USA Today Review of Game of Thrones S7 Ep. 1: I FEEL This

from Kelly Lawler’s review in USA Today, 16 July 2017:

Game of Thrones returned for its seventh season Sunday with expectations higher than ever, following a strong, forward-moving Season 6. It seemed like we were in for something bombastic in the premiere, titled Dragonstone, after the ancestral home of Daenerys Targaryen, one of the series’ more fiery characters. But while Thrones moved at a speedy pace last season — and now has just 12 seasons in total — the episode played out like the slow-moving and exposition-heavy premieres of seasons past. And there isn’t really time for that, not anymore.

Sure, viewers were treated to an opening scene soaked in the blood of the entire Frey family. But they also sat through an almost agonizingly unsubtle Ed Sheeran cameo, monologues from minor characters and overlong meetings. And even Arya’s mass murder felt like an unnecessary extension of a better scene in the Season 6 finale. Who knew the epic story of Westeros had this kind of time?

And that’s self’s beef, too. They had time to give Euron Greyjoy a sexy make-over and they forgot about Gendry? He’s plenty sexy enough, no need to sexy up Euron. Or even develop Euron. It’s the penultimate season. Do we have time for this? Do we even have time for Missandei/Grey Worm hook-up? (Hope it’s over in five minutes; that part of the story feels so blatantly fan service)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Game of Thrones Season 7 Ep. 1: Fashion and Other Minutiae

Wins:

  • Cersei’s leather top
  • Snow. Hard, blowing snow. When Sandor buries the family. Repentance!
  • Wun Wun is a wight!
  • Arya’s eyebrows are still the best!
  • Squirrel on a stick — campfire gourmet!
  • Dany’s lone walk across the beach — I kept expecting Gendry to pop up, but other than that, it was a great moment.
  • Brienne, as always, in any scene, kills.

Fails:

  • Knowing Sam’s poop/slop-like-poop scene was coming (from perusing last night’s Twitter feeds), I avoided looking at the screen just at this moment.
  • Euron rigged up with clothes more be-fitting a rock star than a warrior. He’s too pretty-looking.
  • GoT loves profanity but for some reason last night’s seemed (and I am including Cersei’s cold-blooded speech which seemed strangely empty, vacuous, BLANK, even with her use of the “c” word) pretty limp. Or perhaps I was just in a bad mood because I had watched vid of Gendry x Arya: “Pull your cock out and take a piss” and that, methinks, is an excellent use of another “c” word.

Meh:

  • Ed Sheeran needs a spray tan. Other than that, his moment with Arya was the sweetest of the episode.
  • Podric as the new Gendry: I’ll take what I can get.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Mary Beard on Edward Gibbon

Beginning a new book today: SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard

Beard begins by saying, in her Prologue:

  • “. . .  over the almost 250 years since Edward Gibbon wrote The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, his idiosyncratic historical experiment that began the modern study of Roman history in the English-speaking world . . . “

Self is quite tickled by the description of Gibbon as “idiosyncratic.” She just read Gibbon for the first time, here at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. Her biggest quibble with him was that he spent an inordinate amount of time on the spread of Christianity and while some of that history was good — especially the parts about monastic life —  most of it was really broad survey. And surveys are dull.

In contrast, another history she just finished reading, Francis Parkman’s Montcalm and Wolfe, was amazing. Amazing in every sense: as history, and as narrative.

The Guardian calls SPQR “vastly engaging.” We shall see if it manages to unseat Francis Parkman’s as self’s favorite history book in years.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Far Be It For Self To Say: #amstillreading REDEPLOYMENT

It is a beautiful, beautiful day in Annaghmakerrig.

Still reading Redeployment. Pretty good collection. Skip the following and you won’t miss much:

  • In Vietnam They Had Whores
  • Psychological Operations
  • War Stories

She knows Klay’s strength is in his utter brazen fearlessness. Showing how death really is. Let’s get real, this is death! This is what it’s like!

He even throws in some good, honest, American male fantasies (For another example of how sex/war/male fantasy go together, read Sebastian Barry’s shattering World War I novel A Long, Long Way) in the midst of the BOOM BOOM BOOM of warfare. Nightmarish, right? I’m dying; give me a woman!

Do not read In Vietnam They Had Whores because there is one pretty bad incident. If you persist in reading that story, you will know at once which incident self is referring to: the thing that happened in Vietnam.

You know, it’s a good thing Iraq had no whores for the Americans. Truly. Self is not kidding.

Self knows In Vietnam They Had Whores because they had whores in the Philippines, too. Which is the reason Clark and Olongapo becamse synonymous with, not just American bases, but honky-tonk: in other words, whorehouses.

In Thailand they also had/have whores. Self has walked around Patpong at night. She knows of what she speaks.

