TRASH: Sylvain Landry Week 32 Photo Challenge

Self is participating in this week’s Sylvain Landry Photo Challenge. The theme is TRASH.

She looked through her thousands of pictures and came up with something she photographed during her November 2015 trip to Florence, her first time in that beautiful city. A picture of a McDonald’s! Which she passed almost every day on her way to some museum or other with her intrepid niece, Irene!

Self isn’t all that down on McDonald’s, but every time she sees one, especially if it’s in an awesomely beautiful place like Florence, she gets somewhat discouraged. Because why would anyone want to eat in McDonald’s when there’s so much (good) local food available?

So the McDonald’s in Florence is her metaphorical image of TRASH.

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Florence, Italy: November 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Last Night, Margo. This Afternoon, Claudia.

Self met a photographer named Margo yesterday. Say, want to have dinner tonight? Margo asks. Sure! self says. Self is always game for dinner!

Self knocked on her Unit at 6 p.m. sharp and was totally flummoxed when Margo said she wanted to eat in Fort Bragg.

Fort Bragg??? That’s, like, 10 miles away!!! The last time self drove from Fort Bragg, it was night, and there were headlights practically crawling up her bumper, and self was so traumatized that in the almost two weeks since that event, she has never again attempted to return to Fort Bragg.

Anyhoo, self thinks, what’s the harm? She’ll have Margo with her in the car. She can deal with those rude drivers who act as if she’s got the speed of a centipede.

We head for a restaurant called David’s that’s in a nondescript shopping mall. Whoa! It is closed! A sign says David’s is only open until 2 p.m. every day.

Anyhoo, it’s very exciting, self and Margo did get to eat in Fort Bragg, but we each spent $25, which was way more than the $3 for a hamburger Margo had estimated we would need. But that is why we all have credit cards. Right? Right?

This afternoon, self encounters Claudia, a textile artist who’s in the unit behind hers. Claudia recounts being an Artist-in-Residence also last year. A gear clicks in self’s brain. Textile artist. de Young Museum.

“You,” self says to Claudia, “are the woman who was in my unit last year!”

Claudia says she doubts it, but for some reason, self is convinced it was Claudia who was in her unit. When self latches onto an idea, it is very hard for her to let that idea go.

“No, you are!” self tells Claudia enthusiastically. “I’ve always meant to thank you! For leaving that Sunday New York Times magazine with Channing Tatum on the cover!”

Claudia looks at self and says, “Uh-uh. Wasn’t me. Even if I was in your unit just before you moved in, I don’t think I’d ever have left a copy of a magazine with Channing Tatum on the cover.”

Self gushes on: “It was so nice of you! To leave me that welcome gift! I felt so appreciated!”

By this time, self has the niggling suspicion that maybe Claudia is not a fan of Channing Tatum? Because the way she is looking at self . . .

Oh, anyhoo! It’s all good! Self scampers off to Mendosa’s on Lansing for her nightly feeding of clam chowder.

Such an interesting bunch of artists in the Mendocino Art Center this year! Plus some self remembers from last year, like Mary-Ellen Campbell, who showed her the most gorgeous photographs of a recent trip to Burma.

Mary-Ellen kayaks, she line dances, and she also teaches classes in book-making.

More on these fabulous and inspiring women as the residency unfolds. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Mendocino Again! Still Writing About Cheating Peeta

Self took her leisurely time, leaving the Bay Area a little past 9, going slow in heavy rain through the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin, Cloverdale, Route 128, Highway 1, Yorkville, Albion, Little River. She saw all the usual stuff: sheep, redwoods, wineries. She didn’t stop until she got to Booneville, where she dropped another chapter of her Cheating Peeta fan fic (It is so much FUN to write about Cheating Peeta! The most fun she remembers having in aaaaages! The readers are vested to the max in her characters. They even offer tips about what they think should happen next. For instance, one reader suggests that Katniss and Cheating Peeta, to repair their dysfunctional marriage, go on a vacation “to a white sand beach, preferably right away, preferably without telling anyone.” Now, why didn’t self think of that before? Who wouldn’t love a getaway to a white sand beach? Or, how about this comment: “Oh, I do hope there is a fistfight!” LOL LOL LOL)

Since the internet can be quite poky here in the far northern California coast, she took the opportunity to stop at the Mosswood Café in Booneville where, while munching on delicious chorizo & goat cheese empanadas, she hurriedly dropped a new chapter — QED because her chapters are short, only about four pages long — and then watched with excitement and satisfaction as the # of hits climbed and climbed and climbed, with every passing second!

The only drawbacks so far since she installed herself in her unit at the Mendocino Art Center are: (1) It is cold; (2) At night, there are no lights; (3) She forgot to bring a flashlight; and (4) She discovered she left behind her copy of Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan’s The Strain, which she was meaning to read when she got through with Philipp Meyer’s American Rust.

