An Advertisement

We’ve had a subscription to Entertainment Weekly for as long as Phillip and I have been together. I think Phillip got it as a package deal, or something. I’ve never seen him read it. I used to read it from cover to cover as soon as it arrived in our mailbox. It was my guilty pleasure. It was entertaining.

Then something changed in my life. I begin to lose interest in it. It would arrive, I’d set it aside, and maybe glance though it later. Quite some time ago, I decided to let the subscription run out. We toss the subscription renewal notices in the recycling bin. But the magazine keeps arriving. It’s a mystery. (No, neither one of us has an automatic renewal set up.) But that’s another story.

The reason for this post is that the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly arrived yesterday. I set it aside, and glanced at it today. I didn’t recognize the women on the cover. Then I realized that the entire front cover of Entertainment Weekly is nothing but an advertisement for Dial soap. (The advertisement cover can be peeled off to reveal a “real” cover.) This is where advertisements have reached today, where they take over the entire cover of a magazine. Advertisements no longer sponsor a magazine – the advertisement is the magazine.

ET

Of course, it can be argued that every cover of Entertainment Weekly is an advertisement for some TV show or movie. But, at least, it’s advertising an informative article about a TV show or movie – a reason to buy the magazine. This is just an advertisement.

Mac And Cheese And My Hat

I woke up this morning with a headache that wouldn’t go away.

When Phillip and I drove to the U District, and walked to the University District Street Fair, I still had my headache.

Even after a latte at Bulldog News, I still had my headache.

The weather was pleasant. It was overcast, a little muggy, but not too hot. The predicted rain didn’t happen – at least, not at the fair. The Street Fair was considerably smaller than in previous years. There were gaps in the booth spaces. The parking lot at the teriyaki place had no booths at all. The parking lot at the Vision Center was only half taken up with booths. It was a little disappointing and sad, actually.

Street Fair 2018

I can never get a satisfying photo of the Street Fair

We stopped at a food truck and had mac & cheese for lunch. I had lobster mac & cheese, and Phillip had deep-fried mac & cheese.

We’d allowed ourselves three hours at the Street Fair. We had tickets to the 1:30 showing of Deadpool 2 at the formerly wonderful Sundance Theater, now the merely fine AMC Seattle 10. We ended up with too much time on our hands. We browsed through Gargoyle and the University Book Store. Then we walked to the theater, much too early.

At least AMC hadn’t gotten rid of the upstairs lounge. I don’t think the fireplace or the upstairs bar are used anymore, but the couches are still there. Phillip and I went upstairs and played on our phones.

At 1:00, we went downstairs and Phillip showed his phone-tickets to the ticket person. She directed us to Theater 1.

We walked in, the lights were out, and they were already showing previews. We found our reserved seats and sat down. Phillip left immediately to get refreshments.

Then I realized I wasn’t watching previews – it was the end of the previous show. We’d been allowed in too soon. I didn’t see enough to spoil anything, however.

Phillip got back as the credits were rolling. I wonder what the people around us thought we were doing.

The credits ended, and everyone but us left. A staff member came in and asked us, politely, to leave so she could clean the aisles. We found a couple of seats just outside of Theater 1.

Eventually, we were allowed back in, and we enjoyed the movie. (I still had my headache, though.) Sometime during the show, I began to wonder where my hat was. It wasn’t inside my bag, it wasn’t in my lap, it wasn’t on the armrest, and I couldn’t feel in on the floor. It wasn’t on my head, either.

The credits rolled a second time, and the lights came on. I told Phillip I couldn’t find my hat. We looked around our seats. I looked around the chairs outside of Theater 1. I looked around the couch upstairs.

There wasn’t anything special about the cap I’d been wearing. If it was lost, it wouldn’t be a big deal.

I asked at the front desk. The staff member there said that she didn’t know of any lost hats being turned in, and then asked the ticket person to go look for it. She asked us what seats we were in – then, on her second thought, told us to go ahead and look for it ourselves.

The same staff member was there, cleaning the aisles. She had found a hat, and had given it to Andrew, at the front desk. She obviously didn’t remember that she’d kicked us out of the previous show, because she mentioned that Andrew wasn’t on the front desk shift anymore. She was a little confused about the time frame. I said that we’d come in early for the show, and that apparently didn’t bring back the memory for her. She left to go find Andrew, and we walked out to the lobby.

As soon as we got to the lobby, the cleaning staff member had talked to Andrew, and had found where he’d left my hat.

The AMC Seattle 10 may not be as nice as the Sundance was, but the staff is still awesome.

We walked back to our car, with my hat on my head, we drove home, and I took a nap.

A Book Set In The Decade I Was Born

Chocolates for Breakfast, by Pamela Moore, was first published in 1956.

The first sentence is: “Spring at Scaisbrooke Hall was clearly the most beautiful time of year.

Chocolates for Breakfast

Courtney Farrell is fifteen years old. Her best friend is sixteen year old Janet Parker. Courtney and Janet are roommates at an all-girl boarding school in New England.

Except for Janet, Courtney doesn’t have any friends her own age. Part of the reason for this is that Courtney grew up with her mother and her mother’s adult friends. There were rarely any other children around.

