Sweet(er) in Redwood City, California

After years of hectic traveling, it is sweet indeed to be back in Redwood City:



Even sweeter: having The Alienist to look forward to every week.

New episodes air every Monday night on TNT.


Dakota Fanning is just killing it in the role of Sara Howard, secretary to Teddy Roosevelt. In this incarnation, Roosevelt is the New York City Police Commissioner (circa 1896).

It is also grrrreat to see Brian Geraghty in the cast. Self lost track of him after The Hurt Locker. Geraghty plays Roosevelt! (When self watched Geraghty in The Hurt Locker, all those years ago, she never imagined that the next thing she saw him in would be The Alienist, portraying a future American president)

Also great are Daniel Bruhl (who self hasn’t seen on the big screen since Inglorious Basterds) and Luke Evans (who self has seen in the Lord of the Rings movies and in Immortals)

Stay tuned.


Self has liked the other movies in this franchise. But this one — well, let her list the ways:

  • The lack of chemistry between the two leads is never more apparent.
  • Dakota Johnson’s flat, affectless voice, while perfect for the role, is really annoying once she gets everything her heart desires. And, oh wow, someone is stalking her but she’s sooo ready for flirting. And sex. And romance!
  • There is no ending.
  • What is with Christian Grey’s brother’s affair? It’s a red herring.


  • Marcia Gay Harden has a small scene.
  • clothes, Anastasia’s
  • lipstick, Anastasia’s
  • Self didn’t hate it enough to walk out.

Stay tuned.


#amreading GRRM’s A CLASH OF KINGS

In preparation for Game of Thrones‘ final season, airing sometime 2019, self has set herself the task of reading the books. She’s read one so far; it was in her cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig two years ago, and it was still there when she returned last year.

Writing dialogue is hard. Writing Game of Thrones fan fiction dialogue is even harder, especially when one hasn’t read the books. George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones dialogue is so on point!


Maester Luwin to Bran Stark, p. 442, A Clash of Kings:

“We look at mountains and call them eternal, and so they seem . . . but in the course of time, mountains rise and fall, rivers change their courses, stars fall from the sky, and great cities sink beneath the sea. Even gods die, we think. Everything changes.

“Perhaps magic was once a mighty force in the world, but no longer. What little remains is no more than the wisp of smoke that lingers in the air after a great fire has burned out, and even that is fading. Valyria was the last ember, and Valyria is gone. The dragons are no more, the giants are dead, the children of the forest forgotten with all their lore.

“No, my prince. Jojen Reed may have had a dream or two that he believes came true, but he does not have the greensight. No living man has that power.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



Maze Runner: Death Cure

So excellent. Self can’t even. The best wrap-up to a YA series ever.

Three out of four stars.

Self knows of what she speaks: she’s a big fan of YA.

Just to show you this movie went beyond, self cried at the end. You’d think she was watching The Time-Traveler’s Wife, not Maze Runner.

There were a lot of high-powered actors in the cast: Patricia Clarkson, Aiden Gillen, Barry Pepper, Walton Goggins (sporting truly disgusting facial make-up: five stars!), Thomas Brodie-Sangster. Half the time self kept wondering when Woody Harrelson was going to show up. Self loves it when a YA action movie is way better than anyone has a reasonable right to expect.

The only thing that bothered self about the movie (Almost 2 1/2 hours long, and the time just flew by!) was that every time Aiden Gillen was on-screen, she kept thinking: Littlefinger! There is one scene in which Gillen stares creepily at Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) and it reminded her so much of all the times on Game of Thrones when Littlefinger is perv-ing on Sansa.

Movie’s best moment? In her humble opinion, when Min Ho gets up in Teresa’s face and yells: TRAITOR! So cathartic.

P.S. There was a preview for Jurassic World. Bryce Dallas Howard is truly growing into a Jessica Chastain-level beauty. In fact, for a moment that’s who self thought she was watching

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

1st Month Back, Fourth Movie: MAZE RUNNER, THE DEATH CURE

Self is all for action movies. She absolutely loves them.

If she doesn’t watch an action movie, it’s at least got to have Frances McDormand.

