Miz Shoes

Miz Shoes Reviews: The Book of Life

It has been a very long time since Miz Shoes turned in a book report, but here goes.

I just finished The Book of Life, the (per the web site) long-awaited finale to a trilogy. That's true. The release date was set back many times, and the book was languishing in my Amazon basket, waiting. I got it, dragged it home and sat down to read. What a freaking disappointment.

The first two thirds of the book are back story for anyone who hasn't read the first two books. Characters are rehashed and highlighted, relationships briefly noted and idiosyncrasies duly recounted and beaten to death by repetition. The protagonist's house, which spent the first two books becoming its own sentient character is left dangling. The plot line is brought up to the present and once all the pieces are in place for the climactic and violent resolution, the author handles it thusly: Well, that happened, and everyone got hurt and needed time to recover and then, happily ever after, with enough loose ends to write another three books.

No, really. You slog through three volumes of diminishing interest and writing quality to get to the big battle between the good witches and the vampires who love them and the dark, evil, string-pulling psycho army of darkness, and what you get is a long chapter of lead up, with lots of gory nastiness that turns out to be illusion only, and then a battle that isn't written at all. It's just: and then they fought and the good guys won, but not without pain, but we aren't going to get into that either, just imagine it for yourself, and the hero is badly hurt, but we'll let him heal in privacy and come back to him when he's better.

It feels like the publishers wanted another block-buster series, and talked an author writing her story spread out over three books, when all she had in her was one long volume. I spent the summer re-reading some other romantical/fantasy/historical series (Dorothy Dunnett's House of Nicolo, which is absolutely exquisite) and the entire Outlander up to and including Gabaldon's latest volume, and not only is Ms Harkness not in the same league as those authors, she isn't even ready for the minors.

But what really irked me, what was really just laziness on the part of the author and her editors was the running "joke" that the heroine's mother and the house itself were huge Fleetwood Mac fans, and so the 1975 album "Fleetwood Mac" is on continuous play in the aether, but Diana (our hero) hates it. While this is an acceptable, if not truly witty gag, the album in question is repeatedly referred to as their first album. It is not. Even the most cursory of glances at Fleetwood Mac's Wikipedia entry or discography would have made that clear. It was the first album with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. The band itself had been around since 1967. They were a respectable, if not huge, draw during the British Blues era. It is this complete ignorance of rock and roll history that chaps Miz Shoes' ass so very, very much.

Lack of historical accuracy and perspective is what soured me on "Mad Men" as well. In the first season there was a scene where someone has just returned from a Florida vacation to say that mosquitos aren't the only thing in Boca with big noses. It was a throw away line to indicate complacent anti-Semitism. Except. I'm a Florida native. In 1960, the moneyed Yankees wouldn't have been going to Boca, they would have been going to Palm Beach or Miami Beach, to the Fountainbleu or the Deauville or even to Cuba to gamble. If you can't be arsed to the do research, then don't use the references.

Miz Shoes

I Dreamed A Dream

This has to happen. This needs to happen.

I was making potato pierogi, and idly thinking about things I’d seen on Facebook today, as one does. This Bruce Springsteen/Jimmy Fallon piece ripping Gov. Christie is brilliant.

I was thinking that Bruce was right in saying that Fallon does a better Bruce than Bruce, when the penny dropped: there was comedy gold to be mined today. Remember Dueling Brandos? I see Dueling Bosses, in a three way with Fallon, Adam Sandler and Bruce his ownself. Someone needs to get on that, stat. People need to call people.

Miz Shoes

Miz Shoes Reviews, Sorta

Well, it is way too late in the season to begin recapping Sons of Anarchy, but Miz Shoes has to say this about the last episode: Adam Arkin.

Halfway through the opening sequence, I turned to the RLA and said, who is directing this espisode? This is beautiful. At the end of scene, I stood up and applauded. The writing was beautiful, but of course, but the acting and the directing in this espisode were stellar. Again, bravo and golf claps and some serious respect to the director. I have always loved watching any of the Arkin clan at work in front of the camera, but this just blew me off the sofa.

In other news, today is the RLA’s birthday, and I am baking him a red velvet cake and making a promise to him: I will try to stop playing with wool in the house. Until I move into the free-standing studio, I will content myself with non-alergen-filled projects like beading and hand sewing. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Do or do not, there is no try.

Miz Shoes

Miz Shoes Reviews: Davinci’s Drivel

Miz Shoes has a confession: she has, in less than two hours, become a devotee of DaVinci. Oh, not the maestro I studied in art school, nor the magician in the titular fictions of Dan Brown, but the anachronistic, badly written, desperately acted, beautifully filmed and costumed DaVinci’s Demons on a cable network the name of which escapes me, because I am watching it on the RLA’s iphone routed through the giant monitor that functions as a television.

