Saturday, February 28, 2004

I allegedly have permalinks back...
Tales from the Kitchen

So right, I'm feeling enormously productive. It's not yet 10 o'clock in the morning on a Saturday and manuscript has been printed, mailed off and I got an oil change. So I thought, must eat something and then go to the gym. Perfect plan. I had hard boiled eggs earlier in the week and so I peeled two of them and stuck them in the microwave for a few seconds to, y'know, take away the sting of the refrigerator cold?

Now I know all you talented cooks are saying, "But Seema..." and I know, I know, but I wouldn't be doing my civic duty if I didn't inform you that eggs, when placed in the microwave, are not happy campers. First, when you remove them, they hiss at you and make all sorts of whistling noises. I was like, "Oooh, eggs talk!" Of course, I did get that tingle of ominous anticipation running down my spine. But wanting to live life dangerously, I took a large fork (no need to be subtle about my intentions) and poked the eggs. And then, boom!

Yes, folks, I will be picking egg stuff out of places for weeks to come. I've got egg in my hair, on my face (thank God I was wearing glasses -- the hot stuff missed my eyes), under my shirt, on the cabinets, refrigerator, floor and even on the ceiling. I kid you not. Egg everywhere. I have already mopped up the floor and now have to figure out how to reach the egg that's on the ceiling. And have I mentioned exploded egg kinda reeks? Not quite on par as with spoiled milk or eggs, but still, there's a very distinctive aroma that I'm sure I'm going to be stuck with for weeks.

On the other hand, what was left of my eggs was quite delicious :-)
I'll always have Paris

My site stats tell me that two sites whose main topic is Paris Hilton (gah, gah, gah) are somehow linking to me. Add dear Paris to John Kerry, Al Sharpton, and Howard Dean -- all individuals whose sites show up as referrers. Kerry and Dean, I can understand; I've linked to their sites in the past, and I've gone off on both in this here blog. But Al Sharpton? Paris Hilton?

Might as well feel the google love now. It used to be that Mary Kate and Ashley Oleson were top searches for this site because I once made fun of their magazine. And since I really don't want people who are looking for Paris Hilton to feel disappointed about the lack of Paris on this site, I hereby ask a profound question: why? This is a woman who does nothing but party and make, eh, X-rated movies (check your email -- I'm sure someone will be kind enough to tell you how to purchase your very own copy within minutes). And oh yes, she doesn't know what a Wal-Mart is. So, what's the deal? Why is she popular?

I apologize to Mary Kate and Ashley for making fun of their magazine. At least they've done something to earn their fame and fortune; as for Paris, other than shlepping and sleeping around, what gives? Hmmm?

Thursday, February 26, 2004

On writing

"Writing is the most demanding of callings, more harrowing than a warrior's, more lonely than a whaling captain's?that, in essence, is the modern writer's message." ?Melvin Maddocks

I just wrote to my RL writing group about how there are no good writers, just good editors. In fact, it's gotten to a point where I spend more time revising than actually writing. Part of it is because as a writer, sometimes it's necessary to just push a story ahead and not worry about the quality of the writing until later.

I make no bones about the fact that I despise editing passionately. Writing is easy, editing is hard. I do my own initial editing -- spellcheck, grammar check, rewrite of passive voice sentence, removing 'that', rewording clunkiness, and adding details -- and then it's off to a second or sometimes third or fourth opinion. And then I delude myself into thinking this is perfection itself and that the editor is absolutely going to love my story; after all, what can possibly be left to fix? Ha!

There is truth, y'know, to the statement that the writer lives in her own world. It's the only possible explanation for the delusion that one's writing is perfect hot off the press and requires nothing more than a rubber stamp of "Good for you! You rock!" If ever an editor came back at me with those sentences, I'd probably fall out of my chair and then once I picked myself up off the floor, I'd find a new editor.

