“Aurora’s Year”

The swell of newness
Fills like a new dawn
And spirals out and away as life stretches through each day

New rises like an Aurora,
Who may sleep through her dreams
Or puncture them,
Or even face the cold stone face of death,
But even in these fates there is beauty and there may be magic.

Bright and sharp as a briar rose,
The dawn shows ways to care
And ensures us surprises, both royal and small.

For life congregates like a ball, every so often,
And others come together round you, from far and wide
And all we may do is smile or pass the time dreaming,
But we know these friends as we don’t know our fates,
And we taste these magics of games, lights, and fun,
As the colors and shapes of our wishes keep changing.

These storied times when newness meets old,
Keep us spinning round and get our stories told.
We’re free to walk in dreams and know futures that may or may not come to pass,
To put old cares to sleep and reunite our true loves,
To replace the steps and trod no more spindles,
But spin us the wheel and breathe in the life it kindles.

So christen this day, with its precious gift
And let no one deny you any change you can lift,
For any dance in this year can bring you to joy, so long as you step into the dawn and you try.

Serenity and good energy go with you in 2014.


Once Upon a Time 2×21 “Second Star to the Right”

This is the episode where they stopped trying to wrap things up for the finale and just threw things into a box.  Fairly sturdy box, though.  SPOILERS:


1. Am I the only one who thought the “I love you”s between Emma and Neal were too abrupt and forced?  Perhaps if Neal, as someone who thinks they’re about to die, had started it as opposed to Emma, who was in denial, I could have bought it.  As it is, I just think that there goes another storyline that could have been interesting, super-condensed and disposed of.

2. I feel Disney really missed out on opportunities for fun references here.  I knew hoping for some kind of “Great Mouse Detective” thing in Big Ben was probably too much of a long shot, but shouldn’t there at least have been chimney sweeps?  A Mary Poppins hat?  A chimney sweep’s broom???  Come on, people!

3. This Neverland story doesn’t make sense to me.  If the Shadow just wants boys-Lost Boys-then why bother with Wendy in the first place?  If it was supposed to be a preview so her brothers would want to come, the shadow was pretty stupid to let her stay so long or tell her about the soil rule.  Why on earth would Bae think pots are a good defenses?  If the real plan was to get everyone in the crawl space, why not start there?  If the Shadow started showing up at the same time as Bae, wouldn’t he wanted Bae instead of the brothers in the first place?  How was Bae surprised about winding up in Neverland?  If he had a lighter up his sleeve to make Shadow go away, why didn’t he just try fighting with it before making the deal to leave the Darlings alone?  And on top of all that…taking in a hungry urchin is one thing, but letting him sleep in the same room as your preteen daughter seems screamingly out of place anywhere, but particularly in Victorian London.

4. Most important thing in this episode: Maleficent lives!!! Hurrah!  I’m going to go ahead and decide that she also survived Greg and Tamara due to that super-survival spell and just shape-shifted again.  Perhaps into a raven akin to her companion in Sleeping Beauty this time?  I felt incredibly cheated that we didn’t get to see the real fight with her.  Her shape and strength was amazing and even Hook managed a good line in her presence.

5. Okay, having Regina use her magic ‘obliviate’ just so she can tell the audience what she wants to do, since it’s obvious it makes no sense for her to be saying this to Henry, takes me right out of the story.

6. Also, what’s with the torture?  If they’d referred to things like no one withstanding the machine or this being Regina’s pit of despair I’d be okay with it, but…it just wasted time .

7. The minute Tamara said “unholy” I checked out.  Not that I was ever interested in that storyline to begin with.  However, if their headquarters can just inform Tamara that gem=a curse failsafe, then…First, that’s insane.  Second, I want this to go back to Jekyll and Hyde, the good doctor founded this to try and stop Hyde before its magic curse killed him.  Third, shouldn’t they be interested in using that technology whatever to make more anti-magic shields or whatever, prevention rather than eradication?

