Sunday, December 25, 2011

If She Does, Then I Will

The thought of another relationship is so far in the back of my mind that it has to fight its way through the loads of research I'm doing for my book, the movies I want to see again on DVD, the episodes of Red Dwarf I want to watch, the movies I want to see in 2012, the upcoming two Knicks games this week, future blog topics, the leftover pumpkin pie in the fridge (Not ideal, but I'll take what I can get for now), my search for the person who made, or created the recipe for, the perfect Sysco pumpkin pie I had at Six Flags Magic Mountain, the books I want to read in the next couple of weeks, the movies I still have on the Tivo in the living room, the books I want to write after I'm done writing my second book (hopefully with a publishing contract attached), ransacking the Nevada history sections in the libraries of Las Vegas and Henderson once I'm a resident, etc., etc., etc. and still etc.

Yet once in a while, the thought protrudes a little. If I seek out someone for me, she has to be a voracious reader, has to know intimately the feeling of a great book, how it can do so much for you, make you feel like you can fly throughout the world, inspire you endlessly. No one who reads only for information.

At Ralphs yesterday with Dad, picking up a few groceries, including ice cream, more Silk soymilk, and two bottles of Arrowhead sparkling water for me, there was a big waist-height bargain book box in the middle of the frozen food aisles. I started digging through the books, not specifically looking for anything, but hoping for one or two grab-worthy titles, particularly because these books were selling for 3 for $10.

The paperback edition of Home by Julie Andrews was in there, but it stops before Mary Poppins and therefore includes nothing about Victor/Victoria, so I didn't want that. One day I'll read it, most likely when I check it out from the Henderson library. I hope she writes a second memoir that features those movies, and that's one memoir I'll buy, though I'll probably check it out of the library too since I won't have to buy so many books by then.

I came upon Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, the sequel to The Nanny Diaries. I vaguely remember reading The Nanny Diaries years ago, but I liked the description on the inside flap of this part of the plot of Nanny Returns: "To compound the mounting construction and marital chaos, her former charge, Grayer X, now sixteen years old, makes a drunken, late-night visit, wanting to know why she abandoned him all those years ago. But how can she explain to Grayer what she still hasn't come to terms with herself?" I want to see how that plays out.

Digging past multiple copies of a book that wasn't notable enough for me to remember, I found My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., about how her knowledge of the brain saved her from a stroke she was having. I've got to know more about this.

Both books were $1.99 each, coming out to $4.29 with tax. I love finding cheap books that interest me. I don't know if Smith's or Vons in Henderson and Las Vegas have bargain book boxes like that one, but if they do, and if I spot a woman digging through those, as absorbed in the task as I was (I forgot I was in the frozen food aisle and only realized it when I looked up after finding those two books), I'm boldly walking over to her and striking up a conversation and hopefully getting her phone number. That's the kind of woman I want.

Day 5 of a Four-Week Pleasure Cruise

I went to bed at 1:45 this morning, hoping to get up before 9 so I could watch the Knicks/Celtics game, the start of the new NBA season. I didn't. It was 10:53 when I woke up and turned on the TV in my room to the heat of the 3rd quarter, or rather the heat for the Celtics, who were running fast, with the Knicks spending the rest of that quarter trying to close the point-gap. I don't like coach Mike D'Antoni because he looks like a schmuck, argues like a schmuck, and needs to stop coaching like a schmuck. Ok, there are going to be less practice sessions because the season is shortened, but Miami pulled way the hell ahead of the Dallas Mavericks in their game, and the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers were keeping it very close throughout their game, two points and then at the end, one point apart, with the Bulls winning 88-87. I'm not interested in either team, except for Bulls star player Derek Rose, and was only curious to see how the new Lakers coach would fare, but that was a truly suspenseful finish.

As to the Knicks, they won 106-104, and thank god for Carmelo Anthony, but he cannot be the only player on the team. The rest need to step up, besides the top 3, including Amar'e Stoudemire, my favorite player in the league. D'Antoni needs to get this team motivated, and I'm sure the game today didn't quell calls for him to be fired.

Reading a live blog I found of today's game, I see that a lot did happen before I woke up and turned it on, with the Knicks way ahead at times. I'll watch the next game in full on Wednesday, which is them against the Golden State Warriors on NBA TV, of which DirecTV has a free preview going, so I'm glad for that, not to have to wait until Thursday when they're playing the Lakers, with that game broadcast on TNT.

I can't watch basketball like others do, riveted to the screen, shouting at the TV with every play, although I did that in the fourth quarter, hoping the Knicks would get ahead. I enjoy suspenseful final minutes, but only when my team is a few points ahead. I prefer comfortable leads, of course, but that'll do, when the defense is good enough to hint heavily at a win. I always have a book open while I'm watching the game, which today was These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach, spurred on by seeing the trailer for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson. Based on the trailer, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel seems to be just like The Bourne Identity (2002), in which the concept is used for a movie, but nothing else. These Foolish Things is about a retirement hotel in India, but from what I can tell, very few of the characters in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are adapted from the book. Characteristics, perhaps, but not entire persons. It's why when the movie tie-in edition of These Foolish Things comes out (retitled The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), people will be surprised to find that little of the book is in the movie, and also that in These Foolish Things, the property is called the Dunroamin Retirement Hotel, not The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. As it happens, the movie goes the right way on its own because the first 78 pages of the novel are a bit too gray for a movie and it's obvious those who produced the movie wanted it to be internationally accessible; in other words, not too much for moviegoers to have to think about in terms of other cultures. Just see India, see the culture, see the British retirees, and go from there. I like wider exploration, but I'll accept the seemingly myopic view here because Judi Dench and Bill Nighy are in this, and Tom Wilkinson is always good, so I'm set. Plus, I love the trailer. I've played it almost as many times so far as I did the one for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. By the time the movie comes out in May (pushed back from March, which was a perfect time for it), I'll have seen that trailer more times than the one for Ghost Protocol.

The turkey that Dad had shown us in the trunk in the parking lot of Wienerschnitzel on Friday was 10 pounds and was turned into a masterpiece by Meridith. She's got a gift, an instinct for food that will propel her to wherever she wants to go. She rubbed butter all over the turkey, under the skin too, unleashed a few spices, and it came out golden, nearly glowing. At dinner tonight, Mom said that there were many years in which she stayed up all night to make the turkeys we had, set an alarm for every 2 hours or so to baste it, and it never came out as Meridith made it tonight. And this was her first turkey, which she took photos of because as if we didn't know already, this was the one moment that shows a remarkable talent about to break open wide. The butter all over the turkey she learned from watching Food Network, and that's the amazing thing about Meridith's cooking: She can learn something from a source and then employ it as if she's been using it for years. Dad used to just dump marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes before putting them in the oven. Meridith places each marshmallow in a circular pattern on top of the sweet potatoes until the top is completely filled. While I was washing the dishes from dinner, a break before dessert that included a just-ok Claim Jumper pumpkin pie, I said to Meridith that it's really something that our family has a fast-budding chef and a writer. I credit continued exposure to Walt Disney World when I was a toddler, and Meridith's first visit to Walt Disney World when she was nine days old. The imagination expands immeasureably there, especially a developing one.

This four-week pleasure cruise turned out exactly as I had hoped. I did everything I wanted to do, and to cap it off, my book research has become even more fascinating. It's a bigger puzzle than I first imagined, with the families of some late actors hard to find (if there even are families), and it's exactly what I wanted. It's more rewarding when it takes time to get what you want.