“Gone Girl”

Ludicrous.

Self can’t even.

Just.

Self has no words.

In the end, self was not the only one laughing.

David Fincher, shame on you!

Self still likes Rosamund Pike, though. Did the poor thing think she was in a serious drama? Because it became pretty hard to distinguish between the cheese and the drama, by the end.  Self almost choked on her scarf, she was laughing so hard.

SPOILER ALERT

This is a teensy tiny question but self has to ask it anyway: Why, at the end, after it has been determined that poor Amy has been the victim of a sado-masochistic creep (played of course to cheesy perfection by Neil Patrick Harris), after she’s been examined in the hospital and placed in a wheelchair — why is she allowed to give a televised conference, without any attempt to clean the thick layers of blood swathing her throat? What self-respecting hospital would allow a person to walk around still caked in buckets of dried blood? Allow her, in fact, to go home in that condition? And why, after arriving home, does this alleged rape victim walk out of her car — the wheelchair only went as far as the hospital driveway, apparently — and enter her house completely unaided? She’s not just walking, either — she’s gliding. Actually, gliding. Shoulders back like a queen!  Since Amy’s just gotten the media to swallow a line about her being used and abused, seeing her walk that way is just a little bit much.

Just saying.

And another thing:  that “Fifty Shades of Gray” preview? Self adores Dakota Johnson. But the guy — self could not suppress a feeling of chagrin at the thought of how well Charlie Hunnam (of Sons of Anarchy) would have filled that suit, and how he would have looked, smoldering at Dakota Johnson from across a desk.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Observations About What’s Currently On in Movie Theatres

Summer ended.  There was a long, long parade of action movies.

The last action movie self saw was “Riddick.”  Did anyone notice something funny about the names of the cast?  Can anyone think of a more ridiculous assemblage of names than:  Vin Diesel; Katee Sackhoff (Always makes self want to say “Sack Off!”); Karl Urban (like Karl Marx, only more urbane); Bokeem Woodbine; Nolan Gerard Funk (almost as rich as Richard B. Riddick).  Self cannot say yea or nay to any of the critics who slam the film for being misogynist.  She liked it; therefore, her tastes are — to put it mildly —  eccentric.

Then there is that action flick, “Getaway.”  Ethan Hawke now has the dubious distinction of being in one of the best movies of Summer 2013 (“Before Midnight”) and one of the worst movies of Summer 2013.  About “Getaway,” Eric B. Snider notes:  “For no reason that I can discern, we only see the villain’s fingers, lips, and eyes until the very end of the movie, when it’s revealed to be Jon Voight.  So what?”  He sums up:  “The good news is that if you’ve always wanted to see Ethan Hawke bicker with a teenage girl for 90 minutes, this is your chance!”

“Closed Circuit,” which stars Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall, and wowed the Wall Street Journal movie critic, earned only a wan C+ from Eric Snider.  “Disappointingly mundane, run-of-the-mill . . . ” Snider calls it.

Then there is Rooney Mara and yet another one of her “performances,” this time as a small-town Texas gal in “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” (The title has that arch Americana feel, meaning it will be “raw, honest,” and etc.)  And also has Casey Affleck in yet another of his performances.  Self swears, Mara doesn’t need to act:  all she has to do is fix an object in her level gaze; her cheekbones and partly opened mouth do the rest.  Affleck seems to be progressing from geek/nerd to manlier roles.  Great!

And that is about all self wants to write about movies at the moment.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

SISTER CARRIE

Self finished reading it today.  Afterwards, early evening, she sat and watched two brown birds fighting each other over the bird feeder.

SPOILER ALERT!