8. This complaint is late since haven’t reviewed the last couple episodes, but: You’ve got a field of magic portals that are your only hope for your desired future and you don’t leave anyone on guard???  I feel Granny or Ruby would have thought of that.

9. It’s a little difficult to take seriously the saying “No one steals from a dwarf!” seeing as most of them start life by doing grunt work for the fairies’ dust, which all goes to them, and so they don’t really have possessions to steal.  Even outside of that, they stick in packs, so it should at least be “No one steals from dwarves”?


Overall: Thank God that whole Tamara-Emma-Neal love triangle no one really committed to can stop bungling around.  Kudos for Regina for keeping everyone on point with what’s important.  Who wants to bet Antoine’s got some extra beans on his person since he’s learned it’s good to have failsafes too?  Anyhow, not totally great, but not a bad showing, either.  We’ll see how the finale goes.

Once Upon a Time 2×8 ‘Into the Deep’

Well, the season seems to have hit its stride now.


Spoilery Notes:


1. The rules for these hearts are getting way too complicated, now.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but if it’s that simple to turn heartless corpses into zombies, when Regina was royally pissed off and grasping at anything that might spoil Snow and Charming’s lives, perhaps she might have tried her veritable army of heart zombies before destroying her homeland, facing a huge life transition, and killing the person she loved most??  I suppose this might be a a stolen-heart option that Regina didn’t learn.  Still, this bothers me.  Plus, now there’s the puppeteer version of stolen-heart usage.  This puts a new light on Regina’s dealings with Graham when she took him as her sex slave.  Perhaps puppetry only extends to talking and you can’t use it to enforce actions?  Or perhaps this is a way in which Regina is less monstrous than Cora-she simply tells Graham how much power she has over him, but still gives him the freedom of choice about whether to abide by her rules or face the consequences?  Or maybe Regina didn’t know that, either?  In which case, either she was still a lousy student in her power black leather or Rumplestiltskin had majorly changed his curriculum.  Also, so are hearts two-way listening devices?  In order for it to be useful Cora needed to know when Aurora found the others and what she was being asked.  However, we didn’t hear any voices coming through the heart, and also that seems like a bigger magical leap.  Hearts contain life-yes, therefore they can reanimate bodies-fine, people can “speak from the heart”-bit of a semantic-heavy stretch but it does work from the basic full-body control and centralized power of the heart, so alright…I suppose you can also “listen with your heart,” but that’s only got semantics and no other power, tradition, or biological support.  It’s hard to buy, and the show did nothing to try and sell this two-way puppetry power.  Also, it begs the question-if you could just do that than why bother to kill Lancelot and support being in two places?  Surely it’d be simpler to just hang out with his heart and puppet him.  Perhaps she tried to just take his heart, but he was such a good fighter she had to actually kill him?  With so many heart possibilities around, I just don’t understand why these uses do not seem to have come into play before now.  It makes the villains either slow, boring, or unbelievable.  Think things through, show, we do have a complicated backstory to line information up with.


2. They seem to be making Cora more like the classic Maleficent all the time: the close crow pet, those heart-zombies did rather resemble the dust-colored minions in “Sleeping Beauty”, she shape-shifts…Plus, this episode was filled with other “Sleeping Beauty” references.  This interests me.  I prefer Cora as the show’s version of Maleficent than the Maleficent from last season in human form.


3. There should be more exploration of Belle and Real World things.  They are fun.  Also, they make condiments magical.


4. Rumplestiltskin, you had best compose a policy on what level of incident requires you to break a date.  Otherwise I foresee you  never being able to order Belle dessert.  And if condiments are magical, she will be blown away by things involving candy or smothered in chocolate.


5. Please, show writers, please let that squid ink be related to Ursula from “The Little Mermaid.”  That is the way to make things awesome.


