WSJ Weekend Confidential’s Alexandra Wolfe Interviews Christoph Waltz

Self has sort of had a crush on this guy ever since she saw him in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. He was so evil, and yet also so charming (That’s what makes charming evil people so dangerous; they insinuate themselves into your brain without you even being aware of it).

She also loved him in Django Unchained.

Anyhoo, there’s a really fabulous picture of him to go along with the interview. A few highlights:

  • Talent is a “little pet that needs to run” — something with a life of its own. “I always had the feeling that my little pet that needs to run couldn’t run properly because of this or that,” he says. “But now all of a sudden, everybody wants to take it for a walk.”
  • “My conviction is we don’t have any ideas about our talents,” he says. “People always overestimate their talents, always, and maybe as a consequence underestimate unexpected or unrealized talents.”
  • “The biggest advantage of my new life is that I can actually pursue the parts I want.”

Unfortunately, self is creeped out by the new movie he’s in, Big Eyes. First of all, the eyes of the figures are just too blank and static, like doll’s eyes. And she’d hate, positively hate, to have one of those things hanging in her house. It would lead to all sorts of nightmares.

In Big Eyes, which happens to be directed by Tim Burton, he plays another variant on the charming rogue. The casting of Amy Adams as his exploited artist/wife makes him seem even twice the rogue.

Stay tuned.

ELSEWHERE LIT, Issue 3 Live Now

Got an e-mail from Nandini Dhar, one of the editors of Elsewhere Lit.

Issue 3 is live now. You can find the link, here.

Just had time for a quick look, but it’s a beaut.


Two More for the Reading List

Self just finished reading the Women’s Review of Books *(Vol. 30, No. 5: Sept/Oct 2013). Sigh. She is just so way behind in her catch-up reading of magazines and journals. Thank goodness she’s having a very quiet Christmas.

Here are two books she discovered from WRB:

  • My Beloved World, a memoir by Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice (Knopf, $27.95)
  • Trauma and Recovery, by Judith Herman

More books will probably be added to the list as self continues her inroads into the Humongous Pile of Stuff

Stay tuned.

“All networks are vulnerable.”

Today self resumed reading the Dec. 20 -21 Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition.  There’s an article on hacking, because of course Sony.

When self first started seeing the previews for “The Interview,” months ago, she’d already pegged it as one of her “must-see” movies for the holidays. Then there was the notice that it was being pulled from theaters. Why? Because it angered the North Koreans and they threatened retaliation.

Well, actually, after reading the Wall Street Journal article, she knows it isn’t that simple. Someone hacked into Sony’s e-mails and found very embarrassing information that they then used to blackmail Sony into pulling the picture. (But that still doesn’t answer the question: Why did pulling “The Interview” appease the hackers. OK, maybe the hackers really were from North Korea –?)

Some interesting tidbits self gleaned from the article:

  • The group that hacked Sony call themselves “Guardians of the Peace.”
  • The sensitive e-mails included racist remarks about Obama.
  • There are two kinds of hackings:  opportunistic and targeted.

Opportunistic attacks are “low-skill and low-focus” (Sort of like pickpocketing? Crimes of opportunity of that nature?)

At the opposite end of the spectrum are “sophisticated attacks seemingly run by national agence agencies,” using tools like Regin, Flame, STurla, and GhostNet (Apparently, this last was used to spy on the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama, folks). And then there is the hacker group known as Anonymous, which was responsible for stealing those racy celebrity photos from Apple’s iCloud.

And sophisticated hackers do frequently end up having political targets.

There exists now a job description called “penetration testing.” Regardless of how skilled a penetration tester is, an expert and determined hacker, especially one with skill, funding, and motivation, “always gets in.” (Analogies are everywhere!)

Sony was at fault for “leaving so much information exposed” (like leaving your valuables exposed to a beggar or something like), but also for being “so slow” to detect the breach that the attackers had “free rein to wander about and take so much stuff.”

The ideal, of course, would be if people stopped making racist jokes about Obama, or exchanging flirty e-mail messages with co-workers — but, failing that, one should never use e-mail to do them. Because, according to the Wall Street Journal, “hundreds of personal tragedies must be unfolding right now” in Sony.

Personal tragedies like — divorce?

Anyhoo, if you’re at the level of exchanging censored e-mail with office workers, perhaps it’s better to air everything instead of living in an airless room, joylessly doing data crunching. Perhaps you do need a different job, or maybe even a different spouse. So maybe, if the affected people are forced to confront whatever issues made them do or say this or that unmentionable, it might be good?

Apologies for this very, very long post, and stay tuned.

Fan Fiction Quote of the Day

This is so embarrassing but, really, self has nothing better to do right now. Other than think of excuses to run to See’s or to read fan fiction.

She was going great guns with the fan fiction she started writing (In October, in Chicago, in the house of Angela Narciso Torres. Thank you, Angela!) until she got to Chapter 12 and a reader left a rather pointed comment: “Are we going to see any genuine Katniss/Peeta interaction soon?” Well, self finds it hard to answer that question. In her fan fiction, Katniss is happily married to Gale, and Peeta is off licking his wounds in Victors Village. And darn, she should have thought it through more, but when her story was only at Chapter 1, she didn’t think she’d end up so lost, she thought she’d surely figure out a way to create Everlark, but she didn’t realize that Everlark takes a lot of strategizing and planning, and 10,000+ words later, most of the scenes have been of Peeta solo.

See’s is closed. Doesn’t stay open as late as 8 p.m. Not around here, anyway.

That leaves . . .

Dear blog readers with the fan fiction quote of the day!

Context: Katniss bought a Christmas tree from a lot near her office in Manhattan, and Peeta worked at the lot, and he carried the tree home for her, but he didn’t ask for her name and Katniss didn’t offer it. Ever since then, Katniss has been buying pastries from every bakery in Manhattan, because she remembers Peeta told her he worked at a bakery during the day, though she forgets the name of the bakery.

Katniss and Johanna are friends.

Johanna glanced at another box. “What’s with all the pastries?”

Katniss snatched it from her grasp and set it on the counter. “Nothing!”

“I’m starting to worry about you. You don’t have a blog, do you?”

And that, dear blog readers, is it! All that self cares to quote!

Why does it feel so disappointing that after almost a week of no lost followers on Twitter, she lost one this evening? She wasn’t even sure if it was her Tweet about North Korea or her Tweet about the two slain NYPD policemen. All she knows is, she has one less follower on Twitter than she had a couple of hours ago, and it tastes almost like failure.

Stay tuned.

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