Humanity 6: India, January 2012

Because of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, HUMANITY, self has been re-visiting the pictures she took on her first (so far, her only) trip to India, January 2012.

She’s so glad the theme allows her to publish photos she’s never posted before, like the one of the roadside market on the road to Kasauli from New Delhi, and the one she took in a night bazaar, just outside the Red Fort in Old New Delhi.

Roadside Bus Stop En Route From New Delhi to . . . Baikunth, self thinks: January 2012

Roadside Bus Stop En Route From New Delhi to . . . Kasauli, self thinks: January 2012

Roadside Market, on the road from New Delhi to Kasauli: January, 2012

Roadside Market, on the road from New Delhi to Kasauli: January, 2012

Night Market, Old New Delhi: January 2012

Night Market, Old New Delhi: January 2012

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Venice Beach, Retro-Modern

Self’s room came with an orange slinky.

Seriously, how fabulous is that?

She’s taken about 20 pictures of the slinky already.

Self's Room in Venice Beach

Venice Beach: Orange Love

The neighborhood is fabulous: seedy, yet fabulous.

The neighborhood is fabulous: seedy, yet fabulous.

Self had the BEST waitress, the Best! Her name is Amber.

Self had the BEST waitress, the Best! Her name is Amber.

Everyone here smiles and is so friendly. Can self just stay in Venice Beach forever?

Stay tuned.

Humanity 5: The Shiva Temple at Bajnath (Himachal Pradesh, January 2012)

Self is really loving this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  HUMANITY.  She’s got so many photos that fit the theme.

In January 2012, self went to India. Specifically, the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. It was very cold. In the villages and temples, though, people smiled at her.

Pulling a bell = praying/ making a wish

Pulling a bell = praying/ making a wish

Waiting for alms just outside the entrance of the Shiva Temple

Waiting for alms just outside the entrance of the Shiva Temple at Bajnath

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Eugene Gloria: “My Bad Uncle” (From HOODLUM BIRDS)

Eugene Gloria’s poems are surprisingly long. Self doesn’t usually read such long poems — they can go on, the dense text, for three or four pages (For the same reason, she doesn’t enjoy reading long stories — A short story should be able to do its work in 20 pages or less, if possible. Just her two cents). But what the heck, she brought this book with her to Southern California, and she’s in Venice Beach, which is all sun and bikers and surfers and funky eateries.

Here’s part of a poem she really likes (because after reading it she thought: “I know this person. Or plenty like him.”).

It’s from Gloria’s collection Hoodlum Birds (Penguin Books, 2006). Self bought her copy from City Lights after a reading in November 2006.:

“My Bad Uncle”

I saw him that night, his hands braceleted
behind his back — our neighborhood lit
like a bad uncle on a pint of scotch.

We all knew his sunnier days,
the perennial garden of his heart,
the shiny coins he doled out on his visits –

How he’d sacrifice himself to woman whims:
his mother’s, sisters’, wife’s, and lovers’. His gold Ford
Falcon that shuttled us back and forth to airports,

he was always available whenever we’d call.
He was a prince of the two-dollar cigarette variety,
a happy man in love.

But goodness is mostly work and hardly pays a thing
to the soul when it has to eat alone.
His own goodness would tell him to drive

all day to his fake errands, or circle round
and around in the El with a hideaway bag.
taking swigs between stops.

So one day when we weren’t thinking,
or were thinking only of ourselves,
he parked outside a Denny’s with his pistol

stuffed in his fanny pack. It was just a last-minute thing,
a quick bite then back to our house to sleep.
Takes very little to rouse the animal crouched in the garden:

The smirk of the local girl at the menu stand,
or the two boys spilling their Cokes on his new adidas.
A loud metal voice he seldom hears wells up

Venice Beach Boardwalk, 17 September 2014

Venice Beach Boardwalk, 17 September 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Humanity 4: Jeepney Interior, Siquijor, March 2012

Self loves the current WordPress Photo Challenge:  HUMANITY. As it turned out, almost everything she’s posted on this theme so far are photos she took in the Philippines.

Siquijor is an island off Dumaguete, in the province of Negros Oriental.

