Monday, March 29, 2021

That Droopy Look -- March 2021 Inklings

I'm squeaking in at the last moment (or, nearly) to join in this month's Inklings link-up hosted by Heidi at Along the Brandywine.  You may remember this series from a few years ago, and Heidi has recently revived it!  The idea is that she gives us a prompt, and we post something relating to it during the month.  She collects up all the entries and shares them the next month when she posts the new prompt.  I've been participating on my book blog so far this year, but today, I'm taking the action over here because I want to share a scene from a movie instead of a book.

This month, the prompt is: A scene involving a mirror in book or film.  And the first one that popped into my mind was a scene in the film We're No Angels (1955).  It's such a funny scene, and my husband loves to quote it.

It all begins when Paul Trochard (John Baer) discovers that his uncle Andre (Basil Rathbone) is dead.  He retires to his room to collect himself.  He's followed by two convicts, Jules (Peter Ustinov) and Albert (Aldo Ray).  They arrive in time to see Paul making melancholy faces in the mirror.

He wipes imaginary tears from his cheeks.

And then he bursts out laughing because he can't wait to inherit his miserly uncle's fortune.

Albert and Jules watch and smirk until Paul realizes ::gasp!:: that he's not alone.

Jules congratulates him my saying, "That droopy look of yours -- very effective.  It'll look wonderful at the graveside."

Paul says, "Leave me alone!  Can't you see how upset I am by my uncle's death?"

Albert agrees, "I can hardly keep from laughing, myself."

It's just a tiny little snippet of a scene, but there's so much good character-enriching stuff, and it really is very funny, though I'm sure the humor doesn't come across as effectively in a blog post.

Interestingly enough, the last time I did an Inklings link-up post on this blog was in March of 2016.  Do you know what movie I chose to highlight five years ago?  We're No Angels.  Only the prompt was about letters that time, and you can read that post here.  When I chose this scene, I didn't realize I'd used this same movie for this link-up, much less that it was the last one I did back then, or that it was five years ago this month, but I love this symmetry!

If you like dark comedy, definitely find and watch We're No Angels.  Technically, it's a Christmas movie, but I watch it any time of year!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Fandom Tag

Eva tagged me with this on Coffee, Classics, and Craziness this week.  Thanks, Eva!  I was rather wishing for a good tag to do, as a matter of fact.


1.  Include the graphic somewhere in your post!
2.  Answer the questions!
3.  Tag two fellow fandom fanatics!

Okay, that's all fun times, so let's go.


What’s the first fandom you remember becoming a part of? 

Does Robin Hood count?  Because I've loved him since I was like three or four.  If he doesn't, then the Lone Ranger, as I've loved him since I was seven or eight.

My first really major fandom, though, was Star Trek.  I got into Star Trek: The Original Series in my very early teens, and it was the first fandom I was into that I could buy merch for, which was such a thrill.  I had Star Trek action figures, t-shirts, model kits to put together, books... and a few favorite episodes on VHS.  It was a lovely way to spend my teen years.

Cut from 1993 to 2016 when I got to attend the 50th anniversary Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas with my bff, which was a dream come true :-)

(I'm on the right here.)

Yes, we had costumes.  Yes, we had a lot of fun doing action shots!  Oh, and our tricorders were actually purses!

(I'm on the left here.)

What’s the newest fandom you’ve come to enjoy? 

The Mandalorian, I think.  Which is technically part of the Star Wars fandom.  Newest one that's entirely new to me?  Hmm.  Haven't picked up any brand-new fandoms lately.  I guess before Mando, it would have been the '90s TV version of The Magnificent Seven, but even there, it's based on a movie I've loved since my teens.

So the newest-to-me fandom that is TOTALLY new to me that I've gotten into recently (by which I mean like 4 years ago) would be Leverage (2008-2012), which is a supremely fun show about a group of criminals who work together to help people who've been hurt by other criminals.  It definitely has a Robin Hood aspect to it, but also that "found family" thing going on that I pretty much always fall for.  And it's got all kinds of con artist stuff going on, which always fascinates me.  Plus, yeah, Christian Kane and Timothy Hutton definitely were what first drew me to the show.

What’s a fandom guaranteed to give you feels? 

Um, if it doesn't give me all the feels, I'm not into it.  For real.  I demand many feels.  No feels?  No fandom for me.