Writing is demanding because there are 'off' stories, 'off' days, 'off' ideas -- things that just never get quite off the ground. Then there are moments of pure unadulterated brilliance. I occasionally squee when I write something that's just absolutely (mho) wonderful and then other times, I'm kicking myself because I just turned out a paragraph of pure crap.

Even when something goes off for editing, I already have an idea of what's going on with the story. As I said to Rocky the other night, "This story is very heavy-handed and beware of falling anvils." I already knew I was beating the reader over the head with a message but being so close to the story itself, I have no idea how to actually fix it, or what should go, or what should stay. It's difficult (but not impossible), as the writer, to make those kinds of decisions easily, especially if one is emotionally attached to the story and has been working on it for a long time (in this case, the story in question is about 5 years old). The objective point-of-view is necessary -- and sometimes that POV comes down to, "This story sucks. The writing isn't so good either. You need to start all over."

Yeah, that kind of FB stings, but it's necessary. If I'm doing something wrong, I want to know. If there's something about my style or character or plot that doesn't work, then I need to know. And if a story doesn't work, the story doesn't work. It's that simple. Sometimes all of the editing in the world just can't save the story and that's okay. Put it away, start something new and move on. It's impossible (and discouraging) to expect perfect copy and perfect stories the first time everytime.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

That movie

The Passion of the Christ is the most-discussed topic in my office at the moment. Many people have tickets to go see the film. I, of course, will not see it; my dislike of gore and violence is well known and I spent most of Mel Gibson's Braveheart sitting out in the hall while my friends watched the film in my room.

There are many issues surrounding this film, including claims of anti-semitism and whether it's an evangelical tool. From all of the reviews I've read, I find it interesting that this is a film about suffering and not teaching or revelation; in other words, yes, Christ died on a cross in a horrible, brutal way, but for me as a non-Christian, that means nothing. Many people died on a cross or in other equally brutal and awful ways, yet the impact of those deaths is nothing compared to that of Christ. So there has to be something more to Jesus Christ -- His life and teachings, which led to His death -- that is meaningful to 2 billion people around the world. Yet the film doesn't seem to touch on that at all.

The film is supposed to be a reaffirmation of faith, a way to reach out to 'non-believers', but while I strongly, strongly oppose actions with the view of conversion as an end goal, I can't help but think Mel Gibson is going about it all in the wrong way, generating controversy and publicity as only the man can, and even sparking my own curiosity. In the end though, if someone offered me tickets to see this film, I'd turn them down. The idea of watching cruelty to a man -- whether He be the son of God or otherwise -- for two intense hours with the supposition one will come away with a greater love and devotion for sacrifice somehow doesn't work for me.

The major impact this movie will have on me is that I'll probably cease watching Mel Gibson, though it's no great loss since I've never been a huge fan. But how can I possibly respect a man who says about the Holocaust, "Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps"?

There are people who are going to be deeply moved and deeply touched by this film. I just hope that they know the reasons behind why they had to endure a bloody death, rather than a lifetime of living that had an enormous impact on history.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

My brother shunted away all of my spam and virus emails during the MyDoom outbreak and It Was Good (tm). What I missed was the fact that his email said, "Check the spamburger account!" And so when I checked my site stats today, I saw that the site had ballooned from 27 megs to 91 megs. That's right. I had nearly 70 megs worth of spam. I'm sitting here now downloading 740 copies of MyDoom...

Gah. Just. Gah.
This life

So I'm going to be a busy writing bee this week, because I had planned to enter a contest with a deadline of February 28, and was planning to revise an old fic of mine. But that was before I read the contest guidelines. ::thwaps self:: Anyway, now I need to come up with a new idea, new story, and have it all done and edited by Saturday morning.

