(Last modified 13 August 1997.)

Wanderjahr: Week 49

Locations: Davis, Mountain View
Dates: 7/20/97 - 7/26/97

Sunday we wandered over to the post-wedding open house. Robyn & Ellen opened presents; we all ate more wedding cake and got to meet their dog Sunshine. ("This is the dog-free zone," said Ellen as we came in, referring to the small area just inside the door, blocked off to keep the dog from getting out. "Wait," said one of my traveling companions, "did you say your dog is named Freezone?")

Arthur and I decided to go see Barbara, who Arthur'd heard was in Davis and who I hadn't seen (or at least not more than once) since college, and her newborn. We mentioned to Thida that we were going, and she told us she went to high school with Barbara... So we all three went over. Didn't stay long -- there was some sort of party going on there -- but it was nice to see Barbara and to meet Isaiah, and to see Barbara's surprise at Thida's arrival.

Back to Robyn & Ellen's for more present-opening; then, overeated and overheated, we piled in the car and headed back to Mountain View. Arthur and I continued on to Lola's birthday party, the third party of the day. Eventually went back to Betlo, and found out Kristen was in town. Hung out with her and Mya 'til late, resulting in not getting my column quite completed that night.

Hung out with Kristen some more on Monday, after finishing and posting my column; we went to The Tech in San Jose, which (although very small) is way cool. I could've spent at least several more hours there exploring their exhibits... Kristen did some professional shmoozing, then we came back to Mountain View. Jeremy showed up; I got my stuff out of his car, and we all had yummy homemade ground-turkey tacos for dinner. We watched a movie on video, then I dropped Kristen off in Palo Alto and went to sleep, exhausted.

Tuesday night several sets of conflicting dinner plans resolved, mid-evening, into a fajita dinner featuring about nine people over at Jeremy's house. Jeremy was remarkably calm about having seven unexpected guests show up... After which (and after my car got jumpstarted, since I'd stupidly left the headlights on), I took Melissa and Joe home and got to Sarah's place only about two hours late. Talked with her 'til fairly late, slept in the next morning after she went to work, hung around her place catching up on six months' worth of comics for much of the day.

Hung out at Arthur and Gerry's for a while, and dropped off my car at Felix's in Mountain View, the place that rebuilt my transmission a year ago. The car was 5000 miles overdue for its 75K service, and thus about 12,000 miles overdue for a tire rotation. Oops. I think Arthur and I worked on the screenplay some, but mostly I spent the next couple days reading comics, except for (on Thursday) having lunch with Arthur and Beth F at Empress of India (not quite as good as usual, but still pretty good), picking up my fully-serviced car, and going in to meet my soon-to-be manager, Lisa, at SGI to talk about my being re-hired.

Friday evening a bunch of us went hot-tubbing at Watercourse Way in Palo Alto. Unfortunately a little too hot to be as relaxing as usual, and we didn't work out the temperature controls 'til too late. Beth O (whose idea it had been) and Karin didn't show up 'til our hour was up, by which time everyone was tired. (Beth and Karin had come out to CA for the wedding and some vacation time.) We hung around a little longer, then I took Sarah back to her place and stayed there that night. I met back up the next morning with several of the folks from the night before to go to Late For the Train in Palo Alto for brunch (yum!) before Beth and Karin had to rush off to SFO to catch a plane.

Saturday afternoon I picked up Sarah at the Wall residence, and got to meet the Wall family and their assorted fish and cats. A little later, drove up to San Francisco to meet Thida in Golden Gate Park; we went to the Japanese Tea Garden and then to a Vietnamese place in the Mission called Saigon Saigon for dinner. Good food & good company, as usual. Dropped her off at her car back in the park and drove back to Mountain View in plenty of time to get some sleep in preparation for Sunday.


Movies, Books, etc.

The Dragon Never Sleeps, by Glen Cook
Superb semi-military far-future sf (a genre I'm not usually thrilled with): compelling characters (a few dozen clones, gengineered humanoids, 4000-year-old aliens, hard-bitten but honorable soldiers, scheming plutocrats, super-competent advisors); a vast tapestry of plots, counterplots, military encounters, and small romances; giant battlestations and terrifying entities from beyond the galaxy. This, to paraphrase a review I once read of something entirely different, is what space opera will be when it grows up -- my only regret is that it took me so long to get around to reading it.

The Monster (Il Mostro)
Roberto Benigni displays his usual superb physical comedy; though this isn't as good as his earlier Johnny Stecchino, it's still the funniest movie about rape and murder since Anatomy of a Murder.

Big Night
Often lovely film about two brothers, love, following a dream, restaurants, and food food food. Stanley Tucci, like most of the rest of the cast, is marvelous, and though parts are too slow or too unresolved, the movie is well worth seeing.

Flirting With Disaster
An oddball movie, completely off the wall, very over-the-top, and quite funny most of the time; the reviews didn't nearly do it justice (besides containing lots of spoilers), but then, I'm not sure a review could adequately describe it. Great cast, a script that's impossible to predict from one minute to the next, and possibly the strangest movie ever to co-star Alan Alda and Mary Tyler Moore.


Jed Hartman <logos@kith.org>