New Year’s Eve, Redwood City

The ball has long since dropped on Times Square. Son is with a group of friends in the City. Self is on the couch, sipping Yogi Sleepytime Tea and watching Charlie Sheen on “Two and a Half Men” (in light of recent events, admittedly a rather creepy experience).

Just before this, she stopped watching Franco Zeffirelli’s “Hamlet,” which arrived only today from Netflix. She got to only about a third of the way through. Mel Gibson is just about the most scenery-chewing Hamlet ever. Which is terrible because the role of Hamlet is all about interiority. At least it is, in self’s humble opinion. Finally, dear Mel rolled his eyes just one too many times and self quit watching and turned back to cable. About the only reasons for dear blog readers to rent this version of Hamlet would be a) to see how astonishingly beautiful Glenn Close is in the role of Hamlet’s Mum; b) to see how astonishingly beautiful Helena Bonham-Carter is in the role of Ophelia; and c) to see how astonishingly beautiful a young man named Nathaniel Parker is in the small role of Laertes.

Self can hear firecrackers popping, somewhere in the distance. She is three-fourths of the way through Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories, which she started reading right after Alexandra Fuller’s (wonderful) Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. She finds that Kafka’s stories need to be read in a pell-mell rush, preferably in one sitting. For the paragraphs are thick and dense and continue for pages and pages without a break. And if self stops reading in the middle of a story, she can never find the place where she left off, and the story makes no sense.

There have been some beautiful stories — “The Metamorphosis”, of course, but also “The Judgement” and, self’s particular favorite, a truly shattering story called “A Country Doctor”. Self read this book all through Christmas and the week leading up to today. Never since son’s birth (when self was reading Dickens’ Bleak House) has self’s reading matter been so at odds with her reality.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Jude Law + Watson = Hotson

Hot Watson, Haawwttt!

Self has new crush, not since Zach Quinto, etc etc

Furthermore, Robert Downey, Jr., self is convinced, can play anyone.  Anyone.

The only down-side to the new Sherlock Holmes movie was that Rachel McAdams’ British accent kept slipping.  Also, she has a very distracting mole on one cheek.  But, aside from that, she looks wonderful in those dresses with the big bustles.  And in her one dis-robing scene, she is revealed to have a most petite waist and a very nice back.

Guy Ritchie, forget Madonna.  Let’s just have you concentrate on making the “Sherlock Holmes” sequel, okaaay?  Self can hardly wait to see Downey go mano a mano with dastardly nemesis, Professor Moriarty!

Seriously, self hasn’t found Jude Law this hot since “Gattaca.” And Lord knows, that was a lifetime ago.

In addition, self saw the previews for three upcoming potentially great movies:  “Wolfman” (Oh Benicio, you appear in movies so rarely these days!), “Ironman 2” and the “Clash of the Titans”  remake.  The last movie featured again Sam Worthington.  Self thinks the sword-and-sandals look does not quite suit him.  She thinks he would be infinitely better as the new “Mad Max.”  But, oh how delicious to hear Liam Neeson utter the classic line:  “Release the Kraken!”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

A Happy New Year Post: Utne Reader’s Best Magazines of the Decade

See, that’s what’s so great about Year End.  There are lists popping up everywhere.  Self could go to town just posting commentary about movie lists, book lists, and so forth and so on.  What’s more, editors have been throwing in “Best xxxx of the Decade” lists (Self was a little slow to recognize that 2009 marked the end of a decade, for she’s so used to thinking in terms of tens, twenties, or what have you).  So, there’s a Times UK “100 Best Movies of the Decade” List (#91 is one of self’s all-time favorite movies, “Lantana,” and #23 is another fave, Paul Greengrass’ “United 93”), and there is Salon.com’s movie critics’ “Best Movies of the Decade” (Zacharek’s list includes Michael Almereyda’s 2000 “Hamlet,” starring Ethan Hawke — Yay!)  And there are also “Worst Movies of the Decade” lists, and so forth and so on.

Here’s a list that’s a little different (and shows self’s utter lack of originality, for she eavesdropped on Luna Park):  Utne Reader’s selection of “Best Magazines of the Decade”.  Utne Reader was the magazine that boosted self’s fortunes considerably when, almost two decades ago, they published a rave review of her first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila.  And, as recently as a year ago, self was in communication with them because she somehow mis-placed her copy of that review, but the plucky editors found it and mailed her a copy.  Oh thank you so much, esteemed Utne Reader!  Self thinks you take the cake for originality and tenacity.  Self will give their selections (arranged by year), and then she’ll give a shout out to some of the magazines that made self’s publishing universe in 2009:

Year 2000:  Mother Jones

Year 2001:  The Ecologist Read the rest of this entry »

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