“Justified” Episode 3

So far, the weakest of the three episodes.

But, self has decided that what makes this series so much fun to watch are the set pieces, such as the one that opened Episode 2, when the man who’d been shot in the chest —  miraculous survival! — in the previous episode, Boyd Crowder (turns out he was Raylan’s childhood friend), was talking about how he put off activating the morphine drip because he wanted his head clear for his talk with Raylan. Also, the scene where Raylan is escorting a convict to another prison, and Raylan and the convict get into a barbed conversation about “kin,” which (naturally) winds up leading to a scuffle, and Raylan cracks the man’s head into the steering wheel. Also, the scene where Raylan gets locked into a storage room by an escaped convict and they politely bid each other good night. (!@#!). Also, also —

Self, that’s enough! You’re posting about Episode 3, if you’ll remember?

Well, then, Episode 3 was rather slow, at least compared to the first two. Raylan again kills a man: that makes it 3 for 3.  One man killed per episode.  Self doesn’t really mind, though.  Perhaps Raylan Givens should keep killing one man per episode.  That would show that the producers aren’t afraid to be accused of following a formula!  Way to go, producers!

Self’s favorite scenes were these:

  • Raylan meets a snitch at a restaurant, and the snitch gets Raylan to try some chocolate-y, frothy thing (looks like a Starbucks Frappucino) that supposedly has an egg in it.
  • Raylan and Ava play pool:  Everything in this scene is double entendre, if you get self’s drift
  • Raylan shows “black Mr. Clean” how a duel (with pistols) should go down.

Another Read the rest of this entry »

Anthony Lane on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

This movie is currently showing in Menlo Park’s Guild:  hubby and self saw it a few weeks ago, but, alas, the post in which self gave her response to the movie vanished without garnering a single view.  Now, self reads with more than the usual interest a review of same movie by Anthony Lane in the 29 March 2010 issue of The New Yorker.  He seems to like it.  At least, more than self did.

This is how he summarizes the plot:

First, we get a prologue in which Blomkvist (played by a suitably dour Swede named Michael Nyqvist) is “found guilty of libel in an unconnected matter” (unconnected to the main mystery, that is, which is to find the missing grand-daughter of a wealthy industrialist) and is “sent to jail.  (The sentence is delayed for six months, which gives him time to solve the case of the disappearing girl).  Second, Lisbeth” (the heroine, the one with the dragon tattoo —  not to be confused with another girl with a dragon tattoo in movie “Hitman,” which they keep playing over and over on F/X, presumably so that fans of Timothy Olyphant can have him on demand, 24/7 if they so desire), who “has unspecified convictions in her past, has a new probation officer, who forces her to provide sexual services in return for a financial allowance” (This is the part that totally confused self:  She kept turning to hubby and asking, “So she’s an heiress???”  She didn’t get the fact that the man with access, apparently, to all of Lisbeth’s earthly wealth was her probation officer. But that’s because these days self is punch-drunk stupid from lack of sleep. But when did you ever hear of a probation officer doling out money as if he were administering a trust fund?)

Anyhoo, the probation officer keeps making disparaging remarks about Lisbeth’s sense of personal hygiene, yet seems to love running his porcine fingers through her (Amy Winehouse-type) black hair.  Not to worry, for Lisbeth “turns the tables, and basically rapes him back.  This frees her up to resume control of her own money, which buys her a new laptop, which allows her to hack into Blomkvist’s own computer  —  for no apparent reason other than sheer nosiness  —  all of which inspires him to take her on as his deputy.  Got it?”

Having never read the book on which this movie is based (The only Swedish mystery writer self has read is Henning Mankell), self has no way of judging Lane’s assertion that author Larsson “is concerned, to the brink of obssession, with cruelties of every stripe.”  But self didn’t like this movie for the same reason she didn’t like Kathryn Bigelow’s “Strange Days,” which contained plenty of scenes of women’s sexual humiliation.  Really, self doesn’t need to sit through a movie to be reminded that women are being abused every day, all over the world!

Oh, oh, but what’s this?  Anthony Lane states that he, too, during “a single winter,” “feasted” on the collected works of Henning Mankell!  Which reminds self of the summer when she, too, feasted, though summertime is a much nicer time to feast on neurasthenic Swedish mystery writers, because then one can with greater facility distract oneself from the unrelenting mournfulness of the Swedish climate.

