Quote of the Day: Clothes on Film

So beloved San Francisco Giants gave up one game.  So what?  At least they kept it exciting!  And series goes on (hopefully, forever —  BWAH HA HAA!)

Self defuses by reading Clothes on Film.

From an interview with Kristin M. Burke, Costume Designer for “Paranormal 2” :

Clothes on Film:  Were the clothes deliberately not ironed so they remained authentically “lived in”?

Kristin Burke:  Yes.  We tried to keep the look as naturalistic as possible.  The typical Californian family does not iron clothes in the summer; it is shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops.  My brother lives in Carlsbad (where the film takes place), and I am really not convinced that there is an iron or ironing board in their house.  My sister-in-law will kill me for saying that, but it’s true!  It’s a very casual, relaxed lifestyle.

How about this, Kristin Burke:  The typical Californian family does not iron clothes, ever.  Hubby is lucky if self lays her hands on the ironing board twice a year.

Of further note, Ms. Burke says most of the clothes from the movie were purchased from Nordstrom Rack.  A favorite of Dearest Mum’s!  Self has 25 new pairs of shoes from Nordstrom Rack, all courtesy of Dearest Mum!

Stay tuned.

Now Self Has Seen It All

Giants won Game 2 of the World Series by a huge margin.  Score:  9 to 0.  Got that?  9 to 0.

Rainn Wilson was the guest on Jay Leno.  He stood up and gave a rap performance in a voice and attitude that was 180 degrees from his character in “The Office.”  Self was totally entertained.

Self read about Gawker.com in The New Yorker of Oct. 18, 2010.  She is not old enough to be the mother of the founder, Nick Denton, a fact for which she is unspeakably grateful.  (Self loves Gawker Stalker.  Whenever she is in New York, she checks the site every day.  Last year, she gnashed her teeth when she checked in just before bed and found that Johnny Depp had caused a near-riot by surfacing in the Village, a street away from where self had been rambling that morning.  Curses!)

Self saw an ad for Meg Whitman that she thought was quite good.  Unfortunately for Meg, the election is only days away.

Netflix informed self that she could expect to receive “Clash of the Titans” tomorrow.  Which will be the first time ever that self has knowingly sat down to view a movie whose Tomatometer ranking is below 30%.  (Self takes that back:  She saw “Case 39,” whose Tomatometer ranking is even less than that for “Clash of the Titans.”  Poor Renée Zellweger!)

Self encountered Joshua Ferris at last.  On p. 9 of Then We Came to the End, self reads:  “It was vitally important to Karen Woo that she be the first to know of a new restaurant.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Inspired, Today, Last Friday of October 2010

Self just returned from the library.  She decided to check out a book by Orlando Figes called Natasha’s Dance:  A Cultural History of Russia.  OMG, it weighs a ton, and is nearly 700 pages long!  She decides to bring it to Manila.  It will nicely fill up her suitcase and will balance out all those boxes of See’s chocolates she is bringing home for family and friends.

Self mailing out a couple of things today.  She is inspired!  These things tend to go in cycles:  there are months when she can’t be bothered, and then there are days like today when she seems to want to plaster her words all over the universe.  Whether or not anything will stick …

Wasn’t last night’s Giants game fun?

This morning, looking at her new messages, she finds information on an exceedingly interesting event at Stanford.  Here are particulars:

The Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University announces

The Stanford Food Summit

WHEN:    Wednesday, 3 November 2010

8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Arrillaga Alumni Center

Description:   An unprecedented gathering of Stanford experts on food-related issues from across all of the University’s seven schools will provide a catalyst for generating solutions to some of the nation’s and the planet’s most challenging and important crises, including:

  • the national health crisis
  • the climate crisis
  • outdated national food policies
  • the hidden toll of industrial food production

and much more

Click for more information.

Stay tuned!


Oh, the absurdity.  The Giants are not known for their hitting.

Tonight’s game was actually painful.  How painful?

At one point in the 8th inning, self started to root for the Texas Rangers.

“Come on!” she found herself yelling at the screen.  “Just score one run.  Can’t you score just one run?”

Until that inning, the Texas Rangers pitcher had somehow managed to hold the Giants lead down to 2.

Then, with two out in the inning, the Rangers pitcher was pulled because he had developed a blister.

After that, one Giant after another hit.

And hit.

And hit.

To the point where watching became agony.  Absolute agony.

Self, looking at the Rangers pitchers’ faces, knew they were in hell.  There is absolutely nothing more excruciating than watching the self-immolation of a much-touted team.

Pitcher after pitcher came to the mound.  Someone threw 11 straight balls.  The Giants walked in one run, then another, and yet another.

Self found herself saying such things as:  “Will this inning never end?”

Self is now rooting for the Rangers.  Please.  She wants them to win at least one game.  So that the season will not be over.  Not, anyway, so soon.

Stay tuned.

Brrr, Brrr, Brrrr: TIME FOR TEXAS BBQ !!

