Women in Heels

Self is short.

Short. Short. Short. Short.

Granted, short is not a disease.

Nevertheless.

On the question of heels. Last week, went to the Victoria & Albert Museum, lined up to pay 12 GBP to see exhibit on footwear called, if self remembers correctly: Shoes:  Pleasure & Pain.

Fabulous Chihuly: In the Lobby of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Fabulous Chihuly: In the Lobby of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The torture aspect was, in self’s humble opinion, very de-emphasized. Self has seen more torturous shoes (including one fabulous pair with moss growing on the heels) in Greenwich Village in New York City.

And now to “Jurassic World,” which self has not seen, but which seems to have triggered some very strong audience reaction to Bryce Dallas Howard’s choice of footwear. It seems she keeps the heels on, throughout the movie.

Now, let self ponder this a moment.

Self has seen, in Italy, women running flat out for a bus in the highest, stiletto-heeled shoes imaginable. They look great. Also, super-powerful.

She has watched episodes of “Sex and the City” in which Sarah Jessica Parker, post-baby, runs flat out down a New York avenue in Jimmy Choos.

Let’s not forget Jodie Foster in Spike Lee’s Inside Man, the one where she plays an oh-so-smooth New York lawyer representing the Rich Bad Guy who profited from the theft of Jewish assets during World War II. Self thinks that if she had a lawyer who wore four-inch heels as confidently as Jodie Foster’s character does (and Jodie’s legs are the best legs self has seen on film since — since — the woman in Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill), she would rest easy in the conviction that she would win all her cases.

On the other hand, there is always an exception to the rule. Exhibit A: Paula Patton, who in the most memorable scene in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (one of the sequels, the one shot in Dubai), kicks off her heels, leaves on the powder-blue shift dress, and FIGHTS. Really FIGHTS. Afterwards, she sits chatting with her group, all men. She remains barefoot, but still wearing that fabulous dress. The only indication that she’s been IN a fight (because, ya know, she’s as cool as a cucumber. Or at least her character is. She has antagonists like Lea Seydoux for breakfast. Honestly) are her bare feet.

And now we arrive at Bryce Dallas Howard, who in side-note self must say is one of the most unusually interesting-looking actresses working today.  Because her character, Clare, never takes off her shoes, we are left to debate the fine points of female fashion choices. Self means: Is it rational to keep on the heels when one is being chased by a velociraptor?

Self can think of many reasons why Clare would choose to keep wearing her shoes: (1) Jungle floors are slimy; (2) She does not have hiking boots in her closet, or even in her desk drawer at work, or even under her desk in her office at work.

A guest post by Lesley Holmes on clothesonfilm makes the point: “I think the makers of Jurassic world believed that showing a woman capable of running in heels was the same as showing us a capable woman . . . ” Of course! This is a very old Hollywood trope, just about as old as the idea of the director auteur (born with Citizen Kane, which means — a long long time ago). If you want to know how powerful a woman character is, just look at what she’s wearing on her feet, for God’s sake!

Self would just like to say that while she was in line in the women’s restroom at the Gielgud Theatre, during the intermission for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, self engaged a young woman in conversation, and then expressed admiration for her shoes. They looked just like the Sam Edelmans self bought last year in California, but this woman’s shoes were flats. The young woman looked at self regretfully and said, “They’re super-painful. See?” She slipped her right foot out of her shoe and there, plain as day, was the beginning of a blister. Aaargh! The things self sees in women’s restrooms! Which is neither here nor there. But it brought home the lesson that flats are just as capable of giving a woman blisters as are Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos.

Self realizes that she herself has very little to say about the wearing of high heels, but in Hollywood, the woman who wears the highest heels is usually the most powerful woman on the block. She’s just saying.

Stay tuned.

Vivid 3: A Day’s Peregrinations, Which Include Reading a Short Story in THE BANE CHRONICLES

Today, self re-visited some of her favorite haunts, the locus for some of her most vivid memories.

One was a small shopping center at the intersection of Marsh and Bay Road.

