Time 3: Traveling

You become very, very aware of time when you are traveling.

Self took this picture in Cork, Ireland, September 2015. She has walked so far in these sneakers:

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Cork, Ireland, September 2015

One step, and then another.

We move through time so incredibly fast, always in a hurry to get to our destinations.

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Off to Destination Unknown

Finally, a really, really old thing: a remnant of an ancient Roman column. In the English city of York:

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City of York, July 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

TRASH: Sylvain Landry Week 32 Photo Challenge

Self is participating in this week’s Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge. The theme is TRASH.

She looked through her thousands of pictures and came up with something she photographed during her November 2015 trip to Florence, her first time in that beautiful city. A picture of a McDonald’s! Which she passed almost every day on her way to some museum or other with her intrepid niece, Irene!

Self isn’t all that down on McDonald’s, but every time she sees one, especially if it’s in an awesomely beautiful place like Florence, she gets somewhat discouraged. Because why would anyone want to eat in McDonald’s when there’s so much (good) local food available?

So the McDonald’s in Florence is her metaphorical image of TRASH.

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Florence, Italy: November 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Time 2: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge Week # 6

Sunset in Mendocino Village.

The sun slips beneath the horizon startlingly fast.

Tried to hurry the pictures but failed to get enough of the sun in time.

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Walking Along Little Lake Street, Mendocino Village

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Headlights of approaching car appear lower right: self didn’t even know the car was in the picture until she loaded to the blog.

Which is why she chose these pictures to illustrate TIME, The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge this week.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

First Adventure: Mexico on Third-Class Bus with Roommate Sachiko

Self was a grad student at Stanford.

Her roommate was an Anthropology grad student named Sachiko Hayashida. (She has tried many times to find Sachiko. She has googled “Sachiko Hayashida” and found a few who teach in Japanese universities and fired off letters. The letters always come back with a note: I am not that Sachiko Hayashida)

Sachiko and self decided to spend two weeks traveling around Mexico.

Sachiko was responsible for drawing up the itinerary. Self’s only responsibility was to keep up.

Sachiko had undertaken many trips by herself. Not self. This was self’s first travel adventure.

We ended up fighting. A lot.

Sachiko had to be carried on the plane on a stretcher at the very end. She had Montezuma’s Revenge.

One of our most memorable trips was from Mexico City to Merida by third-class bus. Once we arrived in Merida, we searched all over the city for a vegan restaurant mentioned in Lonely Planet. The name was Sergeant Pepper’s.

We finally found someone who said, “Ah! You are looking for Sarhento Pimiento!”

Of course! Sarhento Pimiento! Why had we wandered all over Merida looking for SERGEANT PEPPER?

One of the most memorable excursions we made while in Merida was to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. We took a public bus, and it dropped us off at the side of the road at 4 a.m.

Self frankly thought Sachiko was crazy, but at 7 a.m., when Chichen Itza began to receive its swarm of tourists, self thought Sachiko was brilliant. Because no one else was in the ruins at 4 a.m. (Of course, it wasn’t safe. But we were 22. We weren’t thinking of safe) We were thrashing around, avoiding lizards — some extremely large — and what-not, when we suddenly came to a large clearing, raised our eyes and YOWZA! A temple!

Afterwards, self read to Sachiko from a book she’d picked up from the Stanford Bookstore: World of the Maya by Victor W. Von Hagen.

She has it with her now, in Mendocino.

P. 12:

The Maya have been characterized as “The Intellectuals of the New World” because of their highly developed calendrics, their glyph-writing, and the ornamental complexity of their architecture. They were unique in their culture; pacific, they fought few wars; they viewed life from their jungle fastness with Olympian detachment, working out complicated calendric inscriptions that could push their history back to 23,040,000,000 days.

You need a lot of undisturbed time (i.e. peace) to be that focused on a task that complicated, self figures.

The irony is not lost on self, that one of the first widely-read accounts of the Mayan civilization was William H. Prescott’s The Conquest of Peru, who made a hero out of Francisco Pizarro, “a man who couldn’t even read his own name . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge: PRIDE

The Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge this week is PRIDE.

Landry shares an e-mail from his daughter, in which she writes:

“It was not the exoticism of India that watered me but the feeling of having found my place.”

Self decided to post a photograph from a trip to India in January 2012. It was her first time to visit the country, which had always fascinated her. Dharamsala had not been on the itinerary, but she decided to go. And it was freezing cold (one night her inn had no power. And self thought she would DIE).

She is glad she went, for Dharamsala is a beautiful, magnificent place. And she would never have seen it if she’d “played it safe” and stuck to the original itinerary.

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Dharamsala, official abode of the Dalai Lama. Self was stunned by the whole idea of it, by the whole idea of HERSELF in Dharamsala, alone with two brothers who ran an inn called the Snow Crest . . . It was FREEZING in January, but the upside was: barely any tourists, only crazy ones like self.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Life Imitates Art: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge Week 7

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is LIFE IMITATES ART.

For this week’s theme, find inspiration in a piece of art, and go further: imitate it.

It’s funny: self has a picture of the same subject as Cheri Lucas Rowlands: the statue of writer John Betjeman in St. Pancras Station in London. The statue is mirrored by the tourist with her back turned, taking a picture of — something else in the station.

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Statue and Tourist: St. Pancras Station, London: Summer 2015

And these pictures of wedding dresses self took when she was staying with a friend in Minneapolis reminded her so much of a Georgia O’Keefe painting:

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Bridal Boutique, Minneapolis

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Zombie Apocalypse Everlark Fan Fics Are Self’s Weakness

Some of self’s favorite mash-ups are Walking Dead/Hunger Games. She loves apocalyptic dystopian universes.