The last 100 or so pages of Sister Carrie were excruciating, because it took such a long time for Hurstwood to die.  First, the man became completely passive, child-like, wanting Carrie to cut down food intake so as to make it possible for them both to live off her salary as a member of a chorus line.  Carrie, being a creature of some perspicacity (and also beauty: almost all her advantages are somehow derived from that), loses all respect for him, but what makes the last fourth of the book so painful is watching how passively Hurstwood takes her rejection.  Thankfully, Carrie is not the brooding sort:  after she makes the decision to leave him, she doesn’t bother herself with thoughts of his fate.  (But, self couldn’t help wondering, what will happen when Carrie herself grows old?)  So we just follow along, watching Hurstwood’s descent.

At the same time that self found the disintegration of Hurstwood’s personality truly appalling, she couldn’t look away.  She had to read all the way to the bitter end.

Self tends to read the classics at odd moments in her life.  For instance, soon after she’d started in the Stanford Creative Writing Program, she decided that she must read Lord Jim and Moby Dick, while everyone else was reading Raymond Carver or Flannery O’Connor.  Then, while she was pregnant, she remembers reading (and loving) War and Peace and wanting to name son after Prince Andrei Bolkonski. Then she carted along to Stanford Hospital, where she delivered Sole Fruit of Her Loins, Bleak House. In retrospect, what woman in her right mind chooses to read Bleak House at such a moment?  Just as well she had no visitors.  She was able to read for two whole days.  The nurses simply could not believe how self could read with such dedication.  Later, while son was a mere infant, she remembers reading (and loving) Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker.  She gave a copy to son when he was 12, but though appropriately grateful, he declined to crack the cover.  It sits now, in virginal pristine condition, on a shelf in son’s room.

And now to 2013:

In the cold of February this year, she tackled Graham Greene’s The Human Factor.  Self has read Greene before, but this time, a slim novel that would usually take her a few days to get through ended up taking almost two weeks (Loved it)

Her next classic was Anna Karenina.  Holy cow, that book took her a whole month to get through.  Strangely, she did not find herself loathing Vronsky.  Afterwards, she rented the Keira Knightley movie from Netflix.  Awful.  The most ludicrous movie she has ever seen.  Worse even than The Lair of the White Worm, directed by Ken Russell.  She can’t even begin to describe . . .

But, onward!

She was going to re-read War and Peace, but that would have taken half a year, and she was shortly to leave for Venice.  Instead, she tackled Don Quijote, finishing just two days before leaving on her trip.  That was the most incredible novel.  At first, she didn’t think she’d like it, because everyone has decided (from the very beginning) that Don Quijote is mad.  And she doesn’t like reading 900-page novels about people who’ve already been diagnosed.  But things got interesting when Sancho Panza entered the mix.  Then, the book became a work of pure pathos.  And on almost every page, self found herself laughing out loud.  Just ask The Man, he’ll tell you.

The next book on her reading list is The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa.  What a title!  She loves it almost as much as she does the title of the Kafka story, “The Hunger Artist.”  In the foreword to The Leopard, di Lampedusa grumbled that he couldn’t “do a Ulysses.”  So he decided to set his sights on a more attainable goal:  describing “twenty-four hours in the life of my great-grandfather, the day Garibaldi landed.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“The Raid: Redemption” — Definitely Five Stars!

Through sheer happenstance, today self was reading Eric D. Snider’s review of “The Lucky One” when she developed the impulse to look up all his “D” reviews.  She then decided to look up all his “B+” movies, which she then posted.  So, when the husband was in his next bad mood, self was ready with a plan of action, which involved looking at screening times for all the movies showing in her locality, which ultimately led to her to discover that one of Eric D. Snider’s “B+” movies, “The Raid:  Redemption,” was actually showing in the Century 20 of Redwood City, which practically knocked her for a loop, she didn’t believe at first the evidence of her own eyes, because:  a) The movie was from Indonesia, who ever heard of a movie from Indonesia showing in a Century 20??!! and b) Self had never heard of it until she read Eric D. Snider’s blog this afternoon.

But, faster than the husband could say “tiddleywinks,” self took off, and caught the movie just as the opening credits began to roll.   And about halfway through the movie —  which is about 90 minutes long —  self made the amazing discovery that:

The lead reminded her a lot of Barry Pepper!