Okay, fine, so one that gives me instant feels, no matter what, and all you have to do is say the show's name for me to be reduced to a puddle of sappy and lovesick nonsense is... Lost.  Which is all his fault:

My darling Sawyer, about whom I have waxed eloquent many times.  So today, instead of talking about how much I love James "Sawyer" Ford (Josh Holloway), I'll tell you a little story that will show how well my brother's wife knows me.  We went to visit them once, years and years ago when we both lived somewhere other than where we are now.  And they were big fans of Lost, so they wanted to show us the first few eps to see if we'd like it too.  My s-i-l suggested it to my brother because she thought I'd like the characters a lot.  My brother said, "Yeah, but I just can't see Rachel liking Jack."  My s-i-l said, "No, no, not Jack.  Sawyer."  

Um, yeah, she called it.  The first couple of eps, I was like, "Why is he so horrible?" and then when I got to ep 8, "Confidence Man," I just gave up and fell for him.  Very hard, very fast, very deeply.  I've got a weird fondness for con artists anyway, and if you combine that with an authentic Southern accent and a redemption arc, there's no way I won't swoon.

What’s a guilty pleasure fandom of yours?

Ummmmmm... ummmmmmmmmm... I don't have one?  I don't feel guilty about loving any of my fandoms!  If they made me feel guilty, I would not be their fan.
What’s the weirdest fandom you’ve heard of/are a part of? 

Yeah, see, but you say 'weird' and I say 'whatever.'  I never know what people will consider weird.  Is it weird that my favorite TV show ever is a 1960s drama about WWII soldiers?  Is it weird that I've written fanfic that crossed that show with one about vampires?  I suppose the Buffy/Angel fandom is my weirdest, or maybe it's Lost instead?  They're both kind of unusual, maybe?

I do deeply love Angel: The Series.  It's my second-favorite TV show ever, and since it's about a vampire who basically becomes a detective and then a crime-fighter and assembles a crew with otherworldly skills to help the hopeless... I guess it counts as weird?

Favorite popular/widely-known fandom? 

Either the MCU or Star Wars -- I don't know which one is bigger, or which one I love most.  Okay, I probably love Star Wars a little more, simply because I've loved Han Solo for a looooooooong time.  And so deeply.  Yes, I think I do love him more than Thor.  Sorry, Thor.  I do love you, honest.  Just... I love Han more.  Can't help it.

Favorite bookish fandom? 

Sherlock Holmes.  No question.  Sherlock Holmes is my "book boyfriend" and I am not sorry.

(Mine from my Instagram account.)

What do you consider your ‘homebase,’ a fandom you can always come back to? 

Combat! (1962-67) always feels like home.  No matter how long it's been since I watched an ep.  I just watched several last month and it was so wonderful to be back with my best WWII buddies.  I've spent so much of my life in that world, writing reams of fanfic and even co-running a fansite for the show called Fruit Salad with my best friend.

No matter how long I've been away, Saunders and the guys will always welcome me back.  I love that.

What’s a fandom you know all about…but aren’t actually into it? 

Why would I know all about it if I wasn't in the fandom?  I don't bother learning all about things if I'm not into them.  Who has that kind of time?

I do know a lot more about The Hunger Games than I want to, so I guess that counts?  It was so unavoidable for so long, but I'm just not into it.  At all.

Which fandom has the best characters?

Probably The Lord of the Rings.  Just no end of fantastically nuanced, deep, rich characters.

Name your all-time favorite ship. 

Valancy Stirling and Barney Snaith from The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery.  I have read it over and over, and their story never fails to absolutely delight me.

(Also from my Instagram)

What’s a fandom you’re curious about joining?

Hmm.  Does Errol Flynn count?  Because I'm a little bit flirting with the idea of having a spring fling with him, as evidenced by me buying like four or five of his westerns recently.  But at the same time, I've already seen half a dozen of his movies, so he's not truly new to me either.  I'm considering reading Caraval by Stephanie Garber -- does that count?

That was super fun, and it took me days and days to answer these to my satisfaction :-)  Now I'm supposed to tag two people, so I'm tagging Movie Critic at Movies Meet Their Match and Katherine + Grace at Maidens of Green Gables.  But if you want to do this tag too, go right ahead!  Here are the questions, for your easy copying:

What’s the first fandom you remember becoming a part of? 
What’s the newest fandom you’ve come to enjoy? 
What’s a fandom guaranteed to give you feels? 
What’s a guilty pleasure fandom of yours? 
What’s the weirdest fandom you’ve heard of/are a part of? 
Favorite popular/widely-known fandom? 
Favorite bookish fandom? 
What do you consider your ‘homebase,’ a fandom you can always come back to? 
What’s a fandom you know all about…but aren’t actually into it? 
Which fandom has the best characters? 
Name your all-time favorite ship. 
What’s a fandom you’re curious about joining?

