Tuesday Photo Challenge — LOCK

Look at the beautiful set of lock photographs in viveka’s my guilty pleasures, one of the blogs self loves! There’s a little history behind each lock.

She was posting for the tuesday photo challenge.

And here are self’s pictures of the locks in her wee cottage/house, 1250 square feet, good enough for a couple, built in the best, the absolute best neighborhood in Redwood City, CA, in 1939.

The original owner was Jack de Benedetti, who died at 90-something, in this house.

A developer bought it for a song, worked on it, then sold it to us in 1991.

He added a half-bath, but kept all the original bones of the house, and that included lots and lots of windows.

The locks on the windows are much in need of refurbishing, but heck the windows won’t even open. The wood has warped. In a way, that’s good, because the house is very safe (no burglars will be creeping in through the windows)

Without further ado: window locks on an old old house

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Pearl Shop, Philippines

It always surprises her to learn that self’s got a following. Not here, IN THE PHILIPPINES. Which has thrived in her TOTAL ABSENCE. Like, go figure. In fact, she’s on the curriculum in the University of the Philippines.

She remembers giving a reading at a hotel in Cebu during International PEN, and all her books sold. Every last copy. Amazing, right? It sold out, even though the book was expensive by Philippine standards: 500 pesos per, almost $10 US. For a country like the Philippines, to have sold out at that price, for a writer who rarely goes home, is truly something.

She was at a dinner after her reading, and someone tapped her on her shoulder. She turned, and a woman self did not know said, “I just wanted you to know. I really loved The Lost Language.”

At the Cebu Airport the next day, a stranger came up, introduced himself, and said he flew from Cagayan de Oro to Cebu, JUST TO HEAR HER READ. Her hair was a sweaty mess, her clothes were rumpled. If she had known people would recognize her, she would have gone to a parlor.

Dearest Mum is always berating self for her lack of style. She looks, Dearest Mum said, like a slob. Because she has no compunction about wearing any old thing that happens to be clean.

The man who spoke to her at the airport in Cebu turned out to be a writer himself. He gave her a copy of his book. He writes plays. His book was published IN DIALECT which is so totally earth-shattering and amazing. No English translation, and self doesn’t know the dialect. But. Still. Self really believes in regional literature. Because literature from the margins is MORE powerful.

The writer’s name was Carlos A. Aréjola.

Here are the production notes, setting, cast of characters etc. from his play Unang Yugto:

Tagpuan (Setting): Cottage sa isang resort (A cottage in a resort)

Panahon (Time): Kasalukuyan (The Present)

CHARACTERS:

Edwin – matangkad, guapo (tall, handsome)

Toledo – mestisuhin (mestizo), 18 taong gulang (18 years old)

Dagul – 21, moreno (dark-skinned), medyo pandak (somewhat short), may body piercings.

Falcon – mestisuhin (mestizo), ayos na ayos ang buhok (Hair fussed over; sorry, that’s the best she can come up with)

Dalawang Dalaga (2 girls): college girls, magaganda (beautiful), mapuputi (white-skinned)

Mga Pasahero Sa Airport (Passengers in the Airport)

Cagayan de Oro isn’t exactly unknown, it’s a very populous province. But she’s never set foot in Cagayan de Oro, never given a reading there, doesn’t know a single person from Cagayan de Oro. Somehow, over there, in her home country, her book (with no marketing at all), has trickled from the urban centers to the provinces. Which means her work is embraced as a  vital part of Philippine culture. The knowledge is so humbling.

(Here, there’s a 40 Filipino Writers You Must Read List, which is published every December from San Francisco. She’s never on that list)

A few days ago, on Facebook, she met the owner of a shop called The Pearl Shop. Self accepted his friend request and then he told her that they sell her book. She said, Hey, I could send you some autographed copies if you like!

He was happy at the news.

The store is in Manila, and they are a purveyor of PEARLS (not a bookstore, in other words).

Heart Eyes, Pearl Shop.

To the end of time.

 

Still Summer, Still Reading

from p. 118 of Landfill: Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene, “Needs”:

I’d read my Henry Mayhew on London’s waste workers and had been out at night on the Thames with the body-salvagers of Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend. I stayed away from Milton. My telescope wouldn’t have been welcomed by anyone and I don’t think I could have used it. The hunt for the body resumed in the late autumn of 2017 in a part of the landfill adjacent to the area already examined. After seven fruitless weeks the search was called off.

DSCN0155

Redwood City, July 2019

Love Dee’s book. So much.

Stay tuned.

