#amwritingfantasy: “Down”

Two men are getting ready to begin a new life on the ocean floor.

But first, they argue. About everything: from the name of the bathosphere (Pinkie Pie) to whether or not they should leave the girlfriend of one of them (Go Go):

We’ve never tested the ride. And we haven’t got any maps.

We don’t need maps. There’s only one way to go, and that’s down.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Against the Odds: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 15 February 2017

An unexpected victory? A snapshot of an unlikely moment? This week, show us something that defines the odds.

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

Last year, on the 2nd day of self’s trip to the UK, her camera shutter stopped opening all the way. Rather than buy a new camera, self decided to see how far she could push that old thing. And it lasted till the very end of her trip.

One of the last places she visited before returning home was Bletchley Park, about an hour train ride from London. Bletchley Park is where the World War II codebreakers did their work. According to the visitors’ brochure, “the Codebreakers’ efforts helped to shorten the war by up to two years, saving countless lives.” The codebreakers worked year-round in unheated wooden huts. “The first Enigma ciphers were broken in early 1940.”

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Bletchley Park: June 2016

Self took the picture below in Chinatown. She forgets which street it was on. It was either on Grant or on Stockton. Look closer at the words, and it turns out to be about Filipino immigration: the first immigrants faced discrimination. Caucasian women were not allowed to marry Asian immigrants, most of whom were single men. Yet, those early immigrants endured. Their descendants are all over California.

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Wall Mural, Chinatown, San Francisco

Anne-Adele Wight coordinates a monthly reading series at Head House Books in Philadelphia. She is a published poet. Just before June’s event, she hurt her knee and had to wear a brace. But — the show must go on!

She is fantastic.

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Anne-Adele Wight introducing speakers at the Head House reading series, which she coordinates: Philadelphia, June 2016

So there are self’s examples of “Against the Odds,” which is a very, very interesting photo challenge.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Solitude 2 at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore

  • “Solitude is the place of purification” — Martin Buber, quoted in The Daily Post
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Anonymous, C. 1960: figure carved from a single apple tree trunk. The artist was a British mental patient who had a distinctive, concaved chest.

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Isadore Waber: CanCan 1990 (Made out of coffee cans and a bicycle), seen at the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore

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Sailing Away In a Beautiful Balloon, at the Jim Rouse Visionary Center in Baltimore: the space is cavernous and crammed with all kinds of grown-up whirligigs.

Liu Xia: “June 2nd, 1989”

— Liu Xia dedicated “June 2nd, 1989” to her husband, Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned since 2009 on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power.” It’s in her collection Empty Chairs, translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern (Graywolf Press, 2015)

The poem begins:

This isn’t good weather
I said to myself
standing under the lush sun

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwritingfantasy: More “Down”

So far in self’s story, the two characters (who are as yet unnamed) argue about anything and everything while Pinkie Pie (the name of the bathosphere) floats expectantly a few yards away.

It’s the end of the world, people. The sky’s all kinds of lurid colors, and what these two want to talk about is:

I haven’t seen cake in almost 30 years. Even forgot what it tastes like.

Are you serious? All right, let me refresh your memory: Cake is sand, rain, and seaweed, all mixed together.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading MONTCALM AND WOLFE by Francis Parkman

This book is about The Battle of Quebec, an epic battle which ended French rule in Canada. The two commanding generals, named in the title, were killed.

Self had never heard of historian Francis Parkman until a few months ago, when an article in the New York Review of Books made passing reference to him.

On p. 54, the French governor of territory disputed by the English sends a message to Queen Alequippa of the Iroquois, who is rumored to hold British sympathies:

  • They (the British) hide from you their plans, which are to settle here and drive you away, if I let them. As a good father who tenderly loves his children, and though far away from them bears them always in his heart, I must warn you of the danger that threatens you. The English intend to rob you of their country; and that they may succeed, they begin by corrupting your minds. As they mean to seize the Ohio, which belongs to me, I send to warn them to retire.

Love the way the “belongs to me” is uttered almost casually. About territory. Which belonged first of all to the native Americans.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Woman’s Place

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Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA

Norma McCorvey, who was at the center of Roe v. Wade, passed away today at an assisted living center in Texas. She was 69.

Her legal challenge, entered under the pseudonym “Jane Roe” led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision that legalized abortion.

Associated Press: “She was 22, unmarried, unemployed and pregnant for the third time in 1969 when she sought to have an abortion in Texas, where the procedure was illegal except to save a woman’s life.”

Years later, she had an almost 180-degree conversion and became an anti-abortion activist.

She had a hard life but . . . Roe v. Wade lives because of her.

Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: from Moving to Mars, by Tom Kizzia (The New Yorker, 20 April 2015)

In the Mauna Loa dome, crew members simply roll their eyes when Binsted’s far-flung volunteer assistants do something lame, like expecting an immediate response to an e-mail sent when everyone is still asleep, because the sender forgot that eMars, like Hawaii, is not on daylight-saving time.

Stay tuned.

Long Journeys: Planning For

Self is reading a very, very interesting article in The New Yorker of two years ago! April 20, 2015: “Moving to Mars” by Tom Kizzia.

It’s about how NASA is planning the make-up for the first crew it will send to Mars. This is sooo important because the crew will be sharing tight space for a long time.

It will take approx. eight months to get to Mars. The crew will stay a year and a half, “waiting for the planets to grow close enough for a quick trip home.” The homeward journey will be even longer.

Factors:

  • Women tend to make a lighter load.
  • Is it wise to mix genders?
  • How do you keep the crew from being bored (because when a person is bored, “energy flags” and “the mind grows stressed and makes mistakes as it searches for new stimulus”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

#amreading MONTCALM & WOLFE: The Decline and Fall of the French Empire in North America

France’s “manifold ills were summed up in the King. Since the Valois, she had had no monarch so worthless. He did not want understanding, still less the graces of person. In his youth the people called him the “Well-beloved,” but by the middle of the century they so detested him that he dared not pass through Paris, lest the mob should execrate him . . .  Louis XIII was equally unfit to govern; but he gave the reins to the Great Cardinal. Louis XV abandoned them to a frivolous mistress, content that she should rule on condition of amusing him . . . Madame de Pompadour . . .  filled the Bastille with her enemies; made and unmade ministers; appointed and removed generals. Great questions of policy were at the mercy of her caprices.

Montcalm and Wolfe, by Francis Parkman, p. 35

Sentence of the Day: AMERICAN GODS, p. 307

So far, really enjoying this road trip with supernatural elements thrown in.  There are so many interesting encounters, and Gaiman writes like a dream.

The below is part of a very long rant by a woman named Sam:

  • I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we’ll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of the Worlds.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Dinner is Served: Spaghetti and Meatballs, AMERICAN GODS, pp. 304- 305

Shadow is invited to dinner by a woman named Marguerite Olsen and meets Marguerite’s half-sister Sam (same father, different mothers: Sam’s mom moved to Tasmania after meeting “a guy on the Internet who lived in Hobart”) Sam tells him

  • “how all the aboriginal natives of Tasmania had been wiped out by the British, and about the human chain they made across the island to catch them which trapped only an old man and a sick boy. She told him how the thylacines — the Tasmanian tigers — had been killed by farmers, scared for their sheep, how the politicians in the 1930s noticed that the thylacines should be protected only after the last of them was dead.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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