One Story Does It Again

Self is watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”  Hilarious, as usual.  And, as usual, she multi-tasks.  Reading for right now:  One Story, Issue Number 156.  The story, “The Quiet,” is by C. Joseph Jordan, whose author bio states that he is “an MFA candidate in the University of Minnesota.”

Oh, bravo, Mr. Jordan, for such an auspicious start to your writing career!

She actually is a tad less than enthused when the first paragraph tells her this is a story about Sergeant Adlai Malick, United States Marine Corps, who finds himself in Vietnam and “not equipped to believe in such chaos.”  But because this is One Story, which introduced her to Karl Taro Greenfeld, she continues reading.  On p. 2 she encounters this passage:

The doctor who examined him had a propensity to slam doors.  Each time he came into or went out of the exam room, the door cracked against its jamb, and Sergeant Malick’s heart rate spiked.  He reminded himself, You are not special.  Sitting in silence with nothing but the buzz of fluorescent lights in his ears, bare legs sticking to the exam table, he thought, It will be all right.  The moment he believed it, the doctor returned and slammed the door again, and his heart raved in his chest.

Well.  What. a. passage.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Favorite Movie Scenes of 2011

Aside from being an avid reader, self is also an avid movie-goer.  She inherited this behavior from Dear Departed Dad!  He loved watching movies.  He took her to see “The Deer Hunter” and “The Godfather” and George Lucas’ “American Graffiti.” Also: “Saturday Night Fever” and “The French Connection.”  He really liked Oliver Stone:  he clapped at the end of “Platoon,” and rented “JFK” even though he’d seen it already, on one of his visits to self at Stanford.

Below are some of self’s favorite movie scenes of 2011:

  • The full body-shots of Owen Wilson strolling around outdoor markets in “Midnight in Paris.” Also,  full-body shot of the four unlikely travelers (Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen and his hilarious wife/girlfriend, played by Nina Arianda), strolling in Versailles.  Also, touchingly nervous Nina Arianda, self-correcting her French pronunciation.
  • Anytime Shailene Woodley, the 20-year-old actress who plays George Clooney’s daughter in “The Descendants,” strolled on-scene in her raggedy cut-offs or her teensy Hawaiian bikinis, showing off not only a fabulous Hawaiian tan, but also very long and lean American legs.
  • Paula Patton in “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” performing kick-ass fight scene in a light blue shift dress.  Jeremy Renner flexing with the Tai-Chi moves before flinging himself into a wind tunnel.
  • Matthew McConaughey in “The Lincoln Lawyer,” sitting in the back of a limo and letting his Texan twang (and his mane) unfurl in all its glory.
  • Oldman as Smiley, the very last shot of him in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”  Tom Hardy as Ricky Tarr, any scene in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” except where he has his back turned to the camera.
  • The apes in “Rise of Planet of the Apes,” swarming all over the Golden Gate Bridge in — of course —  a deliciously thick, pea-soup fog.
  • Zeus in “The Immortals,” lashing a golden whip at Poseidon (This movie had the Olympian gods don the craziest headgear self has ever seen:  crazier even than the Fascinator Princess Beatrice sported during the Royal Wedding).  Also, the opening scene of “The Immortals” —  for drama, it cannot be beat.
  • In “The Debt,” Jessica Chastain fighting with evil Nazi doctor in a depressing apartment adorned with cockroaches

Now, the worst, the absolute worst movie scenes of 2011 are to be found in the Jonah Hill vehicle, “The Sitter.”  Self doesn’t even know how she endured watching the movie from beginning to end.  Such must be her stomach for unappetizing fare.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Self Thought She Wanted a Crabapple …

Self thought she wanted a crabapple.  There comes a certain point when you get tired of looking at the street, and want something else in front of your bedroom window.

So, in an uncharacteristic bout of firmness, she went to “go-to” plant nursery, Redwood City Nursery on El Camino, and she bought a huge crabapple.  Tall and spindly and straight, with long tendrils already showing buds.  It was maybe 12 feet tall.  She closed her eyes when handing over her credit card.

The man self hired to help her dig the planting hole was supposed to come last Friday, but the job he was finishing up did not actually get finished up, and so he came today instead.  He took a look at the crabapple self had bought and said, firmly, that it would outgrow the space self had selected, would never thrive, and would end up dying.

So, where to put it?

The man planted it right in the middle of the front lawn (which is ugly and dry and brown, 3/4 of the year).  Self thought:  brilliant!  It will certainly have plenty of light and air and will grow big, big, big, just like the beanstalk in the children’s story!

But hubby, who self called because he is quite possessive about the lawn, said “Ixnay” to that plan, and so self ended up exchanging the tree for two camellia sasanquas.  Tall, filled with cheerful red flowers.  And what do you know, after the gardener had put them in the earth (and also, by the way, torn out the rotting porch railing that looked decrepit and worm-eaten and caused self to feel disgust every day that she looked at it), they were beautiful and stately!

And afterwards, self decided to clear up her office, which is getting to look like a tornado hit it, after the exertions of the holidays (even though son was rarely in the house — bwah ha haaaa), and she found a book by Aimee Nezhukumatathil.

She has every single book ever written by Ms. Nezhukumatathil (She can say the same about Zack, and about Luisa Igloria).  The one self is balancing on her lap at this moment is called Lucky Fish.  She loves the poem on p. 4:  “A Globe is Just an Asterisk and Every Home Should Have an Asterisk.”

Here’s how it begins:

Before a globe is pressed into a sphere,
the shape of the paper is an asterisk.

This planet is holding our place in line:
look out for metallic chips of meteor

hurtling through the universe. On my drive
to work, I saw my neighbor’s lawn boiling

over with birds. Like the yard was a giant lasagna
and the birds were the perfectly bubbled cheese,

. . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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