Motion 2: Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum, Drumheller, Alberta

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is MOTION:

Some situations lend themselves to “action” photography: sports, dance, the wind gusting through trees on a stormy evening, but anything that can move is a candidate for these types of shots.

Today, her cousins took her to the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum in Drumheller, a fascinating museum.


Soft-shell “Pancake” Turtle at The Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum. This was a live specimen, not a fossil, and it moved pretty fast across its tank. Self tried at least 10 pictures before she gave up trying to get a clear shot.


Excuse the blur. Self resolutely refuses to use flash.


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Still Reading Pham Thi Hoai’s “Nine Down Makes Ten,” Begun Two Weeks Ago

Will self’s life ever settle down?  Will she ever be able to curb the impulse to travel?  Or will she continue in this comical way, never being at peace for, as her Tita Ateta Gana, a very wise woman, once prophetically said after listening to self tell a hair-rising story about delivering Sole Fruit of Her Loins in Stanford Hospital, after 17 hours of labor:  “Everything happens to Batchoy.”  She didn’t know how prophetic she was!

Will she be able to get through 200 pages of Don Quijote tomorrow, in order to avoid her overdue fine getting any bigger?

Is she really planning to take Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady with her to Venice, in hardcover, even though it takes up approximately 1/4 of her suitcase?

Is it good not to worry about clothes when one is traveling?

Will $150 worth of pain medication be all that Bella The Ancient One needs to survive the next two weeks?

Can self make it to Trieste?

Can she sit 13 hours in an airplane, in an economy seat, without her neck absolutely killing her?

Will she ever be able to finish anything she starts?

Two weeks ago, she began reading Vietnamese writer Pham Thi Hoai’s story in Another Kind of Paradise:  Short Stories From the New Asia-Pacific, edited by Trevor Carolan.  My, that story had her in stitches!  She was absolutely entranced.

It is written in very dense paragraphs (translated from the Vietnamese by Peter Zinoman), but the tone is wicked sly.  It’s about an unnamed woman’s various lovers.  Self reads about Lover # 8:

The eighth man had the hair of a poet, the face of a poet, and a soul especially given over to poetry.  Such qualities are found only in people who have a lot of time and no concrete obligations in life.  When engrossed in the rising and falling of his watery waves, and once acquainted with his passionate love of writing —  swiftly, without semicolons — I began to understand that the most worthwhile obsession is an obsession that is actually independent of the object of fixation.  The object is only borrowed as a pretext, a means, an environment, through which or in which the obsessed person can project his own eternal and essential hunger, thus fulfilling the requirements of death — the dissolution of the ego for something, anything, that exists independently outside of one’s self.  Perhaps that obsession should be controlled.  At some point the most mundane catalyst, a skirt or a fallen leaf, is enough to provoke a series of captivating chain reactions, while at another time much more important objects will inspire only an absurd indifference.

Here, by the way, are a list of things that have remained constant in her life:

  • Her undying commitment to Apple, especially her MacBook Air
  • Her love of blogging, and her corresponding need for the internet.  Dear Cuz Maitoni once aked self:  “Must you always take it upon yourself to entertain the whole world?”  That is such a very pertinent question, Dear Cuz!  Self knows not why.  On this question, she is drawing an absolute blank.
  • Her conviction that she is absolutely made to travel: no matter how unsure she is about her cooking, or her housecleaning, or even the value of her writing, she has only to plan a trip when  —  VOILA! — happiness and confidence descend, and she can brave anything, even the worst bad hair days.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Hunger Games Fan Fiction Reading of the Day: Everlark is Self’s Weakness

The Capitol Television Network (CTN) is holding its annual Olympics of Food. Celebrity chefs from each channel in the network come together in a championship that tests cooking skill and food knowledge. The Victor gets a multimillion dollar contract with the channel of her/his choice. The losers’ shows are cancelled.

