Things Self Is Learning About In Canada 2: BEARS

There are two kinds of bears: grizzly bears and black bears.

Self has been told there are grizzlies in the area around Banff, so she decides to do some research on the animals.

There is tons of useful information in the National Wildlife Federation website.

  • Grizzly bears can stay in their dens for up to seven months.
  • Grizzly bears begin to look for mates in the spring and early summer.
  • When a female grizzly becomes pregnant, the development of the embryo temporarily stops for several months, a process called “delayed implantation.” If a female bear is unable to gain enough weight during the summer and fall, her body will tell her not to proceed with the pregnancy and the embryo will re-absorb.
  • Grizzlies are known to congregate at rivers with many fish and at improperly fenced garbage dumps.

The garbage bins in The Banff Centre all have lids and are somewhat tricky to open — that’s for the precise purpose of discouraging bears.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentences From TREE OF SMOKE

Denis Johnson’s novel is divided into sections by year. In general, the action takes place in the Philippines and Vietnam.

The section self is currently on is 1967.

She’s decided to list the best sentences per page, leading up to p. 222. (Why? For what purpose? Self has no idea. Because it seems like a good way to kill time until the dining room opens for lunch?)

The speakers are Americans. Their names are James, Fisher, Evans, Walsh, Flatt, and a cowboy.

p. 198:  His feet steamed in his boots.

p. 199:  They continued pondering the question.

p. 200:  For a while they moved so slowly a cart behind them was able to keep pace, and James stared for a long time into the stupid, deeply sympathetic face of a water buffalo.

p. 201:  “Oh no you don’t. The truck stays here.”

p. 202:  “I didn’t sign up,” Fisher said.

p. 203:  There were lava lamps.

p. 204:  Evans said, “What was the name of this town again?”

p. 205:  James felt like joining in, but he was too shy.

p. 206:  “Deal.”

p. 207:  “He’s just being friendly,” James put in.

p. 208:  “Don’t fight the little fella. Never fight the little fella.”

p. 209:  Walsh paid for the beers.

p. 210:  “Your leaders have lied to you. They have led you to believe you can win.”

p. 211:  “Well into the second quarter, Michigan State was tromping us ten to nothing.”

p. 212:  “And to give up the stretch of ground in pursuit of some theory about the future is not the way we do things here.”

p. 213:  “These guys can explain.”

p. 214:  “He was fine till you turned up just now.”

p. 215:  “If you’re easy on me, I’m easy on you, that’s the system here.”

p. 216:  Evans brushed dried mud from one and sat down and said, “Only three-hundred and sixty-four more days of this shit.”

p. 217:  “You wait out here,” Flatt said when they’d reached the Purple Bar.

p. 218:  The cowboy said, “Hey, now, listen: I am not your asshole.”

p. 219:  “I feel like I’ll hurt somebody.”

p. 220:  “Does Psy Ops work for the CIA?”

p. 221:  “Because — I mean — let’s face it.”

p. 222:  Uncle Hao had warned Minh that Mr. Skip spoke Vietnamese.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Things Self Is Learning About in Canada 1: Wolves

Self should have begun this series of posts with Dinosaurs but she didn’t have time until today to think this through. Hence, Post # 1 will be about WOLVES.

Like humans, wolves display a variety of temperaments and psychological quirks. Their family structure more closely resembles ours than those of many primate societies. Loyalty and affection towards kin are two of a wolf’s most observable characteristics.

— Doug Chadwick, National Geographic, May 1988 (Quoted in a pamphlet produced by the Northern Lights Wolf Centre in Golden, British Columbia)

Sponsor a wolf! Help wild wolves:

You can also, believe it or not, schedule a 1.5 hour HIKE WITH WOLVES. Contact Blackwolf Photography for prices. They recommend calling ahead for availability. (Information: 250.344.6798;

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Matthew Park’s Illustration for “The Freeze”

Lately, self has been writing science fiction in the apocalyptic vein.

She wrote a story called “The Freeze” which imagined a woman as the only survivor of a drastic temperature drop, who decides to abandon her home city of San Francisco and head south. Along the way, she encounters a band of teen-agers; they all somehow find each other while stumbling around in the dark. She joins their group. Keeping the Pacific Ocean to their right, the group heads for Mexico (What? You expected them to come up with a better plan? They’re all starving, freezing, and in semi-shock. Sorry, this was the best anyone could come up with)

The story’s been published on Bluestem (Spring 2015) but here’s the illustration Matthew Park did for self.

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.


Poetry Tuesday: Two Excerpts from Tomas Transtromer

Thank you to poet Angela Narciso Torres, who introduced self to Tomas Transtromer last November in Venice Beach, California.

She has a copy of The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems, translated from the Swedish by Robin Fulton.

Here’s an excerpt from his poem “Morning Birds”:

It grows, it takes my place,
It pushes me aside.
It throws me out of the nest.
The poem is ready.

And here’s an excerpt from his poem “Song”:

The gathering of white birds grew: gulls
dressed in canvas from the sails of foundered ships
but stained by vapors from forbidden shores.

Transtromer was born in Stockholm in 1931. He spent many years working as a psychologist in Vasterlas, which has established a Transtromer Prize in his honor.

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 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.

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

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