The Palace

If you’re feeling a bit royally lost post wedding and Kate and Will do North America then I have the perfect guilty pleasure to tide you over until the next made for TV movie and/or delicious scandal hits.

Apparently back in 2008 ITV aired an 8 episode series called The Palace that presented a fictionalized version of the royal family doing their best Dynasty impression. I happened upon the show while scrolling through Hulu willy-nilly one night and had a serious eureka[!] moment. I’ve since been dolling the episodes out to myself as “treats” to watch at the gym. I’m on episode 5 right now and it’s so bad it’s good. Here are my top five reasons to ride this crazy train all the way to Tower Bridge:

  1. Prince Harry…I mean Prince George is seriously channeling Chuck Bass. I keep waiting for Blair to pop-up in one of the scenes sporting a headband and tights.
  2. Princess Eleanor is literally seething her perfectly coiffed head-off over the fact that her brother is crowned king after their father’s death. She dresses just like Kate Middleton and has a creepy “Cruel Intentions” like relationship with her personal secretary. She rocks the pastels hard. She’s evil and I dig her.
  3. The servants are all bumbling caricatures that I’m certain really pissed off anyone who actually has or does work at the palace in real life. They drink like fishes too, although I doubt they could drink Queen Charlotte under the table. She’s into the gin, you know….
  4. The king is the kid from Hellboy!
  5. The sets seem really authentic, or at least they do to me — a mere American mortal.

All in all it’s spectacular. If you’ve seen the episodes what’s your favorite part or nutty character? And more importantly, what else have I been missing on British television? The trashier the better!

Announcing My Official Engagement to Prince William

Are you guys sure Prince William is engaged to Kate Middleton because it sure looks like I have the ring.

Just kidding. This mega-gem is from Avon circa…I was probably in Kindergarten. My grandmother’s neighbor was an Avon Lady and I coveted her sample knock-off Princess Diana engagement ring so much that she gave it to me. Obviously you can see that I had “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” from a VERY young age.

Beta Testing Cataclysm for World of Warcraft

Hilariously enough I was randomly chosen to be a beta tester for the upcoming Cataclysm expansion pack for World of Warcraft. Serious gamers around the world are now giving me the finger in earnest I assure you. I only recently started playing WoW again in the last few weeks after not touching the game for probably six months. So far I’ve only played Cataclysm for a few hours. I made a Worgen (aka werewolf) which I promptly christened “WatsonTKitty.”

Now every time I’m asked to do something serious — you know like save the world, everyone is pleading for WatsonTKitty to help. It cracks me up. I know…I know. I’m a total geek.

Gilneas, where Worgen characters start their journey, is very Dickensian which really speaks to my inner anglophile. Although I’m pretty annoyed that you can’t create a female Worgen character yet. When I finally can I think I’ll name her “Mini-Me.” Just kidding!

I also made a girlie girl goblin which I drive around the little goblin town in a car. I’m terrible at this so I inevitably keep running over the villagers who angrily yell things back like, “I’m going to sue!” I’d share a picture with you but the goblins have been disabled for days now due to a crashing issue.

Below is an image of my current favorite non-beta character, Deyadora, and her pet “Catra.” I recently leveled Deyadora, who is a Blood Elf hunter to level 36. The reason I snapped this screenshot was A. my cat jumped on the bed in this cottage — hmm…just like in real life and B. there was pineapple wallpaper on the walls. Adorable!

HGTV Leaves Me Hanging: The Marriage Under Construction Season Three Fiasco

I have no idea how or why this happened but I now watch a lot of HGTV. This isn’t particularly strange I suppose.  Many of you do too I’m sure, but until recently I had been a very vocal hater of all things HGTV. In high school and college I would practically go into apoplectic shock when my mother would have the channel on. Granted she tended to have it on day and night but that’s not the point.

Ten years ago the sight of some random man sodding a lawn and ripping out a wall would have resulted in me having a sudden fit of exaggerated yawns followed by a string of impatient and rude comments, but now it just elicits excited exclamations.  I regret to inform you that I find myself saying wistful things like, “I wish we had a house.” or “Why can’t I have a wine fridge?” to CK with big puppy dog eyes.

Lately, my favorite HGTV show has been season three of Marriage Under Construction. It was  simply EPIC. CK and I ate it up with a fork and knife. This show follows a newly married couple as they renovate their home under the professional guidance of a designer. The end result being the home of their dreams. This season featured the coolest Canadians ever. Rodney and Natalie Bowers are the ultimate couple friends you wish you had. Rod is a chef and Natalie works somewhere cool like Lululemon. I may have made that part up though. I feel like I read it once upon a time while I was googling their names, but now I can’t seem to find it.

