Other Interesting Mornings

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is MORNINGS.

Self always enjoys taking a look at other people’s blogs to see how they interpreted the photo challenge. Here are links to three she particularly liked:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Whit Stillman’s “Love & Friendship”

Self has two words, only two words to describe the movie. And those are:

Xavier Samuels

Holy moly, the guy is perfectly cast as Reginald De Courcy, a confused yet decent young man who becomes the romantic target of a beautiful and conniving widow played by Kate Beckinsale.

As Samuel plays this smitten young nobleman, you can’t take your eyes off him. And yes, self writes this knowing that Kate Beckinsale is right there, sharing most of his scenes.

Chloe Sevigny is also great in her role as the straight-faced, American confidant of Kate Beckinsale’s Lady Susan. Never once does her mask slip. The only thing “not British” about her is her accent — which is strange, not flat-out American, but certainly keeps us guessing. She shows generous dollops of bosom, in contrast to Lady Susan’s very slender form. And that’s another way in which this movie is sly: just having these two actresses stand side by side, Stillman ensures that the viewer’s eye is always engaged, always parsing, always differentiating. Whew! This is no stuffy period film!

As self walked out of the movie theatre, she overheard a young woman telling her companion: “They’re jabbing at each other right and left, all with salon manners and smiles.”

Yes! That is exactly the point the movie was trying to get across! And kudos that the message came through so clearly.

Self must own up to having confused Xavier Samuel with Matt Czuchry of The Good Wife. They do look somewhat similar. Here’s Matt, also delicious.

Next up: “Me Before You,” featuring Sam Claflin (Finnick! You’re alive!) and Emilia Clark (first big role post-GOT)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sometimes You Just Gotta Have That Chocolate Milkshake

Have dear blog readers ever tasted a lukewarm chocolate milkshake?

(Self knows, right?)

It is a hot day in Oxford, UK. Everyone strolling around, including three tourists who are attracting attention for a (fake) loud quarrel — self is pretty clued-in now to what’s fake and what’s real. All you have to do, really, is look at the person’s face. The woman who is allegedly being wronged by her two male companions has a huge, shit-eating grin on her face. She has cropped, dyed-platinum-blonde hair. She has deep brown, leathery skin. She’s wearing blue jeans and a white tank top. This makes her stand out because most of the women self sees around Oxford are of two, maybe three types: young Asian women who are extremely thin, very stylish, and very low-key; young white women who wear sneakers, cigarette jeans, and muted sweaters; older white women who dress a bit eccentrically, in floppy hats, or voluminous, bright sweaters. The strange woman keeps screaming, at the top of her voice, ruining a pleasant afternoon: LEAVE ME ALONE! ASSHOLE!

Really, self hates the drama. This is on a tiny street, where everyone’s so quiet, they all jerk their heads up and look alarmed. If self were to be truly cynical about it, which she isn’t, she might hug her purse closer to her body, just in case there is a point to this loud altercation.

Demonstrative fake quarrel aside, today self got to:

  • see a couple of Shakespeare folios
  • see the Harry Potter dining room
  • see an annotated map of Tolkien’s Middle Earth
  • check out Blackwell’s Crime & Thriller section, where she jotted down the titles of a couple of mysteries she wants to add to her reading list.
DSCN9969

An Amazing, Almost-Summer Day in Oxford, UK

Really, if a lukewarm chocolate milkshake is the worst part of self’s day, she’s had a pretty good day.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Blackwater/ Falluja

All morning (because self is still reading Dexter Filkins), she has been trying to imagine what it would feel like to say good-bye to a friend, then to see, two hours later, on a small TV screen in a bar where one has gone to unwind, that friend’s car engulfed in smoke, all four doors flung open wide, as if someone had dragged something — a body, maybe? Not your friend, surely this is a joke — out.

The car is just sitting there, in the middle of the street, how strange.

There is no connection between the friend you spoke to that morning and the image of that banged up car. None whatsoever.

Because when you said good-bye that morning, his car was absolutely pristine. In good shape. Maybe in need of a wash, but there were no holes in the sides.

“It just happened,” someone in the bar says.

Oh, like, a few minutes ago? And you’re sitting in a bar. Staring.

That’s so-and-so’s car.

How could anyone recognize a car as belonging to a friend when it looks like that? Like a burned-out wreck of a car? Like it’s been through a demolition derby? Who drives a car like that? Why would anyone?

And besides, the TV. Your friends never appear on TV. They’re so small-time, they’re not even. Not the slightest bit news-worthy. Your friends are just people. What an invasion of privacy. Did someone get their permission to film them?

 

Quote of the Day: Fort Bragg Public Library

Self was looking up books on sailing and ships when she overheard one library patron saying to another:

  • “I don’t care if I die because this is my second incarnation.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Just Before Self Walks to Mendosa’s Harvest Market on Lansing

Rain’s eased up. Good. Self needs to take a walk.

