Thursday, March 30, 2006

Patrick Suskind's Perfume Book Club Discussion

I've read a lot of books most people cannot get through. So it's rare for me to come across a book that I just cannot read. Suskind's Perfume is one of them. It's not the gross-gore factor, though that's high. I've read a lot of David Lindsey, which is way gorier. In fact, Perfume's very well-written and I'd love to check out another Suskind work. It's this guy, the protagonist Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He's this terribly ugly unfortunate kind of soul born in direst poverty to a woman who walked away from him soon after birth, hoping he'd rot in a pile of fish carcasses. Fun start, that. Sets the tone right away. So he's moved around from orphanage to orphanage--most people can't stand him because, apparently, he doesn't smell. Not "he doesn't smell like anything human," he just doesn't smell of anything. Whoopdedoo. So that's supposed to be this huge tragedy which lays the foundation for all the terrible things that follow.

Oh wait, forgot to mention, he doesn't smell, but he can smell. He has a Nose. So he becomes a parfumier of note. This is all set in not-so-gay Paree, by the way. Eventually, he starts killing virgins, hoping to distill their scent and become zee greatest parfumier of all. I didn't get that far. I was soooooo bored.

I love to get into the heads of most characters--good, bad, downright evil, whatever. But boring, nah, that's unforgivable. Can't be a boring character and expect people to spend tres valuable time trying to figure out what you're going to do next.

Heard they're making a movie on this book. Avoid like the plague.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Growing Up

This is the second day Raina said "stroller" instead of "tua." I had grown rather fond of "tua" and saw it go with regret. At almost 2, my baby is growing into a little girl. And her language definitely reflects that.

Yesterday, we watched a Labrador retrieve tennis balls from the lake by our home. I don't know whose jaw was dropping more, who was exclaiming more excitedly, Raina or I. But my little girl is way more verbose than I, that's for sure. The sentences were stumbling out one after the other, tripping over each other. "Ooooh, mama, look at that! The doggie's in the water, the doggie's swimming, the doggie has a ball in its mouth, he has a green ball, where did the doggie go, oh where, oh where can the doggie be? (The last sentence said in a sing-song fashion.) Oh, there she is! (Pronouns obviously all over the place.) Doggie's coming here, he's coming to Raina, doggie's wet, doggie's dirty. Look at that! Doggie's swimming like the duckies! Raina likes to swim too." And so on and so forth.

I guess it's just a matter of time before "doggie" become "dog" and "duckies" become "ducks" and sentences don't break for song. And soon all days will be like yesterday, when "Raina's pushing a tua" became "Raina's pushing a stroller."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Temecula wineries trip

Took some friends to the Temecula Wine Country over the weekend. In our experience, the wines there are good, but we've been to Santa Barbara and Napa, so our palettes are a little distinguished, I think. Temecula has some pretty good whites, though.

On this trip, we just sampled three wineries: Callaway, South Coast and, on conclusion, Ponte. We always end at Ponte for lunch--it has this al fresco restaurant with pretty rose gardens that drop down to acres of green vineland. The mountains stretch up in the distance. Whenever we lunch there, the sky is always incredibly blue, the air fresh and invigorating. And the food is to die for. This time, I had an incredible bouillabaisse. For appetizers, we had bread with artichoke and spinach dip and a mushroom risotto that just melted in Raina's mouth--who ate a good deal of it. And dessert was an absolutely delectable flourless chocolate cake--all for me. (OK, I permitted my husband and friends a spoonful or two, and fed Raina all the creme anglaise.)

I don't think I've mentioned it before, so for the record, I'm a big foodie. Much more than an oenophile, as is obvious from the level of detail I gave about the wines we tasted. The thing is, I used to be into wines quite a bit. Now I'm just bored. I swivel them around my mouth and they just get a thumbs up or down--no fancy musings on fruitiness and dryness, a touch of fennel and a glimmer of aniseed, a lingering flavor of apple or an aftertaste of blackberries or what-have-you. Just yummy or not yummy. C'est tout.