Discoveries, First Saturday of September (2014)

Yesterday, while standing at the check-out line in Whole Foods on Jefferson, self saw a CD by Ed Sheeran. She was curious, as apparently he is a great favorite of the writers on fanfiction.net  So she bought his CD and listened to it at home and, you know, it reminds her of old rock. But it’s pleasant. Something new to listen to while driving!

Today was peaceful. She mostly watered.

She’s very much enjoying Dark Star, by Alan Furst. He writes ridiculously well, for someone who writes spy thrillers.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

On p. 52, the hero of the story, Szara, lands in Berlin (after a particularly nasty encounter with some hired assassins — he escapes by the skin of hist teeth). This is what he sees of the city from his hotel room:

Szara stared out a high window, watching umbrellas moving down the street like phantoms. It seemed to him the city’s very own, private weather, for Berliners lived deep inside themselves — it could be felt — where they nourished old insults and humiliated ambitions of every sort, all of it locked up within a courtesy like forged metal and an acid wit that never seemed meant to hurt — it just, apparently by accident, left a little bruise.

Lovely writing, isn’t it?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Dialogue 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is DIALOGUE. The prompt says, “make pictures talk to each other.”

Here are two photographs of a couple of chairs in self’s backyard, some on the deck, one on the grass.

Do these pictures engage in dialogue?

2 Chairs, Backyard

2 Chairs, Backyard

DSCN0257

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Packed Weekend: So Many Things Self Could Have Done

Self could have attended her Stanford Alumni Homecoming.  Sabina is there with her baby son, Milo.  But self, as always, cannot seem to get organized enough to get going.

Right in her own backyard, in Redwood City, a Zoppé Italian Family Circus has opened, next to the Downtown Library.

There is also an Oktoberfest going on at Courthouse Square.

But here are the things self actually got around to doing:

  • She went to the Redwood City Farmers Market, just half an hour before they closed.  She got many vegetables, including something that looked like kangkong.
  • As a nod to Matt Damon’s character in “Hereafter” (Damon’s psychic idolizes Dickens, a fact which turns out to be pivotal to the plot), self borrowed Bleak House from the library.  This is such a hefty book that it is sure to put a crick in her neck.  Alas, self saw only hardcover copies on the library shelves.  On the plus side, self adores Dickens, and she hasn’t read Bleak House since the birth of son, eons ago:  self toted the copy with her to Stanford Hospital — !
  • Self went to Peet’s and picked up a free copy of The Stanford Daily.  Since it is the Homecoming Weekend issue, it is packed with reviews of exhibits, movies, Stanford Lively Arts events, and so forth and so on.  Currently at the Cantor Art Museum:  “Vodoun/Vodounon:  Portraits of Initiates” (Hubby declares he has no interest in seeing this, so self will go by herself:  she really loves anything creepy and supernatural).  There are also reviews (rather insipidly written) of “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” latest Zach Galfinakis showcase (a 7 out of 10) and “Life As We Know It,” featuring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel trying to make cute (a 6 out of 10).  There is also a review of a new pizza place in Palo Alto (as if Palo Alto needed any more pizza places), Howie’s Artisan Pizza.  The review of this pizza joint does the job with a minimum of flourish, which is commendable.  For instance, the review begins:  Pizza can mean very different things to different people. Which is so laudably straightforward.  Almost Fitzgerald-like in its directness.

Let’s not forget:  there is still the Giants/Phillies game in a couple of hours!!!  Self is all on pins and needles for that one!  She made sure there was lots of Orville Redenbacher popcorn in the house, as well as lots of organic butter (Is organic butter less fattening?  Who knows?  It certainly sounds as if it should be less fattening)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Sooo Hawwtt Today in Redwood City!

It is so so haaawwtt today.

So much hotter than it was in New York.

Self is going crazy with the watering, for apparently hubby was so transfixed by football that he neglected to water, not even once.

Furthermore, Gracie is lame.

“What’s wrong with her leg?” self inquired as soon as she arrived.

“Nothing,” hubby said.  “She’s fine.”

The poor li’l crit doesn’t seem to be in pain, but she is definitely favoring her left front leg, and holding her right paw gingerly in the air.