Remember the guy in “Saving Private Ryan,” the one who plays the sharpshooter?  That’s Barry Pepper!

The actors even had the same kind of jug ears!

Of course, the guy in this Indonesian movie had black hair, and a swarthier complexion, but they had the same high cheekbones, the same sort of upside-down-triangle sort of face, and even the same kind of intensity.

Moreover, the Indonesian actor proves to be absolutely wicked with his fists.  Move over, Jet Li!  There’s a new action star on the horizon, and he’s Indonesian!  His name is Iko Uwais, which is thankfully not as long a name as it could be:  self has taught some students from Indonesia with names that were at least three times as long!

SPOILER ALERT!

Not only does this guy (he plays a member of a SWAT police team) take out approximately 100 bad guys in a 15-floor tenement building, he does it all for the sake of his pregnant wife, who is due to deliver A BOY (!!) within two months.  Self cannot describe the excitement with which she watched him drag a wounded comrade down a hallway absolutely crammed with bad guys (All the bad guys were wearing the standard Asian bad-guy attire:  nondescript T-shirts, baggy pants, a whole arsenal of guns and/or machetes —  or what we Filipinos refer to as bolos).  Self almost fainted, until she watched this young guy let loose with the whirling fists.  Afterwards, the hallway was littered with bodies —  well, actually,corpses.  The young man manages to get his wounded comrade to safety, by knocking on the door of perhaps the only apartment in the entire building whose inhabitant, a nerd-y type wearing glasses (most likely an engineer), is the only one brave enough to open his door to the police!

This movie was heck-of-exciting.  Self was under the impression she was the only female in the (sparse) audience, but when she stood up to go, there was a young woman (in a flowery print dress) following right behind her —  and, like self, unaccompanied.

The world is just full of surprises!

CAVEAT:  The movie earns every bit of its “R” rating.  It is gruesome, gruesome, gruesome.  Self was so glad she was watching it by herself, so she wouldn’t have to listen to the husband groan.  (She left him at home watching “Aliens.”  For some reason, the husband doesn’t find “Alien” or “Predator” levels of gruesome at all hard to take.  She is 100% sure, though, that he would be moaning all through “The Raid:  Redemption”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Eric D. Snider List of “D” Movies

Self loves it when Eric D. Snider awards a “D” to a movie.  The “D” movies are a lot more fun to read about than the “B” or even “C” movies.

Self writes this because Snider just awarded a new movie a “D” (Well, actually a “D+.”  Self thinks he might actually have awarded a few “F”s.  She promises to research the matter for dear blog readers, for a future post!)

Here are the recent movies graced with Mr. Snider’s most hilarious put-downs:

Act of Valor (D+)

With all due respect to the directors, and even more respect to the SEALS themselves . . .  all the SEAL-ish things that the SEALS do in Act of Valor could have been performed by actors or stuntmen —  and in fact have been performed by actors and stuntmen in countless other military movies.  Remember, we’re not watching real missions here.  We’re watching re-enactments of missions in which the soldiers happen to be played by real soldiers.  In between those action scenes, when the SEALS recite their scripted dialogue, it becomes painfully obvious that . . .  well, that they’re not actors . . .  Making the SEALS do acting themselves . . .  especially when it comes to the maudlin, emotional stuff . . .  is about as disastrous as it would be if you sent a troupe of actors to rescue a kidnapped CIA operative.

Gone (D-):  At last (self thinks), Amanda Seyfried in a true, actual DUD!

Jill (Amanda Seyfried) barges into the (police) precinct, all bug-eyed and panicky, declaring her sister missing.  Even if Jill’s story . . .  is true, there’s no reason to think (Self:  Seyfried’s character was kidnapped before, you see:  it’s all very complicated) that Molly (Seyfried’s sister) is even “missing.”  She’s an adult, after all, and adults do sometimes leave without telling their sisters where they’re going.  I can assure you, if Jill were my sister, she would NEVER know where I am.

