Not Just Eye Candy

The Rogue Magazine April 2009 Issue

The Rogue Magazine April 2009 Issue

Nothwithstanding eye-catching girlie pictures included in every issue, this is no fluff magazine, dear blog readers.

In current (April 2009) issue, you will find many gems, among which is an interview with iconoclast director Peque Gallaga. Oh, how self adored his Oro, Plata Mata, which she saw in Berkeley, the year she was married. People walked out. Not, however, self. Self was riveted. (Dearest Mum’s good friend, Fides Asensio, was in it. Also, a very very young Cherie Gil.)

Filamore Tabios, Sr. Memorial Poetry Prize

Meritage Press is accepting entries for the 2009-2010 Filamore Tabios, Sr. Memorial Poetry Prize.  The contest is open to poets from around the globe who are full-blooded or half Filipino.  The winner will receive $500 and will have his/ her work published by Meritage Press.  There is no submission fee.  Contestants may enter more than one manuscript.


  1. Manuscript should have a minimum of 48 pages.
  2. Include two cover pages.  The first must include the title of the work, the author’s name, email/ mailing address and phone number.  The second cover page should have the title of the manuscript.  Submitted entries will not be returned and should be sent in hard copy (emailed manuscripts will not be accepted).
  3. Send to:  Eileen Tabios, Meritage Press, 256 North Fork Crystal Springs Road, St. Helena, CA  94574

Submission Deadline:  31 August 2009

For more information:

Rogue, Courtesy of Charles Tan!

Yesterday was the day self saw the rat.

It was also the day when self got a Fed-Ex package from Charles Tan aka Bibliophile Stalker.  Inside, a copy of Philippine Speculative Fiction IV, and the April issue of Rogue Magazine:  The “Blood, Sugar, Sex and Magic” Issue (aka Bacolod Issue) !!!


Dear blog readers, you must get this issue.  It is all about Bacolod, and is packed full of Negrense writers.  Not to mention the fetching eye candy (Wendy Puyat — correction: Yciar Castillo) featured on the cover.

If dear blog readers would like to know what Bacolod is like, here is a snapshot of the resort self’s grandfather built (first in Negros!), the Santa Fe Resort, and a plaster statue of grandfather’s obssession, Esther Williams.  Yes, indeed-y, this is the place where self spent all her childhood summers, where self nearly drowned in the pool (when she was five) and had to be rescued by a vigilant nun (who jumped into the pool in her habit) because self’s flighty yaya was too busy flirting with the lifeguard to notice that self was drowning.  Thank goodness for the nun!  Otherwise, the world would never be able to enjoy the trenchant observations of self on Kanlaon!

plaster effigy of Esther Williams, in Santa Fe Resort, just outside Bacolod City

plaster effigy of Esther Williams, in Santa Fe Resort, just outside Bacolod City

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.


Today, self:

  • Listened to a harp concert at Serra House on the Stanford campus (got lost, a very nice pair of female foreign students, who self accosted in front of the Bechtel International Center — which, unaccountably, had moved one whole block away, though in form looked much the same — directed me vaguely in the right direction)
  • Planted more sedum “Dragon’s Blood”.
  • Saw no more of purple shrieking creature.
  • Observed rat carcass getting stiffer.
  • Passed by Yumi Yogurt and got a medium serving of New York Cheesecake and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Self managed to lap it up while holding sprinkler can over the ferns — self is genius, absolute genius, at multi-tasking!

Now, self is watching a fascinating movie with actors she mostly doesn’t recognize — Across the Universe. She’s just watched a surreal draft scene played to the music of the Beatles’ “I Want You.” Grrrreat!  Don ‘t know when hubby’s going to be home —  self told  him she was going to be home “past 8” because of the harp concert, but discovered that the harp concert started at 4 and not 6 as she had thought, so she is now home and it’s only 7, but she’s not exactly rushing to tell hubby, it is so nice to just sit peacefully in the garden instead of having to make dinner!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: New York Playwright Walks Out on His Own Play!

The following is from John Lahr’s review of Christopher Durang’s new play, “Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them”, in the 20 April 2009 issue of The New Yorker:

I have seen actors walk off the set. I have seen audiences walk out of the theatre. But not until Christopher Durang’s “Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them,” (at the Public) have I seen a playwright walk out on his own play. “I don’t like this, I don’t like what’s happened,” the ingénue Felicity (Laura Benanti) says, near the finale, having spent most of the evening desperately trying to enlist the help of her reactionary parents in getting an annulment of her marriage to Zamir (Amir Arison), a Middle Eastern stranger whom she married after a drunken one-night stand, and whom she thinks might be a terrorist. “There’s no way I can imagine a positive outcome from this. I don’t want to be a part of it,” Felicity adds, and we feel her pain.

Garden Surprises

Yesterday, as self was dragging a 2 -cu.-foot bag of potting mix from the front porch to the side yard, she saw something purple and slimy looking on the cement under the bag, poked it with edge of her trowel and it shrieked — if such a tiny animal can be said to shriek — and began to flail: four arms, legs, and a tail. Then, still looking with extreme horror and fascination at the tiny thing — which was to self as terrifying as self probably was to it — self slowly began to back up, feeling as if she had just encountered THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON.

And the next surprise was encountered this morning, as self was preparing planting holes for some Dusty Miller, in the side yard. The side yard is overgrown with long runners of trailing ivy, and self was hacking at them with a vengeance and saw one long trailing branch that she was just about to grab when she noticed that this particular brown branch ended in something furry and gray and round and — EEEEEK!!!! A rat!!!!!!! And it was sitting very very still, oh very very still. And it never moved a muscle (self was so grateful; she wouldn’t have known what to do if it decided to charge her) and moved backwards, ever so slowly, heart pounding, the thought of rabies rattling around in her head. And she finally reached the house, and ran inside, and started yelling to hubby, who was taking one of his extremely long showers: A rat! A rat! A rat!