Saturday, March 20, 2021

"The Haunted House" (The Andy Griffith Show) (1963)

The first time my family saw this episode, back when I was in my early teens, we laughed so hard we had to keep pausing the VHS tape and rewinding it because we couldn't hear the dialog over our glee.  The last time I watched it with my family, a year or so ago, we had to keep pausing and rewinding our DVD because we were laughing so loudly, we couldn't hear the dialog.  And if you think I'm overselling the hilarity of this particular gem, you can watch it for free on Amazon Prime right now and decide for yourself -- it's episode 2 of season 4.  (My youngest was about 7 the first time she watched it and thought parts were too scary, so do be aware than young ones with a phobia of ghosts might find it worrisome.)

Every small town should have a haunted house, and Mayberry, NC, has the perfect specimen: the Old Rimshaw Place at the edge of town.  

(Fun fact: this house was known as the "Aunt Pitty Pat House" since it was used as the exterior for that character's house in Gone with the Wind [1939], according to

Little Opie Taylor (Ron Howard) and a pal are debating baseball heroes near it, so of course the inevitable happens:  Opie hits a ball right into the haunted house.  The boys only make it as far as the front porch before moans from inside the house send them skedaddling.

Opie is sure his pa will brave enough to rescue the lost baseball, since after all, he's Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith).  Andy gives them a good scolding for messing around that old house because it's probably dangerous, loose floorboards and ceilings caved in and what-all.  He says he'll get his ball for them later, but not to go back themselves.

As you might expect, if you know this show and these characters, after the boys leave, Andy decides to have a little fun with his deputy, Barney Fife (Don Knotts). Barney has been telling Andy how he ought to make Opie and his pal go back to get the baseball themselves so they'd learn not to be afraid of empty houses, so Andy suggests that Barney go get it.  Very reluctantly, he goes, but the takes Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) along for moral support.  Which, naturally, results in no recovery of the baseball, and two adults acting more scared than the kids did.

So Andy has to take both of them back to the Rimshaw Place to see if they can find Opie's baseball, which they do.  Only they find a whole lot more than that, and Andy ends up solving a local mystery.  But not before Barney and Gomer scare each other silly with stories of axe murders and revenge-seeking ghosts.

To this day, if someone asks me to go get something from the basement, I'm very likely to open the door, softly call, "Any old tramps down there?" then slam it and say, "Nothin' down there!" :-D

All's well that ends well, and Opie even gets his baseball back.

One of my favorite things about The Andy Griffith Show is how they show that small, everyday actions can have importance.  They might not seem big or exciting compared to things like saving the world from aliens or even fighting in a war, but to the people in those situations, they are important.  A lost baseball is worth taking time to retrieve.  Lawbreakers need to be brought to justice, even if they're not robbing banks or killing people.  And foolishness can be pointed out gently, not mocked and ridiculed in a rude way.

That's another thing I love about this show:  that so often, it teaches people to treat others with kindness even if they're weird or absurd or different from you.  A foolish deputy has friends who are careful never to tease him beyond what he can handle.  A little boy's fears get taken seriously.  The town drunk receives patience and understanding.  Is it idealistic?  Yes.  Is it an ideal we can strive for?  Absolutely.

This has been my contribution to the 7th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon hosted once again by A Shroud of Thoughts.  Click here to access the list of links to all the posts for this event!

Saturday, March 13, 2021

My Top 5 Movies from 10 Decades

Inspired by Eva's similar post on Coffee, Classics, and Craziness, I hereby present my five favorite movies from every decade from the 1920s through the 2010s.  One hundred years of movie history, distilled down to fifty favorite films.

Some decades were easy to figure out (I don't love that many films made in the 1920s or the 1970s), and others were extremely hard (most of the rest).

As always, titles are linked to my reviews where applicable.  I wonder if any of these will surprise you?


The Sheik (1921)
The Son of the Sheik (1926)
The Eagle (1925)
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)


The Thin Man (1934)
Stagecoach (1939)
Dodge City (1939)


Laura (1944)
State Fair (1945)


Rio Bravo (1959)
Branded (1950)


The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Great Escape (1963)


Robin Hood (1973)
The Sting (1973)
Rocky (1976)
Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)


The Princess Bride (1987)
Anne of Green Gables (1985)
Silverado (1985)
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)


Sabrina (1995)
The Mask of Zorro (1998)
You've Got Mail (1998)


The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Bourne Identity (2002)
X-Men (2000)
Chocolat (2000)
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)


Midway (2019)

I think the thing that surprises me the most about this list is how many of my favorite films I've never reviewed here!  I might have to use this list as a starting point for reviewing some things I love but haven't actually shared here much.

