Thursday Doors Challenge: Downtown Palo Alto

Posting this for the Thursday Doors Challenge hosted by No Facilities. It’s a lot of fun to participate.

A few days ago, self went strolling around downtown Palo Alto. This used to be one of her favorite places to while away the time. There were two downtown movie theaters: one on Emerson, another on University Avenue. There was a gelato place, and even a smoke shop. But, sadly, the movie theaters, even the gelato place, were closed.

Stanford Theatre has been closed since March 2020. It’s supposedly owned by a Silicon Valley billionaire who loves old movies. They used to have periodic film festivals: Hitchcock films, Satyajit Ray films, Truffaut films. The price of entry: $7. Fresh popcorn: $1.

It was very disheartening to see, a few days ago, that it was STILL closed. She had to content herself with walking around the ticket area, taking a picture of the old movie posters on display.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Gates and Fences: A Photo a Week Challenge

Self is fascinated by gates and fences. All kinds of gates and fences.

For this week’s Photo a Week Challenge, she went browsing through her archives and selected three: two from a friend’s garden in Menlo Park, one from the Gamble Garden Center in Palo Alto:

Menlo Park, California

Menlo Park, California

Gamble Garden, Palo Alto, California

Life in Colour, 17 May: PURPLE

Purple is not violet. Interesting!

Self loves purple flowers, and you can find a gallery of them on the Travel with Intent blog, which hosts Life in Colour.

Here is her own gallery of purple:

  • Lavatera (in front yard). It’s never looked this bushy before.

A few more:

  • Displays at yesterday’s Palo Alto Farmers Market
  • Exhibit catalogue for the recent Frida Kahlo exhibit at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park (which self saw in April, just before it closed for good)

April 15 BRIGHT SQUARES

And here we are, halfway through April! How time flies.

I’ve been wanting to post this picture for Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright,’ for a long while. They’re from a March visit to Gamble Garden Center in Palo Alto. I don’t know what they are — daffodils? I’ve never seen anything like them before.

See more Bright Square galleries here.

April 5, BRIGHT SQUARES

Every day in April, self will post a pair of squares. She usually looks for something “squar-ish” within the photograph, as well as bright colors.

The host of The Squares Challenge is The Life of B. See her gallery here.

Today, self chose these two photos:

  • a living wall at the Apple Store in Union Square, downtown San Francisco
  • a tulip bed in the Gamble Garden, Palo Alto. If you live anywhere within driving distance of Gamble Garden, this is a great time to visit: the tulips and daffodils are simply spectacular! If you happen to miss them at peak bloom, a lot of the roses looked ready to burst!

Spring has definitely sprung!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Only A Handful of 2020 Sundays Left — Praise Be

So, what did self do today? It was very chilly (She’s never raising the heat. It’s a test: to see how chilly the house gets). She wanted to go to the Palo Alto Farmers Market, because it’s been nearly three months. But she was nice and cozy under the blankets, so instead she tried to form alternative plans. Then, about 10 a.m., she decided to go. Even though, usually, at this time the lines in front of certain vendors get really long.

It’s a good thing she decided to go, because she had to try and get into a pair of jeans, for the first time in two weeks. And it was quite a struggle. Which was when she realized she’d been in denial all these past few weeks, telling herself it was okay to get a small cheesecake from her favorite cheesecake store, Namesake Cheesecake in Menlo Park, telling herself eating rice for breakfast was a good idea.

Anyhoo, she did go, and it was not crowded, and she was able to get dimsum and Indian food. On the way there, she noticed that the parking lot next to Yumi Yogurt was fenced in, and there were a lot of shopping carts filled with clothing inside the enclosure. Then, she passed Stanford and saw there was a line of RVs parallel parked on El Camino — very broken-down looking RVs. Then, she was able to find parking right away, which is saying something for Palo Alto.

She’s back now, in bed again, not watching CNN because she’s tired of people wondering why 45 won’t wear a mask. Because after four years, you’re really delusional if you think Clown will ever do the right thing. She can’t wait for him to vacate the White House, and her consciousness.

She’s reading a book of short stories called Birds of a Lesser Paradise, by Megan Mayhew Bergman. The stories are so moving. The story she’s on, Saving Face, is about a beautiful young woman whose upper lip is torn off by “a wolf hybrid,” four weeks before her wedding. And she cancels everything: her wedding, her fiancé, her looks, and her life. A year later, she’s endured several surgeries to “fix” her appearance, but she’s still very down on herself.

Which reminds her that Jason Bateman’s monologue for Saturday Night Live had a long segment about *almost* getting his face mauled by a chimpanzee, when he hosted SNL fifteen years ago. That was pretty entertaining — Jason Bateman has really, really large hands, has anyone noticed? But large hands are better than tiny hands. Where was she?

Oh yeah, the Megan Mayhew Bergman story. She hasn’t finished it yet. Will update when she does.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

“The Outpost”: Reviewed by Brian Tallerico

Self just saw the review on a site she checks pretty regularly: http://www.rogerebert.com

She normally doesn’t like watching ‘military’ movies. She feels like the high point was Platoon and The Hurt Locker and she hasn’t seen any good ones, not any straightforward (not Quentin Tarantino tongue-in-cheek) good ones, in a long time.

the-outpost-movie-review-2020.jpg

But darn, The Outpost sounds like a good movie! Brian Tallerico (who she hasn’t quoted before, she doesn’t think) begins his review with:

  • Director Rod Lurie’s first film in almost a decade is also one of his best, and the first movie since our national nightmare began in 2020 that I really regretted not being able to see in a theater.

