Watching “Kingsman” in Fort Bragg

The movie is a tad long, but otherwise great fun.

SPOILER ALERT!

The young blonde woman who plays a Kingsman recruit is a little too sweet and vapid for self’s taste. Would they had found an actress as fierce as the lissome woman who plays the Evil Sidekick to Samuel L. Jackson’s (hilariously lisping) Valentine.

How tall is the guy who plays the hero? He looks like a cross between Matt Damon and Ryan Philippe. He has a great affect, especially after he exchanges his gangsta uniform for a dapper suit and glasses.

Self loved the whole London Punk meets Savile Row vibe.

There are some angles where Colin Firth looks impossibly hot.

Self liked the blonde who plays the Scandinavian Princess.

Self loves the scene where Colin Firth single-handedly takes out a whole church of right-wingers (Everyone in the audience cheered at this one. Of course! Self is in Mendocino, the last bastion of independent liberals in America, not including Berkeley)

This scene, between Michael Caine, playing a Kingsman Higher-Up, and the Young Punk Recruit, is priceless. Apparently, it is required of all Kingsmen that they adopt a pooch side-kick. Our hero’s is a French pug:

Lord to Hero: Nice dog (or something to that effect). What’s its name?

Punk Hero: JB.

Lord: For James Bond?

Punk Hero: No.

Lord: Jason Bourne?

Punk Hero: No.

The Lord surrenders.

Punk Hero: Jack Bauer.

Good one!

Watch for those exploding heads at the end, each a technicolor mushroom cloud. Only a director as audacious as Matthew Vaughan could pull that off.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Am Reading Today, Last Tuesday of February 2015

blogs

a friend’s novel

Roberto Bolaño’s 2666

tweets about the Oscars

Sunflower Splendor: Two Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry, Co-edited by Wu-chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo

Here’s a poem called “Southern Mountains,” by Han Yu:

So therefore I watched a pool
Whose clear depths concealed water dragons.

Bending I could gather fish and prawns,
But who dares plunder divine beings?

About Han Yu: He was a late T’ang Dynasty poet, and a contemporary of Li Po and Tu Fu. He was born into a literary family of landed gentry in the province of Hunan. He served in several high posts in the government: Vice President of the Ministry of War, Vice-President of the Ministry of Personnel, and Metropolitan Governor. He died in Ch’ang-an in 824, at the age of 56.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Metamorphosis Generator

From A Work-in-Progress:

The Jaguar I know is a bit much. Especially for the country. But Wolfgang must have his toys. The Jaguar, the helicopter, the espresso/ice cream machine, the Jacuzzi with 20 different spurt settings, the 80-inch flat-screen HDTV, the four-foot Bose speakers, the laser wrinkle removers, the Do-It-Yourself Botox injectors and hair implantation devices, the state-of-the-art dollar-printing mechanism, the 3D Alternate Universe Hologram, the foot-high platform shoes with the massage feature, the metamorphosis generator . . .

Once, he trapped a fly in the metamorphosis pod, and what emerged was a woman with wondrous, bulbous dark eyes and gossamer hair.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Masters of Style: A List

Self is teaching a two-day class on travel writing this weekend.

The great thing about teaching is, it makes you ponder your own predilections.

Because unless you yourself are very clear about the kind of writing you favor, you will never, in self’s humble opinion, be able to communicate anything worthwhile to your students.

These are the writers whose books have stayed longest in self’s head and heart. Some have only written one book. Doesn’t matter. The point is, their names have become part of self’s font of inspiration.

Debra Ginsberg * Kyoko Mori * Chang-rae Lee * Annie Ernaux * Tim Parks * Ron Carlson * Alison Moore * Mo Yan * Thomas Lynch * V. S. Naipaul * Gish Jen * Deborah Digges * Paul Theroux * Kathryn Harrison * Jason Elliott * W. G. Sebald * Nina Berberova * Peter Hessler * Michael Herr * Ruth Reichl * Tony Horwitz * Elmore Leonard * Brian Hall * Nicholson Baker

(Aaargh, list is getting long! Perhaps she’ll do a Part 2 later)

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

A Terrible Thing Happened to Self Yesterday

A terrible thing happened to self yesterday: she and two friends were in Elk, standing just behind The Griffin House, looking down at the wild, crashing Pacific. And it was so horrendous and heart-stopping, the view. It was sunset. The sun was sending rays of light through cracks and fissures in the monolithic cliffs. And her camera just up and died. Died! Died! Died!

Bunny said to her: “You are the only person who would have a camera when you can just take pictures with your cell phone!” And she had no answer. Absolutely none. He said that about two hours earlier. Good thing he said that, because at this moment of extreme dismay, self remembered that she did have a cell phone, and she whipped it out and took a couple of (very bad) pictures. Which, never fear, she will not inflict on dear blog readers. At least, not right now.

Instead, she will share some pretty fantastic links — to WordPress bloggers whose takes on this week’s theme, DEPTH, were just, in self’s humble opinion, awe-inspiring:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Versatile Blogger Award!

This blog was nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award, thanks to Mélange of Musings.

Thanks much! Very honored.

