And, Once More Unto the Breach

Benefits of being a lifetime member of the Stanford Alumni Association (A Message from the Director of the Association). This is rather a quaint little benefit that self has never had to avail of. Nevertheless, while cleaning out a drawer, she found this note and read it again:

Enclosed is your Stanford Alumni Association key tag, engraved with your life membership number. Please use your six digit life membership number whenever you correspond with the Stanford Alumni Association or use your member benefits.

Your specially coded tag can help you recover your keys, should you ever lose them. If someone finds your keys, all they have to do is drop them in any mailbox. The Alumni Association will guarantee postage and contact you for instructions on how to return them.

Your key tag is your lifetime gift from the Stanford Alumni Association. Please contact us if it becomes lost or damaged, and we’ll replace it free of charge! Let us know when you change your address or telephone number so we can contact you if your keys are returned.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Preparing for the New Year

An excerpt from Song Lyric # 43 by 12th century Chinese poet Li Qingzhao:

I’ve heard spring is still lovely at Twin Streams,
I’d like to go boating in a light skiff there
But fear the tiny grasshopper boats they have
Would not carry
Such a quantity of sorrow.

A book by Stanford Professor of Sinology Ronald Egan, The Burden of Female Talent: The Poet Li Qingzhao and Her History in China (Harvard Asia Center, 2013), analyzes her legacy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Now: Other WordPress Blogs

It’s almost New Year’s. Self thinks 2015 was her most adventurous year. And that’s saying something. Because she has been traveling a lot since 2011. To Dharamsala. To Dublin, Cork, Galway and Northern Ireland. To Bacolod. To Venice. To Florence. To Edinburgh. To London. To York. To Boston. To New Hampshire. To Banff. To Calgary. To Minneapolis. To Culver City. To Venice Beach. To Virginia.

Funny, it is really ending with a bang. She got a piece picked up in December. And the week after, she began posting a new fan fic story that she thought would be a one-shot but has since turned into 30 chapters. Pure seat-of-the-pants writing. Everlark modern AU. But it starts off with Cheating Peeta. Self is the Mistress of Angst, for sure. It’s like she did her own personal NanoWriMo only in December rather than November. Who’d have thought?

2015 was the year she got her first tour of Carnegie Hall, the place where Dearest Mum gave a solo recital — when she was 14 years old. Which would make the year 1948.

She remembered Dearest Mum taking her to the Russian Tea Room, when she was 21 and a new grad student at Stanford. Self remembered she had French onion soup and cheese blintzes. She asked for the same, when she dropped by the Russian Tea Room earlier this month.

Self doesn’t have family over, she didn’t even get a tree this year, so she has no heartwarming holiday pictures to share. Instead, here are five other WordPress bloggers whose posts on the Photo Challenge — NOW — resonated the most with self:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

AMERICAN RUST, p. 51

The most compelling point of view in this novel, in self’s humble opinion, is a woman’s (Grace):

Of course she could just keep going like this, being alone, but there was no point to it. You felt strong for about a week and then you were just alone. And Bud Harris, he was a good man, uncomfortable but what did it matter, the ones that had the easiest time talking also had the easiest time screwing around behind your back.

— p. 51, American Rust

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

 

The Guardian: 75 Films to Watch in 2016

Self enjoys reading The Guardian. In particular, their film blog.

Yesterday, she stumbled across a piece called: 75 movies to look forward to in 2016.

75??? Only The Guardian would have the temerity to post such a mind-boggling list of 2016 movies.

Well, self will attempt to take a gander.

Here are her conclusions, after one read-through:

  • Keanu Reeves is back! He’s in at least three 2016 movies.
  • Michael Fassbender is in everything. Michael Shannon is in everything. Ryan Gosling is in at least two upcoming.
  • Matt Damon is back as Bourne (triple somersault YAY!) and Paul Greengrass is directing (Wowowowowowow!!!)
  • Charlie Hunnam Is. In. A. Movie (Oh God. It’s been too long)
  • Casey Affleck is in a movie. Self likes Casey Affleck. More than she likes his brother.
  • They’re making a film of Shusako Endo’s Silence! They’re making a film of Shusako Endo’s Silence! And it’s starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, and Adam Driver. Oh God.
  • Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool (And this one actually seems like it might work)
  • Jennifer Lawrence is mentioned as getting $20 million for the space movie she’s in with Chris Pratt. BTW, people? She’s worth every penny.
  • They’re making a movie (Neon Demon) about “beauty-obsessed women in L.A.” and self loves the cast: Keanu Reeves, Elle Fanning, and Christina Hendricks.
  • Star Wars spin-off Rogue One: Another Brit (Felicity Jones) stars.
  • Anthropoid, about the assassination of one of World War II’s most brutal concentration camp commanders: Reinhard Heydrich. This one stars Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy. These are two gorgeous men, dear blog readers. If self weren’t already cheering about the plot, she’d be cheering at the prospect of seeing these men’s gorgeous cheekbones in close-up on the big screen.

BTW, saw Joy and enjoyed it. It seemed rather muted for a David O. Russell film, especially one starring his muse Jennifer Lawrence. Self thinks Amy Adams could have handled that part. But Jennifer is truly a force. Self refuses to complain too much about a film that has her in it.

Stay tuned.

And, In Addition!

Self was strolling up Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park today. It was a bee-yoo-ti-ful day. Not as beautiful as the weather when she was in Central Park a few weeks ago. But not as cold as it’s been here in the San Francisco Bay Area — hence, beautiful.