In the newest iteration of Zombie Everlark, Katniss and Peeta are part of a tragically small group of survivors to make it to a place called the Sanctuary, which is ruled by a Senator. They arrive in separate groups, not knowing of the other’s existence. But the clever fan fic author (one of the most experienced in Everlark fan fiction-dom) employs a split-screen approach, so that we see the same event, first from Peeta’s point of view, then from Katniss’s. Sigh. Love this approach.

Katniss receives instructions to tend to some new (injured) arrivals in what passes for sick bay. The first person she tends to is Peeta, but as yet Katniss doesn’t know anything about him, not even his name. For now, he is just “the one-legged man.”

  • The man’s lips twitch up and she rips her eyes away from his face, focusing intently on bandaging his now-clean wound. A sharp sound seethes out of him. She’s being sloppy, and the sting of her incompetence is so much worse for the glassy indifference she was used to getting from Rue, who never so much as blinked under Katniss’s care. Then again, Rue spent much of her time locked in her head, and Katniss was never sure how much she was aware of it. It was worse at night, after a day’s worth of stumbling through the woods just parallel to the roads. The unblinking glare of the sun sapped the strength right out of her, until all she could do was stand swaying under the weight of her own pack. Then there was nothing to do but rest. They had spent their nights sleeping underneath an unfathomably placid sky, curled up on the roofs of houses, or in the boughs of trees whose roots were infested with the twitching, trembling bodies of the infected by mid-day.

This post-apocalyptic zombie universe is so rich.

Today, that siren blasted out over the Village again. It is such a mournful sound. Self learned that it comes from the lightouse at Point Cabrillo, and that it can mean anything from a warning to ships, to a notice of a lost kitten. “When you start seeing people running toward the lighthouse, you’ll know . . . ” one of her writing students told her.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Reading List 2016, Updated

Just finished:  The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, by Thad Carhart (Charming)

Starting: The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason: a novel set in Burma

Then:

  • The Piano Player, by Kurt Vonnegut (Nephew’s favorite writer)
  • Road Dogs, by Elmore Leonard (One of self’s favorite writers)
  • The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters (Another of self’s favorite writers)
  • The Forever War, by Dexter Filkins

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Miguel Hernandez: ‘I Won’t Go Along’

No I Won’t Go Along

translated by Don Share:

No, I won’t go along I despair
as if I were a hurricane of lava
in the presidio of an enslaved almond,
or in the hanging prison of a finch

To kiss you was to kissa wasp’s next
that nails me to torment and unnails
me and digs a burial pit, and digs
down into my heart where I die.

Sentence of the Day: From Thad Carhart’s THE PIANO SHOP ON THE LEFT BANK

Self has an inordinate interest in pianos because her mother was a concert pianist: admitted to Curtis at 11, friends with Gary Graffman (who had self and her mother over to dinner at his apartment one night), winner of the New York Times International Piano Competition when she was 14. Dearest Mum played in Carnegie Hall.

Dearest Mum had not one, but two Steinways, one flown into our home in Manila through Clark Airbase.

As far as self knows, Dearest Mum is the only pianist in the world who has two Steinways.

Here’s a sentence from the book self is currently reading, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, by Thad Carhart:

No one knows exactly when the piano was invented.

Why is that interesting to self? Who knows. It just is.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

TIME: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 6

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge — TIME — is an interesting one: Sylvain Landry had the exact same challenge on his blog this week. For Sylvain, self chose a picture of the notebook she carries around with her everywhere. It’s a habit of hers to jot down random observations, snippets of conversation, names of streets. More often than not, these random details, these overheard conversations, work their way into her stories.

For the Daily Post Photo Challenge, self decided to think a little differently. She decided she’d show the bare, leafless trees of New York’s Central Park, in late November/ early December. What better to show the passing of the seasons (and of time) than bare trees?

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Central Park, Early December 2015

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Really liked seeing these compost bins scattered around the park!

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vibrant 4: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 5

The past week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is VIBRANT. Self has been having so much fun with it. In the past week, she’s posted pictures of Mendocino and Venice. Now, she’s posting photographs she took during an exhibit of Chinese artists that she and her niece, Irene, saw when we were in Florence, November 2015.

The weather was glorious: it never rained. And Florence, self doesn’t need to tell dear blog readers, is enchanting.

We got ourselves a Museum Card (Would you believe, there are 64 museums in Florence?).

As we were walking towards the Duomo on one of our earliest days in Florence, we noticed this museum and went inside.

Now, self can no longer remember which museum it was, but there was an exhibition of Chinese paintings which totally blew self away: International Tour of the Works of the Twelfth China National Exhibition of Fine Arts.

The oil painting below is called “Scenery with Six-Tusked Elephant.” The artist is Lin Jianfeng.

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Lin Jianfeng, Artist From China: Seen on the International Tour of Chinese National Artists, November 2015, Florence

The second painting, self has featured on this blog before. It is by Liu Kongxi: “Hello, Birch Forest: The Records of Youth (No. 18):

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“Hello, Birch Forest: The Records of Youth (No. 18)” by Liu Kongxi

And the last painting: Wang Ke’s “Passing on Lamp”

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Wang Ke’s “Passing on Lamp”

As Jen H. says on The Daily Post, “Let’s wash the web with a rainbow of colors to keep the winter gloom at bay.”

Self thinks these three paintings do fit the bill.

Stay tuned.

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