Monday, March 08, 2021

New Spring 2021 To-Do List

Let's see what I can come up with to do between now and the end of May, shall we?

(All pictures mine from my Instagram account)

~ Finish re-reading The Lord of the Rings 

~ Finish the first draft of my Beauty and the Beast retelling

~ Finish leading the Sense and Sensibility read-along on my book blog

~ Read 3 books about/by someone who is not white

~ Read 3 books for my latest Classics Club list

~ Read 9 books off my TBR shelves 

~ Watch 6 movies off my TBW shelves 

~ Watch WandaVision

~ Go see Black Widow (I HOPE!!!)

~ Take an afternoon river cruise on a tall ship

~ Visit Colonial Williamsburg

~ Finish the baby blanket I'm crocheting for a relative who's expecting

~ Hang a hammock in the backyard

~ Bake a pie for Pi Day (3/14) -- I'm thinking this one 

Here's to an enjoyable, productive, and story-filled spring!

Friday, March 05, 2021

All Finished with My Winter To-Do List for 2020/21

February is over at last.  Whew.

Although spring has not yet sprung, I've finished everything on my winter to-do list that I'm reasonably going to finish, so I'm going to wrap it up and begin afresh.  Let's see how I did...

~ Finish writing a short story  Check! I released my new short story "Run, Run" in January as an e-book here for Kindle and here for Nook.  It's free!  (In the US, anyway -- it should be free for Nook everywhere, but the Kindle version may cost you a small amount in other countries.)  "Run, Run" retells the story of The Gingerbread Man, and is a sequel to my book One Bad Apple.  I've included a recipe for 1800s-style gingerbread in the e-book as well, in case you get as hungry reading it as I got while writing it.

~ Finish the first draft of my Beauty and the Beast retelling  Fail.  I'm not quite half done with this first draft, I think.  It's already at 30K, so this is going to be another longer book, which is fun!  But I have a lot to write yet.  I absolutely love these characters, though, so I'm not complaining about having lots of time to spend with them!

I still don't have at title for it, though.  It'll come.

~ Finish re-reading The Lord of the Rings  Fail.  That's okay, too.  This is my ninth time reading it, and I'm really in no hurry.  I've been enjoying Heidi's read-along of it a lot!

(This and the following book pictures are from my Instagram account.)

~ Read 3 Christmas books  Check!  In fact, I read six!!!  I think that's the most Christmas books I've ever read in one season as an adult.  I read:

~ Read 6 other books off my TBR shelves  Check!  I read ten.  It was a great winter for reading!  I read:

~ Read 3 books from the library  Check!  I read:

~ Read at least 1 book each month about/by someone who is not white Check!  I read four:

~ Host a pirate-themed blog party in February  Aye, aye!  We had so much fun.  Go here for the wrap-up post with links to all the different posts people contributed.

~ Watch 3 Christmas movies  Check!  I watched:

~ Watch 4 movies off my TBW shelves  Check!  I watched seven*:

  • Call of the Wild (2020)
  • The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976)
  • Calcutta (1946)
  • Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
  • Virginia City (1940)
  • Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  • Against All Flags (1952)

*I had watched two of those before (The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and Sleeping Beauty), but so long ago that I didn't really remember them, so I kept them on my TBW shelves until I had a chance to watch them again and decide if I liked them enough to keep them or not.

~ Go see Wonder Woman: 1984 (2020)  Check!  It was okay -- you can read my thoughts here.

~ Try making cookies with my new patterned rolling pin  Check!  As you can see, it has a very ME design:

~ Help my daughter make a playground for her hamster  Check!  You can see him playing in it here:

~ Repaint the main floor bathroom  Check!  Very happy with the results.  Especially this border I put up:

~ Get back to regularly reading the blogs I love Check!  I've been keeping up reasonably well, I think, and I love spending a couple afternoons every week just reading and reading and reading them.  I'd rather be reading them every day like I used to, but right now, this is what works for my life, so I'll try to keep it up :-) 

I'll figure out a new set of goals in a day or two, for the spring!  Meanwhile, happy Friday to you.