Friday, February 13, 2015

Three Ships-A picture is worth 1,(800) words















          A young man wearing a grey t-shirt and sweatpants walks into a room with book selves along the walls, there is a desk from a long ago era and standing behind it a man in his fifties looking through a file he looks up and speaks first
“Is this what you normally wear?”

The younger man answers “I am sorry sir I had just returned from my run when I was notified that you wanted to see me. I didn’t have time to change”

“You’re wet”

“Yes sir it started to ran and I forgot an umbrella.”

“How long have you been working for me Mr. Jarvis?
“Four months, three weeks, four days, six hours… he looks at his watch “and 17 minutes Mr. Andrews”

“A stickler for details that must be why Mr. Charles recommended you”

“Recommended me for what sir?”
He doesn’t answer and continues his questioning “How old are you?”

“28”
“All of 28. And you are American”

“I was born in London. My family moved to the States when I was 12”

“Yes your background check from when you were hired said you lived in New York City. But you never lost your accent.”
“Unlike SOME I am proud of where I come from.”

“An eye for detail and loyal yes I agree Mr. Charles he is the man for the job.”

Jarvis turns to see an elderly man standing by the door “Yes sir I do believe he will serve you well.”

Jarvis confused “What job? Am I being fired?”

Mr. Andrews laughs “Not at all, in fact Mr. Charles will be retiring at the end of the month and it looks like we have found his replacement.”
A surprised Jarvis asks “Me sir you want me to take over as head butler?”

Mr. Charles answers “You would be the youngest head butler this household has ever had and although you haven’t worked here for very long I know you will serve Mr. Andrews and his family the best you can “

“Mr. Charles, Mr. Andrews I am honored you have chosen me but won’t some on the staff who have been here longer think they deserve the promotion?”
Mr. Charles responds “I have already talked with the others and they understand, if any of them have a problem they will come to me and it will be settled.”

Uncertain of what “settled” meant Jarvis answers “In that case Mr. Andrews I accept the offer, thank you and I will not let you down.”
Misters Charles and Andrews leave the room. Jarvis looks up at a portrait of a young couple and follows.

As Jarvis walks down the stairs to the kitchen a young lady of the house smiles at him as she gently passes. Once in the sevents dining area he is met by several eyes staring back ate him “Everyone I just want to say that once I’m in my new position I look forward to continuing our work together. I hope for the same respect for me that you have had for Mr. Charles.” Without another word they all get back to work.

              A month later Jarvis takes his usual morning run on a beach and down a pier with a lighthouse at the end. It is an early fall windy day and the waves are crashing the pier spraying him as he runs. At the lighthouse he meets with another man in his early 40s wearing a nice black suit and a grey fedora. The man in the suit speaks first “You’re late.”

“It’s been a busy week as you know I start a new job tomorrow.”
“Yes almost a year into this investigation and the master of the house finally trust you enough to make you his right hand man.”

“I’m not sure head butler and his right hand are the same besides I really think we have it all wrong here.”
“Alfie, this is your first field assignment your job is to do what I say!”

“And we’ve been listening to chatter for almost two years, I’m beginning to have as much faith in the NSA as the rest of the American people!”
“A Presidential assassination isn’t something you make jokes about!”

“Yes but do we really think one of the richest men in England is the Assassin?!”
“Maybe not but we DO know the threats are coming from this house it could be one of the sons or perhaps the daughter?”

“IT’S NOT FIONA”
“If you believe that then get me the proof. The chatter is escalating and I need something to move on before it’s too late.” With that the man gets in a motor boat tired to the pier and drives off.

Back at the house Jarvis is walking down the hallway with the family’s bedrooms when the same young woman who smiled at him pulls him into her room. She closes the door and kisses him “How does it feel to be in charge?”
“Fi, I’m not in charge of anything yet and nothing about us will change.”

