First Adventure: Mexico on Third-Class Bus with Roommate Sachiko

Self was a grad student at Stanford.

Her roommate was an Anthropology grad student named Sachiko Hayashida. (She has tried many times to find Sachiko. She has googled “Sachiko Hayashida” and found a few who teach in Japanese universities and fired off letters. The letters always come back with a note: I am not that Sachiko Hayashida)

Sachiko and self decided to spend two weeks traveling around Mexico.

Sachiko was responsible for drawing up the itinerary. Self’s only responsibility was to keep up.

Sachiko had undertaken many trips by herself. Not self. This was self’s first travel adventure.

We ended up fighting. A lot.

Sachiko had to be carried on the plane on a stretcher at the very end. She had Montezuma’s Revenge.

One of our most memorable trips was from Mexico City to Merida by third-class bus. Once we arrived in Merida, we searched all over the city for a vegan restaurant mentioned in Lonely Planet. The name was Sergeant Pepper’s.

We finally found someone who said, “Ah! You are looking for Sarhento Pimiento!”

Of course! Sarhento Pimiento! Why had we wandered all over Merida looking for SERGEANT PEPPER?

One of the most memorable excursions we made while in Merida was to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. We took a public bus, and it dropped us off at the side of the road at 4 a.m.

Self frankly thought Sachiko was crazy, but at 7 a.m., when Chichen Itza began to receive its swarm of tourists, self thought Sachiko was brilliant. Because no one else was in the ruins at 4 a.m. (Of course, it wasn’t safe. But we were 22. We weren’t thinking of safe) We were thrashing around, avoiding lizards — some extremely large — and what-not, when we suddenly came to a large clearing, raised our eyes and YOWZA! A temple!

Afterwards, self read to Sachiko from a book she’d picked up from the Stanford Bookstore: World of the Maya by Victor W. Von Hagen.

She has it with her now, in Mendocino.

P. 12:

The Maya have been characterized as “The Intellectuals of the New World” because of their highly developed calendrics, their glyph-writing, and the ornamental complexity of their architecture. They were unique in their culture; pacific, they fought few wars; they viewed life from their jungle fastness with Olympian detachment, working out complicated calendric inscriptions that could push their history back to 23,040,000,000 days.

You need a lot of undisturbed time (i.e. peace) to be that focused on a task that complicated, self figures.

The irony is not lost on self, that one of the first widely-read accounts of the Mayan civilization was William H. Prescott’s The Conquest of Peru, who made a hero out of Francisco Pizarro, “a man who couldn’t even read his own name . . . ”

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.

 

 

 

Peeta and Johanna Mind-Swap (Fan Fic Of Course)

Do not read if you are squeamish at the thought of a Peeta/Katniss reunion, only with Peeta in Johanna’s body. Hey, if self can buy a tranny Peeta (who borrows Katniss’s clothes; it’s super-fine with Katniss), there can be a Peeta-in-Johanna’s body thing.

So, if you can, just imagine the whole “star-crossed lovers” plot with a body switch, then you will empathize with the below complications:

  • Johanna insists on taking her D-13 shower with the men.
  • Peeta can’t get used to having such small feet (They’re Johanna’s) and keeps stumbling.
  • Peeta to Katniss: “Having boobs is pretty weird.”
  • Katniss doesn’t feel comfortable kissing Peeta because he’s in Johanna’s body.
  • When Peeta is rescued, Katniss goes straight for him and hugs him fervently, not knowing that Peeta is now in Johnna and it’s now Johanna in Peeta. Katniss gets very confused when Peeta (who is actually Johanna now) just stands there without returning her embrace.
  • Gale doesn’t get jealous of all the time Katniss spends hanging out with Johanna, because he doesn’t know that it’s really Peeta inside Johanna’s body.
  • Plutarch asks Peeta to appear in a propo, Peeta just stands there looking bored (Of course Plutarch has no clue that Johanna is inside Peeta, and so forth. Self doesn’t know if she quite buys the Johanna-looking-bored-while-filming-a-propo thing. In self’s mind, a propo would be a perfect opportunity for Johanna to show off her antic nature)

Well, self could just go on and on and on and on and on, but she won’t.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Selling Lingerie to the Egyptians: Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, Aug. 10 & 17, 2015

Self finds the Peter Hessler essay in The New Yorker, “Learning to Speak Lingerie” absolutely fascinating.

