Stanford University Fall Artist’s Salon to Feature Prof. Valerie Miner

Valerie Miner, the current Artist in Residence at Stanford’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research, will be featured at the Fall Artist’s Salon, to be held Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. at Serra House, 589 Capistrano Way, on the Stanford University campus.

Copies of Ms. Miner’s latest novel, Traveling with Spirits, will be available at the event.  Light refreshments will be served.

The event is free and open to the public.

About the Author:

Valerie Miner is the author of fourteen books and co-author of four others.  She has won multiple fellowships and awards.  She is the current artist-in-residence at the Clayman Institute, and teaches at Stanford in both the Feminist Studies Program and the English Department.

More information about the event can be found at

Absolutely Happy

Chatting outside Church of the Gesu, Ateneo

Chatting outside Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila campus

Lunch with Lissa M, Sandy Daza's Wooden Spoon, Katipunan Avenue

Lunch with Lissa M, Sandy Daza’s Wooden Spoon, Katipunan Avenue

Lissa wondering:  Is there actually room in my tummy for this Reina Blanca?

Lissa wondering: Is there actually room in my tummy for this Reina Blanca?

There was a wait at Wooden Spoon.  But oh, oh, oh how delicious was the tinapa fried rice, the kare-kare with bagoong, the breaded fillet of fish with Wansoy sauce.  Self is sated, absolutely sated.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Daku Balay, Burgos Street, Bacolod City

View From the Main Lobby, Balay Daku

View From the Main Lobby, Balay Daku

The Front Porch, Daku Balay, Bacolod City

The Front Porch, Daku Balay, Bacolod City

Self’s Dear Departed Dad grew up in the Daku Balay.

At the time of its construction (in the 1930s), it was the tallest building in Bacolod City.

It was four stories with a working elevator and a grand marble staircase.

The Japanese High Command occupied it during World War II.

Now, for the first time ever, it is being opened to the public.

Here’s a link to the announcement prepared by self’s cousins.

Stay tuned.

Saturation: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The prompt:

“This week, show us a photo of whatever you like, but make sure it’s saturated.  It can be black and white, a single color, a few hues, or a complete rainbow riot; just make sure it’s rich and powerful.”

Here are self’s three shots of saturated color!

Wall Shrine in Calle Something-or-other (Near the Frari Church)

Wall Shrine in Calle Something-or-other in Venice (Near the Frari Church)

In our first home, in Sausalito Terrace, Fremont, there were bushes of this plant lining the driveway.

In our first home, in Sausalito Terrace, Fremont, there were bushes of this plant lining the driveway.

Armchair in self's room in Hawthornden, June 2012

Armchair in self’s room in Hawthornden, June 2012

From Lines Into Patterns 4: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Manila, September 2013

Manila, September 2013

Manila 2, September 2013

Manila 2, September 2013

Manila 3, September 2013

Manila 3, September 2013

Manila 4, September 2013

Manila 4, September 2013

The prompt this week, from The Daily Post:

Take a page from Evan Zelermyer’s “stunning urban, abstract, and architectural images.”

Self decided to take advantage of the prompt and post some of her gritty Manila street photographs.  She is fascinated by the energy of the streets in this, her native city.  Fascinated, too, by the grimy buildings, set against the hum of daily life, the scurrying motorcycles and tricycles, the crowds on the sidewalks, the way pedestrian barriers become supports, things to lean against, makeshift balconies.  Nothing is beautiful, but there is a strange and powerful intimacy everywhere she looks.

Stay tuned.

From Lines to Patterns 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self took these pictures at the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts, August 2013.

Chalk Art I

Chalk Art I

Chalk Art 2

Chalk Art 2

Chalk Art 3

Chalk Art 3

She loved that children got to participate:  $5 would buy them a little square of asphalt to fill in as they chose.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.



The First Halloween 2013 Post

Before self left on her latest trip to the Philippines, she already set out ceramic pumpkins and furry spiders.  Fun!  She even bought a bag of candy from Lucky (According to self’s theory of HOW THINGS WORK, Halloween candy gets more expensive as the holidays approach).

Every year, she tries to make up her mind to wear a Halloween outfit.  But she never does.  She wants to, though.  She thinks it is fun to greet trick-or-treaters attired as a witch or something.

This year, Buzzsugar offers cheerful pointers for those of us who aspire to be Game of Thrones characters.  Here are a few:

For those who aspire to be Cersei:

    WHAT TO WEAR: a very long, blonde wig with hair pulled back.  Wear “a regal-looking gown deep-red gown with full sleeves.
    HOW TO ACT: “Severe and cunning. Talk down to whoever you are speaking to.”

For those who aspire to be Tyrion:

WHAT TO WEAR:  “a burgundy-hued long-sleeved shirt and vest and black pants and boots.  Wear a Hand-of-the-King pin.  Make sure to add the scar.”

HOW TO ACT:  “Keep up a stream of witty one-liners.”

For those who aspire to be Joffrey:

WHAT TO WEAR:  “Fake armor and a cape, leather boots, and a golden crown atop your blonde hair or wig.”

HOW TO ACT:  “Like a snivelling little brat.”

