Random Friday

… is still a movie Friday. But it’s probably the last, LOL! I rewatched bits and pieces of Zeffirelli’s Romeo&Juliet to get inspiration for the novel (the costumes, mostly). And while I was at it, since it’s an almost 50 (FIFTY! OMG, where did time go!) year old movie, I decided also to check what happened to the gorgeous actors in that movie (namely Leonard Whiting and Michael York)… And I found this post, yay! Although it’s from 2005, so… where are they NOW? I know Michael York is still out there even though the last thing I saw him in was almost 30 years ago… πŸ˜‰

Mmm, one should play with those numbers… 1968 – 1988 – 2018! πŸ˜€

Let’s now jump to 2003. It’s the year of Untold Scandal, another version of Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos with a South Korean Valmont (and I can tell you that the only things I could read were Dangerous Liaisons and Chordelos de Laclos, since I don’t read Korean, Chinese or Thai – and the English subtitles, of course). You can get the plot here, it’s another variation after Dangerous Liasons and Valmont (and I saw also the highly forgettable Cruel Intentions – I hate when they put in the present stories of the past).

So, I noticed the same kind of Korean costumes as in The King and The Clown and I’m so crazy that I had to switch audio because it didn’t lip-synch. There was the Thai and the Korean version. I set up the English subtitles and left the audio as it was, but still the lips movement didn’t match until I switched to Korean. Note that I don’t speak either, but I enjoy reading the actors’ lips (AND reading the subtitles AND watching the movie! Yes, I can multi-task like that!)…

Now no more movies until I get the DVDs of The Invisible Boy 2, a sequel to the young adult superhero drama directed by Gabriele Salvatores, and the two Bahubali , The Beginning and The Conclusion, but currently I have spent enough on Amazon, so I’ll wait a month or three.

Besides the Invisible Boy 2 is still in theaters at the moment, if only I dragged my ass there instead of going home and write, LOL! Have a great weekend!


Random Friday

Besides bundles that I hope to read soon and some “housekeeping” (of the publisher page and other writerly things, not really the physical house, LOL!), I’ve been watching some DVDs. I started with 1453 that I bought in London last year about the birth of the Ottoman empire.

Besides the weird thing of a movie dubbed in English without subtitles, which made it at times hard to understand for a non-native speaker (I love my subtitles!), it was interesting and epic enough, although I felt the transitions were a little choppy. And they all looked the same to me – Turks, Greek Christians and Genoese – but well… it was kind of nice to see the Christians be the bad guys for once! πŸ˜‰ The fall of the holy roman empire of orient or byzantine empire or whatever you want to call it didn’t look too bad. And I haven’t thoroughly studied that time period yet, so I don’t know if there are inaccuracies. Probably won’t watch it again, though, but it was a nice change of costumes and setting for a historical movie!

Then, since I was depressed, I rewatched some comedies – Bride and Prejudice and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’d have continued with Galaxy Quest et all, but I decided it was high time I watched the box sets of old TV series that had been on my shelves for years.

So I opened the two box sets of The Persuaders and watched 2 or 3 episodes per day. I absolutely loved Brett Sinclair and Danny Wilde when I saw their adventures on the Italian TV back in the early 80s, so much so that I don’t remember right now who was my favorite. Probably the English lord, though! πŸ˜‰ Both Tony Curtis and Roger Moore looked great in their forties, pity they’re both gone now.

Anyhow, IMBD says 1971-1972, but the Roman numerals at the end of the episodes say 1970. Whatever the exact year, there’s definitely a 1970s feel. And I got to see London, Paris, Rome and even Geneva in those years (whatever the years, I lived in Paris from 1970 to 1973) and it’s really cool.

Unfortunately it’s the Italian box sets, so I have the Italian subtitles on the original English soundtrack. At the same time it shows how often the adaptation is completely different (like the episode in Italy/Rome, the subtitles mentioned Madrid…). I also like the mix of European languages used (the polygloth is the English lord, of course, can Americans speak anything else beside English? πŸ˜‰ Although I don’t hear much difference in their accents) and yes, it’s a funny series, although I really don’t know what they’re actually doing. They’re not spies, not assassins, just adventurers getting themselves in trouble?

