Not Many Kids Out Tonight

For the first Halloween ever, self is left with a whole bag of candy.  Good thing she got Snickers (which she hates), otherwise she’d be tempted to eat everything!

Self asked one group of kids, “Not watching the game?”  They told her they were keeping up on the radio.  So far this evening, self has seen:  Spiderman, Pocahontas, several Vampires, an Incredible Hulk, two Filipino kids dressed as Count Draculas, a Gorilla, a Vampire/Maid (flourescent blue mini, fishnet stockings, black curly-haired wig, high-heeled black pumps, two black eyes, and two fangs), as well as some Giants players.

Lately, when self walks the li’l crits, she hears shouts, exclamations emanating from the houses she passes.  This October has been so much fun!

Tonight’s game:  Uribe, how could you have dropped that ball in the 7th?  (Self still loves you).  Bumgarner, you are amazing.  Every time self remembers that you are only 21, she has to pinch herself.

This afternoon, hubby and self went to see “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” This one was self’s favorite of all the three films in the series.  Or perhaps it’s just that the characters have grown on her.  But no, it’s also due to the fact that in this one, Lisbeth isn’t getting violated or being beaten to a pulp.  Also, she dispenses with the smoking.  In fact, for much of this film, she is in the hospital recovering from no less than three bullet wounds, including one that has penetrated her skull without causing any discernible brain damage.  (Why do characters in movies always have to smoke in order to show that they are deeply pondering?  The only actor who doesn’t do this on a regular basis is Ed Norton.  Oh wait, there’s Matt Damon.  Oh wait, there’s Steve Carell  …  never mind)

Self thinks Noomi Rapace is amazing.  WHO are they going to get to play the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, in the American version?  She hears Daniel Craig has been cast as the reporter, the Mikael Blomkvist role.  Now that, in self’s humble opinion, is an excellent choice!

In this Swedish movie, self loves the elegant actress who plays Erika:  Lena Endre.  This afternoon, self found herself taking particular note of the character’s clothes.  First she was in a cuddly white sweater.  Then she was wearing the absolutely cutest tailored white blouse (with pintucks all over) that self has ever seen.  Then she was in a fab red coat and white scarf.  Then she was in a beautiful silk robe.  Then she was back to the white sweater (As it would simply be too unbelievable if she never repeated her clothing!)  The very last shot of her shows her wearing a taupe hooded jacket, and when the camera zoomed in, self noticed the fantastic ruched hood.  Self wants that jacket!

*   Spoiler Alert *

After that scene, we are back to Noomi/Lisbeth.  Mikael, despite having beautiful Erika as a lover, shows up knocking at Lisbeth’s apartment.  Self cringes, thinking:  Don’t do it, Mikael!  Don’t you dare fall into bed with her! It turns out he doesn’t, but it’s not as if every nerve in his body (it is so apparent) isn’t screaming:  I would like to make love to you, Lisbeth!  Because you are the love of my life!

And now self must pause, because the 21-year-old Giants rookie, Buster Posey, has just homered.  YAAAYYY!!!  Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  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 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!

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.

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.

Third Thursday of October (2010): Wha’ Happened ??!!

Self will miss tonight’s Giants/Phillies game:  she has to tutor in the Writing Center.

Aaargh, aaargh, aaargh.

Last night was magical, simply magical.  A whole array of Giants pitchers stared down Philly’s batters.  What self loves most about the televised games?  The close-ups on the pitcher’s faces.  Though all are pretty much poker-faced, the eyes are somehow still expressive.  Especially Brian Wilson’s.

*     *     *     *

Three hours later:


Halfway through self’s stint at the Writing Center, a student told her that the Phillies were leading.  Self said, No, it can’t be!  After all, when she left home, Lincecum was pitching great.  He looked so freakishly loose, self was confident the Giants would have this one in the bag.

But then, OMG, what happened ???

Hubby said there was an error on a base hit, someone dropped the ball.  Something like that.

Posey didn’t hit?  self asked.

Hubby:  Mumble mumble mumble

Self:  Didn’t he at least get on base?

Hubby:  Snicker mumble mumble

Self:  So who gave the Giants their two runs?

Hubby:  I don’t know.  I wasn’t paying attention.


Oh well, at least the series stays alive for one more game (It’s a great series, dear blog readers.  Each game has kept self absolutely on the edge of her seat).  Because the next games are in Philadelphia, hubby predicts that the Phillies will win two in a row.


Stay tuned.

The Weekend Is Upon Us, Happy Happy Joy Joy

It is the third weekend of October (2010). Amazing.

Today was a most gorgeous day, dear blog readers. It was sunny and warm, and while hubby took himself off to meet with some fellow engineers to discuss strategies for surviving the lousy climate for California engineers, self went to Safeway and bought:

  • 2 39.1-oz bags of Skittles, $3 each
  • a huge furry black spider ($5.99), which she has already attached to the mailbox, where it looks satisfyingly tacky
  • a huge pumpkin, so heavy it nearly threw self’s back out while she lifted out of the shopping cart and into her trunk ($4.99)
  • various cold cuts (Oscar Mayer honey roasted turkey breast, and so forth)
  • Beck’s beer ($7.49 for a six-pack), for what would the weekend be without some beer —  especially since the Giants are playing tomorrow!
  • a whole rack of pork loin baby back ribs

Self is still inching her way through Ryszard Kapuscinki’s Travels with Herodotus.  Since she knew almost nothing about this writer before she started reading this book, she decided to google him and found some less than flattering articles (all written in the years since his death, which self thinks is a very questionable practice:  Let’s go ahead and kick the dead writer after he/she has passed on and can no longer respond!).  Most of these articles have to do with the fact that Kapuscinski may have exaggerated some of his reporting from Africa.  OK, what writer doesn’t exaggerate, even a little.  Self means to say …

She wished she hadn’t read those articles, though, because when she first started the book, the voice filled her with such exhilaration.