The Lucky One (D+)

It’s based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, though you may have surmised that from my use of the phrase “sappy hogwash.”  (If anyone can prevent Efron from climbing out of the teeny-bopper ghetto, it’s this guy.)  Efron plays Logan, a shellshocked Marine in Iraq who sees a discarded photograph lying in some rubble, walks over to pick it up, and is thus saved when a bomb goes off right where he’d been standing . . .  Fortunately for our story, the stranger in the picture happens to be an attractive single woman in Logan’s approximate age group.  This would have been a very different movie indeed if Logan’s life had been saved by a snapshot of a grizzled homeless man, or by a picture of a burrito from a magazine ad.  Logan uses contextual clues to figure out where the photo was taken (the movie spends 11 to 12 seconds on this sleuthing), determines it was a small town in Louisiana, then walks there.  From Colorado.  Why not drive or take a bus?

There is only one “A” Snider awards to a recent movie, and that honor goes to a teen/slasher movie, obviously many cuts above its genre, A Cabin in the Woods (At least, here, Chris Hemsworth plays a person of normal size.  Self finds his exceptionally bulked-up physique when playing Thor almost — repulsive?)

And here are a couple of movies that Mr. Snider graced with a “B+”:

  • Casa de Mi Padre (Spanish)
  • Friends With Kids
  • Jeff, Who Lives at Home
  • The Raid:  Redemption (Indonesian)
  • Silent House
  • Wanderlust

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Which Is It?

Today, it rained.  Rained yesterday, too.  And on the drive back from Dumaguete.

By the time we were in the mountains, it was full dark.  Joel refuses to drive through the mountains at night, but for Samuel it was no problem.  Self doesn’t remember when she decided to ask Samuel whether he believed in aswang.  Perhaps it was right after Binalbagan (Saw dense gray smoke issuing from the sugar central, even at 8 p.m.  Samuel said that the centrals run 24 hours a day, during milling season.  The men work in shifts).  Anyhoo, Samuel’s answer was most surprising:  Yes, he did believe in aswang.  In fact, in the town where he grew up, there were several.  Some fly and some walk, and one particularly bold aswang had even tried to eat his cousin.

At that very moment, we were driving through a deserted stretch of highway, only darkened fields on either side, and no more trucks, either in front or behind.  Self felt prickles all up and down her arms.

Samuel then went on to say that some people he knew had managed to take a picture of a kapre.  He was a gigantic, very hairy man, and there was a clear smell of cigar smoke around him.

To which self could only respond:  OMG!!!

She quickly decided to change the subject.

(Drivers are such an endless reservoir of fascinating stories, dear blog readers.  From Joel self learned about fish, since his father owned a punong.  One other driver, Archie, told self stories of his childhood in another sugar milling town, La Carlota)

So, yesterday, self was back to using Joel (She’ll keep switching drivers from now on, since it’s always nice to have different kinds of stories —  in fact, she might be up for trying a third driver, when she next visits Bacolod).  She and Zack asked Joel if the new Derek Ramsay (Oh, take self’s word for it, this guy is quite a dreamboat!  More dreamy than Channing Tatum, even!  Though Zack strenuously disagrees), “Corazon:  Ang Unang Aswang” was any good, and Joel replied in the firm affirmative, citing an interview in which Ramsay had said it was so much nicer to kiss with Erich (Mother’s name was probably Elena or something starting with an “E,” and the “rich” was added because everyone hopes to be rich, at least they do here in the Philippines) Gonzales.

So, since it was showing in Robinson’s, and we just so happened to be in front of Robinson’s that very moment, we told Joel to drop us off, and we then sat through two hours of

THE MOST EXCRUCIATINGLY CAMPY FILIPINO MOVIE SELF HAS EVER SEEN

And since self makes it a point to watch Filipino movies every time she visits home, that means she has seen a mountain of Filipino movies.

