Henry Tilney, The End of Daenerys

It’s nearly the end of Northanger Abbey, Henry Tilney still hasn’t declared any feelings for Catherine Morland, but self loves loves loves this him: his diffidence, his wit, his tenderness towards his sister Eleanor. So far, this is her favorite Jane Austen ever (a close second: Emma)

Still reading about Game of Thrones‘ final season because it hurt self to the core. Still more from yesterday’s USA Today (the first thing self grabbed during afternoon tea at the hotel yesterday):

  • Much like Cersei’s death last week, Dany’s demise felt like a dull, anticlimactic end.
  • Bran “hasn’t had a personality since Season 6 and is the least-helpful all-seeing magical reason ever.”

Self is still bitter that they brought Gendry back in Season 7 just to function as Arya’s boy toy in Season 8 (also, if you really want to know, she thinks Ed Sheeran’s pointless cameo in Season 7 should have warned her: You’re not going to like the way this ends.) Cleganebowl happened too late to really matter. Bronn stayed on-brand as the No. 1 Advocate for Brothels. Nice job, Sansa Stark, becoming Queen of the North. The melting down of the Iron Throne was whatever. Jon got to keep his melancholy look. And Davos was sitting right next to Gendry during the gathering of all the remaining families of Westeros, so these two will get to become each other’s family.

Self thinks the wriers’ interest in the story ended with Season 6. After, they were just making sure they dotted their “i’s” and crossed their “t’s” per contractual basis.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

.

Snark: Game of Thrones S8: E4

How much did self hate this episode? She couldn’t even get beyond the first 10 minutes.

Spectacle and ‘big’ scenes that make no sense make for very poor storytelling.

At least, in Episode 3, Melisandre was there to lend some gravitas to the proceedings. Even then, Arya killing the Night King was a bit — too easy. There was so much footage of her stuck in a library and dodging the wights (good extended sequence). Suddenly, Melisandre shows, reminds Arya to say “Not today” and Arya mysteriously runs away. Only to re-appear at the exact moment the Night King reaches for his sword to behead (?) Bran. (Oh, that was super-tops of Bran to remain so still — even, abject — in his wheelchair. Self has not liked Bran for a few seasons, but in this season he is positively shining)

Self cannot believe the last two episodes EVER of Game of Thrones are going to have so much Euron. He’s like the Iron Man of the series and he does not deserve it. Go away, Euron. Instead of more Euron chewing the scenery, we could have had small, quiet moments of connection between Brienne/Jaime (not sex) and Arya and Gendry and Jon and Ghost.

Oh, and after all the angst of Tormund/Brienne/Jamie, Tormund sees the writing on the wall and basically goes, Oh well! I’ll just lose myself with two whores. What? Not even a tear shed for what-might-have-been? Oh well. Guess he wasn’t as hung up on Brienne as the show led us to believe.

The happiest ending for the show would be for Sansa to take everything — have her stomping over Danaery’s corpse with some really kickass Dominatrix boots.

Arya is not a character anymore. She’s just a stone-cold assassin. Without Gendry, her character has no depth. Her interactions with Gendry in Episodes 1 and 2 were the most unforced interactions we’ve had on Game of Thrones for quite a while. These two just have a natural chemistry (See: Forge scene, Episode 2). It’s a crime to have her utter nonsense to Gendry like: “Anyone would be happy to be your lady” blah blah. It’s even more of a crime that Gendry goes down on one knee to propose. And what fool told Gendry to make his eyes super-big and round for that scene? Joe Dempsie is one of the most natural actors on the show. Here he obediently followed directions instead of going with his instincts. If you want to know what should have been on camera but got left out, go read the New York Times interview with Dempsie.

So, Gendry is tied to Dany now whereas before he was tied to Jon. So in the big battle, Gendry will be against the Starks. This truly, truly sucks. Will Arya have to kill him? Oooh!

Stay tuned.

