Containers 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

What a good idea, Red Hen Press!

They promoted Type O Negative, Joel Tan’s poetry collection, by handing out these chocolate candy bars at the AWP Book Fair, several years ago.

Candy Bar Wrapper (designed after the cover of Joel Tan's new poetry collection!)

candy bar wrapper (designed after the cover of Joel Tan’s new poetry collection!)

Containers # 2 is a fresh coconut:

In the Philippines, there are roadside stands selling fresh coconuts with straws so you can sip the juice.  This was somewhere near Sum-ag, near Bacolod City.

In the Philippines, there are roadside stands selling fresh coconuts with straws so you can sip the juice. Self took this picture on a beach in Sum-ag, just outside Bacolod City.

In January 2012, self went to India for the first time.  She flew from San Francisco to New Delhi, and spent the next two weeks traversing Himachal Pradesh.  She made it to Dharamsala.  It was freezing cold.  These hot braziers were brought into the dining room of the Colonel’s Resort in the village of Bir.

It was so cold, self's last two days in Bir, that the Colonel had a fire brought in.

It was so cold, self’s last two days in Bir, that the Colonel had a fire brought in.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Words With Writers” Interview with Sebastian Barry

Self has decided that her reading list is too bloated.

From now on, or just for the next year anyway, she will read only books by LIVING writers.

Well, that helped.  Self got rid of perhaps 1/3 of the books on her list.

She’s still reading Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture.

She decides to look up interviews he’s given, and comes up with a gem on a site called “Words With Writers.”

Who do you picture as the ideal reader of your work?

All of us inevitably become experienced in the world, by the mere process of living in it; but my ideal reader perhaps can put aside the cargo of experience somewhat, and access also their original innocence, so that sense is also brought to the book in their lap.

Is there a quote about writing that inspires you?

I very much like the anonymous but astute definition that “a novel is a long piece of prose with something wrong with it.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Relic 2: Car Show, Fourth of July, Redwood City

Fourth of July is celebrated in a BIG — and self does mean big — way in Redwood City, California.

Aside from the parade (“the oldest on the Peninsula”), there is a car show.  FUN!

Annual Car Show, Redwood City, Fourth of July

Annual Car Show, Redwood City, Fourth of July

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is RELIC.

“Share a photo of what ‘relic’ means to you:  it could be a photograph of your still-running Honda Accord Hatchback, an historic building in your town, or an old, rusted farm implement poking up through the long grass in a field.”

Which had self thumbing back through the photos she took on the Fourth of July:

The Car Show is held in conjunction with the annual Fourth of July Parade, in downtown Redwood City.  A VERY fun tradition!

The Car Show is held in conjunction with the annual Fourth of July Parade, in downtown Redwood City. A VERY fun tradition!

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

A Poem About Dentists on EUNOIA REVIEW

Self has a dentist appointment, later today.  She is not at all looking forward to the prospect.

This morning, she checks in on Eunoia Review and what does she see?

A poem about dentists.

How’s that for synchronicity, dear blog readers?

Here’s the first half:

Inheritance

by Katherine La Mantia

The dentist showed me
the x-rays where the
radiation lit up my teeth
like strings of lights at Christmas.
can you imagine how
marie curie glowed
And she pointed with
her pen tap-tapping
on my molar
or bicuspid, I don’t know.
the metal rings shrill
hammer on enamel

She showed me where
she would put metal brackets
and metal wires
and how she would
pull

What a beautiful name.  The poet has.  Katherine La Mantia.

Katherine La Mantia is an undergraduate at the University of Georgia.

Stay tuned.

Between 5: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

At Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, there were many, many inspirational and self-help books that addressed such subjects as emotional stress, attaining inner peace, etc.  Self would estimate that almost half the store consisted of books aimed at people who wanted to be in a better place –  emotionally, spiritually, mentally, even financially.

And why not?  A majority of the people in the world are trying to get to a better place.  We are all “between,” we are all transitioning.

Here are a few titles from Vroman’s that caught self’s fancy (She wouldn’t have taken pictures of these books if not for this week’s Photo Challenge, so thank you WordPress Daily Post and the Broken Light Collective, who were responsible for coming up with this week’s photo challenge):

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BTW, Vroman’s is a truly great bookstore.

Because not only do they carry books, they carry bling!  Like these house slippers self bought, for $14.99:

"Ballerina Bling" fleece-lined house slippers to prove you're not in Kansas anymore.  $14.99/pair at Vroman's.

“Ballerina Bling” fleece-lined house slippers to prove you’re not in Kansas anymore. $14.99/pair at Vroman’s.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Back to Reading THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

Self is back in Redwood City, California.

Which can only mean two things:

She is back to watching all the episodes she missed of Game of Thrones Season 4 — which she missed because, you know, Ireland.

She is back to perusing The 48 Laws of Power, by brilliant (because-from-Harvard) Professor Robert Greene.

