Game of Thrones 4.3 Unfolds

Self missed the first five minutes of tonight’s episode. Whenever The Man knows how badly self wants to watch something, he does something creative like turn the sound down completely, and pretend he can hear fine while self asks plaintively, Can you please turn up the volume.  Those few precious seconds before self walks to the TV and turns up the sound herself, those are his triumph.

Tonight, self was in front of her computer in son’s room, but she kept one ear cocked for the Game of Thrones theme music.  At precisely 9:04, she dashed to the living room to check and found Sansa being rowed out to a ship: apparently, the episode had started a few minutes earlier.  The Man was grinning like a Cheshire Cat. Do you see what an effort is required of self to maintain some semblance of equanimity, dear blog readers? To blog on a regular basis, when someone is constantly playing tricks on her?  Nevertheless, self is nothing if not determined.  She will not — repeat, NOT — permit anyone’s silly antics to distract her from her true avowed purpose!

SPOILER ALERT!

As soon as Khaleesi enters the picture, self tears her eyes from the flat-screen HDTV to post. There’s some hoo-ha about which of Khaleesi’s champions will confront the challenger from the opposing army.  The hunk Daario wins the bidding competition and doesn’t even need to get within six feet of his opponent — slain, QED. Piss on the ground afterwards to show extent of contempt.  Self still can’t get over that this Daario is brown-haired, while the one last season was blonde. Plus, why does Khaleesi still sound as if she’s taking vocal enunciation lessons.

There is more amusing chicanery with Arya and The Hound, in which a poor farmer gets banged on the head with the blunt end of a sword and loses all his silver.

Cersei and Ser Jaime have wild, hot sex, in front of Joffrey’s corpse.

The New Malevolence (The character’s name is Oberyn Martell, which sounds seriously ridiculous. Let’s stick to calling him The New Malevolence) is shown cavorting in bed with a blonde boy-whore, who reveals he is 25 years old. There is ample view of the boy’s backside, as well as of the ample bosoms of sundry anonymous harlots.

Tyrion has a very emo scene with faithful Podrick. As he turns to go, Podrick reveals that he has been offered a knighthood in return for his offering testimony against Tyrion at his trial. At which Tyrion urges him to get as far away from King’s Landing as possible. “Podrick,” quoth Tyrion, “This is good-bye.” Oh, the FEELZ!

Sam does something incomprehensible:  in order to save Gilly from the lustful stares of 100 warriors at Castle Black, he drops her off at a brothel, where she is surrounded by xxx awful harlots and their dubious clientele.  In exchange for some coin, Gilly and her baby are offered a place to sleep — in a filthy barn stall.  Yes, Sam, way to show your love.

The Wildlings (that’s Ygritte, for those of you not quite up to speed on GOT) and their new Cannibal Allies attack a village, wreak bloodthirsty mayhem, and ensure that one little boy escapes to Castle Black to deliver horrible eyewitness account of the atrocities.

Khaleesi hurls parcels over the walls of a mountain fortress.  As the people within seem to consist of either:  a) bare-chested slaves; and b) sissies in blue silk tunics, self is quite satisfied that this gesture will result in easy victory.  She doesn’t even have to wait for the Big Reveal to know the outcome, but all right all right, here’s what the parcels actually contained:  broken chain collars.  Three Cheers for the Ever Righteous Khaleesi!  Always so on point with political symbolism!

Will Littlefinger preserve Sansa’s honor or will he — gulp — tarnish her purity? (For only the nth time, self finds herself exclaiming, regarding Sansa:  SHE IS SO STUPID)

Will Jaime ever be able to keep his thing in his pants in future encounters with his beloved sister?  WHERE IS BRIENNE WHEN YOU NEED HER?

No further scenes of Theon degradation in this episode, thank goodness.  WHERE IS YARA GREYJOY?

Ser Davos asks his little friend, the princess with scales on her cheek, to write him a magnificent letter saying xxxx

(To be continued. Self will be in London for 4.4.  She’s not sure if the place she’s staying at will have TV in the rooms. Where oh where can she watch the episode?)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

2nd Sunday of April (2014): Prokofiev and the Nostalgia of Returning

A new issue of The New York Review of Books has a very poignant essay about the Russian composer Prokofiev and how his decision to return to his native Russia proved so catastrophic, not to himself, but to his first wife, Lina, also a composer.

The two Russian emigrés met in Paris, but “in a way that Lina could not fully understand, he longed to go back to his native land, to renew contact with his childhood friends, with the Russian language, Russian songs.”