Two worlds collide when the titled Englishman, Lord Brett Sinclair, and the Bronx-raised, self-made American Danny Wilde, reluctantly join forces to right wrongs, and to protect the innocent.

So what are they? Vigilantes? Private Investigators? They don’t always work for Judge Fulton either…

A pair of Playboys with nothing in common but trouble!
The classic ’70s British cult adventure series!

Anyway, it’s been a fun blast to the past and certainly helped me smile again. Now I’ll be dreaming those two for some time I’m afraid… and the yellow Aston Martin and the red Ferrari with a Modena plate they’re driving! πŸ˜€

One last thing… I feel totally overwhelmed by the company of the cover artists below (l.to r. Silvano Beltramo, Shafali Anand, me and Federica Manfredi), but don’t worry, I’m not giving up drawing or digital painting, quite the opposite… πŸ˜‰

Stay tuned… Have a great weekend!


Random Friday

To complete May wordcount, I wrote another 5100 words in the last three days, so I’m pretty confident I can finish those three novels in three months. Here’s my prepping calendar with the (very few) trips on it – but then I’m the one who vanishes in the summer because it’s too hot to do anything besides writing at home, haha!

I watched Bamako and it’s an interesting take on Africa, with the trial within the story. They don’t often talk about themselves, so it was a window on that side of the world whereΒ  I’ll never go because it’s a warm country so it’s not on my map of travels (I really made a huge exception for India! πŸ˜‰ But I’d move to a northern country anytime)…

It was a pleasure to see Aissa Maiga again (saw her in Bianco e Nero that I may have mentioned somewhere on this blog years ago – when one has such an old blog, it becomes a hassle to search things in it, LOL!), since she’s not only very talented, but also very beautiful IMHO.

I’ll have to make her a black princess on Silvery Earth sometime – maybe in the coming novel? Oh, wait, I do have a black warrior woman there… mmmm… Have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

Random Friday

So, in between short stories (submitted and rejected very quickly, but I keep sending them out) and readings, I managed to watch another DVD, Midnight’s Children. What can I say… I like the movie (narrated by the writer himself), but I probably wouldn’t like the book, even though the screenplay was written by the writer of the book. Not my kind of book, I’m afraid.

With the Italian holidays, I also finally opened an account on Vimeo, so I could post my video on Patreon. Soon all my book trailers will be uploaded again, yay! πŸ™‚ Not that they help selling books, but well… I have fun doing those things with Windows Movie Maker, so I might as well share them! πŸ˜‰

And I got the proofs of Quests Volume 1 and 2, so hopefully the paperbacks will soon be available. I had to redo the covers, but this means I have two books to sell at Worldcon – and if I don’t find anyone there, I’ll do a Goodreads giveaway. The spines weren’t correct as you can see.

I still use Createspace, although I might eventually experiment with KDP print. Maybe for thinner, cheaper books. But there’s still this little problem:

Amazon states more features will be added over time but currently, authors cannot order proofs of their books. Ouch. So the book goes on sale before an author can view the final product to ensure everythingβ€”fonts, cover graphics and colours, page numbers, headers and much moreβ€”are the way they’re supposed to be.

And everything else stated in this article about the two services. I don’t have that many Canadian readers, but I have a lot of Canadian author friends (including co-bundlers Karen Abrahamson and Marcelle DubΓ©), so I feel their pain! 😦

Next week I’ll let you know my wordcount for April… If I forget, remind me! πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Random Friday

So, the Easter weekend I needed a break from the publishing and some inspiration for the writing… hence I started on the DVDs ToWatch pile. First I watched Monsoon Wedding. Mira Nair was Indian cinema for me before Gurinder Chadha and the discovery of Bollywood. I loved her movies, but stopped following her more or less when MW came out in 2001.

I found it at 3Β£ in London last year, and I’m glad I saw if now… After visiting Delhi and so many more movies with Indian weddings and KNPH (which I would have totally missed back then – a movie called “kaho naa…” what?). I definitely liked it, and enjoyed the extra with the director talking about the Punjabi community of Delhi…

Then I watched Bhaji on the Beach, another 3Β£ DVD from last summer, another Gurinder Chadha dramedy. Definitely the end of 20th century, with no cell phones and no internet to distract us! And I liked all the intertwined stories of the various women of various ages and their interactions with men – both British and Indian.

