Perspective: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Is it just self, or are the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenges becoming increasingly — challenging?

This week’s theme is PERSPECTIVE:

Post a photo which is not what it seems to be.

(Oh. Self doesn’t think her photos are anything other than what they seem to be: shots of a flower market)

But she’s not going to change her post now! Not after she spent so much time choosing the pictures!

Self thinks it’s the use of wide angle on her teensy Nikon Coolpix that makes all the difference:  she can move up close, but still get so much peripheral detail into a shot.  And in places like the ones she’s been to in the Philippines, the frame is just jammed with detail.

She likes to show people, too.  Not posing for the cameras, just getting on with it — work, their daily lives, whatever.

Flower Vendor's Stall, In front of San Sebastian Cathedral, Bacolod City

Flower Vendor’s Stall, In front of San Sebastian Cathedral, Bacolod City

Self went looking for a wreath of flesh flowers she could lay in front of her Dear Departed Dad’s grave.

The flowers were absolutely gorgeous!

The flowers were absolutely gorgeous!

Self doesn't really know what made her pick this vendor over another -- all the stalls were gorgeous, everyone had more or less the same prices.

Self doesn’t really know what made her pick this vendor over another — all the stalls were gorgeous, everyone had more or less the same prices.

Here are three other WordPress blogs whose interpretation of this week’s theme, Perspective, self found particularly thought-provoking:

The absolute fun of toy photography –  and why I got into it in the first place — is that creativity with perspective is a must.  Somehow, you have to make 1″ to 6″ plastic plastic men look like giants.

  • from Nola Roots, Texas Heart:  Look at the second photo. It is so poignant, especially after reading the accompanying quote, from Harper Lee.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Sugar Central at Barangay Dos Hermanas: First Farmers, Founded 1964

Today self did not expect to actually enter a sugar central.  But, having secured a taxi, she decided to test her adventurous spirit — to the max.

Do you know where First Famers is, she asked the driver.

Yes, ma’am! quoth he with alacrity.

Then take me there! 

After haggling over his fee (He’d never ever had to take anyone to a sugar central before), we were off!  But first we passed the Talisay ukay-ukay (open-air market), and self hit on a REALLY GOOD STRATEGY:  she made the taxi driver walk around with her, and when she wanted to buy something, she would hand the clothes to him and tell him to make tawad (haggle).  Obviously, this was a very good strategy, for she was able to secure a pair of rubber tsinelas (still in the wrapping, with very pristine soles) for 30 pesos (69 US cents).  Later, when she is back in her room (at the moment, she is availing of the free and extremely fast wi-fi in Café Uma) she will take a picture.

Anyhoo, at the entrance to First Farmers, self and the taxi were stopped at the gate by two extremely serious-looking security guards.  They simply would not believe self was a Villanueva.  Especially because she had arrived in a taxi.  A taxi from Bacolod.  Driven by a man who looked extremely tetch-y.  She had to whip out her Stanford Alumni Membership Card (She could have shown them her California drivers license, but that would have revealed her age.  Self, you are soooo vain!)

The guards immediately got on the phone and she had to wait in the taxi for almost half an hour.  She asked who the manager was, and they said it was “something something Montinola.”  Montinola!  Self immediately thought of her Assumption classmate, Gianna Montinola, and said:  “Let me talk to him.  He’s probably the brother of my dearest good friend since kindergarten, Ms. Gianna Montinola.”  Further blah blah blah on the phone.  Finally, they waved us through.  The driver, let self tell ya, was completely completely unmanned and wanted to go straight back to Bacolod, but self threatened not to pay him.

So, there was self, pulling up to the Assistant Manager’s Office.  Of all things, they insisted she be escorted around by someone, who turned out to be the Assistant Manager himself.  They gave her a hard hat to wear (blue).  As self looks extremely ugly in a hard hat, she refused to have her picture taken.  But here are a few of the pictures she did end up taking:

The First Farmers sugar central began operation in 1964.

The First Farmers sugar central began operation in 1964.

The processed sugar is packed into bags which are sewn shut and then stored in this cavernous warehouse.  Amazingly, there is not an ant problem.

The processed sugar is packed into bags which are sewn shut and then stored in this cavernous warehouse. Amazingly, there is not an ant problem.

The sugar before it's sewn into sacks.  It was WARM. Amazing. Self did not, of course, eat the whole glass. That would have added xxx pounds to her weight.

The sugar before it’s sewn into sacks. It was WARM. Amazing. Self did not, of course, eat the whole glass. That would have added xxx pounds to her weight.  And she’s supposedly on a diet.

This is the molasses before it's further processed into sugar. Amazing:  the engineer pulled a spigot and let the brown liquid seep onto a thin pane of glass, and that's how self tasted it -- by running a finger along the glass.

This is the molasses before it’s further processed into sugar. Amazing: the engineer pulled a spigot and let the brown liquid seep onto a thin pane of glass, and that’s how self tasted it — by running a finger along the glass.