The writing is execrable. No, calling it execrable is an insult to hacks and shitty writing everywhere. It is anachronistic to a degree that would embarrass a freshman writer in film school—a bad film school. Not only is it bad, it assumes that the audience has the art history knowledge and attention span of a gnat, and utterly incapable of following a plot or remembering relationships. The actors, bless their hearts, each and every one, struggle mightily with dialog that makes George Lucas look like, to be appropriately historic in reference, Shakespeare. While beautiful, the title animation is reminiscent of the title animation in Pillars of Earth. The slow-mo is part kung-fu movie, part Matrix. And yet…

And yet Miz Shoes is compelled by this. During her school years, Miz Shoes spent many an hour in rapt attention to the lectures of William Betch, the best damned art history professor the University of Miami was ever blessed to have on faculty. To see those sketches, as well known and dear to me as family photos, to see them come alive, no matter how thick the cheese crust, is bliss. To see the scale models of his wings, to see, however fanciful and improbable, the test flight… well, Miz Shoes swoons. It doesn’t matter that the character is written to be half Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock and half Peck’s Bad Boy. It doesn’t matter that the Pope’s Nephew and Assassin has done graduate-level work at the School of Bad Robert Downey, Jr. Impressions and Teeth Gnashing. It doesn’t matter that the writing is, well, has Miz Shoes mentioned that the writing is bad? She has? She hasn’t mentioned it enough. But it just doesn’t matter.

When’s the next episode?

Miz Shoes

Uno Mas Tequilla!

This summer is speeding by in a haze of good times had with good friends: all back-lit and golden and soft-focus, like a cheesy beer ad aimed at the demographic of late-season baby boomers, or you know, me and my peers. In any event, we have been having a blast, fueling it with a soundtrack of girl groups, rockabilly, bar bands and tiki/exotica. We started with the Hukilau, and Miz Shoes is here to testify that she is now deeply, truly in love with Grinder Nova. UNO MAS TEQUILLA! We were joined by the Fabulous Flamingos, and in the event, the Hukilau proved to be more fun than any of us had imagined, and we all have great imaginations. One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting MeduSirena, who has reawakened my childhood obsession with

dream of becoming a mermaid. There is going to be a lot more sequined tail in Miz Shoes future.

The following weekend, we left for the annual left coast week. This is a ritual gathering of our pod (to steal MeduSirena’s term). Most of us are women of a certain age who have been friends for either half or all of our lives, depending. We gather on the beach to soak up the sun, reconnecting with our selves and each other, and admitting to our group our alpha male, the Renowned Local Artist. He demures, but he is.

This year found us gathered for the Summer Solstice, and we were crones, practicing great healing magic on the one who needed it most. We swam in the Gulf; we were mermaids and we sang our siren song to the RLA. We ate communal meals and rendezvoused with friends, Total Wine and the world’s best GoodWill store.

And now it’s time to pile up the towels and blast the sound track: it’s time for the annual tank wars and bbq/pool party.

Miz Shoes

The Amusement Park Rises Bold and Stark

I’m blowing out of here for a week. The Girl Cousin and I are going on vacation together. (With our husbands, it isn’t girls on the town… at least, we aren’t planning on that.) In talking over our trip, we realized that we have somehow managed, despite our years, to have never gone on vacation together before.

Believe it or not, this came as a surprise to us. We always spent our summers with our mutual grandparents in Newport, RI. We have shared memories of Grandpa’s vegetable garden, of Grandma’s raspberry bushes, of the Big Rock, of the corner candy store, of our cousins across the street, of our Aunt Annie’s terrible, horrible cooking. Except, we went in alternate months, because our parents couldn’t leave the store at the same time. Shared memories, yes, but not shared vacations.

So here we are, about to embark on a trip to, of all places, Disney World, and for Christmas week, of all times. Christmas IS a shared memory for us. Having sore feet and legs on Christmas Eve is something we know well, and so do not fear the Disney lines. We used to work the wrapping table at the store during the holidays. Between us, I think we got it down to less than thirty seconds a box and no more than three pieces of tape. EVER. More than three, and you faced the wrath of Max.

For the past month, I have been torturing her with pleas that we need to buy, and wear, matching Minnie Mouse Princess ears. Neither one of us is exactly sure how serious I am.

You’ve been warned. We’re off to see the Mouse. There may be ears involved. Pictures to follow.

Miz Shoes


RJ hit me up with a meme. I am not totally averse to memes, and since she singled me out not once, but twice on this, I’m going to play. The instructions say to use one word answers and to tag another 6 bloggers. I won’t tag, but feel free to play, leaving a comment with a link to your answers.

