Monthly Archives: June 2010

NCIS – Red Cell

Gibbs - Red Cell

This used to count as one of my favourite NCIS episodes. I don’t like Red Cell any less now, but with another hundred episodes to choose from I have more favourites. Not entirely sure why I like it. It’s one of the last ones with Kate, and probably just about the last ‘normal’ episode of hers.

The team - Red Cell

I know why I’m bringing it up now, though. I’m in university mode, and this is one of the college setting episodes. It’s got one of the geekiest geeks imaginable, and in actual fact he doesn’t fit in with the navy/marine-turned-student idea, but I suspect they just needed a geek quite badly.

Di Nozzo and Gibbs - Red Cell

Funny bit where Gibbs and Co break into a house with very scantily dressed female students. Do people really do things like that? The parties, not the breaking in, I mean. Not sure why crying women are so scary to a brave man.

Gibbs - Red Cell

It’s one where Kate and DiNozzo are arguing about spring break and frat parties, driving Gibbs demented with their childishness. I like the end where he threatens to fire the first one to utter just one more thing about anything college related. And they get it. Maybe Gibbs is more worked up because he’s just had a fight with the bad guy.

Gibbs - Red Cell

And unfortunately bad guy has provided Daughter with a new phrase that she still uses. She uses it sufficiently frequently that I catch myself using it, or at least thinking it. Grrr.

(Photos © CBS)

The boy Who waited

Stone Henge

‘Come on Ponds!’ I suppose they broke the unwritten (or are they?) rules for time travel with having two of the same person at the same time. Not just two Amys, but two Doctors. Or sort of. Even two sonic screwdrivers. Sort of.

I’d like to think that they developed the plot as they went along, during this season of Doctor Who. They couldn’t know from the start that we’d like Rory so much. And were they intending Amy to get married, or was adventuring with the Doctor intended to be her way out?

A love – or two – that will never die, plastic suitor or not. Very romantic. And for a forgetful girl, Amy remembered as much as she needed to in the end. Except possibly those parents, and whoever said parents were important?

Rory, The Doctor and Amy

Fez and top hat. That’s at least one piece of headgear too many. Not sure I think the flower pot look is the right one for the Doctor.

The young Amy was even braver than the slightly older one. If that’s possible.

Little Amy

It’s goodbye.

The dancing ‘dentist’

While I’m in ‘dentist mode‘ I may as well continue with a dancing one. Well, he’s not really a dentist. He just happened to look very much like the dentist Offspring saw at the time. And he wasn’t really really dancing. He tried to do the cancan while playing the tuba, which is pretty good, and also fairly difficult.

I imagine, anyway.

He is Gavin Woods of Travelling by Tuba. I like the tuba, which is why I went to a lunchtime concert at the Bridgewater Hall some years ago*, to hear the two man band consisting of Gavin and his pianist Stewart Death. The concert was another of those low key events featuring people who are not particularly famous, but who are terrific performers. You just sit there and feel that warm glow inside.

I think I mentioned that I like the tuba. I like instruments that sort of belong in the basement of an orchestra. From what Gavin was saying, he could get a little tired of the limited parts you play in your average concert if you are the tuba player. So he devised his own repertoire where he got to play everything. Wise man.

The music is a little 20th century jazz and some well known classical pieces which all sound great on the tuba. And then there was the cancan, where he played and attempted to throw his legs into the air. Memorable.

Couldn’t resist buying both the CDs for sale, and they are among my favourite ones. Quiet and unassuming and always reliable for entertaining me and getting me in a good mood.

*Having done my homework after writing the blog, rather than the correct way round, I see that Gavin no longer plays with TbT. Chris Cranham is the tuba player these days, and I’m sure he’s just as nice. Whether he cancans I have no idea.

More Fascinating stuff

With the return of the prodigal son, the happy witch has received even more birthday presents. A total of 46 ‘new’ tracks of Fascinating Aïda for me to listen to. Am doing so this very minute.

Well, they are not all new new. One CD is replacing an unfortunate, partly deceased cassette – Sweet F.A. – which prevented me from listening to Moscow, Moscow. And that’s not acceptable in the long run.

The other two CDs are It, Wit, Don’t Give a Shit Girls and Silver Jubilee, which is what I’m singing along to right now.

More disc news for Fascinating Aïda with the DVD of their recent tour almost ready to hit the shops. They have a trailer to tease fans with until release day:

And then there is their Edinburgh show in August for people to look forward to.

Weather Girl

Another birthday present, from the girl who knows what a witch is likely to need. Weather Girl will probably never make it to British cinemas, so importing the DVD was a good move. I suspected it wasn’t going to be a very good movie, however. But, the script was far better than you’d think, and although the plot is exactly what you’d expect, the film is quite enjoyable.

Weather Girl, Mark Harmon and Kaitlin Olson

Television weather girl Sylvia breaks up with her ghastly boyfriend, co-presenter Dale, on the live breakfast show, and she doesn’t mince words when she tells viewers how she found out he’d been sleeping with the other co-presenter on the show. Dale is a very off-putting sleazy smiler, television type, sort of handsome man, with no brains, and Mark Harmon plays him pretty well. Daughter and I were ready to strangle the idiot every time he was on screen. I gather Mark based Dale on a number of presenters he’s come across. All teeth and dreadful hair and inflated ego.