DSCN2344

There’s so much more, but self will need to rest now.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

1st Friday of the Month: Talisay

The Reclining Christ in the Talisay cathedral had people lining up to touch His feet:  There's a small opening in the glass case for people to reach their hands through.

The Reclining Christ in the Talisay cathedral had people lining up to touch His feet: There’s a small opening in the glass case for people to reach their hands through.

The church in Talisay is very beautiful:  it was built by the Recollects, who arrived in the Islands in 1606.

The church in Talisay is very beautiful: it was built by the Recollects, who arrived in the Islands in 1606.

After visiting the Church, self went to the market.  The ukay-ukay here is tremendous.  She bought three tailored cotton shirts for a grand total of 75 pesos (just under $2).  She tried them on:  perfect fit!  Then she took the jeep back to Bacolod (Only one transfer:  each leg was 8 pesos, for a total of 16 pesos, about 35 US cents).  If only self had had the courage to take pictures while riding in the jeepney!  Incredible:  more and more people kept coming in, and self was squashed right between two schoolboys.  She was balancing her stash of five shirts from the hukay-hukay, and 1 kilo of lanzones (2.2 lbs, and she probably overpaid, judging from the way the lanzones vendor broke out into a big, toothless smile when self handed over her payment.  But the lanzones were huge, and very sweet.)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Bacolod 2013: National Bookstore, SM Citi, Reclamation Area

The mall rests on reclaimed land, just beyond the main plaza and San Sebastian Cathedral.  Yesterday was the first chance she had, since arriving, to see the blue walls of La Consolacion College, the old church, the plaza, the flower arrangers. She made the taxi driver stop, got down, and selected a huge standing bouquet of white lilies, foxgloves, and red anthurium. She’ll take it to Bacolod Memorial Park this morning, to put in front of the graves of her Dear Departed Grandfather and Dear Departed Dad.

And then she went to the Mall.  Destination:  National Bookstore, to see if they carried copies of some of her books.

She’s been there before, she knows where the Filipino Authors section is.  2nd Floor, in a corner.

She was gratified to see a group of young students, crowding this section.

Hopeful sign!

The books these young people were reading were thin little paperbacks, identical in size.  All had white spines.  Wonder what those could be, self wondered, edging closer.

These thin little buggers (little more than pamphlets) covered floor to ceiling of two book sections.  There didn’t seem to be any other types of books:  No books by Jessica Zafra, by Charlson Ong, by Butch Dalisay, by Dean Alfar, by Simeon Dumdum or Marne Kilates.  So, what were these books?

They were “chick lit”, homegrown.  Novels of about 50 pages, knocked out fast on newsprint.  Self is so gratified by this evidence that young people are still reading.  She wanted to take pictures of the shelves but couldn’t manage to squeeze in between students.  So instead she continued wandering around the store and selected a few of the more interesting books, books such as:

DSCN1758

and:

DSCN1757

and:

In the textbooks section, self found this. The book is in its 3rd edition.

In the textbooks section, self found this. The book is in its 3rd edition.

Self came away with two blank journals.  Journals are pretty expensive in the United States, but one of the journals she bought yesterday looks very similar to the Moleskin sketchbooks that sell there for $12 – $15, and all she paid for the journals were 159 pesos each (Just under $4).

Stay tuned for further peregrinations.

Nostalgic (Already) 4 Summer 2013

Concert # 4 in Stafford Park was today.

These concerts are held every Wednesday, throughout the summer.

The music this evening was Country.

Self, standing next to The Man, both of us chowing down hot dog with dill, felt already a kind of creeping nostalgia for this summer.  We are almost halfway through July!  How did we get here?

Stafford Park Today

Stafford Park Today, During the Concert

Oh how self loves these Wednesday evenings in the park!

Oh how self loves these Wednesday evenings in the park!

Quick where does one send a story about a castle?  Self wrote one this morning.  Big surprise!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves 5

Aerosoles, $7, Payless Shoe Source Going-Out-of-Business Sale, Years Ago

Aerosoles, $7, Payless Shoe Source Going-Out-of-Business Sale, Years Ago

These are self’s most comfortable shoes.  She wore them all over Venice.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

JENALYN, Self’s First Novella, Downloadable Now: Only $2.99 per Download!

And here’s the link, dear blog readers!

It’s very experimental storytelling.

And it’s available FREE for a very limited time  (NOT!  You waited too long!  Now you have to pay $2.99!)

If anyone is interested in reviewing Jenalyn or The Lost Language (more about this collection, below), please contact self so that she can send you review copies!

*     *     *     *

And here’s something else:  Because The Lost Language, self’s third collection of short stories, was published by a Philippine press, Anvil, it hasn’t been readily available here in the States.  Self has told many people that, if they should chance to be in the Philippines, they should drop by their local National Bookstore or Powerbooks and pick up a copy there.  That, or have a visiting relative bring over a copy.