The second story self thinks worth skipping, Psychological Operations, has a female character, Zara, but she is a type. First of all, she’s a minority. In Amherst. (This is supposed to mean something? Yeah, the minority who is actually privileged! What a rare sighting!) Zara turns (strict) Muslim, changes her way of dress, accepts the narrator’s invitation to smoke a hookah, whatever! He does all the talking during the hookah scene — BORING! Of course, he just has to tell her a war story.

In War Stories there is mention of how easy it is for men telling war stories to get laid.

A character says: “I’m just fucking tired of chicks getting off on it.” (“It” being of course war stories.) You know, there is a simple solution to this problem: STOP TELLING WAR STORIES TO CHICKS. Just swap war stories with other men.

But swapping war stories with other men will not get you laid, which is a problem if you’re young, hetero, and lonely. Ergo, you will have to go back to telling war stories to chicks. Just sayin’. And pretty soon, you will find yourself stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle.

But there are worse things in life. Such as having to read some ex-Marine whining about how easy it is to get laid by telling war stories. Could you just. Get. Over. Yourself.

Next!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Hewlett Packard Customer Service

Self has only ever used, her whole life, Hewlett Packard laser printers. So fantastic. Spit out high-quality pages at superior speed.

Last Saturday, self was getting a new printer set up, went on the Hewlett Packard website, spent a whole day going around different areas for “community support” (aka NO personal support), finally got a live person in India, was so happy, and so was he, because he said:

THERE YOU ARE.

??????

He took his time, and after half an hour (or, could have been forty-five minutes, until self said she had to go) nothing was done.

This person kept calling back on Sunday, and Monday. Left 7 messages on her cell.

7.

Self called back, finally, and HOLY COW the man was a heavy breather. Like, really heavy breathing. So self said, “Wait a minute. Are you viewing me right now?”

Instantly, all breathing stopped, and then the call continued at normal breathing, HA HA HA HA.

But self kept thinking about that call, so last night she called the San Francisco Police. And the man on duty said, “Can you come in? Bring your laptop with you. In the meantime, get a hold of Hewlett Packard. Talk to a manager.”

Which self did, half an hour ago. Apparently, they already knew about self’s name etc etc (self had spoken to someone in Costa Rica this morning, who said he’d get back to her “in two minutes” but after two hours she decided she was never going to hear back from this person).

This time, lo and behold, she actually spoke to a live person named Barbara in Hewlett Packard Corporate in Palo Alto. And the first thing Barbara tells self (non-recorded call, too bad; Barbara said she was taking everything down as we spoke, so self decided to cut it short, because mebbe she thought self was threatening to sue HP? Seriously? Self is only trying to report that somehow, someone trying to use the Hewlett Packard website will get directed to a Heavy Breather in some foreign clime)

“That’s nothing to do with Hewlett Packard,” is the first thing she tells self.

Oh really? Because self has a $600 Hewlett Packard laser printer, she has always used Hewlett Packard laser printers, and —

“Sounds like you were scammed. You should always be careful with online scammers. They’re everywhere,” Barbara says. (Self is para-phrasing. She is sure Barbara got everything down exactly, but Barbara wouldn’t give self her last name). “Next time, be more careful.”

Ma’am Barbara? Self is a Stanford graduate. She was a Fellow in Creative Writing. She wants to let the world know that Hewlett Packard DOESN’T CARE. Or maybe they do, not just today. Because if you are ever so stupid as to go on the Hewlett Packard website, and find yourself talking to someone in India, you should know that that person is up to no good, and you should hang up right away.

And self finally had to say, “You know, I have no intention of suing HP — ” which absolutely sent Barbara into a tizzy, as if self were in fact THE SCAMMER from India. And this was part of a con. Self only said that because of the weird way Barbara was acting. AS IF self’s ulterior motive was to set up HP.

You know, San Francisco Police never questioned self, when she called. They told her to COME IN.

Self had to change all her credit cards (which means, all the gifts she paid for on Paypal will not be delivered) and she had to change all her passwords. It’s been such a LOVELY day.

Self told Barbara all the numbers she had stored in her cell, apparently Barbara is such a whiz at multi-tasking that she was calling the numbers as self spoke, and she said: None of those numbers are good. As if self was LYING!

Well, duh. Okay. The point was not to catch those thieves (as if that were even possible), but Dear Barbara was acting as if self was so stupid.

Barbara, you are a woman, yes? So maybe you’ve never been panted over on the phone. Maybe you have lived such an ordered, pleasing life that the possibility of even getting a call from a scammer in India will never be on your event horizon. Do you have to make the caller (a fellow sistah) feel stupid? And self knows for a fact that Barbara made her feel stupid. How does she know? Because self felt obligated to tell her that she was a Stanford grad. When self has to go to that length, she is struggling for some shred of dignity or respect or whatever. And she did not get it from Barbara today.