And hubby said it had probably run away by now, but self said no, you’ve got to take a look!

And when hubby got dressed, he accompanied self outside, and the rat was still there. So, hubby showed extreme courage by first throwing handfuls of soil at it. No movement. Then, a stone. Still no movement. “It’s dead,” hubby pronounced.

The little plants self had just been about to put in the ground were about two inches from the animal’s tail. The ivy is that dense, she hadn’t seen it at all.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

R.I.P, J. G. Ballard

Born in Shanghai, China, separated from his parents after the Japanese invasion, spent the war years interned in a prison camp, an experience he drew on for Empire of the Sun (Movie version, directed by Steven Spielberg, was Christian Bale’s first movie. Remember that — ??? Wonder what Ballard thought of the arc of young Bale’s career?)

He was also: single father extraordinaire.

Also: a writer of science fiction, with a distinct vision (His novel, Crash, became the basis for a David Cronenberg movie — with James Spader)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Et Tu, Dave Sedaris?

In which Dave Sedaris chronicles his fascination with Costco:

If anything should be bracketed by matching bookends, I suppose it’s an author tour. The ones I’d undertaken in the past began in one independent or chain store, and ended, a month or so later, in another. The landscape, though, has changed since then, and it’s telling that on this latest tour I started and finished at a Costco.

The first one I went to was in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I was spending the weekend with my sister Lisa, gearing up for six weeks of travel, when her husband, Bob, expressed a need for light bulbs. “Anyone game for a quick ride to Costco?” he asked, and before he could even find his keys I was panting, doglike, beside the front door.

Living in cities, it’s easy to avoid the big-box superstores. Their merciless lighting, their stench of rubber and cheap molded plastic — it’s not the way I normally like to shop. At Costco, though, I’d found displays of pain relievers: Anacin, Bayer, Tylenol. Eight major brands were represented. Pills were paired into single-serving envelopes, then stapled in rows to a bright sheet of poster board. It looked like something you’d see behind the counter at a gas station. There the packets might cost two dollars each, but here the entire display — maybe a hundred and fifty doses — went for just twelve bucks.

— from “Author, Author?”, in the 30 March 2009 issue of The New Yorker

Self can’t help wondering if the aforementioned Lisa is the sister with the feet, as described in an essay in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. Self is sooo glad she is the only writer in the family!

And, apropos of nothing, did dear blog readers know that Benadryl is not sold anywhere in Hong Kong? This self found out the hard way, during one of her extreme bouts of insomnia in that hectic city.

Self, too, has written about shopping in Costco, at Christmastime, no less (in a story, “Door to Door,” in Mayor of the Roses). Alas, she cannot continue posting. She has to make dinner.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Saw “State of Play”

Saw “State of Play” this afternoon, in downtown Redwood City. Whole city was sweltering. Theatre was full of seniors (at least, this movie was). Saw four excellent previews: “Funny People” (Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler, and Jason Schwartzman, the short guy who was in “The Darjeeling Limited.” About this preview, all self can say is: if one is not prepared to see Eric Bana with graying sideburns, then don’t watch this movie); the new Michael Mann movie about John Dillinger, with dreamy Johnny Depp; a James Toback documentary about Mike Tyson; and the preview for “Angels and Demons” (featuring Tom Hanks’ new hairstyle: much improved from previous outing, four stars!)

Movie was great for all these reasons: Russell Crowe. Helen Mirren. Ben Affleck.

Did self say Ben Affleck???

Yes, indeed! Here is finally a performance worthy of the darling boy’s mug! That is, it was an A-plus performance, according to self’s book! He was so vulnerable, so eminently sympathetic, one could see what the attraction (or should we say hero worship) of fat reporter/Russell Crowe character was. And, self just wants to say, that the overweight part was not just an example of over-the-top method acting or what-have-you on the part of Russell Crowe. In fact, it was absolutely essential to understanding his character, and his character’s relation to Congressman Stephen Collins (and Dear Son did have a classmate of almost this exact same name in grade school, and boy had somewhat similar look to Dear Ben, and also hailed from Boston. What’s up with that?).

And Robin Wright Penn — is there an American actress who can play wounded vulnerability as well as she? Self thinks not.

And she is still beautiful.

And Rachel McAdams is called upon to be all dewy wide-eyed, but she is not cloying.

Good movie! Some of the seniors even clapped at the end! Self would give it three out of four stars! (The only reason she didn’t give it four was because there were a couple of scenes toward the end that self found a bit dragg-y. But not the scene where Russell Crowe is cooking himself some mashed potatoes! That scene is absolutely necessary to establishing Dear Russell’s character!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

The Short List From NYTBR 12 April 2009

Books Self is Interested in Reading After Perusing The New York Times Book Review of 12 April 2009 :

(1) After reading Miranda Seymour’s review of Andrea Wulf’s The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obssession :

    Andrea Wulf’s The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obssession

(2)    After reading Jack Pendarvis’ review of Torsten Kroll’s novel, Callisto:

(3)    After reading Alison McCulloch’s capsule reviews in the Fiction Chronicle:

  • Claire Castillon’s My Mother Never Dies:  Stories
  • Tahar Ben Jelloun’s Leaving Tangier

(4)    After reading Michael Meyer’s (highly informative) end-paper essay on the disappearing “Author’s Advance”:

    Money Changes Everything, an anthology edited by Elissa Schappell, identified in the essay as “a fiction writer” (Self knows her as something more than a fiction writer:  book editor of Vanity Fair; editor at Tin House)

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