Review: Over the Garden Wall and On Turning 24

Think 1920s, superb animation, musical interludes, and some of the wittiest and most creative writing you’ve heard in a long while and you will start to get the gist of Over the Garden Wall, my new favorite thing. Over the Garden Wall is a ten episode animated mini series created by Patrick McHale and released on Cartoon Network. The total run time if you binge watch it in its entirety (which I have done multiple times) is about an hour and forty minutes. Each episode is a ten minute bundle of joy and strangeness.

Look at that animation and wonder!

The show follows two brothers, Wirt and Greg, who are lost in the Unknown, a strange place inhabited by strange creatures, magic, darkness, and intrigue. It has a faerie tale/fable-like quality to the narrative and a humor that is on point. Greg and Wirt are hands down some of the funniest and most endearing characters I have had the pleasure of watching in a long time. The basic premise is that the boys are lost in the Unknown and are trying to find their way home. There is a scary and mysterious Beast that must be avoided, a vaguely intimidating and cryptic woodsman, a talking bluebird, and a whole host of amusing and engaging characters and locales from episode to episode.

Weeks after watching it, I still find myself thinking about its story, laughing at its jokes, and quoting its dialogue (“You have beautiful eyes”). Wirt is something of a stick in the mud, which acts as a perfect foil for Greg’s genuine and carefree nature. Greg is positively a whimsical ball of bizarre sunshine and I love it. The show begins as a light but vaguely twisted tale and gets increasingly dark and serious in the most wonderful and compelling way.  At its core, it is a magnificent story about love, brotherhood, and responsibility, but it is surrounded by a palatable wrapper of jokes, fab dialogue, and excellent pacing. It is a true work of art and I cannot recommend it enough.

In other news, today (19 January) is my twenty-fourth birthday. I feel a little bit weird about turning twenty-four. It feels strange in a way no other birthday has to date. I am in my “mid-twenties.” I am hurtling toward adulthood like a bottle rocket. This birthday comes with the unsettling expectation that I should really start to get a grasp on what I want to do with my life. I feel a need to assess what I’ve been doing and what I’m planning.

I’ve been out of school for a little over two years and I’ve really struggled with that. I think it has taken me all of that time to really come to terms with what my postgrad life is and what I can do with it. I write now, daily. I do yoga and think about fitness. I read like it’s my job (sometimes it is my job). I take free online classes when I can and play the ukulele (badly). Just because I’m no longer in school does not mean my life has to be absent of structure, wonderful structure which I love and cherish like few other things on this planet. I have been spending all this time building my own life framework. Neil has been a huge help in that regard as one of the most hardworking and dedicated people I know. He is quite the inspiration and motivator.

I do not have anything figured out. I have been working on a novel that is really just god awful terrible. It kind of gets me down sometimes, but I am really enjoying the process of writing and getting that baby out of my system, even if it is a crying, horrifying infant. I just have to keep up my momentum in writing and in life. There’s really no need to slow down.

I’ve had a wonderful birthday weekend: Friday night dancing, Saturday night house party with my closest friends, Sunday night dinner with my family, and today. My birthday. Relaxing, writing, reading, tea drinking, light shopping. Brunch/lunch. I am immensely grateful for all the wonderful people in my life. I feel so, so, so much love. Thank you all. ❤

Until next time!


A long time ago, we used to be friends

I just finished the third season of Veronica Mars. What follows will be somewhat of a review, but mostly a dumping of my feelings. There may be spoilers. Peruse at your own risk.

I like watching the entirety of a show in what feels like one sitting. Say what you will about binge watching, but I believe there is no greater way to get an intense and slightly obsessive attachment to a collection of fictional characters. It also helps when the show in question has amazing actors with delicious on screen chemistry, sharp, clever writing, and inventive, intriguing plot points.

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Review: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

It is no secret that I am a fan of the Masterpiece Classic series Downton Abbey (despite any annoyance with a certain conclusion of a certain third season). Neil gave me this book for my birthday. He said it was a book he knew I’d like, but that I’d probably never buy for myself. He was right on both accounts.

by the Countess of Carnarvon
by the Countess of Carnarvon

The book is written about the house in which Downton Abbey is actually filmed. The grand estate is named Highclere Castle in real life and it is inhabited by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon to this day (no Crawleys to be found). The book was written by the present-day Countess Fiona about one of her predecessors, the indefatigable Almina, the fifth Countess of Carnarvon. The work is  primarily a history filtered through the point of view of Almina’s life and lifestyle. This means there is a lot of talk of her husband, her children, her children’s children, her children’s spouses, her father, her mother, her husband’s siblings, the staff of Highclere, and then, of course, dignitaries, notable people, and politicians.

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Downton, You Disappoint

I acknowledge that I am years behind on this. Or is it just one year? I don’t know. I have a hard time keeping matters straight in TV land, considering my favorite method of media consumption is a bit on the binge heavy side. That being said, I just recently concluded the third season of Downton Abbey, ending with the “Christmas” special after over a year of grueling watching (I had to keep taking long breaks because I found the content too emotionally gripping). Now I have to say, I am disappoint. *Warning* From this point on there will be CONSIDERABLE and LIFE-ALTERING (is that too much? perhaps) SPOILERS. You may click away now should those things upset you.

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Ladies don’t like Larry

I recently finished the first (and currently only) season of Orange is the New Black. First off, oh my goodness. How good is that show? So good. I am now very, very determined to read the actual memoir (which, if Piper Kerman’s TEDx Talk is any indication, it’s likely phenomenal).

I watched the show with Neil (and toward the end with Liz) and a topic that kept coming up was how much I disliked Larry. Neil couldn’t understand why I felt such  loathing. He even said Larry was one of the characters he identified most with (which considering that he is one of the only male characters on the show that is not a correctional office makes sense). This opinion of dislike isn’t unique to me. Liz also hates Larry. IMDB forum girls don’t like him. Professional television critics find Larry unlikable.

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Round-Up: Life is Content

One thing I like about being home is the microwave. There are a lot of things you can do with a microwave, whole meals you could make, but I like having access to one because I can heat up my tea when it inevitably goes cold because I’ve left it sitting somewhere (the worst). Unintentionally cold tea should be a crime.

In other news, I RECEIVED MY PASSPORT! I am actually going to London. LONDON LONDON LONDON! It makes me feel a little hyperactive, but in the absolutely best way possible. I am less skeptical now that I have my actual passport. I still won’t believe it until I’m standing in the city. And I have tea. London-ness and tea. That will cure my skepticism. I am ridiculously excited.

Also, I have started two books A Lost Lady by Willa Cather and Blankets by Craig Thompson. They are very different. I’m going to finish the Cather novel first methinks.

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