Another reason is that Courtney’s mother, Sondra Farrell, is an actress in Hollywood. The girls at school all want Courtney to provide some juicy Hollywood gossip, and Courtney doesn’t want friends like that.

Courtney Farrell is going through some gender confusion. She’s attracted to women, but doesn’t like them. She often wishes she was a man, but feels that she would have to be a homosexual man, and she wouldn’t want that.

Janet accuses Courtney of being in love with their teacher, Miss Rosen. Courtney maintains that Miss Rosen is her English tutor, and nothing more. Courtney know that she and Janet are both right.

Sondra Farrell is not happy about being old enough to have a fifteen year old daughter, and wishes people would stop asking how Courtney is. She is not looking forward to when school is over, and Courtney comes home to live with her. Sondra does not want to be a mother.

School is finally over, and Courtney Farrell flies home to rejoin the Hollywood life she grew up with. Courtney’s mother and her friends are all struggling actors, always drinking, always bad-mouthing each other, and often staying at each other’s apartments.

Courtney begins a secret, romantic relationship with an older, homosexual actor named Barry Cabot. The affair is over when Barry returns to his boyfriend.

Courtney and her mother move to New York.

Courtney reunites with Janet Parker, who is also living in New York. Janet introduces Courtney to her circle of Ivy League (mostly dropout) friends. Courtney begins spending more time with people her own age, and less time with her mother. Courtney’s life becomes a cycle of cocktail parties and more cocktail parties.

Courtney begins a secret, romantic relationship with a young aristocratic named Anthony Neville. (They keep it secret because Anthony and Janet have some history together.)

Chocolates for Breakfast is a story about changes. It’s about Courtney Ferrell growing up and finding herself. It’s about moving from a New England boarding school to a public high school in Beverly Hills. It’s about moving from an environment where having an actress for a mother is a big deal, to a place where everyone has a mother who’s an actress. It’s about movie actors trying to adapt to the coming age of television. It’s about a generation of young people gradually breaking away from their parents’ generation. (On The Road would be published the year after Chocolates for Breakfast was.)

Chocolates for Breakfast was written in the mid-1950s. There’s no mention of what year the story takes place, but it seems to have been written as a contemporary story. There is one brief mention of trouble in Korea, which would seem to place it in the early 1950s. (I mention this only because of the Reading Challenge category.)

There are sub-plots in this novel that go nowhere, and that irritated me a little. Courtney’s crush on Miss Rosen seemed to be leading up to something – maybe a confrontation – but it doesn’t. Courtney’s attraction to women is brought up, but then, except for dating at least one homosexual man, she appears to be solidly heterosexual for the rest of the book. (The bonus sections following the novel, about the author and about the book, mention that sections of Pamela Moore’s manuscript were never published. Maybe that explains it. Maybe I shouldn’t be too harsh on the author.)

I absolutely loved this book, despite the issue with the sub-plots. It’s a character-driven novel, and well written. Courtney Farrell is an interesting and complex character. It’s set in a fascinating era.

The bonus sections mentions some interesting trivia around Chocolates for Breakfast. The name Courtney was rarely used as a girl’s name until 1958, when the paperback edition of the novel was published. Musician Courtney Love claims that her mother named her after Courtney Farrell.

Pamela Moore’s parents were both writers. Her father, Don Moore, wrote the comic strip Flash Gordon. Pamela Moore wrote Chocolates for Breakfast when she was eighteen. She continued to write, but was never able to repeat the success of Chocolates for Breakfast. Pamela Moore killed herself at the age of twenty-six.

Why I chose this book:

Finding a book for this category was a little tougher than I’d thought it would be. Internet searches for “books set in the 1950s” most often turned up books written in the 1950s. Maybe I needed to word my search differently. I had thought this category needed a nostalgia piece – written in more contemporary times, looking back on the 50s.

I put too much thought into these Reading Challenge categories.

I have a fondness for mid-twentieth century American novels. From the 1950s, Catcher in the Rye, On the Road, and so on. From the 1960s, To Kill a Mockingbird, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and so on. Yet, I had never heard of Chocolates for Breakfast, until it turned up in an internet search. The synopsis sounded intriguing, so I took a chance that, while written in the 1950s, it was also set in the 1950s.

Nice Trek Up The Hill

It was a beautiful day in Seattle today – sunny, and in the 70s. I walked up the hill to Writers’ Group. It seemed like everyone on Capitol Hill was out and about. There were people at sidewalk restaurant tables, enjoying food, drinks, and the day.

I brought back-to-back blog posts of my reviews of The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold and Round Ireland With a Fridge to read – not because I hadn’t been inspired to write anything else, but because I liked the posts. I knew that Mariah, and anyone else who reads my blog, had already read them. But I brought them anyway.

Writers’ Group was Barbara and Russ and me. We had sandwiches and talked. We read and talked and talked. It was a fun afternoon, as always.

Afterwards, I walked up to 15th Ave to catch a 10 bus home. It was still a beautiful day, but I felt like a bus ride home. I stopped into Caffe Ladro for an iced latte, and missed a 10 bus. The next one arrived 11 minutes later.