6. This necklace does not seem to be all that Gold promised it would be.  What’s up with that?  Also, David, when you say you’ll guard something with your life, I expect you not to just leave it lying on the floor YOU ARE TRYING TO SMASH.  Plain luck that it landed close enough to you to find again after you got through, and that was your first gift from your grandson, even if it’s not turning out to be all that useful!  I would say thank goodness he’s asleep now and can’t run around making me more irritated at him, except I’m quite sure the show will still manage to work him into all the episodes.  At least he’ll be cut off from having what I consider dis-satisfactory relations with Henry or inadequately running the town.  Just because George is a destructive douche does not make him wrong.  Maybe now everyone will listen to Ruby, as they should.


7. I would also like to say “thank goodness the show finally took a stand on Hook’s personality,” but I  foresee them still trying to swing him back into the light before everything’s done.  Personally, the times when I’ve liked him best is when he’s been Cora’s pretty boytoy.  He’s good at that and it keeps his douche-swaggery in check.  Plus, there’s more looking at him and actually hearing sense since Cora does most of the talking.  It’s a good deal.  I can even give up all ideas of Captain Jack Sparrow references if Hook can just stay in his place and stop trying to fill all the male roles the show wants going on at once, even though they are contradictory: anguished lover who lost, cocky player, rebel boy, junior villain, bad boy who needs saving, boy with a crush….get over it, guys-he can’t pull all that off.  Too many roles for only one actual part.


8. The original room David found himself Sleep Cursed to is reminiscent of the Phantom of the Opera’s torture chamber.  It would be an interesting twist if the reason the Phantom looks so different and needs to wear a mask is because he never found out how to get out of the burning room, so his flesh is constantly awful, and it was PTSD trauma from sleeping for so long that made him want to create things like his torture chamber.  Can we get that cross-over in here?


9. If Cora was such a monster and had such an army of hearts from killing people, why does no one else seem to know about her?  Did she only kill orphans with no friends?





Once Upon a Time “Lady of the Lake”

I know, I’m late with this, but I have some notes (involving spoilers):


1. Everyone needs to lay off Aurora.  Yes, her lines are kinda whiney and her costume designates her the ‘princessey’ one, so she’s an easy target for derision.  But let’s think about this: she woke up to find her whole world gone-everything was changed, she couldn’t stay at in the place she knew, and all the things she knew about her world were gone, but she was willing to be happy anyway because at least she had her love.  Then her love died, and she was still game for going along and making the best of things because at least perhaps she could avenge him.  Then her new leader, in the new, uncomfortable place which was all she had left, not only denied her vengeance, but offered the people who did, in fact, play in to Phillip’s death comfort, help, and friendship-in short, all the things she no longer had.  To top it all off, Mulan-the only person who is even familiar at this point, is to go with them and left Aurora alone in this dirty, awful, small, and for her infinitely lonely place.  Is it any wonder she came after them-if not to keep to her vengeance plan, at least to stay with the only connection to familiarity, friendship, and Phillip she had left?  Just the fact that she had been trying for happiness in the first place after that waking up proves that she’s a very willing, brave, and great-hearted gal, when you really think about it.  I have no doubt that now there’s at least something new for her to cling to now, as a plan, she’ll swiftly turn out to be a good ally.  Also, to be fair, she is not dressed for walking in the woods at all.


2. Last week’s Regina Redemption felt a bit quick and surface to me, but this episode I had to really applaud her for her actions with Henry.  I expect much more of these interactions with him will swiftly drive her back to the dark side, and was surprised she resisted even one.  I salute her.


3. Henry really should’ve known better than to stand her up, as well.  However, the blame still rests chiefly on David, for trying to shut him out of everything.  If Henry wasn’t trying to prove his usefulness to his grandpa, he might’ve had thoughts to spare for Regina.  Luckily, the end of this episode showed grandpa finally acting like a good guardian and showing proper interest in Henry.