Lina had no point of reference for her husband’s longing beyond his sardonic, ill-tempered assessments of his Parisian competition and occasional declarations of weariness with life on the road.  His longing was existential — for a guild of like-minded composers, a support network, the inspiration that direct access to Russian culture, of the distant and recent past, had given him.

“. . .  only in his native land,” Prokofiev felt, “would he be recognized as Russia’s greatest living composer . . . At a time when interest in his music was declining in the West, he was seduced by the lucrative commissions he received from the Soviets for operas, ballets, and film scores, and . . . ” convinced himself that “to rescue his career as a theatrical composer, he needed to shift his sphere of operations from Paris to Moscow.”  There were danger signals about the Soviet regime’s tolerance for artists, but Prokofiev “thought his music was above all that.”

To make a long story short, he returned to Moscow with Lina, and at first they were treated like celebrities:  “He had a blue Ford imported from America and a chauffeur.”

Anyhoo, the move was hard on Lina and put a strain on their marriage.  Prokofiev left her and their two young sons for a much younger mistress, and during the war Lina and her children were left to fend for themselves.

The story becomes sadder when Lina was arrested, taken to Lefortovo prison, and tortured.

But, upon her release in 1956, she still served as a kind of cultural ambassador for Prokofiev, “donating papers to archives” and attending his concerts:  And never once did she mention her own ordeal in the camps — and what it cost her to survive.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Late Sunday Night: Cavafy

And don’t be too sure that in your life –
restricted, regulated, prosaic –
spectacular and horrible things like that don’t happen
Maybe this very moment Theodotos –
bodiless, invisible –
enters some neighbor’s tidy house
carrying an equally repulsive head.

– from “Theodotos” by C. P. Cavafy

C. P. Cavafy, one of the greatest of modern Greek poets, lived in Alexandria for all but a few of his seventy years.  Rarely has a poet been so attached to a city.  Alexandria became for Cavafy a central poetic metaphor and eventually a myth encompassing the entire Greek world.

Inside 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self had no idea that this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge — INSIDE — would turn out to be so much fun to interpret.  Here it’s only Sunday, two days after the theme was posted, and this is already self’s fourth post on the subject.

A long time ago, self bought this wooden painted angel from Roger Reynolds Nursery in Menlo Park (which has now gone out of business). Why she decided to frame it with something she pulled from the garage is a mystery.

In the Backyard, an Angel

In the Backyard, an Angel

Here’s something from Dear Departed Dad’s home island, Negros, in the central Philippines:  the old Gaston House in the town of Manapla has a stone fountain set in the middle of a circular driveway leading up to the main house:

The Gaston House, Manapla, Negros Occidental, Philippines

The Gaston House, Manapla, Negros Occidental, Philippines

And, can you believe it dear blog readers? — after an hour of most painstaking sifting, self found a picture that is quite literally of something INSIDE something else:  in this case, it’s a live lizard inside a glass case in the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.

California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A STORM OF FILIPINO POETS

Announcing the release of:

Verses Typhoon Yolanda: A Storm of Filipino Poets (Meritage Press:  San Francisco and St. Helena)
edited by Eileen R. Tabios

Paperback, 220 pages, $20

(People:  Yolanda=Haiyan. Filipinos use “Yolanda,” everyone else uses “Haiyan.” You know, at some point self thinks that Filipinos cannot escape comedy, even within tragedy. So if you are a potential donor, and the only thing stopping you is the confusion over which typhoon you are actually making a donation for, note that Yolanda and Haiyan ARE ONE AND THE SAME TYPHOON.  Of course, mebbe you don’t care about WHICH typhoon, in which case, there was also ONDOY several years ago.  It doesn’t matter.  Give, that’s all that counts)

Here’s an excerpt from the official press release:

In response to Yolanda’s devastation, Filipino poets in the homeland and the diaspora rallied to create a fundraising anthology entitled Verses Typhoon Yolanda:  A Storm of Filipino Poets.  Edited by poet Eileen R. Tabios, the anthology of 133 poems is released by Meritage Press.

All of the book’s profits will be donated to relief organizations and others helping the typhoon survivors.  Meritage is willing to send books at cost to fundraisers who then can sell the books at their individual retail price of $20 each.