Katniss Everdeen is chosen to represent a struggling show on Channel 12, the smallest channel in the Capitol Network. Pitted against world famous chefs, will Katniss be able to prevail and save her show? The well-being of her mother and sister hang in the balance.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Motion 4: Memories of Ireland 2014

A Surfing Book Encountered In a Café in Sligo

A Surfing Book Encountered In a Café in Sligo

Platform 4, Dublin Train Station, June 2014

Platform 4, Dublin Train Station, June 2014

Headed for Sligo on William Butler Yeats Day, June 2014

Dublin Train Station, June 2014

Motion 3: Calgary Olympic Park, Great China in Berkeley, Fillmore Street in San Francisco

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is to share photos of things and people in motion.

Here are a few Read the rest of this entry »

Motion: Buses, Planes, and Taxis

Capturing motion is a beautiful way to convey a story in a paragraph, sometimes even more so than a photo of the same subject in a stationary pose. — Jen H. for this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge

Without further ado:

Crossing a Bridge Into Manhattan On the Bolt Bus From New Hampshire

Crossing a Bridge Into Manhattan On the Bolt Bus From New Hampshire: March 2015

Flying into Chicago, October 2014

Flying into Chicago, October 2014

Downtown Chicago, October 2014

Taxi Ride: Downtown Chicago, October 2014

Arrow Meets Aswang in Denis Johnson’s Novel TREE OF SMOKE

Aswang stories sound different when told by an American novelist. Read on:

He gave the lad a quiver of arrows and a very strong bow and charged him to stay all night in the granary at the bottom of the path, because there he would slay the aswang.  Many cats gathered in the granary at night, one of whom was in fact the aswang, who assumed this form in order to camouflage. ‘But, sir, how will I know the aswang, because you haven’t given me arrows to shoot every cat?’ And Saint Gabriel said, ‘The aswang will not play with its rat when it catches one, it only tears the rat in pieces intantly and revels in its blood. When you see a cat do that, you must shoot him right away, because that one is the aswang. Of course, if you fail, I don’t have to inform you you’re going to feel yourself being torn apart by the fangs of the aswang, and it will drink your blood as you die.’

— p. 51, Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007)

Very, very interesting. Self realizes she would rather read more about aswang than about Edward Lansdale. Stay tuned.

Early Bird 4: Window Life

Windows fascinate, as always.

Windows fascinate, as always.

Maybe because they're the first things she sees when she opens her eyes in the morning.

Maybe because they’re the first things she sees when she opens her eyes in the morning.

The early morning light is reflected on these hanging pictures.

The early morning light is reflected on these hanging pictures.

And that is all self has to say on the subject of windows.

Stay tuned.

Still Reading This

The houseboy Sebastian came out of the kitchen and said, “Good morning, Skeep. The barber is coming.”


“He’s coming now.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s in the kitchen. You want breakfast first? You want egg?”

“Just coffee, please.”

“You want bacon and egg?”

“Can you stand it if I just have coffee?”

“What kind of egg? Over easy.”

“Bring it on, bring it on.”

*     *     *     *     *

pp. 35 – 36, Tree of Smoke: novel by Denis Johnson, set during The Vietnam War.  The troops go for R & R in the Philippines. It’s not pretty. Stay tuned.

Reading This

“We are centralized. We have an iron structure. We are closed into a single fist that disappears up a sleeve when it has to. Our will is unshakable. The greatest colonialist armies can’t stand against it. We drove out the French, and we’ll drive out the Americans, and we’ll slaughter and bury their puppets. Do they claim victories? Let them. The invaders are fighting the ocean. No matter how many waves they beat down, the ocean of our resolve is always there.”

— p. 29, Denis Johnson’s novel of the Vietnam War circa 1963 – 1970, Tree of Smoke

Early Bird 3: Good Morning, Calgary

It is self’s first time to be in this Canadian city. She’s on her way to the Writer’s Studio at Banff. By chance, she has Bacolod cousins here. Amazing synchronicity! She’s spending a few days with them.

A Prairie Subdivision

A Prairie Subdivision

It is huge. A prairie city.

Self still posting on the theme EARLY BIRD:

This week, I encourage you to set your alarm for the early hours, grab your first (several) cups of coffee, and challenge yourself to capture an outstanding photograph in the early morning light.

Without further ado, Early Bird, Calgary edition:

Good morning, Calgary!

Good morning, Calgary!

First stop of the day, a nearly deserted Calgary Olympic Park:


The Olympic Flame, Calgary Olympic Park

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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