The Mission: Lit Crawl 2014

Tonight was Lit Crawl in San Francisco’s Mission. Self attended a reading of Saint Mary’s College alumna, one of whom was the fabulous Rashaan Alexis Meneses.

Rashaan read the story that was recently in New Letters, a story that happened to be set in Bonnyrigg, near Hawthornden!  (Rashaan should send a copy to Hamish).

But, before the reading, we met up at local fave Puerto Allegre (546 Valencia St) for some yummy sopes and guacamole, where self met poet Raina J. Leon and got her to sign a copy of her book, Boogeyman Dawn:

Raina J. Leon signing a copy of her book, Boogeyman Dawn, at Puerto Alegre on Valencia St.

Raina J. Leon signing a copy of her book, Boogeyman Dawn, at Puerto Alegre on Valencia St.

This picture of Rashaan reading was unfortunately a little blurred, but you can still get a sense of her energy:

The Fabulous Rashaan, reading at Bay Blend Coffee & Tea, 1905 Mission Street, San Francisco

The Fabulous Rashaan, reading at Bay Blend Coffee & Tea, 1905 Mission Street, San Francisco

She happened to take a seat facing the sidewalk, so that as the reading progressed, she found herself watching a building directly across the street. There was a FOR LEASE sign on the front. The ground floor had this rather fabulous home furnishings store (with real-looking white sheep), very “chi-chi” for the Mission.

As it grew dark, the rooms of each floor of the building lighted up. And self has always, always been fascinated by windows.

She remembers staring out the kitchen window of her brother-in-law’s apartment in New York City, just staring at parallel rows of windows, and seeing people doing different things: talking on the phone, reading the newspaper. Each little square a story.

Mission Street, Across from Bay Coffee & Tea

Mission Street, Across from Bay Blend Coffee & Tea

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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 . . .

“Gone Girl”

Ludicrous.

Self can’t even.

Just.

Self has no words.

In the end, self was not the only one laughing.

David Fincher, shame on you!

Self still likes Rosamund Pike, though. Did the poor thing think she was in a serious drama? Because it became pretty hard to distinguish between the cheese and the drama, by the end.  Self almost choked on her scarf, she was laughing so hard.

SPOILER ALERT

This is a teensy tiny question but self has to ask it anyway: Why, at the end, after it has been determined that poor Amy has been the victim of a sado-masochistic creep (played of course to cheesy perfection by Neil Patrick Harris), after she’s been examined in the hospital and placed in a wheelchair — why is she allowed to give a televised conference, without any attempt to clean the thick layers of blood swathing her throat? What self-respecting hospital would allow a person to walk around still caked in buckets of dried blood? Allow her, in fact, to go home in that condition? And why, after arriving home, does this alleged rape victim walk out of her car — the wheelchair only went as far as the hospital driveway, apparently — and enter her house completely unaided? She’s not just walking, either — she’s gliding. Actually, gliding. Shoulders back like a queen!  Since Amy’s just gotten the media to swallow a line about her being used and abused, seeing her walk that way is just a little bit much.

Just saying.

And another thing:  that “Fifty Shades of Gray” preview? Self adores Dakota Johnson. But the guy — self could not suppress a feeling of chagrin at the thought of how well Charlie Hunnam (of Sons of Anarchy) would have filled that suit, and how he would have looked, smoldering at Dakota Johnson from across a desk.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Foolish Things

  • As a result of dropping by the Robert Frank exhibit at the Cantor Art Center on the Stanford Campus yesterday, self got it into her head that she would very much like to own a Leica.
  • After leaving the Robert Frank exhibit, self fully intended to go to Aquarius in Palo Alto and watch Rory Kennedy’s “Last Days in Vietnam.” But she did not.  Instead, after filling up with gas, she went home.  And today — alas! — that film is no longer showing.
  • Self hasn’t looked at her story “The Peacock.”  Not once.  Not since it was workshopped at Squaw. She has no idea what to do with that story. It just sits there, like a lump on a log. Taking up space in her computer. In her store of unfulfilled projects. She wanted it to be a memoir about her and Dear Departed Sister-in-Law Ying. She wanted it to be desperate and lonely, the voice of a soul lost in the Cambodian wilderness after failing to connect with the splendor that is Angkor Wat (Dear blog readers, do you know that there’s a RAFFLES HOTEL IN SIEM REAP???)
  • Self has wanted to replace the desert of the front lawn with trees — perhaps olive trees — to screen her house from the busy street. But she’s remained staring at that patch of bare, weed-choked dirt for 10 years. It sounds really lame to keep bringing up the drought.

