Emma, etc.: Diary, 11/19 to 12/1/21

Jerry Brown quote; neurotransmitters; The Philosophy Club novel; Hap the Crystalwright novel; many movies, some TV; versions of Jane Austen’s Emma compared a bit.

Romola Garai as Emma

{11/19/21}  Weight 210.8 at 5:08 am.

{11/20/21}  Weight 211.4 at 7:20 am.

{11/21/21}  Weight 211.4 at 7:50 am.

{11/22/21}  Weight 212.4 at 7:50 am.  Self-indulgence is its own reward.

Doing some editing on my Collected Quotations, my eye fixed on this quote from Jerry Brown, in dialogue with Gary Snyder:  “People still have the same opportunity, the same obligation to pick a territory and go to work.” (p. 74-78)  It’s what I never did, but should have done.  The CQ is going to TC.

{11/23/21}  Weight 212.4 at 7:15 am.

Trying to get deeper into neuroscience, in particular the role of neurotransmitters on our emotions, thoughts, and behavior, I find that the best book I have, Banich and Compton:  Cognitive Neuroscience, doesn’t say very much about the effects of neurotransmitters, and what it does say is very general.  In other words, it’s not much help in identifying which NT (my acronym) is “responsible” for my depression, arousal, sleepiness, and so on.  So I’ve ordered two books on general neuroscience from Thriftbooks, plus three others, for about $34.  I had in fact been looking yesterday at what I might want to buy, but didn’t place an order.

{11/24/21}  Weight 211.2 at 6:55.

{11/25/21}  Weight 209.8 at 7:30.

Since I have a number of premium cable channels for free until 11/28, I’m mostly watching TV in my free time.  And, of course, I have almost nothing but free time.  I exaggerate, however, as usual.

Actually, I wrote a few pages for the PC novel, and I opened the laptop to type the new text.

Typed, saved, and printed.  It’s a poor thing.  I’ll give it to the others and let them decide if they want to read more.  In the meantime, I should start on something else.  I’m not committed to this project.  Perhaps I don’t believe in it; I know that it could be improved, but writing an extended three-way conversation, it is difficult to avoid monotony.  But at least it’s “done.”

{11/26/21}  Weight 209.8 at 6:30 am.

{11/27/21}  Weight 210.4 at 6:40 am.

Depressed, more or less, despite making some progress on the philosophy novel.  The more I write of it, the less interested I am.  Maybe I need to read one first (Sophie’s World was no inspiration).

The alternative among the already-started novels that I’m most interested in pursuing is Hap the Crystalwright.  Reading Durant on the invasions of Darius and Xerxes quickened my interest.  There are a lot of things already written that I like very much.  I know that Cynthia would prefer it.  But it’s a triviality when I want to have blood on the page.

Watched an episode of Yellowjackets on HBO.  I adore Christina Ricci but I’d do better to pursue her movies, since I won’t be able to see much more of the series.

Watched Hereditary (2018), a movie I’d seen before but almost totally forgotten.  It’s intense, with an acting-class performance from Toni Collette that becomes finally grating and tiresome.  The camera work at the start is weird and distant; this tapers off but occasionally gets weird again.  Critics give it 89% at Rotten Tomatoes; audiences 68%.  Definitely not for the faint of heart, but still not as godawful as In My Skin.  On my stack of recent acquisitions is Audition—another total creepout that I’ve seen before but am sorta dreading.

{11/28/21}  Weight 210.8 at 7:10 am.

Watched two excellent movies, the first Promising Young Woman (2020), a brilliant performance from Carey Mulligan in a brilliant dark comedy that is sometimes hard to watch.  Twists and turns galore, but requiring some patience from the audience; I missed about the first ten minutes, however.  Highest recommendation.

Second, but equally wonderful, is the Coen Brothers’ version of True Grit (2011), starring the ever-reliable Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn, and instantly making me a fan of Hailee Steinfeld the first time I saw it.  Both movies get very high scores on Rotten Tomatoes (90+% from critics, 80+% from audiences).

{11/29/21}  Weight 210.6 at 6:55 am.

Started typing Hap the Crystalwright, which I wrote, and didn’t complete, in prison.  It’s a rather simple fantasy adventure novel.

{11/30/21}  Weight 210.6 at 5:50 am.

{12/1/21}  Weight 211.4 at 5:10 am.  Nooo…

Watched the delightful BBC Masterpiece Theater remake of Emma (2009) starring irresistible Romola Garai.  In looking at Rotten Tomatoes (scores of 85% and 91%), I am struck by how homely she looks in still photographs, making a completely different impression.  The production has the usual excellent trappings—costumes, settings, scenery, music, supporting characters—but it’s absolutely Emma’s show.  Ms. Garai reminded me very strongly, at least in the first episode, of another overwhelming personality, Hayley Mills as “Pollyanna.”  Just what I needed:  to fall “hopelessly in love” with yet another movie star.  While watching the DVDs, I had another bout of “old man confusion”:  disk 1 has two hour-long episodes, and at the end of episode 1, episode 2 starts, and I was thinking, “Why are they playing this again?”  So I put on disk 2 and watched all of episode 3, thinking towards the end, “They’ll never have time to wrap this up!”  It’s only after episode 4 started that I figured it out, “Oh.  I’ve been an idiot…”  I hate when that happens.  So last night I watched the whole four-hour thing straight through, with a very little fast-forwarding in the episodes I had seen.  I don’t much care for Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley, nor the portrayal of Mr. Woodhouse by Sir Michael Gambon.  This version seemed more than usually combative between the (spoiler alert) lovers-at-the-end, and the extension of the story after the marriage was not in the book.  (However, in checking the book, which I had started rereading last night, I see that a honeymoon at the seashore was intended, though noted quite offhandedly.)

I was previously captivated by Doran Godwin as “Emma.”  I’ve also seen and loved the Gwyneth Paltrow and Anya Taylor-Joy versions; it seems that whatever version I’ve seen most recently is “the best.”  But I think this version is at least the equal of “the other long version,” i.e., the Godwin.

In looking for a pic to post with this on my blog, I discovered two things:  Romola Garai is just as beautiful as your usual headliner actress, and she was one of the many victims of Harvey Weinstein.  The Weinstein thing is really a shocking story, as is the Cosby thing, and the Epstein thing, etc., etc.

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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