“But father trust you…you will be with him most of the day. He will love you as much as I do”

“I’m not his aide I will help him in the mornings and evenings the rest of the time I will still be downstairs with the cooks and other servants.”
Fiona kisses him again “I will make him love you” and she pushes him out of the room. He continues down the hall, down the spiral staircase and past Mr. Andrews’s office where the door is ajar and he hears loud whispers. They are of youngest son David and a man he has never seen, he leans in to listen.

“David once this starts there will be no stopping, we need to know that you’re all in.”
“I want this as much as The Golden Order. The Prime Minister has nothing to worry about, the President will be dead by the New Year and he will get his war.”

A maid drops a breakfast tray and Jarvis goes back to his work before he could be caught.
After dinner Mr. Charles asks to talk to Alfred Jarvis. “Mr. Jarvis before I leave for the final time I want to give this to you.” He hands Jarvis an old silver pocket watch “Mr. Charles I can’t this was your fathers.”

“And his father’s before him. I am an old bachelor who never had kids, you are a young man with a whole life ahead of you and you need to be on time working for a man like Mr. Andrews, please take it. Jarvis accepts and Mr. Charles exits the house for the final time.

Later that night Jarvis is lying in bed with Fiona, she has the pocket watch “It’s beautiful” She opens it and reads the inscription “To my son, stay true to yourself” She places it on the nightstand and leans in to kiss him, Jarvis doesn’t stop her.
At his next meeting with the man in the suit, Jarvis tells him what he has learned and the man gives him his orders.

When he gets back to the house David is waiting for him “Mr. Jarvis, Daisy was making my sister’s bed when this fell off her nightstand” He holds up the pocket watch.
“I was looking for it last night after dinner, Miss Andrews’ must have found it.”

“And I was going to return it to Mr. Jarvis after his run” Fiona appears from the dining room.
“Thank you, and now if you don’t mind I have to check on lunch.” Jarvis exits and Fiona turns to her brother.

“David I love you but my life is my own stay out of it.” She walks in the other direction leaving him alone.

        It is mid-November now and Jarvis is standing on the pier looking out at the open water when Fiona walks up behind him and places her hands on his eyes.
He responds “Whatever you want I will get it for you, don’t hurt me.”

She whispers in his ear “Why would I want to hurt you?”

Jarvis turns and they kiss then he notices that she has brought a picnic basket “I know everything that happens in this place and a picnic wasn’t on the schedule”
“I admit I had to do some sneaking around, from you and my family but with help from Daisy I wanted you to have a Happy Thanksgiving, I remember you telling me it’s your favorite American tradition.”

“I am missing my family this year, thank you, I do love you.” They kiss and are about to set up the food when a boat arrives, knowing who it is Jarvis asks Fi “Can we move this to the garden?”
“Of course”

“I’ll go check out this guy and will meet up with you in 10.” Fiona picks up the basket and begins to walk down the pier alone, Jarvis quickly meets with the man in the suit.
“What are you doing here?”

“Everything is moving into place here are your final instructions.” He tells the driver to go.

In the garden Fiona and Jarvis are enjoying their picnic when David appears “What’s going on here?”
“Dave, your sister was kind enough to make me a small yet tasty Thanksgiving meal. Would you like to join us?”

“It’s Mr. Andrews, like my father and I have a meeting.”
As he walks away Jarvis turns to Fiona “Your brother really doesn’t like me.”

               It is Christmas Eve and the household is all decorated for the holiday.
Alfred Jarvis goes into the wine cellar to collect the wine for dinner, unknown to him he is followed and the door is locked.

“Alfred Jonas Jarvis, born London England 1987 moved to the US at the age of 12, Valedictorian of his class, studied history at NYU disappeared for a few years before showing up as a BUTLER back in England. Does that sound right, so, Jarvis where were you between NYU and here?”