For more information, contact Eileen R. Tabios at MeritagePress@aol.com

*     *     *     *

“Emptiness of Air,” the piece self wrote for Vela, the women’s travel website, is included in this anthology — because self is ALL about TransGenre.  YAY!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Currently Reading: THE HEMINGSES OF MONTICELLO: AN AMERICAN FAMILY

America, 1773:

The enslaved community was generally nonliterate, but nonliterate does not equal non-observant and nonknowledeable.  Because they could not easily send each other letters, slaves developed a much remarked-upon ability to pass information from community to community while running errands for their masters, visiting spouses on other plantations, or on trips with masters as they visited their friends and family.  The Virginia colonists talked of revolution in their homes, committee meetings, and other venues, but there was not much that whites knew that the blacks around them did not know as well.

– The Hemingses of Monticello:  An American Family, by Annette Gordon-Reed

Thus Far, 2014

  • There are times when self feels fanfiction may just save her life.
  • The Hunger Games cannot be called a rip-off of Japanese movie Battle Royale because the Japanese movie didn’t have a boy who bakes.
  • In late February, self attended her first AWP Conference since 2009.  It was really excellent, discovering the Pioneer Square area:  Davidson Galleries, Glass House, Grand Central Bakery, Occidental Park and chess board, the Globe bookstore.  She has got to return to Seattle.
  • The AWP Book Fair is the coolest thing to have happened to her so far this year
  • She loves the soundtrack of Frozen and has been listening to it over and over in her car.
  • Listening to Angela Narciso Torres read always makes self feel like crying.
  • The Man can still make a mean callos.
  • Her most visited local farmers market is the one in Belmont.  She loves Heidi’s Pies (in business for 47 years: the bakery’s on El Camino in San Mateo)
  • The members of her writing group are the most unheralded fabulous writers in the whole US of A.
  • The service in Ling Nam (South San Francisco) is still terrible.  But The Man adores their goto with tokwa’t baboy. And who can blame him.
The Goto (which The Man always orders with Tokwa't Baboy) from Ling Nam, South San Francisco

The Goto (which The Man always orders with Tokwa’t Baboy) from Ling Nam, South San Francisco

  • She sweats.  A lot.  Self is beginning to worry that the yoga is responsible for unleashing something unspeakable and mystifying.
  • She can’t stay up past 10 p.m. anymore.  That’s why she hasn’t posted about Justified and Saturday Night Live for so long.  But, if she gets to sleep by 10 p.m., she doesn’t suffer from insomnia.
  • The new Bay Bridge is soooo beautiful.
  • She can’t read anymore.  It is terrible.  She’s only on her third book –  The Hemingses of Monticello, by Annette Gordon-Reed — since the start of the year.  The other two she started this year were In the Shadow of Man, by Jane Goodall, and Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, by Rebecca West.  Strange, she used to be able to tear through at least 60 books a year.  At this rate, by the end of 2014, she’ll be lucky to finish 12.
  • Her 1998 Altima may be ready to give up the ghost.  After spending 1K at the mechanic, the engine sounds worse, and it has so far failed three smog tests.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Not Quite on the Level of Shakesperean Tragedy, But Nevertheless Unfortunate

The Fourth Genre: Each miniature chapbook contained an excerpt from a published piece.

The Fourth Genre Table at the AWP Book Fair: Each miniature chapbook contained an excerpt from a piece they had published.  What a neat idea!

In spite of the fact that self hit the AWP Book Fair for a couple of hours every single day, she still managed to miss the following exhibitors, don’t ask why:

  • The Allegheny Review
  • The Austin Review
  • Barn Owl Review
  • Bellingham Review
  • Big Fiction Magazine
  • Booth
  • Burnside Review
  • Cutthroat
  • Duotrope
  • Ellipsis
  • Emergency Press
  • Fiction International
  • Five Points
  • Florida Review
  • Four Way Books (She missed Brian Komei Dempster’s reading for Topaz, boo)
  • Gargoyle Magazine
  • Gingko Tree Review
  • Grist
  • Hayden’s Ferry Review
  • Hobart
  • Kelsey Street Press
  • Kore Press
  • Lapham’s Quarterly
  • LSU Press
  • MacGuffin
  • Mid-American Review
  • Milkweed Editions
  • Minnesota Review
  • n+1 Magazine
  • Naugatuck River Review
  • New Delta Review
  • New Issues Poetry & Prose
  • New Letters/ BkMk Press
  • New York Review of Books
  • Newfound Journal
  • Night Train
  • Noemi Press
  • Omnidawn Publishing
  • Owl Eye Review
  • Pacifica Literary Review
  • Painted Bride Quarterly
  • Paris Press
  • Passages North
  • Permafrost Magazine
  • Poetry Flash
  • Press 53/ Prime Magazine
  • Puerto del Sol
  • Quiddity
  • Redivider
  • Rio Grande Review
  • River Teeth
  • Rock & Sling
  • Salamander
  • Sarabande Books
  • Sewanee Review/ Sewanee Writers Conference (Self has never been, but she heard this one is fabulous)
  • Soho Press
  • South Dakota Review
  • Submittable
  • Sun Magazine
  • Sundog Lit
  • Sycamore Review
  • Tampa Review
  • The Rumpus
  • Tusculum Review
  • Upstreet:  A Literary Magazine
  • Versal
  • Veterans Writing Project
  • Virginia Quarterly Review
  • Water-Stone Review
  • Whidbey Writers Workshop
  • Zone 3 Press
  • ZYZZYVA
  • Small Press Distribution