The Rules for The Versatile Blogger Award:

Show the Read the rest of this entry »

Submitting to CLARKESWORLD Magazine: Do’s and Dont’s (Well, Actually Just Dont’s)

NO to the following:

  • stories in which a milquetoast civilian government is depicted as the sole obstacle to either catching some depraved criminal or to an uncomplicated military victory
  • stories in which the words “thou” or “thine” appear
  • talking cats
  • talking swords
  • stories where the climax is dependent on the spilling of intestines
  • stories where FTL travel is as easy as it is on television shows or movies
  • time travel
  • stories that depend on some vestigial belief in Judeo-Christian mythology in order to be frightening (i.e., Cain and Abel are vampires; the End Times are ‘a-comin'; Communion wine turns to Christ’s blood, literally; and it’s HIV positive; Satan’s gonna getcha, etc.)
  • stories about rapists-murderers-cannibals
  • stories about young kids playing in some field and discovering ANYTHING: a body, an alien craft, Excalibur, ANYTHING.

Stay tuned.

A Review of “The Interview”

For self to like a review enough for her to post bits of it on her blog, it’s got to be funny.

So, you all know about “The Interview,” right? The movie that ended up starting a Mexican stand-off between North Korea and the United States? The movie that had self making statements like: It is a God-given right that Americans watch what they want, when they want, and especially on holidays like Christmas, when all the shopping malls are shut!

Then “The Interview” came out, just as Chris Rock said (to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show) that it would, and judging from the remarks floating around the lobby of the Redwood City Century 20 on Christmas Day, the general consensus seemed to be: This is a stupid movie. Why the North Koreans ever felt it was so threatening — IDK (with shoulder-shrug emoji)

Finally, self lands on rogerebert.com (which she’s avoiding since coming to Mendocino because there are no movie theaters in the vicinity, and she’s too lazy to drive all the way to Fort Bragg, and anyway even if she did make it to Fort Bragg, they’re not showing it), and reads a wickedly entertaining review from Steven Boone. It’s so entertaining, self wonders why she never heard of Steven Boone before. So here goes (Note: The worst barbs are reserved for James Franco)

  • “The Interview” is nothing new, but it looks great.
  • You expect Kanye West and some X-Men to show up. It’s the visual approach filmmakers like Edgar Wright and various cohorts of this film’s star, Seth Rogen . . . spent the past decade indulging, to give their flouncy bromantic comedies the sizzle and swagger of a good romantic adventure.
  • Rogen’s co-lead, James Franco, takes a break from winking roughly one-third of the time . . . Early in the film, and for much of it, he is simply trying too hard. Imagine James Dean aiming for Will Ferrell speed and pitch. In Franco’s relentless hyperactivity I sense immense fear, of not supplying enough energy to this gargantuan film, of not giving Rogen enough to volley back.

There are several raunchy quotes from the movie, of which this one is the most tame:

“Welcome to the jungle, baby, welcome to the jungle. Na na na knees.”

Too, too hilarious!

Stay tuned.

 

Serenity: Other WordPress Blogs

Self decided to post some other WordPress posts on the week’s Photo Challenge prompt, SERENITY.

Perhaps they’ll inspire others as much as they have her!

Looking at these great pictures, self is convinced: The world has so much beauty, and sharing photographs helps us appreciate it so much more.

She wishes she had time to do this every week. Seriously.

In the meantime, weather’s turned ugly the last few days. But as long as self has her morning coffee . . .

7:40 a.m. -- Rain (Viewed from the Kitchen Window of Self's Apartment at the Mendocino Art Center)

7:40 a.m. — Rain (Viewed from the Kitchen Window of Self’s Apartment at the Mendocino Art Center)

Rainy rainy morning, self is so glad she has nowhere to be today.

Rainy rainy morning. Self is so glad she has nowhere to be today.

Stay tuned.

 

Reviewing the Reading List

So, last year self read nine books. Nine.

The only reason she knows this is, she decided to keep tallies by posting on Goodreads.

There was a time when she averaged reading 60 books a year.

That was as recent as five, six years ago.

The book she’s almost done reading (only about 20 pages to go!) Hakan Nesser’s Woman with Birthmark, is indeed very exciting, but she decided to look ahead, to the books she plans to read for the rest of the year, and none of them are light reading. In fact, some sound downright depressing. But depressing books do not depress self, go figure (though they may very well depress the readers of this blog, since she always blogs about what she is currently reading). Here are the books on her plate for 2015, after she’s done with Woman with Birthmark:

  • Silas Marner, by George Eliot (She took an advance peak: gulp. Though the Everyman Library edition only has a little over 200 pages, the text is so dense. Hardly a line of dialogue. It’s going to take her forever.)
  • Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin (This is about Irish immigrants. Self expects her visit to Ireland last year will definitely come in handy)
  • 2066, by Roberto Bolaño (The last time she read Bolaño was in Bacolod. And did it ever unleash a flood of work from her. She thinks Bolaño and Murakami are her go-to authors for angst-y narrative)
  • Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson (Much about drinking and other macho high jinks)
  • Excursions to the Equator, by Mark Twain (Self is really looking forward to this one, as she loves Mark Twain. And loves travel books)
  • The Third Reich at War, by Richard Evans (Self has a definite weakness for World War II and Holocaust literature. She remembers forcing son to take an elective called Literature of Witness when he was in Sacred Heart, simply so that she could have access to the class reading list. This one’s a whopper of a book: the paperback is 656 pages. Which means it will probably take her the rest of the year to finish. And she’ll be trundling it all over the place, which will put undoubtable strain on her shoulders and forearms. But it’s been a long long time since her last World War II book. She feels a definite almost-nostalgia for the period)

P.S. Self was on her way to order take-out fish and chips from Patterson’s Pub, but she mentioned her destination to someone who said Trillium’s fish and chips were better. It’s only about a block away. Exciting!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

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