1. Where is your cell phone? purse

2. Your hair? shagged

3. Your mother? zombie

4. Your father? dead

5. Your favorite food? Indian

6. Your dream last night? boring

7. Your favorite drink? martini

8. Your dream/goal? creating

9. What room are you in? studio

10. Your hobby? fiber

11. Your fear? powerlessness

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here

13. Where were you last night? here

14. Something you aren’t? unmemorable

15. Muffins? no

16. Wish list item? Paris

17. Where did you grow up? Stuart

18. Last thing you did? drink

19. What are you wearing? dress

20. Your TV? off

21. Your pets? varied

22. Friends? special

23. Your life? feh

24. Your mood? feh

25. Missing someone? Jayne

26. Vehicle? Smart

27. Something you’re not wearing? shoes

28. Your favorite store? Picasso’sMoon (I had to cheat, it has two names)

29.Your favorite color? purple

30. When was the last time you laughed? today

31. Last time you cried? yesterday

32. Your best friend? Renee

33. One place you go to over and over again? Sarasota

34. One person who e-mails you regularly? Bobby

35. Favorite place to eat? Gil’s

Miz Shoes

Happy HallowTweet

This is the big day, and I have spent the morning culling photos and scanning. I bring you a Shoes Family Halloweens Through the Years. First up is Grandma Shoes On My Mother’s Side. Here we see her modeling a grass skirt, circa WWII, some sailor brought them home for my mom and her mom. Under the coconut trees on Grandma’s front yard (the side facing the river). Check out the coy little ankle.


And then Mummy, probably the same year she dressed me in the gypsy costume. Taken at Seymour’s Inn Halloween Dance, Jensen Beach in the early 1950s. She was something fierce, my mummy.


The fun couple that was my Mummy and Daddy: all taken at Seymour’s. I wish we had a Seymour’s today. A classic road house: a bar and very casual family dining at the foot of a popular fishing bridge, across the river from a popular public beach.


Artist and Majorette


Peter (of Peter and the Wolf, with his popgun) and Mary Mary Quite Contrary.


Little Lord Fauntleroy and Little Bo-Peep


Miz Shoes in Peacock Drag (it was the night that the RLA first told me he loved me)

And Miz Shoes as a wood nymph, loosely interpreted.


Entry two for the Great Halloween Tweet

My parents loved Halloween, too. I remember them dressing up and going to some dinner dance every year, and working on their costumes. My father dressed as Little Lord Fauntleroy and my mother as Little Bo-Peep one year and I still have parts of Mummy’s costume. This picture is from long before I was born, and it hung over my father’s desk in the back room of the store. It’s still one of my favorites. That’s Daddy in drag, and my Uncle Irving in the zoot suit.


Miz Shoes

As the Twig is Bent, So Grows the Tree

Here is your humble narrator, age 2. She is dressed (by her mother) for Halloween. Note the skirt. My mother was very fond, in later years, of showing it to anyone who would hold still long enough. It was all of 12 inches long, and my mother never ceased to marvel at how it came to my ankles. I was such a tiny, tiny child.

Anyway, except for the scuffed mary janes, my wardrobe is today, some 50 (very) odd years later, almost identical. I still wear too much jewelry, hangy-downy earrings and maxi skirts. Also, not so much with the do-rags. But basically, this is still me.

Happy Halloween.


Miz Shoes

Ya Gotta Shake it Till the Life is Gone

Did you guys miss me? I missed you. All of you. Both of you. Terribly. I had no idea how much I am tied to the world by my laptop, my blog, my twitter feed, until my laptop died. Right after I posted my Project Runway recap two weeks ago, the hard drive in this machine went belly up.

I had to buy a new hard drive and bribe a Mac Genius with home made pie, but we were able to recover all my data and so here I am, and with SO MUCH to say.

First up, though, I must get the code set for RJ’s Great Halloween Tweet. I have a little something for you.

Miz Shoes

Domo Arrigato

Mechanical Intelligent Zombie Skilled in Hazardous Observation and Efficient Sabotage

Get Your Cyborg Name

Miz Shoes

Springsteen Time for Hitler

How have I missed the Hitler meme on You Tube? The one where he finds out the subtitle guy has been having fun is a classic. But nothing can compare to Hitler’s first Springsteen show.

Miz Shoes

Dust in the Wind

No. Just fucking no. David Carradine, dead. Time to break out the Kung Fu collection.

I’m saddened by this.

Miz Shoes

The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

I need to issue a disclaimer. I LOATHE that song. I LOATHE Genesis. But YOU try to find rock lyrics about sheep.

Anyway, I present you with extreme sheep herding:

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