“Worlds of Decay, Renewal Merge Unexpectedly”: Elegy for a City, San Francisco

  • Like a lot of people, I have mixed feelings about a walk in the city these days. The Sunday before, my companion and I had walked the streets of Washington, D.C. and marveled at how clean they were. On returning back home, it was clear how much of San Francisco was a mess, particularly downtown with its crowds of lost souls roaming filthy streets. — from Carl Nolte’s column, Native Son, in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, 18 March 2018

Don’t ever try to walk (alone) from the Asian Art Museum to Powell. Don’t. Even if it’s broad daylight, you will be accosted by xxx panhandlers, and some will be quite aggressive. Just saying. That stretch of San Francisco feels like Detroit. Or like a Third World city. The decay is absolutely heartbreaking.

Self tried it once, last year. Every few steps, someone said something to her. Like running a gauntlet. Don’t reach for your wallet, don’t hesitate. Keep your earbuds in place. Keep walking.

If that’s what it’s like in the daytime, can you imagine what it’s like at night? Downtown San Francisco is not a woman-friendly city.

(And on the streets, there are Teslas. And Jaguars)

Stay tuned.

The Mandibles, 2029 – 2047

Maybe she should blame it on AWP, but she’s on p.32, she can’t tell the difference between various characters and she doesn’t know what the rationale is for setting this novel in 2029, because it sounds just like the present (without the magnetic personalities of Trump and Sessions to lighten up the proceedings). There seems to be a water shortage, because characters are allowed only one bath a week. Gee! Sucks to live in 2029!

Chapter 2 is excruciating: All about the gold standard. Should self be worried about the gold standard? Well, if a characteer in a novel keeps droning on and on about the gold standard, self would assume it is best to be worried about the gold standard. She is so stupid! Duh! Next time you pick up a novel, self, make sure you are interested in its subject matter!

She just thought: wow, it would be great to have characters who actually care about macroeconomics and exchange rates and stuff. Would probably up self’s intelligence quotient!

But, no. After reading 32 pages, self can only say: there is a reason she was not an economics major.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Movie # 7: FIFTY SHADES FREED

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.

Pluses:

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

Stay tuned.

 

DARKEST HOUR: What’s Up With Joe Wright

2nd full day back in America, 2nd movie: Darkest Hour.

So dull.

Self has seen Atonement, which made her cry buckets.

Not that she expects every Joe Wright to make her cry buckets, just that she likes movies to engage her emotions and this one didn’t.

Well, self did feel bad for the 4,000 British troops at Calais who were ordered to attack the advancing Germans, all to enable the main body of the British army to be evacuated from Dunkirk (almost 300,000 men)

Perhaps self was in a mood because she did not get to see I, Tonya.

Instead she got to watch Gary Oldman do Winston Churchill and his portrayal was rather baffling. Self had no idea that Churchill was such a bumbling, distracted man, whose only skill apparently was a penchant for rousing words and an ability to get the pulse of the British people.

He was a populist! Who would have thought!

The scene in the underground was very, very contrived.

Two stars, maybe?

Kudos nevertheless to Stephen Dillane for making her completely forget Stannis Baratheon in his portrayal of Churchill antagonist Viscount Halifax, and to Samuel West for still being Samuel West, and to Lily James for performing the role of ingenue/typist so flawlessly.

Someone started coughing loud in the last half hour or so of the movie, and a young woman yelled, from way across the theatre: Hey, would you do your coughing outside?

Which surprised self exceedingly because she didn’t notice any young people in the audience before the lights went down. But it is a very good thing to know that young people are interested in watching this movie that has absolutely no battle scenes (i.e.,  more spittle than blood).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Work-In-Progress: Memory (II)

Feeling discouraged about the novel-in-progress at the moment. It turned out a bit too much for self to chew. She should have known . . .

Stuck at 266 pages. All day.

In the meantime, she’s going back to some old short stories. Ones she’s forgotten about and stopped sending out, for years.

Here is the continuation of the story about the woman who stole her mother’s Chopard earrings:

I was going to do something, but I didn’t know what. I felt brave. I felt I would never fail, as long as I had the earrings with me.

