Welcome to today’s entry on Green Bamboo in which we have reviews of The Green Hornet and The Mysteries of Udolpho Vol. II. But first up gmail.
As regular readers will be aware, Google’s web-based e-mail service has been having the living shite kicked out of it for weeks now with accessibility ranging from slower than the slow boat to China to Dude, Where’s my Inbox? Although the gmail module on my iGoogle page had sort of got back to normal, the story that the imperial government was behind recent attacks on gmail users seems to have caused it to have one of its infantile temper tantrums and I started getting a message that I needed to log back in. I did, and on each occasion not only was access blocked, but my home page would also vanish along with it only to become accessible again a few minutes later.
Last night, I switched from Firefox to IE to see what might happen. IE has a little gadget which allows users to see what’s in their inbox, and when I clicked on a message, I was ferried to full gmail. The only problem was that when I clicked on the link to download a document I’d been sent (quite important for my job), nothing happened. I tried to forward the message to my Hotmail address, but it refused to accept it perhaps because the attachment was a raw Word doc. In addition to that, gmail kept reloading itself without any prompting from me.
I switched back to Firefox, logged out of iGoogle and then logged back on, fearing that I might’ve made a huge mistake and would find that I was unable to access my home page. But the page came back, though the gmail module was still telling me to sign in. Since I’d been able to get onto gmail via IE, I thought I’d trying going to full gmail in Firefox. There it was, but once again, I was unable to download the attachment I’d been sent; but when I returned to my home page, the gmail module was working properly and, as I suspected, I was finally able to download the revised English curriculum for next year.
My thought about the problems I’ve been having logging in to gmail is that it seems similar to the problem I’ve had logging in to WordPress. The service isn’t blocked, but, it seems, someone is apparently trying to prevent users from using it so that ultimately (perhaps) imperial citizens (because no one here really cares about inconveniencing 600,000 foreigners) will switch to state-authorised e-mail and blog services. That’s my theory, although I admit that it’s not especially good. It might be asked why the Empire doesn’t block WordPress altogether as it has done in the past if it’s responsible for problems logging on and why it would make it difficult to blog on a service which, I suspect, very few of the locals use anyway. My only other theory is that noscript is being a little too zealous.
The Green Hornet.
Britt Reid is the wastrel son of a media magnate who finds himself in charge of his father’s business after he dies. Reid learns that Kato, the man who makes his coffee, is a genius, and they decide to become crime fighters with a difference – everyone’s going to think they’re villains.
They fight, they kiss; they fight, they kiss. Usual sort of buddy movie. There’s Cameron Diaz as the Babe, although she looks like she should be playing Reid’s alcohol-addled mother. real The villain decides that he, too, is a little behind the times and reinvents himself. There’s another big fight in which Reid develops awesome powers of awesomeness, and the villain gets two sharp stakes thrust into his eyes.
The Green Hornet does not, fortunately, try to be all dark and brooding like Batman although I’m sure the original Green Hornet (first broadcast on the radio in 1936) was not noted for it comedic edge. It doesn’t go overboard with the comedy either as the script often plays up certain absurd situations but just manages to avoid wasting too much time on such moments. On the other hand, Seth Rogen can only play the Green Hornet as a bit of a plonker who’s out of his depth.
It was all right, but the sort of film which needs to be watched on the big screen rather than on a portable DVD player.
The Mysteries of Udolpho, Volume II.
At the start of Volume II, Emily is off to Venice, where she is threatened with marriage to Count Morano until one morning the entire household heads off to the castle of Udolpho. She’s expecting to be married off to Morano at any moment, but instead he turns up, most aggrieved because Montoni tried to do him out of his bride. The boys fight and Morano gets the worst of it. It becomes clear that Montoni put her up for sale and once the contract with Morano was broken, he was then hoping to find a wealthier suitor.
How Montoni acquired Udolpho Castle involves the mysterious disappearance of Signora Laurentini. Emily discovers that the apartments adjacent to her room, which are usually locked up, are occupied and that Montoni visits the occupant.
Montoni is also trying to get his wife to hand over her estates to him, but she is stupidly obstinate and after being accused of trying to poison her husband, she’s taken away. Emily assumes that her aunt has been murdered, but later learns the truth.
Meanwhile, Valancourt,who managed to get a letter to Emily as she left for Venice and who has had to join his regiment, has been sucked into the world of the Parisian salon and although he doesn’t forget Emily, he thinks about her with less frequency.
Emily is still wetter than a bucket of water and barely able to function. Her servant, Annette, is amusingly garrulous, a trifle dim, but more knowledgeable than her mistress. Madame Montoni remains stupidly, well, stupid, defying her husband more out of principle than out of some bold attempt to to assert her rights. Montoni is still a moustache-twirling villain who rather overdoes his declarations that he will not be trifled with. (Although there are only nine instances of “trifled” in Udolpho, its frequent use by Montoni is noticeably repetitive and, in fact, he uses the word almost exclusively.) His men are all wild and fierce-looking, but no more than mass-produced cardboard cut-outs. Valancourt gets a single chapter, but is in danger of being dried out without his exceedingly moist girlfriend to keep him wet.
Set in Udolpho Castle, Volume II is much more Gothic than Volume I. There are Emily’s nocturnal ventures which lead her to rooms with curtained pictures and blood stains, or to doors behind which Montoni is often found to be lurking with some mysterious person. (All right, I think we’ve all guessed that it’s probably Signora Laurentini; probably.) Her daylight forays are scarcely less fraught after the bandits start fighting among themselves, and her encounters with Montoni ought to have her soiling herself, given her excessive fear of just about everything.
My impression, now that I’m halfway through the entire story, is that things have got a little repetitive (e.g. Montoni’s repeated declarations about not being trifled with) and a little stuck (e.g. Emily doesn’t seem to show much development; Madame Montoni seems to learn nothing; Montoni twirls his moustache again). I’m hoping that things will move on again in Volume III.