Then, Lane states that the pivotal moment in the movie (Spoilers ahead!) is when Blomkvist pins up a row of photographs on a cottage wall (Very cozy:  Blomkvist and Lisbeth share the cottage and of course the bed), and Lane knew, he just knew that “half of them would turn out to have been Nazis.”  Why?  Because they were all blonde???

Hubby professed to like the movie.  Sometimes he says things just to get self’s goat.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

NYTBR 28 March 2010: A Short List

Here are the books self is interested in reading after perusing The New York Times Book Review of 28 March 2010:

1.    After reading Pamela Paul’s review of Laurie Abraham’s The Husbands and Wives Club:  A Year in the Life of a Couples Therapy Group:

  • Laurie Abraham’s The Husbands and Wives Club:  A Year in the Life of a Couples Therapy Group

2.   After reading Malena Watrous’ review of Gabrielle Zevin’s novel, The Hole We’re In:

  • Gabrielle Zevin’s The Hole We’re In

3.    After reading Jane and Michael Stern’s review of Stephen Fried’s Appetite for America:  How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild West:

  • Stephen Fried’s Appetite for America:  How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild West

4.   After reading Marilyn Stasio’s “Crime” column, the following mysteries:

  • Denise Mina’s Glasgow-set Still Midnight
  • Cornelia Read’s latest thriller featuring Madeline Dare, a “renegade socialite from Oyster Bay, Long Island,” Invisible Boy

The End!


Yesterday, your manicure finally gave.  You wondered how long it would last, considering you are forever planting.  The answer was:  a week and a half.

It rained all through the night.  Was it that, or the sound of hubby flinging his shoes into the closet that kept you awake until 4 a.m.?  You woke at 6:45, so that’s just under three hours sleep.

But let’s not blame everything on hubby, or the rain.  At 1 a.m., you decided to read something from your pile of stuff, and suddenly you saw your way into a new story, and even though you only wrote a page (double space), you felt it couldn’t wait till the morning.

It would have been so great if you could have slept till 9 (or later), but alas, fate made you wake up at 6:45.  (It was strange, though, how happy you were to have an excuse to spend all morning in bed, Read the rest of this entry »

Musings: Last Saturday of March 2010

Self quite at a loss as to what to do this morning. Should she and hubby see a movie? But he’s already made an appointment for a haircut (Funny, because there really is very little hair there — to cut, self means. As usual, self digresses) and he goes to a barber who takes  an hour and a half.

Of course, self could see a movie, and here are the choices:

  • Alice in Wonderland — Er, no. It looks creepy. And self doesn’t wish to mar her memories of this delightful children’s classic.
  • The Bounty Hunter — Again, no. She wishes Gerard Butler would go back to being a Spartan.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid — Self never wants to watch movies that remind her of how she used to be, so likewise no.
  • How To Train Your Dragon — Eric Snider gave this one an A- ! But hubby says no, no, and NO.
  • Hot Tub Time Machine — This is the one Read the rest of this entry »

A Conversation with Son

Son is all set to enter the PhD program in social psychology at Claremont, which is in southern California.  He’s already spoken to a professor there (twice), and attended their grad school orientation (last week).  Before he starts, though, he says he’d like to travel: maybe to Thailand …

Self asks him if he’ll be coming home Read the rest of this entry »

Friday Evening, Still Awake

What an achievement! Even though self’s brain is fogged up (She believes she got close to three hours sleep — spread over 12 hours), she managed to pick up three 1-gallon pots of Osteospermum (What an odd name, but anyhoo) from Home Depot, her new favorite plant place. One-gallon plants were $4.45 each, what a deal! Though the drawback is that a lot of them look like they’ve been underwatered, or have roots crawling out of the bottom of the pot, so self makes sure she only gets plants that look like they haven’t been allowed to languish. Today there were quite a few serious shoppers who reached in and pulled out individual specimens and positioned them this way and that, so self didn’t feel at all conspicuous doing same.

Then self went to Laurel Street in downtown San Carlos and bought four cans of Fruitables Read the rest of this entry »

Helloooo, Friday

Self is ready. Self is so ready.

For one thing, her brain has fried. She fell asleep on the couch (while watching NatGeo channel with hubby, something about meteors hitting the earth, giant tsunamis, WHAM! Life is over), woke up to see Craig Ferguson, crawled to the bed, had sudden access of inspiration, got up from the bed, began typing on her laptop, then felt sleepy (at last!) around 2:38 a.m., lay herself down to sleep, started scratch, scratch, scratching her arms (Could it have been the baby caterpillar that fell down the back of her sweatshirt this morning??), looked again at the clock, and it was 5 a.m.

