“Look! The Pie!” : Game of Thrones 4.2

No Khaleesi in last night’s episode. Good.  Episodes just get so portentous and clunky when Khaleesi and her dragons put in an appearance, at least they do in self’s humble opinion.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

There was one major character death, some scenes of further Theon Greyjoy degradation (He apparently now sleeps with the hounds), some fluff involving Shea and Tyrion and the much-anticipated Purple Wedding (No, that scene between Tyrion and Shae was more than fluff.  More like Shakesperean tragedy. Ugh, self hated Tyrion’s words. Of course he had to say them.  Is it possible that Tyrion could love Shae any more than he does? But in order to save her life, he had to get her away as far from himself as possible. Tyrion, you are so noble!)

There was more of that slim-hipped bad guy with the neatly trimmed beard.  His partner to the wedding feast looked like she might have stepped out of Return of the Jedi or something. (There was a snippet of him exchanging amorous looks with Sir Loras, one of self’s favorite secondary characters. A promise of intrigue yet to come!)

The scenery was bright, more Mediterranean than United Kingdom.

Cersei was monstrous.  Perhaps even more monstrous than Joffrey.

Self’s favorite line of the night:  “Look!  Here comes the pie!”

Strategic Distraction!  Such a clever girl, Margaery Tyrrell is (Not to mention, her wedding gown was absolutely gorgeous.  The color! The intricate beadwork! The relatively discreet baring of back and front! Sexy but definitely NOT salacious!)

Brienne appeared, plainly garbed in a blue tunic, and Cersei became very hard-eyed.

That scene where Cersei approaches Brienne, and starts making all kinds of nasty insinuations — self loved that the camera gave at least equal attention to Brienne’s face.  And the Maid of Tarth’s face, especially at that moment, and given who she was talking to, just looked so — pure.  Baffled.  Like maybe Brienne was thinking:  What is this woman going on about?  But when Cersei stated (not asked, stated):  “But you love him,” bless her heart, Brienne didn’t even have the good sense to make up a lie.  And at that very moment, with this woman (who wishes her only harm) standing right in front of her, she looks around, and sees — who else?  Jaime Lannister, looking at her and Cersei.  That right there, in self’s humble opinion, was the BIG REVEAL of the night.  Self could feel her heart breaking into a million tiny pieces.  She fervently hopes Brienne’s end doesn’t come in Season 4 because — the FEELZ!

R.I.P. Joffrey.  Your death scene was magnificent.  Jack Gleeson, you did a superb job.  Truly superb.  Self, for one, will truly miss you.

Stay tuned.

Spawn of THE HUNGER GAMES

Self can hardly wait for Sunday night, when she and The Man will be riveted to the HDTV for Game of Thrones 4.2  Mebbe Yara Greyjoy will put in an appearance, finally?  Could we have more of the Brienne/Jaime interaction, please?  Mebbe Tyrion and Joffrey do a little arm-wrestling?  Mebbe Jaime Lannister feels in the mood for another bath?  Mebbe Jon Snow undergoes an inititiation ceremony requiring — another bath?  Mebbe Khaleesi also feels in the mood for a bath, like the one last season where Daario surprised a malevolent intruder and offered his sword and everything that entails to naked-in-the-tub Khaleesi?  Does Sansa end up running away with Littlefinger?  When is the Purple Wedding?  Hopefully, not too soon.  The show would lose a tremendously rousing villain in Joffrey.

Anyhoo, self is as usual on her fanfiction.net site.  It’s just so great that there are also authors who do the Brienne/Jaime shipping and write fabulous fan fiction about this pair.

But nothing so far has dislodged her devotion to The Hunger Games match-ups.  Peeta/Katniss is still her favorite (Though, self must admit, Four as played by Theo James is pretty delectable. She’ll hunt up Divergent fan fiction shortly).

This morning, the fan fiction she’s reading has an arena:  Prim has volunteered to take Katniss’s place in the Reaping, because Katniss is preggers with Gale’s baby.  Peeta gets reaped per usual.

