Tech University, CA: Loaded

A month ago, Google made son an offer and moved him up from southern California.

Before Google, son worked six years for Blizzard, manufacturer of World of Warcraft. The Blizzard headquarters in Irvine is a sprawl of low buildings. Irvine even has a Blizzard way.

What young boy doesn’t play video games. Dream job! Son is the uber-nerd, going to San Diego Comi-con every year, reading science fiction exclusively, and attending Magic Card conventions.

Google put him up in fully furnished apartment in Palo Alto, biking distance from Google headquarters in Mountain View. Rent is free for three months. They sent him a real estate broker to assist in his hunt for a more permanent living arrangement. In the meantime, son signs up for free cooking classes held in his apartment complex.

Apple, Google, Facebook: the three big engines of Silicon Valley employment. During a brief stint living in the City, self shared a building with a bunch of Google engineers. Many of them had just moved to the Bay Area.

This past summer, her niece (19, studying in Michigan) got an internship for Facebook. They gave her an apartment in Palo Alto. AND she was driven to work each day by a Facebook car service. Her niece is still a teenager and she gets ferried to and from work in a Facebook car.

The Economist of 30 June 2018

“the headquarters of Western tech giants” as “typically horizontal affairs, in keeping with their supposedly flat hierarchies. Facebook’s Silicon Valley campus is a jumble of two-storey buildings connected by parks and bridges. Google is a collection of dozens of separate structures spread over an entire neighborhood in Mountain View. Employees commute between them on colourful bicycles.

So, yeah. Those tech giants are loaded.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Most Amazing Rant

Self has been wanting to blog about The Door all day. She’s been very busy. She considered several passages before deciding on this one.

Really, self doesn’t know if the narrator is for real, or whether Emerence the housekeeper is a total construct. Just read the following monologue/speech, which is apparently directed to the narrator, who has no objections:

  • What are you staring at? Didn’t you see Mrs. Boors granddaughter running along the other side of the street this morning, when I was sweeping — or were you paying attention only to yourself again? The child had come for me, and I went. Well, you can believe that if I’m holding someone’s hand in the hour of their death, it’s not difficult for them to die. I washed her, all very nicely, and prepared her for her journey. And I can tell you it wasn’t easy finding the time. In between, I had done that lunch for you, for which you have thanked me so graciously. Pay attention, because this is going to hurt, but it’s what you deserve. The master isn’t going to live very long, as you well know. Do you think he’s going to get stronger on plums? And what will he take to the other side as a memento?

Well, if that doesn’t just take the cake for speeches from a housekeeper!

Strangely, self hopes the relationship continues, because it is just so toxic, and it’s been a long time since self has read about a relationship like this — not even in Rebecca was Mrs. Danvers this verbally abusive. Self doesn’t think she’s read any novel where a woman is describes mistreating an animal as frequently as Emerence does the dog Viola. She beats Viola on numerous occasions, once so badly that Viola cracks a rib.

But, self has come this far. She’s not going to jump ship now!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Horror of an Encounter: THE DOOR, p. 75

Emerence thinks

There was no such thing as a sane man.

The husband of the narrator “had an absolute fit when he went into his study (which was lined with bookshelves from floor to ceiling) and found the garden gnome . . . leering at him from the rug in front of his collection of English classics . . . My husband dashed out of the house.”

The gnome . . . carried a lamp and sported a tattered green apron and a tassel on the peak of his cap.

lol

lol

lol

Stay tuned.

Dog Training in THE DOOR

9/11 is almost over. Self is sick. She stayed in bed all day, reading The Door.

Magda and her husband find an abandoned puppy and take it home. Emerence, the housekeeper, becomes a completely different person with the dog: she is loving, she is affectionate.

Which reminds self of that long-ago time when her two beagles were still alive. She trained them to SIT.