Adding to the Reading List: A Process

Self is back home in Redwood City, California. About a mile from her house is a Barnes & Noble (in the Sequoia Station shopping center). She spent about an hour in there today, updating her reading list (The list is her ne plus ultra, her be-all and end-all, her secret game plan, and her whole raison d’etre as a writer).

She’s newly arrived from Mendocino, California (which has a pretty fabulous bookstore: Gallery Bookshop on Main Street), and her first stop is, of course, a bookstore.

Gallery Bookshop had on hand: The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway); Lord of the Flies (William Golding); Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys); The Emily Wilson translation of The Odyssey (Homer); Utopia (Thomas More); As Lie Is to Grin (Simeon Marsalis); Lincoln in the Bardo (George Saunders); Mikhail and Margarita (Julie Lekstrom Himes); and The Summer Book, by Finnish writer Tove Jansson.

This afternoon, in her Redwood City Barnes & Noble, self went in with a long list of about 20 authors who published novels in 2017. She found two of the 20. She moved on to her next list, the list of books recommended by her fellow writers in Hawthornden, Scotland, June 2012. She struck out on all the names on p. 1 (The list is three pages long, single-spaced), except for Tim O’Brien, all of whose books are available in-store. She was kinda hoping it wouldn’t be O’Brien because his books, though very well written, are depressing. Self asked if they had any of Tamar Yoseloff’s poetry collections, but they did not.

So that’s what her reading list looks like for the remainder of 2018. She doesn’t think anything can top Philip Pullman, though. She was such a mess yesterday that a fellow fan fiction writer had to reach out and say, about The Amber Spyglass: It is safe to read “mid-way on p. 419 to 420. Then put the book away forever.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

“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.

Easy Open Cap, Complete Nonsense

See the words on the lid of this bottle of macapuno (coconut fruit preserves)?

Self has been trying to get at the contents for two days. Granted, anyone who spends two days trying to open a bottle must be bonkers. But self really, really loves macapuno. And she hasn’t had any in about 10 years.

In Redwood City, she used to have this nifty thingamajig by Zyliss that wrenches open bottle caps in 10 seconds. But here, she hasn’t seen any store that sells the thing. So, she has to resort to:

  • running bottle neck under warm water
  • pounding on top lid with knife, block of wood, and hammer
  • inserting knife tip under the lid to break seal
  • wrapping lid with rubber bands and twisting and twisting and twisting

The Filipino manufacturer should be proud! They have perfected the super-tight seal! Bottle lid’s tighter than a seal on an oil rig! Paging BP Oil! No, even better, paging NASA!

In the meantime, those words EASY OPEN CAP on the lid are simply taunting her. Has the manufacturer never heard of “truth in advertising”? This dilemma has also given rise to snarky thoughts such as: You want the macapuno? You can’t handle the macapuno!

This problem would not occur in the Philippines where self recalls never having to touch food of any kind — because of help! LOL — unless it is delivered on a tray.

DSCN9625

Jar of Macapuno, Absolutely Impenetrable. “Easy Open Cap.” Bought two days ago. Enough is enough. Tossing today. Good-bye, $3.99

When all hope is lost, self shares her dilemma on Facebook. Which then leads to a Filipina sending her a link to this instructional video, which contains the words: “Even a two-year-old should have no problem opening a bottle lid using this method.”

LOL LOL LOL

Stay tuned.

Extremely Anti-Climactic: The Conclusion to the Book Series, THE 100

Self went searching all over the fan fiction universe for stories featuring her favorite gal, Glass.

And do you know how many she came up with?

Zero. Zip. Nada.

Which came as a horrible shock. Because, how can that be? This girl is the Katniss of the series. And she isn’t even low-born. No, she was raised on Phoenix, which is the equivalent of The Hunger Games’ Capitol. And she crawls through air vents, space walks (with no prior training in space walking), and hauls her boyfriend’s sorry ass through deep forest while eluding feral Earthborns!

But anyhoo.

(There were hundreds of stories, BTW, on Bellarke — that’s Bellamy and Clarke)

MAJOR MAJOR SPOILERS SPOILERS DO NOT READ; CONCERNS THE ENDING OF THE TRILOGY!

