This Evening: TV

Self watched “Dancing with the Stars” instead of the new “NCIS: Los Angeles.” The lure of Baz Luhrmann as a guest judge was just too much. Also the chance to see whether Tom DeLay would actually make it to the next round. Also the chance to see whether Kelly Osbourne would make it to the next round.

Baz selected a woman named Mya to perform again tonight with her partner. She had great, big false eyelashes and seemed to be channeling Cheryl Burke. Kathy Ireland got eliminated: Oh, too bad. Tom DeLay hung in there, good: Self wants to see how much pain he can withstand and whether he can actually support Cheryl Burke (He nearly dropped her at the end of his last dance, the tango). And oh, Baz was just too too cute (swoon)! Too bad he was only filling in for the old guy.

After “Dancing with the Stars”, self watched the premiere episode of a new series starring Christian Slater, “The Forgotten.” She thought he played a cop, but about halfway through the episode she realized he wasn’t: he was part of an organization of concerned citizens moon-lighting as investigators, going by the name “The Forgotten Network.” (Hmmm…) Jury still out on whether the treacly voice-over (of the murder victim, a young woman) is an effective device: self thought it smacked too much of The Lovely Bones, alas! Still, she found the show absorbing enough to watch till the end.

Then, the news came on, and if you can believe this, there is a Tsunami Alert for the Bay Area. Apparently, there was a strong earthquake somewhere in the South Pacific, which triggered the tsunami, now supposedly heading for Pacifica. The reporter says it’s the width of the tsunami that is the most worrisome aspect: it is said to be “at least 100 feet wide.” (How big is 100 feet? Self doesn’t think that sounds very big) People are being warned to “stay out of the water and off the bridges.” Oh, the excitement!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Today, Last Tuesday of September 2009

It was so incredibly cold and blustery (and it’s not even Winter yet:  in fact, it’s barely Fall) that the two li’l crits stayed indoors all day, pressed against each other on a cushion next to the dining room where self sat, writing.

She was going to see “The September Issue” (a documentary about Vogue Magazine editor Anna Wintour).  That, at least, was what she kept telling herself all day, to make herself continue writing –  doggedly and with purpose.

But the matinee showtime came and went, and self was still at home.

Instead, she read James Risen’s State of War and learned that the plans for the Read the rest of this entry »

Quote of the Day: on Health Care Reform

From the Sept. 5, 2009 issue of The Economist:

The current debate about health care reform is in part a debate about death, which is why it evokes such fear.  Some of this fear is absurd.  Outside a town-hall meeting in Reston, Virginia, last week, a few Read the rest of this entry »

Relief for Typhoon Ondoy Victims in the Philippines

Self’s poor country. As if all the political woes aren’t enough, it is constantly beset by natural disasters, the latest of which has been Typhoon Ondoy (death toll so far: 284 and rising)

Self’s alma mater, Ateneo de Manila, has organized a relief effort. U.S. residents who wish to help can go to one of the following organizations:

Philippine Jesuit Foundation:

    Contact: Cristina Tabora, Executive Secretary, Philippine Jesuit Foundation, taboracom@gmail.com

    Download the Jesuit Foundation donation form here.

Ayala Foundation USA

    Contact: Marivic Padilla, Ayala Foundation USA, marivic@af-usa.org

    If going through Ayala Foundation USA, click on “Donate Now” button, click on the Credit Card icon, then select an organization in the drop down menu. Select “Ateneo Task Force Ondoy c/o OSA and SLB” (*OSA stands for Office of Student Activities, Ateneo de Manila; SLB stands for Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, Translation: The Church in Service of the Nation)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

More News From the P. I. (That’s “Philippine Islands”, For Those of You Not in the Know!)

There was a huge typhoon!

Dearest Mum said she was flooded out of her own house and had to spend the last couple of days in someone’s high-rise condo!

The Magallanes overpass was impassable!

Dearest Mum’s latest concert was cancelled!  So were the UAAP college basketball games (big this time of year)!

Self’s Ateneo classmates are getting together a fund drive (Death toll hit 240, dear blog readers, it is terrible)

*          *          *          *

Further tidbits from the recent Manila International Book Fair:

  • Dearest Mum went, with self’s eldest brother, and they bought a dozen (Dearest Mum said it was 15) copies of her book.  Afterwards, Dearest Mum said she gave a copy to each of self’s three brothers. A few days ago, Dearest Mum asked brother YooHoo (That truly is his name, dear blog readers.  Dearest Mum has such a penchant for giving funny names to her children!) what he thought of self’s stories. Bro replied, “I only read partway into the first story, but I couldn’t finish.” That story happened to be the one about the severed hand — BWAH. HA. HA. HA. HA!!!  Dearest Mum tells self that next time, she should make sure the violent stories are at the end.  Otherwise, people might have the same reaction as Dear Bro and stop reading.
  • Dearest Mum bought self a complete multi-volume set of the writings of Ambeth Ocampo! (TY, Dearest Mum!)
  • Dearest Mum said she also bought self a “Jose Rizal” T-shirt! She wanted one in black, but they had run out. So she told the salesperson (a guy), who was wearing the only remaining black Jose Rizal shirt: “How much for yours?” And he said, “But, ma’am! I am wearing it!” And she goes: “So what? Take it off! Of course I’ll wash it before giving it to my daughter!” So he did. There! Self can hardly wait, dear blog readers, to get that black used Jose Rizal T-shirt!