Thanks to V, I've been listening to Bombay Dreams, with music by A.R. Rahman and lyrics by Don Black. I didn't like it on first listen, because it was basically lifting all of Rahman's filmi music and setting English words to them. The only one I remotely liked was "Chaiyya Chaiyya," was remained exactly as is but with a different female lead singer -- one with a more pleasant voice than the original singer who sang it on "Dil Se." I've been trying to place each song but so far I've only picked out "Taal se Taal" (from "Taal") and one song from "Rangeela." The rest are a complete mystery to me -- so there are obviously Rahman soundtracks out there that I do not have. I'm pretty surprised "Roja" is not on there as that's the soundtrack that put Rahman on the map.

In addition, "The Journey Home," which Sarah Brightman covers on Harem is from "Bombay Dreams," but the original musical version is so different. It's slower, almost depressing, and is missing the lovely bit from "Taal". It's rare that a cover is better than the original, but in this case, that's very much so. Still, the overall CD does have an infectious beat and is quite fun to clean/bop to.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Those of you in places where it percipitation varies from just plain ole rain might not be as excited, but here is the view out of the parental units' dwelling last weeked. That's real white stuff, baby!
KC was unaware of the joy and goodness of breakfast tacos, the best breakfast food ever. However, we are still reeling from this recipe which calls for hard taco shells. Blasphemy!

The claim was made here in the office that Ortega is really manufactured in NYC and how dare it call itself Mexican? Anyway, I do some research and found out that Ortega was really originally Mexican until 1946 when the original 'Mama' Ortega sold it to someone. Who that is, I couldn't figure out, but in 2003, B&G Foods bought it, but remains cagey on a) where the headquarters are located and b) where Ortega products are actually manufactured (not cooked, manufactured. You have eaten Ortega brand stuff, haven't you?).

The bottom line is that breakfast tacos are served in a flour tortilla, which is not the same thing as a taco shell and anyone who tells you differently is probably from NYC.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

In search of sustenance

As many of you know, the quest for food is a constant thing with me. Tonight was no different; V and I made plans to meet up after work and go somewhere. That was literally the plan; we'd just drive around until we saw somewhere new and exciting we wanted to go. She had found, in her voyaging around our little part of the big city, a shopping mall and she thought there'd be something cool there to eat. So off we went (after catching "American Idol," of course). The shopping center didn't appeal to us and I was craving desperately a margarita after all of the tech problems at work. So I suggested a hip Mexican restaurant I'd seen, but never gone to.

Anyway, this being me, I got us lost and we never did find the hip Mexican restaurant, so alas, never did get my margarita. But, but, before you weep for me, quite accidentally, we stumbled on our favorite BCS hangout! Yes! Just minutes from our places (V lives across the street from me). Six months living here and I never knew. So of course, even though I knew I wouldn't get my margarita, we decided to have dinner there. After all, who's going to say no to the World's Second Best Burrito?

While we both enjoyed our burritos, we agreed that it wasn't quite the same as the ones in BCS. Was it because the servers weren't as friendly and made us wait despite there not being a line? The ingredients were exactly the same, yet the taste was different. The decor was nearly the same as was the overall funky, earthy feel of the place. But, despite all of that it wasn't and we were both disappointed.

As we left, we realized that we were longing for the liveliness of our grad school days, the days of good conversation after a long day at school while unelegantly (and voraciously) consuming a burrito wrapped in foil; the days when you had to fight to get a table and stand for 15-20 minutes in line before it was your turn to rattle off the list of ingredients you wanted. So perhaps, while the tangibles remained the same, the value of the intangibles was higher than we'd thought it to be.

There's a magic in nostalgia, perhaps one never quite appreciated until you realize it's next to impossible to recapture it. That's the danger -- believing more strongly in the memory of what was rather than accepting the reality of what is.

Even so, we'll both probably find our way back there. Even with the disappointment, it is still the World's Second Best Burrito place.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Just out of curiousity...

Now that 665 same-sex couples have been married in San Francisco, does anyone feel that their marriage is suddenly on the rocks? That the institution that they entered into is crumbling around them? Cuz, you know, if the sanctity of one's marriage depends on whether or not gay people can get married, I think there ought to be some rethinking on whether one ought to be married in the first place.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

The shrub speaks out

In this article about the recent Massachusetts court ruling to allow gay marriages, we have this paraphrase from Bush:

In his State of the Union address last month, Bush said he was prepared to support a constitutional amendment to prevent "activist judges" from "redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives."

