Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Scarycrow at RR's school. The blogmaid helped dress it.
Her husband "donated" his shoes and
he only found that fact out when he wanted to wear them.
RR in one of several costumes.
RR is the cat in the middle here.
And we are dressing up in the stores at the museums today. I'll have
those photos for tomorrow's post. Do remember to turn your clocks
back tonight!

Friday, October 30, 2009

one week from tonight!

Books Inc. in the Castro, one of my very favorite bookstores, managed
beautifully by my Ken friend. This is a gay and lesbian reading, but
Loren said I could read if I have some friends in the audience.
I will be there in any event, to support everyone and help sell books.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

it takes cojones

...and cheese, chorizo, mussels, romaine lettuce, etc. to open a new
restaurant in this economy. Especially one that's open for lunch, but
this is Starbelly at 16th and Market, where we had The Great Plotnik's
birthday lunch last Monday. The fact that TGP wasn't there is a long
(sort of) story, but we had a great time with his beloved Ducknik
and all 3 of us enjoyed the food and ambiance. I plan to take Ken
(friend, not car) here for his lunch. Soon.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

my homework assignment

Husbando and I are both dedicated eavesdroppers and often
after restaurant dining we will spend a few minutes telling
the other one what the people behind, or next do us, were talking
about. So my homework for the fiction writing class is right up
my alley: listen to a conversation and when the moment comes
that I know that someone is lying, note it, and be prepared to
talk about it in class next week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

tension and conflict

We watched Pulp Fiction last night in writing class and then analyzed
why and how this all worked so beautifully. So many details that I
missed the first time around and I think I'll rent the film soon. I really
appreciate our teacher who helped me understand more about how
and why conflict is so important in our writing. His own mother wants
to avoid it and asks that he write "nice stories." That made me chuckle...

Monday, October 26, 2009

the best seat in the house

Soon it will be dark when he have our cheese sandwiches down here
at Fort Mason, but last night was glorious and if you strain, you can
see the tip of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
Goldfish at the Magic Theatre is a very satisfying play ~ sad and funny
at the same time. Shown here, Andrew Pastides as the son, and his
father Rod Gnapp in the background. We "know" Rod from ACT and
the Magic and that always seems to make the play even better. Last
night was Industry Night and the audience was filled with actors,
directors and producers from other Bay Area theaters. Great fun and
boy, did they appreciate this performance! As did we...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

for only 20 minutes

My new morning routine is to put on my sweats and my new shoes
(almost like the above) and do a fast walk in the nabe before I have
my coffee and computer time. I can't think about it, I just do it.
Reason? To build my leg muscles and get my heart rate up. I have
been having some knee pain and the doc said before she would
recommend cortisone, I had to exercise. One of the unexpected
benefits is that I feel more creative and Ellen ideas filter through
while I keep my eyes on the pavement, cars and city crazies.

Friday, October 23, 2009

bowling balls don't float

From our youth...thanks to Chef P. for sending these.

Every year, English teachers across the country submit their collections of actual similes and metaphors found in high school essays. Excerpts are published to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners:

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E.Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap - one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are known to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either,but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

still in print?

I found Rules of The Wild in one of our home bookshelves yesterday
and I think I'm going to enjoy it. Francesca Marciano is a filmmaker
and screenwriter who lives in Rome and also in Kenya. It was
written in 1998 and takes place in Africa ~ fiction, of course. I
have already found some "show don't tell" kinds of details that I'm
supposed to be looking for this week for my class: Her skin is a
shade too pale for someone living in Africa and covered in a thin
film of sweat.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

more from muriel

This was actually written 9 years before Hedgehog and it won't
be everyone's bowl of lobster bisque. Gourmet Rhapsody contains
small little character studies and essays, all revolving around the
impending death of a famous French food critic. He is greatly
loved and feared ~ his children will not be at his deathbed, so
that says a lot, doesn't it? Oh, but the writing! We've been
studying details-inside-details in my fiction class and Ms. Barbery
makes a luscious feast of them in this (to me) rewarding piece
of fiction. Foodies will especially love this book.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

and the rains came down

One of the executives (I think) sent this photo around to everyone
via email at work yesterday. We had a BIG rainfall on Monday, it
didn't last all day, but it certainly was impressive. I enjoy working
someplace where beauty is so admired and shared. Our museums
are closed on Monday, hence the desolate no-people look.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

calvin on roman

(thanks to Barb K. for this insightful piece)