It is stinging cold.  Self is going to return the Netflix movie she’s hung on to for two months:  “Serenity” —  BWAH HA HA.  That last shot of Sean Maher is priceless —   so that she can get “Clash of the Titans.”  (What has happened to Sam Worthington, whose name was last year on everyone’s tongue?  Today self heard that James Cameron’s next two movies will be “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3.”  Just now, self looks up “Clash of the Titans” Tomato-meter ranking.  Uh-oh.)

Self has been sticking close to home, filled with anticipation for the first game of the World Series, at AT & T Park.  Called son to tell him to watch, but he said he didn’t have time, Boo.

The latest issue of Sports Illustrated (Hubby’s been a faithful subscriber for years and years) has a feature article on Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee.  SI’s writer (Tom Verducci) really goes over-the-top for this one, writing, among other things:

  • Cliff Lee wears forbearance like the wisp of whiskers below his lower lip.
  • …  Lee has the cool, understated mien of someone handed the answers to a test the night before the exam.
  • The lefthander is more than the central character of this Series:  He looms above it like the Sun above the Earth.

Ehem!  The Sun above the Earth!  That has got to be the most florid sports writing self has ever encountered in the pages of Sports Illustrated!  Clearly, SI expects the Rangers to win the Series (But, perhaps as a sop to the Giants, says the Rangers will win in seven)

*   *     *     *

Top of the 4th, Lincecum had a muy shaky start, but he’s settled down.  Game is tied:  2-2.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Never Let Me Go” Near a Hospital! (Current Signage: Palo Alto’s Aquarius Theater)

The best review self has seen thus far of this movie is from People Magazine.  Even though self is not a regular reader of the aforementioned, she has to admit that it is really fun to read.  Especially when one is:  a) waiting at the dentist’s, or b) on a long plane ride.

Anyhoo, self was in New York in mid-September, and the issue of People Magazine she purchased before boarding her flight was the one with Kate Gosselin on the cover, wearing a white bikini and a dazzling smile (Dearest Mum took a look and said:  “She has no waist.”) Flicking through the pages, self encountered this review:

Never Let Me Go is a sci-fi movie with no visionary machines, no flashy aliens and, strangely, no surprises.  It’s so much crueler, you see, to know precisely what’s coming at you.  That’s the fate of Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield), and Ruth (Keira Knightley), clones raised in a boarding school to become spare parts for luckier humans.  When Ruth and Tommy start dating we know it’s really Kathy he loves, and every second they spend apart before they complete their “donations” feels like theft of the worst sort.

And that is almost the entire review (except for one more sentence).

Self was all alone at the 2 p.m. screening at the Aquarius.  She had just crossed the street and entered the theater after savoring two heavenly scoops of lychee and peanut butter cioccolato from Gelato Classico (her first visit in months!)  The last time self watched a screening all by herself was over 10 years ago, when she watched Antonia Bird’s “Ravenous,” (Five stars!) her first Guy Pearce movie (also the first Western/vampire movie self has seen, before or since.  Rounding out the absolutely fabulous snack-fest:  David Arquette and Jeremy Davies)

Naturally, by the last half hour, self was shedding copious tears, and had to keep rubbing her eyes, and stood up even before the closing credits, and knew that if there was someone in the projectionist’s booth, directly above her, this person had almost certainly noticed self wiping the tears from her cheeks.

Self has several issues with the book (by Kazuo Ishiguro), which has just about the chilliest writing of any science fiction novel self has ever read.  Self could not figure out why all the characters were so well-behaved —  even, passive.  You’d think they’d at least want to lose themselves in those miles of desolate sand dunes or rolling green meadows, or at least give it a shot.  But no!  Instead they were all like:  Here’s my body, take it!  Take my liver or my kidneys or my heart or whatever!  Self remembers finding the book extremely depressing and yet staying up until the wee hours, reading.

These issues were at less bothersome in the movie version (perhaps because self was so absolutely delighted by the casting).  In particular, self would just like to say that Keira Knightley’s Ruth was twice as hateful as she is in the book, and this is a very very good thing.  The scene of the movie that most approached the level of horror was the one showing the demise of this character (and an ice chest:  almost exactly like the one self totes to Cal Shakes’ performances in Orinda)

Five stars.

Latest Book Deals, Courtesy of PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (25 October 2010)

Latest deal announcements from Publishers Weekly :

Fiction Debut

  • Anna Funder’s All That I Am, “about German refugees from Hitler’s Germany, living in London during the mid-1930s,” and the nonfiction Stasiland:  Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall, “investigative journalism that offers an account of life in Communist East Germany under a regime of terror and persecution maintained by the infamous secret police,” to Harper for publication in Spring 2012


  • Krystn Lee’s Drifting House, “a collection which alternates between the lives of Koreans struggling through a turbulent, post-World War II history in their homeland and the communities of Korean immigrants grappling with assimilation in the United States,” along with her novel, How I Became a North Korean, “narrated by a precocious young boy who leaves home in the US to live among North Korean refugees in China,” to Viking
  • Kalyan Ray’s multi-generational novel, No Country, “that winds its way through 19th and 20th century Ireland, America and India, touching on the Irish famine, Ireland and India’s parallel quests for independence, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire; exploring themes of diaspora, the making and unmaking of emigrant lives, and …  the few intimate degrees of separation that lie between love and murder,” to Simon & Schuster