Here they have a great potsticker place and also a very nice breakfast place called Squeezed In which, for some reason, has adopted the motif of aliens. Green aliens. There was this at the entrance, and more hanging inside, on the restaurant walls:

The Aliens Have Landed! On Bay Road!

The Aliens Have Landed! On Bay Road!

Self was so impressed that Sandy has this little thing, made by one of her sons when they were in grade school (St. Raymond’s, where self’s Andrew also went to school. In fact, that’s how Sandy and self met, many many years ago. Now, Sandy’s older boy works in Palo Alto, and her younger boy is in the Navy, stationed in Oahu):

Hanging Above Sandy's desk in her home office!

Hanging Above Sandy’s desk in her home office!

Self’s last stop was Kepler’s Books. Self has read in Kepler’s a couple of times, most memorably when her first book, Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila, was published by Calyx. Today, self stopped by in the hottest part of the afternoon, and wanted to just curl up in a corner and read.

DSCN9950

She began reading The Bane Chronicles (so tempted to buy a copy, but it’s hardcover and quite hefty), the fourth story, called “The Midnight Heir,” which she knows from Goodreads is the story about the Herondales.

Magnus Bane, Warlock, returns to London for the first time in 25 years, and at a party he meets a beautiful 17-year-old boy who reminds him so much of his old friend, Will Herondale. He almost thinks it is Will himself in the flesh, but the boy does not have Will’s blue eyes. When Magnus approaches the boy, he is surprised when the boy addresses him thus:

“You are Magnus Bane.”

Magnus hesitated, then inclined his head. “And you are?”

“I,” the boy announced, “am James Herondale.”

At this point, self wanted to charge the check-out desk, whip out her credit card and exclaim, Put it there! I’m good!

But no, she restrained herself and continued to read:

James: I would not set any great store in it. My father trusts a great many people.

Magnus:  I see that a flair for the dramatic runs in the blood.

So, since young Herondale is so visibly drunk, Magnus undertakes to bring him home and restore him to the loving arms of his parents, who are none other than — Will Herondale and Tessa Gray! Who Magnus has not seen in 25 years! Holy Heavens to Mergatroid!

James Herondale has passed out, and Magnus has to carry him in his arms (the better to scrutinize that darling Will-like face, of course), and the anxious parents come to receive their son, whereby Magnus recounts the events of the evening, which included James riding a bicycle (without using his hands) to Trafalgar Square, climbing to the top of the Nelson Monument and attempting to do battle with Lord Nelson, then trying to drown himself in the Serpentine.

Magnus:  Then he abruptly collapsed, naturally in the path of an oncoming train from Dover, and I decided it was well past time to take him home and place him in the bosom of his family. If you had rather I put him in an orphanage, I fully understand.

Strangely, Tessa has not aged at all in 25 years, but Will has. Yet, to Magnus he is still handsome.

And then Brother Zachariah (Damn him! Self is all WESSA) makes an appearance. And the love between Jem/ aka Brother Zachariah and Will is even more palpable than the love between Jem and Tessa. Holy Mackerel! No wonder 95.6% of all fan fiction about The Infernal Devices is M/M.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Spy”

Can self just tell you how much she loved Melissa McCarthy in “Spy”?

When she thinks back to “Bridesmaids,” she is amazed at how McCarthy has flowered.

And self does mean flowered.

“Spy” is a most hilarious movie, BTW. Self was laughing almost continuously throughout.

Casting Jude Law? Priceless, simply priceless. The movie had lots of satiric fun with him (and he’s looking pretty fine in this film). He is the perfect foil to Melissa McCarthy. The moment when he hands her a cupcake gew-gaw — OMG, he’s such an ass! Such an unbelievable ass! Self can’t even.

Rose Byrne does reprise of “Bridesmaids” role — this time, saying things like:

What a stupid fucking retarded toast. You’re delightful.”

As always, her sense of timing is absolutely impeccable.

