Wednesday, April 30, 2014

fun in vero beach

Yes we live in Florida. But no, you can never get too much of the beach. And every beach we visit, at least so far, is a bit different. The latest beach we have checked out — Vero Beach. We have been able to get there on two occasions recently, to meet up with some friends and also family. Vero Beach has a much narrower strip of sand than our home beach, and a very relaxed vibe. Fun was most definitely had by all.

The beach
The love bugs were out in full force (and freaking out the kid)
Checking out the downtown shopping scene with the fam
Strolling on the skinny beach
The homemade orange and vanilla swirled soft serve comes highly recommended
'night all

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

games of thrones: now we're all in the same boat


The gap between the folks who have read George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books and others who have just watched the series based on his wild world of Westeros, Game of Thrones, has suddenly narrowed. There was so much new material in last Sunday's episode, "Oathkeeper," that book readers are now as much in the dark as anyone. There were seriously so many "But wait a minute, what's going on?", "I don't remember that", or "What just happened?" moments that I wanted to dig out my copies of A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows to check if what I was seeing had ever really happened.
Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg) tells her granddaughter Maergery (Natalie Dormer) who killed Joffrey (She did, with the help of Littlefinger) and also manages to get in a joke about always having to play her scenes in the gardens.
On the advice of her grandma, Maergery gets to know her next husband-to-be a bit better.
Martin is notoriously slow to get out sequels in this series. There are supposed to be two more books in the works, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, and the clock is ticking, ticking, ticking ... Could show runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss be in so tight with author Martin that they are solving onscreen some long-unanswered mysteries that have as yet to be addressed in the books, such as what exactly do the White Walkers do with the babies they are offered (or steal)? Zombie baby army!?

While some viewers may still be concerned with last week's Jaime/Cersei close encounter, it was clear in "Oathkeeper" that the show, and Jaime, were moving on. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau had some of the best moments in the episode, as he sparred both physically and verbally with his brother Tyrion's (Peter Dinklage) sellsword Bronn (Jerome Flynn); finally visited the wrongly-incarcerated Tyrion; watched his tipsy sister Cersei (Lena Heady) give her impression of the Red Queen; and finally, touchingly, gifted his once-captor, now friend Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) with a fabulous suit of armor, an honorable quest, and his sword, which she meaningfully dubbed Oathkeeper.

Jaime give Brienne a sword and she names it - Oathkkeper
All of Martin's characters are complex, but Jaime Lannister has had one of the more interesting backstories within the epic. When we first meet him he is arrogant and despicable (he tosses young Bran Stark out a window when the kid accidentally sees Jaime and Cersei having a quick incestuous tryst), and even though he is a fierce warrior and a member of the elite Kingsguard, his reputation is forever shadowed by his nickname, the Kingslayer, after he killed the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen. Later it is learned, in both the books and the HBO series, as Jaime confides to Brienne, that by killing the king, Jaime saved the city and its inhabitants from Aerys's deadly wildfire plot. Jaime is on the road to maybe not redemption, but at least honoring his promises. First up, he promised to return Sansa and Arya Stark to their mother. Catelyn Stark is dead, and Jaime assumes, so is the missing Arya, but he can at least enlist Brienne to find young Sansa and deliver her safely to her aunt Lysa.

The other wild "did you just see what I saw" moment came at the end of the episode, when the last male baby of clan Craster was offered up as a sacrifice, left out in the snow to be .... well. we're not exactly sure. I'm sure most viewers have assumed that the babies were food for the zombie-like White Walkers, but the last scene of "Oathkeeper" suggested something else entirely — how does one make a White Walker? Let the Night King touch a newborn human baby ...

All baby White Walkers are born with blue eyes ...
We're only three episodes into season four of Game of Thrones and anyone who may have thought they knew where things were headed will have to reevaluate. That makes for good television. I still may have to go back and check out the books ...

Monday, April 28, 2014

soylent green is people

O.K. Maybe I was over-reacting with the Soylent Green reference. But our walk on the beach last night was a little spooky, as just wads and wads of seaweed kept washing ashore. The kid was able to enjoy some surf time, as long as she wasn't afraid to share the ocean with the Triffids, I mean plant life.


