In Which Self Tries to Postpone Spending More Money by Distracting Herself with December 2008 VANITY FAIR

This morning, self went shopping.  Yes, indeed, she actually left son at home (who was probably thanking his lucky stars at self’s exit) and went to Roger Reynold’s (Menlo Park) to buy a plant and to Sequoia Station (Jefferson and El Camino, RWC), to the Barnes & Noble and See’s there.  Along the way, she filled up with gas: the “Gas Tank Empty” light had been blinking for a while, but self was sure she had an “emergency reserve” (though she couldn’t remember exactly what size this reserve was —  perhaps 20 miles???). Great indeed was her consternation when she ended up having to put in 15 gallons of gas, approximately the entire capacity of her tank.  Eeek!

At Roger Reynolds, self bought uncle in Daly City a globe with a reindeer inside, and a fake Christmas tree, and a golden wire basket that she filled with Christmas ornaments and she knew she would have spent a lot less if she’d just ordered him a gift basket from Harry & David, but anyhoo.

At Barnes & Noble she searched for a Naomi Shihab Nye collection for her friend Carla P, and a thriller called Red to Black by Alex Dryden for one of her Dear Bros, and for a novel by Anthony Trollope called The Eustace Diamonds (for herself).  Came up empty.  The Trollope wasn’t available “anywhere,” according to B & N salesperson.

Then, walked to See’s, bought gift certificate for son.  Other possible stocking fillers for son:  salami (ha ha ha!), a gasoline card.

Then, feeling in need of some major re-fueling, self headed home, settled herself on the couch and began watching “Jericho” re-runs.  In the meantime, she also began leafing through the December Vanity Fair, the one with Tina Fey on the cover.  And here she is now at the section called “Night-Table Reading,” in which VF asks a passel of celebrities what they are currently reading.  In line with the current economic situation, preponderance of celebrities consulted by VF are people like Donny Deutsch (co-author of The Big Idea:  How to Make Your Entrepreneurial Dreams Come True, from the Aha Moment to Your First Million).  Here are the people whose choices self found particularly interesting:

  • Ray Bradbury, whose most recent book is We’ll Always Have Paris, is reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night:  “Tender is the Night is the most outstanding novel I’ve ever read.  Fitzgerald had a way of writing prose poetry amidst his stories.”  (Sold, Ray, sold!)
  • Steven Gaines, author of Fool’s Paradise:  Players, Poseurs, and the Culture of Excess in South Beach, is reading Daniel Mendelsohn’s How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken:  Essays:  “I keep dipping into this wonderful collection of essays about books and movies and plays, most of them written for the New York Review of Books.  Mendelsohn, who won a National Book Critics Circle Award for book reviewing, is a gifted and entertaining writer.”  (Sold, Steven, sold!)
  • Ryan D’Agostino, author of Rich Like Them:  My Door-to-Door Search for the Secrets of Wealth in America’s Richest Neighborhoods is reading Joe Nocera’s Good Guys & Bad Guys:  “There’s wisdom in his stories, something the business world could use right now.”  (Sold, Ryan, sold!)

Stay tuned.

Self Has Seen “The One”!

At some point, early in the movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” a bunch of the nation’s most elite scientists (Jennifer Connolly is marshalled for her expertise in astro-biology or some such; in the movie she plays the role of a professor from Princeton) are calculating the speed of an approaching foreign object which is projected to land directly in the middle of Manhattan (in fact, in the middle of Central Park), and the smart Indian one says, “It’s moving at vector blah blah triple the rate of blah blah point blah blah.”  And hubby turns to self with eyebrows quizzically raised (or, at least, self imagined his eyebrows were quizzically raised, for after all the movie theatre was dark) and says, “That’s faster than the speed of light!”


In the movie, Keanu has to engage in an extended conversation (self means, about five minutes long) in Chinese!  And self nearly fell over, because he was speaking very very slowly, and if he’d been in self’s Chinese classes at Stanford, her professors would have given him a C or a D!  (Self’s Chinese name was Wei Yung Fei, and her teachers all told her she had a “good Mandarin accent”!  But self didn’t believe them, of course, she knew they were just being nice.)

And Keanu and John Cleese were in a scene where they went mano a mano writing math equations on a blackboard!  That scene almost blew self’s mind!

And Jennifer Connolly was the only female scientist elite enough to be included in a top-secret government operation to dialogue with aliens!  And of course, when alien sphere lands in Central Park, she walks far far far ahead of her male colleagues (finally, chivalry kicks in and they allow the female to take precedence!)

And there were approximately three cute guys in this movie, so self was in heaven:  the cute guy from “Friday Night Lights” (whose name self keeps forgetting); the cute guy from “Mad Men” (Jon Hamm); and of course Keanu, who in self’s humble opinion is aging much much better than Brad.

And son, who likes Jennifer Connolly exceedingly, pronounced “The Day the Earth Stood Still” as “an 8 out of 10,” which is about the same ranking he gave “Quantum of Solace”!

And self got to watch a preview for the “Terminator:  Salvation” movie, with hunka hunka Christian Bale playing John Connor!

And there was another preview featuring Hugh Jackman that purports to revolve around the origin of his Wolverine character (and features Liev Schreiber as a bad guy — ha ha ha ha!)

And there was a preview for “State of Play,” featuring a Wow! cast:  Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams (who seems to have trimmed down considerably) and Helen Mirren!

And self had popcorn, lots and lots of popcorn!  So much popcorn that, about halfway through the movie, when son asked if there was any more, self had to ‘fess up that the large bag was completely empty!  Nothing inside except a couple of kernels!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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