WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh 3 (At the Connoisseurs Marketplace, Today in Menlo Park)

The weekend passed by so quickly.  The summer is passing by so quickly.

It seemed like only yesterday when son was in grade school.

Today, we took Sole Fruit of Her Loins and his girlfriend Jennie to Menlo Park, for the annual Connoisseurs’ Marketplace.

As usual, we saw all sorts of cool stuff, like this:

A booth at the 2013 Connoisseurs Marketplace, Menlo Park's annual Arts & Crafts Fair

A booth at the 2013 Connoisseurs Marketplace, Menlo Park’s annual Arts & Crafts Fair

Son Admiring the Art

Son Admiring the Art

Self thinks the pictures she is posting fit in with the theme “Fresh” because they are all about seeing new things, with appreciative eyes.

She found this adorable bag, from Slainte:

A Slainte Bag:  These bags are the best!  There's one she always uses to Bacolod.

A Slainte Bag: These bags are the best! There’s one she always uses to Bacolod.

She bought one for herself, another one for Jennie.

The fair closes today, boo.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh 2

Still musing on the WordPress Photo Challenge this week:  FRESH.

As the guidelines state, there are two ways of looking at the word “Fresh” :  It can be “a state (new, recent, previously unknown) or a taste or sensation (cool, sweet, invigorating).”

Self was trying for photographs depicting “a state,” but ended up showing her favorite bakery, Pamplemousse (because their croissants are so divine) and Bacolod food (again) and also flowers (again).

Pamplemousse on Broadway, downtown Redwood City:  Self's All-Time Favorite Bakery!

Pamplemousse on Broadway, downtown Redwood City: Self’s All-Time Favorite Bakery!

Self's breakfast at the Bacolod Organic Market, where they sell 10 different kinds of rice, all manner of organic coffee, and pumpkins/squash.

Self’s breakfast at the Bacolod Organic Market, where they sell 10 different kinds of rice, all manner of organic coffee, and pumpkins/squash.

Our neighbor a few blocks down has an ever-changing flower arrangement on her front gate:  Hearts in February, Clover in March, and so forth.  This was from the previous summer.

Our neighbor a few blocks down has an ever-changing flower arrangement on her front gate: Hearts in February, Clover in March, and so forth. This was from the previous summer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is:

Share a photo which means FRESH to you!


A Trip to the Redwood City Farmers Market yielded this.

A trip to the Redwood City Farmers Market yielded this.

More from the Redwood City Farmers Market

More from the Redwood City Farmers Market

Margarita D bought these artichoke hearts from the Rialto Market in Venice.

Margarita D bought these artichoke hearts from the Rialto Market in Venice and cooked them in the tiny apartment kitchen.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Chan, You the Man!!!

White House Down superlatives:

  • Chan.  Doing his best Bruce Willis impersonation.  He even strips down to the white tee (which, in true Die Hard fashion, becomes filthy!  Filthy!  Fabulously filthy!)  Note to Any Would-Be Terrorists:  If preparing to assault a high-security facility, the best way to create a diversion is to make sure Chan Read the rest of this entry »

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour 3

Spectators at the Stafford Park Wednesday Evening Concert

Spectators at the Stafford Park Wednesday Evening Concert

Condiments at the Optimist Club's Hot Dog and Hamburger Stand

Condiments at the Optimist Club’s Hot Dog and Hamburger Stand ($5 gets you a hot dog or hamburger, chips, and a soda)

Self took these pictures at the Wednesday evening concert in Stafford Park, two blocks from her humble abode, on July 10.

The concerts begin at 6.  They are a true summer ritual:  what is summer about if not crowds, and music, and hotdogs and hamburgers, and free entertainment, and just hanging out in the park?

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week was “The Golden Hour”:  “We just want you to go out, take some time to study light, and see what you can come up with.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Fabulous Summer: Catching Up With The Missouri Review, Spring 2012

Farley's: such good coffee! 18th Street (Potrero Hill)

Farley’s: such good coffee! 18th Street (Potrero Hill)

Yesterday, self was whiling away the late afternoon in Farley’s, a coffee shop on Potrero Hill.  While reading Scientific American and the day’s Wall Street Journal, she tried the macchiato (excellent!) with a slice of zucchini bread (dee-lish!) and a scoop of caramel salt ice cream.

She was just musing about how fabulous this summer is.

Sole Fruit of Her Loins is home, and Jennie is arriving tonight.  Self loves the “Flying Kitty” birthday card that Jennie mailed to self last week.  Rawwrrrr!!!

