The San Francisco Bay Area in The Overstory

p. 378:  SPOILER-FREE

Three months later, a machine shed in a lumber yard up near the Olympic Peninsula explodes. Mimi reads about it in the Chronicle. She’s sitting on the grass by the Conservatory of Flowers, in the corner of Golden Gate Park, a ten-minute walk from the hilltop, University of San Francisco, where she’s finishing her master’s degree in rehabilitation and mental health counseling.

Newspaper Sidebar: Timeline of Ecological Terror, 1980 – 1999

Ha! Richard Powers gets the flavor of the San Francisco Bay Area down in spades. Wonder where he lives?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Photo a Week Challenge: In the Neighborhood

Love this week’s Photo a Week Challenge.

Self is heading home soon. Here are three pictures she took just before she left on her latest trip:

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Kepler’s Books and Magazines, Menlo Park, California: Self read here when her first book came out, ages and ages and ages ago.

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Courthouse Square, Redwood City, California: This has been her home for almost as long as she’s lived in America. It’s one of the most vibrant, ethnically-mixed places on the Peninsula.

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Stanford University, which made of self a writer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Happening to Neelay in Redwood City, California: The Overstory, p. 279

Really love these Redwood City scenes (where Neelay bases his electronic game company), just sayin’.

Below, a scene self has just finished reading (Neelay’s just had a telephone conversation with his mother, who’s misconstrued his reference to his female caregiver as a reference to a fiancée):

“Goodness. These things take time, Neelay.”

When they hang up, he raises his hand in the air and slams it down onto the desk’s front edge. There’s a very wrong sound, and a sharp white pain, and he knows he has broken at least one bone.

In blinding pain, he rides his private elevator down into the opulent lobby, the beautiful redwood trim paid for by millions of people’s desire to live anywhere else but here. His eyes stream with tears and rage. But quietly, politely, to the terrified receptionist, he holds up his swollen, snapped claw, and says, “I’m going to have to get to the hospital.”

He knows what’s waiting for him there, after they mend his hand. They will scold him. They’ll put him on a drip and make him swear to eat properly. As the receptionist makes her frantic calls, Neelay glances up at the wall where he has hung those words of Borges, still the guiding principle of his young life:

Every man should be capable of all ideas, and I believe in the future he shall be.

Note to dear blog readers: Never ever let your mother have this kind of an effect on you. Or you may end up like poor Neelay here!

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

A Photo a Week Challenge: ATMOSPHERIC

Viveka on my guilty pleasures has the most beguiling photographs on this week’s Photo-a-Week Challenge: ATMOSPHERIC. So inspiring!

Thank you, Nancy Merrill, for the prompt: Share a photo (or two or three) with a distinct atmosphere.

Here are a few of self’s atmospheric shots.

Liverpool Docks, yesterday:

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Park in front of IMMA (Ireland Museum of Modern Art, Dublin):

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Dublin, park in front of IMMA, last Tuesday, 29 October 2019

The TGC at Annaghmakerrig, where self spent October:

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Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Republic of Ireland, last week of October

What is it about the Fall? It’s becoming self’s favorite season to travel.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: from Blue Water, Distant Shores

Going to be sending this out for query in the next few days.

p. 24:

  • The soft breeze blowing through carried a scent of river mud and a tinge of something else, something pungent and rich, reminding him of the canals back home, the estuaries that carried effluvia from Murcia to the sea.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Self’s MC Arrives in Manila, 1766

This scene used to be at the end of her novel, because she was going to have her MC recall it in flashback. But on second thought, she couldn’t think of a good enough reason for him to have a flashback at the end of the novel, there was no emotional pay-off. So istead she moved this section to the early pages.

There’s some quasi-mystic thing going on in self’s descriptions, it’s that way throughout.

The sails were lowered, the ship slowly nosed into the harbor. Looking down at the churning water, Matias saw it was viscous, almost metallic in aspect, as though, somewhere, silver had moltened and now lay floating on the surface. Closer and closer to the harbor the ship moved. The ship was now but one of a throng of sea vessels: galleons, tall three-masters, swiftly moving Chinese sampans, squat dinghies. There was a great tumult of activity all along the quay.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Andres de Urdaneta, Pilot

Born 1498 in Villafranca, Spain, died 1568 in Mexico City.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:

As a young man, he spent eight adventurous years in the Spice Islands (the Moluccas). In 1553 (He was 55), he entered the Augustinian order and became a friar.

Philip II (of whom, self must interject, there are MANY MANY FAN FICTIONS WRITTEN, possibly by high school students bored out of their minds with World History class; some of these are quite salacious WTH PHILIP II??!!) asked him to guide an expedition to the Philippines and find a route home. Spain had sent five previous expeditions, all ending in disaster.

