Houellebecq: SUBMISSION, p. 128

  • He was born in 1922, if you can believe it. Exactly a hundred years ago. He joined the Resistance early on, in late June 1940. Even in his day, French patriotism was an idea whose time had passed. You could say that it was born at the Battle of Valmy, in 1792, and that it began to die in 1917, in the trenches of Verdun. That’s hardly more than a century — not long, if you think about it. Today, who believes in French patriotism? The National Front claims to, but their belief is so insecure, so desperate.

Murakami Throws Shade on Ugly Dentist

Story # 5 of The Elephant Vanishes: Sleep

(Murakami writes from a woman’s point of view in this one. Self found the effect a bit startling at first)

“I know why you’ve got so many patients,” I always say to him. “It’s because you’re such a good-looking guy.”

This is our little joke. He’s not good-looking at all. Actually, he’s kind of strange-looking. Even now I wonder why I married such a strange-looking man.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Signs You’re In New York City

It’s midnight, and the airport terminal is as crowded as Grand Central.

The line at the taxi rank is 200 people long, at least. It makes self’s stomach twist in all sorts of nasty ways.

A woman keeps trying to cut ahead of her, for some reason. All self’s fighting instincts come to the fore and she blocks the woman, refusing to give up an inch.

A man wearing a bright yellow vest marked AIRPORT MONITOR keeps yelling at people. Strangely, he does not strike self as angry. In San Francisco, when people yell, they are really really angry.

There were 10 cabs lined up at the taxi rank. Until self got to the front of the line, and then there were NO taxis. NO taxis for another 20 minutes. And the airport monitor kept yelling, to no one in particular: “There are a hundred taxis coming, people. A HUNDRED taxis!”

The green-and-white Medallion cab looks very nondescript, and the leather seats are worn. No GPS, just the driver saying he knows where to go (and he does). Sometimes New York strikes self as being on the verge of breakdown. But it never quite gets there. Which shows you just how tough its people are.

She catches just a glimpse of skyline before the cab enters Manhattan. Next thing you know, it’s stopped in front of a very nondescript sign on a very dark, narrow street that seems to be one big construction zone. Welcome! You’re in New York City now!

People self knows in New York City: one niece and two nephews and of course their parents; Melissa; Penny and Thomas; Luis and Midori; Sam; Marie; Drew; Bruce. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but whenever self is in New York, she is always busy seeing people. She used to know a literary agent who, as far as self knows, probably still has her office in a building on 57th Street.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Readings of the Day: Waterloo/The Verge on GoTS7 Episode 6: “Beyond the Wall”

Self’s reading has been all over the map lately, from the Battle of Waterloo (Fantastic reading: Waterloo: the History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles) to reviews of the latest episode of Game of Thrones Season 7. Anyhoo, there’s only a few days left until the finale of the Game of Thrones 7th season, so the schizoid nature of self’s reading will soon cease.

First, the sentence from Waterloo. The narrative is now on 17 June 1815. A lot of men are dying or wounded, and Wellington gives the command to withdraw. This can only happen after the wounded are cleared from the battlefield. And since there are so many wounded, that operation takes some time.

p. 111: Wellington wanted the retreat done calmly and, as if to demonstrate his unconcern, he lay down in a pasture and put a newspaper over his face and pretended to sleep.


Self really enjoys the Game of Thrones Season 7 recaps on The Verge. Most of all, she likes Tasha’s breakdown of the first 18 minutes of Episode 6, Beyond the Wall:

I could have watched an entire episode that was just these Seven Samurai (give or take a few ablative redshirts, who the White Walkers and their pet dead-bear unerringly identified somehow as the ones to kill first) working out their grievances and expressing what’s important to them.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Money Quote of the Day: Joe Dempsie

The Baratheon line is strong in this one.

Last night, self powered up her MacBook and saw messages: He’s in King’s Landing! (Thank you dear cousin from Bacolod who couldn’t wait to tell her that)

Self wanted to say: Shut up! She so much wished she had been able to watch Eastwatch (Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 5) before seeing that.

But when the opening credits were rolling, and she saw the name JOE DEMPSIE, she was like KILL ME NOW.

