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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thank the Gods!

原来Game of Thrones的pilot episode里Daenerys Targaryen的演员不是Emilia Clarke而是Tazmin Merchant!阿弥陀佛谢天谢地,Merchant难看死了,一点气场也无,被换掉太好了。

Tamzin Merchant
Emilia Clarke
几个星期前在BBC出品的Edwin Drood里第一次看见Merchant就觉得哇,这女生好丑。

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Swimmer

He was tall and lacked any bulk. Sliding in the water, his long slim body remained perfectly centered in a straight line, driving noiselessly forward. A long, brown arm rose out of the water, circled forward, and fell almost lazily, fingertips first, like a knife cutting into the water ahead. Then the other arm rose and repeated its circle. The lower legs and feet kicked gently, barely breaking the surface, leaving hardly any waves behind. His rhythm seemed leisurely, almost slow, yet the walls on both sides flew by. His body looked almost still except for the gentle rolling from side to side with each arm stroke. Everything was in perfect harmony as water split apart before him. He was so quiet with nary a splash, like a water snake.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tulips



Bought some purple tulips from Trader Joe's today.

Hard Rain Falling

Author Don Carpenter


"Hard Rain Falling" has the distinctive 1960s feel. It is very existentialist, very ... "The Stranger," although I must admit I've never read "The Stranger." But it has a kind of "street cred" in the dialogs and scenes. Besides the existentialist question, why don't I just kill myself now, the novel has an American theme, freedom. Kudos to Carpenter in vivid depiction of prisons, some of which is a little difficult to read.

I do not think the difference is that Americans in general has more freedom than other people, but rather Americans are more preoccupied by the abstract concept of freedom, thus creating a perception that they are somehow more "free" than others. It's a trick on the mind (or, as Varys puts it, "a shadow on the wall"). You are as free as you think you are, not as you really are.

Although the novel centers around a big, blond, young, muscular white man, a perfectly representative specimen of the society in the ironic position of being marginalized, it is Carpenter's portrayal of a mixed-raced black man and a woman that stands out. (Gosh, can I write shorter sentences to save my life?! Yuck.) OK, let's try again. The novel is largely told from the viewpoint of Jack, an angry white man who is young and marginalized by society. It is more impressive, however, that Carpenter pulled off the viewpoints of "the other," i.e., a black man and a woman.

The psychology of Billy Lancing, a light-skinned young black man with talent and ambition, is perhaps the key accomplishment of the novel. No wonder George Pelecanos is fascinated. The delicate dance Billy does in pool halls to avoid being kicked out and to win the white men's money ... ah, so good, so good! I know nothing about pool and I am captivated. Carpenter nails the extreme sensitivity and minute mental adjustments one makes when one is acutely conscious of not belonging, not fitting in. The parts about Billy, although far smaller in size than parts about Jack, almost eclipses the latter.

The viewpoint of Jack's unwilling housewife is not as pure or as intense as Billy's. It is nevertheless painfully realistic and largely (but not completely) sympathetic. Nice try.

Unfortunately, the homosexual angle is a failure, it seems to me. Perhaps my judgment is too harsh in the context of the time and norm of the time. The love affair between Jack and Billy in San Quentin is the most underwritten part with a rather cliched dramatic ending. This is the only part of the novel that has "I heard it from some guy" written all over it.

Must quote:

When you lose you lose forever. When you win, it lasts only a second or two. That is life. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Small and Large

I cannot call it a type, as I know only two people who appear to have this trait. Both have excellent, perhaps photographic memories. One person said she could "see," in her mind, page after page of textbooks that she had read once or twice, and recite the words on each page. Another is able to recount minute details of events that have occurred years ago. Both people are patently intelligent and fundamentally decent people. 

And both share another curious trait: They seem to have a certain difficulty in making logical connections between ... things, or seeing patterns. For example, Person A continually forwarded me right-wing-religious-nutcase lies and rumors she got from her right-wing-religious-nutcase friends. The first few times, I took the trouble to search for Internet explanations and debunk the lies to send her. But she has shown no evidence to wise up and stop being so routinely trusting toward her RWRN friends and still forwards me these lies occasionally. On the one hand, I can see that she gets it that I don't like this kind of lies and rumors and refrains from sending them to me after a while. On the other hand, from casual chats, she apparently still believes such lies herself. Is it merely an issue of being gullible?

Person B gave a similar impression through different situations. Person B and I have a mutual friend Person C, and we all knew each other for several years. Then Person C drifted away from our lives. One day Person B told me she saw Person C's online postings there and there. I went to take a look and realized immediately that these postings were made by a person of the same name, as the "voice" and character/attitude seeping through the words had no resemblance to the Person C I knew. In fact, C has a distinctive personality that is not easy to mistaken.

Association. In the spectrum of the mind's ability to make associations between things and seeing patterns, I am near one end and they are near the other, neither appear to affect one's "intelligence" in the ordinary sense. I am prone to conspiracy theories, but they can't connect the dots.

