CLOCKWORK PRINCE Quote of the Day, p. 110 (Trigger Warning: Mr. Starkweather’s Grisly Trophy Collection)

Ah, this world: witchlight and warlocks, silver bullets and werewolves, vampire fangs and faerie wings.

These are fairy tales for grown-ups. Small wonder self loves Cassandra Clare.

Anyhoo, it works out really well since self has been sick in bed with a terrible cold, these past few days. Last night she actually broke down and ordered room service. Room service! What an absolutely great idea! Maybe she’ll do that again today. She might even order the exact same things she ordered last night: salad w/ trout, and lentil and bacon soup. Mama mia, that was the best salad she’s ever had. Probably the best salad in the history of salads.

She wrote, too, a wee little bit. Quite happy with her progress on the novel.

Now, where was self?

Oh right. Our three redoubtables took the train from King’s Cross (Self has been there! Last year! That’s when she heard about the death of poet Maya Angelou, because it was projected on a giant screen over the main hall). Will was sent because he’s so pretty and the Shadowhunter they’re dealing with has a weakness for a pretty face (Checked the fan fiction charts: yup, just as self  suspected, there are many dozens of fan fiction involving Will and — some other guy. He just has that much cross-over appeal). Jem went along because he’s Will’s parabatai (And many of those fan fiction homo-erotic pairings are Jem and Will. Of course). And Tessa Gray went along because she wants to make herself useful to the Enclave. Useful! My eye! She just wants to hang out some more with Will and make him wildly jealous by showing how nice Jem is being to her!

Starkweather shows his three visitors around his museum of “spoils”, which include such grisly souvenirs as:

the remains of warlocks: mummified talon hands; a stripped skull, utterly de-fleshed, human-looking save that it had tusks instead of teeth; vials of sludgy-looking blood.

Had enough? Just so you know, Tessa faints, Jem catches her, she has a terrible nightmare, in which her dastardly brother has imprisoned her in a cage and . . . she’s awoken by Will Herondale! And Will is saying: “Tess . . . that must have been quite a nightmare, to have taken the spirit out of you so. Usually you are not afraid of much.”

And self just wants to scream at Tessa: Enough of these cow eyes — go ahead and kiss him already, damn you!

Back to the book.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Mark Twain: Disquisition on Railroad Coffee

At 62, Mark Twain undertook a journey to follow the equator. He called his book — what else?– Following the Equator.

At this point in his narrative, he’s been to Fiji, Molokai, Australia, etc (Wonder why he skipped the Asian countries?) got very very sick, then resumed his journey by train through Australia. He got a tall tale from a fellow traveler (Of course — what is travel if not a series of encounters with tall tales told by strangers one meets in the course of a trip?)

Last weekend, self was in Lake Louise, and it was almost completely iced over. As soon as she got back to Banff, she started reading Robert Falcon Scott’s diary of his disastrous South Pole expedition. The poor man led a team to the Pole, but days away they already saw signs that they had been beaten to it by another team: there were sledge marks in the snow, small cairns, and far off, the Norwegian flag. 1 and 1/2 miles from the Pole they came across a compact tent with a note inside listing the names of five Norwegians and the date: 16 December 1911.

On the way back, all of Scott’s party perished in a blizzard.

Having now gotten completely off-tangent, self has to pull herself back by the nose to Mark Twain’s disquisition on coffee:

Twain experiences his own frustrations during his Australian train journey:  “We saw birds, but not a kangaroo, not an emu, not an ornithorhyncus, not a lecturer, not a native.”

He did, however, encounter something called “sheep-dip,” which he describes as follows:

It is a stuff like tar, and is dabbed onto places where a shearer clips a piece out of the sheep. It bars out the flies, and has healing properties, and a nip to it which makes the sheep skip like the cattle on a thousand hills. It is not good to eat. That is, it is not good to eat except when mixed with railroad coffee. It improves railroad coffee. Without it railroad coffee is too vague. But with it, it is quite assertive and enthusiastic. By itself, railroad coffee is too passive; but sheep-dip makes it wake up and get down to business. I wonder where they get railroad coffee?

Just for fun, self looked up “sheep dip” on Urban Dictionary and got this.

The next chapter, Chapter XV, begins with this quote from Twain’s novel Pudd’nhead Wilson:

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Forces of Nature 2: Around Banff

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is FORCE OF NATURE. Since arriving in Calgary several weeks ago, self has been truly awed by, to borrow a phrase from The Daily Post prompt, “the sheer scale and power” of the physical surroundings. And even more since getting to Banff, which is in the Canadian Rockies.

Self had signed up for a one-day tour to Lake Louise, today. But she got the meeting place wrong, and by the time she found the Eric Harvie Theatre, the tour was long gone. Anyhoo, self was all right with that, because she ended up doing more work on her novel-in-progress (Working Title: That Wilderness).

Apologies for her photographs being smaller in scale than she was expecting to post today. But the human imprint is also a “force of nature,” isn’t it?

