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 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.

Art Speaks: Mary Rose Kaczorowski


“Redwood Mary” by Mary Rose Kaczorowski, Fort Bragg, CA

Self bought this card from one of her favorite bookshops: Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino.

The art is by Fort Bragg artist Mary Rose Kaczorowski.

The sentiment speaks to the current political climate, so self wanted to share.

Remember, #NeverAgainIsNow and #MarchForOurLives #March24


About the Louvre’s Islamic Art Collection

A few weeks ago, self participated in The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge OUT OF THIS WORLD by posting pictures of the Islamic Art Collection at the Louvre, which she visited in May 2017.

Regular readers of this blog know that museums are self’s jam!



The Louvre’s Islamic Art Collection, which opened to the public in September 2012. Self visited in May 2017

The Louvre’s Islamic Art Collection is absolutely amazing.

Allan G. Smorra, whose blog self follows at Ohm Sweet Ohm left a comment. She didn’t have an answer for him (he asked who designed the space) and at the time she was too busy to look it up.

Today, freshly returned from AWP Tampa, and enjoying a few days’ rest before her next trip (to Long Beach, for a reading with other Pinay authors on Saturday, 17 March, at Philippine Expressions Bookshop in San Pedro), she decides to see if she can find out more about the Islamic Art Collection at the Louvre and found this link on the Louvre’s Official Home Page.

The space opened to the public in September 2012. The architects were Rudy Ricciotti and Mario Bellini. The videos explaining the choice are in French, so if you don’t speak French (like self), don’t get frustrated, you can see the accompanying text in English.

Browsing the page, self learns that the roof (which is the most amazing thing) “consists of a free-form lattice of steel tubes and glass” beneath “a gilded metal casing.”

Kudos, Messrs. Ricciotti and Bellini. Major kudos.

Stay tuned.

STORY 2: Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore

The baby of James Rouse, grandfather of actor Ed Norton, the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore is dedicated to “outsider art” — people from all walks of life who feel an inner urge to create and just do, without the benefit of formal training. There’s art by diagnosed schizophrenics and insomniacs, nurses and postal workers — all kinds of people. It is a great museum.

Stan Wright’s sculpture is made out of telephone wire. It’s called First Dance. He gifted it to the Visionary Art Museum, and it is amazing.

  • “It’s so hard to communicate with words, that’s why I do it with my hands . . . ” –Stan Wright

Stan Wright, First Dance (Material Used: Telephone Wire)


Stan Wright, First Dance: A Closer View


Another Close-Up: All Hail, Visionary Art Museum, Champion of ‘Outsider Art’

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Out of This World: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 28 February 2018


— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

Three views of the Islamic Art Collection at the Louvre, which self visited for the first time on 1 June 2017:




The canvas roof of the Islamic Art Collection at the Louvre (viewed from the Galerie Donatello) looks like a desert-colored wave. Self thinks it is fabulous.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Next on the Reading List: The Romanovs, 1613 – 1918, by Simon Sebag-Montefiore

This book weighs like a brick and, since self always lugs her books around with her, she’s going to have a sore wrist in a few weeks, she just knows it.

It’s about the Romanovs but it might as well be about U.S. politics.

page xxi of the Introduction:

  • In this book, my aim is to follow the invisible, mysterious alchemy of power to answer the essential question of politics, laconically expressed by that maestro of powerplay, Lenin: kto kogo? — who controls whom?

Love the full-color plates. Michael, the first Romanov tsar, looks like a hunchbacked troll. Catherine I used to be a “promiscuous Lithuanian peasant girl.” Peter II “fell ill” on “the day of his planned marriage.” The Empress Anna forced her courtiers “to pretend to be chickens.” And so forth.

Since this is such a behemoth of a book, might take the rest of February and most of March.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Poetry Saturday: Frederick Seidel

The Bird on the Crocodile’s Back (An Excerpt)

The man can’t stay awake. He falls asleep.
It’s noon, it’s afternoon, repeatedly he falls in deep.
Seated at his desk or in an armchair, as if to try to write a poem meant
A flash flood of sleep and drowning on Parnassus in his tent,
Or something else equally not good.
The guy’s completely gone and sawing wood,
Snoring and snorting — until one snort wakes him —
And where is he? he cant think where he is — which shakes him.

(published in The New York Review of Books, 19 February 2015)

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: ‘Z’ Anywhere in the Word

Self’s word is AMAZING.

Here’s a picture of something son left behind in his room. He attended college in Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. His freshman dorm was Muir, the Math and Sciences dorm. He moved to shared housing for his sophomore year, but his third and fourth years at Cal Poly, he was back in Muir — as an RA, or Resident Assistant.

When he graduated, the crowd that attended commencement included a group of students who had all gone through Muir and had the good fortune (they said) to have son as an RA.


Excavating Son’s Room: Amazing Discovery

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

SWEET: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 14 February 2018

  • This week, show us something (or someone) sweet. — Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

Self thinks this picture of Dearest Mum and Dear Departed Dad qualifies. She found it today when she was browsing through some old photo albums.


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Silence: Antonio Vivencio del Rosario Heritage Library, University of Santo Tomas, Manila

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge (as of 17 January 2018) is SILENCE.

I love having time to myself — solitude re-charges me . . .  I had never really immersed myself in a long stretch of silence beyond my occasional hour-long meditation sessions. I went to this hermitage on a silent retreat for uninterrupted, unstructured time to think, to walk, to read, and just be.

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

The University of Santo Tomas is the oldest university in the Philippines. It was founded in 1611.

During a recent three-week sojourn in Manila (city of her birth), self had the privilege to drop by the University a visit. Her first stop: the Antonio Vivencio Historical Library, named after self’s great-grandfather.

How her heart ached to see these precious books, 30,000 volumes (which had been carried out of Intramuros by hand, just before the Battle for the liberation of Manila, at the end of World War II).

If she could, she would happily spend the rest of her days in that library.

But she is back now in San Francisco. When will she return to Manila? Who knows.

The answer is: SILENCE.



Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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