Here's Calvin Trillin's take, from The Nation:

A youthful error? Yes, perhaps.
But he's been punished for this lapse--
For decades exiled from LA
He knows, as he wakes up each day,
He'll miss the movers and the shakers.
He'll never get to see the Lakers.
For just one old and small mischance,
He has to live in Paris, France.
He's suffered slurs and other stuff.
Has he not suffered quite enough?
How can these people get so riled?
He only raped a single child.

Why make him into some Darth Vader
For sodomizing one eighth grader?
This man is brilliant, that's for sure--
Authentically, a film auteur.
He gets awards that are his due.
He knows important people, too--
Important people just like us.
And we know how to make a fuss.
Celebrities would just be fools
To play by little people's rules.
So Roman's banner we unfurl.
He only raped one little girl

Monday, October 19, 2009

great reviews, and yet...

We watched Two Lovers Saturday night when there is NEVER
anything (for us) on TV. I know what the knowledgeable reviewers
say, but we both thought this was a peculiar plot and it seemed
like all the actors were a bit wooden. Probably they were supposed
to be, but the whole thing lacked intensity and I didn't even
glance at the Kleenex® box. You know the story: one guy with
two women and does he choose or do they and who cares?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

a day to remember

I wore the pin that the blogmaid gave me and the bracelet from Ginger,
both for good luck. I really needed to stuff every pocket with Kleenex®
because it was an extremely emotional day for me. I didn't expect that.
When I left the big box I was so ready for a change and I do love the
museum and my new friends there. But, lordy, I miss the books and
my book people. Dancing Jen remarked that the reading was a Borders
Reunion, and it was indeed. Plus Jodi and Tanya from the museum
were there ~ how special is that? I would guess we had 30 or so
people in the audience.

So yes, we had a great turnout. Thank you, everyone! Jason had
everything set up beautifully and Loren (on the left above) was so
at ease telling us about her book and introducing we three authors.
I was comfortable reading my piece having practiced it with
Husbando and at the bus stop. (It's a benefit to live in a city where
no one pays any attention to a woman reading aloud.)

And we sold some books, that of course, was the ultimate goal.

Ginger took me to lunch at John's Grill for old time's sake. When
we worked in the advertising department at Macy's we used to
lunch there often, so this seemed perfect. She wanted to know
who everyone was and we covered a lot of information in a
short time. I smiled all the way home on BART. What a day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

a rare customer-free Saturday

I'm starting the day with yoga at 8am and then jumping on the
Muni for downtown and the Morbid reading/signing at noon
at the Big Box. I hope they have found the books by the time
we arrive. I practiced reading last night and only stumbled a
few times over a few words. Husbando said, "good job!"

More sunshine today I think (it's still dark), but these are the
golden glory days of October that we look forward to during
our months of fog and sullen summer mist.

I'll pack my camera right now, thanks for the reminder.

Friday, October 16, 2009

bad luck for 3 years, whatever...

Thanks to Mary in Bisbee for this fun click-on message.

Our writing group last night was excellent and I appreciated
all the hoorahs about my fictional (Ellen) piece. I know the
class is helping me already. Still no plot, but what the hey...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

making it all better

While running errands for the great dinner party on Tuesday, Husbando
received a parking ticket and he was feeling gloomy about that. It IS
a big deal, anymore (as they say in the midwest), because these
mothers cost $55. Imagine. So I said I'd take him to lunch on
Wednesday, any place he wanted to go, and he cheered up at once. "Noodles", he said.