She started reading Hessler because he wrote about his two years living in China (as a Peace Corps volunteer) in River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. Self is a graduate of   East Asian Studies, concentration in Chinese, hence the feeling of connection.

Moreover, Hessler is a very very very good writer.

He wrote his essay about Asyut, in Upper Egypt. Here, in this very conservative place (“Virtually all Muslim women there wear the head scarf”), there is “a Chinese Lingerie Corner in a mall whose entrance featured a Koranic verse that warned against jealousy.”

Along a “three-hundred-mile stretch,” Hessler reports he found “twenty-six Chinese lingerie dealers.” Their product? “butt-less body stockings, nightgowns that cover only one breast, G-strings accessorized with feathers, see-through tops . . . Brand names include Laugh Girl, Shady Tex Lingerie, Hot Love Italy Design, and Sexy Fashion Reticulation Alluring.”

Clearly, this is an essay that demands self’s full and unfocused attention.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Gloaming, the Dying

Self absolutely hates the fact that, when she sat at her desk this morning to begin her tasks for the day, the first thing she saw after logging on was this:

DAVID BOWIE, 69, DIES OF CANCER

Oh Ziggy Stardust!

Mourn, mourn, mourn.

In honor of his passing, today Food & Wine posted a recipe of what was apparently Bowie’s favorite dish: Shepherd’s Pie.

Cheating Peeta Update

Modern Everlark AU, dropped Chapter One Dec. 7.

46 chapters and 33K words later, Everlark’s first kiss.

Readers go crazy, 201 comments.

Haaaaaa!

Stalker Delly Fic: Crushing It

Began a fic about Cheating Peeta on Dec. 7.

It was supposed to be a one-shot. It’s now 40+ chapters and 30K words.

The idea of a Cheating Peeta is so delicious.

Self got a storm of negative comments at first (Is this even Peeta? This Peeta is NOTHING like the Peeta in The Hunger Games! Maybe you should call him something else? Also, WHY would Peeta cheat on Katniss? Is this possibly a modern AU version of Hijacked Peeta?) but she noticed that the number of views she was getting for this story were very high. And the comment feed just kept growing. And growing. And growing. Three weeks later, Cheating Peeta rules! More comments than any new story posted last month. Even beat out Vampire Peeta! Who knew?

Today, she had Delly going ape over Peeta in a Starbucks, dousing him with scalding coffee. Because she was overcome with jealousy watching him have coffee with Prim (Katniss herself is in Cambodia. Why? Because self doesn’t think there’s a single fan fic set in Cambodia? No, she knows there is not a single fan fic set in Cambodia!), not to mention that Philz was just two blocks away, why’d they have to choose Starbucks?

Suddenly, after posting today, self started getting comments like: Boy, that is one whack job. She’s not only a whack job, her therapist is a whack job. No, actually, everyone in your story, including Cheating Peeta, is delusional and ought to be committed.

LOL! ROFL!

Stay tuned.

Brienne of Tarth!

For a while, self was waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square, but Justin Bieber wasn’t on the night’s list of performers so she got bored.

Self has spent the days leading up to New Year’s bingeing on Game of Thrones Season 5.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

OMG Brienne! So good to see you! Hey, did you just chop off someone’s head with your mighty sword? And hey, did Vanity Fair really opine that maybe Stannis Baratheon isn’t really dead? And oh hey, what’s with Danaerys surrounded by a marauding pack of plains horsemen (If self were Danaerys, she’d pray for a quick execution. Which, this being GOT, will never happen)

Vanity Fair refers to Brienne’s path in Season 5 as totally off-book. What does that mean?

Also, one of self’s favorite moments in the finale of Season 5 was Theon and Sansa jumping off a wall together, holding hands. At last! These two most degraded of characters — go take a leap of faith! If only someone would go truly off-book and have Ramsay Bolton throw himself off a castle rampart, not into a snow bank but into a pit of sharpened stakes! That would be the only fitting end for such as he!

Also, she doesn’t understand what’s happening to Arya but possibly the young damsel is becoming bat-shit crazy as who wouldn’t be after living in a cold stone monastery-type place with a man who speaks in cryptic sentences and is constantly shifting faces. Not to mention the girl who keeps striking her.

