More Structure: At the Louvre

The structure of living things, the intricacy of our own bodies, even the components of human-made technology; all can be sources of wonder.

— Jen H., The Daily Post

  • Stairwell, the Louvre (Even a lowly stairwell is capable of stunning, if one remembers to look UP)

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  • The Main Courtyard of the Louvre (Self liked this picture because it emphasizes the relationship between the glass pyramids and the stately buildings)

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  • Winged Victory of Samothrace (Self took so many pictures of just this one piece, but this is the one that showed most of the ceiling)

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STRUCTURE: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 30 August 2017

“This week, share with us the structure of something typically overlooked.”

— Jen H., The Daily Post

  • Bench facing a Clyfford Still, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art:
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Nice echoing of lines here.

  • Nice Arches! The artists complex at Allied Arts Guild, Menlo Park:

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  • Finally, a garden in Bath, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Most of the residences are on a slope. To get to the city proper, you must descend.
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Stepped Terraces in a Backyard in Bath

Stay tuned dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Women Writers For the Reading List

It’s taken self over two years to get to an issue of The New Yorker, the issue of 27 July 2015. The Book Review section. Here are her picks to add to her reading list:

Independence Lost, by Kathleen DuVal: An “intrepid history of the American Revolution that shifts the focus from the rebellious thirteen colonies to the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi Valley, where Native Americans, African slaves, and Spanish, French, and British colonials were fighting very different battles.” (The New Yorker, 27 July 2015)

Life After Life and A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson: In Life After Life, “Ursula Todd, a young Englishwoman, repeatedly dies and starts her life again.” In the follow-up, Ursula’s younger brother, Teddy, lives “a life of quiet sadness: he is widowed early, has a selfish daughter, and struggles to connect with his grandchildren. Teddy, unlike his sister, lives only one life, but Atkinson’s deft handling of time . . . is impressive.” (The New Yorker, 27 July 2015)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cavalry vs. Infantry: WATERLOO, pp. 238-239

It is really hard reading this section of Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles. It is 5 p.m. on the 18th of June 1815 (Kudos, BTW, to Bernard Cornwell and his publisher for structuring the book this way. Every time self loses her place, she only has to look at the top of the page and see what time and what day it is) and Napoleon is on his last charge of the day. He sends in his cavalry. What he didn’t expect to see was the British infantry waiting for the charge, formed into squares.

There were 20 squares of British infantry formed at the end of the day, which self thinks is a testament to Wellington’s impeccable sense of organization. That he was able to get his infantry into this formation, after a whole day of fighting — well, hats off to you, Sir.

The squares withstood the cavalry charge. The British infantry aimed at the horses and it was a terrible massacre. It was “steady, relentless, pitiless volleys.”

Reese Howell Gronow, an Ensign in the 1st Foot Guards, reported that “the musket fire . . . brought down a large number of horses, and created indescribable confusion.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

One Window and Two Paintings

This is yet another post on The Daily Post Photo Challenge this week: CORNER

“A corner is the point where converging lines, edges, or sides meet.” — Merriam-Webster

First, a wee window in a tiny apartment:

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Next: paintings.

Self was in Sacramento for part of July, and was able to attend a reception downtown for the artist Jessica Dunne. Her paintings have a haunting, Edward Hopper-esque quality:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Finding Gendry (in 2017) And Losing Him Again

I’m worried about Gendry, bc if they left him on the Wall, SWEETIE NO

Is Gendry out rowing again?

Pod’s drinking with Bronn, Gendry’s at . . .  Castle Black, I guess.

Wait . . . I have to wait TWO YEARS for Arya to reunite with Jon and Gendry??

Y’all did Gendry get on another rowboat, where tf did he go

Finale: Best death FINALLY! So perfect. Glad I don’t have a nephew, would’ve been far more awkward. Needed more Gendry.

Where is my man Gendry

*wakes up from a dead slumber* Wait, where was Gendry? Is he okay? I need him to be okay. *falls back asleep*

Is there any way Gendry can have some respect, like, you just made him run the Olympics and then you don’t even show him.

So . . .  Gendry ran so fast in #GameofThrones that he got out of the storyline??

still can’t believe Jon and Gendry didn’t stop by Winterfell to see Arya

season 3: spends six seasons rowing. season 7: runs for one whole episode

gendry and arya sitting in a tree K.I.S.S.I.N.G.

*thinks about Gendry x Arya and cries*

the worst thing that could happen in the next episode is killing off Gendry right after he stopped rowing

Gendry is so attractive he’s definitely going to die next

(Which is what everyone was secretly thinking about Dickon. Seriously. What a waste of eye candy. Simply disgusting. HBO, D & D, you guys definitely missed an opportunity there)

So, let’s give three cheers to the greatest dead people of Season 7

  • Dickon (Oops, forgot Dickon’s dad, Randall Tarly. How rude!)
  • Dolorous Ed (Wait, did he die in Season 7? Not sure. But he definitely DEAD)
  • Littlefinger
  • Olenna Tyrrell
  • Viserion
  • Thoros
  • random redshirts (at least two died Beyond the Wall)
  • Polar Bear wight
  • Captive wight
  • many other wights
  • Lannister soldiers
  • Dothraki (please God not the one who was in the foreground during the “jumping onto a galloping horse” cavalry charge)

The greates death of all, drum roll, ta-ra!: The Wall

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

When the Least Qualified Are Related to You

Barreling through Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles. Now on pp. 208-209, which features the antics of one of Wellington’s most inexperienced commanders, Slender Billy. Of course Slender Billy is only a nickname. Slender Billy (also sometimes called the ‘Young Frog’), was the 23-year-old Crown Prince of the newly created Kingdom of the Netherlands. Though he had no battle experience, his father, King William I, told Wellington he would only commit the Dutch Army if Slender Billy was given “high command” in Wellington’s army. Which Wellington of course did.