Anyway, all stalker-like behavior aside, Rod and Natalie hire this hot shot designer named Melissa to redo their monstrosity of a fixer upper. Melissa seems to always wear really cool boots and a gorgeous amethyst ring that I covet wholeheartedly. Then she creates these magical visions from crappy old spaces in this house that turn rooms into the Toronto version of the Taj Mahal. Probably 98% of the outcome of this house was exactly my aesthetic.

Not only was the house spectacular but following Rod and Nat’s adventures in renovation was a blast. I just loved how they interacted with one another and I really enjoyed how genuine and real their relationship seemed. Rod had CK and I doubled over in laughter on more than one occasion with his on camera hi-jinx.

Sounds awesome right?! Well it was. That is until HGTV stopped airing it several episodes before the series ended. In the US we’ve been left high and dry and apparently I’m never going to find out how Rod and Natalie’s gourmet kitchen and nursery turn out. You know, only the best parts of the whole house!

I’m more than a little annoyed with the whole thing. They’ve even pretty much removed all mention of the show from the HGTV website. You can still view a bit more info on the Canadian site. All-in-all I find this to be incredibly shoddy behavior. At least burn off the last few episodes at some point so we can see what happens! I NEED to see this kitchen. Anyone have any hints on how I might be able to do this? And yes, before you say it I’ve already checked the torrent sites without any luck.

My Name is Memory

I finished Ann Brashares latest novel My Name is Memory last night and instantly wondered if maybe my review copy had left out a much needed “to be continued…” at the end of the book. The way the first novel ends is incredibly frustrating, but thankfully after a little online research I discovered that this is going to be a trilogy so I can now stop my eyes from bugging out of my head in annoyance. In all seriousness though a little clue into that fact right up front might have helped me deal with the agony I was feeling when I was down to the last five pages and nothing was wrapping up. I’m curious if the actual copies that are for sale in bookstores now alert readers to this fact or not? I’ll have to pop over to Porter Square Books at lunchtime and see.

Notwithstanding the rather abrupt ending, My Name is Memory weaves together elements of so many genres that I love including historical fiction, romance, and sci-fi. The best part is that they all seem to work harmoniously together. The basic premise of the book revolves around the many lives of Daniel. Daniel has a memory that stretches across centuries. Thankfully not in the “I’m a vampire and I’ve lived for 2000 years” mode. Daniel lives and dies like a normal man, but somehow Daniel is able to retain his memory from each of his lives as he is reincarnated over and over again.

Many of his lives intersect with a woman whom he refers to as Sophia. In each of these instances he is consumed with persuading this woman of their destiny. As you can imagine having a strange man you’ve never seen before explain that you have hundreds of years of history together could be a bit daunting. The present day incarnation of “Sophia” who is actually known as Lucy essentially runs screaming from Daniel when he starts spouting his seemingly crazy notions. But his strange tale stays with Lucy and she begins to wonder if perhaps there could be something to Daniel’s claims.

While Lucy ponders, Daniel takes the reader on an epic jaunt through his past lives. I loved Daniel’s portions of the book. Reading about his many adventures in various foreign and far-flung places offered an exciting pace to the story, and the frequent near-misses in Daniel and Sophia’s tragic inability to ever be together left me feeling frantic for them to meet in the present day.

Of course, nothing comes easily to these star-crossed lovers. In true villain fashion Daniel’s evil brother, who also harbors the same supernatural ability but with a more wicked twist, decides it’s time to make his presence known.

Will Sophia and Daniel ever live happily ever after? Well you wont find out in this book, but perhaps by book three we’ll all be able to celebrate a merry resolution to this epic love story.

Just as an aside, I actually had this book with me on a flight home from Houston where Alexis Bledel sat two rows in front of me. I was instantly star struck and thought it was such a cool coincidence that the star of the film versions of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was on the same plane with me while I read an Ann Brashares novel. I know…I know…I’m a total geek.

I Heart Being Erica

I have a little problem. I’ve become obsessed with a television show called Being Erica and I can’t stop watching it. Please take note as you may need to stage an intervention.

It all began innocently enough last week with a random browse through Hulu. I didn’t have intentions to stay. Truth be told I believe I was there to see if the newest episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey had been posted. I was hoping for some big hair and even bigger attitudes to enjoy while I ate my boring lunch but it was nowhere to be found. Instead I happened upon Being Erica and decided to give it a shot. Now it’s only one week later and I’m already on episode ten of season one and ever so completely smitten.

The premise of the show involves a 30-something woman’s attempt to straighten out her seemingly directionless life. Unfortunately she’s crippled with past regrets and can’t seem to move on from a line of endless mistakes that she’s made in her past. Even though she holds both an Undergrad degree and a Master’s in English she’s stuck in a dead end job, dating inappropriate men, all the while feeling like a complete failure. Erica just can’t catch a break.