Ugh, ugh, girl. Why can’t you just do? Why must you always be re-hashing the old, or rehearsing for the future? To what end?

How quickly you forget: just yesterday, you got word from Witness that a piece you sent them eight months ago is going to be in their Translation issue.

As for somehow missing “Last Days in Vietnam,” “Gone, Girl” is showing in the Redwood City Century 20 and she heard from a friend who read the book that it’s actually pretty good. Self is not a Ben Affleck fan — seems he is pretty much a control freak with his wife, and no doubt he took care to present himself in the best possible light in this new role — but what the heck? Maybe she just wasn’t in the mood for another hard-hitting documentary yesterday, maybe she should just try and ignite a new respect for Ben Affleck? She did like “Argo” a lot. He’s not a bad director.

And if she’d managed to watch “Last Days in Vietnam” yesterday, she would have missed seeing the San Francisco Giants’ nail-biting victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. She would have missed seeing the way the two teams went head to head all the way to the 9th inning. She would have missed that sweet, game-ending homer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Silence is your treasure”

Self is reminded of this again when she reads Diane Gilliam’s essay on “Working in Silence,” on A Room of Her Own Foundation’s website.

The full quote is:  Silence is your treasure.  Do not exchange it for an easy life.

Walking to Annenberg from Littlefield, you pass this meadow. Self doesn't know the name of the artist who made this sculpture, but right in front of the Cummings Art Building is a Henry Moore.

Walking to Annenberg from Littlefield, you pass this meadow. Self doesn’t know the name of the artist who made this sculpture, but right in front of the Cummings Art Building is a Henry Moore.

Last night, self found herself back in Stanford.  Self enjoyed the walk through the still campus.  She remembers thinking:  How quiet it is here.  How peaceful.  And that’s what Stanford gave her:  four years of peace.  Two years in the East Asian Studies Program, with a concentration in Chinese, two years as a Creative Writing Program Fellow.  What an unimaginable luxury.

Self originally meant this post to be about the Rolling Stones.  Specifically, the Rolling Stones as they were in 1972, when Robert Frank made the documentary “Cxxxxsucker Blues” (Self blushes to admit that the x’s are her own.  The early 1970s were still the 1960s. What self means by that is that drug use was still rampant, and so was free love. And Mick wore velvet jumpsuits spangled with sequins and looked vaguely reminiscent of Elvis, only much thinner).  They showed it in Annenberg, last night. Amazingly, the theater was packed, even though at that very moment, the San Francisco Giants were facing off against the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Frankly, it was just painful to see the way women were treated in this movie (like pieces of meat — yes, exactly. Thank you Jennifer Lawrence or whoever): they were either in bed or shooting up or sewing. Yes, sewing.

With one exception:  Bianca Jagger. Who was in no way a groupie. Who Mick treated with affection.

Thank God for Bianca Jagger.

The album “Exile on Main Street” was self’s first ever Rolling Stones album. And the Robert Frank documentary was about the 1972 tour for that album. If for nothing else, self had to see the documentary.

And Mick had this amazing, amazing diffidence (Keith Richards had it too, to a lesser degree). At one point, he stares straight at the camera (presumably being held by Robert Frank) and says, casually contemptuous, “Fuck you.” And it’s not as if Frank caught him in an intimate moment, either.  He’s just standing there, and he decides to turn his head, look at Frank, and without his face changing expression, says “Fuck you.”

Now, that’s a moment.

