“X-Men: Apocalypse” at Odeon, Covent Garden

Self spent three hours in the British Museum, then walked to Shaftesbury. It was a beautiful Sunday in London. Crowds were out walking, and tourists were arriving (How did self know they were tourists? Because they were pulling their suitcases along behind them)

The Odeon is quite a nice cinema, with very plush seats. Self was hoping to see “Captain America: Civil War” (Notice how all these superhero titles have colons now? Like book subtitles?) but on learning that the next show wasn’t until two hours later, and “X-Men: Apocalypse” was on in 10 minutes, she opted for “X-Men.” Besides, self will never not enjoy a J-Law movie. The girl is simply a hoot.

It’s a very long movie. At first, self went all gooey-eyed over James McAvoy rocking a thin top under a tweed jacket, plus 70s long hair. Not even the materialization of Nicholas Hoult in glasses could detract from the utter, utter  fabulousness of James McAvoy (Later, he appears in a lavender t-shirt. Which is sort of a shock because: Would Charles Xavier really be caught dead wearing a lavender t-shirt underneath a tweed jacket but anyhoo)

The movie has Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique iteration appearing in posters all over the world, like she’s some kind of rock star. Which is amusing.

Michael Fassbender is always very intense. Nothing new there. He sings, too, if dear blog readers want to know (For heaven’s sake, self felt like saying, as soon as he broke into song: it’s just a lullabye to your daughter, why are you singing like you’re at an audition? Perfectly in tune. Even, loud. Self finds Fassbender so annoying: he’s so good and yet he has to keep reminding you of it. He never — at least in self’s humble opinion — disappears completely into a role. Self is always aware, watching him, that she is watching a Fassbender performance)

But self only realized after Evan Peters appeared, more than halfway through the movie, that he was going to save it. The best scene in the last X-Men movie was his. And when he finally makes his appearance in this one, self actually laughed out loud, so great was her joy at seeing him again.

You know how you know you’re watching a movie in a British (as opposed to an American) cinema? Self watched the last “X-Men” (Days of Future Past) movie in an American cine-plex, and the audience was in stitches over Evan Peters. This time, she belatedly realized, after she was doubled up and chuckling, that she was the only one laughing. In the entire theatre. Everyone else was still as stone. Graven, if you will.

What? How could one not enjoy the leather pants, the sass, the playing of Mrs. Pac-Man, the whole Dude Affect? He’s got that role nailed to a T. Not even J-Law comes close in capturing the antic spirit, the rebelliousness, that made teen-agers the world over embrace the X-Men comic book series.

Here, for those who might have missed it, a link to Evan Peters as Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!

By now, self finds the thwarted, twisted love between Magneto and Mystique so repetitive and — just get over it already, you two! Either hook up or stop making goo-goo eyes at each other!

In the end, self always knew Magneto would turn. He always threatens to go bad, and then he turns. There is just nothing new in this universe anymore.

But please, more of Evan Peters?

Self loves that when Quicksilver (who is actually Magneto’s son) is asked by Magneto what he is fighting for, he doesn’t say something corny like, “I’m your son!” There’s this moment of hesitation. You can actually see Quicksilver tempted to say it. But he doesn’t. He saves it for another day. Instead, he simply says, “I’m fighting for my family, too.”

Yes! That’s a sure sign that the filmmakers are planning to make something of this relationship in a future “X-Men” movie. Self expects Michael Fassbender will milk his new role as Quicksilver’s father to maximum dramatic effect, but  it’s not him self is looking forward to watching, it’s Evan Peters.

And oh yes, Sansa  Stark saves the daaaaaay! Self was so happy that Sansa gets to kick ass, finally! After all the torments she’s had to endure in Game of Thrones!

The bad guy is played by Oscar Isaac. God, what a waste of a face! He is completely unrecognizable; he could be Darth Vader, for all we know.

Stay tuned.

“Captain America: Civil War” Review by Noel Vera

The guy doesn’t know she exists but she’s been linking to him for ages.

Self really likes Critic After Dark’s reviews. He is Filipino, BTW. Like self.

Presently, Trump is in America and self is in London and it is Sunday. What does self think of doing? She thinks of wandering to a movie theatre on Tottenham Court Road and watching “Captain America: Civil War.” (Self! All those museums await! The Tate Modern, The Imperial War Museum, The Wallace Collection! Nevertheless, if a movie is what she wants, a movie she will get)

This is a summer movie if she ever saw one. Summer movies and self are like white on rice.

The Critic After Dark review:

Calling brothers Anthony and Joe Russo’s Captain America: Civil War the best superhero movie to date is, I feel, a bit much. It limps along more nimbly than the rest of Marvel’s profit-animated undead, is a huge improvement over such joyless efforts as the Thor or Wolverine movies, is a quantum leap in quality over Snyder’s multimillion-dollar super-powered cow flop — but saying all that is like saying you didn’t feel like flinging your 32-oz. soda at the screen and bashing your head repeatedly on the theatre’s concrete floor; we’re talking extremely low bar here.

Another thing self might do is stalk Miss Honeywell.

Miss Honeywell is a brave Everlark fan fic writer (author of, among other delights, First We Feast, in which Katniss’s car breaks down in an isolated rural area, she gets picked up by tow truck drivet Peeta, and after multiple side-eyes, he kidnaps her and brings her to a creepy forest where — DUN DUN DUN)

Anyhoo, self is pretty sure Miss Honeywell is English. She says “petrol station” instead of gasoline station, and she says stuff like “Hang on” instead of “Just a minute.” Self is sure these are convincing arguments for believing Miss Honeywell is English.

She is English, therefore she must live in London. See the syllogism? See self’s absolutely marvelous powers of deduction?

