Angular 3: WordPress Photo Challenge

In the meadow between Littlefuild and the Main Quad

In the meadow between Littlefield Building and the Main Quad, Stanford campus

San Gabriel Church, Southern California

The Blessed Virgin, In a Small Chapel Next to San Gabriel Church, Southern California

Lobby of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

“Smoke” by American Artist Tony Smith, in the Lobby of the Ahmanson Building at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Further takes on ANGULAR, this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

And Now Let’s Hear From Christopher Orr of THE ATLANTIC

Self swears, so many times she has almost taken out a subscription to The Atlantic. Never mind that they showed appalling lack of judgment by publishing her fellow fellows from Stanford Creative Writing but never her. Never mind that they have so drastically reduced the number of pages devoted to fiction (They used to have a short story every issue. That was a long time ago. Now they’re down to one all-fiction issue a year).

The Atlantic was where she read her first T. C. Boyle. The story was about a man who turns the hose on his front yard and leaves it on. As he watches his yard get inundated by water, he sits on a lawn chair and ruminates.

This was possibly self’s first experience with fiction that makes no sense and yet makes all kinds of sense.

Today, still trying to process all sorts of FEELZ from the gut-wrenching experience of watching J-Hutch as Hijacked Peeta yesterday at her local Century 20. Self was browsing through Rotten Tomatoes (Mockingjay, Part 1 Rating: 66% fresh) when she encountered this review from Christopher Orr, The Atlantic’s movie critic. Here’s an excerpt:

The Hunger Games novels, by Suzanne Collins, went steadily downhill from the first to the third. As a writer, she simply didn’t have the chops to carry her story along as it became larger and more politically fraught. But the movies, at least so far, have followed a more impressive trajectory. The second installment was already weightier than the first, and in this outing the moral gravity has been ratcheted up once more. The movie’s themes of rebellion and civil war are inherently cinematic ones, and the filmmakers involved — returning director Francis Lawrence and new screenwriters Danny Strong and Peter Craig — lend the story a grim urgency largely lacking from the novel. Most crucial of all, of course, is Jennifer Lawrence, who plays heroine Katniss Everdeen.

You can read the entire review here.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

“Mockingjay, Part 1” — Redwood City Century 20, 4th Sunday in November (2014)

What self will say about the third (or penultimate) installment in the Hunger Games franchise is that it is very fleet. Hardly a wasted word or line of dialogue anywhere. Kudos, Director Francis Lawrence. You are genius.

All the important parts are there. To wit:

  • The Pearl (BTW, not a single reviewer from any of the major dailies mentioned this. If you don’t mention the pearl, you don’t really “get” Read the rest of this entry »

Angular 2: Cantor Art Center, Stanford Campus

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is ANGULAR.

Since self really enjoys taking pictures of buildings and such, she has many that she thinks fit the theme. Such as these that she took during a visit to the Cantor Art Center on the Stanford campus, a month or so ago.

Behind the Cantor Art Center, Stanford Campus

Behind the Cantor Art Center, Stanford Campus

DSCN7446

DSCN7445

The current exhibit (through Jan. 15, 2015) of Robert Frank’s photographs, Robert Frank in America, is — WOW. Just. Wow.

Frank’s journey across America took place in 1955-56.

The exhibit includes a map of the United States that shows the locations where each set of photographs was taken. These include: Ann Arbor, Daytona Beach, Chicago, Des Moines, Detroit, Denver, Flagstaff, Hoover Dam, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, and Salt Lake City.

The book in the first two photographs is the exhibit catalogue (the book that can be seen in the first two photographs). It is well worth the purchase price, because the photographs capture a moment in America and their power builds cumulatively.

Robert Frank himself flew in to see the exhibit. The famed photographer turned 90 this month.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Pipeline” Problem, Silicon Valley Edition

First of all, to the entire universe:

HAPPY TURKEY DAY IN ADVANCE

Also, self has geared up her loins, stiffened her spine, and agreed to see “Mockingjay, Part 1” today, even though she knows the closing scene is going to just about kill her.

Now to the ostensible reason for this post, a report on hiring practices at Silicon Valley high-tech companies — a list that includes icons Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter, among others.

A 2008 study found that more than half of women working in the industry ended up leaving the field. The pipeline isn’t just narrow; it’s tapering.

—  James Surowicki, “Valley Boys,” p. 52 of The New Yorker (Nov. 24, 1014)

Further in the article:

Tech companies may pride themselves on being meritocracies, but unconscious biases shape the way they hire and promote. Such biases can be tremendously powerful. A 2012 study asked top research scientists to evaluate job candidates with identical resumés. The scientists judged female candidates to be less capable than male ones, and suggested significantly lower starting salaries for them. Even more striking was a 2005 experiment in which participants evaluated applications for a job as a chief of police, scanning resumés that included varying levels of formal education and on-the-job experience. A male candidate who had less schooling would be credited with street smarts, but a woman with an identical resumé would be dismissed for not having enough education.

Further still:

. . .  until the nineteen-seventies classical-music orchestras were almost entirely male. Once blind auditions were introduced, the percentage of women quintupled.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Movie Quote of the Day: Saturday, 22nd of November (2014)

From Carla Meyer of the Sacramento Bee:

Team Peeta members will be disappointed that Hutcherson, who is such a reassuring presence in these movies, appears infrequently in “Part 1.” Hemsworth appears more often. But not only is Gale the less compelling love interest, Liam is the less compelling Hemsworth brother.