Today, hubby is transfixed by Stanford vs. Notre Dame.  It’s the third quarter, and Stanford is leading by 10 points.  The Stanford quarterback, Andrew Luck, is so good.  Self inquires if hubby would be interested in catching a home game at Stanford.  Hubby then cries, “Nooo!!!  It’s too hoot!”  He’s probably right, they have been at other games at Stanford, and the un-shaded seats are sweltering.  But she’s always wanted to get a tan!  Self knows she looks better with a tan, as witness all those photographs of herself taken in Boracay, Bohol, etc etc etc

In a little while, Dearest Mum will arrive in her rented car (if she doesn’t hit anything first).  Self doesn’t think Dearest Mum should be permitted onto any freeway.  Niece G said that, Thursday night, when they were heading to Redwood City, cars were honking at Dearest Mum.  Anyhoo, the plan for this evening is that Dearest Mum has been invited by Dear Sister-in-Law to attend a dinner at the Fairmont in San Jose, in honor of the Philippine president Noynoy.  But she doesn’t trust herself to drive that distance, so she is stopping off at Redwood City first so that self can take over the driving.  But, once at the Fairmont, Dearest Mum emphasizes that self is not invited to the dinner.  The tickets were issued very far in advance.  Self texts her sister-in-law, and her sister-in-law confirms that, indeed, there are no more tickets to this fabulous dinner.

That’s OK.  Self is sure she’d fall asleep listening to Noynoy.  Thing is, she has to hang around there because Dearest Mum says she wants self to be ready to drive her home.  Self thought it would be so nice if hubby came too, then she would have company while waiting for Dearest Mum.

“We could have a drink at the Fairmont,” self suggests tentatively.

“Are you kidding?” hubby bursts forth.  “Drinks at the Fairmont are expensive!  At least $8 each!”

Self wonders how hubby has come by this information, as to her knowledge he has never taken her there.

Anyhoo, if self has to wait for Dearest Mum while she attends this fabulous dinner, she’ll be damned if she waits in the car.  She darn well will go and have a drink.  In fact, many drinks!  $8 apiece or no!  That way, when Dearest Mum finally emerges from the fabulous dinner, and is ready to be driven home, self will be in trés happy mood!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Such an Excellent Day!

For one thing, self spent five hours in the company of an excellent writer: Ms. Bonnie Melvin from Paris! Yes! This woman is so cool she makes self look like hot, melted butter! Self luuuved her pretty Parisian white eyelet blouse and leggings and straight black hair and deep green eyes and — Bonnie  looked spec-TA-cular!   It is always good for self to be in the company of the spectacular!

Next, Bonnie treated self to lunch. Which — self was an absolute pig and chose New Kapadokia in downtown Redwood City. And had eggplant stuffed with ground beef. And had rice pudding for dessert. And then had the temerity to suggest that Bonnie walk with her to Marble Slab Creamery which, self assured Bonnie, was just around the corner and had the best ice cream concoctions. Bonnie demurred because she was just too full.

And then self got to speak to an agent from L.A. She didn’t know who it was calling, and when she picked up the phone, she said: “Are you from the computer store?” And he replied, “No, I’m an agent from L.A.” Self thought she was being discovered, a la Lana Turner. Then he said self had called him a few days earlier. Oh. Self completely forgot! Yes, she did call him! Blush, blush.

Then, self heard from long-lost classmate in San Gabriel!  Her classmate didn’t know that today was self’s birthday, she just happened to call!

So it was a very, very good day. And, hey, what about that Sean Maher/Jewel Staite kiss on “Warehouse 13″ last night? Self can almost forgive the producers putting Sean in purple spandex tights!

If self had any complaints at all about today, it would be that:

  1. Although self kept the TV on “General Hospital,” Bonnie and self still managed to miss the only scene where James Franco/aka character/serial killer “Franco” makes an appearance.  Darn it!
  2. Self did not get to fully explain to Bonnie why she loves science fiction and horror movies so much (Not that self didn’t make a valiant effort!  Still, one afternoon is definitely not enough time to delve adequately into the excellent of the Star Trek re-boot, Adrien Brody’s new geek career, Sean Maher, and so forth and so on.  Bonnie, it is imperative that you make a return visit to Redwood City, if only to gain a fuller comprehension of self’s late-flowering geek-dom!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Still Reading Paul Fussell: A Chapter About Poppies

On this Fourth of July, self is still reading Paul Fussell.

Oh, she did a little writing, of course (added a paragraph to putative novel-in-progress which, if she can only finish it will, self hopes, be grreat!  Or, if not great, at least make her a ton of money!)

She also watched a little of the Redwood City Parade:  beautiful chestnut horses with the stars and stripes painted on their rumps!  Awful stink of horse manure!  The Leland Stanford, Jr. University Marching Band (Crazy as always!  Luuved the guy with the floppy pink bunny ears!  Just loved him!).  New this year:  The Sheriff of Redwood City got to ride on his own float.  Or, at least, self doesn’t remember him doing that last year.  Then, hubby and self walked to City Pub and had excellent cold pints of Hefeweizen and plates of fried calamari and crab cakes.  Everything was so excellent and self got a little sleepy.

