Strange Web

Do dear blog readers recall that, a few weeks ago, self quoted from a blog named “a certain jen ne sais kwok”? Self read something about “Young Spock is Hawwwwt!!!” and it had her in stitches! Literally, in stitches! So, here’s the blog. Scroll down the “Gossip Girl” entries (“Gossip Girl” is Dearest Mum’s favorite TV show!) until you get to the picture of Young Spock and Young Kirk (Oh, Read the rest of this entry »

About “Angels & Demons”

As self’s Dear Departed Dad used to say, If you can’t say anything good . . .

Tom Hanks plays a Harvard professor.  Which means he can do anything.  Still, self would just like to know where a Harvard professor gets off telling Roman carabinieri what to do.  And why a Harvard professor doesn’t know that when handling priceless archival documents, one should always wear gloves.  And why, anyway, would a Harvard professor be doing laps in a pool at 5 a.m.?  Not that she has anything against Harvard professors (some of them may even be hunks), or that she minds seeing Tom Hanks in swimming trunks (bod, or what she could see of it anyway, still OK), but the “swimming at 5 a.m. thing” was a little much, self feels, even if it was there just to establish that this professor, despite being a member of academia, is indeed a very very virile guy.  Which is absolutely essential to the veracity of the plot, considering the number of things Hanks’ character is required to do later.  But, self digresses.

An even bigger outrage is what the movie does to Ewan McGregor.  Ewan McGregor, perhaps one of the finest actors of his generation (here playing the hottest priest in cinematic history), is in this movie reduced to —  to —

AAARGGGGH!!!!  Self can’t say because then she’ll be giving the whole movie away!

(Ewan, self is so confused.  Did you accept this role just for the money?  And why did you still have that Scottish accent, even though your Dad was supposedly Irish and you told Tom Hanks you were adopted by a Cardinal at the age of 9 and had lived most of your life in Italy?  And, didn’t you see what the last movie did to Paul Bettany’s career?  Self hasn’t seen him in a movie since he was last seen playing a self-flagellating albino monk/assassin in the execrable The Da Vinci Code!)

Self can’t believe she sat for two hours in a theatre watching @##!!@@##

Afterwards, hubby declared it was very, very good.  Which shows you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it —

This was absolutely the worst movie self has seen this year, last year, or — or since she saw The Da Vinci Code.  There, she’s said it.  Sorry, Dear Departed Dad!

Counting yesterday’s Terminator:  Salvation, that makes two strike-outs in one weekend.  It’s enough to drive a person nuts.  Or, at least, back into the arms of J. J. Abrams and co. This week, Star Trek again, for sure.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Reading for the Day: Anthony Lane and “Star Trek”

From the review in the May 18, 2009 issue of The New Yorker:

What happened to “Star Trek”?  There it was, a nice little TV series, quick and witty, injecting the frontier spirit into the galactic void, and managing to touch on weighty themes without getting sucked into them and squashed.  It ran for three seasons, and then, in 1969, it did the decent, graceful thing and expired.  End of story.  Except that the Read the rest of this entry »

Self Is Having Suuuch a Nice Weekend

Pepe, son, and Rebecca in self's living room

Pepe, son, and Rebecca in self's living room

We are just so happy together.

In this picture, Pepe is the spitting image of his Dad, who self and hubby first met at Stanford, oh so many years ago.

“Terminator: Salvation” (Musings on Christian, Mel, Moon, and Sam)

Self bleary-eyed:  she stayed up late reading again.  Started Anita Shreve’s Light on Snow yesterday:  this book is not bad, dear blog readers!  Self read Shreve’s Sea Glass a couple of years ago, but did not enjoy it as much as she’s enjoying this one.  Perhaps it’s the point of view:  Light on Snow is told from the point of view of a 12-year-old girl and is thus filled with frequent mention of such girl-y activities as roasting marshmallows or making bead necklaces (Dear blog readers might not find such point-of-view beguiling, but anyhoo).  In addition, this one takes more of the form of a suspense novel, as there’s a crime that the police are called in to solve.  Given all those elements, self is prepared to enjoy this novel.  She only hopes the young woman who has just entered the story a few pages ago —  self is about halfway —  does not end up falling in love with the narrator’s widowed dad, because that would just be too, too cliché.