Eh, if it wasn't for 'activists judges', Bush wouldn't be president. The will of the people clearly indicated for Gore, but the judges gave the presidency to Bush. Talk about short memory and ingratitude.
Say it isn't so!

Barbie and Ken are splitsville. But gah, you'd think a woman who has been an astronaut/teacher/doctor/vet/rockstar would clue in and not take 43 years to discover Ken just wasn't ready for marriage. But good on her for finally getting her act together and dumping the committment-phobic Ken and hooking up with an Aussie! One named Blaine! You go girl!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Response from Evol Very Big Satellite Company

I've lost my permalinks in the blog template update and so you'll have to scroll down to find the initial letter I wrote to Evol Very Big Satellite Company about their sucky service. Anyway, this is their response.

Hello Seema G,

Thank you for your E-mail.

Firstly I would like to apologize for all of the problems you have been having with our services. It is not very common to have so many problems with the analog services(Basic/Basic Plus/Entertainment Plus) and it is very unfortunate that you have had so many troubling experiences with us in the recent past.

Our equipment office at your apartment complex is where we send out the cable feed to your apartment. If something breaks in the equipment office we do have to send a technician out as quickly as possible to inspect and then try to fix the situation. However, depending on what has gone wrong, that technician may not be able to fix the issue immediately. The access card message you received on your screen is an example of something the technician is not always able to fix when he visits the apartment complex.

Usually the equipment has no problems at all and generally we receive very few complaints or phone calls about our analog services, so I again apologize for the problems and hopefully our technicians have resolved the issue and you have no more troubles.

The local channels should not be going out while it is raining outside unless your area receives poor reception and we have your local channels routed digitally through our satellite dish there. We do this in some areas where reception is bad so our customers do not have to watch through "snow" on the local channels. Your area may be such an area if you are getting replace access card messages and the picture is locking up.

The demand for the Entertainment Plus service is very high and most of our properties (and customers) are wanting the service. They are not happy with the Basic Plus service and want more channels, yet do not want to have a cable box installed with a surplus of 100 channels. The Entertainment Plus service is a happy medium between the two. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide the Basic Plus service at the apartments where we have Entertainment Plus. This is due to the fact that analog cables can only have one signal going through them at one time.

When we provide Entertainment Plus service, it is over an analog signal. The Basic service is that same signal. The reason you do not get Entertainment Plus when ordering Basic Plus service is due to a "trap" that we install on the line. That trap is removed only when a customer orders the Entertainment Plus service. We have no traps that can allow only certain channels, just certain frequencies. Entertainment Plus and Basic service are on different frequencies, so the trap will stop Entertainment Plus from coming in when its installed, and when removed allows Entertainment Plus to come in.

That is the long answer on why we cannot provide Basic Plus and Entertainment Plus at the same apartment complex. I hope that in the near future, there is a technology available to us that would allow us to provide multiple types of analog services at the same apartment complex, however right now we are unable to do this unfortunately.

We do value you as a customer with us. Any time you have any troubles with our service, call us at 1-800-555-5555 then dial option 1, option 3, option 4 to reach the repair line. There is usually no hold times past 7pm CST and the repair line is open until 9pm CST. Any customer service representative will be more than glad to credit you for time that your services are down.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to E-mail us back.

Best regards,
Very Big Satellite Television Company
John Kerry

Instead of your regularly scheduled shallow blog content, I bring you John Kerry's voting record. I bring this to your attention because it seems there's an impression out there that John Kerry is presidential. Or something. And while I have all due respect for a man who braved the rice paddies of South Asia (which is more than you can say for our current commander-in-chief), I have to ask, if your job is to legislate for the United States, shouldn't you show up for work? If any of us only showed up 28 percent of the time to the office, our asses would be out the door already.

