Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 102: A QUIET MOMENT

  • All around the world people are noticing that their cities and towns are quieter during the pandemic. They say that they can hear the birds in the morning instead of traffic and are more aware of nature’s presence. In quiet moments during the day, I can hear neighbors chatting as they walk past. Children’s voices mingle with the sounds of water sprinklers. It feels like we stepped back to a less hectic time when people stayed at home more.

A Quiet Moment, Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 102, P. A. Moed

Last fall, self was in Ireland. What a different place the world was then!

During her visits to Ireland, she always finds calm and inspiration. These pictures reflect that mood.

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from a cottage at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland

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Just Outside IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), Dublin

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This beautiful avenue leads from IMMA straight to . . . the Dublin Castle? It is a wonderful walk.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

“This planet is officially ours now” — CIBOLA BURN, p. 109

If you have not read the books, stop reading right now. SPOILERS.

The pace is picking up.

It always happens in a James S. A. Corey book, at least with the books that followed Leviathan Wakes.

The Rocinante lands on Ilus. Holden and Amos see “hardpan dirt, with small shrublike plants.” There’s even “a cloud of biting insects.” Oh, eeeewww. Mosquitoes? “But a number of them bit, drank their blood, and dropped dead.” YES!

Amos and Jim keep walking.

They arrive at what “looked like a shantytown.”

Humans, Holden realizes with some amusement, have traveled “fifty-thousand light years” to build “houses using ten-thousand year-old technology.” That’s rich.

Holden thinks: “Humans were very strange creatures, but sometimes they were also charming.”

They encounter a crowd of people. In true Holden fashion, Holden drops his bags, smiles, and waves (lol). Amos “smiled too, though he casually rested his hand on the butt of his pistol.”

Here are the intrepid duo, discussing . . . something . . . :

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Captain James Holden (Steven Strait) and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham): Two of her favorite characters on the show

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

More Writing in a Pandemic

Further in self’s novel about the World War II occupation of the city of Bacolod in the central Philippines (72k words so far):

Don Geronimo entered Honorato’s room just as his eldest son was about to get dressed. It was eight o’clock.

“The Japanese are here,” he said.

Honorato said nothing.

There was a group of them, some in uniform, some in civilian clothing. They had told Don Geronimo they were there to put the Daku Balay under the protection of the Imperial Japanese Army. “We are forbidden to leave the premises without permission. Go through the kitchen. Moses is waiting for you by the side gate.”

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The Daku Balay, Burgos Street, Bacolod City: It was used by the Japanese High Command during World War II. Self’s grandfather sent her uncle to the mountains. Her father, only 12 at the time, stayed home.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

#amwriting of First Contact

Cortez had just conquered the Aztecs, and their ancient cities were filled with gold.

The Spanish thought there was gold in the Philippines, too.

First sight of the Philippines by the Spanish:

  • Limasawa has the shape of a finger thrust into the ocean; its topography is generally flat. Butuan is much larger, a ring of beach surrounding a mountain wreathed in clouds, whose topmost peaks flash in fading evening light, flash like prince’s metal.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

In Progress: Guayaquil

Splicing together two different stories to create a hybrid dystopia. Part of it is the same world as the one in self’s story Tu-An Ju, which appeared in Vice-Versa.

Recently, self’s stories have veered between the 16th century or the distant future.

Hector was Peter’s only other friend, apart from Chalida. He lived in Guayaquil, in Ecuador: it was difficult terrain. Just south were numerous uncharted islands, and rebels gravitated to these.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Graffiti & Murals

Self loves this week’s Fun Foto Challenge because there is so much raw energy in street art; graffiti has always fascinated.

All photos: Shoreditch, East London, November 2019

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Here are a few other graffiti galleries to sample:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

A Lexicon of Filipino Fruits and Vegetables (Just Because)

  • Bamboo shoots – labong
  • Banana – saging
  • Bottle gourd – upo
  • Cabbage – repolyo
  • Calamansi – calamansi
  • Cashew nuts – Kasuy
  • Cauliflower – koliflor
  • Chickpeas – garbansos
  • Chico – chico
  • Chinese cabbage – pechay Baguio
  • “Chinese” peas – chicharo (one of self’s faaaavorite vegetables, growing up in Manila)
  • Coconut – niyog
  • Corn – mais
  • Cucumber – pipino
  • Custard apple – atis
  • Eggplant – talong
  • Fern leaves – pako
  • Ginger – luya
  • Green snap beans – habichuelas
  • Guava – bayabas
  • Lanzones – lansones
  • Lima bean – patani
  • Long cow pea – sitaw
  • Mango – mango
  • Mangosteen – mangostan
  • Melon – melon
  • Mung bean – mongo
  • Mustard – mustasa
  • Papaya – papaya
  • Peanut – mani
  • Pineapple – piña
  • Pomelo – suha
  • Potato – patatas
  • Santol – santol
  • Squash – kalabasa
  • Strawberry – stroberi (lol)
  • Swamp cabbage – kangkong
  • Sweet peppers – sili
  • Sweet potato – kamote
  • Taro – gabi
  • Tomato – kamatis
  • Turmeric – luyang dilaw
  • Watermelon – pakwan (Dear Departed Sister loved chewing pakwan seeds)
  • Yam – ubi (Ubi ice cream is the best!)