How bad was this movie?  It was so bad that it made self:

  • Forget periodically that the period was 1946.
  • Forget that Mark Gil used to be a good actor.
  • Forget that Erich Gonzales is a babe.
  • Forget that Derek Ramsay can act.
  • Forget what an aswang is.
  • Forget self’s all-time execrable movie of the past decade, Skyline.

Zack laughed from the first to the last frame, and self had to keep saying SHH!  (to no avail), for everyone else in the theater was completely silent, no doubt watching with rapt attention as the character played by Ms. Gonzales (Corazon, which stands for “heart”) developed the most awful eyebags and wild, Kabuki-like hair.  She also developed twitches, as if she were Edward Scissorhands.

Anyhoo, Zack remarked at one point, “I think I’m going to punch Joel.”  And since Zack is much taller and broad in the shoulder than Joel, she actually did fear for her driver’s life.

And now, to the ostensible reason for this post, which is:  an e-mail rejection self received today.

The rejection was from Agni, and the text in its entirety was this:

Dear MV:

Thank you for sending xxxxx.  Your work received careful consideration here.

We’ve decided this manuscript isn’t right for us, but we wish you luck placing it elsewhere.

Kind regards,

The Editors

P.S.  Without submissions like yours, we’d lose the sense of discovery that keeps Agni fresh.  Please click here for a discounted subscription rate offered as a thank-you to our submitters.

Now, what do dear blog readers think of the above?  Is it a standard (impersonally polite) rejection?  Or is it an encouraging rejection?

In other words, are the words “received careful consideration here” indicative of the fact that the story actually made it through the first round?  But perhaps they word all their rejections the same way, to make one think that one’s story has some saving qualities?

Now, self, are you going to obssess about this all day?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Alas, Poor Naomi!

Naomi Watts doesn’t seem to have any luck at all.

First, no one seemed to recognize how good she was in Peter Jackson’s King Kong, and she was not nominated for an Oscar.  Hey, being a “damsel in distress” involves a lot more than just screaming!  (Comparing two performances of the same role —  Jessica Lange’s and Naomi Watts’ —  self never got into Jessica’s because it seemed so mannered; Naomi’s rendition was much, much more natural.)

Last year, self watched her give two great performances:  As an independent woman in Rodrigo Garcia’s Mother and Child (playing the daughter of Annette Bening, who, unlike Naomi, was recognized); and playing the frustrated daughter of a flaky Mom in Woody’s You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger. While her BFF, Nicole Kidman, has only to hiccup and she gets recognized with an Oscar nomination (Kidman was nominated last year for her role in Rabbit Hole which, granted, was a very good movie, but so was Mother and Child.  So was You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger), Naomi Watts has only been nominated once (for 21 Grams, and that was a loooong time ago).

Now that Woody’s new movie, Midnight in Paris, is such a hit, critics invariably preface their reviews with the statement:

Compared to last year’s (disastrous/wan) You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger which was one of the worst movies of 2010 …

Hold on, people!  You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger was definitely NOT the worst movie of 2010.  Self guarantees:  critics who slam YWMATDS have not seen Skyline.  Or that rom-com with Jen that was a) not romantic; and b) not even funny.  Something called The Switch, which not even Jason Bateman could save.

And, too, it is NOT the worst Woody Allen movie, for that goes to —  oh, never mind.

Anyhoo, self would just like to say that she enjoyed You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger.  And she loves Naomi.  This actress has never once given a performance in which she can be accused of “phoning it in.” Her performance in Mother and Child was just shattering.  And as for You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger, self could have clobbered Woody for paying much more attention to the Freida Pinto part than to Naomi’s.

And now that self has gotten THAT off her chest, she would just like to say that “Super 8″ is a really good movie (Very Spielberg-ian.  Also, self is just dying to reference a previous movie with Samuel L. Jackson, that has definite echoes in “Super 8,” but that would mean issuing a Spoiler Alert.  And self doesn’t want to do that.  At least not yet.  At least not right now).