And so yes, I still think Howard Dean is the man. For one thing, he's a heck of lot more moderate than Kerry, who apparently votes more liberally than Ted Kennedy (who would have thunk it?), and I just can't get over the fact that Kerry doesn't vote. Obviously Virginia and Tennessee don't think it matters.

The truth is, Kerry's currently the front runner, but I've yet to see a good reason why he, and not Dean, ought to be up there. If it's an image issue, then I think people need to get over it. Stop looking at "who can beat Bush"; we need someone who can get the job done and that means showing up for work.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Not feeling flouncy anymore, despite being up very late last night. I've had plenty of caffeine. Other than that, nothing else to report. You can all come out of hiding now.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Cranky Statement

Just a word to the wise: I don't take insults to my state lightly. If you've never been here, not even to the airport, and if you have no intention of ever coming here, take it elsewhere. I'm not interested in hearing it, and believe it or not, it actually hurts my feelings to an extent because even though you think you're insulting my state, you're also insulting me. It's seriously annoying when someone says they'd never come to visit because of where a person live; in fact, it makes me realize that perhaps I'm not important as important as the geography is. This is my home, I've been here for six years now, and I actually know what it's like to live and work here and I'm not interested in what you think. In fact, you've probably got it all wrong.
Letter to Very Big Evol (tm) Satellite Company

Right, so more belligerent than I wanted to be, but I'm that frustrated. I doubt anything will get done, but at least I wrote to them and said, "You are not meeting expectations." Gah. I sound like such an MBA.

---

Dear Sir/Madam:

I'm writing to give some feedback concerning the service provided and in addition, would like to request some additional programming options for those of us who are not big television watchers but what would like to have more options than local viewing.

In terms of customer service, I've been very unhappy from the first day when I signed up. Even to sign up for the new service required that I stay on hold for over an hour before a representative was able to take my order.

In another instance, I was receiving a message on my television screen to change a video card. This message obscured half of my screen and I was unable to watch programming. This went on for over a week before I was able to contact someone at Very Big Satellite Company.

In another instance, I never received a first bill and was charged a late fee when I received the second bill. It took me over a week of calling and being on hold for 45 minutes or more on each occasion before the situation was resolved.

On more than a few occasions, the satellite feed has 'frozen' for 15 to 20 minutes, if not longer, on the local channels, and whenever it rains, the stations go out. Once the local channels froze for over an hour and there was absolutely no weather at all. The non-local channels did not have this problem, but that's not comforting when you want to watch the local channels. I was unable to get any assistance on this problem and was sent through many, many phone menus before being informed I'd have to call during business hours.

However, calling at business hours means being on hold for at least 45 minutes and while it may be okay once or twice to have to be on hold for that length of time, every time I call in to Very Big Satellite Company, it's at least that much.

Finally, I'm unhappy with the programming changes at my complex. I subscribed to the Basic Plus package for $11.99 in August, which includes the local channels plus A&E, CNN, TBS, MSNBC, and the ABC Family Channel. That option was removed from my service options, leaving me with a choice of a $35/month package with 50+ channels or just local service. I chose local service because I don't watch enough television to justify over 50 channels.

I'm not sure, at this point, what the advantage of keeping your service is over getting an antenna, since I'm receiving very little value for the money in terms of service and programming. I chose Very Big Satellite Company rather than going with an antenna because I was expecting a certain level of service and consistency in reception and programming. My expectations on this level has not been met.

I'm also writing to ask for reinstatement of the Basic Plus package at my apartment complex. While I enjoyed the free satellite preview you provided with us, I realized that I would not watch most of the channels, hence didn't feel the need to subscribe to it, but I did enjoy having the option of TBS and A&E since there are shows there that I do enjoy and would watch regularly. However, those two additional channels are not worth $35/month.