(Earlier, self read about how Napoleon’s siblings were each given positions like King of Spain, King of Whatever even though, to borrow the words from Immortal Ygritte in Game of Thrones, they knew nothing.)

In the afternoon of 18 June 1815, some of Slender Billy’s troops were holding on to the Chateau Hougoumont, “a great house with a walled garden” and several adjacent stone buildings. The Dutch troops were assisted by the British, who were led by a 34-year-old Scotsman, Lieutenant Colonel James MacDonnell. Sometime on 18 June, while battle raged, “Slender Billy ordered the British Guards out of Hougoumont, which he certainly was stupid enough to do, but it is almost inconceivable that MacDonell would have obeyed.”

The point is, there was a big battle fought here that raged all day. Afterwards, when Wellington was asked to identify an “MVP” to receive a special annuity for bravery at Waterloo, he chose Lieutenant-Colonel MacDonnell. And all MacDonnell did, apparently (aside from fight, of course) was close a gate.

Sometime in the afternoon of 18 June, MacDonnell realized that if he and his men did not shut the gate in the north side of the chateau, the attacking French would come pouring into the chateau’s courtyard. In fact, a couple were already IN the courtyard, having already passed through this precise gate.

So MacDonnell and an Irishman (who MacDonnell later insisted should share his annuity) closed the gate. That act turned out to be “the decisive act of the battle” — according, anyway, to Wellington.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

War, By the Numbers

First order of business: Self has been perusing Gendrya and found a really badass one-shot. An excerpt:

She wielded two swords when she reached the tower. The Red Priestess wasn’t alone.

The girl wielded her swords, blood swiping tracks on the floor.

And he came out of nowhere, wielding a hammer.

Her other reading of the night is of course Waterloo (never mind the subtitle, which goes on forever). The battle is at midday of 18 June 1815. Napoleon has finally ordered his artillery to let loose on Wellington’s forces.

Here are the numbers:

Napoleon has 246 cannon, Wellington 157.

The French had 12-pounder cannon, The British 9-pounders.

Napoleon used his Grand Battery “as an offensive, as against a defensive, weapon.” He had used them this way before, most spectacularly at Wagram in 1809, where 112 French cannon “tore the heart out of the Austrian army.”

Wellington, on the other hand, had scattered his artillery “along the whole of his line” and used them “defensively . . . they were absolutely forbidden to engage in counter-battery fire.” Wellington was serious. When Wellington saw one of his batteries attempting to counter the French  artillery fire by opening up, “he ordered the arrest of the battery commander.”

Here self would like to interject with an account of her first visit to the British Imperial War Museum, two months ago, in June. At the entrance are the biggest long-range guns self has ever seen. They are massive. About as massive as an Egyptian pyramid. She can only imagine a whole battery of these guns firing away. The sound would shatter eardrums.

You have to walk right beneath these guns to get into the museum. It gave self a chill.

Inside the museum is a gorgeous engine called the Merlin. Shined to a high polish. Looks like Geiger art. Manufactured by Rolls Royce. For use in British World War I fighter planes.

Stay tuned.

Readings of the Day: Waterloo/The Verge on GoTS7 Episode 6: “Beyond the Wall”

Self’s reading has been all over the map lately, from the Battle of Waterloo (Fantastic reading: Waterloo: the History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles) to reviews of the latest episode of Game of Thrones Season 7. Anyhoo, there’s only a few days left until the finale of the Game of Thrones 7th season, so the schizoid nature of self’s reading will soon cease.

First, the sentence from Waterloo. The narrative is now on 17 June 1815. A lot of men are dying or wounded, and Wellington gives the command to withdraw. This can only happen after the wounded are cleared from the battlefield. And since there are so many wounded, that operation takes some time.

p. 111: Wellington wanted the retreat done calmly and, as if to demonstrate his unconcern, he lay down in a pasture and put a newspaper over his face and pretended to sleep.


Self really enjoys the Game of Thrones Season 7 recaps on The Verge. Most of all, she likes Tasha’s breakdown of the first 18 minutes of Episode 6, Beyond the Wall:

I could have watched an entire episode that was just these Seven Samurai (give or take a few ablative redshirts, who the White Walkers and their pet dead-bear unerringly identified somehow as the ones to kill first) working out their grievances and expressing what’s important to them.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Still More Corners!

Merriam Webster: A corner is “the point where converging lines, edges, or sides meet.”

Here are more corners recently encountered by self:

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View From a Friend’s Apartment, Downtown Pasadena: July 2017

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Angela Narciso Torres in Pasadena: Love Those Shades!

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A Square Donut: Chocolate Chip and Peanut-Butter Filled, from Westwood, CA (next to the UCLA Campus)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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