Alfred turns around to see a gun being pointed at his heart “I told Fi you didn’t like me but a gun really?” He tosses the bottle of wine towards David and takes his own gun from his side. They stand there guns at each for a few seconds
“Who do you work for FBI, MI-6, CIA?” Jarvis stays silent “I bet CIA. A CIA agent sleeping with my sister I have to say that is way worst then the butler a butler I could fire a federal agent I well you know.” Still no reaction from Jarvis “Whatever happened to being loyal to one’s country?”

“I love Fi! And I am loyal to country and myself! David…You don’t have to do this.”
“YES I DO”

A gunshot is heard throughout the house.   



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

flash fiction challege accepted-#4


Jarvis walks to the kitchen, a young lady smiles at him as she passes. In the dining area he is met by several eyes staring back ae him “I wanted to say that once I’m in my new position I look forward to continuing working together and hope for the same respect that you had for Mr. Charles.”

A month later Jarvis takes his usual morning run down a pier with a lighthouse at the end. It is a windy fall day, the waves crash the pier spraying him. At the lighthouse he meets with a man wearing a suit. The man speaks “You’re late.”

“It’s been busy, I start a new job tomorrow.”

“Almost a year into this investigation and the master of the house finally trust you enough to make you his right hand man.”

“I’m not sure head butler and right hand are the same besides I really think we have it all wrong here.”

“Alfie, this is your first field assignment your job is to do what I say!”

“And we’ve been listening to chatter for almost two years, I’m beginning to have as much faith in the NSA as the rest of America!”

“A Presidential assassination isn’t something you make jokes about!”

“Yes but do we really think one of the richest men in England is the Assassin?!”

“Maybe not but we DO know the threats are coming from this house it could be one of the sons or perhaps the daughter?”

“IT’S NOT FIONA”

“If you believe that then get me proof. The chatter is escalating and I need something to move on before it’s too late.”  The man gets in a motor boat tied to the pier and drives off.

 Jarvis walks down the hallway, the same young woman who smiled pulls him into her room and closes the door kissing him “How does it feel to be in charge?”

“Fi, nothing about us will change.”

“But father trust you…you will be with him during the day. He will love you as much as I do”

“I’m not his aide I will help him in the mornings and evenings the rest of the time I will still be downstairs with the other servants.”

 “I will make him love you” He exits and walks down the spiral staircase. Mr. Andrews’s office door is ajar and he hears voices. They are of youngest son David and a man he has never seen, he stops to listen.

“David once this starts there will be no stopping, we need to know that you’re all in.”

“The Prime Minister has nothing to worry about, the President will be dead by the New Year and he will get his war.”

A maid drops a tray, Jarvis goes back to work before he could be caught.

After dinner Mr. Charles ask to talk to him “Mr. Jarvis before I leave I want to give you something.” He hands Jarvis an old silver pocket watch

“I can’t this was your fathers.”

“And my grandfathers. I’m an old bachelor who never had kids, you’re a young man with a whole life ahead of you and you need to be on time working for a man like Mr. Andrews.”

Later that night Jarvis is in bed with Fiona, she has the pocketwatch opens it and reads the inscription “To my son, stay true to yourself” She leans in to kiss him, Jarvis doesn’t stop her.

At his next meeting with the man in the suit, Jarvis tells him what he has learned and the man gives him his orders.

 Back at the house David is waiting “Mr. Jarvis, Daisy was making my sister’s bed when this fell off her nightstand” He holds up the pocketwatch.

“I was looking for it last night after dinner, Miss Andrews’ must have found it.”

“And I was going to return it to Mr. Jarvis after his run” Fiona appears from the dining room.

“Thank you, if you don’t mind I have to check on lunch.”

 Fiona turns to her brother. “David I love you but my life is my own.” She walks in the other direction leaving him alone.

It is November, Jarvis stands on the pier looking out at the water, Fiona walks up behind him and places her hands on his eyes. “Whatever you want I’ll get it, don’t hurt me.”

She whispers in his ear “Why would I want to hurt you?”