Shortly after the episode ended, she went on Google and saw about half a dozen new interviews with Dempsie (2017 as opposed to, oh, 2013). Dempsie must be a very busy guy!

Here’s a quote from his interview with Huffington Post:

There’s a scene in Season 7 where Arya doesn’t like Ned’s statue in the Winterfell crypts and says it should’ve been done by someone who knows his face. Gendry knows Ned Stark’s face and is a craftsman. What do you think about him making Arya a Ned Stark statue one day?

Dempsie:  I think that’d be great. Hopefully he’d make it out to Winterfell and not have sort of a Lionel Richie “Hello” type of thing, he drags it up as a present for Arya. But, yeah, I mean, that’s an interesting theory. I think you might be on to something there. I personally would like to hope that Gendry has a bigger role to play in the end game than carving a statue of Ned Stark . . .

lol

Stay tuned.

 

#amwriting: 3rd Story About Fire Lizard

Tags: dystopia, fantasy, the future, the Philippines

Engage cornea slips. Again.

“Nature,” Fire Lizard begins, “will vindicate her laws.”

Laws.

New word. What does it mean?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwriting: A Story Begun in Hawthornden

Just to show you how mind-numbingly slow her mind is, there are stories she’s begun five, even 10 years ago, whose words sit in her MacBook, languishing.

Five years ago, while self was in Hawthornden, she met two British poets: Joan McGavin and Jenny Lewis.

After dinner, while we all gathered in the parlor, these two would talk. And if self did nothing in that whole month she was there (June 2012) except listen to the stories, she would count that month well spent.

She also remembers visiting the National Museum in Edinburgh, and seeing there a figure of Dolly the Sheep. And dreaming of a giant Dolly the Sheep looking in through the manor windows.

Dolly the Sheep was the first successfully cloned sheep. She was born on 5 July 1996 and died on 14 February 2003.

Self was channeling sheep apparently because she even began writing a Dolly the Sheep story, which began:

  • The ghost of Dolly the Sheep, and three dun-polled cows.

Hawthornden was the place where self worked on editing Magellan’s Mirror for J Journal. And that is quite a fantastical story (The Philippines populated by a race of giants).

Then she began going to Ireland and started writing dystopia.

Goal for today: Finish that Dolly the Sheep story!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 2: Minutiae, As Usual

If you still haven’t seen Season 7 Episode 2, then obviously SPOILER ALERT

Gendry did not show his lovely face, but almost every second of screen time was a reminder. D & D love messing with us! Just cut it out, you two!

Here’s a list of times when self couldn’t help thinking of The Last Baratheon:

  • Dragonstone war room. Many, many things happened in this room. Such as: Stannis. Such as Stannis and Melisandre on the map table. Such as Gendry’s first meeting with his uncle Stannis grabbing his face and saying, “Half Robert and half lowborn.” Remember poor Gendry’s look of bewilderment?
  • Melisandre. She took Gendry from Arya! We will never forget the leeches. Never.
  • The conversation between Dany and Varys: Almost every sentence had the word Baratheon in it. This has got to be foreshadowing, right? Since both Cersei and Danys seemed to sneer every time they made reference to King Robert, self thinks Gendry is pretty smart to stay out of sight and under the radar. Keep rowing, Gendry!
  • Not only was the word Baratheon sprinkled liberally throughout the convo, Varys also brought up his concern for the common people. And we all know Gendry is a commoner. (Varys knows about Gendry! Oh my Lord! Mebbe he is Gendry’s Secret Protector!)
  • Cersei going with Qyburn to the crypts where he unveils a fantastic dragon-killing machine, forged by “the finest blacksmiths.” You say blacksmith, self thinks Gendry!
  • Arya bumping into Hot Pie. The missing member of this threesome was very much in the room, even though neither Arya nor Hot Pie ever mentioned his name.
  • Someone tracking Arya in the woods. That could be Gendry! He’s hiding behind a tree, observing Arya (100% wishful thinking. Again.) Self wonders if Hot Pie and Gendry ever get to share a scene; mebbe Hot Pie brings up the fact that he’d just seen Arya?

Moving on.