Friday, April 25, 2014

favorite song friday: la, la, la

I really liked this song, "La, La, La," by Naughty Boy [featuring Sam Smith], the first time I stumbled across it last summer, back in August. I'm really glad it's starting to get some radio airplay.

"I'm covering my ears like a kid
When your words mean nothing, I go la la la
I'm turning up the volume when you speak
'Cause if my heart can't stop it,
I find a way to block it, I go
La la, la la la la la na na na na na
La la na na, la la la la la na na na na na,"

Haven't we all felt that way sometimes?

The video is quite interesting, and was shot in Bolivia. It inclides elements from the Wizard of Oz and may or may not also be based on a Bolivian legend as well.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

some recent (photo) fun

Cuteness Everdeen

Since when were White Walkers so darn adorable?

A floating island of seaweed and it's coming for us

Might as well build a sand castle

Tae Kwan Do

Practicing her moves

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

some more feng shui reading — done

My quest continues, to improve my health, my life, my surroundings. I have recently been making some changes around the house, utilizing the age-old practice of feng shui to improve our surroundings. Feng shui must be big in the British Isles, because three out of five of these books on this list were written by Brits. I'm not sure if that means anything, but it is interesting that most of the books that I am picking up to research the subject turn out to be either written by, or published, in Britain. Here are the latest from my reading list.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Feng Shui, Third Edition, by Stephen L. Field, Ph.D. 
There was altogether too much math in this book. I found myself doing all sorts of calculations to try and determine what my Personal Trigram is, and what the most (and least) auspicious directions would be in my house. Once I got to the Four Pillars of Destiny I gave up. The emphasis is squarely on improving one's luck and fortune, rather than a harmonious living space, which is more what I'm after. The luck, I believe, will come, once I am feeling happier and more at peace in my home. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Feng Shui also tries to debunk, in a very snobbish way, some common feng shui "cures" which can be found in just about every other book that I have consulted, such as mirrors used to fix problem areas in the home. According to this book, only the five phases (fire, earth, metal, water, wood) can be used to remedy and enhance feng shui. So with all that math and very little return I am filing this book as a big flop. 
The Feng Shui Handbook: How To Create A Healthier Living & Working Environment (Henry Holt Reference Book), by Master Lam Kam Chuen 
This is a nicely illustrated, general guide to feng shui principles. It includes a good history of feng shui, and has some sample room layouts and cures for common problems. The focus here may be more on the exterior of homes, and would come in handy if one was purchasing a new home and was wondering if its position was auspicious — how it relates to nearby hills, water, and other influences. A nice book to dip your toe into feng shui, but not one to consult if you are looking for some real, practical things to do inside your current home. 
Feng Shui for Your Home: An Illustrated Guide to Creating a Harmonious, Happy and Prosperous Living Environment, by Sarah Surety 
Another nicely illustrated book that offers both feng shui basics and some real-life feng shui cures. The author talks about cleansing a space, which I did recently, as well as other elements to introduce into your home to increase prosperity, such as plants, mirrors, and light. It is an easy, user-friendly read, and one that I might go back to often to consult, if I was going to rearrange some furniture in a bedroom and wanted some tips on where to best position the bed, for example. 
Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui: Free Yourself from Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Clutter Forever, by Karen Kingston 
This is a nice little book that makes the connection between clean house, clear mind. I like how the author covers not only the real day-to-day clutter that we all accumulate and should regularly clear out, like paperwork, old clothes, magazines, etc., but also focuses on how that clutter, whether it is your own, or a partner or family member's, affects your health and energy. A quick and easy read, but one that will make you think a little bit about what you hold onto. Hopefully you will decide that you don't need to be featured on the next episode of Hoarders after reading this book. 
Feng Shui In A Weekend: Transform Your Life and Home in a Weekend or Less, by Simon Brown 
This is a very user-friendly, how-to sort of book, with bright, bold graphics and lots of photos. It includes loads of tips and projects — there are actually many weekend projects to choose from. The author doesn't intend the reader to be able to completely rearrange their home in one weekend, but they could implement many of these cures over time. Like Clear Your Clutter, I liked that the emphasis was as much on taking care of your personal well-being as that of your surroundings. One thing feeds off the other, and the greater goal is to achieve harmony in all aspects of one's life. This is another book that I could find myself going back to for suggestions on quick fixes, such as what colors to paint my daughter's room to help her study, or ways to enhance a bathroom or the wealth area of my home.

