Maxine Hong Kingston to Read at Stanford

Jan 27 (Wednesday), 7 pm

Stanford Humanities Center, Levinthal Hall

424 Santa Teresa Street

The Program in Feminist Studies proudly welcomes Maxine Hong Kingston to Stanford University for a reading of her work.

Click on this for directions to the Stanford Humanities Center.

Outstanding Woman

Marie Romero of Arkipelago Books, San Francisco

Last Saturday was the Growing Up Filipino, vol. 2 reading at the Bayanihan Community Center.

First, self would like to say that the Center is the heart of Filipino culture, a beautiful space that has hosted plays, readings, musical performances, most of them organized by Philippine American Writers and Artists (PAWA) and/or KulArts.

One day last year, Mayor Gavin Newsom stood kibitzing in the back (self nearly fainted).

Harold Augenbraum read there when he was touring for his translation of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere.

Self’s play-in-progress, In Which Menchit Attempts to Improve Her Fortune, was given its first staged reading there, in October 2008.  What a kick that was!  (Appropriately, the name KulArts gave to the event was “Butterfly Kicks:  A Weekend of Works in Progress”,  and the other playwrights whose works were being staged that weekend were Josef Anolin and Allan Manalo)

What makes the Bayanihan Community Center so wonderful is that it also houses one of San Francisco’s true gems, Arkipelago Bookstore.  Owned and operated by Marie Romero, this bookstore is a treasure trove of Filipino history books, Filipino cookbooks, Filipino poets, Filipino novelists  —  even Filipino barongs and ternos!  Last Saturday, among the books that caught self’s eye was a book called Kapihan.  Of course, it was all about Philippine coffee (another unsung treasure).  Self, upon learning that Marie was going to the Philippines next month, urged her to get in touch with self’s brother, who has his own coffee business.

There was also a World War II book which mentioned hubby’s grandfather (though it referred to him as a colonel when in point of fact he ended World War II as a brigadier general:  he organized the rear guard action during the army’s retreat to Corregidor).

Self ended up buying a book called Empire:  How Spain Became a World Power (as she is so fond of her current reading, Tacitus’ The Annals of the Roman Empire, and is just ga-ga over historical books in general)

Where would the Filipino community be without this space, and without Arkipelago Books?  Our culture would be so deprived.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Golden Globe Moments

Matt Damon (in the audience) looked haaawttt!  Twinkly eyes and everything!

Most-Attractive-In-Spite-Of-Not-Being-Cute Guy:  Steve Carell

Most-Beautiful-Guy-Whose-Name-Self-Had-To-Look-Up:  Chace Crawford

Most stunning appearance:  Cameron Diaz —  in her red satin gown she looked like a flame.

Most surprising decolletage moment:  Anna Paquin

Most puzzling award:  Best Screenplay to “Up in the Air,” which beat out a brilliant script for “The Hurt Locker” by Mark Boal

Most amount of leg:  Jen Aniston, in side-slit black gown

Longest speech of the evening (and never once did the orchestra start up):  Drew Barrymore’s, accepting her Best Actress in a Mini-Series win for “Grey Gardens”

Most unexpectedly tall actress:  Zoe Saldana, taller even than co-presenter Sam Worthington (who is, in person, not all that cute  —  or mebbe it was just the Marine haircut)

Most effortlessly pretty actress:  Maggie Gyllenhaal, in salmon pink

Most I-Am-So-Tired-Of-You moment:  when Taylor Lautner appeared to introduce “500 Days of Summer”

Most Beautiful-Gown-That-Was-Not-Cameron-Diaz’s:  Chloe Sevigny’s floaty chiffon flower-petal of a dress

Most “Yay” Moment/s:  Julianna Margulies winning Best Actress in a TV Drama for “The Good Wife” (one of self’s faaavorite new shows), and Christoph Waltz winning Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for “Inglourious Basterds”

Most I-Can’t-Believe-He-Wasn’t-Nominated-Moment:  when camera panned to Jeremy Renner during the clip from “The Hurt Locker”

Cleverest Acceptance Speech of the Night:  Robert Downey, Jr. accepting for Best Actor in a Comedy, for “Sherlock Holmes”

BRB, dear blog readers.  Self starving, must broil salmon fillet.

3rd Sunday of January (2010)

Self still reading Tacitus’ The Annals of Imperial Rome (and wishing wholeheartedly there were a sequel to “Rome,” the racy BBC series of a few years ago).  In the section she is reading (Book II), the emperor is still Tiberius and the Roman general Germanicus is still leading the Roman legions in his campaign to subdue the northern tribes.