There is an eye-watering scene (Angst to the nth power) where Peeta swears (on national television) that he’ll do everything in his power to send Prim home.

So, from the very first scene in the arena, while everyone else starts running for cover away from the Careers and the Cornucopia, Peeta stops to pick up an exceedingly bulky backpack.  Then he follows Prim (and her ally Rue) to the shelter of the forest.  But the girls get separated from Peeta because even though they are using the four-note Mockingjay signal to alert him to where they are, Peeta doesn’t know how to whistle back.  That is, he is terribly out of tune.  So the girls and Peeta wander around, looking for each other.

Then the Game-makers start a huge forest fire.  Then Peeta gets horribly burned but still carries the bulky backpack.  Then the girls find Peeta, who’s passed out.  Then Prim attempts to heal his burns.  They open his backpack, and discover the following items:

  • several packs of dried beef and fruit
  • a few packs of hard crackers
  • three grain-and-nut bars
  • a bag of walnuts and a bag of almonds
  • several thin protein bars
  • two dried sausages
  • a hunk of cheese
  • three cans of soup with pull-tab lids
  • a box of tea (What need there would be for tea in the arena is — well, never mind)
  • a “largish” bag of rice
  • a blanket
  • some rope
  • a cooking pot
  • a sewing kit
  • and, at the very very bottom of the backpack, a medical kit

YAY!  YAY!  YAY!  Which means Peeta will live — for at least another day!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

Game of Thrones 4.1 — The Hound Rules!

Dear blog readers, self accidentally threw the paper where she wrote all her quotes from Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 1, but take her word for it, it was bloodcurdling, it was vicious, Ygritte was scrawnier than self remembered her being (and rightfully so, as Jon Snow ditched her apparently), there’s a tribe on the hunt and they eat people, and The Hound was just GLO-RI-OUS!  Simply GLOR-RI-OUS!

Holy Cow, there he was bargaining with a short runt of a man over some chickens.  The man asked The Hound if he had any money.  Whereupon commenced the most glorious television dialogue EVER:

Hound:  Not a penny.  I’ll still take a chicken.

And it went on and on and on.  Somehow, it ended up being all about chickens.  One chicken, two chickens, heck, The Hound said he might as well have all of the available chickens.

To which the runt of course took exception.

Which resulted in a wild melee with The Hound slaying all, with a wee bit of help from Arya (Self was screaming from the beginning of the brawl:  GO AHEAD, ARYA!  WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!  PLEASE DON’T JUST STAND THERE WATCHING THE HOUND ACCUMULATE MORE DISFIGURING FACIAL SCARS!)

She, it turns out, has a unique method of dispatching her victims.  She takes a sword, and gently pokes, as if debating, and then she — pushes the sword home, but OH. SO. SLOWLY.  Which makes the deed appear three times as brutal.  Take self’s word for it.  Arya sticking The Needle into the throat of the runt is an act so intimately personal it might as well be up there in self’s list of Ten Most Horrible Murders of All Time. Yes. Worse even than Hannibal Lecter chomping on a nurse’s eyeball.

Jaime Lannister has, inexplicably, decided to go short.  Why why why?  He looked so devilish and dirty with the long locks.

The guy who plays Joffrey — Jack Gleeson, self had to look it up — is so impeccably petulant and EVIL.

Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) has self’s second most favorite line of the night, something about hanging a necklace of dead sparrows around her neck.

Brienne puts in an appearance.  Alas, she and Ser Jaime are back to the platonic.

Where is Gendry?  Hope he surfaces soon!

Oh, the dragons got big!  And Daario is played by a completely different actor.  The old Daario was blonde.  This one is dark-haired (and also a lot more craggy-faced)

Khaleesi’s slave girl/companion/translator is still the second most beautiful woman in the series.