I'm not completely done on my feng shui project yet, but I have to say that just a few of the changes I have made around the house since I started, such as reclaiming a space and introducing more plants and changing the flow of our main living space seem to already have made an impact. I feel like our home is more beautiful, more peaceful. There is alway room for improvement, of course, but I really do feel like I'm on the right track. Wish me luck as I continue my journey.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

poppin' up in westeros

While there has been a lot of internet speculation (and outrage) over the latest Game of Thrones episode, "Breaker of Chains," I have been preoccupied with a new acquisition, the Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros. Designed by renowned paper engineer Matthew Reinhart and illustrator Michael Komarck, the book is a blast, with not just the cool buildings that populate the fantasy series, but lots of fun pop-up surprises and pull-out guides to all of the warring houses from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels and its current television adaptation on HBO. There are some detailed instructions on how to layout the intricately rendered Westeros. The book really goes from being book art to art and sculpture. It's lots of fun for fans of both the books and the television show.

You really need some space to get a lay of the land

And Westeros was worried about dragons ...

I love the pop-up member of the Kingsguard

Winterfell, the Wall, and what the heck ...

Watch out for the White Walkers!

HBO has always diverged from the books, especially with its frequent scenes of "sexposition," but many fans think that the show runners took things a bit too far last Sunday. An already outrageous scene in the book A Storm of Swords between incestuous siblings (and twins) Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), was pushed to the limit in the episode "Breaker of Chains," with Jaime forcing himself on his sister. The book depicted that as well, but with Cersei going from resistant to compliant — at least from Jaime's point of view. As shocking as that scene may have been, it's a shame that it is drowning out some other really good things that happened in the episode. I don't think Jaime's redemption arc has been as irreparably damaged as many are saying. As stated before, the scene in the book was pretty crazy, too. But at least I have my pop-up Westeros to guide me.

Monday, April 21, 2014

the nut job

Universal Studios is releasing on Blu-ray and DVD The Nut Job on April 15. The animated film is set in the fictional town of Oakton, which, as far as its wild animal inhabitants are concerned, is in the middle of an extreme food shortage as winter fast approaches. Surly the Squirrel (Will Arnett) and his mostly mute rat buddy named Buddy march to a different drummer, and are constantly getting in trouble with the rest of the local animals. ...

Andie and Surly form an uneasy alliance
Surly checks out downtown

... The story is more than a bit frantic, and there are no real break-out characters that make an animated film a classic, but The Nut Job is amiable enough to entertain the kiddos. Whether the adults will be engaged or not depends on how much they like the look of things. And The Nut Job is great to look at - from its retro-inspired style to its bright colors and attention to detail. Especially impressive are the individual hairs on characters and rendered textures like wood and stone. The look of the film, from the styling of the buildings and backgrounds to the whole heist scenario, brings to mind classic Bugs Bunny encounters with the gangsters Rocky and Mugsy. Alas, none of the characters in The Nut Job have quite the personality of Bugs, but then, who does?

You can read my complete review on Cinema Sentries.

Friday, April 18, 2014

favorite song friday:

I've had this ear worm in my head on and off for a day. I love its laid-back, upbeat vibe. As ear worms go, it's not a bad one to have, or as the song goes, "Not A Bad Thing." In lieu of an in-performance video, a supposed "true story" When Harry Met Sally-like short film has been made to the song, about an unknown young couple whose proposal was seen on a New York City subway train.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

(does anyone care) whodunnit?

Contains (show, not book) spoilers for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones ...

Medieval fantasy world wedding planners take note. Westeros may not be such a hot idea as your go-to wedding destination. While everyone is still reeling from last season's eventful and bloody Red Wedding, last Sunday night gave viewers the nuptials of twerp-king and all-around bad guy Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) and the lovely Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). Or as it is better known to fans of the fantasy series, the Purple Wedding.

