Muse 3: More From Annaghmakerrig

Another from last night’s walk around the grounds of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre (This place is absolute balm for self’s spirit):

DSCN0356

What is it, exactly, about this place? The light? The surroundings? Knowing other artists are just a shout away? Ireland? She is exceedingly grateful for every day that she wakes up here.

It’s a gorgeous time of year. Flowers are blooming:

Flowers growing from atop a low stone wall . . .

Flowers growing from atop a low stone wall . . .

More of the Same (Just From Another Angle)

More of the Same (Just From Another Angle)

Today is #AgentsDay on Twitter. So many authors are grateful to their agents, which is nice.

This is not a pursuit self feels she can successfully engage in. (Optimism does not come naturally to self!)

It is also, interestingly enough, #askELJames Day on Twitter. And the questions! The questions!

When self was in London, a few weeks ago, she saw a huge Fifty Shades of Grey poster (a still from the movie) that covered an entire building. How’s that for making a statement? Jaw-drop time.

Jamie Dornan has quite a good back. Self’s just saying.

(Now, how did self get from Annaghmakerrig to Fifty Shades? No idea)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Self Wrote a Story About Climate Change: “The Freeze”

Apocalyptic, Dystopian, blah blah blah

The world is slowly dying, and — there’s no way to explain why an old woman is the only one in her family who survives, and why she ends up riding piggy-back on a teen-age boy (Hunger Games Catching Fire was an influence. Definitely:  Finnick and Mags) and they decide to follow Highway 1 as far south as they can. No electricity, no cars, no telephones. Just — the very edge of despair. Funny, she writes science fiction but her stories are pretty low on the science. Maybe she should start referring to them as allegories.

It was probably the Russians. Putin called Obama’s bluff, or maybe it was the other way around. The outcome — we were the outcome.

How still he was in the last broadcast. His suit looked too big for him. His hair had gone entirely gray. Funny, Obama had been young just six years ago.

— published by Bluestem, Spring 2015 Issue

Women in Heels

Self is short.

Short. Short. Short. Short.

Granted, short is not a disease.

Nevertheless.

On the question of heels. Last week, went to the Victoria & Albert Museum, lined up to pay 12 GBP to see exhibit on footwear called, if self remembers correctly: Shoes:  Pleasure & Pain.

Fabulous Chihuly: In the Lobby of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Fabulous Chihuly: In the Lobby of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The torture aspect was, in self’s humble opinion, very de-emphasized. Self has seen more torturous shoes (including one fabulous pair with moss growing on the heels) in Greenwich Village in New York City.

And now to “Jurassic World,” which self has not seen, but which seems to have triggered some very strong audience reaction to Bryce Dallas Howard’s choice of footwear. It seems she keeps the heels on, throughout the movie.

Now, let self ponder this a moment.

Self has seen, in Italy, women running flat out for a bus in the highest, stiletto-heeled shoes imaginable. They look great. Also, super-powerful.

She has watched episodes of “Sex and the City” in which Sarah Jessica Parker, post-baby, runs flat out down a New York avenue in Jimmy Choos.

Let’s not forget Jodie Foster in Spike Lee’s Inside Man, the one where she plays an oh-so-smooth New York lawyer representing the Rich Bad Guy who profited from the theft of Jewish assets during World War II. Self thinks that if she had a lawyer who wore four-inch heels as confidently as Jodie Foster’s character does (and Jodie’s legs are the best legs self has seen on film since — since — the woman in Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill), she would rest easy in the conviction that she would win all her cases.

Then there is Paula Patton, who in the most memorable scene in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (one of the sequels, the one shot in Dubai), kicks off her heels, leaves on the powder-blue shift dress, and FIGHTS. Really FIGHTS. Afterwards, she sits chatting with her group, all men. She remains barefoot, but still wearing that fabulous dress. The only indication that she’s been IN a fight (because, ya know, she’s as cool as a cucumber. Or at least her character is. She has antagonists like Lea Seydoux for breakfast. Honestly) are her bare feet.

And now we arrive at Bryce Dallas Howard, who in side-note self must say is one of the most unusually interesting-looking actresses working today.  Because her character, Clare, never takes off her shoes, we are left to debate the fine points of female fashion choices. Self means: Is it rational to keep on the heels when one is being chased by a velociraptor?

Self can think of many reasons why Clare would choose to keep wearing her shoes: (1) Jungle floors are slimy; (2) She does not have hiking boots in her closet, or even in her desk drawer at work, or even under her desk in her office at work.

