shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


muggled big fished northforked and other sickbed fluff

So, when they say "May cause drowsiness," sticking that boozled little eye on the bottle these days, they mean it. Or maybe this is just part of not being a teenager. I used to love the boozled eye bottle. It was one of the best parts of being sick. Practically recreational. When we took this stuff, only before bed as directed, neither of us moved for terror or George until ten hours had passed. Deadly.

Suffice to say, much of the weekend was spent sleeping and recuperating. Feeling much better now, almost normal (got a phone call from someone who said, "I was afraid to call you last week cause your emails just seemed so sad, but this morning's was back to normal" -- read overly long), if still tired and a little non-productive coughy. All in a week's work. I hope to never go to another convention with walking pneumonia, knownst or unbeknownst to myself.

Sean Stewart makes you buy sopapillas, or rather, he writes the kind of books that leave you craving some particular food or needing to try out a recipe. (Was it NOBODY'S SON that gave us the oregano and hot mustard scrambled egg batter? I can't remember.) Anyway, I had one PERFECT CIRCLE-induced sopapilla on Friday night and last night Christopher was kind enough to ride bikes with me for five minutes to Cielito Lindo for another. (We were completely worn out after just that little ride.) I'll say more about PERFECT CIRCLE later, because it deserves an entry of its very own, complete with lovely cover image.

Anyway, most of the rest of the time was spent eaking out minor tweaks on the book manuscript, bemoaning the fact I wasn't getting more done (back on track today), and consuming things. We went to see the new Harry Potter and it's by far my favorite of the movies, and makes me understand why people are so charmed by the books in a way the other movies haven't. (I started reading the first one and misplaced it and just haven't ever picked it up again. I do not have any issues with the books or people who like them.) The look of it is gritty, but just gritty enough, punctuated by some achingly English landscapes, the acting by the children far, far better than in the previous movies, and, all in all, this feels much more like something the director deserves great kudos for. I was sad to learn that Cuaron's not doing the next one and amused by his comment in EW (consumed!) that it's the same story as Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, "two boys, one girl." Either the screenwriter (Steve Kloves) or Rowling has a penchant for always following the same plot structure, which seems to necessitate a third act that's too long, an over-climaxed climax and such things, but that's not why I go to movies like this so... I loved the hippogryph (sp?).

We came home and watched BIG FISH (I wore him down!). Odd movie. The movie didn't start to work for me until it was halfway over, and the ending was beautifully done and very effecting. Which is really strange to say considering the fact that I was completely unconvinced and uncharmed by the first two-thirds of the movie. In fact, only when the son took over did it start to work. The look of it wasn't quite Burtonesque enough for me, by which I mean it wasn't specific or lushly realized enough. The eponymous big fish just looked like an oversized bath toy, but maybe that's the small grapes of small screen talking. Anyway, I'd recommend seeing it, but only half paying attention to the first part, maybe read a book you're also only half-interested in or flip through a magazine until the son's dominating the action.

Then I tried to watch NORTHFORK, but, despite some lovely bits, couldn't. I'd love to know if I made a mistake there, if anyone wants to relive the experience, please post in the comments.

And I read the amazing young adult novel A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY by Libba Bray. Loved this. Beautiful writing. It's THE CRAFT for smart girls! It's the story of a 16-year-old girl in late 1800s England, ripped from her home in India by tragedy and sent to an English girls' boarding school to be made into a fine lady, or more pointedly, a good wife. Bray manages to capture both the good and bad parts of being friends with the most popular girls in school, without ever drifting into cliche, and the mysterious elements are handled with great care, to great effect. It actually keeps up the scary tension until the end. Look this one up and enjoy.

A few other little things...

Nice interview with Karen in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

You can watch the transit of Venus tomorrow morning online here.

Stephen Hunter does the take on Ronald Reagan's Hollywood career, in most interesting fashion.

And Michael Dirda channels Eleanor Arnason in his review of a new book by Jane Jacobs called THE DARK AGE.

I think that's it.

worm: "When You're Drifting," Mojave3

check out: Sean Stewart's PERFECT CIRCLE

namecheck: Barb "Itis Bronch" Gilly


  • At 3:52 PM , Blogger Alan said...

    I really dislike Billy Cudrup (sp?) for some reason. He always seems incredibly wooden; then he tries to "indie-movie" emote, and it all turns out horribly wrong. For all of its alleged ingenuity, Big Fish felt a little bit like the "Garp/Gump Greatest Hits...from MASTER STORYTELLER Tim Burton". A few really nice moments, though, sure. Worth seeing, I guess.

    The worst accent in that movie was Danny DeVito's. My lord. Well, at least there was good followup on HIS plot thread, or not.

    Did you see the preview for the new M. Night's new movie? Can't wait for more everything-is-fated, pseudo-New Agey scaremongering.

  • At 4:46 PM , Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

    I felt the same way about Big Fish, Gwenda. Hated the first half, somehow was won over by the end. I'm not sure how that worked, because I was pretty dead set fourty five minutes in that I had wasted my money on it. I still dislike it in general, but that ending was nice.

  • At 5:15 PM , Blogger gwenda said...

    Yeah, the ending worked, despite the fact that I didn't really like any of the characters in the movie, except maybe the wife because, well, she's Jessica Lange. I completely agree on Crudup and I wasn't even sure it was him, for his make-up looked extremely patchy.

    I would have liked to have seen a movie about all the fictional (or non-fictional in the end) side characters more.

  • At 10:29 PM , Blogger Celia said...

    I noticed this weekend while reading the New York Review of Books or whatever it is that Karen's book is listed in the general summer reading list (I think) as well as number 10 on the Best Seller list. whee, Karen! And Kala Imperial is listed in the SF summer reading list, and this was the first time i'd ever seen books that people I knew were responsible for in that magazine, and it was really cool.

  • At 3:58 PM , Blogger gwenda said...

    I missed Kalpa in the list. That's great news!

    And yeah, I'm all for the kind of world where Karen's on the NYTimes bestseller list. Yay!


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