We both love the noodles at Mifune in Japan Center. So tasty and v.
inexpensive. And it was fun to walk around the center which has under-
gone a transformation these past few years. They've added lots of little
touches (flowers, benches, tea shops) and the public has responded
by returning to this once-deserted place. It had that nice bustle kind
of feel yesterday. After lunch we walked up and down Fillmore Street,
another SF nabe that is always changing, always interesting.

The rain has left us and it felt almost humid yesterday. Odd.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

the day after

One of the pleasures is the next day after the dinner party. We do
some of the dishes and chatter away about the guests and what they
said, what we learned and of course the obligatory "terrific food", is
bounced back and forth a few times. The worst of the work is done
before we go to bed, but there's still some for the following day. It's
really a delight to have a whole day to put our little-used china, silver
and crystal back in their dark cabinets until the next event.

Two of the guests last night were from Germany and of course they
love being in San Francisco. The other two were from Sanchez
Street, over there to the west. Honestly, it was the first time I
ever wanted to visit Germany, listening to the two women
describe their country and their lives.

A very special evening. Terrific food.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

where does the butter knife go?

We are entertaining tonight and it's been eons because I usually don't
get two days off in a row. But yeah, I have them now. I get to stay
in my sweats all day and cook and the house is starting to smell
quite lovely. It's raining and splashing out there, but we are snug
here and looking forward to a delightful evening.

The fiction class last night was terrific. We are working on setting
the scene and describing emotion through details. I need to push
myself here and this class has energized me. But I do need a nap,
of course, so I can sparkle tonight.

Monday, October 12, 2009

not bored in Brooklyn

We are impressed with Bored to Death on HBO. We watch it
on Sunday nights at 9:30, right after Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Last night Ted Danson said that "Brooklyn is the new
Manhattan" and that led to one of those Seinfeld kind of
discussions ~ you know the ones, "so what is the old
Manhattan?" Lately Brooklyn is in all the news that counts:
the Great Plotniks' son and family live there, Karen H.
just bought a home there and now this new TV series.

But I ramble. This is a fun plot about a guy who advertises
himself on Craigslist as a private detective without a
license. So far he has solved every puzzle and we get to
see a lot of Brooklyn as he flies around, averting disaster.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

let's speak of angels

Formidable. We watched part one and two of Tony Kushner's Angels
in America on our big new winter TV Friday and Saturday nights.
Emma Thompson is about the scariest and then most compassionate
angel ever imaginable. We saw the play twice and this is our second
time for this outstanding TV movie, but the message of love and
hope should be seen often. I had forgotten the line when Mary-Louise
Parker mentions San Francisco. So sweet.

Yesterday the Blue Angels canceled their noise-making event, but
much of the damage had been done with all the traffic problems
they created. We have been having lots of fog (marine layer) and
that's unusual this time of year. Maybe today they'll fly about
twice, or not.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

mark your calendars!

One week from today ~ I'll be reading Halloween Hell and I'd
love to see you in the audience. It should be a lot of fun with
a couple of the other authors from Morbid Curiosity Cures
The Blues. Thanks always to Loren for her hard work getting
this book out, and to Jason for arranging the event.

Saturday, October 17th
4th Floor Event Space
Borders Union Square
Post and Powell
San Francisco

Friday, October 09, 2009

my teacher

I'm excited about the fiction writing class I start next Monday night. Here is a little information about the teacher that I borrowed from the wonderful Writing Salon website.