But self has just discovered that Linda Nietes of Philippine Expressions (L.A.-based long-time purveyor of Filipiniana) gets a monthly shipment of books from the Philippines, so if you want a copy, all you need to do is e-mail her at:

linda@philippineexpressions.com

She has a Paypal account.

When self’s first book, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, was published, it was Linda Nietes who organized the launch in L.A.  And she has done the same for untold numbers of Filipino and Filipino American writers.  Really, self cannot thank her enough!

Stay tuned.

Personal Library 15

The Man took us all out to dinner at son’s favorite restaurant, Juban in Menlo Park.

Did you know that on Fridays, between five and six p.m., one can have two plates of a) yakiniku; or b) garlic pork; or c) boneless chicken breast; or d) calamari for the price of one?  And that all cocktails are just $3?

Anyhoo, son has gone off to meet a friend and so self is back to the book tabulation!

Let’s see:  Last she left off, she had reached the third shelf of Bookcase # 2 in the dining room.  This shelf has 47 books.

586+ 47 = 633 total of books tabulated so far

Among the books on this shelf are:  Roger Ebert’s Movie Home Companion; Women’s Tales of Whaling:  Life Stories of 11 Japanese Women Who Live With Whaling (Sample passage:  “How come it is OK to kill cows but not whales?  I think it is more sinful to feed calves knowing that you are going to kill them later.  Don’t you think so?”);  The Sign of Jonas, by Thomas Merton;  China in Disintegration:  The Republican Era in Chinese History 1912 – 1949, by James E. Sheridan;  Monster:  Poems, by Joel Barraquiel Tan;  How to  Beat the Russians:  An Instructive Tour of the Weak Points of the Soviet Chess Style, by Edmar Mednis, International Chess Master;  Wonders and Curiosities of Chess, by Irving Chernev (Dedicated, “with love, to a chess widow” –  How sweet!); Best Chess Games 1970 – 1980, by Jon Speelman.

The chess books are The Man’s, of course, most of them dating from his single days.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The After-Christmas Party to End All After-Christmas Parties

The young ones chat outside while the old ones sit inside and eat themselves senseless.

The young ones chat outside while the old ones sit inside and eat themselves senseless.

An Armenian neighbor of Irene's.  Self had no idea that Glendale had a large Armenian community.

An Armenian neighbor of Irene’s. Self had no idea that Glendale had a large Armenian community.

Self found out from one of the cousins that Kim Kardashian is planning to run for mayor of Glendale.  Then will there be more Kanye sightings, self wonders?

This is a HOME-MADE Brazo de Mercedes (Self had two servings) made by niece Melanie's husband, Joey Fermin.

This is a HOME-MADE Brazo de Mercedes (Self had two servings) made by niece Melanie’s husband, Joe Fermin.

More desserts!  From Porto's, a hole-in-the-wall that's now expanded to three branches, in Glendale and thereabouts.

More desserts! From Porto’s, a former hole-in-the-wall serving only bread, now expanded to three branches, including Burbank.

Self met, for the first time, her Niece Valen, sister of the Manila designer Camille (Self's partner in crime at Mesa, Greenbelt 5, last month!); The other human is Mike V, youngest son of Tito Mario Villanueva.

Self met, for the first time, her Niece Valen, sister of the Manila designer Camille (Self’s partner in crime at Mesa, Greenbelt 5, last month!); The other human is Mike V, youngest son of Tito Mario Villanueva!

Photo on 12-29-12 at 5.37 PM #2

The photo above is of self and Llana, self’s niece and 1/2 of the fab creative team of LLAVA, which just came out with their first line of tops.  Self is wearing the $30 grey top, isn’t it SUCH A STEAL???  Self never felt so glam!  Even after 2 hours of eating, she still felt slim in this top!

Here’s a link to the top self is wearing, in a darker grey.  And here’s the LLAVA Facebook page.

The eating continues.  Self must have gained five lbs. today.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Notes From the Gardening Diary of John Evelyn (1620 – 1706)

Self found this book in Vroman’s in Pasadena (BTW, that is a wonderful bookstore, dear blog readers)

Original list price (hardcover) was $27.95.  She found it in the remaindered bin and bought it for $5.

Self couldn’t do very much gardening this weekend because it was cold and rainy.  So, she had to be satisfied with reading a gardening book.  Which, today, ended up being John Evelyn’s Kalendarium Hortense.

Here is a list of things that John Evelyn says need to be done in December:

To Be Done:

  • Prune, and Nail Wall-Fruit and Standard Trees.
  • You may now plant Vines, etc. Also Stocks for Grafting, etc.
  • Sow for Early Beans, and Peas, but take heed of the Frosts; therefore surest to defer it till after Christmas, unless the Winter promises very Moderate.
  • All this Month you may continue to Read the rest of this entry »

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