In the meantime even here our personal a/c isn't quite up to what we've been experiencing and I'm progressively loggy and stupid. Just sitting and drinking gallons of water (while I still can -- the privatization of municiple water supplies has been proceeding at ever accelerating pace here in the U.S. since the '80s). Watching escape tv, and looking for an escape novel.
The first part of HP and the Deathly Hallows -- which made some sense for me out of the incomprehensible novel that I could not get through. So, if it ever rains and cools down, I will go see the last part in a theater. I liked this movie a lot more than I expected, particularly the Kara Walker art inspired animation of the "Tale of the Three Brothers and the Three Deathly Hallows." Also, winter and ice and snow and cold water.
The first disc of White Collar's second season: Smart, light, caper-con-adventure that taxes none of our capacities; Fun with friends? enemies? betrayal? It provides a fairy tale vision of a gorgeous and sophisticated Manhattan that isn't Sex and the City Manhattan. The protagonist is made of charm and brilliant blue eyes. The cast of secondaries and supporting roles are also a pleasure to watch, and possess their own charms. That con-man Neal Caffrey's sidekick, Mozzie, a most important secondary role, is played by Willie Garson, who played Carrie Bradshaw's gay friend Stanford in Sex in the City, allows all this fluff and charm to work. Garson seems to reprise his SatC Stanford role, though this time he's as intelligent and talented as the hyper-smart, talented Neal. This makes Garson's Mozzie more fun -- he can also be hard, and I don't mean catty. This is a series that is mostly about effortless cool and smooth, and that one swallows gratefully in this brutal period of heat and stress.
The third season of Damages: Last week another writer asked what kinds of fictional characters invariably appealed to us. Many readers and writers made many responses and none of them invariably appeal to this reader. Indeed, they tend to put me off any fiction that presents itself to me as any of them. So what does invariably appeal to me, I wondered? after having read so many novels and seen so many movies that almost everything seems an empty formula?
Damages is what will invariably appeal to me: conspiracy twisted upon conspiracy, betrayal reversing itself for mutual benefit, after betrayal for personal benefit, among a cast of smart cookies, some of them at least, hopefully will be women. In Damages both protagonists are women, played by Glenn Close and Rose Byrne. It's their shifting relationships with each other that matters, not their romantic relationships, failed or not, with men.
Stories of friendships and the antagonisms in friendships, particularly if they are female friendships are what I like, even more than the competition and conflicts between antagonists. But these are difficult to write successfully. Conspiracy, betrayal and reversal demand a tight plot to provide form and structure, out of which comes the pacing of successive reveals, otherwise all it is, is one damned thing after another and you don't go anywhere.
The Damages's chronology doesn't run straight ahead, but in two lines, the 'present,' and the future of the events being created in this scene's present. The photography via lighting and location of these future scenes provides an easy clue for the viewer so that works well, as well as keeping the viewer on her toes, to know where / when she is. So, because it doesn't all look alike, it is more lively than most television. It also has one of the greatest theme and most nasty songs, that bumpers the episodes: "There'll won't be anything left when I'm through with you." It is a smart show in every way.
Damages is the kind of television that the 1990's BBC's House of Cards was -- the brilliant, entertaining series featuring a fictional Britain's Conservative political whip, Francis Urquart, played by Ian Richardson, during the reign of terror of someone very like Margaret Thatcher. That's just for starters. Damages is a U.S. kind of House of Cards.
So naturally, Damages being such smart television, the fourth season has gone from cable to satellite.
Fantasy novel Naamah's Blessing: The latest, and seemingly the final volume in the three series Terre d'Ange novels of Jacquelin Carey. I'm already skipping big chunks of it because the narrator's constant and consistent modest praise of herself masked as criticisms of herself, always bring enthusiastic excuses for her from everyone else, as they invoke her 'destiny,' which by now, by golly, she's filled many times, but there is still one more destiny to fulfill. But she must leave
I am hoping there will be a redemption to this third series' sending the girl from
But why do I think that's not going to happen ... More likely what is going to happen is the reading of this novel to the end will not survive the brutal heat dome's imprisonment here at home. So far it is not striking me as smart, so I cannot suspend myself in the joy of following the path of smart composition.
I did mention that what grabs me invariably is smart, right? But it's got to be authentically smart, not the so-called smart ass. Another way of putting it maybe is the difference between an incision done by a surgeon's scalpel and the work done by an axe. Both are a pleasure to watch in the hands of skillful handlers, both need much patience and practice, but they are very different.
Ah, well, I'm cranky so I'm quitting this now and will take a bath. Eat cold pasta, a salad and fruit. Watch some more Neal in White Collar. While underneath it all keep praying for that fabled thunderstorm that has never yet arrived.