Hubby wanted to see a movie, so self suggested “Terminator:  Salvation.”  What can self say about this movie?  There are two good performances, and they are those of Moon Bloodgood (Luuuv that name.  By the way, this girl would have made a good Uhura.  Taller and somehow more substantial) and Sam Worthington (Another Aussie! Australia definitely a prime breeding ground for hunky men!).  Christian Bale does the job:  that is, he looks manly and delivers his lines, which is about all you can expect from the Savior of the Human Race.

There is also a Wild Child, which put self in mind of “The Road Warrior,” but this child is way more photogenic than “The Feral Kid” of that earlier movie (which, by the way, ranks as one of self’s faaavorite action movies of all time, since  it featured Mel Gibson when he was not yet weird)

There are also echoes of “Saving Private Ryan,” with Anton Yelchin (Chekov of “Star Trek,” unfortunately minus the lovable Russian accent) in the Private Ryan role played by Matt Damon in the aforementioned.

And there are echoes of the first “Terminator” movie (with special appearance by the Governor of California —  CGI, most likely.  And he is nekkid.  And his calf muscles —  camera did a slow pan —  are just tremendous!  Shaped like bar-bells!)

Self was so happy when it seemed John Connor had been terminally wounded at the end.  But then there’s a twist.  And a pretty ludicrous one at that.  At this point, self feels called upon to quote Bones of the new “Star Trek”:  “You don’t go to the Kentucky Derby and leave your prize stallion in the stable.”  The stallion in this instance being —  no, not Christian Bale —  Sam Worthington.


But, then, Director McG has so little imagination.  He had the good fortune to have Jane Alexander (erstwhile head of the National Endowment for the Arts!) in the cast, and all he could think up for her to do was to walk around looking stressed.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Upon Arriving Home From the Symphony

Self and hubby had, as usual, a grand time at Davies.  The featured performer, pianist Yuja Wang, was fetching in a crimson dress.  She had very white arms and very black hair.  Since self could see almost nothing of her face, she seemed (to self’s very blurred vision) like an apparition.  Something like the ghost in the Japanese horror flick, “Dark Water.” She made deep bows to the audience, flinging her long hair forward over her head.  This girl is a year younger than son.  Like Dearest Mum, she is a graduate of Curtis.  Self toyed with the idea that Yuja is what Dearest Mum would have turned out to be, if she had not gotten married and had five children.  She’d be traveling all over the world in crimson gowns, making deep bows to adoring audiences.  Mind-blowing.

The other interesting feature of the evening was the premiere of a new piece by a 31-year-old composer named Mason Bates (what a fab name!) who was raised in Richmond, Virginia but moved to the Bay Area when he was 23.  This piece was fantastic.  It was otherworldly.  A man in a tuxedo wielded a broom to make swishing sounds against a piece of wood which were then amplified, augmented by actual taped conversation from one of NASA’s first space walks.  It put self in mind of — of course — Star Trek!  Interplanetary travel!  Spock!  Interplanetary travel!  Star Trek!  Spock!  Hot Spock!  Hot!

It was an extremely enjoyable piece.

Upon arrival home, self and hubby approached front door with some curiosity.  Would son and Rebecca be home?  Would they have made themselves dinner?  Would they be watching TV?  Would they be in the garden?  Would the dogs have gotten on Rebecca’s nerves?

But when we entered the house, though all the lights were on, and we saw some of son’s clothes draped over a dining room chair, there was no one inside (except for the li’l crits, of course).  Hubby became insistent that self call son to find out where he was.  “If you think I’m going to call son while he is out . . . no way!  Go ahead, you call him if you want to!”  Which did the trick.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Going Back: “God’s Will”

This is a story from self’s first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila. This morning, after son and Rebecca had left for the city, self was in a contemplative mood. Alone in the house (hubby had taken the dogs for a walk), self began riffling through her first book, which Margarita Donnelly at Calyx published, thereby saving self’s life, almost twenty years ago. (When self types that, she has to stop dead. Time is indeed a river. Self was in her 20s when she wrote this story. No one in her family had yet died.)

Without further ado, an excerpt from “God’s Will” :

I hear my father again. His room is on the other side of this wall, his bed pressed up against it so I can tell from the creaking of the bed springs when he is having a bad night.