Head for the hills — it's a wedding in Westeros (Image from The Big Lead)

Apart from Margaery and Joffrey's happy day there were other things going on in "The Lion and the Rose," including check-ins with Bran (good), Ramsay Snow and Theon/Reek (disturbing), and Stannis (still as boring as ever), but who are we kidding? There was a royal wedding in King's Landing, and that's the only place I wanted to be. "The Lion and the Rose" is also the only episode this season written by A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin.

Fans of the series may not have had any cool CGI White Walker zombies this episode, but they certainly got something they had been waiting a long time for - the demise of one of the nastiest characters in the series or on television. Yes, finally, we watched Joffrey die, but not before he either insulted, tormented, or offended everyone in the vicinity.

The episode had fun teasing its audience by throwing in some clues (or red herrings) as to who may have poisoned the brat king. If Hercule Poirot or his Westeros equivalent has been on the scene he would undoubtedly assemble a list of suspects in the Iron Throne Room and grill them all. As it was, the hateful and heartbroken Cersei (Lena Headey) pointed at her despised brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), accused him of murdering his nephew, and ordered the guards to grab him.

Tyrion offers Joffrey his wine cup as Sansa looks on 
But did Tyrion do it? He certainly had ample motive. Seeing Joffrey taunt and disrespect his uncle in "The Lion and the Rose" was just as uncomfortable onscreen as it was to read in the book. Tyrion did handle Joffrey's wine glass, at the king's own mocking insistence, but he did so in full view of all the wedding party and guests. Joffrey, possibly the most widely hated of Game of Thrones characters, invited murder from many angles. Such as:

Sansa (Sophie Turner). A person who may have had more motive than anyone for wanting Joffrey dead, Sansa did handle the wine cup as she handed it to Tyrion. But she has always been a reactive sort, not one to take action. Now if Arya had been there ... Could Sansa be in cahoots with Sir Dontos (Tony Way), once a knight, and now a Fool, who she once stopped Joffrey from having killed? She was wearing the necklace that Sir Dontos gave her at the wedding.

The Tyrells. This ambitious family wants to rule in King's Landing, but they have been very carefully and systematically scoping out just how much of a monster Joffrey is before the wedding. Margaery did feed Joffrey pie - but was the poison in the pie or the wine? As heinous as the prospect of being his bride might be to Margaery, would it really be in her advantage to kill him off before they produce an heir? She is Quenn now, but with Joffrey dead, will she stay that way? Lady Olenna (Diana Rigg), her grandmother, who paid for the event, was hovering nearby and could have spiked the wine. She might be doing her granddaughter a small favor by killing off Joffrey before the wedding night, but how will his death affect the family politically in the long term? 
Lady Olenna, trying to console Sansa about her brother Robb's recent death, “War is war, but killing a man at a wedding. Horrid. What sort of monster would do such a thing? As if men need more reasons to fear marriage.” 
Olenna eyes the fateful cup
Prince Oberyn (Pedro Pascal). He has a long-standing grudge against the Lannisters, as he made very clear to Tyrion last week. Plenty of motive, but less likely to have had access to Joffrey's wine or food.

As much as the death of Joffrey was the main event (and shock to those who haven't read A Storm of Swords), there were some other fun things happening at the wedding. Until her beloved first-born monster died in her arms, Cersei was having a great time, trying to thwart Margaery's efforts to feed the poor, making noble Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) beyond-uncomfortable, insulting anyone who crossed her path. Good times.

But now the broken-hearted and vengeful mother has found a way to finally eliminate little brother Tyrion. What will Tywin (Charles Dance) think or do? Will he be broken up about his grandson's death? Where does this leave Margaery and her clan? And who will viewers love to hate as much as the evil Joffrey? I may have to reread A Storm of Swords). I don't know if I can wit until next week to find out.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

pharrell takes over the world

In case you missed it, Pharrell Williams got something in his eye when he sat down to talk to Oprah the other day. It is pretty amazing how infectious his song "Happy" is. It is definitely striking a chord with people all over the world.

" ... people are putting up their own videos. It was, like, no longer my song."