Self has yet to see another of her favorite characters:  Yara Greyjoy.  Who, at the end of last season, swore to take fifty of her best killers and sail up the narrow river to take her baby brother home.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Fan Fiction, Sherlock and Self

In Edinburgh, in the Surgeon’s Museum (which is located in the University of Edinburgh Medical School), there is a special exhibit on the man who served as the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (Doyle studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh).  Since self is extremely nosy, she decided to open a closed door that was at the far end of the exhibit area, and saw an empty amphitheater, with rows and rows of wooden desks all facing a proscenium.  Class was not in session.

Today, self is thinking about Sherlock Holmes because she is once again tackling her Pile of Stuff (which is absolutely exploding with unread magazines).  The January 27, 2014 issue of The New Yorker is what she is looking at this afternoon.  There’s a very interesting article by Emily Nussbaum called  FAN FRICTION:  SHERLOCK AND ITS AUDIENCES.

As self proceeds through the article, she learns that a particular scene in Sherlock Season 3 was inspired by Sherlock Holmes fan fiction.  Can you guess which one, dear blog readers?

One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four, one thousand five . . .

Time’s up!

We’re at a critical moment:  Holmes is on the roof of a building, preparing to jump. Somehow,  Moriarty winds up there, too, and leans in for a kiss.  Self’s jaw almost dropped to the floor.

Self knew it!  She knew it!  Because it’s in the same episode where a group of London geeks (fan fiction practitioners) sit in someone’s cramped and cluttered apartment and conjecture about the two years Sherlock was thought by everyone to have perished.  (They also tweet theories using hashtag #sherlocklives)

Anyhoo, self loves the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock.  The first time she saw the actor was in a movie called Amazing Grace, where he played anti-slavery parliamentarian Pitt.  At that point in time, there was only one reason self wanted to see the movie, and that was Ioaon Gruffud.  She had absolutely no idea where the filmmakers had picked up the beady-eyed Cumberbatch.  Only years later, after watching her first episode of Sherlock, did self finally “get” the Cumberbatch affect:  the lankiness!  The floppy, messy hair!  The cigarette pants!  The sexy!

In the series, “when Sherlock reads a crime scene, enormous words appear on the screen, like an on-line word cloud.”

Sherlock, Nussbaum writes, “has inspired reams of slash fiction.”  Today, “you can find slash fic about almost any character you can imagine, from Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy onward.”

Self recently registered for membership in fanfiction.net, and she can attest how addictive it is.  There are actually people who leave comments like these:

“I work as a waiter and I’m right now in an alley behind the restaurant, hoping for an update to your story before my boss comes out and catches me . . . “

“I’m on a cruise of the Mediterranean and I keep thinking up excuses to go back to my room so I can check for any updates of your story.  My family thinks I’m nuts . . . “

Never, ever will self reveal her fanfiction.net identity, because she’s doing very fluffy writing.  She follows seven writers.  She hopes with all her heart they don’t turn out to be 14, but they might be.  Because they still worry about getting “caught” during chemistry class or skipping math class to do some urgent reading in the bathroom!

She’s heard it so many times:  The internet is the death of books.  It may be the death of books, but it is definitely a clarion call to the imagination, and to the power of the simple act of reading.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Ricky Gervais, Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition, March 1-2, 2014

Ricky Gervais was the subject of Alexandra Wolfe’s Weekend Confidential, two weeks ago.  He is as sharply witty on the page as he is while doing his stand-ups.  He plays Dominic Badguy in the upcoming “Muppets Most Wanted.” He’s probably most famous for creating The Office, which debuted on British television in 2001.

  • About Twitter:  “They worry about what someone on Twitter says about them . . .  You may as well walk around public toilets and look for graffiti about yourself, because it’s as relevant.”
  • About his humor:  “I enjoy deconstructing human behavior . . .  That’s my favorite thing:  social satire.”
  • About the criticism leveled at him for the way he roasted Hollywood stars while hosting the Golden Globes:  “You usually have to be a serial killer to get that many inches” in the press.
  • On his success:  “I’ve got a nicer house, and I travel comfortably, but . . .  I don’t do drugs, I don’t race cars, I don’t gamble, I don’t buy jewelry, and nothing I couldn’t do when I was poor have I started doing when I was rich.”