Then of course self is in complete denial about Jon Snow.

Maybe he’s turning into a White Walker!

Maybe now that he’s been released from his physical incarnation, his true essence can flit about and become a true instigator!

Also, Stannis and to a lesser extent although maybe not to a lesser extent Mrs. Stannis: HOW COULD YOU?

Also, loving the Podrick/Brienne camaraderie.

Also, that was quite a long, lingering look at naked Cersei, even though it was for the purpose of showing the Queen’s absolute humiliation (Only Lena Headey could pull that one off so convincingly!)

Also, self knew without a doubt that when Ellaria gave Myrcella a full-on lip-to-lip kiss, she was up to no good, which was borne out about an hour or so later, when Myrcella started gushing blood from her nose. All in front of her dad, Jaime Lannister. Since Jaime’s ship didn’t look very far from land, self wondered if he would turn the ship around and slay Ellaria. Which — did self ever share with dear blog readers that she saw the actress who plays Ellaria in the Globe production of Titus Andronicus last year? And she was truly truly awesomely seductive. Anyway, of the three acolytes of Ellaria (who are very bad fighters, despite the showy whips, in self’s humble opinion), the smallest one has an impressive rack, and shows it off. Another looks like she could be Filipina. And as for Jaime, she thinks the metal hand is cool. But he should really go back to engaging in witty repartee with Brienne.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Chance Meeting, Cebu Airport

In 2010, self gave a reading at a conference in Cebu (central Philippines). From there, she flew to her Dear Departed Dad’s hometown of Bacolod.

While she waited for her Bacolod flight, she decided to get a massage. The massage place was right next to the boarding area, how convenient. The customers are shielded from view (by screens?) of people in the boarding area (but not of fellow customers, there’s a row of beds placed side-by-side), and the strange thing is, there were men and women getting full-body massages right there, mere yards away from where a whole crowd of passengers were gathered. To preserve customers’ modesty, the masseuse draped a thin towel over one’s body.

Anyhoo, the story self wants to tell is: She was freshly massaged, and her hair was standing up on end (from a scalp massage), when a man walked up to her, introduced himself as a fellow writer, and said he had attended her reading.

Self asked him where he was from, and he said Cagayan de Oro. She found out he was a fellow writer. He signed a copy of his book and gave it to her (Self really wishes that she looked more orderly when she walked out of that massage place).

His book was in Bikolano (which self doesn’t speak). It was a collection of plays!

The writer’s name was Carlos A. Aréjola.

Here’s the production notes, setting, cast of characters etc. from his play Unang Yugto:

Tagpuan (Setting): Cottage sa isang resort (A cottage in a resort)

Panahon (Time): Kasalukuyan (The Present)

CHARACTERS:

Edwin – matangkad, guapo (tall, handsome)

Toledo – mestisuhin (mestizo), 18 taong gulang (18 years old)

Dagul – 21, moreno (dark-skinned), medyo pandak (somewhat short), may body piercings.

Falcon – mestisuhin (mestizo), ayos na ayos ang buhok (Hair fussed over; sorry, that’s the best she can come up with)

Dalawang Dalaga (2 girls): college girls, magaganda (beautiful), mapuputi (white-skinned)

Mga Pasahero Sa Airport (Passengers in the Airport)

How self loves that the characters have to be differentiated by whether they are light-skinned or dark-skinned, and that the two college girls are beautiful (magaganda) and mapuputi (white-skinned). To be white-skinned is to be beautiful?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Story # 8 in Gaitskill’s BAD BEHAVIOR

“Secretary” was over surprisingly quickly!

All self has to say is: the movie took a slight story (one of the slightest Gaitskill stories self has ever read) and made of it a fully realized film.

Who directed the movie? Must find out! He/She deserves kudos!

Self hardly feels anything for the character on the page, but in the movie, her heart went out immediately to Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character. Rent it on Netflix, if you haven’t already seen it!

Now to Story # 8 in Bad Behavior:

She remembered something he had said to her sometime before: “Don’t worry, Connie. In fifteen years, I’ll be doing my retrospective at the Whitney and you’ll be publishing regularly in The New Yorker.” He paused. “But by then we’ll be ugly.”

LOL!

To close, another picture self took yesterday, while walking the High Line:

DSCN2302

There is a Museum of . . . Sex? Self learns something new every day!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

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