chemistry in their scenes together.

Lucas and Adam meet on RA’s first (and RPJ’s last) episode of Spooks. They had nice on-screen chemistry in their scenes together.



So I have to admit I was surprised to see RA’s former “Spooks” co-star Rupert Penry-Jones in one of the Hallmark Channel’s new holiday offerings for 2015, “Crown for Christmas.” The film pairs Rupert with Danica McKellar, formerly of the dramedy “The Wonder Years” and reality show “Dancing with the Stars.”  Danica plays an aspiring artist who scrapes by as a maid at a ritzy big city hotel–a job from which she is fired when she tries to help out her sister and fellow maid. But never fear, Danica’s honesty (she turns in the pricey Rolex left by a certain distinguished guest) leads to her being whisked off to Europe to serve as a governess to a princess.

Naturally, with his delicious English accent and tall, regal good looks, Rupert plays Prince Charming, er, King Maximilian, the widowed ruler of a mythical European kingdom. He has troubled connecting with his little princess, Theodosia, who, in turn, acts out and drives one governess after the other out of the castle. Do we all know where the plot is going from here? Of course, we do. The adorable fish-out-of-water American lass wins the hearts of the child, the staff and ultimately, the king himself. And they live happily ever after . . .

Danica McKellar as the spirited American whisked away to a royal castle to serve as a governess to a little princess.

Danica McKellar as the spirited American whisked away to a royal castle to serve as a governess to a little princess.

Yes, I know, it’s been done before, over and over, variations of the same theme. And Danica, while lovely, is, at 40, probably a little long in the tooth for this particular role (something else common to these films–actresses and actors are frequently cast in roles more suitable to performers a decade or two younger).

But I found I did enjoy this offering more than some of the Hallmark holiday fare (there are a few so wretchedly scripted and acted I just can’t force myself to watch. Avoid the Santa films with Steve Guttenberg at all costs).

Rupert definitely brought some class and nicely understated acting to the role. Only a handful of reviews so far, but it’s got a solid 7.2 on IMDB, considerably better than most Hallmark films (admittedly, most of the reviewers seemed to watch primarily for RPJ). Rupert also had truly nice chemistry with the talented young actress playing his daughter, who actually looked as if she might be his offspring.

Rupert Penry-Jones and Ellie Botteril as father and daughter in "Crown for Christmas."

Rupert Penry-Jones and Ellie Botteril as father and daughter in “Crown for Christmas.”

So– how did the lovely Rupert, who has, like RA, performed in legitimate theater in London, end up doing a fluffy Hallmark film? It seems he has joined the cast of the acclaimed FX thriller  “The Strain” (created and co-produced by no less than Guillermo De Toro).  And the show just happens to film in–yep, Canada (a number of US series do shoot in Canada–like “Hannibal.”).  (I haven’t watched this vampire drama yet, but we have all the eps on our DVR.)


So, I have to ask myself–would I mind it if Mr. A showed up in a Hallmark film? Would his fans mind?  Would there be thudding and squeezing or weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth–or some of both?
No doubt he’s done some controversial roles before (thinking of the polarization caused by “Hannibal”) and likely will in the future, because we know he’s not content to play the same type of character over and over again.  And I think he rather enjoys surprising his fandom with some of his choices. He does maintain a sense of humor about it all.

And he hasn’t actually played a human king . . .    😉   Or maybe they could bring back RPJ for a second “Crown” film with RA as his royal cousin looking for love . . . hmmmmm.

(Tongue firmly tucked into to cheek tonight, dear ladies. Have a wonderful week!)


"A Royal Holiday," starring Richard Armitage

“A Royal Holiday,” starring Richard Armitage


Urban and the Shed Crew – a Review

Urban and the Shed Crew – a Review

I have been eagerly awaiting Guylty’s thoughtful, balanced and insightful review of “Urban” and here it is. A very good read!