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Sense of Smell

Let’s nose around in our archives or sniff out new photos that are related to the sense of Smelling. Be creative and have fun.

Cee Neuner

Self found this Foto Challenge more than usually, er, challenging. She’s trying to keep her mind off food — for the first six weeks of the shelter-in-place, that was all she thought about, with disastrous consequences. And her roses don’t give off scent — mebbe it’s the type of soil? Even her Sheila’s Perfume rose has no perfume!

Anyhoo, after some determined hunting, she managed to come up with three photos:

  • Fried chorizo for breakfast in the island of Negros, central Philippines:

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  • A fresh-cut Christmas tree makes all the difference. Self got hers from Wegman’s, a local nursery:

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  • Just before shelter-in-place, self had her front door and front porch painted. The smell of fresh paint is the memory of singular happiness:

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Stay safe, dear blog readers.

Reading About Stonehenge

Self saw Stonehenge for the first time in 2014. Her only souvenir from that time was an English Heritage Guidebook she found in the gift shop. All these years later, while dusting her bookshelves (which haven’t been dusted in probably a decade, she’s a very bad housekeeper) she finds it again and sits down to read it.

Stonehenge consists of a ditch, some animal bones (which in some cases pre-date the ditch, by hundreds of years), and a mixture of rock types.

The largest stones, “some of which weigh over 35 tonnes, are known as sarsens … a type of extremely hard sandstone.” The most likely source of these sarsens are 19 miles to the north, in Wiltshire.

The smaller stones, “known collectively as bluestones,” come from Wales, over 150 miles to the west. “There were originally at least 80 bluestones at Stonehenge, some weighing up to three tonnes.”

How did these stones get to Stonehenge?

Start with the sarsens: “… experiments have shown that stones this size can be dragged on a simple wooden sledge by a team of about 200 people. To drag a stone from the Marlborough Downs to Stonehenge, using a route that, wherever possible, avoided steep slopes, would take about 12 days.”

But why on earth — ? This is, for self, the real mystery of Stonehenge: not the origin of the stones, but why people would dedicate themselves to such a project.

It must have been during a long period of peace — for Stonehenge took time to assemble. And the society must have been fairly organized — or maybe they used slaves? The community that built them must have been fairly large, to spare the use of 200 men dragging stones for 12 days. Maybe they had hundreds of slaves?

Not only that, the stones were worked over, shaped into their current forms. Self can’t even. The strength it must have taken. Perhaps they used the equivalent of a wrecking ball. Did any workers die from accidents during the pulling upright of those stones? Maybe if some of them slipped … self’s imagination goes into such strange places!

What about the smaller stones, the bluestones? They were transported from much farther away (150 miles!) There is evidence that the sarsens were in place starting from around 2500 BC, and were subsequently never moved (Ha!), but the smaller stones were re-arranged several times.

Self remembers that she chose very carefully what kind of tour to take: she found a small group tour, led by a retired military officer, which left Southampton at sunset (since she arrived in London only a few hours before, and had to make a mad dash to Southampton after dropping her suitcases off at her hotel, she kept falling asleep on the bus and nearly missed the tour) and arrived at the stones by walking over a sheep meadow littered with sheep dung. She hadn’t slept at all on the plane from San Francisco and it was bitter cold on that tree-less plain. Her first sight of the monument was a very small bump on the horizon that grew ever larger until it began to resemble a claw against the sky. The approach was almost religious in feeling? The last big tour bus had pulled away. And suddenly: the stones! Approaching them on foot was the right thing: it’s how the earliest people would have approached. In fact, there would have been a long procession of people. Since there were no signs of human habitation in the vicinity, it’s clear the site was considered a place for one activity only: worship.

But worship of what?

Hopefully there will be an answer before she finishes reading the guidebook!

Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 94: At Home

from The World Is a Book:

Due to the lockdown, we are spending more time at home. But, hopefully this isn’t limiting our interest in photographing. This week, we invite you to share photos taken at home.

“Home is a shelter from storms-all sorts of storms.”

-William J. Bennett

Most of her corona virus life is spent in her living room and dining room:

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She recently bought a hanging basket which is just above her front steps:

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And she’s often browsing her bookshelves for distraction:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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