Aaargh!! Snarl!! Hoo!!

Forgive intensity of this post, dear blog reader, have just returned from watching 300 when self thought all along hubby was driving us to Menlo Park to see The Lives of Others.

Oh well, that’s OK. Since Berlin audiences gave 300 standing ovation at Berlin Film Festival, and star Gerard Butler has faintly Germanic accent (though he is Scottish), and all sorts of Wagnerian (and loud rock) music have been pounding eardrums for last two hours, similarities with The Lives of Others probably many (though won’t have definitive last word on this issue until I see that movie).

Well, how could I have gotten so mixed up and confused that I thought we were going to watch the Oscar-winning Best Foreign Film? Was it because I quoted hubby the matinee time? And because hubby had never breathed a syllable, in all the past three weeks, about wanting to see 300?

No matter. We were there. And as friend in Diamond Bar, CA used to tell me, If you’re already wet, you might as well go in all the way, or something to that effect.

Anyway, I surprised myself by hugely, and I mean HUGELY enjoying this movie. So many magnificent torsos on display! Whereas, in the last few weeks, caught only a five-minute glimpse of Hugh’s (in Music & Lyrics) and skinny chest of James McAvoy in The Last King of Scotland.

Suddenly, here, in this one movie, are a surfeit of highly toned abs. And the actor who played Faramir in Lord of the Rings (though he does end movie missing an eye). And one bodacious Queen. And trans-sexual Xerxes. And one terribly malformed, humpbacked Spartan who gets mad because King Leonidas says he is too short to fight with the rest of his men (Well,he was! Let’s not fault King Leonidas for calling a spade a spade!). And various molten-faced seers. And one indeed very fetching tall lad who unfortunately gets his head sliced off. And — ?

Should I continue, dear blog reader? Maybe not. Am afraid I will give away the plot of the whole movie. Though if you remember your Greek history you will know how it ends.

Anyway, the movie was like poetry to me, sheer poetry. Will urge son to see it, as soon as he steps in the door. And enjoyment not in the least curtailed by hubby digging his hand into my small bag of popcorn, even though he said he didn’t want anything when I asked.

Anyway, there I was hollering and hooting and laughing my head off, and clutching hubby’s arm and saying things like, “What’s that they’re shouting?” And, “He’s going to give away the goat path!” and, “Is Xerxes a transvestite?” and, “He’s going to diiiieeee”, and, trust me, since sixth sense has been honed on such movies since the age of eight (when Dearest Dad snuck me in to see The Adventurers, and promised ticket girl he would cover my eyes and forgot), I always correctly predict imminent demise of major (or minor) characters.

Anyway, feel so refreshed now. As if self could take on a whole horde of students, screaming as loudly as the Persians. Cathartic, positively cathartic.

I Hereby Bequeath to You, Oh Loyal Blog Readers: Information on Chinese Restaurants in Saginaw, Michigan (Priceless)

Because I have had only three hours sleep; because son and friend are arriving tonight from Cal Poly; because I have to teach six hours on Monday, grade papers all weekend, and then rush to Lamon at Bisyo Salon (where am expected to be provocative, raunchy and entertaining) at the Bayanihan Center on Sunday; because I have to pick up Dearest Mum from the airport Monday night after my 6 PM class ends, and then bring her to Fave Tito’s house in Daly City; because I have to pick up Dearest Mum on Tuesday and take her shopping and then bring her back to Fave Tito’s house Tuesday night; because I have to arrange a weekend trip to Carmel for Dearest Mum and niece on Mar. 31-Apr. 1; because I have to be in San Diego for Laurie Okuma Memorial Reading on Apr. 5; because I have to meet friends at Buddhist Temple in San Francisco on Holy Saturday; because Sunday Apr. 8 is Easter Sunday; because Monday, Apr. 9 is start of spring quarter at xxxxx community college and I stupidly agreed to teach two 4-unit classes; because, after meeting said classes once, have to wing it to Hawaii for another reading; because of all the above, I cannot revise my novel.

Think each and any of the above are pretty good reasons for writer’s block, wouldn’t you agree, dear blog reader?

So, since I have been hoarding the below information (on Chinese restaurants in Saginaw, Michigan) for use in a particular chapter of said (as yet purely theoretical) novel, herewith bequeath such information to all and sundry, for your possible use in your own novels (were you to plan to write a novel set in Saginaw, Michigan):

Chinese Restaurant # 1:

Panda House is the upscale Chinese restaurant in Saginaw — run by a Chinese woman and her (Chinese) husband. Interesting: the owners are Asian, but all the waitstaff are blonde waitresses who have been there forever. Great food. The space used to be, I think, some other type of restaurant or club. It’s in the older part of town, right on the Saginaw River (which, I have heard, is the only river besides the Nile that runs north – south), but the river isn’t that pretty (at least at that juncture) so there’s not really a view. Panda House was very nice — antiques, grand piano, pretty nice decor.

Chinese Restaurant # 2:

Forbidden City is in a strip mall. The usual very tacky heavy red and black decorating theme. No natural light (all indirect flourescent). Windows blocked off by heavy red and white curtains. Old wall-to-wall industrial black and red carpeting, wallpaper of Chinese characters, red and black circular booths, room divided into smoking and non-smoking. Old, old menus. Up front at the cash register, where people pick up their take-out orders, a display case with gum and cigarettes and weird knicknacks — dolls, cars, lucky cats, chopsticks. Also has a back room where, presumably, private parties and receptions are held. Some Chinese waiters, some pimply teen-age types. “Red pop” can be obtained there (sickly sweet/ carbonated). Moo Goo Gai Pan is there referred to as “Snow White Chicken.” Hot mustard and sweet-sour sauce on all the tables.

All I ask, dear blog reader, is that if you do end up using the above information on Chinese restaurants in Saginaw, you acknowledge having received such from self, will be of great use — I can’t tell you how much — in upping self’s name recognition factor, which as we all know, dear blog reader, is necessary pre-requisite to fame, fortune, riches, happiness, equilibrium, a steady mental state, and production of books about rich, happy, well-adjusted and forceful Filipinas which will (surely) mark Filipino writers’ (third, after Jessica’s and Tess’s) entry into New York Times bestseller list-dom.

Quote of the Day: A Citizen’s Thoughts on the War

Letter from a New Yorker reader to the magazine, responding to an Adam Gopnik piece in the Feb. 12, 2007 issue (“Slaughterhouse: The idealistic origins of total war”):

Adam Gopnik, in his comments on the concept of total war, acknowledges the importance of the institution of the conscript army as suggested by General Rupert Smith (Books, February 12th). Gopnik then ends his discussion with this observation about the current war in Iraq: “One of the things that will surely strike future historians about our era is the odd placidity of American cultural life at the time of a wildly unpopular war . . . so different from the eruptions that attended Vietnam.” In spite of some similarities, one of the main differences between Vietnam and Iraq is the presence of the draft in the former and its absence in the latter. Without universal conscription, the current war just doesn’t cut as wide a swath in the public’s consciousness, and I can’t help but believe that this was one of the unstated motivations for ending the draft after Vietnam. In a democracy, an army made up of citizens from across the social spectrum serving for relatively short terms of duty becomes much harder to sustain in a wrong-headed war than one composed solely of volunteers.

— Thomas Peterson, Santa Monica, Calif.

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