That’s you and self, Brian!

If only they would open the Stanford Theater on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto so that she could watch classic black-and-whites like Roman Holiday and enjoy with the $1 small bucket of popcorn.

Anyhoo, this is one of those VOD ones. The only other film she’s rented during the pandemic has been Ronald Emmerich’s 10,000 B.C. and that’s because she wanted to see how Captain Jim Holden of The Expanse looked when he was 21 and clad only in animal skins.

Read Brian Tallerico’s review here.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The New Emma

Mr. Knightley is the best. He has always been the best.

Standing in line at the concession stand on a Thursday night for the first Palo Alto screening of the new Emma, self got into spirited discussion with two young women about thoughts of different Emma iterations. “Oh! The Winona Ryder version, so under-rated!”

Self had to think a moment before saying “Christian Bale, right?” Ooh, that was good casting!

“The most under-rated Mr. Knightley is still Paul Rudd,” said a young woman.

That’s right! How could self forget! Clueless! Paul Rudd, what a dreamboat!

“I want Paul Rudd’s skin-care routine,” said another young woman.

“Me, too!” self put in, enthusiastic. “Mr. Knightley’s supposed to have a nude scene in this one.”

“The problem is when they make him too old,” said the young woman.

“Well, remember Johnny Lee Miller? He was GREAT. And THIS one’s a rock singer, too.”

“BBC, right?”

“Right! Romola Garai as Emma!”

That is the most fun self has had in a movie concession stand, EVER.

As to the movie itself. The reason self was madly rushing to the movie, despite her front lawn looking like this:

20200228_120104

was Sheila O’Malley’s review.

After seeing the movie, self doesn’t think Johnny Flynn unseats Johnny Lee Miller. Or Paul Rudd.

Since this is the first time she’s ever seen Johnny Flynn, she can’t tell if he always speaks in that languid drawl, or if he just speaks that way because he’s playing Mr. Knightley. But his eyes speak volumes!

Nevertheless, self was vastly put off by those great, bushy sideburns. And decided forthwith that sideburns are just — a mood-killer.

And the starched cravats slicing into Flynn’s cheekbones, what!

And she was completely shocked that there was no build-up to the nude scene. But was happy to see the actor was slender — i.e., not buff. Which would have been a real slap in the face to Mr. Knightley if he were, in self’s humble opinion.

Stay tuned.

 

3 CALIFORNIA CITIES (Tuesday Photo Challenge)

Self loves whenever viveka of my guilty pleasures posts for a new photo challenge.

Yesterday she posted on Tuesday Photo Challenge’s prompt: CITY. She has pictures of Chicago, Seattle, Hong Kong, Stockholm, and several others.

Self took the picture below last Saturday, during the Palo Alto Art & Wine Festival.

DSCN0382

Here’s a picture of Courthouse Square in self’s very own Redwood City:

DSCN0180

Friday, Just before an evening concert, July 2019

Self gave a reading at Philippine Expressions in Long Beach in March 2018. The naval yards are huge. This is the marina at sunset. I have never seen so many boats gathered in one place, virtually stretching to the horizon. My feeling was awe:

DSCN0446

Long Beach, California, March 2018

On the Basis of Sex

Self didn’t expect much from this movie, the line was a surprise:

20181226_124615

Palo Alto Square, the day after Christmas 2018

The film is so, so good. The whole gender conflict thing is dynamic, not just “a cause.” It becomes real because of the relationship between Ginsburg and her husband. And the two leads definitely get it. They sell the male domination thing Ginsburg rails against, again and again. There is rage, but it’s never a polemic, it’s rooted in the experience of the marriage. We feel the injustice precisely because of the tenderness between Marty and Ruth.

Honestly, self doesn’t know if any other pair of actors could pull off what these two do here. It’s fine, fine work. And she did not expect it from Armie Hammer and Felicity Jones.

She thinks she finally understands the reason for Armie’s recent string of successful movies: it’s his irony. His awareness that yes, he’s good-looking, but there’s a wryness, a core affability, about him. Can you imagine someone else playing Mr. Mom? It could have been super-cheesy. She likes his willingness to not just pretend he’s an entitled white male, but to BE that entitled white male (which we all know he is, in real life, anyway: The Armand Hammer Museum in UCLA is named after his grandfather or great-grandfather), and here he is wearing an apron, feeding the baby, cooking and chopping. Droll.

Self thinks he’s going to be perfect playing that smug prick Maxim de Winter, in the re-make of Rebecca.

What a smart film On the Basis of Sex is. Self liked it better than the documentary she saw earlier this year, The Real RBG. A documentary gives us the facts. But this movie allows us to watch the relationship and see how it actually went down, in everyday life.

BTW, Sam Waterston gets only a few scenes, but each one of them is key.

Kudos, Director Mimi Leder. Self hopes this movie is nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. She hopes Felicity Jones gets nominated for her performance. Armie, too.

20181226_123635

Directly in front of me, lots of people: Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Stay tuned.

 

 

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