She’s been perusing her trusty notebook. The one she’s hoisted around from New York to Florence to San Francisco to Mendocino. The one where she jots down conversations she happens to overhear.

Here’s one that’s pretty interesting. She was eavesdropping on two young girls, riding the Metro North from Stamford, CT to Grand Central. This was sometime end of summer 2015.

We missed the first train by, like, a minute. Then Rachel found out she left her wallet so thank God we missed the first train. So she ran back to her car, then I found out I didn’t have my driver’s license . . .  sorry, I know we should have been on the train an hour ago. . .

Shit happens.

Yeah.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Late Last Night: A Disturbance

It’s late, self hears screaming from next door.

Hyper-sensitized, self is.

The doors here are metal. Must be for a reason.

Finally, a man exits the room next door, laughing.

“I hate you!” the woman screams. Her scream tails off, followed by the man’s loud laughter. “You love me!” he shouts back.

“I hate you!” the woman shouts.

“No! You love me!”

And it goes back and forth like that, neither the man nor the woman giving an inch. And self, who is always on the verge of calling the cops, is just so fascinated by this interaction that she can’t move.

The man has the last word. The elevator comes and he shouts: “I’ll see you in a few days!”

The woman makes no response.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Careful 2: The Habits of a Writer

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is CAREFUL.

Careful, according to The Daily Post prompt, can refer to many things: a photograph taken with care, a person being careful, or a task or detail requiring care.

The way this week has gone — dinner with Drew in Koreatown; a reception for Chamber Music Artists; Asian American Writers Workshop double book launch of Luis Francia and Midori Yamamura; and Penny Jackson’s play “Louise in Charlottesville” — and the pouring rain yesterday, self had absolutely not a spare moment. GRRRR.

But here are three pictures of what “Careful” means to self.

First, she never goes anywhere without her journal. She uses it primarily to make random observations.

Last night, on the train, a conductor seemed anal about the passengers’ “dirty feet.” Over and over, he admonished the passengers NOT. TO. PUT. DIRTY. FEET. UP. ON. THE. SEATS. Nearly drove self mad.

Upper West Side, New York City: Taking Notes in a Chocolate Shop on Broadway

Upper West Side, New York City: Taking Notes in a Chocolate Shop on Broadway

Her friend has a beautiful apartment on the Upper West Side. She is a writer, of course.

You can always tell the quality of a mind by the quality of that person's bookshelves. These belong to a friend who lives in the Upper West Side.

You can always tell the quality of a mind by the quality of that person’s bookshelves. These belong to a friend who lives in the Upper West Side.

Finally, Dog-Eared Books in Valencia. This is one of the mainstays, along with the science fiction bookstore Borderlands, that have called the Mission District of San Francisco their home for many years. With the loss of other mainstays, like Modern Times Books, self cherishes these last hold-outs before the yuppie deluge:

Dog-Eared Books, Valencia St., San Francisco: Murals on the exterior walls are painted with books.

Dog-Eared Books, Valencia St., San Francisco: Murals on the exterior walls are painted with books.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Overheard Today: Last Friday of August 2015

Overheard at a coffee shop:

Customer to Server:  “Can you toast that three times?”

Server: ________

Another Server: “He means, toast that well.”

Lah-di-dah, oh lah-di-dah, it is such a fabulous day!

Stay tuned.

Books Self Is Interested After Perusing The Guardian’s Summer “Text on the Beach” Issue, 23 July 2015

Self used to do this. A LOT. Post about books she was interested in reading after picking up a copy of The New York Times Book Review (which she used to subscribe to. Until last year), The New York Review of Books (which she also used to subscribe to), The New Yorker (which she still subscribes to, but hasn’t read in six months) and The Economist (which she no longer subscribes to)

Anyhoo, after that very lengthy introduction, here is self with The Guardian’s Summer Reading issue, and after going through the whole thing, self has culled just three books. She must be in some kind of slump?

Here are her three:

  • Grey, by E. L. James — What what what? Self actually read the first two pages in Hodges Figgis in Dublin. And what do you know, she liked it! But The Guardian review is so silly. “Come again, if you insist . . . ” Self still wants to read it.
  • My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante — “The first part of the Neapolitan trilogy in which almost nothing happens.” (OK, these reviews are one-note and boring. Sorry, Jim Crace, Reviewer. Self will read in spite of)
  • The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins — Let self dispense with the utterly dispensable: i.e., the review. And let’s just say, if this novel is indeed a riff on Gone, Girl, she likes. So “Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl On the Train” is a barrel of laughs.

Just for that, self is popping over to the London Review of Bookstore (Hey, last AWP Book Fair, in Minneapolis, she actually saw a table for the London Review of Books! She’s not sure if they’ve been coming every year, but this year was the first time she noticed them)

Side Note:  Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is in every bookstore window, all over Dublin and London. So happy for her. Promise to read the book, at least five years from now.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

« Older entries