Out of work and with no money to pay the rent, Sylvia moves in with her younger brother Walt for a while. His best friend Byron (really…) spends most of his time in the flat and falls for Sylvia. And you can work out how it goes from there on.

Weather Girl, Patrick J Adams, Tricia O'Kelley and Ryan Devlin

Hilarious scene where Sylvia and Walt and Byron go to retrieve her possessions and find Dale in bed with her replacement. Nice bit of sitcom stuff as Sylvia chats to her ‘best’ friends, and the date they arrange for her is probably depressingly realistic.

I didn’t find Patrick J Adams and Tricia O’Kelley terribly suited as a couple, but that might just be me. And their real age difference is a lot more than in the script. When I see Patrick I only see a snivelly NCIS villain, cute though he may be.

It rains a lot in Seattle.

Hiatus – NCIS style

It’s funny how, even with a favourite television series, there are episodes you almost avoid. I wouldn’t say we go out of our way to do the avoiding, but between us Daughter and I manage to have episodes we choose less often. Hiatus in season three is one of them. So when I was on my own last week, I took advantage of my travel exile and watched both parts of Hiatus.

Ducky and co

Abby in Hiatus


Mike Franks

Gibbs and Ziva

Gibbs and the team


I have a real problem with the title, foreigner that I am. It sounds like it should mean something violent. (I’ll ‘hiatus’ you, you dirty soandso…) But it means pause. So, even the title is appropriate now that we are having our enforced summer NCIS hiatus.

Anyway, I quite like Hiatus, apart from when poor Gibbs hopes Shannon is still alive, which is painful to see. And I can’t decide whether seeing Mike Franks portrayed as younger or Gibbs as a younger man is the worst. Bad hair dye, say I.

Now we’ve seen the end of season seven, the happenings in Hiatus are more relevant than ever.

Noticed that both Gibbs (season seven) and Ziva wash their faces to hide the signs that they’ve been shedding tears.

And the scenes in the hospital where both the Director and Abby try to get past the nurse to intensive care, are hilarious. Jenny is impressive enough looking like she might shoot (why, when there’s Condi to phone?), but Abby is priceless going on about her hearse and emptying out her bag. It’s one of her better monologues, out of all 162 NCISes.

There was a suggestion at the time that we might see the doctor again, but we never did. He’d have been good for Jenny.

Now I need to identify more avoided episodes, because one thing about watching them, is that they feel a lot fresher since we’ve not played them over and over, like some.

(Photos © CBS)

Another dog portrait

Young Volvinita didn’t have just the one painting to her name. So here is another dog picture, before we move on to other animals.


This dog looks like I feel. Too fat to move, and very comfortable where he is.

From the Earth to the Moon

I may have hinted at birthdays and stuff recently? I also hinted (towards Offspring) what I would like, should they be so very generous as to be buying me presents. One such hint was the complete From the Earth to the Moon DVD set, because I really am so nerdy that I need to watch it again. And with Daughter similarly afflicted, it seemed not unlikely that she would take the bait.

She did.

Having been told not to miss episode two (since we did last year) the first thing (well, almost) I did on returning to Witch Towers was open my presents and to sit down and watch the first couple of programmes. The second episode was very sad, and I can remember it from the news back in 1967. There was some handholding required yesterday when the worst happened.

We will now proceed to watch all the rest all over again. I like birthday presents when they are as right as this one.


I looked at the painting on the wall. First thought was that is was ‘nice’. Second thought was that it looked rather like a van Gogh. Third thought went along the lines that it was a van Gogh.

Yes, I know it was unlikely, seeing as the wall was my wall in the room where I stayed while I did a year at the University of Sussex, many many years ago. I went closer to the painting. It had the textured surface of real oil. But it couldn’t be? Could it?

Didn’t feel it was quite proper to ask my host family, so discussed it with others on my course. They reckoned the way to find out was to steal it and see what happened. I didn’t, and settled for simply enjoying the view of the yellow field opposite my bed. Eventually the subject came up with my hosts, and I was assured it wasn’t real.

Vincent van Gogh - Doctor Who

I was reminded of this when I caught up with last week’s Doctor Who, featuring the lovely Vincent. Why he was Scottish I don’t know, but it was a fun episode. Relieved to see neither the Doctor nor Amy helped themselves to a genuine van Gogh while they were at it.

Tom Jones is 70

It’s come to my attention that Tom Jones is 70 today. Since I accidentally started a 70th birthday trend last year, I may as well continue.

Unlike most people who think of underwear when they hear Tom’s name, I think of education. Back in the olden days they used Tom and his songs to teach us English at school. Very forward thinking of them.

Would you say they succeeded? (It’s not an option to say no.)

A few years ago I found one of his more recent CDs in a charity shop for Christmas. I took it home and then I sat back while deciding who the lucky recipient would be. The winner was Son, who of his own accord admitted to finding it very good. That’s my boy!