  • “Entrepreneur, columnist, and speaker” John Warrillow’s Built to Sell, “showing how business owners can create a business with intrinsic value, a business that is saleable without them,” to Portfolio, for publication in May 2011

There were other fascinating deal announcements, such as Enemy in the Wire, Senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper’s “investigative and inspiring story of US forces’ deadliest battle to date in Afghanistan, in which 54 US soldiers fended off 300 to 400 Taliban fighters,” but, alas, self’s neck is bothering her exceedingly this evening, and self needs to get up and stretch.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Packed Weekend: So Many Things Self Could Have Done

Self could have attended her Stanford Alumni Homecoming.  Sabina is there with her baby son, Milo.  But self, as always, cannot seem to get organized enough to get going.

Right in her own backyard, in Redwood City, a Zoppé Italian Family Circus has opened, next to the Downtown Library.

There is also an Oktoberfest going on at Courthouse Square.

But here are the things self actually got around to doing:

  • She went to the Redwood City Farmers Market, just half an hour before they closed.  She got many vegetables, including something that looked like kangkong.
  • As a nod to Matt Damon’s character in “Hereafter” (Damon’s psychic idolizes Dickens, a fact which turns out to be pivotal to the plot), self borrowed Bleak House from the library.  This is such a hefty book that it is sure to put a crick in her neck.  Alas, self saw only hardcover copies on the library shelves.  On the plus side, self adores Dickens, and she hasn’t read Bleak House since the birth of son, eons ago:  self toted the copy with her to Stanford Hospital — !
  • Self went to Peet’s and picked up a free copy of The Stanford Daily.  Since it is the Homecoming Weekend issue, it is packed with reviews of exhibits, movies, Stanford Lively Arts events, and so forth and so on.  Currently at the Cantor Art Museum:  “Vodoun/Vodounon:  Portraits of Initiates” (Hubby declares he has no interest in seeing this, so self will go by herself:  she really loves anything creepy and supernatural).  There are also reviews (rather insipidly written) of “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” latest Zach Galfinakis showcase (a 7 out of 10) and “Life As We Know It,” featuring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel trying to make cute (a 6 out of 10).  There is also a review of a new pizza place in Palo Alto (as if Palo Alto needed any more pizza places), Howie’s Artisan Pizza.  The review of this pizza joint does the job with a minimum of flourish, which is commendable.  For instance, the review begins:  Pizza can mean very different things to different people. Which is so laudably straightforward.  Almost Fitzgerald-like in its directness.

Let’s not forget:  there is still the Giants/Phillies game in a couple of hours!!!  Self is all on pins and needles for that one!  She made sure there was lots of Orville Redenbacher popcorn in the house, as well as lots of organic butter (Is organic butter less fattening?  Who knows?  It certainly sounds as if it should be less fattening)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Wikileaks: ‘The Iraq War Logs’

At 5 pm EST today, Wikileaks published the ‘Iraq War Logs’ with the following information:

The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 civilians, 23,984 enemy (those labeled as insurgents); 15, 196 ‘host nation’ (Iraqi government forces), and 3,771 friendly (coalition forces).  The majority of the deaths (66,000 —  over 60%) …  are civilian deaths.  That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six-year period.  For comparison, the Afghan War Diaries, previously released by WikiLeaks, covering the same period, details the deaths of some 20,000 people.  Iraq, during the same period, was five times as lethal with equivalent population size.

What the above tells self is that the Iraq War was largely hidden from us.  We knew nothing.

Stay tuned.

Almost to the End: Books That Made Self’s 2010

Self’s reading year has been less intense than last year’s:  for one thing, self hasn’t read as many books.

Let’s see.  The books that really “made” 2010 (though she probably still has time to read at least seven or eight more books, by the end of the year) were, in self’s humble opinion, these:

  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel
  • Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory
  • Peter Godwin’s When a Crocodile Eats the Sun
  • Arnaldur Indridason’s Jar City and Silence of the Grave
  • Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map
  • Morag Joss’ (great, great) Half Broken Things
  • Ryszard Kapuscinski’s Travels with Herodotus
  • Henning Mankell’s Before the Frost
  • Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower:  A Story of Courage, Community, and War
  • Hugh Sebag-Montefiore’s Dunkirk:  Fight to the Last Man
  • Tacitus’ The Annals of Imperial Rome
  • Danielle Trussoni’s memoir, Falling Through the Earth (about her Dad’s Vietnam war experiences, and how it scarred him and, as a result, his family)
  • Sarah Waters’ novel of London during the blitz (and the years immediately following the end of World War II), The Night Watch

What a year it was for reading nonfiction!

The month when self did the least amount of reading was June.  The month when self was able to do the greatest amount of reading was March.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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