By the time self left Seattle, she had such an accumulation of flyers, reviews, chapbooks and other what-have-you from book and magazine publishers at the Book Fair that she had to check in not just one but two pieces of luggage at Sea-Tac.

Spork Press (based in Austin, TX):  Featuring Handmade Books of Fiction * Poetry * Whatever

Spork Press (based in Austin, TX): Featuring Handmade Books of Fiction * Poetry * Whatever

But, it’s all good.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

From the Long-Unheard From (Robert Greene)

The 48 Laws of Power is such an entertaining book!

Whenever self is desperate for a pick-me-up, she lets the book fall open on a random page.

Tonight she lands on Law # 3, p. 19

At the top of the page is a quote from that most learned Jesuit, Baltasar Gracian (1601 – 1658)

Do not be held a cheat, even though it is impossible to live today without being one.  Let your greatest cunning lie in covering up what looks like cunning.

Ugh.

Then self starts to ponder:  what if the shoe were on the other foot?  What if you looked at someone and thought: You are cunning, but I’m on to you.  You think I’m stupid, but I know you’re a cheat.

It truly is exhausting to be cunning.

Whereas, to be able to detect cunning is not only relaxing, it is empowering.  Because it makes you feel absolutely brilliant. Like Sherlock Holmes 3.0.  Especially if you happen to just stumble across the revelation.  While frosting a cake, say.  Draped in an apron.

Self wishes the part that spells out “Observance of the Law” weren’t about 1850 and the young Otto von Bismarck, about the unification of the German states, about the war against Austria, about speechifying.

Self turns the page.  Apparently, von Bismarck came out as a peace advocate, addressing the German parliament and urging it not to declare war against its neighbor.  Then, as soon as he was appointed a member of the cabinet, he goaded a peace-loving king into war with Austria, “crushing the former empire and establishing a mighty German state.”

Interpretation of the Law:  “By being completely insincere and sending misleading signals, however, he deceived everyone, concealed his purpose, and attained everything he wanted.”

But what if you don’t know what you want, and advocate one course of action, but subconsciously want the opposite, and then things just turn out right by sheer coincidence?  Like, what if you’re not insincere, just confused?  And what if things turn out right because you’re lucky, but people think it was because you were insincere?

Just try wrapping your head around that one for a minute!

How did that song from Queen go?

Mama Mia, Mama Mia, Bee-yehl-ze-bub has a devil put aside for me.  For meeeeee!!!  For ME!!!!!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

More Threes: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Another set of non-filmic threes for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge.

Self doesn’t know where her head is at, these days. What with hearing from three different editors about three different short pieces accepted for publication, and having to mail signed author contracts, and leaving for the AWP conference in Seattle, she is extremely distracted, to say the least.

Still, she found a quiet space of half an hour this evening, and decided to use the time to try and come up with another set of three pictures for the photo challenge. Once again, she tried to find three that had a strong narrative sequence. Once again, she failed.

She did notice, however, that trying to think of her pictures as part of a set of three leads her to select photographs that were taken from the same place and roughly the same time about the same subject.  This gives them a unity of focus — in time, if nothing else.  She likes!

Palo Alto Art Festival, August 2013.  Tasso Street is closed to traffic and artists make chalk drawings.

Palo Alto Art Festival, August 2013. Tasso Street is closed to traffic and artists make chalk drawings.

Self discovered that she is very attracted to the color orange!

Self discovered that she is very attracted to the color orange!

Still more orange-y chalk art.  Hard to believe it all gets hosed away after the festival.

Still more orange-y chalk art. Hard to believe it all gets hosed away after the festival.

Here’s a link to one of the artists who was featured in the 2013 Palo Alto Festival.

Stay tuned.

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 500 other followers