And now, before self gets too carried away with this post, she needs to get moving. She realizes she hasn’t even connected the dots between the quote “Silence is your treasure” to the Stones documentary.

But, ta-ta, dear ones! To be continued.

Fan Fiction of the Day: Mr. Mellark Visits Seamfirth

Hunger Games Fan Fiction of the Day:  If self had to guess, she would say that the writer was channeling Pride & Prejudice.  It’s actually pretty clever.

A week had passed since Mr. Mellark’s visit to Seamfirth, leaving behind not only the unexpected cactus flower but the note that now lay open on a page from her favorite book.  She had positioned his sketch opposite the note and found herself smiling, admiring the elegance of his signature.  Whenever blessed with a moment to herself and away from the prospect of prying eyes, she would revisit his words, along with the other notes she kept tucked away safely amongst the worn pages of her book.

*     *     *

Her response had been short but to the point, which is not to say she hadn’t agonized over her every choice of word, hopeful that she did not come across as too cold or too eager.  It began with the confirmation that her favorite color was indeed green . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Further Dreaminess: Abe’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga

Abe's Farm in Magalang, Pampanga is a working farm, but also a resort. Self took this picture in the resort's restaurant.

Abe’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga is a working farm, but also a resort. Self took this picture in the resort’s restaurant.

Breakfast (Philippine mangoes are the BEST in the entire world)

Breakfast (Philippine mangoes are the BEST in the entire world)

Suman/Ibus for Breakfast: The sauce consists of melted brown sugar.

Suman/Ibus for Breakfast: The sauce consists of melted brown sugar.

More and More Dreamy in Magalang, Pampanga

The Main Guest House on Abe's Farm

The Main Guest House on Abe’s Farm

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Capiz Shell Lamp Overlooking the Sala (Living Room) of the Main Guest House

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A View of the House Belonging to E. Aguilar “Abe” Cruz

Still More Dreamy in Magalang, Pampanga

Self spent the weekend poring over her pictures from last year’s sojourn to Magalang, Pampanga, where she was invited to address students of Pampanga Agricultural College.

She wouldn’t have looked back if it hadn’t been for this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, posted Friday: DREAMY.

Words from The Daily Post prompt:

real but not-real; silent, peaceful, perfect

House of E. Aguilar "Abe" Cruz in Magalang, Pampanga

House of E. Aguilar “Abe” Cruz in Magalang, Pampanga

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The house of “Abe” Cruz is clearly a house that was designed by an artist. Each door, window, and screen has its own unique pattern of metal fretwork. LOVE.

The first floor of the house has been turned into a kind of museum, filled with family memorabilia and art. Self has no clue who the model was for this bust, but if she were to take a guess, she'd say it was Abe Cruz's wife.

The first floor of the house has been turned into a kind of museum, filled with family memorabilia and art. Self has no clue who the model was for this bust, but if she were to take a guess, she’d say it was Abe Cruz’s wife. Interesting, the woman’s face isn’t exactly beautiful but it’s a very strong face. The cheekbones!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

More Dreamy in Magalang, Pampanga

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is “Dreamy” :

“A misty morning, your handsome spouse, your grandmother’s house . . . this week, show us something dreamy.”

No question, self’s ultimate dreamy dream is anywhere in the Philippines:

Self's Room on Abe's Farm, Magalang, Pampanga, 2013

Self’s Room on Abe’s Farm, Magalang, Pampanga, 2013

Abe's Farm is a working farm. Self's unit overlooked a small creek. Every day, self woke up thinking she was in Paradise.

Abe’s Farm is a working farm. Self’s unit overlooked a small creek. Every day, self woke up thinking she was in Paradise.

The home of E. Aguilar Cruz, writer and painter, born in Magalang, and the original owner of Abe's Farm. It now belongs to his son, restaurateur Larry J. Cruz.

The home of E. Aguilar “Abe” Cruz, writer and painter.  Abe Cruz was born and raised in Magalang. Abe’s Farm now belongs to his son, renowned restaurateur Larry J. Cruz.

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