And now, woot hoot, the Maze Runner is back. For a few years, there was some doubt about whether star Dylan O’Brien was okay. He had a horrific accident while filming Movie # 2 of the Maze Runner, and filming shut down completely, which meant the accident was bad. But he made a thriller last year, and looked no different. And this year, he starts out with a bang, with the closing movie of the YA trilogy, and critics have been saying that it’s the best installment yet.

So, #pointsDylan.

From the way self got into 12 Strong, she knows she is ready for this.

Christy Lemire over on Roger Ebert, the review site, even compares the film to Mad Max: Fury Road. Of course, it’s not as good. Nothing can be as good as Mad Max: Fury Road. But to even earn that reference — that’s cool.

Tim Robey, writing for The Telegraph, has good fun classifying the series’ main characters into the following camps: Absolutely, Hell No, and I’ll Get Back to You on That.

On Team Hell No are the heroes. These are played by Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Dexter Dardin. Let’s also throw in Rosa Salazar’s character, as self finds her so darn cute.

On Team Absolutely is a beauteous turncoat played by Kaya Scodelario.

And then Robey forgets who’s supposed to be on Team I’ll Get Back to You on That or maybe he just gets bored with his own review because he never says who.

But there are enough bits to convince self that she has to see this movie. Cinema’s just 10 miles north on 1, in Fort Bragg. And it’s not even raining.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Punisher: Season 1

A colleague on TV Series hub reviewed this show, which led self to give it a crack, she is so good at multi-tasking (while writing her #historicalfiction). She wasn’t focused on the screen the whole time, but while she was working, the sounds coming from her laptop let her know that something very violent was going down: grunts, gunshots, screams, things getting smashed or knocked over, on a recurring basis.

Gah, this show!

Anyhoo, a few days ago, someone tweeted that it was nice that Ben Barnes got to play against type.

Hold on . . . WHAT? Did someone just tweet BEN BARNES? In The Punisher?

Wasn’t he in the the Narnia movies? And wasn’t he also in the only other good movie Jessica Biehl has appeared in during her sadly truncated film career?

She tweeted the tweeter: Did you say Ben Barnes?

The response: Yes. Ben Barnes. How could you miss him? He’s in every episode!

So self went back to re-watch everything starting from S1:E1 and OMG it IS Ben Barnes! Only with facial hair!


Ben Barnes plays Billy Russo, who at first self thought was a good guy — until he murders his mother.

Mother is lying comatose in some nursing home (Kudos to the actress on playing comatoes so convincingly), when Ben Barnes (Billy Russo) comes in, looking dapper in a suit. He sends the nursing home attendant away, rips the blankets off his comatose mother (which self would think would be a very humiliating experience, just saying) and kills her.

Later in the same episode, Barnes tells his clandestine lover Dinah about how he grew up in a boarding house, he never got to know his mother, blah blah blah

And you simply cannot get the death scene that preceded out of your mind!

Worse, his GF’s partner, Sam, a mild-mannered agent who reminds self of Paul Giamatti, is murdered during a shoot-out. And he was the one who kept telling Dinah that Barnes/Russo is “pretty” (subtext: pretty = dastardly) And while he’s dying in GF’s arms, all self can think is:


Self never dreamed she would be rooting AGAINST a character played by BEN BARNES of all people but it is what it is.

Of course, this thread is not a MAJOR one: the major one is that The Punisher keeps visiting the wife of a colleague, even though every visit is viewed by his colleague (Surveillance satellites! They’re everywhere!) who is still in love with his wife (who is falling for The Punisher) but unfortunately for the husband, he can’t see his wife and family because he faked his own death.

Meanwhile, The Punisher kills again and again and again and again and never mind how many times but it’s a lot.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwritingfantasy: Year 2118

The first Hunger Games movie is on the telly.

What self notices right away is that Jennifer Lawrence’s face is so expressive. Every time the camera moves in for a close-up, her emotion is right there.

Hope Hollywood doesn’t ruin her.

She’ll always and forever be, for self: the young woman in Winter’s Bone, and Katniss.

In the meantime, self worked a bit more on the new story she started in Cork, a few days ago (In honor of NaNoWriMo, of course she is writing short stories. She’s letting her rebel flag fly free!):

  • The budget crisis has impacted everyone in my line of work, most particularly transporters. There were 51 of us at last count. The only one I’ve met personally is Hector. He lives or lived in Cienfuegos. There were a couple of freelancers working in his area and I don’t know if he had help or how he handled them. Last year I got an assignment to transport from Isla de la Juventud. Isn’t that Hector’s area, I nearly said, before I realized I didn’t want to know.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Trying, Not Succeeding

Self has moved on from Everlark.

