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.

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.

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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Adventure 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Detail of wall carving, Angkor Wat: Self was there in 2004.

Detail of wall carving, Angkor Wat: Self was there in 2004.

The Tyrone Guthrie Centre for Artists in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland: Self was there in May 2014.

The Tyrone Guthrie Centre for Artists in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland: Self was there in May 2014.

Girlfriends! Met these two girls from Beijing in a restaurant in Burano, April 2013.

Girlfriends! Met these two girls from Beijing in a restaurant in Burano, April 2013. They were rooming together in Paris while learning — what else? — French. They both spoke perfect English. They took time off from French classes to see Venice. One cannot dine anywhere in Italy without having wine, hence self’s rather flushed demeanor.

Paris in DARK STAR/ It is 9/11, Where Do the Years Go

On this day, 13 years ago, self woke ahead of everyone else in her household, and turned the TV on to CNN.  Some stupid pilot — maybe someone who was distracted or who had covered up his incompetence and managed to get a job flying planes anyway — had crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings. Later, a second plane crashed, and it was at that moment that self went running to the bedrooms and woke up The Man, woke up Son, and told them, “Something’s happening.” And then all three of us stayed watching in front of the TV, until it was decided that Son would go to school.

Self was teaching a night class in USF, and only much later did she get word that the class would be canceled.

*     *     *     *     *

On pp. 109 – 110 of Alan Furst’s superlative spy novel Dark Star:

The Parisian spring flared to life — one hot morning and all the women were dressed in yellow and green, on the café terraces people laughed at nothing in particular, aromas drifted through the open doors of bistros where the owner’s briard flopped by the cash register, a paw over its nose, dreaming fitfully of stock bones and cheese rinds.

The OPAL network was run from a three-story building near the quai of the canal Saint-Martin and the canal de l’Ourcq, at the tattered edge of the nineteenth arrondissement where the streets around the Porte de Pantin turned to narrow roads leading into the villages of Pantin and Bobigny.  A pulsating, sleepless quartier, home to the city’s slaughterhouses as well as the stylish restaurants of the avenue Jean-Jaures, where partygoing swells often ventured at dawn to eat fillet of beef baked in honey and avoid the tourists and taxi drivers down at Les Halles.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Adventure 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

On the way to the Grand Canal

On the way to the Grand Canal:  Self took a trip to Venice with Margarita Donnelly, retired managing editor of Calyx, in April 2013

Pat Shelley, who led the tour to Stonehenge self took in April 2014

Pat Shelley, who led the tour to Stonehenge self took in April 2014

Holy Mother of All Monuments!  Our little band of walkers approached the monument in early evening.

Holy Mother of All Monuments! Our little band of walkers approached the monument in early evening. We had to walk across a sheep meadow. That time of day, the tour buses were finally beginning to thin out.  Our group had the monument almost all to ourselves. It was CHILLY.

Adventure: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The WordPress Photo Challenge for the week would seem rather self-explanatory:

ADVENTURE

Last year, self decided to accept Margarita Donnelly’s invitation to share an apartment in Venice. She stayed almost three weeks. That trip certainly qualifies in her book as an adventure.

The apartment was in Ca’ San Toma. Only a 5-minute walk to the Frari church.

She had seen Venice when she was 11. Of course, it had changed. For one thing, everyone on the vaporetto kept vacating their seats and indicating that self should sit. In the spot marked for “Senior Citizens.” (Self, when will you ever learn to stop looking a gift horse in the mouth?) Although self is not quite a senior citizen, and it stung her pride mightily, she never refused a seat.

On the Vaporetto to Murano, April 2013

On the Vaporetto to Murano, April 2013

Just in front of the Naval History Museum, Venice

Just in front of the Naval History Museum, Venice, April 2013

Also last year, self visited, for the first time, the town of Magalang in Pampanga (Philippines). She visited at the invitation of Alawi Canlas, an English professor at Pampanga Agricultural College.  Self really enjoyed meeting all the students, and discussing her work with them. That trip, too, was an adventure.

Magalang Public Market:  It's huge.

Magalang Public Market in the Philippines, province of Pampanga: It’s huge.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Discoveries, First Saturday of September (2014)

Yesterday, while standing at the check-out line in Whole Foods on Jefferson, self saw a CD by Ed Sheeran. She was curious, as apparently he is a great favorite of the writers on fanfiction.net  So she bought his CD and listened to it at home and, you know, it reminds her of old rock. But it’s pleasant. Something new to listen to while driving!

Today was peaceful. She mostly watered.

She’s very much enjoying Dark Star, by Alan Furst. He writes ridiculously well, for someone who writes spy thrillers.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

On p. 52, the hero of the story, Szara, lands in Berlin (after a particularly nasty encounter with some hired assassins — he escapes by the skin of hist teeth). This is what he sees of the city from his hotel room:

Szara stared out a high window, watching umbrellas moving down the street like phantoms. It seemed to him the city’s very own, private weather, for Berliners lived deep inside themselves — it could be felt — where they nourished old insults and humiliated ambitions of every sort, all of it locked up within a courtesy like forged metal and an acid wit that never seemed meant to hurt — it just, apparently by accident, left a little bruise.

Lovely writing, isn’t it?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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