For those who aspire to be Daenerys:

WHAT TO WEAR:  “A white wig . . .  a blue V-neck dress, and some fierce jewelry made of horns or steel.  Bonus points if you can find some toy dragons.”

HOW TO ACT:  “Quietly confident, but assert your status as the Mother of Dragons if provoked.  Ask everyone where . . . your . . .  dragons . . .  are.”

For those who aspire to be Robb Stark:

WHAT TO WEAR:  “Fake armor and dark-colored clothing with a fake fur jacket.  Wield a toy sword.”

HOW TO ACT:  “Like you just can’t wait to be king.”

For those who aspire to be Arya Stark:

WHAT TO WEAR:  “A long-sleeved brown tunic belted at the waist over brown pants.  Carry a sword.  Wear a pixie-cut wig if your hair isn’t already short.”

HOW TO ACT:  “Like you’re not afraid of anything.  Challenge your friends to sword fights.”

For those who aspire to be Hodor:

WHAT TO WEAR:  “A big, dark sweater and scarf.  Wear a white wig and leather backpack, with a child-size doll attached to the back.”

HOW TO ACT:  “Protectve and stoic, and only say the word ‘Hodor.’ “

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Bacolod 2013: Sweet Dreams Are Made of These

Kinilaw, Grilled Tuna Belly:  Aboy's

Kinilaw, Grilled Tuna Belly: Aboy’s

Rolled Ham, Negros Museum Café

Rolled Ham, Negros Museum Café

"The Nest" : Perfect During Typhoon Weather

“The Nest” : Perfect During Typhoon Weather

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Bacolod 2013: National Bookstore, SM Citi, Reclamation Area

The mall rests on reclaimed land, just beyond the main plaza and San Sebastian Cathedral.  Yesterday was the first chance she had, since arriving, to see the blue walls of La Consolacion College, the old church, the plaza, the flower arrangers. She made the taxi driver stop, got down, and selected a huge standing bouquet of white lilies, foxgloves, and red anthurium. She’ll take it to Bacolod Memorial Park this morning, to put in front of the graves of her Dear Departed Grandfather and Dear Departed Dad.

And then she went to the Mall.  Destination:  National Bookstore, to see if they carried copies of some of her books.

She’s been there before, she knows where the Filipino Authors section is.  2nd Floor, in a corner.

She was gratified to see a group of young students, crowding this section.

Hopeful sign!

The books these young people were reading were thin little paperbacks, identical in size.  All had white spines.  Wonder what those could be, self wondered, edging closer.

These thin little buggers (little more than pamphlets) covered floor to ceiling of two book sections.  There didn’t seem to be any other types of books:  No books by Jessica Zafra, by Charlson Ong, by Butch Dalisay, by Dean Alfar, by Simeon Dumdum or Marne Kilates.  So, what were these books?

They were “chick lit”, homegrown.  Novels of about 50 pages, knocked out fast on newsprint.  Self is so gratified by this evidence that young people are still reading.  She wanted to take pictures of the shelves but couldn’t manage to squeeze in between students.  So instead she continued wandering around the store and selected a few of the more interesting books, books such as:





In the textbooks section, self found this. The book is in its 3rd edition.

In the textbooks section, self found this. The book is in its 3rd edition.

Self came away with two blank journals.  Journals are pretty expensive in the United States, but one of the journals she bought yesterday looks very similar to the Moleskin sketchbooks that sell there for $12 – $15, and all she paid for the journals were 159 pesos each (Just under $4).

Stay tuned for further peregrinations.

2nd Iraq War: The Takeaway

Self is now nearing the end of Fiasco:  The American Military Adventure in Iraq.  She spent most of yesterday reading the gruesome account of how Abu Ghraib turned into Abu Ghraib.  This morning, she is on p. 307.

The American troops were preparing, in the winter of 2003, to complete “one of the biggest troop rotations in the history of the U.S. military.” The soldiers who had completed their year of service in Iraq were about to hand off to the second wave of replacement American troops.  The web came alive with e-mails and essays from the departing soldiers.  In accounts “far more personal than those offered by the media and generally grimmer than the official statements that painted a picture of steady progress,” soldiers passed on hard-earned knowledge.  IEDs were the insurgents’ weapon of choice, the targets the long train of American supply vehicles snaking across the desert.

Taking the “every cloud has a silver lining” approach, here are the most valuable lessons soldiers learned from each other:

  • The Iraqi equivalent of the Vietnam War’s “ambush points on jungle trails” were highway overpasses.” Soldiers were advised to “move toward them with caution, and then swerve from lane to lane at the last minute.”
  • “. . .  to be defensible, convoys should consist of at least five vehicles.”
  • “. . .  a study of insurgent tactics” showed “that they “tended to attack the last vehicle.  To counter this, soldiers “recommended putting heavy firepower there.”
  • Because, “in the lead truck in a convoy, the driver and gunner tended to be too busy with their tasks to adequately scan the ground for roadside bombs” it was advisable to have “a third soldier, equipped with binoculars and night-vision goggles” to “be posted in that vehicle —  and be trained and ready to take over the machine gun should the gunner be hit.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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