She is still part of the fan fiction universe, only she’s switched allegiances to a new ship, Gendrya.

She is in complete awe of those fan fiction authors who drop Game of Thrones place names (Dragonstone, King’s Landing, Westeros, Highgarden, Casterly Rock, Stormsend, Braavos, The Red Keep, Winterfell, Volantis) as casually as bon bons.

She’s actually attempted doing a one-shot, but her lack of cred is immediately apparent because she’s only read one of GRRM’s books.

She doesn’t like AU Gendrya, it just doesn’t go well with the Bastard identity and Faceless Assassin plot lines. In the meantime, she lurks.

The number of Gendrya fics are about half the number of Everlark fics. But there are new ones appearing every day, because the ending of GoT Season 7 was so inconclusive.

Which brings us to:

The Books section of the Wall Street Journal, 12 – 13 August, 2017.

In Black Ships Before Troy, Rosemary Sutcliff (a rock star in her field) re-tells the Iliad. Now, the 1993 book has been re-issued and so it is with great pleasure that self adds the book to her reading list. It begins:

  • In the high and far-off days when men were heroes and walked with the gods, Peleus, king of the Myrmidons, took for his wife a sea-nymph called Thetis.

What. A. Fabulous. Opening. Sentence.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fan Fiction: Arya the Assassin

All she had was hot vengeance running through her veins.

Self is pleasantly surprised at how good Arya Assassin fan fiction is.

Most (if not all) of it is rated G and just shows Arya being very ninja-like all over the place.

Revenge stories are the best.

Self would love to be able to write one of her own.

In her exploration of Game of Thrones fan fiction, she’s even stumbled across fan fiction written about Philip II of Spain. Granted, there are only two, but she’s surprised that there are ANY at all.

Are these, self wonders, written by a student who has to write something about Philip II for history class and decides the task will be easier if she can turn Philip II into a character in a fantasy world? If so: points student.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Finding Gendry (in 2017) And Losing Him Again

I’m worried about Gendry, bc if they left him on the Wall, SWEETIE NO

Is Gendry out rowing again?

Pod’s drinking with Bronn, Gendry’s at . . .  Castle Black, I guess.

Wait . . . I have to wait TWO YEARS for Arya to reunite with Jon and Gendry??

Y’all did Gendry get on another rowboat, where tf did he go

Finale: Best death FINALLY! So perfect. Glad I don’t have a nephew, would’ve been far more awkward. Needed more Gendry.

Where is my man Gendry

*wakes up from a dead slumber* Wait, where was Gendry? Is he okay? I need him to be okay. *falls back asleep*

Is there any way Gendry can have some respect, like, you just made him run the Olympics and then you don’t even show him.

So . . .  Gendry ran so fast in #GameofThrones that he got out of the storyline??

still can’t believe Jon and Gendry didn’t stop by Winterfell to see Arya

season 3: spends six seasons rowing. season 7: runs for one whole episode

gendry and arya sitting in a tree K.I.S.S.I.N.G.

*thinks about Gendry x Arya and cries*

the worst thing that could happen in the next episode is killing off Gendry right after he stopped rowing

Gendry is so attractive he’s definitely going to die next

(Which is what everyone was secretly thinking about Dickon. Seriously. What a waste of eye candy. Simply disgusting. HBO, D & D, you guys definitely missed an opportunity there)

So, let’s give three cheers to the greatest dead people of Season 7

  • Dickon (Oops, forgot Dickon’s dad, Randall Tarly. How rude!)
  • Dolorous Ed (Wait, did he die in Season 7? Not sure. But he definitely DEAD)
  • Littlefinger
  • Olenna Tyrrell
  • Viserion
  • Thoros
  • random redshirts (at least two died Beyond the Wall)
  • Polar Bear wight
  • Captive wight
  • many other wights
  • Lannister soldiers
  • Dothraki (please God not the one who was in the foreground during the “jumping onto a galloping horse” cavalry charge)

The greates death of all, drum roll, ta-ra!: The Wall

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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