Melissa McCarthy gets to employ maximum sarcasm during their exchanges:

“Oh, God, Rayna, thank God your hair broke your fall.”

Not to mention the rest of the supporting cast: Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Bobby Canavale, Allison Janey.

Especially Allison Janey.

Please, please God let there be a “Spy 2.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Redux

This. THIS.

Chapter XXVIII, FOLLOWING THE EQUATOR: Pudd’nhead Wilson Quote

Self does remember telling dear blog readers a little while back that each chapter of Following the Equator began with a quote from Pudd’nhead Wilson.

And many’s the time she fully intended to share a Pudd’nhead Wilson quote, but that resolution usually fell by the wayside because she is having so much fun reading the Cassandra Clare trilogy, The Infernal Devices.

But now self will make a Pudd’nhead Wilson quote. Here it comes. Ready?

  • Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Only Self’s Twentieth Infernal Devices Post: CLOCKWORK PRINCESS, p. 116

Self adores every Magnus Bane/ Will Herondale interaction, huh.

In Clockwork Prince, p. 404 (True, self still hasn’t mailed it back to her niece. Even though she promised), Will goes to Magnus’s house and meets the werewolf (and head of the lupine clan) Woolsey-Scott. (This is where it gets a little confusing for self, as whenever she reads the name Woolsey she immediately thinks of Cardinal Woolsey in some British historical event. Most likely one involving Henry VIII?)

Will is a little confused, because Woolsey keeps flirting with him. He says to Magnus, “Your note to me did have something to do with demon summoning, didn’t it? This isn’t you . . . calling in your favor, is it?”

And what exactly might that little favor be, Pretty Boy Will Herondale?

BWAH. HA. HA.

Never fear, dear reader. Author Cassandra Clare never actually goes there. But there is enough double entendre sprinkled about to set the gears spinning. And to fuel 900+ fan fictions.

READ ON IF YOU LIKE SPOILERS. EVEN TEENSY ONES.

On to Clockwork Princess. In which Tessa Gray is being so tiresomely devoted to Jem Carstairs. No wishy-washy back and forth for this girl! She loves the dying angel. As would we all. If we happened to live in a Victorian novel. Freudian analysts would have such a field day with this: Tessa Gray prefers a dying (and certifiably angelic) boy to the virile boy because she secretly fears . . . DUN DUN DUN

Anyhoo, enough of that twit. Magnus Bane is turning out to be quite an ambivalent character. Never once does he express any kind of feelings for Will, but hello, it’s all in the sub-text.

p. 116

“Take this.” He folded it into Will’s hand.

Will looked at him in confusion. “This was Camille’s.”

“I gave it to her as a gift,” said Magnus, a bitter quirk to the side of his mouth. “She returned all my gifts to me last month. You might as well take it. It warns when demons are close. It might work on those clockwork creations of Mortmain’s.”

“True love cannot die,” Will said, translating the inscription on the back in the light from the corridor. “I can’t wear this, Magnus. It’s too pretty for a man.”

“So are you.”

Will, Will, Will. Can you be any less thick? Do you not see how ridiculous this whole situation is? You are in love with a woman who doesn’t love you, and in the meantime you keep asking favors of Magnus Bane, which will have to be repaid at some point, and . . .

Never mind.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Lugubrious Bridget: CLOCKWORK PRINCE, pp. 494 – 495

There is a new servant girl at the London Institute of the Shadowhunters, one Bridget.

She is a most interesting person.

AGAIN: SPOILERS. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

Since her arrival, she has been singing the most lugubrious songs. For instance, here’s the song Bridget sings when Tessa is about to change into Jessamine and meet her dastardly half-brother Nate to find out what he can reveal about nasty Mortmain aka the Magister.

So John took out of his pocket
A knife both long and sharp,
And stuck it through his brother’s heart,
And the blood came pouring down.
Says John to William, “Take off thy shirt,
And tear it from gore to gore,
And wrap it round your bleeding heart,
And the blood will pour no more.