She passed old stand-by Village Stationers, where she has been purchasing Precise V5 Extra Fine Rolling Ball pens since the days when sole fruit of her loins was attending elementary school in St. Raymond’s. They were having a 50% off sale on all 2016 calendars and planners.

It’s been ages since self bothered to purchase a planner. Because the last four years have been absolutely impossible to plan. Nuts, they’ve been nuts. Self is amazed she is still ambulatory.

Anyhoo, today she actually walked out of Village Stationers with a 2016 Planner called: DO IT LATER! A 2016 NON-PLANNER FOR THE CREATIVE PROCRASTINATOR.

There is an Introduction:

Tired of feeling out of step with the deadline-driven masses? Ready to turn over a new leaf but feeling a tad overwhelmed? Relax. Let the drones of the world dart around with overloaded digital doodads and struggle with trendy time-management strategies.

We’re procrastinators — we get the important stuff done . . .  when we get around to it. To be productive and creative, we first need to engage in critical activities, such as organizing our organizational strategies, staring out the window, creating the perfect playlist, and refilling our coffee. If you specialize in such delay tactics, or know someone who does, take a leisurely browse through the tips, activities, and wisdom sprinkled throughout this planner — for instance: “If there is no time like the present, why would I want to spend it working?” or “Surround yourself with enough doers and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

AMERICAN RUST, p. 49

“I talked to a lawyer from the shelter.”

He looked at her, half-grinning.

“She said the house is legally mine until you pay your share.”

“That’s a bunch of bullshit,” he told her.

He was right. She hadn’t talked to any lawyer. But she was surprised how angry her own lie made her feel. She believed those words. They might not have been the truth but they should have been.

p. 49, American Rust, by Philipp Meyer

Philipp Meyer grew up in Baltimore, dropped out of high school, and got his GED when he was sixteen. After spending several years volunteering at a trauma center in downtown Baltimore, he attended Cornell University, where he studied English. His writing has been published by McSweeney’s, The Iowa Review, Salon.com, and New Stories from the South.

Now 3: December 2015

This one’s a no-brainer: Showing now at your local movie theater:

DSCN2347

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Also, Christmas trees in all the restaurants, including this one in La Traviata on the Mission. The walls are lined with pictures of famous opera singers. The menu features “Pollo ala Beverly Sills.”

DSCN2350

La Traviata, Mission Street, San Francisco

And, one more holiday pic: from the Columbus Circle side of the Trump Center in Manhattan:

DSCN2163

The Trump Center, New York, December 2015

AND A BELATED MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Great Days

After a long year of almost no time to watch movies, self saw three in less than a week: Star Wars (love Rey!), Sisters, and Spotlight (Is the latest trend movie titles beginning with “S”? Is that someone’s idea of practicing good feng-shui or whatever? Good-bye 2015! What a year you’ve been!). As to the latter film, she loved Mark Ruffalo’s performance. Come to think of it, there is not one single Mark Ruffalo performance that self does not love.

Tomorrow, hopefully, J-Law in Joy.

Hits on self’s latest fic topped 1,000 today. It is a great, great day.

Dutch Warlord posted a new installment of her Battlestar Galactica/Hunger Games mash-up: “Four days after the destruction of the Twelve Colonies of Panem, Commander Haymitch and all that is left of humanity must avoid their Mutt pursuers, who ambush them thirty-three minutes after every successful jump.”

Story begins: “He hated clocks, always had.”

Oh, self loves Dutch Warlord. It only takes self a few minutes to figure out that the point of view is Peeta’s: “The real question was thirty-three. Why did they come every thirty-three minutes? Why not thirty-four, or fifty-four?”

“Why is it always thirty-three minutes,” he murmured.

“Your transmitter’s on, Baker,” someone growled and Peeta cringed.

(Baker as Peeta’s call sign! This post would not have room enough for all the emojis self wants to drop at this moment.)

Stay tuned.

In Honor of Self’s Fan Fic Readers, Who Have Been Campaigning for Self’s Cheating Peeta to “Grow a Pair”

In honor of self’s fan fiction readers, who tell her they get so distracted when she updates. If they’re at work (and most of them do work), they end up sneaking off to the restroom to read the latest chapter of her Cheating Peeta fic. ALL HAIL!

Self just a half hour ago introduced a passage about Katniss being so lonely while Peeta was out carousing with his blonde bimbo that she ends up taking archery classes.

Yes, the gal turns out to be quite a natural!

Peeta finds out only after Katniss has filed for divorce and shipped out for Cambodia!

The information comes to Peeta by way of his next-door neighbor, Mr. XXXXXXX, a poet who teaches at San Francisco State. (Self’s fic is decidedly modern AU, OOC)

Mr. XXXXXXX tells Peeta:

“Boy, are you even in the same marriage as she, hello? Hello? Anybody home?” Mr. XXXXXXX walked right up to Peeta and began knocking lightly on the top of his head with his knuckles. Peeta batted his hand away. “You started spending all those weekends away from home, she was lonely, all right? We’d talk. She’d ask me what I thought she should do. I told her: fresh air and exercise! Turns out she always loved hunting in the woods when she was a little girl. While you were off with blonde bimbo, she was taking archery lessons. Why she hasn’t planted an arrow in your nuts yet, I don’t know. Must have the patience of Buddha.”

And, to up Peeta’s misery, Katniss has stopped taking his calls, Peeta’s parents suggest she may have met “someone else” over there in Siem Reap, and his blonde turns out to be a “Fatal Attraction” stalker. BWAH HA HAAAA!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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