4. Okay, Charming’s work by the cabin was badass.  He certainly worked at redeeming himself this week.


5. I breathed a sigh of relief when Lancelot was really dead.  There were just so many things…First, if you’re going to do King Arthur, do it right-not just cameos and references flung around. Second- actually, nevermind.  It’s too much to go through and after all, he’s dead.  It’ll be okay.


6. Seriously, no one asks Emma about killing the dragon in Storybrooke?  Last time I checked, Snow was not around for that story and might’ve been proud, or at least interested enough to find out if it’s true that Maleficent’s really dead?


7. Jefferson’s facial expressions should have a much larger role in this story because they’re amazing!


8. Why are people always questioning Red?  Always listen to Red-from everything we’ve seen so far, unquestioning obedience to her would make life a lot easier for everyone.  Perhaps if Snow had just left when Red said to she never would’ve been captured in the first place.  Granted, it’s Lancelot so she should’ve been, but on the other hand-this Lancelot is not really Lancelot, so.


9. Snow’s battle gear is ridiculous.  Her gloves are clean white, she’s wearing WHITE for crying out loud, her hair’s in an attractive coif, the sensibility of pants is almost totally undone by the long coat, her vision might be impaired in crucial situations by the collar and puffy sleeves…ridiculous.  This should be Snow having-a-picnic attire, not military garb.


Once Upon a Time 2×1 “Broken”


1. The reunion between Emma and her parents was every bit as awkward as anticipated.  I suspect a lot of the resentments about Emma’s upbringing were immediately thrown in there mainly to distract everyone from the sheer awkwardness of their age discrepancies.  David’s interaction with Henry made me quite irritated with him-he’s only interested in using him bolster his own self-image and determination by impressing them on Henry-probably subconsciously as he clearly means well, but that’s all I saw.  Of everyone in his family YOU do not know this kid-you could talk to him, ask him what he thinks, thank him for believing in you (I think Mary mentioned things like this to him) or pushing Emma to save everyone?  No?  I cannot be behind this as a proper family meeting.

2. I have many feelings about Rumplestiltskin.  After the last episode I had a lot of questions for him, and the answers don’t really alter my need to sit him down and have a chat.  As far as why Belle knows he’ll be able to canoodle with Belle after magic is brought to Storybrooke, I suppose the whole “magic works differently here”, already covering a multitude of sins, can also manage to cover for Rumple’s ability to look normal and kiss Belle.  My criticism that as a looks-conscious man Rumple should’ve leaped to redress Belle did get addressed.  I was both glad to see Rumple talking fashion with Belle and sad that it came up mainly as an excuse to be alone instead of the sincere thing it should’ve been.  It did seem that everyone else was too busy reuniting and getting angry mobbish that Rumple’s store was safe, but still-I would expect people to be trying to get back their objects anytime now.  The dagger, though…he’s really still going with leaving it in the woods, where these people run around regularly, knowing that Ruby’s got wolf powers for finding objects and that he’s actually shown Pinochio (who may not be dead and if he was I don’t think Rumple necessarily knew it) where its hiding spot is?  That seems like the height of stupidity and I expect more of him.

3. I was happy with the show’s take on Sleeping Beauty’s kingdom “sleeping for years” along with her.  Phillip is clearly the dashing hero I want him to be.  Unfortunately, the love triangle with Mulan meant that their feminine-stereotype fight, which might have led to really awesome feminist breakthroughs or at least a shattering of said stereotypes, led only to a love-triangle.  This is not okay.

4. Our clues for the new guy are: he’s in a big city, he’s got a postcard, there’s a significant pigeon.  Right now the strongest possibilities of the ones I’ve seen seem to be the White Rabbit or Peter Pan, as both of those had the ability to traverse worlds.  My personal theory is that he’s the boy who befriended Pinochio on Pleasure Island.  Pinochio may well have confided in his best friend his mission, his conversation with the Blue Fairy may have been about the sending of this postcard to an address at a ‘certain time’, or Pinochio may have survived and sent it himself.  Further evidence comes from the pigeon-in Disney’s Pinochio he found out where Gepetto went because of a message dropped to him by some birds that resembled doves or pigeons.  Hence, the significant pigeon points this way.  Also, this version of Pleasure Island IS a part of the normal world, so of course he would be there.