I also re-watched Target for inspiration, and then managed to finish the story! πŸ˜‰ Although Target is definitely an 80s movie. Some nostalgia hit – no cell phones, no internet, how did we survive that? πŸ˜‰ Well, we’re Generation X, I guess! Or, like my friend Fulvio says, we’re unique (he’s not totally a Millennial and I’m not totally a Baby Boomer, and we’re not Gen.X either… but then, we’re Jedi twins – 18 years apart! πŸ˜‰ LOL)…

Anyhow, have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

Random Friday

Movies time. Caramel was on my to-watch list in 2007 when it came out, but eventually I decided to pass. Then I saw it at 3/5Β£ in London and saw it was from Nadine Labaki, so I bought it. Now, I personally don’t go to beauty salons or even wax myself (and certainly not with caramel, LOL!), but it was interesting to see the stories of those Lebanese women. I probably wouldn’t have liked it this much 10 years ago, but now it’s part of my World’s Movies collection.

I seem to favor female directors, although Nadine Labaki is the only one who also acts in her movies (at least in the two I’ve seen). I started in the 1990s with Mira Nair, then early 2000s with Nancy Meyers (whom I even saw at some screenwriting event and wanted to shake her hand for What Women Want, The Holiday and Something Gotta Give) and Gurinder Chadha (Bend it like Beckam, Bride and Prejudice), then 1970s daughters Zoya Akhtar (Luck by Chance, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Dhadakne Do) and Nadine Labaki.

In March I have another Gurinder Chadha and another Mira Nair in the to-watch pile, along with other world’s movies (but I haven’t checked the directors of those). In the meantime I rewatched Where do we go now and I shall leave you with the neat song from this Lebanese-but-Bollywood-inspired movie. Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Random Friday

Let’s call it movie Friday, although I’m going to include a couple of video clips. Like I may have mentioned, I spent New Year’s Eve watching memories of the 80s – of musicians who are no more. One had just died, George Michael, the other was long gone, Michael Jackson.

I just happened to find a couple of similarities between two of their songs that made me wonder how anyone was ever born in the 1980s, since men didn’t seem to want to take responsibility for babies! πŸ˜‰ Cases in point: Billie Jean and Everything She Wants… Listen to the songs and/or watch the videos at the links…

Then the new year started and we had another celebrity loss, Om Puri. So I spent a weekend watching East is East and West is West in memoriam. Not to mention the fact that I gave my offline beta-reader the Bollywood fever – we’ve been doing movie afternoon twice a month since November, we meet more often than the writers group, LOL!

The Bollywood movies that I showed my beta, started with Mohenjo Daro (which was a first for me too). She enjoyed Om Shanti Om and of the Dhoom franchise she preferred Dhoom 2… no, I swear I didn’t brainwash her! πŸ˜‰ I’m also lending her movies that are not strictly Bollywood (Kama Sutra a Tale of Love) or that she has missed, like Labyrinth. I will also pass her Oggi Sposi since it has English subtitles… πŸ˜‰

Between projects I also rewatched a few movies (not because the ToWatch pile went down but because I have sci-fi movies and historical movies to watch and I needed to stay in fantasy mood or present day) including: I don’t kiss (France 1991), Saturday Night Fever (USA 1977),Β  Chasing Amy (USA 1997), The Wedding Banquet (Ang Lee 1993), Touch of Pink (2004) and Muriel’s Wedding (Australia 1994).

I have a creative weekend coming… so hopefully Art Friday next week! Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Random Friday

Okay, total randomness. I couldn’t watch many movies because one day I had an aching eye (again!) and another day I had to prepare for Dear Nephew’s b-day – which is tomorrow. So here’s how I spent one afternoon (hence after dinner I went back to writing instead of watching a movie):

IMG_8778The movies I did watch are Singh is Kinng – courtesy of the shopkeeper in Southall who was obviously a Sikh, so I assume this comedy has the seal of approval of the Sikh. It’s not a religious movie and it’s very funny indeed (a tad too slapstick sometimes, but well… that’s why I don’t like when Jim Carrey does comedies! πŸ˜‰ So, Akshay, quit the goofing!).