And if having such a huge smash song wasn't enough, Pharrell is set to join the music competition show The Voice next year as a judge. Sounds like a reason to tune in again. Keep surfing this wave Pharrell, and making folks happy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

superhero fatigue

I have been known to geek out and watch superhero movies, although I tend to be more interested in sci-fi and fantasy than famous comic book characters. But I have to admit that as cute as Chris Hemsworth is as Thor (and even cuter Tom Hiddleston as Loki) I am experiencing some serious superhero fatigue. I can't tell the difference between Iron Man 1, 2, or 3 and I simply don't care. I'm willing to bet that Robert Downey Jr. would find himself similarly challenged. I'm still not sure what brought us into the theater to see the first Captain America, but I have no intention of seeing #2. The only thing that I took away from seeing The Green Lantern was that Ryan Reynolds looked a little cross-eyed. Did CGI bring that unfortunate detail to light? I'm no fan of the Christian Bale as Batman movies, either.

What might have been ... Nicolas Cage in a costume test as Superman for Tim Burton's Superman Lives

But as much as I am starting to dislike the genre, I sat down and tried to watch Man of Steel the other day. It turned out to be just impossible. It is loud, ugly, incomprehensible, and the worst sin of all, completely boring. No matter how buff Henry Cavill may be, his Superman was just a big "No." Neither a plucky Amy Adams as Lois Lane, nor an earnest Russell Crowe as Superman's dad could save it. I didn't even get far enough into it to check out Laurence Fishburne as Perry White. All Man of Steel did was make me wonder what a Nicolas Cage Superman movie might have been like.

I suppose the Superman/Batman movie (with Ben Affleck as Batman, yikes) coming up will get an audience, but I am starting to wonder why. Lots of dark, murky action and way too-long and too noisy CGI explosion scenes seem to be the blueprint for all of these movies. Are comic books really Hollywood's only source material? Yawn.

Monday, April 14, 2014

grimm: below the surface

Grimm is a television show that has been running on NBC since the 2011 fall season. Part procedural cop show, part fantasy, the series follows Portland homicide detective Nick Burkhardt, who is descended from a long line of hunter/protectors known as Grimms. After his Aunt Marie is killed, Nick inherits the family business, from her extensive weapon collection to some super-human abilities. Grimms have the ability to see Wesen, creatures with animal characteristics that live among humans. Many Wesen are dangerous to humans and prey upon them, but as Nick becomes more and more comfortable with his supernatural abilities he learns that there are friendly, even helpful, Wesen too.

Titan Publishing has recently released a companion book and comprehensive guide to the series, Grimm: Below the Surface. Using content compiled from previously published souvenir magazines, Grimm Exclusive Collector's Edition Special #1 and #2, the book covers all aspects of the show, from behind-the scenes props and special effects to the ever-growing and evolving Wesen mythology.


David Giuntoli plays Nick Burkhardt, a newly-minted Grimm

What Adalind Shade really looks like - the Hexenbiest

The 176-page book is nicely designed and is full of great color photos from the series. It covers the first two seasons of the series, and includes synopses of each of the 44 episodes. But what will truly thrill most fans are the many excerpts from "Aunt Marie's Casebook." Nick and the gang must frequently hit the books to determine what monster-of-the-week is plaguing Portland, but Nick's collection of Aunt Marie's notes and extensive illustrations of the Wesen community are usually only glimpsed in brief on the show. Grimm: Below the Surface features many detailed descriptions of some of the series' most popular monsters and otherworldly creatures, complete with useful factoids (physical traits, known enemies, how to kill them) as well as detailed illustrations. Profiles include: Grimms, Blutbad (Big Bad Wolves like Monroe), the bat-like Murciélago, Dämonfeuer, the toad-eating ladykillers called Ziegevolk, the lion-like Löwen and bee-like Mellifer, the zombie/witch Hexenbiest, and one of the creepiest yet most poignant Wesen, the Spinnetod, a sort of Black Widow portrayed by Amy Acker in "Tarantella." ...

You can read my complete review on Cinema Sentries.

Friday, April 11, 2014

favorite song friday: frankie say relax

Dangerous Minds had a fun piece on the '80s band Frankie Goes to Hollywood, tracing the evolution of their most well-known hit, "Relax." The article did miss the song's prominent appearance in Brian De Palma's Body Double, however. The song, which sounds just as fresh today as when it debuted in 1983, spawned a line of ubiquitous tee shirts for a time.

