Once Upon a Time

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Because of a personality flaw which makes me susceptible to various (mostly harmless) addictions, I’ve been lost in the enchanted forest and the town of Storybrooke, Maine for days and days.  I’m blaming it on Netflix.  I rarely watch television because of all the wasted minutes in life which are spent enduring commercials, but put a good series of shows together back to back with no interruptions, and I am hooked.

Once Upon a Time is a jumbled up mess of worlds and fairy tales and elusive happy endings.  The best stories always start with those four words, don’t you think?  That was my absolute favourite beginning to any narrative when I was a child, and I loved to add more details and adventures and complications to make the bed time story go on and on.  They lived happily ever after was always put off for as long as I could keep my eyes open.  And then after that on into my dreams. I don’t think I’ve entirely grown up yet.

It started off with mild curiosity and pressing play on episode one.  Then on to the next episode and the next and the next, until suddenly it was midnight and my head had turned into a pumpkin full of magic beans and I did not want this amazing fairy tale to end.  It is well written and it is well-played.  A lot of the casting seems magically inspired.

By sitting glued to my I-Pad lately, (that is every waking moment I’m not interrupted by tiresome things like going to work), I have managed to make it well into the middle of season two. For every resolved problem there are inevitably two or three new ones that pop up, and now ‘happily ever after’ appears to be everyone’s never-ending quest.  Kind of like real life when you think about it.  Eventually you realize happiness is all in the joy of the hunt and the experiences, and not in the outcome you thought you wanted after all.

It’s never time wasted if you learn something, right?  So here’s what I’ve learned so far.

1.  Sometimes you do the right thing for the wrong reason, and sometimes you do the wrong thing for the right reason.  Either way, shit is bound to happen. 

2.  Magic beans create portals to different worlds.  You can also use wishing wells, magic top hats and enchanted wardrobes. And possibly various other things as long as they’re sprinkled with sufficient amounts of fairy dust. 

3.  Not everyone who is bad is bad to the bone.  If you look deep enough you will discover their redeeming qualities.

4.  Powerful curses can be broken.

5.  Always be careful what you wish for and how you wish for it.  When you get it, you might discover that what you said wasn’t really what you meant at all.

6.  Magic always comes with a price. 

7.  Snow White was not just another pretty face. 

8.  People who mean well can generally screw things up just about as fast as those who wish you harm.

9.  When Snow White and Prince Charming are your grandparents on your mother’s side, your other grandfather is a powerful wizard of dark magic and you’ve been adopted by the wicked queen, guess what.  Your life is going to be pretty weird.

10.  Everyone has a story.

Be warned, once you start watching this series it may be very difficult to stop.  It sucks the real life ambition right out of you and glues you to your couch where you will sit mesmerized as if time is standing still.  Chances are, you won’t even try to escape until the story ends.

once upon

A Book of Many Wordy Pages

“We don’t need lists of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts; we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.”
— Philip Pullman

I’d really like to give this book a glowing review because so many people profess to have read it and loved it, calling it witty, satirical, poignant, charming, and delightful fun.  But I can’t, because it was none of those things to me.  It took me a month to slog through three hundred pages.  I couldn’t drum up any emotion for the main character who for some reason or other for me did not ring true.   I guess I really don’t care what New York was like in the 1930’s and the story never seemed to be going anywhere.  Random people kept popping in and out of her life or disappearing altogether never to be heard from again. It was like reading someones boring journal entries and finally getting to the end and thinking, really?  That’s it?

I am definitely in the minority here, and was probably just in a bad mood for a month, so don’t let this deter you from reading other reviews and the book itself.  It would be a very colorless reading world if we weren’t all inspired by different things.

200 Words, Real Fast

Bedtime story. THE DARING FROGGIE. Ready? Here we go.

Once upon a time on the border of a brook

A wicked little froggie who had never read a book —

(Yes I know it’s a poem, and that frogs can’t actually read. Poems are more concise. Concise means they get to the point faster. Okay, you’re right, it does mean short.)

Who had never read a story or a funny little rhyme,

Had a sad and tragic ending once upon a time.

(No of course I’m not trying to make you have nightmares! The froggie was wicked, remember? When wicked things have sad and tragic endings that’s a good thing isn’t it? And don’t you get tired of all those happily ever afters? I know I do.)

The little froggie, sad to say, was very fond of flies,

And thought on this unlucky day that he had found a prize.

(Please, do not feel sorry for the fly. For all we know he was wicked too. And the frog is only doing what frogs do. What, do you want him to just sit there on his lily pad and starve to death?)

“Up, up I go,” said Froggie; “I can climb as well as hop;

I only hope he stays right there until I reach the top.

(I don’t know why he didn’t just use his long tongue – perhaps he was out of range. Those things don’t reach clear across ponds as far as I know. But yes, it WOULD be cool if they did.)

“I wish this wouldn’t bend so much” said Froggie, going higher:

“I wish that flies would shut their eyes and come a little nigher.

But he is such a good one and he looks so very fine,

I think that I must have him, for it’s time for me to dine.”

(Well, if I told you at the beginning he was going to fall off a leaf it would have totally ruined all the excitement and suspense! Just listen – we’re almost done.)

So up he went, regardless of the danger he was in;

He saw a duck below him, but he didn’t care a pin’

But suddenly behind his back the reed began to crack,

And all he heard was just one word, and that one word was

“QUACK”.

(Why are you saying Eewwww? The duck was just doing what ducks do! No, I don’t think it’s a good idea to tell your teacher a story about how a bad guy gets eaten by a duck. Although, yes, I agree that would make a more thrilling story. )

(No, I don’t want to tell you another one, our two minutes are up. Well, the two-minute rule – um, that would be the bedtime story sheriff who came up with that one, and we don’t want him showing up here to enforce that rule, do we?)

(No, not being able to read doesn’t make you wicked. It’s time to turn out the light, okay? Okay. Goodnight. I love you too.)

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