A path leading to the Eric Harvie Theatre

A path leading to the Eric Harvie Theatre in The Banff Centre. Well-traveled. Clearly.

Bridge Over a Gully -- Stumbled Across During A Walk This Morning

Bridge Over a Gully — Stumbled Across During A Walk This Morning. Puts new meaning into the phrase “river of stones.”

And this was the view yesterday, from the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. One of the other writers, Sheila Stevenson, asked if she’d like to go there for a fancy drink. We were joined by writer Jill Frayn. And self had her first Canadian beer. The three of us shared a huge appetizer of Nachos with Flatiron Steak. The beef here in Alberta is really good.

from the Rundle Lounge of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

from the Rundle Lounge of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

The hotel was crowded yesterday: full of families and wedding parties. There was live music. And many Asian tourists.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Motion 3: Calgary Olympic Park, Great China in Berkeley, Fillmore Street in San Francisco

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is to share photos of things and people in motion.

Here are a few Read the rest of this entry »

Roberto Bolaño, 2666, p. 251

And my life went on, with the same uncertainties and the same feeling of impermanence. The one day I realized there was one thing I hadn’t forgotten. I hadn’t forgotten how to cook. I hadn’t forgotten my pork chops. With the help of my sister, who was one of God’s angels and who loved to talk about food, I started writing down all the recipes I remembered, my mother’s recipes, the ones I’d made in prison, the ones I’d made on Saturdays at home on the roof of my sister, though she didn’t care for meat. And when I’d finished the book I went to New York and took it to some publishers and one of them was interested and you all know the rest. The book put me back in the public eye.

Ephemeral Delights

Still thinking about the WordPress Photo Challenge theme ephemeral, still thinking about moments.

Here are a few that stand out from today and yesterday:

Blueberry Pancakes for Breakfast -- Yummm!

Blueberry Pancakes for Breakfast — Yummm!

Had dinner with Mary Ellen Campbell, visual artist from New York. She suggested Little River Inn:

Early Evening, Little River Inn

Early Evening, Little River Inn

Easter Wreath, Little River Inn

Easter Wreath, Little River Inn

The food was delicious. Mary Ellen had a chicken salad, and self had meatloaf with mashed potatoes and snap peas. Both servings were huge. As self eats very very slowly, she ended up having Mary Ellen eat some of the meatloaf.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ephemera 5: Mendocino Good Times

It was an absolutely knock-your-socks-off (Where did that expression originate, self wonders) gorgeous day in Mendocino.

It’s very bucolic and peaceful here. Nary a sour mood in any of the people she’s encountered.

Self still sticking to the Photo Challenge Theme: EPHEMERAL.

Flowers are ephemeral:

Iberis Sempervirens

Iberis Sempervirens (These also grow in self’s backyard)

Fields are full of flowers:

DSCN9096

Nona Smith dropped by Gallery Bookshop last Sunday, when self was doing her Meet-and-Greet, and invited self over for dinner last night:

Sean Minor Pinot Noir to Go With Thai Noodles!

Sean Minor Pinot Noir to Go With Thai Noodles!

A good time was had by all.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fresh 4: Fresh Buns and Fresh Snow

Last week, self was in New Hampshire, Boston, New York City, and New Bedford, MA. Here are some pictures she took during the trip, that she thinks connect to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: FRESH.

Sunrise Bakery, New Bedford, Massachussetts

Sunrise Bakery, New Bedford, Massachussetts

View From a Train: New York to Providence, RI

View From a Train: New York to Providence, RI

Central Park, New York City: 2nd Day of Spring, 2015

Central Park, New York City: 2nd Day of Spring, 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fresh 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Spring is beginning slowly to appear . . .

The WordPress Daily Post

Spring means the opening of the farmers markets. Redwood City’s is right across the railway tracks from Peet’s. Self took these pictures last year:

Redwood City Farmers Market: Saturdays throughout spring and summer

Redwood City Farmers Market: Saturdays throughout spring and summer

The fresh flowers are gorgeous:

More flowers at the Redwood City Farmers Market

More flowers at the Redwood City Farmers Market

Self loves sunflowers:

Self can never have enough sunflowers.

Self can never have enough sunflowers.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fresh: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

It has been snowing all day in New York City.

Nevertheless, self finds that she is still more than up to the challenge of posting about this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:

FRESH

Share with us a photo that expresses something fresh.

Fresh strawberries on waffles: Nothing beats like.

Fresh Strawberries, Fresh Flowers, and Fresh Coffee:  Queenie's Road House, Elk, California

Fresh Strawberries, Fresh Flowers, and Fresh Coffee: Queenie’s Road House, Elk, California

Next: Christmas isn’t Christmas without a fresh-cut tree.

Fresh-Cut from Wegman's: December 2014

Fresh-Cut from Wegman’s: December 2014

Finally: Fresh means flowers! This picture was taken in the Huntington Botanical Gardens on Sept. 11, 2014:

Huntington Botanical Gardens: September 2014

Huntington Botanical Gardens: September 11, 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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