Today, self feels energized enough to tackle her Pile of Stuff (a huge, disorganized, and ever-growing pile of unread magazines and unopened mail).  The first thing she happens to pull out is The Missouri Review of Spring 2012.

As everyone in the writing field knows, The Missouri Review is one of the top literary journals in the country.  Who wouldn’t want to be published in The Missouri Review?  Though self has never succeeded in breaking into the ranks of this magazine’s anointed, that has in no way dampened her enjoyment at reading it.

The theme of the Spring 2012 issue is “blood relations.”  Here’s how the editor, Speer Morgan (possibly the most fabulous editor’s name self has ever encountered:  It’s like the bastard offspring of a chewing gum company, Wrigley’s, and an investment bank, Morgan Stanley):

When one sets about doing harm, the people most likely to be hurt are the ones across the table, if only by reason of proximity.  Look up quotes on the word “family,” and much of what comes up is either sarcastic or humorous.  Hamlet’s stepfather says to him, “My cousin Hamlet, and my son,” and the young prince responds, “A little more than kin, and less than kind,” with both “kin” and “kind” carrying multiple levels of dark irony.  This is the norm even when your stepfather/ uncle didn’t murder your father and marry your mother.  Bring up the issue of relatives, and mockery soon follows.  “I had no blood relatives until I made some,” says comedian Andy Dick.  And yet of course the other feelings continue to survive alongside the sarcasm —  the fondness, love and hope that we associate with both our relatives and our origins.

Next, Morgan talks about the journal’s Jeffrey E. Smith winner in fiction, Yuko Sakata’s “Unintended,” which he calls “a story that shows the effects of parents’ problems on a child.”

There’s more, much more, but self has to at least make a serious attempt at cooking dinner.  And, all right, all right, just one more thing:

The Emmy Nominations were announced at 5:30 a.m. this morning.

And there were no nominations for Timothy Olyphant (“Justified”) or Nicolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”) or even Walton Goggins (“Justified”).  We got Peter Dinklage nominated again (for “Game of Thrones”), and Jon Hamm (for “Mad Men,” as per usual), and there were even nominations for “Downton Abbey.”

Oh, well. C’est la vie.  Life is indeed strange.

At least Diana Rigg got a nomination for playing Lady Olenna Tyrell (Her name reminds self of Crisco product, for some reason).  But why oh why are there nominations for “Homeland” and none for “The Americans”?  Go figure!

Is “The Killing” going to be renewed for a fourth season?  Oh pray it’s so!

Fingers and toes crossed.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

3rd Wednesday of July (2013): Moral Tales

Today, self thought she would focus on the other book she is concurrently reading (along with The Great Gatsby.  And Manila Noir.  AND the daily Wall Street Journal):  Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales.  She found the book in transreal, a bookstore in Edinburgh.

The excerpt below is from Part Seven:  MORAL TALES

The title of the fable is Escaping Slowly.  

A goat was walking along with her two kids looking for some nice sweet grass when it began to rain.  It was really coming down, so she ran under a big rock ledge to get some shelter, not knowing that it was the Lion’s house.  When Lion saw the three goats coming, he purred to himself in a voice like thunder.

This frightened the mother and her kids and she said, “Good evening, Minister.”  And the lion said, “Good evening.”  She said that she was looking for a minister to baptize these two kids, because she wanted to give them names.  Lion said he’d be happy to do that.  “This one’s name is Dinner and this one’s name is Breakfast Tomorrow and your name is Dinner Tomorrow.”

So now after hearing this roared out by the Lion, the goats were really frightened, and the kids’ hearts began to leap, bup bup bup.  Lion asked the mother goat what was the matter with her two kids and she said, “Well, they always get feeling this way when the room they are in gets so hot.”  So she asked Lion that, since they were feeling that way, could they go out and get a little cool air. (To be continued)

Stay tuned.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour 2

Dusk as seen from the ferry plying the narrow strait between the central Philippine cities of Iloilo and Bacolod (Nothing is more beautiful than a Philippine sea)

More Beauty

On the Ferry (between Iloilo and Bacolod)

It’s only an hour’s ferry ride between the two cities.  Iloilo is older.  People migrated from the more densely populated Iloilo to the howling hinterlands on the sister island of Negros (Bacolod is only one of many cities on Negros)

On one of her recent Bacolod sojourns, self decided to catch the ferry to Iloilo and spend a day poking around in her maternal grandmother’s hometown of Jaro.  She caught a late ferry back to Bacolod.  The sea viewed from the ferry was unbelievably beautiful.