At this point, if asked, I would not recommend Very Big Satellite Company to anyone, nor would I choose another apartment complex that used the service exclusively.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Test posting to see if I can't get the RSS feed back online. In the meantime, there's always Atom, which seems to have its own personality quirks, but is definitely, eh, fully functional at the moment.
So I've pretty much got this layout the way I want it, or rather, as much as I'm willing to fight the CSS. At some point, I'm going to start gradually redoing my site in CSS. The site design and colors won't change too much -- from a branding point of view, too much change isn't a good thing, especially when there isn't anything too significantly wrong with the current image (or so jemima tells me).

Ideally, what I'm planning to do is streamline navigation even more than it already is. Currently, my goal is to have every index page reachable within 3 clicks of any other page. I'd like to cut that down to two, but I haven't figured out a way to do it yet. When I worked for Very Big Insurance Company, I used DHTML to create drop-down menu trees but in the wide untamed crazy world of the web, I'm not sure I want to do that; too many opportunities for browsers to break -- plus it is akin to mystery meat navigation; at Very Big Insurance Company, people were like, "I have to click on the + sign? Why?"

The current overall navigation of the site, however, I think, is very clean. Not a lot of images, so things move quickly. I'm still on dial-up so I design for dial-up. So keeping javascript and images to a minimum is also pretty important.

Yes, so in other words? Haven't a clue, only know that I'm going to do something.

Friday, February 06, 2004

New blog template, courtesy of CSS. though it's very apparent that I'm not the guru jemima is. There are still a few things I need to tweak here and there, but for now, this will suffice. Let me know if this layout breaks anyone's browser; I plan to go completely CSS at the site in the next six months or so. I just thought I'd start small, since it's probably been at least a year since I last worked with style sheets.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

For Jemima and Miss Barr

Q: How Do Crazy People Go Through The Forest?
A: They Take The Psycho Path

Q: What Do Fish Say When They Hit a Concrete Wall?
A: Dam!

Q: Where Do You Find a Dog With No Legs?
A: Right Where You Left Him.
The Nine Days Queen

Bjorn gave me Lady Jane for my birthday and of course, I watched it pretty much immediately. I've been meaning to review it since then.

I admit to being biased, having read the novelization of the film years ago, but have never seen the film. The movie stars Cary Elwes and Helena Bonham Carter. Also, an added bonus, Patrick Stewart as Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk; the movie was released in 1986, so it was pre-Captain Picard days, but not by much. The film is after Lady Jane Grey, also known as the Nine Days Queen, having reigned under duress in 1553 after the death of Edward VI.

I thought the casting of Helena Bonham Carter (henceforth referred to as HBC) was excellent, simply because she came across as mousy, tiny and quiet in the film and Lady Jane Grey was certainly that. Cary Elwes, on the other hand, was distracting to me. Not just because he's cute, but because I expected every other word out of his mouth to be along the lines of "As you wish." Poor CE; he's hopelessly typecast -- I couldn't even take him seriously during his guest appearances on the "X-Files" in season 9.

But back to the film. As far as historical accuracy, the film hits all of the right notes in the little details. For instances, many of the famous little incidents of Jane's life were accurately reproduced. For instance, the incident where Mary Tudor's lady-in-waiting courtsies in front of the chapel is an authentic anecdote, as is a scene where Jane's parents are hunting and she is staying indoors to study. Lady Jane Grey was a marvelous student, extremely erudite, and probably on par with her royal cousins, Edward VI, and Elizabeth Tudor, if not surpassing both in intelligence. But once again, I digress.

CE played Guildford Dudley, Jane's hapless husband. In the film he's portrayed as a drunkard and a womanizer -- at least until he's forced to marry Jane under a scheme by his father. In RL, I imagine Dudley was nothing more or less than a mama's boy. The dislike Jane and Guildford took to each other is indeed historically accurate. They despised each other from day one.