Jarvis turns, they kiss, he notices that she has brought a picnic basket “I know everything that happens in this place and a picnic wasn’t on the schedule”

“I admit I had to do some sneaking around but I wanted you to have a Happy Thanksgiving, You mentioned it’s your favorite American tradition.”

 They’re about to set up the food when a boat arrives, knowing who it is Jarvis asks “Can we move this to our secret garden spot?”

 Fiona agrees and picks up the basket, she walks down the pier alone, and Jarvis quickly meets with the man in the suit.

 They are enjoying their picnic when David appears “What’s going on here?”

“Fiona was kind enough to make me a small yet tasty Thanksgiving meal. Would you like to join us?”

“I have a meeting.”

Christmas Eve and the household is all decorated.

Jarvis goes into the cellar to collect wine for dinner, unknown to him he is followed, the door is locked.

“Alfred Jonas Jarvis, born London 1988 moved to the US at the age of 12, Class Valedictorian, studied history at NYU, disappeared for a few years before showing up as a BUTLER back in England. Does that sound right, where were you between NYU and here?”

Alfred turns around to see a gun being pointed at his heart “I told Fi you didn’t like me but a gun really?” He tosses the bottle towards David and takes his own gun from his side.

“Who do you work for FBI, MI-5, CIA?” Jarvis stays silent “I bet CIA. A CIA agent sleeping with my sister I have to say that is way worst then the butler a butler I could fire a federal agent I well you know.” Still no reaction from Jarvis “Whatever happened to being loyal to one’s country?”

“I love Fi and I’m loyal to country and myself! David…You don’t have to do this.”

“YES I DO”

A gunshot is heard throughout the house.   

 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Into the Woods-An enchanting movie musical


I heard that Hollywood was turning the stage musical of Into the Woods into a film about a year and a half ago and was looking forward to its grand opening and as a fan of the show ( I have seen high school versions and original on VHS while in my high school choir class.) it certainly was a grand film to watch.
I have wondered for some time now if I got the chance to make a movie version how would I do it? how would it look? Now that director Rob Marshall has done so I have to say he excelled to all of my wonder and expectations. If you don’t know the plot to Stephen Sondheim’s musical let me sum it up, he starts with a handful of popular fairy tale characters like Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) and his beanstalk and a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt). He then throws them into a brilliant mashed-up world where everyone sings. Each character has a reason to enter the woods (queue “I wish”), for the Baker and his wife they go into the woods to “lift a spell” that was placed on their family by a Witch (Meryl Streep).

Every actor plays their role as realistic and with prestige. In my opinion the story works when Little Red Riding Hood does her job (with confidence not bratty) and young Crawford was perfect “I really hate to ask it but would you have a basket” and stood her own against The Wolf (a small role played to perfection by Johnny Depp). I enjoyed Corden as The Baker, I like  the character and he made it his own without “straying from the path” of the original. The Baker was funny, sweet and not to smart but loved his wife and Jack was just a kid who loved his cow. I should add that my favorite song is “agony” sung by the two Princes (Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen) and the scene was so good and fun to watch and made the year wait worth it (they really hammed it up). Christine Baranski, Tracy Ullman and Mackenzie Mauzy also appear in the film.
Since the entire story takes place in the woods I was looking forward to how it would look (Production Design, Art Direction and Set Decoration). The trees were fantastic from Cinderella’s mother’s grave to the tree Jack climbed as he sung “Giants in the Sky”. The costumes (by Colleen Atwood) were wonderful from The Witch’s dress to “The cape as red as blood and the shoe as Pure as Gold”. Other reviewers will warn you that it gets darker in the second act and it does both plot wise and through the cinematography by Dion Beebe as each “midnight” passes.

 When the film was over I gave it a standing ovation and add this musical film to my top five favorites list (I was worried when the actors/characters had to sing on top of each other or together but they were all wonderful and pulled it off). To finish I would like to say a thank you to Miss Callen for making us watch Into the Woods.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Eve!

