Tuesday Night Television: The Cumberbatch/ Olyphant Effect

The thing about Benedict Cumberbatch is, his appeal is not apparent right away.  Unlike Timothy Olyphant’s.

The reason self is pondering BC at all is that there is a new BBC mini-series, an adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End, which had its HBO broadcast premiere last night, just before F/X’s Justified.

And self wouldn’t have decided to watch if she hadn’t, on one of her previous visits to Bacolod, caught the new BBC Sherlock, with Cumberbatch in the lead, showcasing his lean and lanky frame, his floppy hair, his intellectual-yet-boyish affect.  OH HOLY COW!  This guy is playing Sherlock as if he’s got Asperger’s!

In preparation for last night’s TV watching, self had the absolutely brilliant idea of running to Trader Joe’s and buying all of The Man’s Read the rest of this entry »

Self Makes Up Her Own “Literary Magazine” Award

And these are the magazines which made self’s reading life so rich, in 2012 (and this is not brown-nosing: self hasn’t appeared in any of them):

  • One Story (for Karl Taro Greenfeld, Susan Straight, and others)
  • New Letters (for their almost-novella length short story by a Chinese writer, not famous. Certainly not Mo Yan. She would remember if the story she read was by Mo Yan)
  • Fence (for, among others, Philip Aronson’s very funny story about being in France)
  • Parabola
  • Utne Reader
  • The New Yorker

Since the above are known primarily for their print editions, self will now move to the literary websites that helped enrich her reading life:

  • Café Irreal
  • Juked
  • The Writing Disorder
  • Wigleaf
  • Word Riot

Self’s work has appeared in all of the above on-line web-zines.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Blooming Now in Self’s Garden, Last Tuesday of February (2013)

It was a bee-yoo-ti-ful day!  The second beautiful day in a row.

Neighbors on all sides were out in their yards, pruning, staking, watering, and so forth.

The tallest cherry tree in the backyard is covered with blooms, and the plants in the side yard are covered with flowers:

Viburnum Tinus, Side Yard

Viburnum Tinus, Side Yard

Self was so pleased with this specimen that she purchased another Viburnum and put it in the front yard, a few weeks ago.

Cherry Blossoms!  One of the cherry trees in self's backyard began blooming last weekend.

Cherry Blossoms! One of the cherry trees in self’s backyard began blooming last weekend.

And, wouldn’t you know, on p. 162 of Anna Karenina (the Modern Library version), self reads this:

For the last few weeks it had been steadily fine frosty weather.  In the daytime it thawed in the sun, but at night there were seven degrees of frost.  There was such a frozen surface on the snow that they drove the wagons without staying on the roads.  Easter came in the snow.  Then all of a sudden, on Easter Monday, a warm wind sprang up, storm clouds swooped down, and for three days and three nights the warm, driving rain fell in streams.  On Thursday the wind dropped, and a thick gray fog brooded over the land as though hiding the mysteries of the transformations that were being wrought in nature.  Behind the fog there was the flowing of water, the crackling and floating of ice, the swift rush of turbid, foaming torrents; and on the following Monday, in the evening, the fog parted, the storm clouds split up into little curling crests of cloud, the sky cleared, and the real spring had come.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Currently Reading: ANNA KARENINA

p. 121: From the mind of a bounder (Vronsky):

In his Petersburg world all people were divided into utterly opposed classes.  One, the lower class, vulgar, stupid, and, above all, ridiculous people, who believe that one husband ought to live with the one wife to whom he is lawfully married; that a girl should be innocent, a woman modest, and a man manly, self-controlled, and strong; that one ought to bring up one’s children, earn one’s bread, and pay one’s debts; and various similar absurdities.  This was the class of old-fashioned and ridiculous people.  But there was another class of people, the real people.  To this class they all belonged, and in it the great thing was to be elegant, generous, plucky, gay, to abandon oneself without a blush to every passion, and to laugh at everything else.

For the first moment only, Vronsky was startled after the impression of a quite different world that he had brought with him from Moscow.  But immediately, as though slipping his feet into old slippers, he dropped back into the light-hearted, pleasant world he had always lived in.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Watching “Amour” on a Beautiful, Spring-Like Day

It was such a bee-yoo-ti-ful day!

The sun was shining, the birds were swooping around the trees . . .

And, of all things, self decided to go see Amour.

