MELLARK-Y

Today, self is indulging in her favorite pastime (fan fiction, DUH).

She happens to read a scene that takes place in a jeweler’s shop:  Peeta is hunting for an engagement ring to present to Katniss.

He finds one with carrots.  24-CARROTS, to be exact.

These CARROTS will undoubtedly look fabulous when wound around a finger of Katniss’s right (or possibly left) hand.

It is so distracting to think of salad/nutritious food suddenly materializing in a jeweler’s shop, for no reason whatsoever . . .

In Addition, “The Maze Runner”

Self wanted to do a quick post about “The Maze Runner,” which she saw a few days ago (Self apparently has so much time on her hands. Everyone, please feel free to dump more work on self, if she’s got this much time to see movies, she must be bored stiff!)

The lead actor (played by Dylan O’Brien — WHO ???) reminded self a little of a young Kevin Bacon, only darker. He was pretty good.

He wasn’t built the same way, for instance, Channing is, which is another thing that self found pretty good. After all, in the dystopian universe that Hollywood is pretty sure we should expect, no one — self repeats, NO ONE — gets enough to eat.  Yup, it must be really hard to get meat on one’s bones, out there in the future (There is one overweight kid. Why is he there? So that he sticks out like a sore thumb?)

It’s an all-male universe, self got her hopes up that this would indeed be one of those rare, genre-defying movies where there is only one gender around, and it doesn’t matter, because there can still be tension.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

But it does not seem to be that kind of movie, after all.

Nevertheless, self did not get bored.

Patricia Clarkson has a magnificent bod. Better even than the bod of the young actress who gets thrown in with the boys. Self knows whereof she speaks because, somewhere near the end of the movie, Clarkson gets to throw off her white Nehru-type lab coat/jacket and reveal that she is wearing a sleeveless, white, form-fitting top and pants underneath. And there is not a trace of jiggly anywhere.

YAY for the Asian guy who emerges as the hero’s Man Friday. Because self only just realized that, the entire movie, she kept trying to predict when Asian Dude would demonstrate his utter Asian expendability and fall by the wayside. Which. Did. Not. Happen. Thank goodness.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Signs 4: Out and About in London, Spring 2014

Self stopped by London in April 2014. Her friend, poet Joan McGavin, accompanied her to Kensington Gardens. We looked for the new Serpentine Gallery but never found it. Instead, we stumbled across this:

Kensington Gardens, London:  April 2014

Kensington Gardens, London: April 2014

The Serpentine is a beautiful, meandering river. Signs alongside tell viewers what kind of water fowl to be on the lookout for.

Sign along the Serpentine: April 2014

Sign along the Serpentine: April 2014

The day after self arrived in London, there was a tube strike. This sign at the entrance to the Russell Square Station said it all:

London Underground, Russell Square Station: April 2014

London Underground, Russell Square Station: April 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Signs 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Today, all kinds of signs:

Graffiti on the stairs to the tower of Great Saint Mary’s Cathedral; Signs at a train station in Wales (Self was immensely fascinated by how different Welsh sounded from — English. DUH!); and book covers for discovered writers.

The Daily Post challenge for the week tells us to publish an image of a sign. So far this week, self has been interpreting the prompt very literally:

Graffiti: Sighted while climbing to the top of Great St. Mary's, Cambridge, UK:  May 2014

Graffit sighted on the climb to the top of Great St. Mary’s Cathedral in Cambridge, UK: May 2014

This is what "Welcome to Colwyn Bay" looks like in Welsh! Sighted on the train from Holyhood, Wales to Euston Station, London: May 2014

This is what “Welcome to Colwyn Bay” looks like in Welsh! Sighted on the train from Holyhead, Wales to Euston Station, London: May 2014

Fell in love with the poetry of Marcus Cumberlege when I ran across one of his collections at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. Scoured all the bookstores in Dublin, but had to go to Kenny's in Galway to get their one used copy, a book called FIRELINES. Love.

Fell in love with the poetry of Marcus Cumberlege when she ran across one of his collections at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. Scoured all the bookstores in Dublin, but had to go to Kenny’s in Galway to get their one used copy, a book called FIRELINES. Love.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Elsewhere: a Lit Mag for Writing About Place

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS, ELSEWHERE:

“We envision Elsewhere to be a space for work that has trouble finding its place. We are interested in creative work that deals with marginalization in some form or another. We don’t think of race, gender, class and sexuality as dirty words or as problems to be dealt with outside of literature and art. Rather, we think of them as central to creative activity.”

So, send them your stuff, dear blog readers.

*    *     *    *

A few weeks ago, self was traipsing around southern California in the company of her ex-Assumption Convent classmates (even just typing those words — Assumption Convent — sounds quaint to self’s California ears!). And one of them agreed to spend the day with self, driving to and from San Diego.

And after almost three hours of driving, the two of us ended up in Balboa Park. In a section that was very very hot, with small trails and a children’s playground. And after some woebegone wandering about, self found the greatest discovery:  THE MUSEUM OF TORTURE. And she persuaded her classmate to venture inside and have a look. And indeed there were so many wonders contained therein, wonders such as:

  • the self-mortifying iron ring
  • the iron chastity belt
  • The “Iron Maiden” of Nuremberg (the last recorded use of which was August 1515)
  • All manner of scourges and flails

Self will not get too much into it, but suffice it to say, this museum is so interesting, situated right in Balboa Park.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

How Could You Possibly Expect

How could you possibly expect writing like this in a spy thriller?  Alan Furst’s writing is so good it is impossible to skim:

Spring died early that year, soft rains came and went, the sky turned its fierce French blue only rarely, a mean little wind arrived at dusk and blew papers around the cobbled streets.  The end of April was generally admitted to be triste, only the surrealists liked such unhappy weather, then summer came before anybody was really ready for it.