Wins:

  • That sea battle was so kickass!
  • Yara. Just, more Yara. Yara putting her legs on the table. That moment when she realizes all is lost, and gets a really determined look on her face. Gemma Whalen is fanta-ma-tas-tic! Self knows this because she has seen Gemma in RL and she is such an itty bitty thing. This actress projects huge.
  • Olenna Tyrell, always a scene stealer.
  • Varys. Loved his conversation with Dany.
  • Cersei. Lena Headey, you are such a queen!
  • Jon almost strangling Littlefinger. More!
  • Hot Pie. Good at any time, but especially good at dropping Easter Eggs.
  • Theon abandoning ship. It is so perfectly in character. Plus, his backstory (and continuing evolution) is fascinating.

Fails:

  • Ser Jorah. Just got itchy looking at him. Fast forward over the “cure.” You’ll know it’s over when Sam stops retching.
  • Surprisingly, the absolute bulk of Nymeria. She looked like she’d wandered in from a Ray Harryhausen movie.
  • Euron’s grand entrance. Hey, this isn’t Scaramouche!

Meh:

  • Missandei/Grey Worm. She just can’t get excited about these two. Although Grey Worm is pretty fabulous, especially from the back. Three cheers for D & D, finally showing us what the character’s hiding beneath all that armour.
  • Tyene Sands’ long hair. This character is going to die, and all self could think was: Why did she decide to grow out her hair? Somehow, self can’t get past it.

In closing, self would just like to say that the reddit user who, a few weeks ago, posted a blow-by-blow of Season 7 (since taken down) was correct in every little plot detail. Here’s what he said about Gendry’s return: it happens in Episode 5. And Arya and Gendry don’t meet until the final episode of Season 7.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Looking Back: “Thing”

“Thing” was the first of self’s dystopian fantasies to be published. It appeared in New Orleans Review, Vol. 38.1, 2012.

In the far future, a zoo for pigs exists in the desert. The minders are mutants, like the pigs they care for. The characters have names like Shrimp and Plankton (An editor asked if I got the names from SpongeBob Squarepants and I was so confused)

We feed the animals, clean their pens, that kind of thing. Our pigs are the result of experiments. They have all kinds of weird traits: one had a mouth in the middle of its forehead. Another had six legs. Another stared skyward, unable to bend its neck. Still another had the body of a snake and three noses. Each of the Not-Rights was unique and completely different from the others.

The mouth-in-the-forehead pig was mine. I named it Ed. I remembered that name from somewhere, I’m not sure where. When it cried, white foam spilled out of its mouth; the red of its pupils was astonishing, like fire. I never got tired of looking at it. It lasted longer than the others, I even let myself hope that it would happen differently. But one day its bristles started to fall out — big, black clumps of them, all over the pen. After that, it was just days.

But why should a pig cry, Shrimp said. What gives it the right?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Game of Thrones Season 7 Ep. 1: Fashion and Other Minutiae

Wins:

  • Cersei’s leather top
  • Snow. Hard, blowing snow. When Sandor buries the family. Repentance!
  • Wun Wun is a wight!
  • Arya’s eyebrows are still the best!
  • Squirrel on a stick — campfire gourmet!
  • Dany’s lone walk across the beach — I kept expecting Gendry to pop up, but other than that, it was a great moment.
  • Brienne, as always, in any scene, kills.

Fails:

  • Knowing Sam’s poop/slop-like-poop scene was coming (from perusing last night’s Twitter feeds), I avoided looking at the screen just at this moment.
  • Euron rigged up with clothes more be-fitting a rock star than a warrior. He’s too pretty-looking.
  • GoT loves profanity but for some reason last night’s seemed (and I am including Cersei’s cold-blooded speech which seemed strangely empty, vacuous, BLANK, even with her use of the “c” word) pretty limp. Or perhaps I was just in a bad mood because I had watched vid of Gendry x Arya: “Pull your cock out and take a piss” and that, methinks, is an excellent use of another “c” word.

Meh:

  • Ed Sheeran needs a spray tan. Other than that, his moment with Arya was the sweetest of the episode.
  • Podric as the new Gendry: I’ll take what I can get.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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