Friday, April 20, 2012

一把老骨头

从本周起减为每周工作四天。睡了个懒觉,中午去游泳,下午在书店里晃荡一圈。真舒服呀,最近两年又忙工作又不开心,总算有点活回来的感觉。

我这把老骨头,几年没游泳也没锻炼了,今天才泡了半个钟,就腰酸背痛,尤其是 rotator cuffs,阿呦,好象一条胳膊要从 shoulder sockets 掉下来一样。最近大概是用 mouse 过度,右胳膊一直有点酸痛,这下子 ... 希望多游几次可有显著的改善。

********
马里兰有家饺子馆,现包现卖,皮薄馅多,尤其是茴香猪肉馅是个特色。门面小而简陋,生意极好,每次周末中午去都免不了要等呀么等座位。两个月之前去吃,大门紧闭,窗户上一张市政府的通知,仿佛是卫生检查没通过,另有一张老板的告示,说是装修厨房,暂停营业,但屋里也不见装修的工人。

我隔三差五地上 chowhound 网站上查消息,那里的吃货消息比较灵通。果然,两星期之前有人在店外停车场碰见老板娘,据说装修已经尾声,政府的许可证也快到手,我心里一块大石财落地。今天打电话过去竟然有人接,原来他们已经重新开张了。阿弥陀佛,明天就赶去搓一顿!

幸福就是饺子馆重开呀。

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Strange Interlude


昨天去城里的莎士比亚剧院看的戏,Michael Kahn 亲手导演的。

之前没听过 Eugene O'Neill 也写过喜剧。果然不是逗人哈哈笑的那种喜剧,而是沧桑中年的苦笑的那种喜剧。里面塞满了 reference to psychoanalysis,当时 (1928) 精神分析学在美国尚未走红,算是新鲜概念。

全剧很长,分了两个 intermissions,两点开始,五点四十五才结束。难为四个主要演员了。坐在我两边的观众都溜号了,也不知是因为不喜欢看还是溜到接近舞台一些的好座位。的确不是传统的戏剧结构,开头没有尖锐矛盾或实体,从头到尾也没有强烈的冲突,更象小说而不是戏剧的感觉。

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pretty People

Adam Gopnik has an article about Camus in a recent issue of The New Yorker. In addition to provoking my interest in reading Camus, the article made a funny point in passing. To paraphrase, Gopnik essentially said that beautiful people have no need for intellectual pursuits as they impress the masses by simply being. So when a beautiful person actually makes a fruitful quest for lofty intellectual goals (like Camus did), he must be something extraordinary.

Is it true? Who the hell knows. But the psychological effect of beautiful people being smart and accomplished on us average people is certainly observable and common. Beautiful people with charisma do not live on the same planet as the rest of us, and we gawk at them with a strange fascination. 


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Irresistible


Jaqen H'ghar 这样的男人让我特别没有抵抗力 ---

1. 神秘,
2. 温柔,
3. 危险,
4. 智囊,
5. 甚至还挺帅。


电视剧的选角十分贴切原著,对话与口吻亦全面保留。

Monday, April 2, 2012

特约贵宾

首都地区每年十月有一个规模有限的科幻小会,科幻迷聚集在一起,请几位作家来讲座一下什么的。前年参加的时候,特约贵宾是可爱幽默的小老太康妮威利斯。今年不知是谁,但昨晚我在网上瞎摸的时候发现一条通知,明年(13年)的特约贵宾是 ... 乔治胖马丁!我惊喜地叫出声来,冲着某同学嚷嚷:你知道明年科幻会的嘉宾是谁吗?你猜你猜!他走过来看了我一眼便猜到真相,撇着嘴摇头转身溜走,一边嘟囔着 “我才不要知道...”

某同学对冰火系列和马胖大叔的态度是敬而远之,尤其是见我这个前车之鉴动不动就为这套小说顿足捶胸大骂作者,一早表示坚决不碰,直到全套出完才会考虑。我多次试图拖他下水都被坚拒。这个幸运的家伙。

今晚我又揪着某同学不放,威逼利诱他明年跟我一起去小会,我去扑人,他在一旁给我们拍照片。某同学哼哼唧唧地冲我吐舌头。

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Great Expectations

新版远大前程电视剧,Gillian Anderson 出演 Miss Have-a-sham ,一点也不 creepy,反而有种漫画般的美感。也不知是我的问题还是她的问题,或者是制作者的问题。

男演员 Douglas Booth 的脸正是我讨厌的类型。女演员 Vanessa Kirby 更不好看,即使我本来有兴趣看下去,胃口也倒掉一大半。这剧的 casting 口味真是奇突。

不过剧中有两个演员跟 Game of Thrones 重叠,Mark Addy 和 Harold Lloyd 都在第一季里早被干掉了。

Timon of Athens

During the intermission of Timon of Athens at Folger, I eavesdropped on a discussion among the 3 persons (who looked like a mother with t...

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