So, self ended up saying (Amazing! She’s not usually so hung up on the Stanford thing), “Barbara, I am a writer. Not only am I a writer, I’m a Stanford graduate. Not only am I a Stanford Graduate, I was a FELLOW IN CREATIVE WRITING. So please, I am not stupid. Okay, so I’ll never call those numbers again. But I think you should know, because I got into this situation because I tried to get Customer Service from Hewlett Packard. And there was NONE forthcoming.”

Self is sure Barbara is googling her right now! Barbara made self spell her first name and her last name (and it’s so easy, she’ll probably land on this post, right away! Well hello there, Barbara! We meet again! Such a pleasure!)

Stay tuned.

5 a.m.: The Return of the Helpless Screechers

These girls next door never quit!

The laughter comes in waves. The current laughing cycle began at 5:50 a.m. or thereabouts.

Self peers out her apartment window, sees one lighted window in the building next door, and it’s on the side facing hers. She wouldn’t mind so much if, Friday night, the same laugh/screech/laugh cycle hadn’t occurred until the wee hours.

Honestly, there is no room for meaningful discourse in this dialogue. Because there is just one uproarious laugh after another.

See that yellow spot on the carpet? (SCREECHING LAUGHTER)

See what time it is? (SCREECHING LAUGHTER)

Know what my name is? (SCREECHING LAUGHTER)

At first self thought, they’re young and giddy because they’re so excited about being in San Francisco! San Francisco is the Golden Gate, the Dragon’s Gate, the Ferry Building, Golden Gate Park etc. And we’re young! And WE’RE HERE! AND WE’RE SO COOL!

Self is gratified to know that somewhere in the building next door, there are girlfriends who know how to be girlfriends. How to simply LAUGH. It must be such a joyous feeling to have laugh fest with your roommates, at 5:58. To know that, at the drop of a hat, at any hour of the day or night, you will have hilarious interaction with your roomies.

(Self recognizes your individual laughs, girls! She knows the one that goes: gasp/hiccup/HA!/gasp/hiccup; as well as the one that goes HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE!)

If self were the mother of teenage daughters, would she have to endure this type of giggly on a daily basis?

BTW, self read somewhere that “giggle” should never be used, in any form of writing. Never. Because, according to advise dispenser, no one but no one giggles.

Self will now hunt for that writing website, so she can tell the author of the article that she lives next door to girls who really know how to giggle. Non-stop. Now, that level of giggle takes commitment.

Stay tuned.

WSJ, Monday, 26 September 2016: Women’s Rights

In WSJ World News, a piece by Margherita Stancati: “Saudis Press King Over Women’s Rights”

Saudis sent telegrams to the king on Sunday pressing the monarchy to end male guardianship rules for women, the culmination of an unprecedented monthlong effort to abolish the system.

By Sunday evening, activists estimated hundreds of people had sent a copy of the same message to the royal court asking King Salman to cancel regulations that give men the final say on many important decisions in the lives of female relatives.

It is a change for which women’s rights activists in the ultraconservative kingdom have long campaigned. The telegrams are one of several grassroots initiatives that have sprung up since July, when an Arabic hashtag that translated to “Saudi women want to abolish the guardianship system” first went viral on Twitter in the oil-rich Gulf nation.

Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving has been criticized worldwide.

 

Rumble Over “Passengers” (Due Out Christmas)

“They photo-shopped her eyes,” someone wailed on tumblr, and showed the un-photoshopped and photoshopped versions of J-Law for the new movie, Passengers (in which her name not only appears over Chris Pratt’s, but BIGGER. Oh no oh no oh no what are they doing to the girl, she doesn’t seem like the type to go for that kind of star treatment).

Years ago, self was reading a review in The New Yorker about a J-Law movie, it might have been one of the X-Men movies, or maybe something even earlier, but in a passing comment the reviewer gave a nod to “Jennifer Lawrence and her formidable powers of concentration . . . ” And she wasn’t even famous then.

It’s her eyes.

And this is what Hollywood does to her: photoshop her until she’s no longer recognizable as herself but looks like some blonde Barbie doll.

No. Hollywood: stop attempting to glamorize this girl. It doesn’t — won’t — work. What are they so afraid of, anyway?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Technology Product For the Traveling Woman

There’s a fascinating discussion going on in Facebook. Lisa Chekerylla asked for recommended laptops/tablets for travel, and self had no hesitation whatsoever in responding:

  • MacBook Air. The One. Self bought hers in 2011. When her suitcase disappeared in Venice, she didn’t care. Because she still had her MacBook Air. The cover is dented at the corners. The keyboard is sticky (because self eats as she types). It’s scratched up. But it works like a charm. Self’s MacBook Air is her life. She never leaves home without it (She probably needs to get another one because she will absolutely have a meltdown if anything happens to this one)
DSCN9822

Self’s MacBook Air. She bought it in 2011, from the Apple Store in downtown Palo Alto.