I sewed them into a little pouch on the inside of the waistband of my jeans, and I wore just the one pair of jeans, day in and day out. They were soft and loose, ripped at the knees.

I didn’t have to pretend: I was what I was. I was crazy. I was living.

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.

Not a Review of Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4

SPOILER ALERT, NOTHING TOO MAJOR

Unless you’re a Gendry fan.

In which case, self will say this: Go sell your stock on the Gendry train. It’s just not happening. Even a wee preview, with a two-second shot of a dark-haired someone being thrown to the floor, turns out to be of Podrick.

PODRICK?

Yes, innocent-faced Podrick, the delight of whores.

A Podrick sighting means a Brienne sighting will not be far behind!

What else?

Cersei and Jamie are in bed together. Naked. Someone knocks on the door and Jamie says Don’t but — really? Jamie? Isn’t it time to get past your reticence? After all, everyone knows (self read this part in a spoiler, so she knew Cersei wouldn’t bother hiding Jamie or anything). Repeat after self: EVERYONE KNOWS.

The one surprise (i.e., not mentioned on reddit) was that the knock on the door was delivered by a maiden. A pretty young maiden. Who has exactly the same kind of haircut as Cersei. lol

There was Melisandre standing on a very picturesque cliff, being her cryptic self. Talking to Varys. Which was quite a good scene. More of these two? Alas, Mel is leaving for Volaris. So, no more of these two.

Very brief glimpse of Greyworm’s face, in a helmet.

Much chewing of scenery by Cersei and Euron, followed by much blank, disconcerted staring by Jamie.

Ellaria Sand, oh Ellaria Sand. Self believes the episode belongs to her. Trying so hard to get to her cub Tyene. It’s a wonder she didn’t end up wrenching her arms out of their sockets.

Things could be worse. Tyene could have been handed over to The Mountain.

Thank the gods for small mercies.

There is a wee, infinitesimally wee preview of Episode 4. Dark-haired man being slammed to the ground threw Twitter into a frenzy last night. But, really, why did showrunners bother casting two men who look so much alike? Why not just combine their storylines, have Gendry and Podrick be twins or something.

Every time viewers see Podrick, they are reminded of his iconic scene with the whores. Even though, every season since then, he is never shown being with a woman. It is all just a big tease.

Mebbe Podrick should hook up with Brienne? With Sansa? With Arya? With Melisandre? With — Heaven forbid — Cersei? Or Dany?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Woman to Her Attacker At His Sentencing

It took me this long to read the letter to Brock Turner at his sentencing:

How old are you? How much do you weigh? What did you eat that day? Well what did you have for dinner? Did you drink with dinner? No? Not even water? When did you drink? How much did you drink? What container did you drink out of? Who gave you the drink? How much do you usually drink? Who dropped you off at this party? At what time? But where exactly? What were you wearing? Why were you going to this party? What did you do when you got there? Are you sure you did that? But what time did you do that? What does this text mean? Who were you texting? When did you urinate? Where did you urinate?

When Turner was released from the San Jose city jail, he asked to be allowed to exit from the back of the building, where his lawyer was waiting.

His request was denied. He had to go out through the front, where all the reporters were. They made him face them. And he had to do it alone.

Thank God they didn’t let him get away with the coward’s response to duck and run.

Hillary

“I think that if you live long enough, you realize that so much of what happens in life is out of your control, but how you respond to it is in your control. That’s what I try to remember.”

What Self Is Going to Read on Christmas Day

SPOILER ALERT!

It won’t be House of Sand and Fog, that’s for sure. She almost speed-read through the last 50 pages, asking herself how these characters could be so stupid. It was tragedy with a capital T.

She always knew Kathy was sketchy. How did she know? Because Kathy was always smoking. Who does something like that?

And her boyfriend the policeman has a mustache. Who trusts a policeman with a mustache, in this day and age?

Someone is probably going to die.

And then, self will be reading, on Christmas Day, either:

  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, the true story of the murder of an American family — classic self has never read
  • The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer, an extremely thick book (1000 pages) of the life of a career criminal named Gary Gilmore

This is very light reading, so it is extremely appropriate for this season of light.

lol

And then, the first novel by Malaysian writer Tan Twan Eng, The Gift of Rain.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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