The Golden Compass, p. 376 (Spoilers, Naturally)

After spending almost the entire book struggling to bring an alethiometer to her father, who’s being kept in an ice-bound prison in Svalbard by her evil mother’s henchmen, and after surmounting a host of obstacles — which include evil bears, the Oblation Board, trepanned Tartars and their malevolent daemons — in the process, Lyra meets Lord Asriel for the first time since she learned she was his daughter:

  • Her father was lying back in his chair, lazy and powerful, his eyes as fierce as a daemon’s. She didn’t love him, she couldn’t trust him, but she had to admire him . . .

So real! Philip Pullman, what have you done to self? Turns out Lyra was never meant to bring Lord Asriel an alethiometer. The alethiometer was for her. She didn’t realize it at the time the Master gave it to her because she didn’t think anyone could be as important as her father. So she’s come all this way for, basically, nothing. Not to mention, she realizes her father will be her last opponent. Because he is mad.

GAAAH! Can’t you cut this kid a break, Philip Pullman? So much angst, self can’t even.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Hedgehog: THE GOLDEN COMPASS, p. 72

Self began The Golden Compass having already made the acquaintance of Lyra and Lord Asriel in La Belle Sauvage (Volume One of Pullman’s new trilogy, which takes place ten years before the events of The Golden Compass).

In LBS, Lyra’s an infant. When The Golden Compass opens, Lyra’s a feisty little girl whose best friend is a boy named Roger. Together, Lyra and Roger go ranging over the rooftops of Oxford and exploring in crypts. This part of the story is sheer delight.

It’s not until Chapter 4 of The Golden Compass that she meets two other characters from LBS: Dame Hannah Reif (who is described as “an elderly, gray-haired lady” — a far cry from the woman she was in LBS. How could a person have aged so much in just ten years?) and Mrs. Coulter (who doesn’t seem to have aged a day, despite the 10 years etc)

Now, these two women (accompanied by a third, mystery woman) appear for dinner at Jordan Hall, and Lyra learns she is being sent off with Mrs. Coulter, the very next day. It doesn’t take long for self to google “Mrs. Coulter” and discover that Nicole Kidman played her in the movie adaptation, which then causes self to dislike Mrs. Coulter because self never could abide Nicole Kidman in anything, just saying.

There is a lot of cloak-and-dagger stuff even at this early stage of The Golden Compass, and self really loves how deftly Pullman navigates between the simple certainties of childhood and the edges of terror. Before Lyra leaves Jordan Hall (forever), the old Master slips her an alethiometer which isn’t actually as fabulous as it sounds because the device reveals who is lying to you, and that information always hurts because it is never who you expect.

Self loves that Lyra’s daemon is called Pantalaimon because it sounds like a cross between Shakespeare and Don Quixote, and also it is such a mouthful compared to other daemons’ names, like Ben or Asta. So the reader will never, ever forget it. And after a while, when you succeed in getting Pantalaimon to roll trippingly off your tongue, you will feel so smart. Like you’ve just aced your finals.

The daemon Pantalaimon has a tendency to shift into the most amusing animals, such as a hedgehog:

“she snapped at him, when he became a hedgehog out of pique.”– p. 72

Has self ever shared with dear blog readers that she has a special fondness for hedgehogs? She even used “hedgehog” as the worst cuss word on the planet, in her story of the far future called “Spores” (published in decomP Magazine)!

An excerpt from self’s story:

“We be needing foxes,” I said once.

“You lousy hedgehog,” the boss said, giving me a good one. My right eye swelled up almost immediately.

Would you believe that at the time self wrote the story, she had never laid eyes on an actual hedgehog? A few years ago she was at the San Francisco Zoo and finally got to see a hedgehog. It was all by itself, huddled in a far corner of a kind of pen, and it looked positively miserable.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

AWAKENING: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 11 April 2018

This week, show us renewal. — Jen H., The Daily Post

The Daily Post has this quote from Jack London: “The ghostly winter silence had given way to the great Spring murmuring of awakening life.”