And just before Jem announces his engagement to Tessa, Bridget can be heard in the kitchen, singing:

‘Twas an evening fair I went to take the air,
I heard a maid making her moan;
Said, ‘Saw ye my father? Or saw ye my mother?
Or saw ye my brother John?
Or saw ye the lad that I love best,
And his name it is Sweet William?

Anyhoo, that engagement announcement scene just about broke self’s heart. And Will Herondale is the first (naturally) to congratulate the happy pair. And self wished for nothing more than for Jem and Tessa to go off somewhere, crawl into a hole, and die.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Shut Up, Throat!

Self is soooo soooo tired of the cough.

She’s had it almost a week since Sunday. It’s that wheezing kind, the kind that has your chest heaving in the middle of a very important reading. While everyone is concentrating so hard on every word that falls from the reader’s lips, you’re there in the back trying to quell your . . . explosion . . . of icky phlegm . . . from landing on someone’s shoulders or back.

Today, she apologized again to Dan, her neighbor across the way. Because he must be thinking to himself, GOOD LORD HOW LONG IS THAT WOMAN’S INFERNAL COUGH GOING TO LAST? He swears he doesn’t hear a thing. Not true. Because she can hear when someone’s coughing in the hallway just oustide.

Plus, Dan’s Canadian. Think a Canadian’s ever going to be rude enough to tell self: Will you muffle your coughs with a wet towel or something? Man oh man! How long is this going to go on?

No, Dan being Canadian, he very sweetly assures self that Jesse, down the hall, has been apologizing for the same thing (Self has never actually seen Jesse about. Not since last Wednesday, during a reading at the Wild Flour Artisan Bakery downtown, when we shared zinc lozenges)

She doesn’t know if it’s the dry weather here in Banff, or just general run-of-the-mill tiredness, but man. She swears she’s going to kill herself if she wakes up tomorrow still coughing. And this is only half of 2015. How lovely. The rest of the year awaits.

Having a cough for one whole week during a residency is the equivalent of using a sick bag during an airplane ride: Your airplane seatmate never wants to speak to you again, no matter how many times you gargle in the plane lavatory. Hope you weren’t heading home from an AWP Conference, because you can just kiss that connection good-bye.

She’s trying to write her 18th century WIP, so as a way to distract herself (Can you believe it’s PAST MIDNIGHT? How did that happen?), she makes a list of things she intends to include in the chapter she’s currently grappling with, things sufficiently 18th-century-sounding, like:

  • hourglass
  • wind
  • seawater
  • gust of wind
  • night
  • darkness
  • the shore
  • the sky
  • the sun

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day, CLOCKWORK PRINCE, p. 389

Self is still reading Mark Twain, but to Twain does not belong the Sentence of the Day (Is that even correct grammar, self? Something wrong with the construction, apparently. Nevertheless)

She has reached p. 453 of Clockwork Prince! And tomorrow she mails the book back to her niece in Calgary, who lent her a hardback collector’s edition. Thank you soooo soooo much, Karina, for introducing self to The Infernal Devices! (And oh by the way she’s still into Peeta Mellark, and she still writes Hunger Games Everlark fan fiction, and she’s also still in the Banff Writing Studio, but none of that matters now, because, because — now she has to reveal her Sentence of the Day!)

SPOILER ALERT MAJOR SPOILER ALERT DO NOT READ IF YOU HATE SPOILERS

The climax of Clockwork Prince is when Magnus Bane kisses Will Herondale.

Ooops — NOT!

Clockwork Prince is a really great novel. Self would have given it five stars if not for all those wasted scenes between taking-so-slow-to-die Jem Carstairs and that Silly Twit Tessa Gray.

There is no sentence like a Cassandra Clare sentence when she describes Will Herondale in action. Allow the slight digression, dear blog readers, but self will never forget that sentence on p. 446 of Clockwork Angel when Will was hurrying to save Tessa from the evil and lascivious clutches of a certain gentleman (This is Victorian London, after all! Did you perhaps think this was a Sarah Waters novel — BWAH. HA. HA!), and he has to ride bareback through the streets of 19th century London, and he has to take out his stele while on a dead run, and he hits a locked door in the Institute, whereupon:

He slashed the stele across the door’s surface, creating the fastest Open rune of his life.