On the walk back to the car, we passed an exhibit of antique cars.  Next to one of the cars was a donation box for the Wounded Warriors Project.  Self was happy to plunk down a couple of dollars.  In fact, she wishes she could have plunked down a $20, but all she had in her wallet at that moment was $5.

After getting home, self still had to water (for it is very veeery hot!).  And then she took a break from watering to continue reading Paul Fussell.  She doesn’t know yet if he is genius or just eccentric (OK, maybe he is genius), but now she’s on a chapter where he talks about flowers and the importance of flower imagery to all (good) war literature.

For instance, the rose, especially the red rose, is terribly iconic in English literature.  But poppies are, too, as witness their proliferation in writings about Flanders fields.  But the poppies cannot be California poppies —  that is, they cannot be “orange or yellow.”  For a poppy to be considered a true “Flanders poppy,” its flowers have to be a “bright scarlet.”  Or something to that effect.

So now self is trying to remember “Restrepo” (great war documentary she saw with hubby yesterday) and trying to re-capture the imagery.  Well, granted, there are not too many flowers in the cinematography for that movie.  There are a lot of shots of dry brown hills, and later, there is snow.  So perhaps snow is emblematic of something.  In fact, if self remembers correctly, one of the platoon gets killed in the snow?

But, back to the flowers of World War I.  In a book about World War I, The Challenge of the Dead (Fussell describes it as “sentimental, elegiac”), the author, Stephen Graham, “produces a book of 176 pages without once noticing a poppy, although he chooses to notice plenty of other indigenous flowers, including roses and cornflowers.  We can guess that he omits poppies because their tradition is not one he wants to evoke in his book, the point of which is that survivors should now imitate the sacrifice of the soldiers, who in turn were imitating the sacrifice of Christ.  There is something about poppies that is too pagan, ironic, and hedonistic for his purposes.”

!!@@##

Hoooly hot-popcorn analysis!  Care to run that by self again?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Thoughts on Getting to See “Twilight: Eclipse” (7th Screening of Opening Day)

Self caught the 1:30 screening in Theater # 2 at the Century 20 in downtown Redwood City.

Amazingly, THERE WAS NO LINE!  At least, not for the theater self was seeing it in (There was a line for the 2 pm screening, across the lobby.  Go figure!)

There was a group of about 60 kids swarming in around the same time as self, and self asked one of the accompanying chaperones which movie she was taking the kids to see.  “Toy Story 3,” she responded.  Thank God!  If it had been one of the movies self was angling to see, she would have turned around and gone home!

So, anyhoo, there was plenty of space in the 1:30 screening of “Twilight:  Eclipse”  (After reading IMDB Sean Maher boards yesterday, about the “hot-ness” of vampires, did you really think self was going to see something like “The Karate Kid” today, dear blog readers ???)

Well, this one was waaay better than the second one!  Here are some discoveries self made while watching the movie:

  • Victoria is a new Victoria.  Self thinks it was Bryce Dallas Howard playing Victoria in this version.  Her face is much too sweet for a Vampire, but luckily you can’t really tell it’s Bryce Dallas Howard until pretty late in the movie (Before then, she’s mainly just a mass of gorgeous red curly hair darting around!)
  • Everyone in the audience was female with the exception of one little dude, about 10, who was walking out directly in front of self after the movie ended.  (He came with his mom, a woman who seemed to be in her 30s.  What a nice boy!)
  • Jasper is hot!  Self never noticed him before!
  • Ashley Greene just keeps getting more and more beautiful (She plays Alice)
  • Peter Facinelli is also hot (Likewise, self never noticed his hot-ness before)
  • Taylor Lautner is still hot (His first shirt-less scene produced quite an audible sigh in the audience)
  • Robert Pattinson’s Edward has turned into a controlling wuss.
  • Kristen Stewart is developing quite a nice butt (Self never noticed before)
  • Dakota Fanning’s acting chops are pretty much wasted.  All she does is glare!
  • All the humans/werewolves look like Filipinos Read the rest of this entry »

Some Thoughts on “Knight and Day”

Hubby and self caught the third screening of “Knight and Day” at downtown Redwood City Century 20 yesterday.  The reason we couldn’t catch the first screening was that earlier we were at La Azteca (Main St., Redwood City) along with a crowd of other people, boo-ing because the World Cup referee had awarded Argentina a goal against Mexico when everyone could see, hubby and self included, that it was off-side.

