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.

The Five-Year Happiness Project

Found, in the Huntington Gardens Gift Shop, on 9/11

Found, in the Huntington Gardens Gift Shop, on 9/11

Self read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project last year. It took her ages to finish, because she found herself poring over practically every page.

Last week, at the Huntington Gardens, she found a small blue journal in the gift shop.  It’s a one-sentence journal, with months marked on the top of each page, and five spaces below, each space marked:  20__, 20__, 20___

Self began the journal on Sept. 11, she filled in the date 2014.

It’s now Sept. 15, and she’s managed to fill in NOTHING since then. But she might today, because she’s heading to Frasier Park, where a friend has a house.

There’s a quote on each page of the journal. Today, Sept. 15, the quote is:

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Adventure 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self saw a production of “Titus Andronicus” in the Globe during a week in London, en route to Ireland and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, in late April 2014. When she told her friend Joan McGavin that she was going to see it, Joan said: “Bring a bucket. Loads of gore.”

And indeed, Joan was right. There was indeed loads of gore. The production was a bit Quentin Tarantino-ish. But it was still bloody great.

Titus Andronicus at the Globe:  Wild, Bloody, Great

Titus Andronicus at the Globe: Wild, Bloody, Great

Then self proceeded to Ireland, where she had many more adventures. Including, her first actual acquaintance-ship with real swans (as opposed to the swans in Hans Christian Andersen or the Grimm brothers’ fairytales). Here is a picture of a loan swan, powering across a blustery lake, early May 2014:

Sighted Yesterday, on the Way to Annaghmakerrig: A determined swan powers its way across a wide lake, in blustery winds.

Sighted on the Way to Annaghmakerrig: A determined swan powers its way across a wide lake, in blustery winds.

She was so impressed with this swan that she started to write a story about swans which evolved into a story about Noah’s ark, after she saw the Darren Aronofsky movie “The Ark.” The last rejection letter she received for her ark story was just last week:  “Sorry,” quoth the young man, “Revisionist Bible stories aren’t really my thing.”

Self’s most recent adventure was attending the Squaw Valley Writers Conference, this past July.  She’d been hearing about it forever. Last year, she finally bit the bullet and applied. And she got in! And they offered her partial aid.  She is so glad she went soon after getting back from Ireland. For by the time she got to Squaw Valley, in early July, she was fit, mentally and physically, from six weeks of traveling all over Ireland and England. And she made so many new friends.

The Olympic House at Squaw Valley: July, 2014

The Olympic House at Squaw Valley: July, 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

Alan Furst’s Dark Star

Dark Star is the first Alan Furst book she’s ever read, and it’s a mighty good one.

By 1917, when he was 20 years old and had attended three years of university in Cracow, he was a confirmed writer of stories, one of many who came from Odessa — it had something to do with seaports: strange languages, exotic travelers, night bells in the harbor, waves pounding into foam on the rocks and always distance, horizon, the line where sky met water, and just beyond your vision people were doing things you couldn’t imagine.–  p. 56, Dark Star

Is there such a thing as a lyrical spy story? This must be a first. At least in self’s reading life.

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.

Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia: “The Heart of the World”

The cover of Colin Poole's TONLE SAP, The Heart of Cambodia's Natural Heritage (Thailand:  River Books, 2005)

The cover of Colin Poole’s TONLE SAP, The Heart of Cambodia’s Natural Heritage (Thailand: River Books, 2005)

In 2004, self and her sister-in-law, Ying, took a trip to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. We stayed in a house ($10/day for a room, including meals) and hired a driver.

The monument was crawling with tourists. One morning, desperate, self and Ying awoke at 4 a.m. and had the driver bring us to the temples. Across the giant causeway, which was barely light, we saw at least a hundred photographers, cameras pointed at the horizon, waiting for the first rays of the sun to appear. It was very dispiriting.

The thing self remembers most from the trip is not the temples. It was Tonle Sap Lake. Self and Ying hired a boat and threaded our way through the floating villages.

In 2008, Ying passed away in Tel Aviv. Self saw her for the last time a couple of months before. Her eyes were so sad.

Self’s story, “The Peacock,” is about that trip to Cambodia. She’s never been able to get it published, but she keeps trying.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Dialogue: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is another — ehem — challenging one.

DIALOGUE

They want you to post a pair of photographs that, “when placed next to each other,” open “up to meanings that weren’t there when viewed alone.”

So here’s self’s first attempt:  two photographs of the Blessed Virgin, both taken at Mission San Gabriel in southern California, Sunday Aug. 24. The only reason she was at the Mission was to meet an old high-school classmate from Manila, Connie Genato, who was singing at the 11:15 mass.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is iconic in Roman Catholicism, and an object of particular veneration in the Philippines (colony of Spain for 333 years!)

A statue of the Blessed Virgin In Mission San Gabriel

A statue of the Blessed Virgin In Mission San Gabriel, near Los Angeles

Another statue of the Blessed Virgin taken at Mission San Gabriel, this one just outside the church

Another statue of the Blessed Virgin taken at Mission San Gabriel, this one just outside the church

In and of themselves, these photographs are nothing much. Together, though, they seem to speak of a child-like simplicity that self finds particularly touching.

Self has tons of other Blessed Virgin pictures. She might look for those and add later, if she has time.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Silhouette 4: 2014 Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco and an Irish Book on Surfing

Fraiche, on Fillmore Street. The Fillmore Jazz Festival was happening just outside.

Fraiche, on Fillmore Street. The Fillmore Jazz Festival was happening just outside.

Poster for the 2014 Fillmore Jazz Festival

Poster for the 2014 Fillmore Jazz Festival

And here’s yet another of the thousands and thousands of pictures self took when she was in Ireland, earlier this year.  Self had gone to Sligo to attend a friend’s gallery opening.  The gallery had a very cute restaurant next door, which sold, in addition to tea and locally made chocolates and other gastronomic delights, coffee table books about surfing.  Sligo, self discovered, is at the heart of a surfing culture in Ireland. Who would have thought? (That day in Sligo also just happened to be William Butler Yeats Day).

A Book on Cooking AND Surfing; from a Coffee Shop in Sligo, Ireland

A Book on Cooking AND Surfing; from a Coffee Shop in Sligo, Ireland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Shared By a Student Who Adores Ferlinghetti: “I Am Waiting”

I Am Waiting

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

(An excerpt)

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

Thank you to self’s UCLA Extension student Cyndy for sharing this poem!

You can read the rest of it here, at the Poetry Foundation website.

Stay tuned.

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 640 other followers