For the first time in over a decade, self prepared Green Goddess Salad Dressing.

It rained. A man came at noon to plant the magnolia tree in the backyard.

Self went to the Mountain View Farmers Market and bought:

  • a 1-lb. bottle of Blackberry Honey
  • organic tomatoes (2 lbs)
  • a filet of salmon (to broil for dinner)
  • brussels sprouts (huge, fat: $3/lb)
  • 1 Japanese eggplant
  • 1 long spear of daikon radish
  • 1/2 lb. of mixed greens
  • 3 pods of garlic for $1

Today hubby looked down at the li’l crits and remarked:  “Gracie seems to have lost some weight.”


At last!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

No Blank Notebooks

Self has a confession to make: she writes in blank notebooks.

She’s been doing this for decades. And she looks hard for just the right notebook.

It must be the right size: easy to slip into a handbag.

It can be any color. It can be spiral-bound or not.

But, it absolutely must have blank pages.

And, preferably, it ought to cost less than $10.

But, lately, she hasn’t been able to find blank notebooks. For some reason, the closest bookstore to her house, B & N, doesn’t carry them any longer. Every time self enters a store, she looks for the section carrying notebooks: but always, what she finds are the ones with the ruled pages. And she wonders: is this just further evidence of the shrinking inventories in California stores?

Today, she and hubby were in the city. We went to see Stella Kalaw’s Geography exhibit at the Rayko Gallery on 3rd (Closes Monday, hurry up and go see it!). From there we walked to the Bayanihan Community Center on Sixth and Mission, for the Growing Up Filipino reading. We had to pass the Museum of Modern Art and self asked hubby if we could stop to look around.

In the past, self has found great blank journals here. In fact, some of self’s favorite journals have been from the MOMA gift shop. Would you believe self, then, if she told you that today, in the entire Museum of Modern Art store, the only blank journals self found were thin ones of about 10 pages that cost $7.95 each? What a travesty!

Blank journals, have you gone the way of the Beard Papa next to the Redwood City Century 20 and Chocolate Mousse and Claire de Lune and Vic’s Family Restaurant in San Carlos? Alas, it would seem so.

“The Young Victoria”: A Few Thoughts

  • Emily Blunt is beautiful and doesn’t look anything like the real Queen Victoria.
  • The guy who plays the Royal Consort, Prince Albert, is pure eye candy. And he’s not a bad actor, either.
  • Paul Bettany is soooo amusing as Lord Melbourne: quick, give this guy another historical role, pronto! In self’s humble opinion, he in fact stole the movie from Emily Blunt.
  • Emily Blunt is pure, unadulterated sex appeal. More bedroom scenes (kitschy, perhaps, but there you have it) between her and dear Albert would have been great.
  • This movie is not deserving of the 75% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Hubby was smart to refuse to see it with self, for almost four weeks running. It nearly put self to sleep.
  • It seemed rather dis-jointed. Self did enjoy the early early scenes, when the Young Victoria was at the mercy of her Mum’s boyfriend, an evil Irish lord who keeps laying rough hands on her (but not in the way you might think).

At the end of the movie, self thought: Yes, the young Victoria was feisty. But so what?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

A Post on Roses

Betty Boop rose

Self begs dear blog reader’s indulgence: she knows that her gardening posts get the least views of any other category on her blog. But she just can’t help broaching a subject that has been near and dear to her heart, ever since she planted her first rose in her garden. And this has to do with rose names. Here are a few interesting ones:

  • April Moon
  • Arctic Sunrise
  • By Appointment
  • Cream Abundance
  • Crystal Fairy
  • Distant Drums
  • Gentle Persuasion
  • Golden Unicorn
  • Good Ol’ Summertime
  • Happy Child
  • Imagine
  • Mary Magdalene
  • The Fawn
  • Wild Blue Yonder

The names speak to her, dear blog readers. They speak to her. Especially since the weather today was so gorgeous.

The rose self always wanted to grow was a yellow rose named Julia Child.  She hasn’t gotten around to planting one yet.  Maybe this year.

Self’s favorites of all the roses she has growing in her garden?  A Betty Boop and a Fourth of July.

Her newest rose?  A Don Juan.  Which belongs, aptly enough, to a category of rose called a “rambler.”  The Julia Child rose, on the other hand, is described on the All-America Rose Selection’s Society’s blog as an “English-style rose” with “a sweet, licorice perfume.”