I rode the 10 down the hill and walked home from there. I was surprised that there weren’t any gardeners working in the P-patch.

I came home and lazed around for most of the rest of the day.

The Sims 4 Is A Weird Game, Part 3

The Sims 4 has some beautiful kitchen counters and cabinets. You can build a variety of kitchen layouts and styles. Sims can’t actually open the drawers, but that’s all right with me. It’s only a game, with the limitations that come with a computer game.

Traditional Kitchen

Ah, the country life!

Modern Kitchen

Ah, the city life!

But it’s probably a good thing that Sims can’t open drawers, because most of the kitchen islands have the drawers on the wrong side.

Backwards 1

Backwards 2

If a Sim needed to retrieve anything from an island drawer, they’d have to first ask the Sim sitting there to get up, and then they’d have to move the stool out of the way. And if they needed to retrieve anything from the top drawer, they’d have to pull the drawer all the way out to clear the island’s overhang.

The Tall Order, Modern Victorian, and S. Cargeaux kitchen island styles avoid the problem by not having drawers on either side.

The Aughts and the VAULT kitchen island styles are the only two with drawers on the correct side. Guests can sit on at the island, chatting away with the host Sim while they cook dinner, and not have to worry about being in the way.

The Aughts

VAULT

But it’s only a game.

Morning Encounters

On the mezzanine level of Westlake Station this morning, I saved a couple of tourists from taking the wrong elevator. I pointed them to the down elevator. As I headed down the stairs, I saw them both tap their ORCA cards. So, maybe they were locals, heading out of town, and not tourists.

As I was waiting to cross 3rd Avenue, I was greeted by a group of Native American men. We all agreed it was a beautiful morning. One of them asked me what time it was, and I told him. He said, “Thanks, brother!” The light turned green, and we all went on our way.

I seem to get greeted by groups of Native American men a lot. Maybe it happens to everyone. Maybe I look vaguely Native American. Maybe it’s my ponytail. Maybe it’s a coincidence. I don’t know.

A Book That Involves A Bookstore Or Library

Fushigi na toshokan, by Haruki Murakami, was published in 2005. It was translated into English by Ted Goossen as The Strange Library, and published in 2014.

The first sentence is: “The library was even more hushed than usual.

The Strange LibraryA young boy (the book’s narrator), on his way home from school, stops into the library to return a couple of books. One is named How to Build a Submarine. The other is named Memoirs of a Shepherd. Neither are overdue. The boy always returns library books on time.

He’s also looking for some other books. The woman at the return desk tells him to turn right at the bottom of the stairs and go straight down the corridor to Room 107. The boy finds an old man there. The boy explains that he wants to learn how taxes were collected in the Ottoman Empire.

The boy isn’t actually all that eager to learn about taxes in the Ottoman Empire, but the question popped into his head earlier that day. His mother always told him that if he didn’t know something, he should look it up.

The old man is eager to help. He brings the boy three large, and very old, books about taxes in the Ottoman Empire. The boy thanks him, and starts to leave with the books. The old man stops him – those books are for “Internal Use Only” and can’t leave the library. The boy admits that he wasn’t really very interested in the subject, and besides, the library will be closing soon, and his mother will start to worry if he isn’t home soon.

The old man becomes angry. He accuses the boy of wasting the library’s time and resources. The boy feels sorry, and agrees to read the books – but for thirty minutes only.

The old man tells the boy to follow him to the Reading Room. He follows the old man down hallways, through forks and intersections, and around twists and turns. The boy wonders how a city library could afford to build such a large labyrinth. The boy follows him down some very long, very dark, stairs. There, the boy is introduced to a man wrapped in a sheep skin. This is not the Reading Room the boy was expecting.

This is no ordinary library. Or, if the sheep-man is to be believed, it is.

Strange Library pageThe Strange Library is beautifully illustrated with collages and drawings. I don’t know who the artist is.

I downloaded the book onto my phone, but I understand that the pages of the physical copies unfold in amazing and interesting ways. I may check out the physical book in the future to experience that.

I knew, before I started, that this book was short, but I didn’t realize how short. The digital copy I checked out had just 109 ePages, with many of them taken up by nearly full-page illustrations. I read it in one afternoon and two commutes.

The Strange Library is a strange novel. It has many elements of horror to it, but it reads like a children’s fable.

I loved this book, although I wish there was more to it. It’s confusing and challenging and intriguing. It’s beautiful and horrific. It kept me a Haruki Murakami fan.

I loved The Strange Library, but I won’t recommend it unless you’re already a Murakami fan.

Why I chose this book:

I was on a Haruki Murakami kick when the 2018 Reading Challenge was published. I’d recently read 1Q84, Norwegian Wood, and Kafka on the Shore. I was eager to read more. I decided that something by Murakami would be my pick for a “book by an author of a different ethnicity than me”.

I began searching the internet for my next Murakami novel and found The Strange Library. I hadn’t heard of it before. I realized it would be a better fit a “book involving a library”. It was among the first three or four books to go on my “For Later” shelf, and the book by an author of a different ethnicity than me would go to someone other than Haruki Murakami.