More:

He was in a band in college.  It was called Seona Dancing.

He got his start doing “a satirical alternative news show” called Meet Ricky Gervais.

Nice interview.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Justified 5.4: Still Great

Can it really be five years since self had her first electrifying glimpse of Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens?  Self never missed an episode of Season 1 and Season 2. She watched most of Season 3 (The end of Neil McDonough’s character: classic) and Season 4 (She thought there’d be something between the preacher’s sister and Tim Gutterson.  Self is such an incurable romantic!).

No way was she missing Season 5.  Especially not since they announced this was the penultimate season. Noooo!

Self has a Read the rest of this entry »

American TV (2nd Tuesday of January 2014): Justified 5.2 and True Detective

Self has decided that she will do weekly updates of Justified.  She wasn’t very good about doing that, the last two seasons, but her interest has returned, along with a whole fresh cast of villains and teases — Michael Rapaport, Amy Smart, Alicia Witt.

Last week’s episode, the season opener, began with the trial of dim Dewey Crowe. The defending lawyer was a blonde, no-nonsense woman, plain as day which was great because self would never have believed the scene if the lawyer had been even the least bit attractive. We see Raylan on the witness stand, looking devilishly handsome (even without the Stetson).  Self can’t resist:  Raylan on the witness stand is like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day (cue background music)

Self will never forget the lines:  “300 stands for $300,000 to be awarded to you.  Do you accept?” Dewey Crowe, who was in the midst of lodging a protest, collapses on a seat, mouth open.  The judge intones “I’ll take that as a yes” and bangs his gavel.  End of scene.

BWAH. HA. HA. HAAAA!

Episode 5.1 introduced us to a new form of hillbilly:  Michael Rapaport, very beefed up.  He has a fetching sister (played by Alicia Witt) named Wendy, who’s a legal assistant (This is not the same as being a lawyer, just so you know).  There are a whole lot of murders and blood spatter.  No Jacob Pitts or Erika Taziel, boo.  But the return of Nick Searcy as Raylan’s sardonic boss was reason enough to cheer.

As self watched Episode 5.2, last night, she had very many thoughts about the series hero (Michael Rapaport was MIA until the very last minutes of this episode).  For instance, this weighty observation:

Timothy Olyphant looks so good in distressed blue jeans.  His stance, his physique — just tailor-made for low-slung Levis.  You skateboarding teen-agers with the beanies, you oh-so-cool denizens of high schools and shopping malls, you have nothing on Olyphant. Seriously, someone ought to bottle this man’s mojo and ship overseas with every pair of American jeans. It might just succeed in balancing the trade deficit or in wiping out the national debt.

Next:

Even when he is not opening his mouth, and is just staring into space (while driving, say), he needs no dialogue.  Oh beautiful.  Just keep looking at that face for 50 minutes.  Forget plot, forget who’s trying to off who, forget his low-life BFF Boyd Crowder.  That’s an American icon, right there!

Last night’s episode had brief appearances of Jacob Pitt and Erika Taziel, doing practically nothing.  At least there was more of Art.  He was exhibiting a new form of acquired behavior: bouncing a small black rubber ball on his desktop.  Art doesn’t really need such a behavioral prop.  Of course, it is nice to know that he is manually dexterous and can multi-task.  But self hated that instead of fully committing herself to observing every aspect of Nick Searcy’s delivery, her eyes were kept on that little bouncing ball.  She couldn’t help wondering if it were some kind of loaded gun, to be exploded in a later episode.  Of course, it could really be just a prop.  With absolutely no symbolism whatsoever.

Last night featured the return of another of her favorite characters:  Loretta!  The heart-faced pot dealer.  Self was quite in a tizzy wondering what trouble she’d get up to next.  Raylan is so fatherly with her.  Sweet.

Self is so glad for AMY SMART!  That girl has some serious charisma.  Banish Winona and never bring her back!