5. Dr Whale is unknown by David.  And possibly Regina, though was an integral person who collaborated with her, which argues she is lying.  He is a doctor.  He is a womanizer.  Is he Smee?  Smee performed caretaking duties, is tied to the sea, and could be imagined as a womanizer pirate like the others.  I like the idea that he’s the wizard from Wizard of Oz-he could have ballooned in from FTL, or passed through there, which would explain how he got there-but he would be unknown.  The wizard performed ‘operations’ on heads, hearts, etc., so could easily become a doctor.  The wizard is  a natural collaborator, explaining his switch from cooperating so well with Regina to hating her so much.  He’s manipulative, which could lead to lying and womanizing.  Also, perhaps his balloon was named or shaped or bore the image of a whale.  It could totally work.

6. Where is Jefferson???  He is needed here.


First Frost

First Frost

By: Liz DeJesus


Musa Publishing Imprint: Euterpe 2012

A young adult fantasy review


Bianca’s life revolves around her mother’s family-run museum.  This museum is special because it holds artifacts from fairy tales, such as Snow White’s apple and Sleeping Beauty’s spinning wheel.  More importantly, the museum is a legacy that has always passed to the women of the Frost family.  At seventeen, Bianca Frost feels ready to break away from the inheritance, the tradition, and the magical objects of the museum.  After all, magic can’t be real.  Unfortunately, the truth about magic and fairy tales proves itself to Bianca in a most brutal way-sending her on a quest to discover her own powers, rescue her loved ones, and enter the story begun by the famous First Frost.

DeJesus writes with timely, vivacious humor.  First Frost is full of references to current sensations like Tina Fey and tokidoki, as well as to the Grimm’s tales.  This flamboyant tone moves the book at a quick rate and makes it easy to digest.  On the other hand, this persistently light feel occasionally overrides the influence of the plot.  It is difficult to sympathize and connect with characters who don’t seem to be taking their own crisis very seriously.  The dashes of romance and sprinkling of real feelings add layers, but don’t necessarily create fully fleshed-out characters.  However, the charm of this book lies in the alluring items, the rambling journey, and the colorful atmosphere.  Too much psychological depth or focus on the heroine’s many obstacles would have turned this into a very different work than the sweet, delicious medley DeJesus’s story is.

First Frost is the literary equivalent of frozen yogurt, covered with many tempting toppings.  It’s not traditional ice cream, and the toppings might leave some tastes less emphasized than you’d expect, but it’s a sweet, cool treat for the summer.


Sleeping Beauty as Stalker

Breezes from Wonderland » Blog Archive » Sleeping Beauty as Stalker.


“With Disney in production on a Sleeping Beauty film with  Angelina Jolie starring Maleficent, producer Neal Moritz is moving forward with a comedy take of  the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that turns the slumbering sweetie into a pesky stalker.

The 21 Jump Street producer is developing a modern-day retelling that finds the male protagonist accidentally awakening Sleeping Beauty and finding that he can’t get rid of the lovestruck heroine.”


Here’s the thing about this: doesn’t it sound just like the beginning of Twilight?  There’s a ‘special’ guy (prince/vampire/just rich guy(?), what’s the difference in this vampire fetish age?) who attracts the attention of a young girl.  The young girl feels this man is the source of her ‘awakened’ self, her interest in this new world she finds herself in, and refuses to let him shake her off.  If this Sleeping Beauty starts stalking the guy without knowing what makes him ‘special’ then the similarities get even scarier.  At least a prince’s sparkles, no matter what time period he’s in, are likely to be confined to his clothes.


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