Monday, December 28, 2009

A Year in Pages

At the start of 2009 I tried my very best to read American Pastoral but never finished. I carried it around to places, got affirmation from hip people (as an aside, I recently learned from a twelve year-old that hip people don’t say hip) but one hundred pages into it, I just couldn’t do it. But I was able to knock off the list below (including a few others I never finished) with stars (five being best…

American Pastoral (never finished)

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
, two stars

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
(I was in a Chinese phase), four and half stars

Rain of Gold, four and three quarters stars

White Oleander
, four and half stars

Ham on Rye,(not by choice, it was a book club selection)negative sixteen stars

Wonder Boys
, three stars

Hope’s Boy, three stars

The Same Kind of Different as Me
, three and half stars

A Love Undetected
(never finished…)

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
, four and half stars

Losing my Religion
, three and half stars

About a Boy, three and quarter stars

Jayber Crow, four stars

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
, five stars

The Unlikely Disciple
, three stars

The Time Traveler’s Wife
, three and half stars

The White Tiger, three and a quarter stars

Olive Kitteridge
, four stars

Homeland (never finished…)

Wishing and Hoping
, in process…

Next year, I’ll read more and I’ll keep you guys posted as I go along.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Yesterday, I had a doctor’s appointment at the Sunset location of Kaiser. Not to be derailed by a much needed rant about HMO’s and the fate of health care – I’ll save that for Senators Boxer and Feinstein – another topic. If you have never been to the Sunset Kaiser, holding my tongue, it is a several city blocks wide/long dizzying maze of health care where even my brief description leaves me frustrated, overwhelmed and feeling so much like a meaningless cog in some gianormous corporate machine. Don’t even get me started on the parking garage.

Yesterday, through some stroke of a miracle, I was able to find my way into the right building and the right elevator a bit ahead of schedule for my 9:45 appointment. Entering the elevator with me was what appeared to be a young family – mom, dad and two children pushed in one of those strollers that seems designed for off-roading. The father looked familiar, but at 9:15, without make-up and on our way to the doctor, it felt too much to strike up a conversation. The family seemed a bit somber and faintly mentioned something about staying there through lunch. I got off before them and probably halfway through my doctor’s visit, I placed the man – he used to work with a friend of mine and is still involved in a program that I network with from time to time.

On my way out, I entered the same elevator realizing that there was only one floor above the one I was on and it had only one listing – Oncology. My heart sank. Some member of this precious gap ad family was dealing with cancer and on Christmas Eve Eve of all days. Maybe they are alone in this difficult season and maybe I completely misinterpreted the whole scenario. It is Kaiser after all, and like me they might have been in the wrong building – I pray. But maybe I am right, and they are sitting home now agonizing over some dreadful news that will forever punctuate their family’s story. Please think of them and others who during this holiday season have little to celebrate.

Friday, December 4, 2009

BCS Tickets

Tomorrow morning, I will join the throngs of Pasadena residents clamoring for a shot at BCS tickets. Yes, of course, our Trojans will be lucky to get invited to the Emerald Bowl and watching them defeat, of all teams, my Arizona Wildcats later in the afternoon at the Coliseum is salt in the wounds of a dreadful, dreadful season. However, for us Pasadena a resident, one of our strange perks is the shot at purchasing tickets to the annual Rose Bowl game which every five years (including 2010) hosts the BCS Game. Call me greedy, call me desperately in “need” of a new couch but my entire reason to buy tickets is for the shot to resell them for more than face value. So my friends, Older Than Matt Barkley will return later on a game day morning that doesn’t involve me showing up at 7am anywhere.