A guest post by Lesley Holmes on clothesonfilm makes the point: “I think the makers of Jurassic world believed that showing a woman capable of running in heels was the same as showing us a capable woman . . . ” Of course! This is a very old Hollywood trope, just about as old as the idea of the director auteur (born with Citizen Kane, which means — a long long time ago). If you want to know how powerful a woman character is, just look at what she’s wearing on her feet, for God’s sake!

Self would just like to say that while she was in line in the women’s restroom at the Gielgud Theatre, during the intermission for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, self engaged a young woman in conversation, and then expressed admiration for her shoes. They looked just like the Sam Edelmans self bought last year in California, but this woman’s shoes were flats. The young woman looked at self regretfully and said, “They’re super-painful. See?” She slipped her right foot out of her shoe and there, plain as day, was the beginning of a blister. Aaargh! The things self sees in women’s restrooms! Which is neither here nor there. But it brought home the lesson that flats are just as capable of giving a woman blisters as are Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos.

Self realizes that she herself has very little to say about the wearing of high heels, but in Hollywood, the woman who wears the highest heels is the most powerful woman on the block. She’s just saying.

Stay tuned.

“Spy”

Can self just tell you how much she loved Melissa McCarthy in “Spy”?

When she thinks back to “Bridesmaids,” she is amazed at how McCarthy has flowered.

And self does mean flowered.

“Spy” is a most hilarious movie, BTW. Self was laughing almost continuously throughout.

Casting Jude Law? Priceless, simply priceless. The movie had lots of satiric fun with him (and he’s looking pretty fine in this film). He is the perfect foil to Melissa McCarthy. The moment when he hands her a cupcake gew-gaw — OMG, he’s such an ass! Such an unbelievable ass! Self can’t even.

Rose Byrne does reprise of “Bridesmaids” role — this time, saying things like:

What a stupid fucking retarded toast. You’re delightful.”

As always, her sense of timing is absolutely impeccable.

Melissa McCarthy gets to employ maximum sarcasm during their exchanges:

“Oh, God, Rayna, thank God your hair broke your fall.”

Not to mention the rest of the supporting cast: Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Bobby Canavale, Allison Janey.

Especially Allison Janey.

Please, please God let there be a “Spy 2.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Redux

This. THIS.

The Absurdly Visceral Mad Max: Fury Road

YO! SPOILERS.

Bad guys actually make use of a minstrel.

Only George Miller

At times the road melée put self in mind of Cirque du Soleil. Especially the pole riders.

Again, only George Miller

Five ethereal damsels who seem to have walked straight out of the pages of Vogue sit in an oil rig.

Once again, only George Miller.

People spray their mouths with . . . something. Shiny. Seems to make them bat-shit crazy. Self means, crazier than they already are.

GM, genius.

Skullface.

GM, again genius.

There IS, in this movie, mention of the following: Valhalla, breeders, bags of sun, dying “historic” and half-life.

Charlize Theron at the end seems to have lost an eye. Thankfully, the eyelid is closed.

Woman gets shot in the leg. Charlize: “How does it feel?” Shot woman: “It hurts.” Charlize: “Out here, everything hurts.”

Casting Sweet Nicholas Hoult as nihilistic “War Boy” Nux. All hail, casting director.

There is a race of white people. Self doesn’t mean Caucasian white. She means Sankai Juko/ buto white. The albino look somehow giving viewers the FEELZ for this awful future dystopia.

The smearing of black across the cheekbones somehow translates to: I’m coming for you, a**holes. And I will CRUSH you. Exhibit A: Charlize

Because out there in the wasteland, symbolic gestures are everything.

Tom Hardy finally gets to give his growl maximum (and welcome) exposure.

Self can’t even.

Stay tuned.

The Moment in Mad Max When Tom Hardy Removes His Face Device

Lord, self never wanted to like Mad Max: Fury Road.

She saw the trailers and was — OMG, this movie’s been taken over by Charlize!

Not that self has anything against Charlize.

But seriously — there’s a reason this movie is called Mad Max. And that’s because it has to be about Mad Max. Later, Charlize can be in her own movie, and they can call it Imperator Furiosa.

Today, in Banff, took a class on book-making. Not writing — scrapbooking! (So nice to have non-verbal expression, for once! Also, the store was absolutely delightful, and so was the owner.) Wait a minute, self was about to write something about Mad Max. (Er, would you believe self has only seen a handful of movies this year? And it’s nearly half over! Must correct that situation pronto!)

Anyhoo, Tom Hardy. In that facial gear, self kept slipping up and thinking she was looking at Gerard Butler.

Not, however, when he finally succeeded in prying off the unholy device. And —

Ladies and Gentlemen, a new generation has arrived. His FACE, dear blog readers. THAT FACE.

Tom Hardy, you are so beautiful. After that, self never looked away from the screen once, not even while she was madly scribbling lines of dialogue into her take-everywhere notebook. She can barely decipher her scrawl now.