What she loves about Kapuscinski is his voice.  For self, writing is all about emotion.  Which is of course inextricably linked to a writer’s voice.

Let’s see:  what else?  Presenting on flat-screen HDTV is the first game of the Yankees/Rangers series.  Self decided to have a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, a slice of roast beef, and some red wine.

Underneath the front door welcome mat is the battery-operated, shrieking doormat which self sets out every Halloween for trick or treaters.  The little kids, especially, love this shrieking thing, and keep stomping on the doormat just to hear the battery-driven shrieks.  Now she’s set it out for hubby’s benefit, so that when he gets home, he will get a big surprise!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“W” the Movie

It was a gorgeous day, dear blog readers.  Hubby’s starting to water.  Earlier, we walked the dogs.  Funny, we noticed that if Bella lags too far behind, as lately she does more and more, her arthritic legs becoming less and less able to carry her, Gracie waits until Bella and hubby come within sight before she will proceed.  So the walks become longer and longer.  But that’s all right, because self loves October, and it is so much fun to see the neighbors’ Halloween decorations:  the headstones on the lawn, the scarecrows, the pumpkins, the cobwebs draped across fences and porches.

Self planted a thunbergia gregorii.  She said a prayer:  Grow.

Hubby’s younger brother returned to New York.  Dearest Mum comes on Tuesday.  Aunt e-mailed Dear Bro:  “I’m sorry for your loss.  But you are a survivor.  Could you send me Ying’s death certificate so I can get a free airline ticket for your mom?”

That is the kind of e-mail that is only possible in Filipino families.  Ying would not have minded, self is sure of it.  She would be happy to know that she could still do something to help Dearest Mum, or any member of the family.

Dearest Ying!  Sometimes self will remember the time, four years ago, when we visited Angkor Wat.  She remembers their faithful driver, who they hired for four days.  If self were to return now, by herself, and looked him up, how shocked he would be to learn that the beautiful girl who he drove around four years ago has died.  And so would the people who own the little guest house where self and Ying stayed, sharing rooms and meals with a couple from Paris.

Hubby and self watched “W” in the downtown Redwood City cinema.  It was long:  We caught the 1:30 showing and were out a little past 4.  The day was starting to fade.  The movie kept self riveted for almost its entire length.  There was only one portion where self started to nod off, and that was when the key planners of the Iraq War were holding a strategy session.

Thandie Newton/Condoleeza did not have much to do in this movie except nod and deliver demurely downcast and yet strange grimaces.  She was such a hoot!  Self could not take her eyes off her, whenever she was on-screen.  How did this normally beautiful woman achieve such a transformation?

Rob Corddry played Ari Fleischer.  It was a very small role, mostly involving flitting in and out of rooms or trailing worriedly after W as he left a press conference.  The actor who played Paul Wolfowitz did in fact look like Paul Wolfowitz, but self doesn’t know the actor’s name.  And, hey, what an accolade for Tony Blair:  he got to be played by Welsh hottie Ioan Gruffudd.

Jeffrey Wright played Colin Powell and was very good.  Toby Jones played Karl Rove!

The whole movie, in fact, was such a hoot.  And afterwards, you did see W as a human being, albeit a tragically flawed one.  If self closed her eyes and just listened to Josh Brolin’s voice, she could have sworn she was listening to the genuine article, so well did Brolin capture Bush II’s every inflection, his Texas home-boy twang.  And, too, it was so nice to see Ellen Burstyn again, playing a very pretty version of Barbara Bush.  And that actor who played the farmer in “Babe”, James Cromwell, who’s parlayed that movie into a very long career playing (usually) bad guys, here plays Bush I as the epitome of the disappointed father.

Self thinks it is Oliver Stone’s best movie in over a decade.  The theatre was almost full, which self hadn’t seen since watching “Blood Diamond”, almost two years ago, and that had Leo.  The audience rarely laughed, but when self looked around, everyone was riveted, absolutely riveted.  A young woman to self’s left sat on the edge of her seat the whole time.  Presumably she, and the rest of the audience, were Democrats.

A very old couple created quite a stir because they could barely walk, and were hard of hearing besides, and kept stumbling on their way up the steps.  People helped them find seats and get seated.  Afterwards, they held up everyone because they could barely walk.  Self thought about how badly they must have wanted to see this movie.

Self also saw previews for “Milk” (Sean Penn absolutely riveting, in every frame of the preview, and there’s Josh Brolin again in his latest transformation, this time playing Dan White, and convincingly too), and Ron Howard’s latest, “Frost/Nixon”, which she definitely wants to see.  There was also a preview for a thriller starring Clive Owen and, in what looked to be a very bit role, Naomi Watts.  Why cannot this woman ever get the kind of role she deserves?  She can really act, can’t Hollywood see that?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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