There is nothing more self would love than to meet Miss Honeywell in person. But just thinking of stalking her is giving self a headache. She could also sit in bed and do nothing. All day. Pretend she’s on vacation. Walk to the British Museum, endure another long line, go for the chocolate chip cookies in the main lobby. London is sooooo full of choices!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Faces 3: Annual Redwood City, CA Fourth of July Parade

One of the biggest on the Peninsula. This was from the Parade a few years ago:

One of self’s favorite holidays. Seriously.

Mariachis, Beauty Queens, and the Always Inimitable Leland Stanford, Jr. University Marching Band.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cork, Ireland News Flash

Today, self walked quite a bit. She took a break mid-afternoon and went back to her room. A news program came on. “A young boy drowned today in the Liffey, 2:30 p.m.”

She looked at the time: 5:30 p.m.

So, only three hours earlier?

It’s Saturday. How could the boy drown on a Saturday? With people out and about. In the middle of the afternoon.

It was a beautiful day. At first self thought the death occurred in Cork. Then she remembered the river around Cork is the Lee. The Liffey is in Dublin. This made the news marginally better. She would absolutely hate to think the boy drowned in Cork. She was enjoying the day, it was such a nice day. And in the meantime, a boy was drowning close by. And she so unaware!

This is the thing about Ireland: it’s small enough that a boy’s death in Dublin gets broadcast to Cork.

This trip, she learned that the greater Los Angeles area has more people than the whole of Ireland. One city in America, just one city, has more people than Ireland.

That really puts things in perspective. Somehow, because of the literary richness, she imagined — still imagines — a much bigger country.

Ireland is small, but it’s also so specific. Which county you’re from in Ireland matters a lot. She always ends up asking people which county they’re from, and the answer makes a big difference: County Kerry means one thing, County Monaghan another.

That trip she made two days ago to Dublin? Two and a half hours by train.  She was in Dublin one night, then back to Cork. Self could probably do the whole country in 24 hours.

During the last AWP conference, self was talking to Your Impossible Voice editor Stephen Beachy, and he told her he commutes to his job in San Francisco from San Diego. So it’s all a matter of perspective, really. Californians would probably think nothing of working in Dublin and then going home to Cork every night. Cork (if it were in California) would be considered a “bedroom community” — a suburb that’s like a ghost town in the daytime, while everyone is away, working somewhere else. A two-and-a-half hour commute each way? Small potatoes!

For that matter, you can even work in London and go home to Dublin every night. It’s only an hour each way by plane, after all.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Oh, Theroux

  • That was why, whenever I mentioned I was a writer, most people smiled in what I took to be pity, as though I had just disclosed a personal failing, but a lovable, forgivable fault. Because to nonreaders a book is a riddle and a challenge . . .

Deep South, by Paul Theroux

People don’t know what to say in answer to “I’m a writer,” they’re put in a spot which “baffles” them, it’s as if “a dinner guest among carnivores takes a seat at the table and says, By the way, I’m a vegan.”

ROFL!

BTW, if anyone cares to know, self is on p. 177, and the book is 441 pages in total, and so that makes self almost at the halfway mark.

Her concentration’s drifting. Oh no, oh no! Must find a way to re-focus. Otherwise, it’ll be another month before she finishes.

The next book on her reading list is the Anjelika Houston memoir, Watch Me.

Stay tuned.

The Huntress

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Katniss Everdeen, born May 8

WIP, Hunger Games, Everlark:

Her boy believes she can walk on water. She smiles a little at that. She’s heard stories of the Old Days. There was a man who did walk on water. He was a fisherman.

He imagines he sees her walking the streets of the Capitol. The rare nights when he’s by himself, he’ll hear the whistle of an arrow as it grazes his ear. He knows it’s not just moonbeams and fakery.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Admiration 3: Fort Bragg, CA

Self discovered Fort Bragg, California this year.

She stayed for a few weeks, and discovered:

  1. An excellent bakery, in the Depot Building. Just look at that sweet, blue nest confection!
  2. An excellent used bookstore called, in typical Fort Bragg self-deprecating manner, The Bookstore. The second floor had a wonderful seating area. And the day self visited, there was a hardbound copy of Cyrano de Bergerac, which she has fond memories of her Dear Departed Dad reciting to her at mealtimes (He was a frustrated actor. Played Hamlet in high school at the Ateneo)
  3. Writers, writers, writers abound in Fort Bragg. Self began reading Norma Watkins, whose beautiful memoir, The Last Resort: Taking the Mississippi Cure, was just published by University of Mississippi Press.

“The Forest”: Story Forthcoming in Potomac Review

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Banff, Spring 2015

THE FOREST

Forthcoming in Potomac Review

  • In September, he got a card. Tucked inside was a picture of a fragile-looking tree-house soaring high above a sea of Douglas fir.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Never, Ever

Never, ever in the history of self’s reading of fan fiction did she ever think she would find dialogue like the one below so meaninful:

FINNICK:

Kitty, you okay?

PEETA:

Katniss, okay?

The second line belongs to Tarzan Peeta and Katniss had to teach him English all over again because apparently Peeta was the sole survivor of a shipwreck and ended up on an uninhabited island off some African coast when he was just seven years old and forgot how to wear clothes and even how to speak (He grunts at Katniss the first time he meets her). You can just imagine the poor kid learning how to survive on berries or monkey poop or whatever! Mind-blowing! Absolutely!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Daoud, Still Reading

It’s about one murder and then it’s about another murder and why oh why. It’s such a dark book.

But, good writing. And exceptionally long paragraphs.

In fact, I slept for nearly three days straight, a heavy sleep with waking moments that barely revealed to me my own name. I stayed there in my bed, unmoving, without ideas or projects, my body new and amazed.

The language is truly mesmerizing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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