It's the most wonderful time of the year

EEEEEE it is December 24th! This means two important things:

1. My “Best Books of 2010, Most Anticipated of 2011” post is up at the Book Smugglers!

I won’t be around till later this evening to answer comments, but I am excited to discuss some of my new favorite books and TV shows with you, and also some of the freaking awesome stuff happening next year! Doctor Who Season 5 got a mention in the bonus “Best TV romances” section, which brings me to:

2. The Doctor Who Christmas special is tomorrow! EEEEEEE anything could happen! Here, have an adorkable video of the cast doing a dramatic rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”:

SOMEONE needs to write this!

Okay, so my friend and I are looking through Those Glorious Glamour Years, an awesome old book I have about female movie stars’ costumes in the 30s and 40s. And we just stumbled across this:

Although many Hollywood stars made fortunes during their careers and actually wore glorious outfits like these off screen, acceptance by the blueblood society were often out of reach. Several stars married titled men in an effort to break into polite society, but most marriages were a sham. One designer who often fitted stars in their homes remarked that he once went to the home of a newly married and newly titled star and found that her bedroom was an enormous and gorgeous thing. There was a dressing room, a huge bath, and vast closets. A little hallway led to a small, meagerly furnished bedroom where the ‘prince’ slept. He entered her bedroom only on call was paid an allowance by that star for services rendered.

And now all I want in the world is a romantic comedy set in the 30s about a charming and impoverished English lord who marries an imperious Hollywood star for her money and then woos her charmingly while she bosses him around and tries to redecorate his enormous ancestral home in garish American styles. It would be ADORABLE. There could be a creepy housekeeper à la Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca only the heroine would be totally unimpressed by her and boss her around and Mrs. Danvers wouldn’t even know how to deal with it.

Gloria Swanson looking fabulous and hard-nosed and American


Together again, and it feels so good

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! My very favorite band in the whole world, the Headstones, is reuniting for a concert in Toronto in February, and as of yesterday I have tickets! I know it’s nuts to fly hundreds of miles to go to a concert, but I NEVER in a million years thought there was any chance of seeing this band live (I got into them after they already split up), and I just COULDN’T miss this opportunity.

Who are the Headstones, you ask? They are a Canadian hard-rock band from the 90s and they are GREAT. Here is my favorite of their music videos, “Cemetery.” Just to warn you, the song is a light-hearted number about necrophilia. It is not honestly typical of their subject matter, but like all of their songs the lyrics are clever and compelling and I LOVE the video. It was directed by Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald and is basically the band being adorable in an alley with a giant fan, and also there is an accordion and a mysterious snowman. (You may recognize the singer, Hugh Dillon, from such TV shows as Flashpoint where he plays a SWAT sniper.)

I am so, so excited! I want to hear about all of your favorite bands! Are they still together? If not, what lengths would you go to to see them if they did a reunion concert?


Food seems to be one of the things I do the most googling about while writing–maybe because so many things about the way we eat seem so “natural” but have actually changed a great deal in the last two hundred years. Or maybe because I’m a cook and food seems to work its way into a lot of my scenes. Who knows? Anyway, I was looking up common shapes for Regency marzipan molds, and I found this, from this site:

Picture cakes were one of the main attractions of fairs and festivals – the cookies represented a lively and subtle form of communication, often using a traditional symbolic code to convey the message. These “cookie messages” were shaped by the baker’s molds – more importantly, the common man was being shaped (influenced) by the MASS MEDIA OF COOKIES.

An example of a mold used for political propaganda (other than the 4000 gingerbread cookies in the image of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III): In 1800, an unknown carver added a Napoleonic hat to a billygoat rider/monkey companion mold symbolic of evil, carved five years earlier. Thus Napoleon was ridiculed – by the gingerbread baker – throughout the Austrian and Germany lands that he had invaded that summer!

How cool is that? I want to know more! I may have to get my hands on the books cited…