Stay tuned.

Mysteries of Life

Why, God, why?

Tuesday, hubby announced he was staying home from work. Okey dokey! In this life, you gotta be flexible! Self swept all her plans aside and spent time gallivanting with hubby!

Then, hubby lifted the phone and said, Why is the line dead? And self couldn’t believe it! But when she took the receiver from him, indeed the line was dead. Strange: self had just made a phone call, earlier in the day. But now the line truly was dead. Dead as dead could be.

So, it’s been dead Tuesday, Wednesday, today . . . Why did the AT&T repairman show up at 3:30 p.m. when self was told he would be coming at 12:15 pm?  Of course, by 3:30, self had given up and left the house.  Then, when she got back home, she called the phone repair number and they told her she’d just missed the repairman. And he couldn’t fix the line because he needed access to self’s garage, and she was Read the rest of this entry »

Latest Book Deals (Courtesy of Publishers Weekly): Expect Them in Your Local Bookstores, Soon!

Latest e-letter from Publishers Weekly has announcement of the following deals:

Fiction by First-Time Novelists:

  • Kenneth Harmon’s Better Not Pout:  A Tale of North Pole Noir, “in which a hard-boiled elf is framed for murder in a place that plays reindeer games for keeps,” to Dutton, in a “very nice deal.”
  • Tyler McMahon’s How the Mistakes Were Made, about the rise and fall of a punk supergroup in Seattle in the 90s, narrated by its tough girl drummer, to St. Martin’s
  • Peter Geye’s You Will Come Safe From the Sea, in which a father and son re-connect thirty-five years after the father survived the tragic wreck of a Great Lakes ore boat, to Unbridled Books.

Mystery/ Crime

  • Carole Nelson Douglas’ next three Midnight Louie mysteries, the “V, W, X” books in the alphabetically titled series about a feline PI pitched as “Sam Spade with hairballs,” to Forge, for “publication in 2011- 2013.”
  • Lawyer Adam Mitzner’s untitled novel, “pitched as in the vein of Scott Turow, in which a young New York City criminal attorney defends an old family friend who is not what he seems to be,” to Gallery “in a very nice deal”

General/ Other

  • Francesco Pacifico’s The Story of My Purity, “the first translated novel by this Italian youth sensation,”  about an “unhappily married Roman intellectual who falls under the spell of Jews, gays, and beautiful women in a nightclub,” to Farrar, Straus & Giroux, for publication in Winter 2012

There were other deal announcements, such as the one for Tori Spelling’s new follow-up memoir to Mommywood, but, alas, self was not as engaged with the subject matter.  Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned

So Far (In 2010)

  1. Self has finished reading one novel (Scott Smith’s A Simple Plan— horrific/ funny, the literary equivalent of a Coen brothers movie) and gotten halfway through another (Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, perhaps the oddest novel by a Japanese writer self has ever read).
  2. She bought an evergreen Magnolia tree and a small azalea (but has not had time to plant anything, not in the last two weeks, anyway)
  3. She brought Gracie to the vet and the li’l crit peed in her car. So then she had to bring her car to be cleaned.
  4. She watched one Netflix movie (“Away We Go”).
  5. She learned that she was a finalist in a novella contest.
  6. She got rejections from Per Contra and the Virginia Quarterly Review.
  7. She added eight pages to an incipient novel.
  8. She delivered old clothes (Would you believe, green pants — green!), an old Christmas tree stand, and a cotton candy maker (in working condition) to the Goodwill store in Menlo Park.
  9. She bought sheer yellow curtains from World Market in downtown Redwood City, and a pewter curtain rod with square finials from Pottery Barn in the Stanford Shopping Center.
  10. She watched “Gladiator” on TNT.
  11. She discovered a new favorite show: the BBC’s time-bending cop drama, “Life on Mars.”
  12. She saw hot clip of Spock and Uhura exchanging fake double entendrés in the lift of the Enterprise.
  13. She learned that there will be no “Spiderman 4” (not with Tobey Maguire, anyway).
  14. She learned that Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol.
  15. She made adobo (which, come to think of it, she didn’t make once, all last year) and cooked something called “orange spare ribs” in the crockpot (which came out delicious!)
  16. She went to Trader Joe’s in San Carlos and re-affirmed that their raisins are just about the most moist, chewy store-bought raisins self has ever tasted.

More later.

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