Last night’s episode featured almost NO killings.  She wondered why it was moving so slowly.  But every time the script went back to Raylan, the energy of the show increased by a mile.  She wonders what the deal is with that man who’s got all the tubes going in and out, the one with the pretty brunette wife who seems to have some thing going on for Boyd Crowder (Ava’s in jail, how convenient).  Or perhaps self is just imagining the whole frisson.

When Wynn Duffy confronts a roomful of very skanky-looking men, to explain why their drug shipments will be delayed, self kept waiting for an explosion, especially after a dude gets up to complain. He’s just your average low-life. Perfect for elimination.  Not, in other words, a recurring character.  But Wynn did not shoot him for his loud-mouthed ways.  Instead, Boyd walks in, and — get this — the protesting man actually has a name.  It’s “Cyrus.”  At least, that’s what Boyd calls him.  Oh.  So that’s why he wasn’t off-ed.  Yet.

Stay tuned for more Raylan next week.

Self will now turn to the new HBO show, “True Detective.”  This one had her agog for quite a while, ever since she found out it stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.  McConaughey and Harrelson are a dream match-up, almost as dreamy as di Caprio and Jonah Hill.  About the episode (which may have been the first):

McConaughey is so thin. A far cry from his Magic Mike appearance.

There is a dinner scene: McConaughey is the guest at Harrelson’s home.  He sits there with red eyes, looking completely wasted.  It’s a little bizarre.

The story is apparently one of these circular tales that keep switching back and forth between the present and the past.  In the present, Woody Harrelson has settled into being an honest-to-goodness suit, and McConaughey has gone off the deep end or something.  We know this because Harrelson tells his interrogators (who are videotaping the session, so we know it must be very very serious) he’s not been in touch with McConaughey’s character for about 10 years.  And when we finally get to see present-day McConaughey, he has very long stringy grey hair and appears even more gaunt:  this has got to be one of the most entertaining “spring-forward-in-time” scenarios ever.  The hair!  Or, rather, the anti-mane!  It’s like someone draped McConaughey’s head with rat tails.

The murder victim — oh, shoot.  If only self had had time to look away.  But no.  One minute we are observing the very considerable acting chops of the two leads.  The next, we see this human body strung between two trees, draped with antlers.  There’s a rubbed-out section of the torso.  OK, was that the place where . . .  gulp.  Never mind.

“True Detective” has gotten mostly good reviews.  It was a little plodding, but she always enjoys Harrelson and McConaughey.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Pairings Battles: Who Will Win?

This is total fluff, but anyhoo, since self seems to be on a roll, she will just keep on posting (that is, until The Man gets home and imposes some order on self’s abysmally dis-ordered mental state):

Hypable’s Battleships Pairings Tournament is down to the semi-finals, so if you feel inclined to pitch your hat in favor of either of the following pairings:

  • Bella/Edward
  • Brienne/Jaime

Go HERE!

(An early round had Nick/Gatsby and Frodo/Sam.  At some point, did any blog readers wonder if Haymitch and Effie could possibly have some outside-of-the-games romance?  Honestly, the way Haymitch rolls his eyes at Effie leads self to think the man has got to be in love — BWAH. HA. HAAA!)

Apologies, dear blog readers.  Once again, self has gotten side-tracked from the original impulse which caused her to think of posting.  Which is that:  After much slogging, self has clawed her way to PAGE 214 of Henry M. Stanley’s 536-page How I Found Livingstone in Central Africa.  YEEESSS!  In between p. 1 and p. 214, self:

  • Ate a whole lemon meringue pie.
  • Watched her Netflix movie rental, Boy A, and developed admiration for Andrew Garfield.
  • Found out her short story “Sofia” will be in Philippine Speculative Fiction, vol. 9.
  • Got very, very sick.
  • Attended a New Year’s Eve lunch in Menlo Park.
  • Watched Stanford lose in the Rose Bowl.
  • Went to town on take-out from Sam’s Chowder House in downtown Palo Alto.
  • Saw “Frozen.”
  • Read five back issues of The Economist.
  • Discontinued her subscription to The New York Times Book Review.