The worst part of New Years is looking back during the last days of the one your are in, yet we wait all year to do this. I'm not a fan of looking back and as far as I know have nothing to look forward to but since all of my entertainment news folks have had their say I would like to add my thoughts...I don't watch enough movies to have a favorite of the year and watch too much TV to remember everything I liked although I am loving Peter Capaldi as The Doctor and The Walking Dead just gets better and better with every episode, as for the worst of the year The Leftovers and The Affair, I don't know why The Affair is on every good list it is so boring, predictable and not a single likeable character in the bunch. All that being said my favorite TV trend was Steven Weber appearing in everything I watched (last yr it was Justin Bruering) from 2 broke girls and Murder in the First to Chasing Life and NCIS: New Orleans he just shows up, my fingers are crossed that he'll be on Madame Secretary this coming year. That's it for now...Have a Happy New Year I will be watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin over Seacrest again as we enter 2015.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

White Collar 2009-2014


Neal Caffrey played by the wonderful Matt Bomer was a good-looking and very charming con man. In 2009 He was realised from prison and placed into the custody of FBI white collar head (and man who arrested him) Peter Burke played by the talented Tim DeKay. Neal was forced to wear a tracking anklet as he worked with Peter and the FBI including Clinton Jones and Diana Barrigan (Sharif Atkins and Marsha Thomason). I can’t forget about Mozzie (Willie Garson) the conspiracy theorest who was Neal’s best friend and criminal co-hoot and never trusted the suits. Last but not least there was Peter’s wife, Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) who stood by Peter’s side and even helped whenever she could. For six years the team worked together to take down white collar criminals from paint forgers to money embezzlers, all those who came across Neal and Peter would soon know what losing felt like. Even when Peter and Neal were mad at each other they would soon get over it and get a new case where they used all of their talents to solve. What else is there to say but… 

White Collar was a fun, sweet, exciting and funny series. It was unexpected and well made. Cheers to the cast and crew!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Colbert Report 2005-2014


Dr. Stephen T Colbert D.F.A. died today.

We first saw Colbert as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart where he was best known as an opponent to Steve Carrell in a segment called “Even Stepvhens”. It wasn’t until Comedy Central took the bait in 2005 when Stephen Colbert received his own show and changed viewer lives for the best.

I don’t know about all reading this but for me The Colbert Report was a special show and its host a wonderful man. From his intro of the topics for the night to his sign off, every episode was worth watching. From the moment he spoke his first The Word (Truthiness) and the on-screen power points spoke back I was hooked.

Some of my (other) favorite segments were

The Threat Down where we learned that Stephen was deathly afraid of bears calling them "giant, marauding, godless killing machines" *

Better Know a Distract where Stephen would interview members of congress in his own “unique” way. He introduced each person by giving us facts about their part of our country and ended each with a sparkling light on a map. He even got to chance to talk to my (on again off again) Representative Dan Maffei.

The Sport Report where he got Steagle the Colbeagle a local eagle mascot named for him (*not related but also named for him was Stephen Jr an Eagle at the San Francisco Zoo, a bridge in Hungry, a leatherback turtle, a spider the Aptostichus stephencolberti, a Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream called Americone Dream,and a treadmill aboard the Space Station called the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill  (C.O.L.B.E.R.T.) . He even saved the Vancouver Olympics by raising money and sponsoring the USA speed skating team (and routed for the team as he hosted episodes from Vancouver)

Cheating Death where Prescott Pharmacutical’s helped us with any medical problem one may come across. Whether it was the heart, lungs or head Prescott had the pill for you, just beware of the side effects.

Formable Opponent where he went up against the only man he thought worthy, himself, on certain issues.

Colbert Platinum for the rich Colbert viewers

And of course The Blitzkrieg on Grinchitude which was originally the War on Christmas started by Fox News.