Nothing against the actors, who were fabulous. Especially Emmanuelle Riva. What an expressive face, and what a beautiful body the woman has! She doesn’t look 82.

Isabelle Huppert has morphed from her younger sex-pot days to a thin actress whose nerve endings seem on high-intensity, like a car’s headlights on a foggy evening. Self cannot tell you how much she set self’s teeth on edge, sitting there and demanding that her incapacitated mother work harder to enunciate.

Her mouth, or maybe just her whole lower jaw, reminds self so much of Anna Paquin. Now, that’s a highly irrelevant thought. It’s just that self is so excited she finally identified who Isabelle Huppert reminded her of. It took her hours to realize it was Paquin. She was sitting there, near the front of the theater, thinking the actress Huppert reminded her of was Claire Danes. But no, no, it was Paquin.

Throughout the movie, Huppert’s attire was jeans and a blazer. The blazer was navy and tapered, the better to show off Huppert’s thin, narrow, exemplary back. Self absolutely loved the look (Self! Get a grip! Why are you going on and on about Huppert’s blazer? You are supposed to be discussing this excruciating masterpiece! And reflecting on how, in a few years, you too may be in the position Emmanuelle Riva was in, reduced to uttering one word, over and over: “Hurts! Hurts!”)

At some point during the proceedings, self felt a maddening desire for a cupcake. Life’s too short, self was thinking. What am I doing in this dark theater on such a beautiful day? Perhaps I can drop by Sephora and try on a new lip gloss?

Self has a confession to make: she couldn’t finish the movie! Yes, she walked out! And because she had the bad judgment to sit in one of the front rows, the whole theater saw her walk out! (Self also happened to notice that practically everyone else in the audience was a senior. Wow! What courage! To sit through two hours of watching a beautiful woman’s physical disintegration! While undoubtedly undergoing your own physical disintegration! But that’s what’s so great about Americans — they have nerve! Remember when you watched United 93? How everyone sat there, patiently groaning? Because the plane’s final descent featured the Mother of All Shaky Cams? And let’s not forget the opening minutes of Cloverfield . . .  She watched it with son in a cavernous theater in Arroyo Grande, he was a sophomore, the entire theater was full of impetuous, running feet, whispers, giggles in the dark, and one plaintive voice in the back going, ” — the fuck is this?”)

Afterwards, at home, while The Man was watching Iowa State vs. some other team, you kept saying, “Will you euthanize me when the time comes? I’d do the same for you . . . “

And The Man replied, “OK, OK, you want to be euthanized. Do you mind, I don’t want to think about that right now. I’m watching a game . . . “

Self should mention that before landing on the college basketball game, self ordered The Man to hunt up what was showing on HBO-HD. And all he found was a Beyoncé concert. Which then gave self cause to wonder if she had done the right thing by signing up for a year of HBO …

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Seth MacFarlane’s “Boobs” Medley

For several moments during last night’s Oscar Tele-cast, self thought she was watching a milder version of John Belushi in “Animal House.”

The laughs were pretty forced, she didn’t like that opening (“I saw Kate Winslet’s boobs, boobs, boobs.”  Sheesh!  Do you really expect women to laugh at a man in a tux singing about boobs?)

But during the second half of the tele-cast, the very heavily padded show had self gasping for more MacFarlane.  Then, she actually began to appreciate him.

She didn’t understand what Affleck meant when he Read the rest of this entry »

The Cherry Tree

The cherry tree in the backyard started blooming a few days ago.

Started blooming this weekend

Self is preparing for a busy week gardening!

Other beginnings:  Put aside The Black Count without finishing.  Began devouring Anna Karenina.  Took advantage of HBO’s $10/month enrollment offer, just in time to watch the premiere episode of the BBC adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s World War I trilogy, Parade’s End (this Tuesday, 9 p.m. — just before Justified).

Tuesdays will be self’s Red Letter Day for the next five weeks!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Personal Library # 30: Son’s Room # 11

Self still lost in the thickets of son’s room.  But the end is in sight!