There were also relaxing activities like:  watering, watching birds in the backyard, watching Dr. Oz, and watching Saturday Night Live re-runs.  Self just realized:  things are so much clearer when one is sick.  Self had no idea how beneficial forced home incarceration/rest can be for the mental faculties.  For one thing, she got to read everything about Mockingjay.  Now she knows that Katniss first mentions Peeta’s name on p. 5.  P. 5!  Holy cow, girl!  Can’cha get with the program already!

On p. 214 of How I Found Livingstone in Central Africa, Henry M. Stanley develops a severe case of malaria.  While he is feverish and thus incapacitated, his porters take the opportunity to abandon him.  All except for one, an “Arab” named Selim.

I asked Selim, “Why did you not also run away, and leave your master to die?”

“Oh, sir,” said the Arab boy, naively, “I was afraid you would whip me.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

What She’s Reading, New Year’s Eve (2013)

Henry M. Stanley:

“The ascent of the ridge was rugged and steep, thorns of the prickliest nature punished us severely, the acacia horrida was here more horrid than usual, the gums stretched out their branches, and entangled the loads, the mimosa with its umbrella-like top served to shade us from the sun, but impeded a rapid advance.  Steep outcrops of syenite and granite, worn smooth by many feet, had to be climbed over, rugged terraces of earth and rock had to be ascended, and distant shots resounding through the forest added to the alarm and general discontent, and had I not been immediately behind my caravan, watchful of every maneuver, my Wanyamwezi had deserted to a man.”

–  How I Found Livingstone in Central Africa, Chapter VII (“Through Marenga Mkali, Ugogo, and Uyanzi, to Unyanyembe”)

Why does self keep thinking of THE ARENA?  Is it Stanley or Peeta/Katniss traversing those rocks and . . .

Self, get a grip!

Ding Dong!  When is that Times Square ball really going to start coming down?  And is Miley part of the show?  And why did Britney Spears almost fall out of her dress during a concert in Vegas?  And what is this new animated show that uses the voices of Armie Hammer and Teri Hatcher?  And why is Jessica Lange so funny when she sings Banana Fana in that American Horror Story episode?  And how come self only seems to watch The Good Wife when she is in Bacolod? And why can The Man never manage to help self find a single episode of Sherlock Holmes, the one with Benedict Cumberbatch?  And will Peter Jackson ever find a new project that doesn’t involve dwarves, hobbits, elves, or orcs (not that self minds, really)?  And will Charlie Hunnam have cause to regret that he backed out of Fifty Shades of Grey because it interfered with the schedule, he said, of Sons of Anarchy?  And what will J-Law look like in 20 years?  And will self still be alive then?  And won’t it be depressing to see J-Law middle-aged? (It most definitely will).

Self never made it to the post office today, but she did make it to Costco (for that most important sleep aid, Benadryl).  There were many unruly carts going this way and that.  People, self felt like saying, what good does it do to rush about like that, when in the end you will still have to wait in line at the checkout?  But, the holidays seem to bring out the most aggressive Costco shoppers, self knows not why.  Well, at least self managed to replenish her supply of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

New Year’s Eve Quote of the Day: Alyssa Milano

She’s the Project Runway All Stars season 3 host.

I only knew her as the actress on Charmed.

Gee, I should really get caught up on Project Runway. (That’ll be my New Year’s Resolution # xxx)

The quote is courtesy of the December 2013 issue of Marie Claire (Since self dis-continued The New York Times Book Review, and has all this money left in her checking account, she decided to sign up for a 2-year subscription to Marie Claire, which she’s been reading forever. So, for readers of this blog, expect more fluff in 2014!):

Marie Claire:  Now that you’ve done both reality and regular television, which one do you prefer?

Milano:  Project Runway All Stars was about being present in the moment.  Reality TV is not about acting, it’s about reacting.  I found that very liberating.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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