Today, self looked out the window of her unit at the Mendocino Art Center and noticed that the house next door has a tower:

DSCN0730

Next Door to the Mendocino Art Center, a Roof Tower

That’s GOT to be an awakening of sorts.

Next: self’s awakening always involve books. Since she just finished La Belle Sauvage (Vol. One of a new trilogy by Philip Pullman, The Book of Dust), she is extremely woke.

She’s started The Golden Compass, Volume One of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, and here is the library bar code. Decades ago, self realized that she would never be able to store all the books she bought if she continued buying. So she wisely switched to checking books out of her local library. And has kept it up despite years of hectic traveling, carting the library books with her to Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Germany, the Philippines, and so forth and so on.

DSCN0731

Library Barcode for The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman

Other Awakenings:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Beginning THE GOLDEN COMPASS

Self is so glad she read La Belle Sauvage before beginning His Dark Materials. The backstory of the Great Flood and Lyra’s totally adorable infant stage are still fresh in self’s head. (But so are the questions about Malcolm and Alice: what happened to them? They’d better not have come to any harm!)

Funny that His Dark Materials is considered “Children’s Literature” when the very early scenes have a man’s mummified head, clear evidence of trepanning, being carted to Oxford and shown to distinguished Dons in a meeting called by Lord Asriel. Lyra watches the proceedings while staying concealed in “a wardrobe.” (Self thinks “a wardrobe” sounds ever so much better than “a closet.”) Lyra waits until the coast is clear, then emerges from the wardrobe and tells Lord Asriel: “If you wanted me to be a spy in the wardrobe, you ought to tell me what I’m spying about. Can I see the man’s head?”

Lord Asriel’s response is to laugh “shortly” and say, “Don’t be disgusting.”

Love it.

Stay tuned.

Smile 2: Garden Surprises (and Links to Other WordPress SMILES)

A plant self thought was dead turns out to have a few living sprouts:

DSCN0687

Variegated Abutilon, 4 April 2018

Love the dappled leaves. The mother plant is dead for sure. Then, a week ago, while clearing away dead twigs, self found definite signs of life, about two feet away.

Happiness!

Here’s another WordPress post on SMILE:

Grammy Writes

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Flower of the Day, 1 April 2018: Clematis Montana Rubens

Self is taking inspiration from Cee Neuner, who posts a Flower of the Day.

On the front porch, her clematis montana rubens just started blooming. Most of the year, it looks like a dead twig. But, suddenly, a few days ago, self saw flowers!

DSCN0595

Clematis montana rubens: Started blooming a few days ago

DSCN0596

HAPPY EASTER!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Irises! 31 March 2018

More irises began blooming in the side yard today:

DSCN0581

Blooming Today: Saturday, 31 March 2018

Which photo do you prefer, the blurry or the sharp?

DSCN0582.JPG

For more gorgeous flowers, here’s a link to Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Flower of the Day – 30 March 2018

It has been much too hectic a year, even though it’s only March.

Today self drove home to Redwood City from Mendocino and it took her five hours.

She was feeling very tetchy — until she stepped into her backyard and saw that a few iris had started blooming.

There is no pattern to self’s gardening. She just plants bulbs here and there, wherever she feels like it.

Today, she saw that half a dozen spectacular (huge) iris are just unfurling by her kitchen door. In the side yard (where she took this picture), these three blooming iris are the first, but there’s almost a dozen more getting ready, close by.

Cee Neuner’s photography blog is an endless source of inspiration. Not only does she have the Fun Foto Challenge, she also has “Flower of the Day”

She tried getting close-ups of the irises, but the background was off.

DSCN0573

Side Yard, Friday, 30 March 2018

Here are the side yard irises from another angle, farther away.

DSCN0572

The backyard looks a little wild, but she likes it that way. She planted so many different things, without much forethought, just squeezing everything together. There’s actually a mature rose bush tucked right in the middle of those big bushes, but you can’t see it because it hasn’t started blooming yet.

HAPPY EASTER, ALL!

Stay tuned.