Stay tuned.

A Sentence, and Thoughts on a Death Scene

From the same book self was reading this morning, Karen Fisher’s A Sudden Country:

    The old dog had become a terrible thing, dull fur and architecture, the back of her tail raw from some disease.

Image is rather appalling but self does love a writer who can make of gross things a thing of beauty. Karen Fisher is a verbal Read the rest of this entry »

Last Sunday in September 2009

Son went to catch a concert in Golden Gate Park. Free, and Jason Mraz was supposedly one of the performers.  Afterwards, the plan was for him to meet up with niece and have dinner at Max’s in South San Francisco.

Self is completely wiped out.  She’s lolling around, reading.  Hubby went to Safeway and came back with a whole lot of TV dinners, an enormous bunch of broccoli (“Only 99 cents!”) and a raspberry pudding cake (“$2.99!”)

After about an hour, the phone rang.  It was son.

He was in Golden Gate Park, in Sharon Meadow, and there was nothing there.  “Can you look for the event on the web and tell me where?” he asked.

Self checked, googling “Jason Mraz + Sept. 27″

“Jason Mraz is performing in the Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes, Self Comes Across a Description

from Karen Fisher’s A Sudden Country, a historical novel about families on the Oregon Trail:

Apron, petticoats.  She stood and struggled, she tugged and hissed at her confining dress, remembering those Pawnee women, their unbound breasts beneath their tunics.  In a tiny pop of eyelets, she snaked free.  Bodice and tight sleeves, this hateful husk.

This book is not easy reading, dear blog readers, but self will keep at it, chiefly because occasionally one’s patience is rewarded with passages like the above.  Stay tuned.

Ode to Cal Shakes: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

It was hot.  So hot that self felt she was sitting in a jeepney in the Philippines.  But she didn’t want to get up or miss even one minute of the Cal Shakes’ production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” She loved every single moment: Young love, crossed purposes, magic potions, sexy Queens, a handsome Lysander (strumming a banjo –  and his voice was not bad, either), a feisty Hermia, a very hip Puck (bronze Coke-bottle shades, fur down both pants legs, bare chest, thank God he was buff), a hilarious Bottom, mood music, a rousing finale –  what more could one wish for?

In keeping with the setting, this production was like a family affair: Puck addressed the cell phone issue and segued right into his lines from the play.  Characters ran up and down the aisles, or looked directly at various audience members as they were speaking.  When The Players perform, in Act II, members of the cast were seated among the audience, shouting their comments.  It might have been like this at the Globe –?  This is what self loves so much about watching a Cal Shakes’ production:  There is a lot of extemporaneous and impromptu action.  Shakespeare isn’t “heavy,” like a classical tome.

DSCN1458

Plays are not really Read the rest of this entry »

A Long Digression

One thing you can say for self: she tries, she really tries. Here she is blogging, on this early morning Saturday (when very soon we will have to leave, pick up rental car from the airport, then pick up son’s friend from the city, then drive over the Bay Bridge, then present to Orinda, where self will unburden herself of the chips, bean and guacamole dip, honey turkey slices, 2 lbs. of salami, loaf of sliced sourdough bread, Mission flour tortilla chips, bottled water, liter bottles of coke, chicken salad, and fruit she bought yesterday in Safeway, in mad effort to approximate an organized being, preparatory to watching Cal Shakes’ “A Midsummer Nights Dream.”)

Self tried like might and main to reach niece G last night, to see if she wanted to come along, but after leaving three messages and getting no response, she has to face the cold hard fact that niece has probably made other plans for today.

Then, somewhere around midnight last night, when it became clear that self would not easily get to sleep (bad enough on ordinary nights, but son presented at 11 p.m. There goes sleep!), she tapped out two pages of her novel-in-progress. Of course, she doesn’t know where the character she was writing about came from. All of a sudden, she was there, in self’s computer, and wouldn’t get out, no matter how hard self tried to banish her to a walk-on part. So, well, this is how novels get written. You stay up sleepless and you start hearing voices.

Anyhoo, the ostensible reason for this post (pardon the long digression, dear blog readers), is to list the books self is interested in reading after perusing the 20 September 2009 issue of The New York Times Book Review. It is (thankfully) a shorter-than-usual list:

1.    After reading Malena Watrous’ review of Joyce Carol Oates’ 57th (!!!) novel, Little Bird of Heaven:

2.    After reading Thomas Mallon’s review of William Trevor’s xxxth novel, Love and Summer:

  • William Trevor’s Love and Summer

3. After reading Gregory Beyer’s review of Jonathan Ames’ collection of essays, The Double Life is Twice as Good:

  • Jonathan Ames’ The Double Life is Twice as Good

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