The Strain is a horror story involving one or both of these elements: (1) vampires; (2) zombies. She knows she can always pick up a copy from Gallery Bookstore (one of her faaaave hangouts in Mendocino!) tomorrow, but perhaps she should re-think reading horror while in Mendocino. At least, until the days start getting longer. Because when she poked her head out of her unit about two hours ago, there was a stiff wind, it was mighty cold, and she couldn’t see her car because the night darkness was so total. And The Strain sounds genuinely scary. And maybe, just maybe, she doesn’t really need to add that kind of tension to her life right now?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The $40 Burger in San Francisco

OK, you know what, dear blog readers? Self is suddenly so repulsed at the idea of a $40 burger anywhere in San Francisco that she won’t name the place. The San Francisco Chronicle says “it’s a good burger, if nothing life-changing.”

And self thought the $24 she ended up paying for a cheeseburger in Manhattan was outrageous!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Now 3: December 2015

This one’s a no-brainer: Showing now at your local movie theater:

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Also, Christmas trees in all the restaurants, including this one in La Traviata on the Mission. The walls are lined with pictures of famous opera singers. The menu features “Pollo ala Beverly Sills.”

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La Traviata, Mission Street, San Francisco

And, one more holiday pic: from the Columbus Circle side of the Trump Center in Manhattan:

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The Trump Center, New York, December 2015

AND A BELATED MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

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The line for Star Wars is incredible. Starts on 55th and 7th. Winds around 55th to 6th Avenue. Goes down 56th. Self can’t even.

Lucky for the faithful standing in line, it is a warm night in New York City.

Do you know that you can have a lamb falafel doused with yogurt and spicy sauce for only $7? And it will fill you up as much (if not more) as a fancy meal at wherever?

Also, sidewalk vendors sell cans of soda and ginger ale for $1 apiece. In the hotels, that same can of soda will cost you $3.

Sting is singing at Carnegie Hall. Average price for a ticket: $200.

A homeless woman walks into an Upper West Side Nail Salon and demands a pedicure (How does self know she isn’t just jumping to conclusions? How does self know that the woman is really homeless? Well, right. Self really doesn’t know. Just because the woman’s pushing a filthy shopping cart! She could be the Queen of Park Avenue for all self knows!) Self’s heart drops in empathy for the nail technician who’s been selected to perform this onerous task.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Mary Gaitskill: Story # 2 in BAD BEHAVIOR

The problem with airport bars:

They arrived at the airport an hour early. They went to a bar and drank. The bar was an open-ended cube with a red neon that said, “Cocktails.” There was no sense of shelter in it. The furniture was spindly and exposed, and there were no doors to protect you from the sight of dazed, unattractive passengers wandering through the airport with their luggage. She ordered a Bloody Mary.

“I can’t believe you ordered that,” he said.

(Self is enjoying this collection so much. It’s going to be wrenching to switch to the American Rust Belt in the next book on her reading list, Philip Meyer’s debut novel, American Rust)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

After the Opera (A Continuation, With Spoilers)

It was after midnight when they left the opera. They went to a neon-lit deli manned by aging waiters wearing red jackets, several of whom had violent tics in their jaws . . . Waiters ran around the table, some of them bearing three-foot loaded plates in each hairy hand.

— “Daisy’s Valentine,” Story # 1 in Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior

SPOILER ALERT!

The man goes home, enters his apartment and is immediately met with a punch in the face. It’s his live-in partner, Diane.

“You filthy bastard! (Diane screamed) You went to the opera with her! We always go to the opera together!”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Transition 3: Further Adventures in Italy

First “transition”: a dish almost consumed

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A bowl of navy beans and pasta, which she was told was very “Venetian.” She had it for lunch at the Florian Café on San Marco Square.

The whole of Venice itself is in transition. The structures rest on pylons that are thousands of years old. They look as if they could sink into the sea at any moment:

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On the Venetian Lagoon, early November

And, finally, here is Pisa, as the sun sets across the Field of Miracles:

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Because self and her niece had so much fun, when her niece suggested another trip in 2016, self immediately said, “I’m there.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Trios in Florence

Lovely, lovely Florence.

Self encountered the city for the first time, early this month.

Today, self is browsing through her photo archives to find pictures that fit this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: TRIO.

The first picture is the display window of a bakery that faces out onto Piazza della Repubblica. Look at the piles of pastry on the three plates! In Florence, self was able to indulge her sweet tooth to the max!

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Florentine Bakery Near the Piazza della Repubblica

According to the tourist brochures, Florence has 62 museums. Niece got the idea of purchasing a 3-day Firenze card, which lets you into any of the museums, free of charge, for 72 hours (Be advised: They calculate down to the very last minute: say, you purchase the card at 10:56 a.m., it will expire at exactly 10:56 a.m., three days later.)

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Three columns in some museum or other (Self will add the name as soon as she has a little more time to browse through her notes from the trip)

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Approaching the Uffizi Gallery on the Piazza della Signoria: The front loggia boasts three arches!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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