So, though self has sworn, sworn never to take a sleeping pill for the rest of her life, she took a sleeping pill. At 7:30, she heard distinctly the two li’l crits’ plaintive whines. She stayed curled up under the blanket — pretending — and after what seemed a very long while, hubby wearily roused himself to let them out. Then, self remembers having a rather curious dream (which meant she must have been asleep). Then she woke up. It was 9 a.m. and the sun was shining.

Self stumbled groggily to backyard, started planting some little things called omphalodes cappadocia (not in any of her gardening books, not even in the Sunset Western Gardening Encyclopedia), on automatic pilot, of course. Spread bone and blood meal with abandon, still had enough presence of mind to construct brick and branch towers of defense against Gracie’s marauding paws, went back inside, to laptop, decided to mosey over to Small Press Distribution, decided to check out “Fiction Bestsellers” (Incidentally, it was so depressing to learn that her Mayor of the Roses is number 5,345,091 on Amazon — and she thought she couldn’t get any lower than 2,903,547!) and saw there Zack Linmark’s Rolling the R’s. Wow! Must tell Zack, at first opportunity.

Now, must get dressed, must wake up, must get to Home Depot to see what “basic greenery” she can purchase for $9.99. Then shlep to Post Office, since she bravely decided to join yet another contest, this one with fee of $20 but it comes with a subscription so that’s OK. Then to Bow Wow Meow on Laurel Street in San Carlos, which is practically the most “happening” place in all of San Carlos, what with all the pet owners stopping by to chat, beloved pets running wild all over the store, every breed from Samoyed to poodle to French pug.

If self is still alive, she will go home, try to fantasize some more about Timothy Olyphant in “Justified.” (God, that last episode was just so perfect. Self remembers one shot in particular where Olyphant reaches across a table for his trademark white Stetson, and his little pinkie is extended. Is that actor such a stickler for detail or what???) There are eight more episodes in this series, so that means self’s next eight Tuesday evenings are booked, no interruptions allowed!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Eavesdropping: National Book Foundation E-News

Somehow, without even being sure how, self finds herself getting regular e-news from the National Book Foundation. Since no one self knows ever wins the Award, she usually doesn’t pay any attention to these missives (Except, didn’t D.A. Powell just win it in poetry? Self knows D.A. Powell, for sure! She even took him to Higuma, small neighborhood Japanese restaurant in good ol’ RWC!).

Ah, well, yes: back to the latest news on past National Book Award winners. After reading the news, self is more than ever convinced that when you finally succeed in cracking the glass ceiling of one of these prestigious Awards, you will never ever stop getting more Awards: they will all start tumbling into your lap, like a neat pile of dominoes.

Without further ado:

Daniyal Mueenuddin, whose In Other Rooms, Other Wonders received The Story Prize, was also the recipient of the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and is a finalist for the Commonwealth Best First Book Prize.

Rae Armantrout, 2009 National Book Award Finalist in Poetry, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for her collection Versed.

Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone, a 2006 finalist for the National Book Award in Nonfiction, was adapted for the big screen as the film “Green Zone,” starring Matt Damon.

Natalie Angier, a finalist in 1999 for Woman: An Intimate Geography, is a nonfiction writer and science journalist for the New York Times. She is currently serving a six-year appointment (2006 – 2012) as an A. D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University, a post previously held by National Book Award authors Toni Morrison and Eudora Welty.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Latest Book Deals (Courtesy of PUBLISHERS WEEKLY 22 March 2010)

Latest e-letter from Publishers Weekly has announcement of the following deals:

General/ Other

  • Stegner Fellow, Grisham Writer-in-Residence, and University of Michigan Hopwood Award-winner Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bone, “a lyrical novel set in rural, coastal Mississippi, as Hurricane Katrina looms over the gulf, as well as Ward’s memoir exploring race, rural poverty, and the impact both have had on the men in Ward’s life,” to Bloomsbury, in a two-book deal.
  • Rebecca Land Soodak’s novel “about a Manhattan woman who must come to terms with the past while her daughter has a problem, her husband has a secret and her nanny just quit,” to Read the rest of this entry »

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