Guildford's father was the Duke of Northumberland, Protector of the Realm while the King was in his minority. Seeing as Edward was about to die, Norfolk was afraid of not only losing his power, but also that Mary Tudor, the heiress, would restore England to Rome, thus stifling the Protestant religion. Northumberland planned to disinherit Mary and also the younger sister, Elizabeth, and instead have Edward pass the crown on to his Protestant cousin, Jane Grey (granddaughter of Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII). By marrying Jane to his youngest son, Northumberland would be assured of remaining in power. The insurrection against Mary Tudor failed, and eventually Northumberland was executed. Mary Tudor, however, kept Guildford and Jane prisoner in the Tower until February of 1554, when they were both executed (Jane in the privacy of Tower Green, Guildford on Tower Hill). Reluctant as Mary had been to allow the execution, the pressure from Spain (she wished to marry her cousin, Phillip) finally forced Mary's hand, as well as an insurrection which had taken place during the previous fall.

These basic facts remain true in the movie, including the sad scene of Jane's execution where, blindfolded, she is unable to find the block, until a priest helps her lay her head down. However, the movie diverges there by playing up a romance between Guildford and Jane which most surely did not exist; Jane most probably found Guildford to be whiny, indulgent and annoying. In her few days as queen, she stood up to Northumberland and denied Guildford the right to be crowned king. Nor did Jane see Guildford before his execution, though she did watch from her prison window.

Also, unlike the movie which shows Jane and Guildford in a dank prison in the Tower, this was most assuredly not true. Mary Tudor had some respect and affection for her young cousin and had no wish to execute her. Jane lived in a house on the Tower Green and had several servants waiting on her, as well as a handsome allowance. It was actually a very comfortable existence for Jane, and no doubt, she could have continued on in this way, if not for her father's meddling (for whom her mother begged for mercy, but apparently, did not intercede on Jane's behalf).

The movie also shows Jane and Guildford working together to come up with a real schilling, among other things. In other words, Jane wanted to do some good. I have no doubt that this indeed true, but whether any real legislation was passed during her reign is very doubtful; most of it was spent holed up in the Tower wondering whether Mary Tudor could be captured or not. Most certainly, a 'real' schilling was never cast by order of Jane the Quene; there simply wasn't time or place for that. The movie also gave Jane much more power than she truly had; in essence, despite her denial of the crown to Guildford, she was very much Northumberland's puppet and probably did not spend much time at all with the lords of her council.

The movie did downplay Jane's religious fanaticism (in general, the movie avoid Jane's piety and air of self-righteousness; anecdotes of Jane reveal an intelligent, thoughtful young woman, but probably one who was insufferable to be around as well). Both Edward VI and Jane Grey were as zealous Protestants as Mary Tudor was Catholic. Just as Mary's aim was to restore England to Rome, both Edward and Jane were determined to see their faith succeed as well; in that sense, these three people were very much alike and rigid in their beliefs. Of the four Tudor rulers to follow Henry VIII, only Elizabeth was moderate in her beliefs. So for this aspect of Jane's character to be omitted and softened does not quite ring true for me.

Finally, one little nitpick: Mary Tudor's coif was inaccurate for the time period. Coifs of that time period were not pointed, but rather rounded and close to the head with a veil flowing from the back. A hat might be worn on occasion, but the wimple-style Mary wore in the movie is probably more in line with that of her great grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, than the going style of the 1550s.

All in all, it's a good movie with some good performances, and, if you can forget the nonsense about the schilling and realize the romance between Guildford and Jane is bogus, then consider it two hours well spent. It is no more inaccurate than most historical films and in this case, I can forgive them, for the true story of Jane and Guildford is hardly romantic, nor was Jane herself a particularly likeable individual either. So I can give the film that allowance and say that if you do have a interest in the Tudor era, this is another movie to add to the list of "must watch" films.

****

And, I just have to squee on a totally related note, but there's apparently a television movie on Henry VIII in the UK that I never knew about? See here.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

For someone who really doesn't like talking on the phone that much, I've been on the phone an awful lot these past few days. So a big thank you :-)