–  Dark Star, p. 111

 

“How To Train Your Dragon 2″

Today, self was where she usually is in the summer:  watching a movie!

Her face is so familiar to all the concession stand people at the downtown Redwood City Century 20 that she regularly gets asked:  “So what movie are we seeing today?” And then she gets to hear what they think, if they’ve seen the movie already.

Today she saw “How To Train Your Dragon 2.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Reading About James Bond in the June 5, 2014 NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS

What treasures pack the pages of each copy of The New York Review of Books!

Self used to have a (20-year-old) subscription to the New York Times Book Review, but decided to discontinue it a few months ago.

To self, The NYRB is the far more interesting publication.

This evening, self is again plowing manfully through her ‘Pile of Stuff.’  She’s still experiencing Squaw Valley Writers Conference withdrawal symptoms (such as posting endlessly about it on her Facebook wall)

The Man is watching the 3rd or 4th Bourne (Matt Damon is the one and only, the né plus ultra of American action cool).

Self gamely tackles the June 5, 2014 issue of The New York Review of Books and stumbles across an article by James Walton, called “Bondage,” which might also be fittingly sub-titled:  “Everything You Wanted to Know About Ian Fleming and His Most Famous Literary Creation, James Bond 007.”

  • Here is how Casino Royale, the first-ever James Bond novel (published 1953), began:  “The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.”
  • Ian Fleming came up with the name for the world’s most famous spy “because he wanted something plain-sounding and James Bond was ‘the dullest name I’ve ever heard.’ “
  • Hard to imagine, perhaps, but there is a sentence in one of the Bond novels that goes:  “Bond . . .  lit his seventieth cigarette of the day.”
  • President Kennedy was instrumental to the development of James Bond’s popularity in the United States.  In an interview with Life magazine, he named From Russia With Love as “one of his ten favorite books.”
  • Ian Fleming’s wife, Anne, referred to her husband’s Bond books as “pornography.”

There is tons more interesting tidbits from the article, but self must go back to reading Sebastian Barry (who is the most beautiful writer imaginable).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

On Secrets/ On Witchcraft

A few weeks ago, self announced that Café Irreal would be publishing her story “The Secret Room” on Aug. 1.

But when she wandered over to Café Irreal today, she saw that in fact, her story was already live, and had been live since May.

Here’s the link, dear blog readers.  Read, review.  Self adores feedback.

*     *    *     *

Here’s something else she encountered today.

While browsing through the British Museum blog, she stumbled upon an article on Witchcraft.

And here self found an answer to a question which has often nagged at her:  Why are witches usually women?

The piece makes clear that accusations of witchcraft were always personal, as evidenced by the fact that people most often brought up charges of accusation against people they knew well — i.e., their neighbors.  And the fact that many of the accused were old women, or widows, or orphaned women, or stepdaughters, makes very clear that the targets were “the most dependent members of the community.” The ones, in other words, who were least likely to fight back or defend themselves.

These female dependents (the preferred pool for witches) were the ones “whose names figure most frequently on the lists of people in receipt of poor relief, and they were the ones most likely to be caught up in the situation of begging for help and not getting it.”

Being perceived as powerless and being perceived as a threat — such a curious contradiction.  In both instances, these two have more in common with perception and have precious little to do with reality.

Which is what led self to write a very curious short story called “Toad.”  Which she will begin sending out shortly.

She finished it while sitting at a coffee shop on Lower Mount Street in Dublin.  Quite close, in fact, to Ballsbridge, where her B & B was.

OMG.  Witches.  Toads.  Lower Mounts.  Ballsbridge.  Self’s brain was filled with medieval imagery, almost the whole time she was in Ireland.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Extra Extra 6: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self really loves this week’s Photo Challenge, it has been so much fun analyzing which pictures have that something “extra.”  Not to mention how much fun it is to look at the way other bloggers’ have interpreted the theme.

A beautiful photo is one thing, but a photo with an unexpected detail has personality and pop. — WordPress Daily Post prompt for this week’s Photo Challenge, EXTRA EXTRA

Self met this mother-daughter duo on the Hop On- Hop Off Bus Around Dublin. They hail from DALY CITY, California.  Francesca wants to be an opera singer.

Self met this mother-daughter duo on the Hop On- Hop Off Bus Around Dublin. They hail from DALY CITY, California — practically in self’s backyard! Francesca wants to be an opera singer.  The “Extra” in the shot:  The fact that instead of looking at the tourist sites the bus was passing, self spent most of her time gabbing to K and F.  Their smiles are beautiful, don’cha think?  Their next stop was Berlin.

It was an unbelievably sunny day in Dublin.  The "Extra" is the clear blue sky.

It was an unbelievably sunny day in Dublin. The “Extra” is the clear blue sky.

Lincoln's Inn, Dublin:  Self rarely drinks. But she was persuaded by a genial waitress to have white wine with her Irish bacon and cabbage. It was a fabulous idea.

Lincoln’s Inn, Dublin: Self rarely drinks. But she was persuaded by a genial waitress to have white wine with her Irish bacon and cabbage. It was a fabulous idea.  The “Extra” in the shot is the glass of wine. Self drained the glass to the last drop.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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