As host he leaves behind a slew of “characters” -There was Jimmy, The Director-Tad, The Building Manager-Jay, The Intern-Bobby, The Stage Manager- fellow host Esteban Colberto- Gorlock, his alien financial adviser, the voice of Winfred Brimley and of course his gun “Sweetness”
I even learned from Mr. Colbert. When on the advice of his advisor Ham Rove and his real life Lawyer he started his own Super PAC (Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow) I realized how horrible the idea of buying elections was and to not believe everything you hear during them. 

Stephen made us aware of the dangers of a broken wrist and wore a red bracelet every show since his injury. Every time he asked for money/donations he got more then he intended.

Interviews were the best, Stephen had everyone from film and TV actors to authors to politicians on the show. This true patriot even spent a week in Iraq entertaining the troops where he shaved his head when President Obama ordered it. Every guest who appeared on the show benefitted from the “Colbert Bump”. Most of the time the one being interviewed was in on the joke but it was funnier when they just let Stephen do his thing. Mr. Colbert even got to sing with many of his guests and I have to admit he had a good voice

The show ended each “season” with Colbert adding another portrait of himself to his self-portrait. It hung above his fireplace which was only one of many interesting set pieces (including photos of TV doctors, Bill O'Reilly Show's microwave, Captain America’s Shield and of course his C shaped desk)

Winner of a Peabody, a Grammy, three best show Emmys and just as many for best writing (the show went on during a 2008 writers guild strike which forced Stephen in a battle with his late night nemesis Conan O’Brian, the writers came back and all was “normal” once again.) and many more awards that were well deserved by the great group of people involved with the show (including the many babies born throughout the years)

The Colbert Report was smart, funny and a superb show to watch (Mon-Thurs after The Daily Show) Stephen may have been a Christian Conservative who looked up to Papa Bear Bill O’Reilly but he made us (and at times himself) laugh, cry and proud to be a sci-fi/fantasy nerd. Stephen Colbert was truly loved by those of us who understood him the most and as the chant of The Colbert Nation “Stephen, Stephen, Stephen!” fades away we (with my apologies to Doris Kearns Goodwin) say farewell to Mr. Colbert, you will be “missed”.

There are many more things Stephen gave us (insert “hosting” White House correspondent’s dinner, starring with an eagle in silly pistachio ads and author of three books) and for all this he shall never be forgotten (I hear a man name Stephen Colbert will be taking over hosting duties on The Late Show)

In the end the world is a better place because Dr. Stephen T Colbert D.F.A was a part of our “daily” TV lives for nine delightful years.

 

*Wikipedia

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Newsroom 2012-2014

I have been a fan a Aaron Sorkin's since I discovered his wonderful writing on his series about a sport news network called SportsNight. I look up to him because he writes on topics that he is passionate about and ones that viewers should be aware of. The Newsroom was a series, that although it aired for only three season, left an important impact on our lives.

Will McAvoy played by the wounderful Jeff Daniels lead an equally talented cast in the series about a 24 hour news network (No no don’t stop reading)  called ACN and unlike the “real” 24 hour riff raff (CNN, MSNBC and FOX news) this was one network I would have watched and, given the chance, worked for. Will and his co-workers MacKenzie McHale, Jim Harper, Maggie Jordan, Don Keefer, Neal Sampat, Sloan Sabbith and Charlie Skinner (Emily Mortimer, John Gallager Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn and Sam Waterston) did everything they could to report the important news of the day. Once when they got it wrong I felt bad for them as ACN lost viewers but I stuck with them until the end.

The genis part of this series was that Mr. Sorkin created these great characters and placed them in a real setting, two or three years behind us, but real. They reported on everything from the 2010 Persidental election (where Will, the Republican even became somewhat embrassed by his Party) to the Boston Marathon Bombing.

One last cheers to Mr. Sorkin and the cast and crew of The Newsroom! You showed us that reporting the news is a impotant and worthy career and our country would be a better place to live if real life reporters were more like Will McAvoy and his crew.