Blair & Robertson: A History of the Philippine Islands, vol. 14 (1603 – 1609)

I pore over a list of Itemized Expenditures, 18 August 1608. Most of the items are salaries.

I mean.

No wonder the Fort in Manila was in ruins. No wonder there was never enough ammunition. Even the priests had salaries (“salaries for ecclesiastics”).

Salaried officials:

  • Government officials, alcaldes, and other local officials
  • Government workmen: pilots, sailors, and etc.
  • Ecclesiastics
  • Collectors of tribute
  • Soldiers and their officers
  • Wardens of forts

Meanwhile, the indios were paid nothing for their labor (Who built all those churches? Surely not the salaried officials!)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Grimdark: Thoughts on Joe Abercrombie’s A LITTLE HATRED (with Digressions)

Self has no idea why it’s taken her to p. 222 to quote from her current read, A Little Hatred: Book One of the Age of Madness (which is great; her first introduction to the work of Joe Abercrombie) It’s a little unsettling, how fast the days unspool. Can you believe it’s already the end of February? Anyhoo, the weather’s been very fine, it’s not like she has to dig herself out of a snowdrift, and it’s not even like taxes are due (not for another month, anyway), and it’s not like she’s attending AWP. But now that her county’s been bumped down to the red tier, everything feels busy, the sidewalks are full of people, the traffic’s bad, there’s no parking, and she has suddenly remembered things like doctor’s visits.

Tomorrow, for instance, she has a doctor’s appointment at 1:30. She forgot all about the doctor’s appointment until she got a text. And the text said, Feb. 28. She didn’t even know it was possible to get a visual doctor’s appointment on a Sunday. Apparently, you can. It’s an “intake” appointment. Because she signed up for Kaiser.

The last rain of the supposedly “rainy season” happened a week ago, and she’s going to have to water water water the rest of the year, and that puts a serious dent on her time. She’s tried like heck not to buy anything (cause then she has to worry about keeping it alive during the summer and fall), but she went with a friend to a plant nursery, and bought a rose (her friend, whose idea it was to go in the first place, didn’t buy anything, and didn’t even seem all that interested in the plants once we got there). Then self had to buy a trellis because the rose is a climbing rose. Then she had to get someone to help her put in the trellis. And many many hours later, here she is. Meanwhile, her friend who isn’t really interested in gardening has signed up for — of all things, a gardening class! Because she wants to meet people! And people who like plants are good people! Can’t argue with that reasoning!

The rose self bought has a very cool name:

Let’s see, what was self going to post about? Oh yes. A Little Hatred.

There are almost a hundred characters in this book. And many warring factions. At first, self was constantly having to match character with faction by looking up the helpful index at the back of the book, but that was taking away from her enjoyment of the act of reading. The minute she started really getting into this world was when she stopped referring to the index. And, just like that, characters swam effortlessly to the front of her consciousness. Characters like Rikke, who has what is called The Long Eye (meaning, the gift of sight, though all she’s seen so far is a war between a wolf and a lion), and The Young Lion Leo van Brock (Ooh, Rikke’s prediction of a war! The wolf wins, but the Lion is the victor. Try making sense of that!), and a spoiled prince named Orso, and the prince’s (secret) lover Savine, who is the richest businesswoman in Angland, the Union, the Protectorate etc etc, and a traitorous character named Vick whose sidekick is a very gauche (but maybe not as gauche as Vick thinks) young man named Tallow.

Clearly there is no point in using that quote because it will not make sense now. So she will say just one thing she learned from p. 222: The lady with the sword is the one you want to follow.

The aforementioned has been cornered by two men in a dead-end alley, but she runs through one man with a sword (Her fencing teacher would approve!), and she runs through a second while he is in the act of running away. She doesn’t kill him outright, which is a problem, because she can’t pull her sword out of his back properly, the man keeps up such a damn wriggling.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Synopsis Is Hard to Write

Self keeps re-reading Camarote de Marinero, and so far she really likes it (lucky!) It’s written mostly in epistolary form, in very florid language. For example:

Letter to El Adelantado Miguel Lopez de Legazpi from His Royal Catholic Majesty Philip II:

  • If indeed they were turned into slaves, ourselves shall rescue them. Lest we give our cousins the Portuguese and our enemies the Dutch and the English occasion to lose their respect for Spain.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Now to Write a Synopsis

There was the glaring sand, and the fringe of coconut trees.  Hovering above the trees was the spine of a mountain. And beyond? Only a profound and mysterious silence.

— self’s novel of 16th century Philippines, Camarote de Marinero


“But,” the Archbishop continued, looking carefully at Matias, “you need not concern yourself with that. Mindanao is the Governor General’s problem. These are the matters that you must report on: number of baptisms; deaths, of officials and clergy; fires; condition of the ports; salaries, especially if there are upward adjustments; arrivals and departures; conflicts; fiscal status; the foundation of hospitals; prices of commodities and goods; taxes; tributes; profits; ordinary expenses; relations with the Sangleys (that is what they call the Chinese); the influence of local healers.”

Camarote de Marinero, Part I, Extranjero

Self is quite proud of that little passage.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sentence of the Day: A LITTLE HATRED, p. 115

Just blazing through this book, which is so entertaining. Not too many people have died, yet. Self is keeping a body count (like she did with Eddie’s Boy, lol) After a gruesome hanging in the beginning, and one fight scene a few chapters ago, she hasn’t had to metaphorically “cover her eyes.”

If you can’t find a way to win that doesn’t involve torturing some half-mad girl, then maybe you don’t deserve to win at all.

Sentence of the Day: The Economist, 20 Feb. 2021

The fact that only seven of them mustered the courage to join the entire Democratic caucus in voting against Mr. Trump suggests that the impeachment power is now in effect defunct.

— from “Marred but at largio: Donald Trump lives to fight and incite another day,” p. 22, The Economist (20 February 2021)

Camarote de Marinero: At Last!

Self has been working on this novel for ages. Writing historical fiction is hard.

They were not as accomplished at sea voyaging, not like their cousins the Portuguese. Those, perhaps less sure of their ability to hang on to Iberian earth and rock, had begun voyaging a century earlier. Everywhere a Portuguese ship went, that was Portugal. The ship’s deck became Mother. The ports they entered were also Mother. The Mother’s embrace gradually spanned worlds.

A LITTLE HATRED, Book One of The Age of Madness, by Joe Abercrombie: Sentence of the Day

This book marks self’s first foray into Grimdark, or Epic Fantasy.

  • “I want to burn us another village or two before sundown!” the Great Wolf called over his shoulder . . . — A Little Hatred, p. 62

Western Humanities Review, Spring 2020

Self has a story in the latest issue of Western Humanities Review. She based it on a true story about a ferry disaster in the Philippine Sea. And it all began with the first sentence:

I didn’t like the blind woman.

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