Hubby chose to watch “Super 8″ over self’s choice, “13 Assassins,” and self is glad she gave in and went along.  For one thing, it’s the first J. J. Abrams movie she’s seen since Star Trek.  And, secondly, Elle Fanning is in it.  And, thirdly, that cute guy who plays the coach in “Friday Night Lights” is in it.  And lastly the star of the movie, a young boy, is first-rate.  Self thinks that boy has a great career ahead of him.

So, “Super 8″ brings to three the number of good movies self has watched in a row.  Let’s hope this streak lasts, for as long as possible.

Now, back to the real reason self began this post:

Big Congratulations to Old Dominion University’s Princess Perry, who was a finalist in the Bellingham Review 2010 Literary Contest.  Self did not place, alas, but at least she knows someone who did!

This would also be a good time to announce that a former UCLA Extension writing student, Chris Bloom, received an Honorable Mention in the most recently concluded Glimmer Train contest —  and wow, that is quite an achievement!  Congratulations, Chris!  Her story went up against a multitude of others, and so what if it didn’t win, just getting “Honorable Mention” is in itself an achievement.

And congratulations must also go to Laura Hoopes, yet another of self’s UCLA Extension writing students, who has her own blog, called West Coast Writers, and a story in the recently published anthology Mixed Blessings and Other Stories (Absolutely love that title!).  This was a story that Laura had put up for workshop, a story that self liked exceedingly.  Self is going to do a cut and paste of the comment Laura left on this blog, a few weeks ago.

And, finally, self cannot close without mentioning that a few years ago, Dave Johnson, yet another UCLA Extension writing student, e-mailed to let self know that a story she had liked so much when she first read it, all those years ago, had won a contest, judged by Yann Martel (author of one of self’s favorite novels, Life of Pi).  Dave sent out that story for fully three years before winning the contest.  He was almost on the point of giving up and had even thought:  “That teacher is just full of it!”  Or something to that effect.

You see, self really has a nose for these things.  When she says something is good, 9 times out of 10, she is right.  And the student succeeds in getting it placed.

Perhaps self should become a literary agent?  Bet she’d be good at it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Quote(s) of the Day: “Your Highness”

Boy, everyone is just slamming this movie! Not even the scenes where Natalie Portman appears unclad, not even the hunky presence of James Franco, not even the usually riotous Danny McBride, are enough to save it!

Here’s a quote from a blog self visits quite often, Eric Snider’s:

If you watched a lot of fantasy movies in the early 80s — “Conan the Barbarian,” “Krull,” “The Beastmaster,” and such — and got your buddies together, and got really stoned, and for some reason had access to $50 million of studio money, you would make this movie.

And, oh well, might as well give you another quote, since Eric Snider is just hilarious:

. . . goodness knows there’s nothing wrong with juvenile humor! But it has to be actual humor, you know? You have to actually make a joke. By itself, the idea of a guy dressed as a medieval knight smoking weed and dropping F-bombs is only funny for a couple seconds.

This is how Snider describes the performances: Everyone else is acting; Franco and McBride are pretending to act.

Ouch!

That said, self saw a fantastic movie today, Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre, with Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska. What self liked about this version were: the richly saturated cinematography; the fact that Mr. Rochester is such a jerk; and the screenplay — absolutely biting in a way that self can’t remember other “Jane Eyre” adaptations being. She wonders why young Jane had such full, Angelina Jolie-type lips, when Wasikowska’s lips are rather thin: can lips actually shrink as one grows from child to woman? Self doesn’t know why she gets hung up on such trivialities, but she does.

Self loved the fact that Mr. Rochester very pointedly had to put on his trousers after the almost-burned-to-death-if-not-for-Jane scene. Such intimacy — even before a single kiss or smoldering glance is exchanged. Self knew, from that moment on, Jane was a goner. Oh! And Jamie Bell’s in this movie as well, playing Mr. St. John Rivers as not entirely being without humor: one early clue to the excellence of this movie is that Jamie Bell’s role actually had some “meat” to it. In the last scene of the movie, Michael Fassbender was thin and scraggly and was a dead ringer for Guy Pearce in the Australian outlaw movie “The Proposition.”

