Anticipation: 2017

  • It is the Year of the Rooster. Kung Hei Fat Choy!
  • There will be a Trainspotting 2! Also a Baywatch movie! Also a Barbie movie! Also another Star Wars movie!
  • EU will abolish roaming charges for cell phones!
  • The world will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, today’s most bestselling author!
  • Museum of the Bible becomes DC’s newest museum!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

AMERICAN GODS p. 67: “the best lies”

  • “That is why you are a good fortune teller,” said Zorya Utrennyaya. She looked sleepy, as if it were an effort for her to be up so late. “You tell the best lies.”

Sentence of the Day: AMERICAN GODS

Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.

— p. 47, American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

Just starting to read American Gods, which she was drawn to because it seemed to be about hitchhiking. A kind of On the Road, with a twist of horror.

Finished Ape House a few minutes ago. Good job, Sara Gruen! The book succeeded in making self very curious about bonobos. She wonders if San Francisco Zoo has any?

A quick Google search revealed that:

  • Bonobos is the name of a men’s clothing chain based in San Francisco.
  • Bonobos is the name of a rock group.
  • They are endangered, they are found in only one country in the world: the Congo (Why only that one country?) According to the Bonobo Conservation Initiative, “they inhabit the heart of the Congo basin, the second largest rainforest on earth.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: APE HOUSE

Self’s indecision about Ape House is really annoying. First, she was sure she should skip it for American Gods, which is a very thick book. But time and time and time again she kept going back to Ape House and reading a little more, and a little more, and a little more, and finally she gave up and admitted to herself that she was really intrigued by the book’s premise and wanted to see how it all played out.

She’s on p. 149 (halfway, approx.)

SPOILER ALERT!!!

The apes are kidnapped by a sleazy producer named Faulks and made to star in their very own reality show called, TA-RA: Ape House!

The house is “in a remote area of New Mexico best known for its third-rate casinos and ‘gentlemen’s clubs.’ The house otherwise entirely empty except for a single computer and a stool so the apes could reach it. Faulks installed the apes, switched on the cameras, and had been broadcasting the results live ever since.

After five days, “the show gave every indication of becoming the biggest phenomenon in the history of modern media, and not simply because of the astonishing language and computer skills of the bonobos.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Apple Mother Ship, Downtown San Francisco: Repurpose 3

The Apple Store in Union Square, downtown San Francisco, is like a sleek gray spaceship in the middle of a city whose frayed and raucous streets are becoming more Blade Runner in feeling, every day.

Here’s the courtyard behind the store: There’s a wall of moss. It’s a very conscious attempt to create a space of tranquility in the middle of chaos.

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Apple’s Flagship Store, Union Square, San Francisco

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Next to the Wall of Moss, a 60s-Reminiscent Sign

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Repurpose: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 27 January 2017

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is REPURPOSE.

“I’m fascinated by birds and their nests. Imagine being able to craft the perfect home for your family with just a beak and twiggy feet?” — Krista, The Daily Post

Self’s friend Mary Ellen Campbell used twigs to represent a forest in a book about wild swans (The book’s language is either Finnish or Icelandic):

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Wild Swans: A Book by Artist Mary-Ellen Campbell

Self saw the artwork below while walking New York City’s High Line, December 2016. Every time she looks at this photo, she thinks of the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.

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3-D Graffiti made of iron re-bar by Artist Damien Ortega: High Line, New York City

Finally, just for fun:

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Christmas Party, Queens, December 2016

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

WSJ Bookshelf: 24 January 2017

William F. Bynum begins a review of Is It All In Your Head? by Suzanne O’Sullivan with this amazing paragraph:

Over a century ago, Alice James (1848 – 1892), sister of the novelist Henry and the psychologist and philosopher William, spent her life going from doctor to doctor with vague symptoms, tiredness and pains most prominent among them. Like Henry, she eventually gravitated to England, where she was happier, because “the god Holiday (was) worshipped so perpetually and effectually.” There at last she got a definite diagnosis: breast cancer. Although it was her death sentence, she was ecstatic, recording in her diary: “Ever since I have been ill, I have longed and longed for some palpable disease, no matter how conventionally dreadful a label it might have.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: SKELETON HILL, by Peter Lovesey

Self is reading her first Peter Lovesey: Skeleton Hill (#10 in the Inspector Diamond series)

So far (p. 133), she’s loving it.

The Inspector has a wicked boss named Georgina. He runs into trouble with expired license plate tags and has to leave his car at home and get to the office by bus. Then he has a talk with Boss Georgina and she is surprisingly generous and offers him her Mercedes to drive (!!!)

As Inspector Diamoond heads off to investigate a case in Bristol, the car starts behaving strangely, and he pulls over only to discover that he’s run over a nail. Then he has to change the tire, but doesn’t know how. Not only that, his back is killing him. In the meantime, there are one — possibly two — murder cases that need to be resolved.

He has to call a Mercedes Benz dealership to have the car towed and finds that the towing plus replacing the tire and a few other things will come out to almost a thousand GBP (over a thousand US). But:

You have to be positive. As his mother had been fond of saying in times of trouble, the sharper the storm, the sooner it’s over.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Magellan Without Elcano

Ferdinand Magellan set out from Seville with five ships in 1519.

Two years later, he was dead on a Philippine island.

Why does he get credit for the “first circumnavigation of the globe”?

If it weren’t for Juan Sebastian Elcano, who completed the circle, there would be no circumnavigation.

Self thinks the return leg was just as important — no, more — than the first leg.

Magellan set out with five ships and 270 men. Stocked to the gills, supported by experienced crew. Two years later, it was left to Elcano to return a demoralized crew back to Spain. He did it in one year, with one ship, the Victoria, which sailed from the Philippines to Borneo, across the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope, north along the west coast of Africa, finally reaching Spain on 6 September 1522, with 18 of the original 270 men.

Now, that’s a journey. That’s epic.

Three years later, Elcano went on another expedition, but this time he was not so lucky. According to Wikipedia, Elcano died while on the Loaisa expedition to claim the East Indies on behalf of Charles I of Spain.  The cause of death was malnutrition.

Stay tuned.

In Which Sunny and Self Discuss/De-Construct “Passengers”

Of course, because this is the future and we write fan fiction, watching “Passengers” leads to some interesting gender flipping in our de-construction of said movie.

The idea of having Jennifer Lawrence doing the choosing was entirely Sunny’s. Self thought: Go for it!

Exhibit A

Stay tuned.

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