In April 1521 (He was 23), Urdaneta guided the Magellan expedition to Cebu. By 1st of June, Magellan was dead (Killed on Mactan by a native chief, who is remembered today in the name of a FISH, Lapu-Lapu).

Self would argue that the 1st of June 1521 was a truly significant date, in fact world-changing. Because that was the date when Urdaneta and the remnants of Magellan’s crew embarked from the Philippines and headed for home. By sailing at high latitudes, about 42 degrees N, Urdaneta was able to find a current. He reached the Isthmus of Panama in 123 days. He guided the survivors, all on one ship (out of the five they’d started out with) back to Spain, arriving in September 1522, thereby completing the first circumnavigation of the world. And why Magellan gets all the credit, self just doesn’t know. The second leg of the journey was clearly more important than the first: it was Spain’s sixth attempt to circumnavigate the globe, and the one that finally succeeded.

The Survivors: Sebastian Elcano, a Basque; 17 other Europeans (including Antonio de Pigafetta, a noble from Vicenza, who published his account of the journey); and four natives. All that remained of a crew of 270.

Writing this post made self exceedingly restless, so she walked down to the lake. She took her MacBook with her, which is what she used to take this picture.

Photo on 10-19-19 at 12.35 PM

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: CANDID

HAVE YOUR CAMERA READY AND JUST SHOOT.

— Leya, Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 67

Prague, May 2019

Irene (self’s niece) and Martin (tour guide) crossing the Charles Bridge, our first day in Prague.

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Street Performers, Prague, Last Week of May 2019

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Prague Castle, Last Week of May 2019

Lens Artists Challenge # 65: PICK A PLACE

  • “Each of us at some point has visited a place that holds special memories.” — Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 65

This was an easy post for self to write. She just got back from attending Cal Shakes’ Macbeth. The Grove Talk by Philippa Kelly, Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg is a Don’t-Miss.

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Philippa Kelly Giving Her Grove Talk, Before MACBETH

Have been watching plays here every summer since 2001 (Romeo and Juliet: Adam Scott played Romeo).

Tonight’s Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were played by a couple who suddenly put everything into a new light. All hail, Rey Lucas and Liz Sklar, for bringing the sexy back to a play first performed in 1606. These two are the youngest actors self has ever seen play Mr. and Mrs. Spot-on, the casting! For the first time, self understood the heat between the two;  she could see the similarities to film noir. In addition, because self and her party were seated third row from the stage, she could see every change of expression on the actors’ faces; it felt so intimate.

Also, for the first time ever, self heard Macbeth call someone a “whey-face.” lol lol lol

Her one complaint might be that The Weird Sisters were not witchy. Or not witchy enough. Of course self got very excited at hearing the immortal lines: Double double, toil and trouble. She just wishes there were an actual cauldron.

She wonders if there was ever a production where The Weird Sisters were replaced by giant hand puppets. During intermission, she eavesdropped on the people behind her who were describing a performance of Macbeth at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “There was a big pool of blood right in the center of the stage. And whenever a character did something bloody, they would supply themselves from the pool.”

That, in self’s humble opinion, sounds gimmicky to the extreme.

Philippa Kelly’s pre-show Grove Talk was fascinating — self wished she took notes. It revolved around the unmasking of identity, and how paradoxical it is that when people remark that “someone has changed” it usually means that the person’s true identity is finally being unmasked and undone.

Gregory also made self aware of the fact that the first actor to play Lady Macbeth was a boy, because back then women were banned from taking roles in the theater.  Women’s parts were played by boys whose voices hadn’t yet broken. Has there even been a modern staging of Macbeth where they use a boy for Lady Macbeth? She thinks not, but it would certainly give the play a whole new spin.

P.S. The Bruns Amphitheater was FREEZING and self needed to rent blankets. Her lips got totally chapped and her hands were frozen. For some reason, all self had on was a denim jacket and a scarf.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tuesday Photo Challenge — STONE

Week 179 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge is STONE (“Turn to something a bit more permanent.”)

Self went searching among her recent photos for examples of stone.

First, the fire pit at Manggapuri Villas, Purok Pagdanon, Don Salvador Benedicto, in the Philippine province of Negros Occidental (Dear Departed Dad’s home province). Just beyond, shrouded in mist, the still-active Canlaon Volcano. Don Salvador Benedicto is about an hour-and-a-half drive from Bacolod City:

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Manggapuri Villas: September 2019

Next, a photo of Courthouse Square, just prior to the Annual Redwood City Salsa Festival:

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Courthouse Square Before the Annual Redwood City Salsa Festival, Saturday, 21 September

Finally, a statue of General Douglas MacArthur on the Philippine island of Corregidor (That’s self standing with son and his cousin Georgina, 20 years ago. She found the photo when she was cleaning out the closets recently):

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Georgina, Andrew and Self on the Island of Corregidor, at the Mouth of Manila Bay

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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