Ross from Friends say relax 

The original video was banned in the U.K when it debuted.

Here's the version that was inserted in Body Double, starring Melanie Griffith and Craig Wasson.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

this house is clean

Yesterday I did a cleansing in our home — I lit a white sage smudge stick and went through every room in the house, smoking away any bad vibes and clearing the air for good times and feelings. At the end of the ritual I put cups of sea salt in the four corners.

It's been a difficult year, and there are still stressors in our lives, but lately I have been feeling a lightening of spirit, and I wanted to extend that to hearth and home. After I performed the ritual I couldn't help giggling to myself, as this scene from a favorite film popped into my head.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

not that there ever was any doubt ...

.... but Game of Thrones has already been renewed by HBO for two more seasons, after its fourth season premiere (which got record ratings) last Sunday night. In fact, the first episode was so popular that it crashed HBO's streaming site, HBO GO. But not to worry about the show going anywhere anytime soon. At the rate that author George R.R. Martin is writing the final two installments of the epic fantasy series, devoted viewers should be able to tune in for many years to come.

The premiere was subdued compared to last season's penultimate Red Wedding shocker of an episode, "The Rains of Castamere," but it was full of some great moments and season foreshadowing, and thankfully, no torture check-ins with Theon Greyjoy and Ramsay Snow. The first scene centered around the forging of a sword, a very particular sword, instantly recognizable to readers of A Song of Ice and Fire. Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) was melting down Ice, Eddard "Ned" Stark's sword, as both a symbolic victory of his final defeat of the Stark family, and his acquisition of a magnificent item made of rare and precious Valyrian steel. As if melting Ned's sword down into not one, but two smaller weapons wasn't enough to slap the memory of dead Starks, he threw a dire wolf carcass on top of the fire at the end for emphasis.

Valyrian steel ...

The sword-forging scene not only showed how much the Starks had gotten under Tywin's usually imperturbable facade, but also the man's greed for glory and status. He tried to pass one of the swords on to his son Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), as a bribe for him to give up his post as Knight of the King's Guard and to return to their family seat of Casterly Rock and settle down and start his own dynasty. Jaime refused, uninterested in having kids or breaking one more vow, his vow to protect the King. One wonders if Tywin can be so blind that he doesn't realize that Jaime (and his sister Cersei) have already produced a brood of children. Tywin, in disgust, disowned his first-born, but let him keep the sword.

Jaime: "I suppose you want the sword back."
Tywin: "Keep it. A one handed man with no family needs all the help he can get."

Last season Tywin's son Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) made his bid for Casterly Rock and was rebuffed, both cynically and cruelly by his father. In this episode, "Two Swords," he was tasked as the welcoming committee for some visiting (King Joffrey and Maergery Tyrell) wedding guests, new-to-the-series characters Prince Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) and his lady-love Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) - who just happen to hate the Lannisters and wish them dead. Get in line, folks.

Oberyn: “Tell your father I’m here. Tell him the Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.”

Arya and The Hound

There were some other great check-ins, with Jon Snow and Sam, Maergery and Lady Olenna, Daenerys and her dragons, but the most memorable scene took place at the end, with the series' new favorite duo, Arya (Maisie Williams) and The Hound (Rory McCann).

The Hound: "I'm not a thief."
Arya: "You fight with murdering little boys, but thieving is beneath you."
The Hound: "Man's got to have a code."

The Hound is still traveling through the kingdom,  in search of someone he can ransom his young prize to - a difficult task as her family members have been dropping like flies. The pair come upon some King's men at a roadside inn, up to no good. Arya recognizes one of them, Polliver, as the man who killed her friend Lommy and stole her sword, Needle. What commences is one of the most badass confrontations in the series, with The Hound increasing his cool meter by thousands and Arya coming into her own as an avenger. The last scene, with the two riding off, the smile on Arya's face - was equal parts triumphant and tragic. Can her road get any tougher? We will all just have to tune in and watch it unfold as the season progresses.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Last weekend the kid and I attended the Hatsume Fair at one of our favorite haunts, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. One of the highlights of the afternoon was face painting for Junior. She makes an adorable snow leopard, doncha think?