Guylty Pleasure

Attempt number 5 at getting a review of UATSC down. Yes. It has taken me five days and four scrapped attempts to finally post my review of UATSC. To jump ahead, I think the film is good. But I almost felt a little bit too entertained and not quite affected enough by it, due to the aesthetic and plot choices in it. And I acknowledge that that is due to having read the book – which has resulted in my own interpretations and own mental visualisation of the story. As it is, the film is film-maker Candida Brady’s own, individual interpretation of the story. And it is therefore separate from the book and equally valid. My difficulty at coming to a conclusion about the film’s merits is hampered by my expectations, based on the source material – which potentially makes my review unfair.

UATSC cover The cover of the 2005 memoir, available here

You see, I walked…

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A great black cat crossed her path today . . . Happy Guyday Friday the 13th!


“Some people think days like today are most unlucky …” He purred.

She smiled, tilting her head. “But I’ve never been superstitious.”

A flash of white teeth. Clear blue eyes tinged with grey gleamed as he leaned in close. Dangerously close.

“So you have no fear of black cats crossing your path, my lady?” A dark whisper, murmured in her ear.

Her heart thumped hard in her chest. Could he hear it?

“No . . . not at all. They are such–beautiful, elegant creatures. Who simply need to be–appreciated.”
She caught her breath as she felt his strong, nimble fingers wrap around one wrist, gently caressing it. He spoke again, his voice husky and deep.

“And you have the right touch to tame the beast, my lady?”

She sighed. “Just let me show you . . .”

A dark laugh. “With pleasure . . .”

guyday friday 13th

Casually Strolling Into Madness – #UATSC Premiere Part 2


Dog tired but glad to get a dose of Thorin


Have you ever been so tired you could barely hold your head up? Part of it’s physical and part of it’s mental and emotional. We have a humane society pet calendar due two weeks from tomorrow and I haven’t been able to meet with the publisher yet due to issues for both of us. She’s been swamped and I’ve been sick. Thursday should finally be the day.

She has all the photos and stories and info in her possession that I have put together and supplied to her and I have complete faith in her ability to lay it all out and I will step in and supply captions and proofing. I’ve known her for years, I know her skill set and ability to meet deadlines. But the humane society president doesn’t know all these things and I feel him breathing down my neck because this isn’t the way the previous printer and the previous project chair did things. *sigh*

Of course, the previous printer, who undeniably did good work, was charging us so much for the print job we weren’t making a lot of profit. And the previous project chair got burned out and also managed to alienate some of the people submitting photos by more or less insulting their precious pets. As someone confided to me, “No one wants to hear their dog’s too ugly to be in the calendar.”

No, indeed. Don’t bite the hand that shells out the dollars for the calendars, dear.

Anyway, I am on my second round of antibiotics now and I think the remaining lesions are beginning to fade a bit. I haven’t had a weeping blister in several days and should definitely be past the contagious stage. I think the meds are starting to really sap what energy I have, which is never where I would like it to be.

I was able to go out in public and cover two events Saturday with normal makeup and just a little extra concealer. I didn’t scare the children or farm animals (Old Time Farm Day was one of the events). My skin’s still itchy and tender and molting a bit, but at least I don’t feel so ickily leprous. There’s improvement; I guess I am just too impatient. Today, I’ve been nauseous and dizzy and overwhelmingly tired.

And then something came tonight after dark via the UPS lady, who calls me “sugah” and “darlin'” but keeps a sharp eye out for our GSD (“Once you’ve been bitten, you just extra careful, ya know?”)
I do know.

The parcel, heavy for its size, contained the final Weta Chronicles book on the Hobbit films and it completes my collection. I haven’t had the money to splurge on some of the Hobbit merchandising but I always seem to find room for books.

And these books are something special, handsomely bound with lavish illustrations and copious photographs, so much detail about the costuming, makeup and prosthetics, set design and decoration, and the artists and craftspeople who painstakingly create worlds upon the screen that only previously existed in the imagination. These are keepsakes and the sort of books I love to revisit from time to time.


Naturally, the first thing I look for is anything related to Thorin and Richard.




There’s more I’d like to say about Richard’s own thoughts and impressions recorded in this volume and those of the individuals who worked with him, but my brain is too sludgy tonight to even attempt it. Maybe tomorrow . . . tomorrow is another day.