Self must also mention this other presence:  Nicholas Hoult. He plays a “War Boy” named Nux.

Okay, while not beautiful like Tom Hardy, he is moving. Self has seen him play a zombie, play a 12-year-old, play Jack in the Giant Beanstalk movie, and she always always finds him terribly easy to empathize with.

In fact, self would have to say the BEST lines of dialogue in this movie (What? There was dialogue? Hold on . . . Indeed there was! Not of the Shakesperean variety, mind you! But close, lol!)

For instance, somewhere in the middle of the movie:

Nux:  There’s high ground just beyond that thing.

Furiosa:  What thing.

One of the Brides:  He means the tree.

OMG, do you see what self means about the dialogue? It is economical, it is brisk, and it does the job!

Next line of memorable dialogue: Wives (aka Breeders) having a squabble. One wants to give up and return to her oh-so-unholy breeding activities. The other wives chase after her and tell her:

You. Are. Not. Thing.

Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Do dear blog readers know that self has a science fiction story set in a dystopian (apologies, but she has to use that word) future? And it is called Thing? It was published in the New Orleans Review, 2012.

Yes, you brides who are all played to great blank affect by possible real-life models: YOU ARE NOT THING.

Three cheers for George Miller for using such a great line in his movie.

And now to Nick Hoult’s lines:

I live.

I die.

I live again.

There was just something so nihilistic, so even Nietzsche about that line. About the movie, in fact. Captured the despair of the characters perfectly.

So, when the credits finally rolled, self waited to see those words:

DIRECTED BY GEORGE MILLER.

Well done, sir. If she were in a movie theatre alone, she would have clapped.

Stay tuned.

Excitement: Clockwork Angel p. 406 Spoilers Below

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

Jessamine! You and your damn parasol! What equipment for a Shadowhunter! Almost as much fun as Colin Firth’s crazy church scene in Kingsman where he demolishes an entire church of Klu Klux Klan worshippers with his brolly! (BTW, self watched “Kingsman” in Fort Bragg and almost everyone in the audience was cheering at the end of that scene!)

p. 406:

Jessamine . . . laid about her with her parasol. The whirling edge of it sliced through the legs of two of the creatures, sending them toppling forward to flop on the ground like landed fish.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“The Lost Coast”: Sunset Magazine, September 2014

Self is re-reading an article that appeared in the September 2014 issue of Sunset Magazine, an article about “The Lost Coast” — “the remote 200-plus-mile stretch (80 miles of which is called the Lost Coast) between the Oregon border and the logging town of Fort Bragg.”

The Lost Coast is where you encounter (culling from the article):

  • rain-soaked forest
  • mysterious little towns
  • rogue marijuana farms
  • elk
  • campgrounds “hidden in the dense forest and brush”
  • estuaries
  • rocky headlands
  • long sandbars
  • Sitka spruces
  • good local Sangiovese
  • local Humboldt Fog cheese
  • Redwood National Park

Well, there is still time for self to cross off a few of the things on that list, starting with good, local Sangiovese.

Two days ago, she had to borrow 30 cents from a teen-ager working the concession stand at the Fort Bragg Coast Cinema. Yes, she has sunk so low.

She drove there to see “Focus” starring her Number 1 Male Chest of all time, Will Smith (Margot Robbie is in it, and also has a chest, for those of you who play on the other team). And when she got there, she found out she had just enough for the movie ticket, and $2. And she had left her credit card in her apartment.

@@##!!

And to think she had been anticipating stuffing her face with buttery popcorn, since any Will Smith movie these days is cause for celebration, but the smallest popcorn cost $4.50, and the girl said why not have a candy bar instead? Self could have a giant Kit Kat bar or Maltesers or M&Ms for $2.50.

So self emptied out the entire contents of her coin purse, right there on the counter. And she was only able to come up with 20 cents, even counting pennies. So she was still short 30 cents. And bless that young girl, for she said: “Oh, just choose a candy bar. Never mind the 30 cents.”

##@@!!!

Self, You are despicable.

“Are you sure?” Self practically squealed. “I’ll come back tomorrow and pay you back! What’s your name? What time are you working?”

The girl just laughed and waved self off.

Damn! Self is going to go back there right now, newly armed with cash.

AND she’s going to post a glowing review of Coast Cinema, Fort Bragg, on Yelp.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Watching “Kingsman” in Fort Bragg

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

SPOILER ALERT!

The guy who plays the lead looks like a cross between Matt Damon and Ryan Philippe. He also doesn’t seem very tall (Self, that’s rich! If J-Hutch hasn’t taught you yet: “Short” does not preclude being attractive!) 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 Read the rest of this entry »

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