More Beauty

More Beauty

Every summer of self’s childhood, she and her siblings were put on a boat, to spend the summer in her Dear Departed Dad’s hometown of Bacolod.  It was thrilling:  sometimes we couldn’t get a cabin and had to sleep on canvas cots set out on the deck.  Late at night, self would listen to the murmurings of the other passengers, and fall asleep to the scent of seaspray and foam.

Self realizes the light in this pair of photographs isn’t golden.  But it was not yet night.  The sky was the most translucent blue.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Summer of 2013: The Narrative Voice of THE GREAT GATSBY

Self dislikes it intensely.  The narrative voice, that is. (If you, poor student, are thinking of adopting self’s critical stance for your next assigned paper on TGG, be forewarned:  self is no critic, she’s just an iconoclast!)

She said as much on Twitter, just a few moments ago, and the effect was that the # of her followers is now down to 9.

This (The Great Gatsby) is a work written by an alcoholic.  Everyone drinks, everyone gets drunk, everyone quarrels.

This is the kind of novel where a man (Tom Buchanan) can invite his wife’s cousin (Nick) to meet his mistress (Mrs. Wilson), only days after meeting Nick.

Mrs. Wilson is a little blowzy, a little thick around the middle, and her voice is pure affectation (as is Daisy’s).

There is a manufactured fight in the little apartment Tom Buchanan has set up for Mrs. Wilson in some god-forsaken wilderness (probably Jersey City):  The purpose of the fight is to have Tom Buchanan break Mrs. Wilson’s nose.  Afterwards, no mention of how Mrs. Wilson explains her injury to her husband (a mechanic, a fairly stoic one)

Gatsby is a completely stupid name.

Even more stupid is the name “Jordan” for a golf pro.

Nevertheless, here are some choice passages written from the Nick point of view:

  • “Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine:  I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.”
  • “Her gray, sun-strained eyes stared straight ahead, but she had deliberately shifted our relations, and for a moment I thought I loved her.  But I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires, and I knew that first I had to get myself definitely out of that tangle black home.”
  • “I had taken two finger-bowls of champagne, and the scene had changed before my eyes into something significant, elemental, and profound.” (Self didn’t know champagne could be served in finger bowls)
  • Regarding New York City:  “At the enchanted metropolitan twilight I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others —  poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner —  young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.”

Further, there is a mention of Nick’s usually taking dinner at the “Yale Club” and so forth, and self thinks how only a poor or impoverished or broke man could write so longingly and evocatively about the world of the rich.  So, was Fitzgerald:  a) poor; b) impoverished; or c) broke?

Where exactly is the Yale Club?  Self finds it on google:  “The Yale Club of New York City.  It’s where you belong.”

Gatsby has a butler, who speaks like so:  “Philadelphia wants you on the phone, sir.”

Aforementioned golf pro, Ms. Jordan, does have excellent dialogue, though.  For example, this zinger:

“. . .  I like large parties.  They’re so intimate.  At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”

There are even, for heaven’s sake, characters who use the expression “old sport,” which self surmises is the equivalent of “Mah Man,” or “You the Man,” or “My Brother” or some such elegant form of address.  Here’s an example from TGG:

“If you want anything, just ask for it, old sport.”  —  Gatsby to a guest during one of his fabulous parties

(One shudders to think of the Immortal Leo having to utter such a useless line.  She decided to do a quick google search of “old sport” and Django Unchained:  Nada, thank God)

But, self cannot help it:  she must continue reading, because even achingly bad melodrama can be entertaining.  She just didn’t think she would encounter it in TGG.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Musings: Yesterday’s Cal Shakes’ Performance of “Romeo and Juliet”

Musing # 1:  The emphasis in this production was entirely on physicality:  No background scenery, barely any props, the thing to focus on was the actors’ bodies.  To project an air of urgency, the actors (only seven, all of whom remained onstage during the play’s approximately two-hour and twenty minute running time) had frequently to give the impression of running, without actually running.  Do you know how hard that is to do, dear blog readers?  The stage was not very large.  Self marveled at the scene where Juliet (played by a tiny little girl, with absolutely amazing expressiveness, whose name is Rebekah Brockman) has to run with a white sheet held high above her head.  And another scene where Benvolio (played by a woman — nice bit of non-traditional casting there) had to run towards the bodies of the slain Mercutio and Tybalt, and really this was when self realized that there is an art to miming running, miming running and then stopping short.  If one can just imagine a moving truck coming to a screeching halt, that was Read the rest of this entry »

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