Five stars. Absolutely gorgeous. An experience much like watching Kabuki, where even the smallest gesture is rich with symbolic significance (Self can make such a statement because she has actually sat through five hours of Kabuki. In Tokyo). Which is not to say the film is slow-paced. Or, even if it is slow-paced, one barely notices because each scene is so fraught with tremors of alarm — like a ghost movie, only with real ghosts.

Stay tuned.

Worst Movie Self Has Ever Seen at the Menlo Guild

Today was a bee-yoo-ti-ful Saturday.

Yes, absolutely beautiful.

Self wanted to garden.  But hubby wanted to see a movie.

So, what movie?  “Battle: Los Angeles,” which was the only new movie self was interested in seeing, got a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“What?” hubby professed to be very disappointed at self’s lack of imagination.  “What about an indie movie?”

Well, self knew practically nothing about any of the indie movies currently showing.

Hubby, displaying unexpected initiative, went hunting around and decided we should watch “Of Gods and Men.”  He said it was an Oscar nominee!

And we saw it.  It was awful.  The worst two hours self has ever spent in a movie theater, not counting the not-quite-two-hours self spent watching “Skyline” with niece last year.  The thing about “Skyline” was:  it was bad, but one could at least entertain oneself by laughing at the most awful bits.  Watching “Of Gods and Men,” on the other hand, even to attempt a giggle would have Read the rest of this entry »

Further on Delta’s Problems with Lavatories

It is cold.  It is raining.  Self’s lips are chapped.

She has actually been busy, this morning.  And now it is half past noon.

Self has just begun Khaled Hosseini’s follow-up to The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns.  As she reads, she encounters a barbed exchange between mother and daughter.  The male under discussion is the father of the daughter (Her mother is the man’s mistress)  An excerpt:

“What a stupid girl you are!  You think you matter to him, that you’re wanted in his house?  You think you’re a daughter to him?  That he’s going to take you in?  Let me tell you something.  A man’s heart is a wretched, wretched thing, Mariam.  It isn’t like a mother’s womb.  It won’t bleed, it won’t stretch to make room for you.  I’m the only one who loves you.  I’m all you have in this world, Mariam, and when I’m gone you’ll have nothing.  You’ll have nothing.  You are nothing!”

Then she tried guilt.

And on that edifying note, self will now call dear blog reader’s attention to the exciting events of a little over a week ago, when self’s Delta flight from Narita to San Francisco returned to Narita, two hours into the flight.

Self was wondering why the web seemed strangely quiescent over this incident.  Even her fellow passengers received the news of the return to Narita calmly, without complaint (In fact, the loudest complaints might have been those emitted by self —  no profanity, only a clutching of the head and “I don’t believe this!”)

Today, self decides to google “Delta” and “Narita emergency.”  And here is what she finds:

  • From Japan Today, 24 August 2010:  “Delta Flight Returns to Airport Due to Lavatory Failure”

A Delta Airlines aircraft returned to Kansai airport early Monday, some 10 hours after departure, as its lavatories stopped functioning twice on its way to Seattle, airport officials said.  According to them, five of the six toilets of Flight 182 stopped flushing shortly after leaving the airport around 6 p.m. Sunday, prompting it to land at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture to have the problem fixed.

  • And here’s something from the National Terror Alert Response Center website, dated May 17, 2010:

A Delta Airlines Boeing 747-400 …  performing flight DL-620 from Tokyo (Narita) to Minneapolis, Minnesota with 407 people on board, was enroute about one hour into the flight, when two male passengers were observed carrying a plastic bag containing some liquid into a lavatory, raising concerns with the crew.  The captain ordered the two passengers to be detained and decided to return to Tokyo for a safe landing.  The passengers were taken into custody by Tokyo police.

Laboratory tests revealed the liquid was not dangerous at all, identifying the liquid as urine.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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