On Saturday I watched Man of Tai Chi. Luke Skywalker, anyone? πŸ˜‰ That poor Tai Chi master looked very much like Yoda when he stared at his student… The angry young man had some realΒ anger issues! πŸ™‚ I’m not a fan of martial art movies, but I do watch them, and I think it was okay. I’m not an expert, though! I read a review that said that it’s on par with House of Flying Daggers – uhm, no, sorry, you can’t compare. But I like it as much as I liked than Danny The Dog (just to stick to a contemporary world story and clandestine fights), no, wait, I prefer it, since Keanu is such a great villain! πŸ™‚

Then I watched Lezioni di Cioccolato 2, but unlike the first, it doesn’t have English subtitles. Anyway, just another Italian comedy, although the romance is now between latin lover Mattia and Kamal’s daughter (a modern egyptian gal). I must say I like Luca Argentero, he’s become a fine actor in spite of coming out of a reality show! πŸ˜‰

It was total randomness even in movies, since so far I have 1 Bollywood, 1 Hollywood/China and 1 Italian… and last night I watched a non-Bollywood Indian movie – as usual suggested by Shafali – Paan Singh Tomar. An interesting movie – not sports, not war, but a little bit of all, dedicated to the unsung Indian sportsmen.Β  Nice, thanks for the suggestion, Shafali! πŸ˜‰

Artworks: next subject didn’t come out as well as the previous one, but here they are, both on my wall…

IMG_8777Took me only two hours and a half instead of three and a half, and it shows. Meh. Will have to find another picture and try again. I did this on Sunday – after watching the movie! πŸ˜‰ Oh, and please ignore the stuffed unicorns… it’s only the two small ones (of the five in the family of Lady Unicorn, here!)! πŸ˜‰

That’s all for today! Have a wonderful weekend!

Random Friday

…and since I haven’t received anything from Amazon yet (DVDs ordered at the beginning of the month, proof of POD last week, still waiting…), I’ll do an art Friday and some more Bollywood rambles – tell me to stop if you have enough! πŸ™‚

After watching Cristina work (the painting I pointed you in the previous post to is ink on white paper, so she did that background with digital painting – and it’s a WiP, it evolved after she left my apartment), I decided to try digital painting myself, but failed miserably. My attempt at drawing the Desi Vampire (based on guess who, although the Desi vampires community is growing daily, whenever I get to write that story I’ll have plenty, LOL) was awful. I’m not sure if it’s my inability of handling brushes, handling Photoshop levels or what. Anyway, I’m not posting it anywhere, and that’s for sure.

Shahid1_resizeSo, in the past two weeks I relaxed with pencil drawings as usual (since that’s a technique that I handle much better), and you can check my DeviantART gallery – not that I scanned them all, since I only put the best ones there. So maybe I should take down Arjun Rampal looking as John Abraham, haha! Anyway, please notice new model Shahid Kapoor, latest Bollywood flavor of the month also because it seems he’s really big in Italy at the moment or something, hehe! I prepared this drawing before discovering RAI 1 is doing a series of Bollywood movies on Sundays again (used to be Saturday nights, now it’s Sunday lunchtime) and for 3 weeks in a row they showed Shahid’s movies (wait, or is it 2 weeks in a row but I found a list of titles and found a third there? Hm. Can’t remember).

I found out on the 10th, so I missed the first of the series (my hairdresser fell in love with Saif Ali Khan in Race and was very disappointed that the next 2 were with Shahid Kapoor instead). I missed the 16th because I was busy – and they showed Vivah. Then last Sunday it wasΒ Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi! (I shall spare you the silly Italian titles, not much better than Hollywood’s Italian titles, trust me) and I thought I’d give it a try, even if I’m wary of dubbed movies.

Now, I have a TV, but I never watch the channels and use it only to watch DVDs. Since we switched (as a country) from analog to digital, I haven’t really kept track of anything even if I keep paying the TV tax, so I lost 15 minutes to try to figure out where on earth the channels were. Turned out I was on the analog channels (all gone) and when I pushed the DTV button they all appeared as if by magic. Then I had to scroll 100 channels to the “test” (still in test mode? How long have we been on digital-only?!) RAI 1 digital channel and the movie was already started – not that I missed much, I’m afraid.