My wife Teresa and I lie awake in the darkness, listening. Neither of us speaks. No matter how tired we are, we always wake at the slightest sound. Tonight my father is weeping.

I get up and go into my father’s room. He is sitting up in bed, saying over and over, “I’m afraid.” I take him in my arms. I tell him to stop. But he will not stop. So then I try to shame him: “Is this how a del Pilar behaves?” All his life he was formal and dignified, and even though my mother said he was lazy and not a good provider, at least he had his pride.

*  *  *

In what can only be called a coincidence of monumental proportions, self (just a few minutes ago) happened to stumble across a post that poet Barbara Jane Reyes wrote two months ago (March 2009), because she’d just finished reading Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila.  Self is so moved!  Waaah!  Barb, you’ve reduced self to a mass of quivering jello!  Self links to it here.

Saturday Morning, Busy

Aaargh, self can’t seem to write when her mind is so chaotic. Still can’t quite wrap her mind around Mauricio accidentally dumping her contac lens yesterday, when he was here cleaning. Last night, dreamt that — Eureka! — she’d found it. The dream Mauricio had helpfully placed it in a little metal receptacle. Unfortunately, the metal had reacted with the lens and the lens was perforated with holes.  No, there was just one big hole (pardon the hyperbole: self knows a hole in a contac can not, truthfully, be big), right in the middle, where one would expect self’s pupil to be.

Rebecca slept in son’s room last night, son slept in self’s office. Self crept around, trying to be quiet for she loves to spend the early morning hours reading (Finished True North yesterday: it took her 10 days to get through this novel, longer even than it took her to finish a book twice as long, 1491. The ending can only be described as devastating. And Harrison waited until almost the last five pages to spring it. Self would like to advise dear blog readers: if you do not have a stomach for extreme violence, then do not read it. Self, however, adores this book: Jim Harrison is latest addition to self’s list of favorite authors.)

Son and Rebecca are here to attend a Psychology Association conference at the Marriott on 4th and Mission. Son woke around 7 and immediately started getting dressed: black pants again, grey long-sleeved shirt. Rebecca tells self they want to make it in time for the first session, which begins at 9. A total of six students and two professors are here from Cal Poly; Rebecca said she’d even met two students who came all the way from London! Self e-mailed Stanford niece: A is here! Let’s get together!

Self and hubby have a concert to go to tonight, in the City. Yuja Wang. But, first, Stelline for dinner, at 5:15. Invited son to join us, but he says he has presentation at 5 p.m.

Now, watching Green Day. They’re on Good Morning America, Weekend Edition. Early, early, around 7:30, self went to Redwood City Farmers Market, vendors weren’t quite finished putting out their produce. Bought purple and yellow string beans (only because self thinks they’d look really nifty mixed together in a salad). Celery. Garlic. Basil. And, on a whim, a bunch of red Watsonia.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Writing and Appetite

“We went out to an Old Town bar where I had a calming whiskey and Vernice ate an enormous cheeseburger. She couldn’t eat when she was writing, she said, as digesting food stole her imagination.”

    Vernice, on p. 349 of Jim Harrison’s True North

Sometimes self just has to force it out. Especially on days like today, when Mauricio has turned the whole house upside down, pulled bookcases from the wall, emptied the shelves (He is anal about dusting, which is why hubby complains every time he comes, because he never puts anything back to the place where it was before). Self has one ear cocked to front door, for she expects son and his friend to walk in any moment. At the same time, she’s reading (as usual). Still the Jim Harrison novel. Self is on p. 349, almost to the end! Self found the above quote mucho interesting. She remembers that when she attended Kate Brady’s reading at Booksmith in the Haight, about a month ago, Kate said more or less the same thing, that when she was writing, she couldn’t be bothered with such a thing as eating. Now, why can’t self be the same way? When self is writing, she is ravenous!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Friday Morning, 7:58 a.m.

Son and friend arrive todaaayy!!!

Mauricio didn’t make it to clean yesterday, so he is coming today as well!!!

Self wants to go see “Star Trek” movie again!!!

Self is supposed to see doctor this afternoon for she missed her annual check-up, but who cares, she wants to see “Star Trek” movie again!!!

Self thinks that, since she’s already spent hours roaming the web and getting into all sort of interesting websites, such as CakeTrain and Cafe Irreal, she might as well investigate a Read the rest of this entry »

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