Someone later told self that if she just raised a finger, the dogs would sit. She didn’t need to say the word. And that was when self realized that every time she said the word SIT, she raised her index finger.

lol

And that person was absolutely correct! Beagles would sit if she just raised her index finger!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Reticence

The husband of the narrator of The Door has been in hospital for about six or seven pages (which means a few weeks). Communication between the narrator and the housekeeper, Emerence, break down.

When the husband is finally allowed home, Emerence celebrates the occasion by bringing over a pot of chicken soup. The soup tureen is a fancy one. A real work of art.

“A present,” Emerence tells the narrator, from “one of her employers, Mrs. Grossman.”

“The one thing” the narrator doesn’t “need was the thought of her” housekeeper “helping herself to the contents of someone’s shattered and abandoned home.”

The narrator wants to refuse the gift but she doesn’t want to “upset” her husband: “At the time I was allowing him only carefully monitored doses of reality.” lol

“The thought of being fed from some knick-knack that had belonged to a destitute stranger bound for the gas chamber would have made him leap out of bed, half-dead as he was.”

This book is about wartime collaborators in a small village in Hungary. Who knew? Self is absolutely delighted by this surprising turn of events.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Dallas Cop Shoots Neighbor ‘By Accident’

Because the victim was black and was in his own apartment when the cop came in and shot him, there is nothing for it but to imagine the hashtag:

  • Being in your own apartment while black

Stay tuned.

The Accusations

Page after page, The Door, by Hungarian writer Magda Szabo, is dispatching self’s numerous pre-conceptions about it.

Self was under the impression The Door was a charming, restrained novel about a woman and her housekeeper and even imagined she’d skim through and be done with it quickly, for after reading three novels by Daphne du Maurier and a crackling biography (that had as much drama as a du Maurier novel), she thought it would be difficult to get into a quiet novel about quiet lives.

Instead, she had to cope with a grisly murder of a cat. By the woman’s next-door neighbor. Who even murders the replacement cat.

That was horrible. Self felt sick to her stomach.

Then, she encountered this passage, casually flung onto p. 15, about Emerance (That’s a pretty fabulous name, for a housekeeper yet!):

She reminded young men of the country of their old village, their own grandmothers, their distant families. They in turn never troubled her with the fact that the charges against her included murdering and robbing Jews during the war, spying for America, transmitting secret messages, regularly receiving stolen goods in her home and hoarding vast wealth.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Favorites So Far, September 2018

  • Moshi Moshi, by Banana Yoshimoto (novel)
  • La Belle Sauvage, vol. One of The Book of Dust, by Philip Pullman, and His Dark Materials, the entire trilogy: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass (novels)
  • Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson (novel)
  • The Summer Book, by Tove Jansson (novel)
  • In the Lake of the Woods, by Tim O’Brien (novel)
  • Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout (novel in stories)
  • Manderley Forever, by Tatiana de Rosnay (novelized biography)
  • Jamaica Inn, by Daphne du Maurier (novel)

This was a great reading year for NOVELS. Which means self has come full circle in her reading life. Until this year, her favorite books were histories and nonfiction.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

A Hanged Cat

This scene would never occur in an American novel, just sayin’ —

Emerence and her neighbor have a bit of a to-do over her cat killing his pigeons. She refuses to keep the cat confined to the house. So the neighbor

tracked the noble hunter down, grabbed hold of him and strung him up from the handle of Emerence’s front door. Returning home, the old woman had to stand there, under her own porch roof, while he gave her a formal lecture: he had been forced, regrettably, to defend his family’s only guaranteed livelihood, with the instruments of his choice.

Emerence said not a word. She released the cat from the wire, the ‘instrument’ the executioner had chosen over ordinary rope. The corpse was a shocking sight, its throat gaping wide.

What a creepy, horrifying scene! And in a novel whose voice is so quiet!

What other sly surprises are in store?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: THE DOOR

p. 12:

In the fridge I found a cold platter of rose-pink chicken breasts that had been cut into slices and then reassembled with the skill of a surgeon.

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