The number of books on the 2nd shelf above son’s desk:  47

1079 + 47 = 1126 Total Books Counted Thus Far

Some of the titles:  The Father, a poetry collection by Sharon Olds;  50 Stories From Israel:  An Anthology, edited by Zisi Stavi;  The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene;  100 Cases That Every Scots Law Student Needs to Know, edited by W. Green;  Drive-By Vigils, by R. Zamora Linmark;  Pinoy Capital:  The Filipino Nation in Daly City, by Benito M. Vergara, Jr.;  The Best American Travel Writing 2011, edited by Sloane Crosley (“Treason only matters when it is committed by trusted men.”);  Word Painting:  A Guide to Writing More Descriptively, by Rebecca McClanahan;  Winterbirth:  The Godless World, Book One, by Brian Ruckley (This one self picked up in a bookstore in Edinburgh);  If I Write You This Poem, Will You Make It Fly:  Poems, by Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

Here’s a short passage from Winterbirth:

The great column was led by a hundred or more mounted warriors.  Many bore wounds, still fresh from the lost battle on the fields by Kan Avor; all bore, in their red-rimmed eyes and wan skin, the marks of exhaustion.  Behind them came the multitude:  women, children and men, though fewest of the last.  Thousands of widows had been made that year.

It was a punishing exodus.  Their way was paved with hard rock and sharp stones that cut feet and turned ankles.  There could be no pause.  Any who fell ill were seized by those who came behind, hauled upright with shouts of encouragement, as if noise alone could put strength back into their legs.  If they could not rise, they were left.  There were already dozens of buzzards and ravens drifting lazily above the column.  Some had followed it all the way up the Glas valley from the south; others were residents of the mountains, drawn from their lofty perches by the promise of carrion.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Project Runway and the Eighties

“I have questions about Michelle.  She really seems to love this 80s vibe.  That scares me.” —  Nina Garcia, on Project Runway

Earlier, Judge Nina said to Michelle, “It’s sort of AC/DC,” and Michelle said, “I love AC/DC!”

Nina:  “But it’s so eighties.  You want to look like a cool rocker.  You don’t want to look like an AC/DC rocker.”

Fringe is OK, just not on a necklace.

Note to self:  Stay away from anything 80s.  Try not to look like you’re attending an AC/DC concert.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Justified 4.7: The Ineffable Raylan

Of interest:

  • This episode was largely focused on Boyd Crowder and Ava.  They’re like an old married couple, except Ava is turning into Mata Hari.  They go to a party where free love is practiced, and when two men go for Ava, Boyd is immediately on them.  Question of the Day:  Why attend a free love party if you don’t want to exercise free love?  If you know that’s what’s going down, then why go at all?  The whole time the two were at this party, self was all agog wondering who would get to do the free love thing first:  Ava or Boyd.  Alas!  Both leave unsullied by the sordid environment.  Too. Bad.
  • The paralyzed Bennett guy is sleeping with the blonde ho, the one who was roughed up by Grade B Gerard Depardieu in 4.6.  And by the way, Grade B Gerard Depardieu’s character’s name is Colt.  Self found out today, so she might have to stop referring to him as Grade B GD.
  • Erica Tazel (playing Deputy Rachel Brooks) has vanished into thin air.  At least Jacob Pitt (playing Deputy Tim Gutterson) is hanging around, if only to throw off absolutely sardonic one-liners.
  • Raylan looks mighty fine.  He does not even have to be wearing his Stetson to look mighty fine.
  • He kills one person.  Before he does it, though, he tells the guy:  Shut.  Your.  Mouth.
  • He befriends a comely lass who begins to disrobe while he is on  his cell.  The lass is very nonchalant about it.  Raylan isn’t watching her, but the viewer is.  At first self thought the Lass had Thunder Thighs, because her jeans looked like they were about to burst.  But lo and behold, seen from a distance while disrobing, she turns out not to have Thunder Thighs.  Her bra lands on the floor with such a resounding THWACK that self thinks people as many as four rooms over would have to have heard it.  Her underwear doesn’t match, which is a sign of how greatly the producers care about authenticity.  Or verisimilitude.
  • Someone named Sharon Edmunds is reported murdered.
  • They still haven’t been able to find Drew Thompson.
  • Wynne Duffy puts in a brief appearance.
  • Chief Art Mullen is still there, so perhaps they ditched the “soon-to-retire” thread.  YAY.
  • Raylan visits his Dad in prison.  The occasion does not go well.  Dear Papa refuses to take the bait Raylan offers him in exchange for a transfer to a country club prison.  Raylan’s Papa sure is a stubborn old coot.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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