The Alienist Ends

Self didn’t get to see the final episode. She’s here in Mendocino, reading tweets.

She didn’t get to watch last week’s episode either, but there were lots of tweets about CATS. Wait, what?

Then, there was almost a Twitter silence. For about five minutes. Which meant, everyone was watching and something was going down.

This evening, the tweet-storm began with something about coulottes. Sara?

  • Oh my GOD! THE CAT! I wanna unsee that so hard rn
  • I have anxiety.
  • I don’t understand why they had you go through with that charade. Laszlo could not have shaken them some other way? So what if they followed? They couldn’t be less conspicuous than Roosevelt and his horsemen.
  • Okay so that’s him.
  • I suspect there’s something about this opera specifically that mirrors the plot of this episode. If only I understood Italian opera . . .
  • Geez, does EVERYBODY carry around a chloroform-laden rag with them?
  • Nothing like going after a brutal serial killer in your opera’s finest.
  • Keep making noise!
  • Joseph!
  • HURRY!
  • This seems like a bad idea.
  • I’m barely breathing.
  • The suspense is killing me.
  • Laszlo, your ego might get you killed.
  • What?!
  • Heart is beating so frickin fast!
  • “It’s not only love that resides in the heart, it’s pain.
  • My nerves tho.
  • I can’t take it!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tomb Raider: Just Okay

This is not a masterpiece. It’s not, even, that much fun. Alicia Vikander’s body is rippling with muscle so that’s certainly an improvement over Angelina Jolie’s (The trouble with Jolie as Lara Croft is that she’s very top-heavy and it gets in the way. Seriously). But Dominic West, poor Dominic West, is so wasted.

Here are a few positives:

  • That ripped body of Vikander’s
  • Walton Goggins having a stellar moment in every action/fantasy movie of the past few years (He was in the final Maze Runner movie, which self would rank higher than this one)
  • There is an Asian man who is kind and also has a ripped bod (Never seen this actor before. Googled. Welcome to the world, Daniel Wu!)
  • Solving puzzles is always fun. Though self did get a little lost when people were tossing all kinds of colored crystals at Lara Croft while balancing on their toes at the edges of a room with a crumbling stone floor.

Was there music? Self can’t remember. Too bad. A score can do so much for a movie.

What was that fox race through London? She doesn’t get the point, but loved that she saw a section of Tottenham Road, which she knows intimately: Hanway Alley (where her favorite London restaurant, Chez Nous, is) is just off Tottenham. Moreover, Vikander does a great job as a biker. She has that look of determination, and looks great in capris and bike helmet.

The guy who plays spoiled brat/murder suspect ‘Silver Smile’ in TNT’s The Alienist has a bit part!

Good Lord, she would never place this on the same level as The Last of the Mohicans, even if just for comparison, which critic Matt Zoller Seitz did in his review for RogerEbert.com. The Last of the Mohicans was a masterpiece! It was directed by Michael Mann, at the height of his powers! It starred Daniel Day-Lewis, at the height of his powers. (No, let’s re-phrase that: with Daniel Day-Lewis, there is no such thing as ‘height of his powers.’ Because he is still bringing it all the time! Just watch Phantom Thread!)! It introduced Wes Studi to the world!

Every time Vikander sailed through the air, self was reminded of the Fassbender move in 300. Which he executed so well that now, every action movie has to show its heroes and heroines doing the exact same move, at least once. It’s getting to be a thing! Vikander does it so many times in Tomb Raider that she even out-Fassbenders Fassbender.

Self found Tomb Raider a by-the-numbers thriller, which is to say it was not a thrill ride.

She was so excited, though, to see a preview of John Boyega’s Star Wars movie.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

« Older entries

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photography

Learning and teaching the art of composition.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

the contemporary small press

A site for small presses, writers, poets & readers

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

“Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”― Madeleine L'Engle

Rants Of A Gypsy

Amuse Thyself Reader!

FashionPoetry by Val

A blog. My blog

Kanlaon

Just another Wordpress.com weblog

Jean Lee's World

Finder of Fantasy & Adventure in Her Own Backyard