 

Explorer Monday: National Geographic, April 1987

Robert Falcon Scott to his wife, last instructions (found on his body eight months later):

Make the boy interested in natural history, if you can; it is better than games; they encourage it at some schools. I know you will keep him in the open air.

Above all, he must guard and you must guard him against indolence. Make him a strenuous man. I had to force myself into being strenuous, as you know — had always an inclination to be idle.

Robert Falcon Scott “and two companions made it to within 11 miles of safety — a depot of supplies known as One Tom Camp some 150 miles from their base camp. They had walked more than 1,600 miles, to the Pole and almost back.”

— Sir Peter Scott, The Antarctic Challenge, National Geographic, April 1987

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Still Work-in-Progress

  • Pitt was the first to board. He was always the first. Whether that made him brave or foolhardy was hard to say.

The Rorqual, p. 5

Why Always Ice?

Excerpt, work-in-progress

Genre: Fantasy/Horror

Status: 52 pp.

Working Title: The Rorqual

It began with the discovery of a ship, sailing languidly along the ice-clotted harbor. It seemed meandering, yet sure of purpose. It drifted toward shore, riding high in the water.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

LANDFILL, by Tim Dee: Henry Mayhew and the Anthropology of Dust

Landfill: Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene is a great book. Lord how self parses every paragraph.

Late last night, self got to Essay # 7: “The Birds,” about the iconic Daphne du Maurier short story and Hitchcock’s film adaptation of it. This morning she began the next piece: “London Labour and London Poor,” the title of a “work of epic taxonomical ethnography” by Henry Mayhew.

p. 82:

Dust is everywhere in Mayhew’s city . . . He knows there is no such thing as dirt. It exists — just as Mary Douglas spelled out a hundred years later — only in the eye of a beholder. “No single item,” she said, “is dirty apart from a particular system of classification in which it does not fit.” But, for Mayhew, dirt is the one thing he most wants to define.

Yet he can never fix it. How do you count dust? How do you hold it? What is it? The powdered world? The fundamental raw material? Sediment or suspension? A cast of everything that has lived? That which we tread on — or breathe? That which we are? Hamlet’s quintessence?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Tim Dee’s LANDFILL and the Night Market at Old Delhi

Tim Dee’s gorgeous book – about gulls, and human waste, and interdependence, and evolution – is making self think about India.

She’s back in Old Delhi, the night market. She has a guide, but everything is just TOO. MUCH. The people, the open vats of food, the crowding, the muddy gutters, the smells.

She couldn’t resist buying food (Someone told her cooked food was okay): she tried some samosas, wrapped in an old newspaper. Delicious!

When she had finished, she looked vainly around for a garbage can. She clutched that oily piece of newspaper in her hand, alley after alley after alley. Finally, she asked her guide where she could dispose of her trash. The guide pointed straight down.

Self was confused. “Where?” she asked, looking at her feet.

“Just throw it,” the guide said. Meaning: anywhere. Throw it anywhere. Right here if you want.

Self looked around, and saw that other people were doing just as the guide suggested: eating and then dropping the containers on the street as they walked, never breaking stride.

She truly felt as if she was in a nightmare. The idea of eating something and then just dropping the wrapping or container ON THE GROUND while walking around. Oh God. She almost heaved.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Daniel Immerwahr’s HOW TO HIDE AN EMPIRE: A HISTORY OF THE GREATER UNITED STATES

p. 104:

  • Captain John Pershing … held a post on the shore of Lake Lanao, a large body of water on Mindanao, around which nearly half the Muslim population of Moroland lived. Pershing made the news during the 2016 presidential campaign when Donald Trump described, with relish, how Pershing (“rough guy, rough guy”) had captured fifty “terrorists,” dipped fifty bullets in pigs’ blood, lined up his captives, and then shot forty-nine of them, letting the last go to report what happened. “And for twenty-five years there wasn’t a problem, okay?” Trump concluded.

Gulls and the Pagophilics

from the Dictionary of Birds (1985):

  • a ‘large, homogeneous, successful group probably at the summit of another evolutionary line.’

from Birds of the Western Palearctic (Unforgivable, in self’s view, that Dee fails to provide a date of publication):

  • ‘Predator, scavenger, food-pirate … taking almost anything available of suitable size, texture, etc’

Self’s horror story The Rorqual (currently 51 pages — self is so out of control!) uses exactly these kinds of dictionary definitions (in self’s case, pages long) to describe her ‘pagos’ and her ‘longnecks’ and her other what-not. She birthed this horror in Tyrone Guthrie. She can’t seem to write any of it until she returns to Annaghmakerrig. California is just too dry, too intensely hot, too savagely suburban.

Stay tuned.

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