The last self saw of that wishy-washy boyfriend of Glass, Luke, he was heading in one direction with Camille, and Glass was heading in another.

Self really wishes she could reach into the book and slap Luke. That’s the second time he’s dumped Glass. The first was after she was “Confined” (Euphemism for: Incarcerated. Euphemism for: JAILED!), and now, when Glass’s mother has twisted her ankle and everyone is racing for the dropships to get off the spaceship which is running out of oxygen, he dumps her again. All because that stupid rival for Luke’s affection, Camille, has re-surfaced and tells Luke that Glass was the reason Luke’s roommate and pseudo-father figure, Carter, was executed. Luke has the dates of Carter’s birthday and death day TATTOOED on his torso, in case readers need to be reminded how much Carter meant to him.

Anyhoo, Glass manages to get her mother on the last dropship. And just as that last dropship is about to take off, a soldier wants to pull Glass off and take her place, and then who should come running into the dropship at the last minute to bonk that soldier on the head and take his place? Yup, that wandering boyfriend, Luke.

Meanwhile, he seems to have become separated from Camille, who is last seen running into a different dropship, all thoughts of Luke forgotten in her anxiety to LIVE.

The dropship Glass and Luke are on gets its roof peeled off during the re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere, but, regardless, everyone on that ship survives, with only a few concussions and serious-but-not-mortal injuries.

Meanwhile, other dropships have unfortunately crashed or exploded or whatever, and presumably Camille was on one of those, because in Book 3 she never puts in an appearance. Which is just too bad, because self would have loved to see Glass belt her one. And Luke seems to have had his memory slate wiped clean, because he never brings up Camille OR Carter. Ever again. Instead, he injures his hand. Then, while trying to fend off some feral Earthborns (creatures who survived the hell of nuclear radiation and even multiplied and spread all over Earth and now feel threatened by the new arrivals), he gets speared. Bleeds gouts of blood. Glass has to put him on a sled and singlehandedly drag that sled through deep forest, all the while dodging arrows from Earthborns.

This is a very exciting part of the book, dear blog readers. Self lost track of the number of times she found herself gasping in admiration over Glass’s absolute single-minded determination to save Luke’s life. There were so many times she wanted to yell, “Girl! Dump that guy! He’s not good for you! Why don’t you get with Wells instead!” But, no. She let Glass be heroic. And a heroic Glass is REALLY REALLY fun to read. She single-handedly hauled a sled with Luke on it for MILES! Her abs must be so toned!

But she makes it! And the last we see of her, a doctor is telling her that Luke will live. He doesn’t even have to have his leg amputated, which makes him a better survivor than Peeta Mellark.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ramblings: PANK Going Off-line/ J Journal List of Pushcart-Nominated Stories and Etc.

PANK, the on-line literary magazine, is going off-line in December.

WOE!

PANK published a story of self’s in issue 9.5 — “Seeing.”

She isn’t sure what’s going to happen now to the archived stories. Do they just disappear?

Here’s a link; it’s at least viable until PANK goes off the grid:

http://pankmagazine.com/piece/seeing/

*     *     *     *     *

And, while self is at it, here’s another link, this to the Pushcart-nominated stories that appeared in J Journal, one of which was self’s “Magellan’s Mirror” (Volume 5, No. 2, Fall 2012)

http://johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu/jjournal/V5N2/Villanueva_MagellansMirror.pdf

J Journal published an excerpt from “Magellan’s Mirror,” here:

http://johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu/jjournal/V5N2/Villanueva_MagellansMirror.pdf

*     *     *     *     *

And, while on the topic of Pushcart nominations, last year, her story “The Elephant,” was nominated by Your Impossible Voice.

She has had several of these already, stretching back decades. Let’s see, how many already? Five or six.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ohm Sweet Ohm

Adventures in life from the Sunshine State to the Golden Gate

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

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 Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

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

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor