Mournful Icelandic Mysteries and a Hilarious “Machete”

Self just finished reading Arnaldur Indridason’s Jar City, and is about to begin his Silence of the Grave. Indridason is Icelandic.  Jar City was his first book to be translated into English.

Self adores mysteries.  Especially mysteries by Scandinavian writers (Hold on, self!  Have you forgotten Morag Joss?  And Ruth Rendell?  And Carl Hiaasen?  All right, all right.  But, for this post, self will confine herself to consideration of her favorite dour —  er, Scandinavian —  mystery writers.  A list which does not —  as yet —  include the Dragon Tattoo books.  Self finds herself resisting anything that smacks of a craze)

Before Indridason, self read Henning Mankell.  Before Mankell, there was Hoeg (Smilla’s Sense of Snow– Oh, self loved Smilla.  Loved her for years, and then couldn’t believe what a bad movie came of the book) readers give Jar City 4.5 stars.  That is remarkable.

After finishing Jar City, she still doesn’t know much about Iceland, other than that it always seems to be raining.

She wishes she knew a little more —  about the food, for example?

Or about the kinds of cars people drive?  The detective in Jar City seems to be constantly driving, and towns are separated from each other by a matter of hours.  Iceland must be a huge country!  But apart from the occasional place name, self has no sense of the passing landscape.

But, anyhoo, self has begun his Silence of the Grave, and she knows she will finish it.  Which is more than she can say of some of the books she’s begun this year!

There is one thing that self has greatly enjoyed doing over the weekend, and that is watching “Machete.”  Machete is a huge guy!  Huge!  He has long hair, and a very wrinkled face.  Self overheard a cashier at the Redwood City Century 20 saying to another employee:  “Did you know that Danny Trejo is 66 years old?”

No kidding!  That is excellent!  To be 66 years old and making a movie where you end up making out with:  a)  Lindsay Lohan;  b) the woman who plays Lindsay Lohan’s mom in the movie; and c) Jessica Alba.  He also gets smooched by Michelle Rodriguez.

First of all, self loved everything about the movie:  Danny Trejo’s ugliness, which is of a very unique sort; the fact that Jessica Alba has to scramble on to the roof of a car and deliver a rousing speech about immigrant rights; the music; the fact that Cheech Marin plays a priest; the fact that Steven Segal is in this; the fact that low-riding cars jumping up and down on their chassis are an integral part of the climactic battle scene; Michelle Rodriguez’s leather pants and eye-patch; the dialogue.

Exhibit A:

Machete comes in from somewhere.  Jessica Alba (screaming):  “Where were you?  You could have text-ed me!”  (This is so achingly funny)

Machete:  “Machete doesn’t text.”

Exhibit B:

Machete borrows Jessica Alba’s cell and begins sending a text message to a bad guy.

Jessica Alba:  “I thought you didn’t text!”

Machete:  “Machete improvises.”

There is also one particular scene, a fight scene in a hospital, which is so over-the-top that self was simply helpless —  helpless!  — with laughter.

Also, self finally learned how to pronounce “machete.”  Previously, she used to say “Ma-she-te.”  But, after watching the movie, self knows that it is —  DUH —  pronounced “Ma-che-te.”  Self particularly likes the way Jessica Alba pronounces the word —  sounds like she was really born speaking Spanish.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Luis Francia to Sign Copies of His New Book in San Francisco

Drat!  If only self had a usable car!

Luis Francia is reading in Arkipelago Books this Friday, 6:30 p.m., at the Bayanihan Cultural Center on 6th and Mission.


PAWA (Philippine American Writers and Artists) presents

a reading and book-signing by Luis H. Francia, moderated by Ben Pimentel

Friday, September 10, 2010

6:30 p.m.

Bayanihan Cultural Center, 1010 Mission Street (at Sixth), San Francisco

(For those coming by car, the Fifth and Mission Garage has very reasonable rates!)

Luis Francia’s new book is A History of the Philippines:  From Indios Bravos to Filipinos

This event is Free and Open to the Public.

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