First Sentence of the Day: K.C. Mead-Brewer

“I’m alone in my apartment but I have the TV on so it sounds like a bunch of people are in here talking.”

— K. C. Mead-Brewer, The Joke (matchbook, January 2018)

Poetry Thursday: Last Thursday Before Self Leaves Manila

Self bought a poetry collection at the London Review Bookshop, the day before she flew to Manila for fond reunion with beloved Dearest Mum, Dearest Bro, Assorted Cousins. She loves poetry. Big effects come in small (but explosive) doses!

John Clegg recommended it.

Excerpt from “Self-Portrait as a Garage Emcee” (from the collection Kumakanda)

by Kayo Chingonyi


117 Retford Road, Harold Hill, Essex.
I can’t sleep because there are no sirens,
no neighbour’s screams lulling me
to lurid dreams of Natasha Laurent.
There is no panoramic view for solace
but in the right light this window
shows, not this white-flight-satellite-town,
but south London from seventeen floors up:

the River Wandle a coiled snake
swallowed by the Thames,
friends crossing the road
to the park in my absence,
the alley between flats where Sacha blasts
a tattered ball into the goal-net simulacrum,
a wall against which his brother Stacy stands,
hands shrouded in Goalie Gloves.

It is our first night in this grieving house.

About Kayo Chingonyi: He was born in Zambia in 1987, and moved to the UK at the age of six. He is the author of two pamphlets, and a fellow of the Complete Works programme for diversity and quality in British Poetry. In 2012, he was awarded a Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, and was Associate Poet at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in 2015.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Manuel Duldulao: “Vertical” Climate in the Philippines

The one indulgence self allowed her here was to buy a coffee table book by Manuel D. Duldulao: The Filipinos: The Portrait of a People.

She thinks it’s quite a good book, with lots of fascinating insight on not just Filipinos but herself, too.

For instance, she used to think she was uniquely impulsive.

Then she read in Duldulao that Filipinos tend to be impulsive.

She thought she was uniquely fatalistic.

Then she read in Duldulao that Filipinos tend not to put too much trust in institutions (like the young people of Trumpland?), therefore they can be described as fatalistic. Self has tended recently not to put any faith at all in institutions. Therefore, SHE is fatalistic!

This coffee table book is loads better than therapy!

The Filipinos: Portrait of a People, p. 176:

  • The climate in the Philippines is what you might call “vertical.” There are no seasons in the Islands since they lie just above the equator. Terrains, however, play tricks on the barometer; the gauge keeps sliding up or down when you hit the road every twenty minutes or so. Manila is hot and humid to begin with, being flat and low all over. And yet five minutes from its eastern border is the pilgrimage hill town of Antipolo and for another 20 minutes further east is the village of Sampaloc Hills in Tanay, Rizal, which tingle with the bite of spring weather all year round.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


This event is sponsored by the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford. It is free and open to the public.

The Clayman Institute’s Winter Artist’s Salon features novelist and Stanford professor Chang-rae Lee. Lee will talk about the women characters in several of his books, giving a short reading, followed by a discussion with the audience on a range of questions.

He will focus on June, the female protagonist in The Surrendered, and Fan, the female protagonist in On Such a Full Sea.

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018
4:15 to 5:45 p.m.
Levinthal Hall
Stanford Humanities Center

RSVP to:


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: 6 Letters Starts With the Letter ‘V’

Happy to participate in another of Cee Neuner’s Fun Foto Challenges.


Self’s word is VOLUMES.

Self visited the British Library for the first time on 31 December 2017. There was a Harry Potter exhibit, but that was sold out. She was able to get on another tour, however, and had a very stimulating introduction to the library holdings.


George V donated his entire library to the British Library. Here’s how the volumes are displayed.


Self’s silhouette can be seen in this picture. It was Dec. 31, 2017, around noon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Weathered in the Philippines


Volumes of Manuel Blanco’s FLORA DE FILIPINAS


The trees in the Quadrangle of the Ateneo de Manila University (self’s alma mater) have been there for decades. So have the stone benches.


Philippine Splendor in Makati

Whenever the breeze shivers the trees outside the window, self gets such a thrill:


With Dearest Mum in Ecology Village, Makati

Dearest Mum’s writing desk is a collection of disparate objects:


Love these old reliquarios that Dearest Mum has scattered about:


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Weathered 2: Still Manila


Alice, Who’s Been Working for Tito Tony (with the cane) and Tita Aida Since Forever!


The Manila Metro Light Transit (MRT) is very old and quite weathered. Here it is, above the main artery of Metro-Manila, the perpetually traffic-choked Epifanio de los Santos (EDSA)


Son at Seven: Picture in a (Quite) Weathered Frame


Weathered: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 10 January 2018

This week, show us the effect of time and the elements.

— Krista Stevens, The Daily Post

The desk in Niece Georgina’s quarters in Dearest Mum’s house in Makati, the Philippines. Old photos of Dear Departed Dad and sundry folk:


Pictures of the Passed On and the Very Much Alive: Dearest Mum’s House, Makati, the Philippines

The bed in Dearest Mum’s spare bedroom, with kulambo (mosquito net) and handbag tree, conveniently right next to the four-poster:


Four-Poster Bed, Makati, the Philippines: January, 2018

Niece’s pocketbook collection. She has great taste in reading matter!


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Needs To Have the Letters ‘O’ and ‘U’ in the Word

Another great Fun Foto Challenge from Cee Neuner: Needs to have the letters O and U in the word.

Self’s word is SOUP. Specifically, a delicious Philippine soup that originates in the central Philippine islands of the Visayas:


BATCHOY: Super Special Bowl of Heaven

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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