So there’s this mix of Heaven can wait, Ghost, Bill&Ted Bogus Journey and slapstick comedy with silly special effects, but I love Sanjay Dutt as the oh-so-sensitive God of Death who can’t hold alcohol! πŸ˜‰ Since I’m not used to Shahid’s real voice yet, the dubbing wasn’t too bad to hear and since it’s such a silly comedy, I don’t think I’ll buy the original unless I find it at a DVD sale.

Anyhow, while fumbling with the TV,Β  I even discovered that my VCR is not broken after all (although since it’s tuned to analog TV, it doesn’t see the digital channels – but it still plays the many VHS I still own), so I used some nights to rewatch some Italian movies (mostly from the 90s) that never came out on DVD. Since I don’t have anything new yet, I guess I’ll keep re-watching those until I get my Amazon parcel – I missed them!

I wonder why Italian distributors let those movies vanish (okay, maybe they’re B or Z-movies, but the comedies are fun, sniff!) when you can find them on Amazon.com as instant videos (except I don’t have a Kindle Fire and my TV is flat but not smart and I hate watching movies on Laptop). Mysteries of movie distribution.

Anyway, that’s all for today! Have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

Random Friday

So, got me some British movies while in London, LOL! The only one I hadn’t already seen is West is West, sequel to East is East (1999). I so loved the first one, I really wanted to see the sequel – although it did take me a couple of years to find it in DVD shops. West is West takes us to Pakistan in the 1970s and it’s as hilarious as the first one. And it was kinda funny to see the often mentioned (in the previous film) Mrs Khan #1 had the same face as Akbar’s foster mother… (OK, I watched Jodhaa Akbar once too many, LOL). Also one of George’s daughters looked familiar – and then I found out she was in Luck by Chance. And I felt my Hindi was better than Mrs Khan #2’s! πŸ˜‰ And I loved the music as well – so reminding me of Bollywood! πŸ˜‰

I also recovered a DVD I had wrongly sent to my British teacher’s address from Amazon UK – I believe the Bollywood Addict suggested it. Do Dooni Chaar is indeed very funny and I love the soundtrack (no dance numbers, but the songs are lovely), but it felt kinda weird seeing the Disney logo on a Bollywood movie! 😦 Anyway, always a pleasure watching Rishi Kapoor – either Bollywood producer (Luck by Chance), Mumbai gangster (Agneepath) or teacher (here). I seem to understand he’s working with his real-life wife on this one – and she sort of looked familiar, although she didn’t seem to be in any movie for a long time… A funny family comedy for everybody (as long as you either speak Hindi or can read the subtitles, LOL)! πŸ™‚

I have also watched “Best of Madhuri Dixit” – 80 original video songs (sorry, can’t find it anywhere online, blame it on the lady of the Long Island Bollywood DVD shop for selling it to me! ;)) because I think she’s beautiful and a wonderful dancer. So far I had seen only Devdas and Dil To Pagal Hai (included in this compilation), but now I have more titles on my ToBuy list for next year, LOL (will it ever go down? :().

I must say that I’ve seen more about the 3 Khans my age (well, they’re all younger than me by a few months, LOL) and some things changed, some didn’t – SRK is still my favorite Khan, although he looked at his best between 1997 and 2007 (hehe). Aamir was cute in his 20s (Dil was already on my ToBuy list), but now he’s too brooding for my tastes & apparently is a few months older than me – but he’s married, right? And Salman… never liked him, never will, in spite of him being still single (suggested alternative by Shafali, but, like I told her, I really don’t like him)! πŸ™‚ Anyway, sorry Madhuri doesn’t act anymore (married life…), but if she wants to do a comeback, she can be Helen in Six Months too! πŸ™‚

On a totally different topic – I also got to read Jungle Heat by Bonnie Dee. What if Tarzan met Joe instead of Jane? A wonderful tale of a man raised by apes and taken to 19th century London – where they don’t know if the papers should talk about the Ape Gentleman or Jack the Ripper. Hot and riveting m/m love story – although James is sometimes a little irritating, glad Michael knows what he wants! πŸ™‚ And it’s Carina Press, so adults only! πŸ˜€

Wishing you a happy weekend! πŸ™‚

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