Tuesday, August 31, 2010

July Round-up - 2010

July was great. July was terrible.

July was great because I spent another vacation in Palm Springs with the gals. Once again we stayed at the Chase Hotel. Once again it was a totally fabulous and relaxing week.

July was terrible because a week after I returned from vacation, Tori got very, very sick, and I had to have her put down. She deserves a separate post, but I still feel really sad about it, and miss her terribly, and just haven't been able to write that post yet. But I will...

So, let's look back on some of July's happier moments instead.

Movies Seen: Ten, with none in a theater. The best was a small movie from Ireland called "The Eclipse." It's a spooky movie, but I think it's best to not know much more than that going into it. Have to say, though, that it genuinely startled me more than once, which is something not many movies are able to do to me these days.

The absolute worst was "Remember Me," the non-vampire movie starring Robert Pattinson. It's supposed to be a tragic love story, but the ending is SO shameless, and exploitative, that all I could do was scream, "You have GOT TO BE KIDDING!" as I was watching it.

Books Read: Six. Most of my lounging-by-the-pool time was spent reading.

I read Chuck Klosterman's "Fargo Rock City" before I actually left for vacation, but it was a quick read. It was in the remainder pile at the bookstore, and being that it's the only (non-fiction) book of his that I haven't read, I figured I'd pick it up. Who knew there was enough to be said about 1980s heavy metal music to fill up a 200+ page book?

As has become tradition while in Palm Springs, I also read some Sookie Stackhouse books, this time "From Dead To Worse" and "Dead and Gone." That leaves just one more to read come next vacation, unless Charlaine Harris writes another between now and then...

I read Priscilla Beaulieu Presley's autobiography "Elvis and Me" in about one day. Key take-away: Elvis was creepy.

And finally, when all my vacation books were done, and I found myself with nothing to read, I bought a copy of "Valley of the Dolls" which, shockingly, I had never actually read before. It was the perfect poolside book. Which isn't to say it's good. God, it's badly written! I just couldn't get past how EVERY time there was a conversation in the book, the characters would address each other by name. People do not do this!

"Neely, you have to stop taking pills with liquor. That's dangerous!"

"Oh, Anne. You're so square. They work faster that way!"

"But Neely, you've already taken three!"

"Anne, you don't understand, I need to sparkle in the morning!"

[Insert name here], the key to good writing is trusting your reader can follow a conversation without constantly being reminded who is talking to whom.

Finally, I got "The Carrie Diaries," Candace Bushnell's young adult prequel to "Sex and the City," from the library when I got back into town, and plowed straight through that one in about a day. I think anyone who's a fan of the show would probably enjoy it. It's not great, but I have to say I absolutely LOVED the ending, specifically, the final line in the book...

Fancy Dinners Out: I'm going to say five, but most were down in Palm Springs.

The S.F. dinner was at Town Hall for Chuck's birthday. Once again, it was a fabulous meal.

In Palm Springs, we basically went to the same places we go every year. We're like that. It included Citron at the Viceroy, and I can't remember what I ate because the cocktails were so good; and a steak at the Falls, along with some smoking martinis.

We also had some good bar eats at the Ace Hotel, and went to Las Casuelas Terraza twice. Truthfully, I could eat their chicken ranchero every damn night and be happy; still looking for a a place in the city that serves something similar...

Live Shows Seen: Just the daily entertainment that unfolded at the pool.

Shoes Bought: Two pairs. One pair of really ugly Grasshoppers, suitable for retirement home living, but they were only 10 bucks. And one pair of red cork platform sandals by Nine West for 20 bucks. Both bought at the Cabazon outlets.

While at the outlets, I also got two handbags--one Kate Spade, one Cole Haan--for waaaaaaaay cheap. I mean, these were ridiculously priced originally--about 300 bucks each, and I got them for about 50 each. I love Palm Springs!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's BALL, Not Balls. That Would Just Be Gross.

I went to the Lady Gaga show, AKA, the Monster Ball, on Monday, and wrote a review, which you can read over on the SF Appeal. Read it! DO IT!

A few things not mentioned in the review:

* I totally missed my exit once I got to San Jose, but was able to drive directly to the Pavilion, despite a total lack of signs leading the way, and despite the fact that I have only driven there once before. Do not doubt my sense of direction, yo!

* I took my 17-year-old cousin to the show, and she couldn't get over how many old people were in the audience. Aside from me.

* There were lots of girls wearing yellow CAUTION tape (ala the Telephone video) wrapped around their bodies, but there was also one girl wearing yellow CAUTION WET PAINT tape, which is either really sad, or totally awesome.

* One of the most memorable aspects of the show, to me, was hearing Gaga's heavy breathing during rare moments of quiet in between songs. Hearing the amplified sound of someone catching their breathe in an arena filled with thousands was a new for me. You'll never hear Madonna trying to catch her breathe during her shows, (since she's superhuman), or Britney at hers (since she doesn't actually sing). It was oddly humanizing....

* I left the parking lot at the HP Pavilion in San Jose at 11:45pm and arrived in San Francisco at 12:20am. That's driving, son! (Also, it was a sad reminder of the horrors of rush hour traffic, as sometimes my shuttle ride home from Sunnyvale, which is not too far from San Jose, can take two hours.)