The next part is going to make you have to get back in touch with your “suspension of disbelief” side. Erica begins seeing a therapist, Dr. Tom, who asks her to create an extensive list of everything that she regrets in her life. Then in each episode she’s given the chance to go back in time and attempt to alter her past. My description probably sounds a bit formulaic but the show is done incredibly well. Erica is played by the adorable and incredibly relatable Erin Karpluk. You may recognize her as “Alice” the radio station manager on the equally fabulous show Life Unexpected.

Other things I love about the show include:

The music. Every time Erica goes back in the past (especially during the college years) I have some sort of personal nostalgic break with reality complete with The Spin Doctors and Blind Melon. All I can say is that my life is pretty plain. I like watchin’ the puddles gather rain …

The clothes. Say hello again to flannel and all of the other accompanying accessories of the 90s. Plus, in the present, Erica is always sporting a sassy dress or outfit that makes me want to run out and go shopping immediately. She also has gorgeously styled long loosely curled hair that all women with straight hair (aka me) covet. Yes. I admit it. I have a total girl crush on Erin Karpluk.

So far there’s very little “happily ever after” occurring while Erica attempts to change her regrets. And that’s what I love and appreciate the most. Like many people I too tend to fixate on “what ifs” and “if onlys” but the lessons Erica learns from her jaunts into the past are rarely brought about by simply picking another path. Usually her new perspective is achieved via looking at the events as they unfold with an older and wiser set of eyes.

I find myself drawing a great deal of comfort in thinking that perhaps all of those “might have beens” that I think about so frequently probably wouldn’t have altered my life too terribly much. Perhaps what I really should focus on is moving forward with the choices I’ve made and learning more fully how that applies to who I am today. Who says you can’t learn anything from TV?!

And there you have it. Being Erica is the new love of my life. Check it out! Plus it just got picked up for a third season so I wont have to cry crocodile tears when I get to the end of season two. Thank you Canadian TV!

Forget About Friday the 13th

Saturday The 14thHappy Friday the 13th! CK and I will spend tonight enjoying some messy BBQ from Red Bones and perhaps finally catching up on the large number of Sons of Anarchy episodes collecting dust on the TiVo. Friday the 13th is nice and all, but growing up I was obsessed with a little ridiculous movie called Saturday the 14th. Have you heard of it? I loved this movie. I watched it over and over again along with Dirty Dancing, Once Bitten, and Annie — what can I say…I was a weird kid…

It’s essentially a horror movie spoof of some of the more popular scary films pre-1980, but that was way over my head then. I just thought it was funny when a woman got eaten by a “fur coat” and a shark fin appeared in the bathtub.  At that time in my life I was convinced that there were monsters in the lake where our camp resided and that things would eat me if I didn’t close the closet door so you can probably see why I’d find a movie like this so near and dear to my heart.

If you can dig up an old VHS copy from someone’s basement or happen upon one in a really funky video store you should absolutely gobble it up and watch it immediately. Sure, it’s bizarre and very dated at this point but seeing Jeffrey Tambor vamp it up is absolutely fantastic and totally worth it.

The One Where I Finally Play World of Warcraft

My World of Warcraft Avatar

After several years of vehemently resisting my friend Anna’s recommendation that World of Warcraft is a perfectly fun game I’ve finally succumbed to peer pressure. Admittedly, I was also highly influenced by Felicia Day’s hilarious part in The Guild’s “Do You Wanna Date My Avatar” video. So without further adieu please meet my lean, mean, slaying machine Rowyne. I’ve only been playing for two days but I have to admit I’m starting to really like it. Especially after I happened upon a cottage in the woods that housed a “Crazy Cat Lady” and dozens of kittens. I’m hoping that I can adopt a cat that follows me around or something. Is this possible? They were super expensive though so that will have to wait until I’ve pillaged a few oh thousand more unsuspecting Kobolds.

As much as I try to resist all things “geek” it seems that I inevitably give in completely to my inner nerd. For instance once upon a time I vowed to never watch any of the following shows that CK loved: Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Burn Notice, and most recently The Big Bang Theory. But guess what? I ended up watching them all religiously. Amusingly enough my behavior towards each was characterized by a similar pattern of: scorn, ridicule, annoyance that CK was watching them, followed by looking up from my book or laptop every so often and ending with me becoming completely engrossed in the various plots. I guess I just have to admit it. I’m a great big super geek..but with social skills and better accessories of course. Now I’m going to go watch all of The Guild Episodes. My transformation is complete.