So, after the wild and exhausting viewing experience, we retreated to the calm depths of the movie theater, which ended up being so full that the only place we could find was three rows from the front, which put a crick in self’s neck and might have contributed to the nasty fall self took later, as she was attempting to re-fill the bird feeder in the apple tree.

But that’s neither here nor there.

What self wants to do today is focus on Tom Cruise. Yes, that Church of Scientology Famous Person whose secrets are known to all the High Priests of the Church (if you can believe various housekeepers etc who have spilled their little tidbits to the likes of Us Magazine) Self will refrain from participating in the gossip frenzy (for Kanlaon must always take the high road, dear blog readers).  But self Read the rest of this entry »

Things Self Did This Weekend That She Hasn’t Done in a Very Very Long Time

(Caveat: Self is not going to discuss yesterday’s excruciating US loss to Ghana in the World Cup knock-out round! Noooo!)

She saw a chees-y movie. This one was on the Syfy Channel and was called “Suprecroc vs. Dinogator.” Or was it “Dinogator vs. Supercroc”? Never mind. All dear blog readers need to know is that it was produced by Roger “King of the B Movies” Corman and that it featured a special guest appearance by the late David Carradine. Oh, and of course: there were gazillions of babes in neon-colored bikinis who were getting chomped up one by one. And a Crocodile Dundee-type of guy dressed in black leather and a black Cowboy hat.

Self also stood in the lobby of the Century 20 and looked at the advertisements for upcoming movies. “Predators” (with Adrian Brody and Laurence Fishburne) is coming July 4th weekend. “Resident Evil” with Milla Jovovich is likewise opening in July. And “Twilight: Eclipse” is showing next weekend. (Did anyone catch Taylor Lautner last night on SNL? He was hi-LA-rious!)

Made Kare-Kare (cheated: used Mama Sita’s Kare-Kare mix). The broth was rather watery, but the meat was falling off the bone, and hubby rated the dish A+. Self thinks the last time she made kari-kari was over 10 years ago.

Bought “Bavarian Emmentaler” cheese from German Haus on Broadway. The owner, an elderly but still quite hale-looking gent, was climbing over the upstairs balcony to fix a sign. His wife, at the cashier’s table, yelled but he paid no mind. She then turned to me and said, “Men!”

Self continued to read Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory, assigned reading almost 30 years ago in a class on the Literature of World War I. She has no memory of this book, at all. But she sees her own twenty-something notes scribbled on the margins. This, as self is sure she doesn’t need to inform dear blog readers, is a very eerie experience. Here is what she reads, on p. 131:

Ernest Parker, miraculously spared while his battalion was all but wiped out on September 16, 1916, says in 1964: “One day … I shall revisit that little undulation in the fields between Gueudecourt and Delville Wood on an early morning in mid-September. There I will give thanks for being spared another fifty years of happy and fruitful life … ” Such leanings towards ritual, such needs for significant journeys and divisions and returns and sacramental moments, must make us skeptical of Bernard Bergonzi’s conclusion: “The dominant movement in the literature of the Great War was … from a myth-dominated to a demythologized world.” No: almost the opposite. In one sense the movement was towards myth, towards a revival of the cultic, the mystical, the sacrificial, the prophetic, the sacramental, and the universally significant. In short, towards fiction.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

These Are Good Times For …

These are good times for:

  • Satire (Exhibit A: Jon Stewart, getting funnier and funnier on The Daily Show)
  • Earnestness (Exhibit A:  Glenn Beck.  Boy does he have looads of material now!)
  • the LA Lakers aka the Kobe Bryant Show (Self wants to kick those Celtics!  Just kick them!)
  • Eddie Redmayne (Won a Tony for his performance in “Red” —  Yay!)

These are bad times for

  • the Gulf Coast —  and that includes creatures above the ocean (pelicans, people), in the ocean (shrimp and so forth), or practically anywhere within reach of the Mother of All Oil Spills.  Well, let’s just go ahead and say:  ALL OF AMERICA.
  • small literary journals:  In the last two years, three of self’s favorites have ceased publication: Chelsea, Isotope, The Rambler.  And the ones that survive are barely getting by.
  • Need one even say this? Obama (Self didn’t bother watching his two speeches this week, but she saw excerpts on various news channels and decided he might just be too cerebral for these anxious times)
  • Silicon Valley (or anyone working there not connected with Read the rest of this entry »

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