Junse Kim, like many Writing Salon students, didn’t begin to pursue a writing life until well after graduating from college. Before ever taking a writing class, he worked as a concert promoter, Peace Corps volunteer, managerial consultant, scriptwriter, nonprofit fundraiser, and “full-time” temp. He has since received a Pushcart Prize (for his short story Yangban), a Faulkner Award, and the Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing at Bucknell University. His fiction and creative nonfiction have been published in the Ontario Review, ZYZZYVA, and Cimarron Review, as well as two anthologies: Pushcart Prize XXVII and Echoes Upon Echoes: New Korean American Writing.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

catching up with the kids

Let's start with the youngest ~ Sam in Sacramento. One of Neti and Frank's grand twins. Mama Nicole is posting great photos on Facebook, so I borrowed a couple here.
Now meet Brother Ben. Both boys and their mothers and grand parents are coming for Thanksgiving here at Casa Verde this year. We are v. excited. Many photo opps!
Dancing Jen's gorgeous nephew Kingston is really 100% adorable, isn't he? And he has certainly captured the heart of his doting aunt.
She's almost six! RR (Ryan Rosemary) is adjusting beautifully to kindergarten and I love my morning emails from her blogmaid mother detailing how she is learning to read and write, meet new friends and enjoy her first real school year.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

oh those school days

It's the afternoon of the First Day of School and these parents finally
have some FREE time and decide to have a little extra curricular fun.
We had a great time last night and enjoyed this one act play by Billy
Aronson immensely. It's playing at our favorite SF Playhouse on
Sutter Street, next to Powell ~ through Nov. 7th. Go!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

two people, two tv sets

I know it's ridiculous, but we now own two 32" televisions. One in
the back room that has The View, but lacks insulation, and is way
too cold in the winter, and our new one here in the living room.
We bought it at Costco yesterday and had two experts come in
to fuss with all the hook-up wires and remote controls. It's really
impossible to watch old-style tv after being spoiled by the big and
clear picture on these whatchacallem tv sets. This is a Vizio and
so far we love it. Lots of helping the economy from us this year!

Monday, October 05, 2009

I'm only on page 8...

This will be a good one ~ a TV or movie too, I'm sure. City of
Thieves by David Benioff (The 25th Hour) is the story of two
young men searching for a dozen eggs in Leningrad during
the siege. If they fail on this mission, they lose their lives.

By the way, I LOVED The Girl Who Played with Fire and yes,
it was a little far-fetched, but that's OK. So will my Ellen book
when that finally gets written.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

we watched the whole thing

And here I thought this would be the weekend Flix® that we
wouldn't like. He's Just Not That Into You has enough twists
and truths to keep us interested, plus all the hot movie stars
including Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck and
(from Big Love) Ginnifer Goodwin who is there on the phone in
the bottom right hand corner.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

not enthralling at all

That little white chihuahua had a few too many scenes in Easy
Virtue and the movie was pretty boring. We didn't even get
half way, despite good reviews and a deep appreciation of
Kristin Scott Thomas. Plot? American girl impulsively marries
rich boy and his family does not approve. Avoid.

Friday, October 02, 2009

writers at work

Tiapos met here at Casa Verde last night and we had a fine time indeed.
This photo is of a generic writer person, no one we know. Husbando
has been "deep cleaning" the house, so I was comfortable offering
our space. We missed Mistress J and her writing and photos. Karen
and Eric wrote about their teaching experiences, Will had four fine
poems, Sarah's history with cheese was a delight, Doug is working
on the marvelous Mandela song and I read a little piece about our
tiny bathroom. Really, a wonderful evening. Lucky me!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

the Eglu® by Omlet

During stressful times in our careers, my friend Ginger (who once
resided in Kansas) would mention that we should run off to
Mendocino and raise chickens. She has not yet read the article
by Susan Orlean in the Sept. 28th issue of the New Yorker, but
I will save it for her.

It's fascinating. Backyards across the country are filling up
with chickens! Many of us have never tasted a really fresh egg.
There are a lot of websites and helpful hints on the internet
and people love their chickens. Maybe we will see some on
the lawn at the White House one day.

The author ordered the Eglu® which was invented by some
college students in London. They had to do some sort of design
project and the mother of one said, "invent a better chicken
coup", and they did and now they are millionaires.