Products recommended by other writers:

  • iPad with Logitech keyboard
  • iPhone
  • MacBook Pro 13″ with retina
  • ASUS ZenBook
  • Lenovo laptop with new battery
  • Toshiba Portege Ultrabook (link is to a 2014 review in PC Mag)
  • Surface (Self was not familiar with this laptop, so she looked it up on-line: it sells at $1,349.99 from Best Buy)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Indignation”: It Ends

SPOILER ALERT!!! SPOILER ALERT!!! MAAAAAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!!

Interesting, the way the characters in this movie spoke. No one sounded natural delivering the dialogue, but perhaps this was done deliberately, to reflect an “uptight” decade in American life (the 1950s)?

Everyone, that is, except for:

  • Logan Lerman
  • The actors who played Logan Lerman’s parents, especially the woman who played his mother
  • His childhood chums, discussing the death of one of their friends in Korea
  • His college roommates, one of whom (the phlegmatic big guy) was very, very good

This arch-ironic delivery, however, ends up being pure acting gold when it comes to the portrayal of a Dean of a University located in, of all places, Winesburg, Ohio (How very Sherwood Anderson!).

Nothing the Dean said (mainly a string of platitudes) made any sense. He was all about double-talk and veiled warnings, yet he delivered them with such a sense of conviction, as a man absolutely unshakeable in his moral beliefs, a man who’s been taken over so completely by his need to uphold the “right” standards that he doesn’t even know how to react when Logan’s character says (at least 5x): “I’m about to throw up. I have to go.” (Because self has seen Animal House at least 3x, she knew exactly how this scene was going to go down. How weird is it that Indignation and Animal House have a scene like this in common?)

The performances in this movie were really, really on point.

Lerman’s character, who hails from Newark, New Jersey, is completely out of his depth. Not only is he from Newark, New Jersey, he’s the son of a butcher. Not only is he the son of a butcher, he’s the son of a kosher butcher. Can you imagine? Oh the horrors of a guy like this attending university in Winesburg!

Lerman’s character is an atheist but unfortunately for him, he’s the only “out” atheist on campus. Everyone else — aside from 80 Jews — is Christian.

There’s a femme fatale. Okay, so she slit one wrist, was treated, she’s okay now. Self is so tired of these fragile college girls, these doomed Sylvia Plath iterations, who mess up the lives of innocents like our hero played by Logan Lerman. From the moment her character was introduced, self knew she would mess up the hero’s life. (Yes, Hero, You Should Listen to Your Overprotective Mother!)

And then the end. Let’s just say, not since that trendy woman’s novel where a woman kept going to bars and sleeping with strangers and ended up describing how she was killed, on the very last page, has self ever felt so cheated, cheated, cheated!

You cannot do first person when you’re dead at the end, all right?

If you’re dead — unless you’re an angel or a ghost or the second coming of Alice Sebold — you cannot tell a story like this, where everything is wrapped up so prettily in hindsight. Because the human being who lives the story will not tell it like this. He’ll be all: I cannot believe I’m going down like this! This sucks!

Total disintegration would be preferable to tragic story arc (In hindsight, everything can be made to seem tragic. It’s “spin.” It’s also a cheat. That is self’s humble opinion. You can get away with it but please, not in first person)

But, Holy Cow, LOGAN LERMAN. The only other movies self has seen him in are 3:10 to Yuma and Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. Her main objection to him was that he looked like a girl. She won’t be saying that again, after this movie.

When the movie ended, self had to turn to her seatmate and ask, What the heck just happened there? Is he really dead?

The woman’s countenance was completely shattered. Yes, she said. He is dead.

And with that, self left the theatre in a very bad mood. Practically stomped out. Like, she could not believe she just spent two hours listening to Logan Lerman’s poetic narration, only to have it end up like this. So, all that before, that was his disembodied dead self telling us the story? Nooooo!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

« Older entries

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photography

Learning and teaching the art of composition.

fashionnotfear.wordpress.com/

Fear holds you back, fashion takes you places!

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 makes us more alive, more human. . . . "---Madeleine L'Engle

Rants Of A Gypsy

Amuse Thyself Reader!

FashionPoetry by Val

Sometimes, I write down my thoughts (and other random stuff) and I share them

Kanlaon

Just another Wordpress.com weblog

Jean Lee's World

Finder of Fantasy & Adventure in Her Own Backyard