Its allure has always been powerfully mysterious, at least to self. It’s rather a large island, with several well-populated towns. But it seems a world apart. The people of Siquijor may be poor, but they don’t appear desperate. The island is clean, and tourists don’t seem to be coming in droves, thank God.

She’s visited the island a couple of times, the last time in 2012. It’s a short ferry ride from Dumaguete.

Jeepney Interior: Siquijor, March 2012

Jeepney Interior: Siquijor, March 2012

It is hard to take a clear shot inside a jeepney, especially when there is a constant movement of people getting on and off.

It is hard to take a clear shot inside a jeepney, especially when there is a constant movement of people getting on and off.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Five-Year Happiness Project

Found, in the Huntington Gardens Gift Shop, on 9/11

Found, in the Huntington Gardens Gift Shop, on 9/11

Self read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project last year. It took her ages to finish, because she found herself poring over practically every page.

Last week, at the Huntington Gardens, she found a small blue journal in the gift shop.  It’s a one-sentence journal, with months marked on the top of each page, and five spaces below, each space marked:  20__, 20__, 20___

Self began the journal on Sept. 11, she filled in the date 2014.

It’s now Sept. 15, and she’s managed to fill in NOTHING since then. But she might today, because she’s heading to Frasier Park, where a friend has a house.

There’s a quote on each page of the journal. Today, Sept. 15, the quote is:

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Humanity 3: More From Bacolod’s Masskara Festival, October 2012

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It’s all about the STREET.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Humanity 2: Bacolod Masskara Festival, October 2012

From the WordPress Daily Post website:  take photographs “that capture humanity — of everyday people around the world . . . “

Bacolod (Negros Occidental, Philippines) is all about masks. The most elaborate ones can be seen on the streets during the annual Masskara Festival in October.

Street Dancer, Masskara Festival, October 2012

Street Dancer, Masskara Festival, October 2012

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Humanity: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s Photo Challenge from the WordPress Daily Post is HUMANITY:  “Although people are different, we are very much the same.”

So, self started looking through her files at old photos, looking for PEOPLE. When she felt a twinge of satisfaction, she’d load the photograph, even though, as in the one below, it’s framed differently:

Skyline College, 2012: Spoke to a class. After, this student stayed to chat, and self just loved her get-up and asked if she could take a picture.

Skyline College, 2012: Spoke to a class. After, this student stayed to chat, and self just loved her get-up and asked if she could take a picture.

Philippine Dance Troupe posing for pictures in Yerba Buena Park, San Francisco, sometime 2012

Philippine Dance Troupe posing for pictures in Yerba Buena Park, San Francisco, sometime 2012

Secretary, GV & Sons, Daku Balay, Bacolod City: This woman has been working for the family for over 30 years, and self still doesn't know her name.

Secretary, GV & Sons, Daku Balay, Bacolod City: This woman has been working for the family for over 30 years, and self can’t remember her name.

Today, in the Huntington Library

The moment you step into the Huntington Gardens, you are surrounded by the heady scent of roses. The path from the parking lot to the visitors entrance is lined with rose bushes.

Here is a list of things self saw in The Huntington Library (San Marino, CA) today:

  • The Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, opened to the monk’s tale, with eight red wax seals lining the bottom of the page
  • An early edition of one of Shakespeare’s Folios.  On the wall, directly above it, a quote which ended with “Doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love.”
  • A copy of Missions in the New World by Francesco Severio Clavigero, published in Venice, 1789
  • the “elephant edition” of John James Audubon’s Birds of America (This book was almost as tall as herself; she’s not kidding)
  • Henry David Thoreau’s journal, which became the basis for Walden. The quote above it:  “I wished to live deliberately.”
  • Jack London’s manuscript for White Fang, 1905. The quote above it:  “He was a silent fury.”

Can self tell you how moved she was to see handwritten letters by Charles Dickens, displayed in the same room as Thoreau’s journal and Jack London’s handwritten manuscripts? She imagines the writers’ hands moving across the paper in methodical fashion.  Knowing that these keepsakes survived makes her feel very worship-ful. Also, the fact that she’s seeing them on 9/11, and most of the paper that got blown about that day (retrieved from as far away as Long Island — how they made it across the water is a mystery) were office memos, scrawled-over office calendars, graphs, worksheets — ordinary, human things.

Paper is fragile; thoughts aren’t.

Where is she going with this?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

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