Now, in Clockwork Prince, tiresome Jem has broken a leg or something and is completely useless against a giant automaton and Tess’s dastardly brother Nate has been quite brutally slappiing Tess about, and only Will is left to protect Tess from an explosion set off by one of Henry’s infernal contraptions, and of course after it goes off Tess is all sad because her evil brother has died, and very belatedly she looks at Will and notices that he is lying very still because:

His gear had been shredded all along his spine and shoulder blades, the thick material torn by flying shards of razored metal.

EEEEK!!!

NOOOOOO!!!

So once again, Cassandra Clare has dug in the knife and self can’t even.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Magnetic Magnus Bane (Scenes from CLOCKWORK PRINCE)

Self became curious about The Infernal Devices fan fiction so she spent a little time exploring it today.

It turns out that 90% is about the Warlock Magnus Bane.

In addition, and this was quite surprising to self, the fan fiction for TID is overwhelmingly man/man. And the number of works featuring three-somes (Will/Tessa/Jem) outnumber those featuring Will/Tessa, or what followers of TID refer to as WESSA (Fans of a Jem/Tessa pairing identify as JESSA). Granted, this is probably more information than dear blog readers care to know, but self finds the difference with The Hunger Games fan fiction completely fascinating. In Hunger Games fan fiction, Everlark dominates. Which means: Katniss/Peeta. Which means the relationship is M/F.

Will Herondale IS very pretty, though. Nearly set off a riot at the Vampire Ball in Clockwork Angel, as self has said at least 10x, in 10 different posts! (When is this going to become a movie? She knows The Mortal Instruments series is going to be a television show, but she thinks TID deserves the large-screen treatment. Most definitely)

SPOILER ALERT OF COURSE SPOILER ALERT

Anyhoo, Magnus Bane has a more prominent role in Clockwork Prince than he did in Clockwork Angel because Will Herondale keeps showing up at his house. And most of the time, Will is dripping wet (having walked in the rain — naturally) and in some kind of emotional funk over the curse that was laid on him back in Wales when he was 12, which means he can never let any one love him because they will die, which sucks because he’s fallen in love with Tessa who also happens to be falling in love with Jem.

On p. 145 of Clockwork Prince, Will shows up at Magnus’s, and Will explains the demon curse hanging over his head, and why he’s told no one else, only Magnus, because “a story like that might engender pity, pity could become attachment, and then . . . ”

Magnus raised his eyebrows. “Are you not concerned about me?”

And a shocked Will says, “That you might love me?”

And then you can hear a pin drop but never fear, Magnus does not make a pass at Will Herondale. At least, not right at that moment.

160 pages later (Dear blog readers have no idea how fast self can read when she puts her mind to it), Will is asleep on a couch in Magnus’s sitting room. Never fear, he’s still *untouched* by Magnus, lol. Magnus has fallen asleep in an armchair in front of the fire, and Will is sleeping on the couch. Enter Camille! She who is known as THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND ALLURING VAMPIRE EVER!

“Magnus,” quoth Camille. “Did you miss me?”

And Magnus stammers out something like, “I didn’t know you were coming, Camille!”

And Camille casts a very telling glance at Will asleep on the sofa and says, “Clearly.”

Here’s the rest of that scene:

Gliding behind the sofa, she leaned over the back, looking down into Will’s face. “Will Herondale,” she said. “He is lovely, isn’t he? Is he your newest amusement?”

Instead of answering, Magnus crossed his long legs in front of him. “Where have you been?”

Camille leaned forward farther; if she had had breath, it would have stirred the curling dark hair on Will’s forehead. “Can I kiss him?”

CLOCKWORK PRINCE, p. 318

CLOCKWORK PRINCE, p. 318

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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