Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Poem for Tuesday

Venus and Adonis (397-408)
By William Shakespeare

Who sees his true-love in her naked bed,
Teaching the sheets a whiter hue than white,
But, when his glutton eye so full hath fed,
His other agents aim at like delight?
  Who is so faint, that dare not be so bold
  To touch the fire, the weather being cold?

Let me excuse thy courser, gentle boy;
And learn of him, I heartily beseech thee,
To take advantage on presented joy;
Though I were dumb, yet his proceedings teach thee.
  O learn to love; the lesson is but plain,
  And once made perfect, never lost again.


I can't believe I missed the Bard's birthday! I didn't even think about it until I was writing an article about Patrick Stewart teaching at Oxford and it hit me that they picked Shakespeare's birthday for his first lecture. The Folger Shakespeare Library's annual celebration isn't until next weekend so I was all thrown off. (The other Trek article for the day was about how The Next Generation episode "The High Ground" has never been shown in the UK or Ireland because of Data's explanation that Ireland would reunify in the future after a terrorist attack, and it's being shown this week at a Belfast festival and is still causing controversy despite the huge shift in Irish politics since the episode was made -- I love it when Star Trek news is about something bigger than Star Trek.)

So we all know now I have psychotic dreams, right? Last night I dreamed that I was trying to clean the basement and pile things in the backyard, and ran out of room, and finally set fire to the pile in the yard because it was the only way to get rid of all the stuff, and the house caught fire and I was thinking this sucks but at least now I don't have to try to clean the basement. I woke up with a headache and in a bad mood but a sense of purpose, and instead of taking a walk in the morning I went outside and took down 90% of our ancient backyard fence, which I have never liked and wanted to get rid of ever since the kids were really little and I couldn't see them in the backyard over it. It really never occurred to me before that I could do this singlehandedly, but at this point the wood is so rotted that it came down really easily except the big posts.

Ironically, while I was doing this, my husband was finally (after only, oh, three years of nudging and getting some quotes myself) talking to people about repairing the deck and cracked front step which you can see in squirrel and chipmunk photos. Yep, going to cost as many thousand dollars as we feared...actually the deck is going to be less than our worst case scenarios and we can probably push it out a foot if we want, which we are debating, and we're trying to decide whether we need flagstones over the concrete in front. We are the opposite of handy around a house and garden and I imagine anyone who has known me a long time, like , is laughing uproariously at the image of me taking a fence down.

Glastonbury, sometimes known as Avalon, at twilight from the top of the Tor.

King Arthur is said to have been buried in the now-ruined Glastonbury Abbey.

In the museum at Caerleon, often guessed to be the location of Camelot, a model of the barracks showing how soldiers lived while the Roman Empire occupied the area.

Local beads excavated from the Roman ruins.

A closeup of the Bearded Lake, so named because of the water lilies that cover it in the summer. This is where, in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising books, the mountains are singing, and the Lady comes.

Am very happy to have Heroes back and after it we watched Boston Legal from two weeks ago so we'd be caught up for this week's episode, which was supposed to air last week but was pre-empted for one of the specials about Virginia Tech. I still love most of the actors on Heroes (even the people who play characters I really dislike, like Nathan Petrelli, are well-cast) but the mythology is getting convoluted enough to send up my warning feelers and when characters are quoting the tag line from The X-Files movie and borrowing rationales from The X-Men movie, it makes me a little nervous. As for Boston Legal, I see that I complained about Brad not having enough big scenes without full information!

I love that Bennett realizes nearly immediately that "Claire" isn't his daughter, though it's a bit unnerving that he knows his daughter better than his wife...hopefully it's just that he's learned not to trust his senses. And I love how focused he is communicating with Matt during all the chaos, though using Ted to get out seems like bad news to me. What I like is how it's impossible to tell who to root for: by killing off some of the people the agency is using for Linderman's ends, Sylar may actually be helping to stop the end of the world, not to cause it. And is Linderman Nathan and Peter's father or what?

On the other hand it's obvious that Candace the Shapeshifter is going to get overused very quickly, and the whole Linderman-can-bring-back-the-dead seems like much too much of a reveal too soon...now every time anyone dies (like Peter for instance) my first thought is going to be, oh, Linderman will bring him/her back. (Man I hope it's true in Isaac's case because I love him, though now that Sylar can paint the future, I suppose he's technically not necessary...waah!) And I don't much like Linderman's hinted-at cabal, of which Mrs. Petrelli is pretty clearly a member, though that role could not have been better cast. Even Claire seems a little phony now, just calmly accepting Nathan's announcement that he needs to ship her off quietly with her grandmother -- this girl has lost everything and everyone in her entire world and she's less capslocky than Harry Potter. I was rolling my eyes when Isaac started his "you can't fight the future" recitation -- does he get his philosophy from comic books like the ones he draws?

As for Boston Legal, it's very nearly the opposite...they took a caricature, a con man who hires Alan and Denny to get him off the hook for helping his brother try to cover up the brother's wife's murder, and turned him into a genuinely sympathetic character...and they even managed to do the same with the brother, which was pretty astonishing. On many shows I would resent the implication that men kill their wives not out of their own sense of impotence and rage but because the wives actively goad them into it, but they were very careful to point out that the brother was guilty not of manslaughter but of murder and was serving a sentence for it...the trial is focused on how people react when loved ones come to them with clear evidence of wrongdoing and beg for help, and Alan makes a wonderful case there (particularly since we've seen how he's rationalized things with Denny and various other people he cares about). Denny meanwhile was being nuttier than usual this week, trying to conjure Raquel Welch as a test to see whether he could conjure world peace, and instead he ended up with Phyllis Diller still hot for his body after all these years.

But the storyline I really loved was the one that got Brad and Denise engaged, in which Brad is told he has to sign a legal document stating that his in-office romantic relationship is consensual and cannot be construed as harrassment and he balks, ultimately announcing in a roomful of partners that it is not only an invasion of his privacy but potentially the death of his romance with Denise, which, given the number of hours a week he works, has been his salvation from loneliness. Poor Paul is flummoxed about what to say to him, but Brad's observation that there's plenty of screwing going on in the office and they don't try to ferret out gay employees who might be having sex ultimately persuades the partners to drop the requirement.

Meanwhile Denise hears about Brad's outburst, asks him exactly what he feels for her, and gapes as he explains that he's been in love with her for three years and wants to marry her. It takes a little while, but she says yes, even though she refuses to give birth to any more Young Republicans. I've loved these two together since Denise came on the show, so this makes me very happy, even though, like Clarence and Claire, they'll probably have problems written all about their relationship next season. Hey, I am still so happy there will be a next season and it's already been announced!

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