Speaking of Hemsworth brothers, yesterday, at Palo Alto Square off Page Mill Road, self watched Eddie Redmayne play Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” His performance was very, very good.

Before “The Theory of Everything” began, there were six previews, two of which featured People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, Chris Hemsworth.

In Preview # 1 Chris Hemsworth is a raw sailor on a whaling ship (The movie of course is In the Heart of the Sea, Ron Howard’s attempt to channel Peter Weir, which to self appears an unwinnable task LOL), and in Preview # 2 he plays a hacker. With the casting of Hemsworth in the latter movie, hackers of the world have with one stroke been elevated to the sexy. Bravo!

The final question is: Who is James Marsh?

She knows he directed “The Theory of Everything,” but who is he really?  Has he directed other movies that self has already scene? Indubitably. Good thing self has time on her hands today, Saturday. And it is raining. So she can spend time on the internet doing research on this fellow.

Stay tuned.

 

Angular: This Week’s WordPress Photo Challenge

From the “Angular” prompt, this week on the Daily Post Photo Challenge:

Angular might mean the corner on which you live or the intersection of sea and sky at a 180-degree angle. Angular also offers a chance to shoot from an entirely new perspective: from above, below, or even the margins of a fray.

Venice Beach, November 2014

Venice Beach, November 2014

Venice Beach Pier, November 2014

Venice Beach Pier, November 2014

Downtown Chicago, October 2014

Downtown Chicago, October 2014. The sky that day was fantastically blue. Only a week later:  FREEZING. Self took this shot from the plaza next to the Chicago Tribune building.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Self’s Writing

Her first collection of short stories, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila, was published by Calyx, a women’s press (which has survived over 30 years) based in Calyx, Oregon:

Self's first book became one of five finalists for the Philippine National Book Award.

Self’s first book became one of five finalists for the Philippine National Book Award.

At around the same time, Penguin put forth an anthology of short stories by Asian American Writers called Charlie Chan is Dead, which included self’s story “Lenox Hill, December 1991”:

The story in this anthology, "Lenox Hill, December 1991," eventually became part of self's second collection, MAYOR OF THE ROSES, which Miami University Press published in 2005.

The story in this anthology, “Lenox Hill, December 1991,” eventually became part of self’s second collection, MAYOR OF THE ROSES, which Miami University Press published in 2005.

Self co-edited an anthology of Filipino women’s writings called Going Home to a Landscape. It included Filipina women from all over the world.  Calyx Press published it in 2003:

Cover Art was "Tropical Landscape II" by San Diego-based Filipino artist Dixie Galapon.

Cover Art was “Tropical Landscape II” by San Diego-based Filipino artist Dixie Galapon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

What Does It All Mean?

Even as self posts, teen-agers are lining up in front of the downtown Century 20, anxiously awaiting the 12:01 a.m. screening of “Mockingjay, Part 1.”

It rained all day.  Naturally, self spent almost the entire day reading reviews.

Here’s a summary of responses from reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes:

  • Katniss is “listless and uncommunicative.” That’s OK. But two hours of J-Law being “listless and uncommunicative” is a bit much. At least it is for a few reviewers.
  • District 13 underground bunkers are not a happy place.
  • There is very little of J-Hutch, boo. Nevertheless, NPR feels he is “doing something fascinating as Peeta . . .  we see him only via the Capitol’s authorized interviews . . .  like Katniss, we can only guess at his current state of mind. Hutcherson’s strong, subtle performance lets us read any number of possibilities in his face and minimal line readings.” Thank God.
  • Jennifer Lawrence does not phone it in.  Sure, she has an Oscar now, and she has the unenviable task of delivering the film’s most cheesy lines (“If we burn, you burn with us!”), but she never phones it in. She is such a force. And, truthfully, the reason the franchise is raking it in is because fans believe in her as Katniss. No matter how clichéd the dialogue or the plot, she gives it her all.
  • Lionsgate shouldn’t have split the last book of The Hunger Games trilogy into two films. Doing so was a blatant and cynical grab for box office bucks. But, you know what, self is glad for J-Law getting more screen time as Katniss! So the final book became a four-hour movie instead of a two-hour movie, so what? For $11, it is definitely worth it. Think of what other stupid things people could be buying with $11:  CVS lipstick. Lunch at a fastfood joint. An airport paperback. Ummm, 1/5 of a tank of gas. a large bag of Frito-Lays.  Instead, we get to see the most entertaining actress of her generation on the big screen for four hours instead of two. No complaints here.

Stay tuned.

 

 

Winner of Calvino Prize Announced by University of Louisville

(And you know, self joined this year. Why else do you think she’d be so interested in the outcome? Don’t look too hard at the list of runners-up, her name isn’t there LOL. The judge was Robert Coover.)

2014 Calvino Prize Winner:  Micah Dean Hicks, “Flight of the Crow Boys”

Runner-Up: Alisa Alering, “The Night Farmers’ Museum”

Finalists:

David James Poissant, “Minotaur”

Jill Birdsall, “Dandelions”

Hubert Vigilla, “Here Be Dragons”

Emily Temple, “My Past and Future Selves Eat Pasta”

Bree Barton, “Sexing the Starling”

Aline Zybum, “The Vending Machine”

Judith Edelman, “The Parchment Is Burning, but the Letters Soar Freely”

Andrea Witzke Slot, “Where Our Hands Rest in the Night”

Caroline Belle Stewart, “Widow”

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