Here, for example, is Law # 14:

Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy

In the realm of power, your goal is a degree of control over future events.  Part of the problem you face, then, is that people won’t tell you all their thoughts, emotions, and plans.  Controlling what they say, they often keep the most critical parts of their character hidden — their weaknesses, ulterior motives, obsessions.  The result is that you cannot predict their moves, and are constantly in the dark.  The trick is to find a way to probe them, to find out their secrets and hidden intentions, without letting them know what you are up to.  (p. 103)

On p. 104, there’s a quote from Arthur Schopenhauer:

If you have reason to suspect that a person is telling you a lie, look as though you believed every word he said.  This will give him courage to go on; he will become more vehement in his assertions, and in the end betray himself.  Again, if you perceive that a person is trying to conceal something from you, but with only partial success, look as though you did not believe him.  The opposition on your part will provoke him into leading out his reserve of truth and bringing the whole force of it to bear upon your incredulity.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

A Reading List (No Joyce! Or Swift!): Historical Fiction

Near Temple Bar, Dublin

Near Temple Bar, Dublin

Self rode around Dublin on the Hop On-Hop Off double-decker bus today (the weather was gorgeous!).  Self met two fellow Americans who, it turns out, hail from Daly City, California!  She stayed on that bus for about two hours.  Her thoughts began to revolve around UK-centric historical fiction she has read and enjoyed.

Naturally, she loves Catherine Dunne (especially Another Kind of Life) and Sarah Waters (especially Fingersmith and The Night Watch), but here are some others that sprang to mind:

Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott:  Set at the time of the Norman Conquest (plus self remembers it was made into a pretty fab BBC mini-series, with Ciaran Hinds playing villain)

The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy (Surely that’s a pseudonym?  This was the novel self voraciously read and re-read, summers in Bacolod)

The Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff (Did anyone see Channing in the film adaptation?  So gorgeous, even when wearing Roman toga)

From Hell, by Alan Moore (The first book self bought on this trip; she spent a gorgeous April afternoon reading it in Russell Square, and then had to mail it home because it was too heavy to lug to Ireland)

One of self’s all-time favorites is Sebastian Barry’s anguished novel of World War I, A Long, Long Way.

And she knows a writer who is addicted to Nora Roberts.

Today self bought a wee pocketbook from the National Gallery of Art:  The Happy Prince & Other Stories by Oscar Wilde.  Oh, she cried already after reading the title story.  It was just so — poignant.  The swallow and the Prince, each dying of neglect, but united by generosity of spirit (Clearly, self adores angst!)

Now to read the next story, “The Nightingale and the Rose.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

Split-Second Story Six: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

. . . attempt to capture a candid moment . . .

Grafton Street, Dublin. This singer was fantastic.

Grafton Street, Dublin. This singer was fantastic.

St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, early May

St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, early May

Mary Ann Robbiano turned 90. Self rented a room from her when she was just a new graduate student at Stanford.

Mary Ann Robbiano turned 90. Self rented a room from her when she was just a new graduate student at Stanford, many many years ago.

 

 

 

Oxford, Self, and “The X-Files”

The following Mulder/Scully exchange occurred in the Pilot Episode of cult TV show of the 1990s, “The X-Files”:

FBI interviewer:  Are you familiar with an agent named Fox Mulder?

Scully:  Yes, I am.

FBI:  How so?

Scully:  By reputation.  He’s an Oxford-educated psychologist who wrote a monograph on serial killers and the occult, that helped to catch Monty Props in 1988.  Generally thought of as the best analyst in the violent crimes section.  He had a nickname at the Academy:  Spooky Mulder.

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That was a great series, dear blog readers.

Self hugely enjoyed the episodes on such grotesque and apocryphal creatures as the Jersey Devil, Chimera, and Incubus.

But it’s the mention of Oxford that really gets her attention, because it reminds her that Mulder was supposed to be some sort of genius who, yes, did indeed attend the august institution that self has been ogling for the past few days:

Christ Church, Oxford's oldest college, from across a meadow

Christ Church, Oxford’s oldest college, from across a meadow

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Twist 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Shortly before leaving for Ireland, self wandered over to the Cantor Art Center on the Stanford campus, where she took these shots.  Gerald B. Cantor, who donated the funds, was someone self interviewed when she was just a lowly student reporter for The Stanford Daily.  You can actually see her byline if you go all the way back to the year the Cantor Art Center was opened.

The interview happened this way.  Mr. Cantor himself was standing on the steps of the Art Center.  A crush of reporters were holding microphones up to his face and yelling questions.  Since self is rather petite, barely even five feet tall, she was all the way in the back.  But she did have the perspicacity to yell, at the top of her lungs, STANFORD DAILY!

Mr. Cantor held up his hand.  Everyone fell silent.  Then he looked over at the crowd of reporters and asked, “Who said Stanford Daily?”  And self piped up, from all the way in the back, “I did.”

And he said, “Let her through.”

And the crowd of reporters parted.  And self, blushing furiously, was ushered all the way to the front.

And that, honest to God, is how self got to shake the great man’s hand.

Many, many years later, self thought of him again, because the Cantor Fitzgerald management company occupied the top three floors of one of the World Trade Center buildings, and sekf heard that the firm lost a stupefying 1,600 of its employees on 9/11.

Rodin Sculpture Garden, on the Stanford campus

Rodin Sculpture Garden, on the Stanford campus

A giant head in the Rodin Sculpture Garden (Behind is one of the engineering buildings)

A giant head in the Rodin Sculpture Garden (Behind is one of the engineering buildings, and they’re getting ready to add yet another)

Still another from the Rodin Sculpture Garden

Still another from the Rodin Sculpture Garden

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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