Still Work-in-Progress

  • Pitt was the first to board. He was always the first. Whether that made him brave or foolhardy was hard to say.

The Rorqual, p. 5

Why Always Ice?

Excerpt, work-in-progress

Genre: Fantasy/Horror

Status: 52 pp.

Working Title: The Rorqual

It began with the discovery of a ship, sailing languidly along the ice-clotted harbor. It seemed meandering, yet sure of purpose. It drifted toward shore, riding high in the water.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

LANDFILL, by Tim Dee: Henry Mayhew and the Anthropology of Dust

Landfill: Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene is a great book. Lord how self parses every paragraph.

Late last night, self got to Essay # 7: “The Birds,” about the iconic Daphne du Maurier short story and Hitchcock’s film adaptation of it. This morning she began the next piece: “London Labour and London Poor,” the title of a “work of epic taxonomical ethnography” by Henry Mayhew.

p. 82:

Dust is everywhere in Mayhew’s city . . . He knows there is no such thing as dirt. It exists — just as Mary Douglas spelled out a hundred years later — only in the eye of a beholder. “No single item,” she said, “is dirty apart from a particular system of classification in which it does not fit.” But, for Mayhew, dirt is the one thing he most wants to define.

Yet he can never fix it. How do you count dust? How do you hold it? What is it? The powdered world? The fundamental raw material? Sediment or suspension? A cast of everything that has lived? That which we tread on — or breathe? That which we are? Hamlet’s quintessence?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Tim Dee’s LANDFILL and the Night Market at Old Delhi

Tim Dee’s gorgeous book – about gulls, and human waste, and interdependence, and evolution – is making self think about India.

She’s back in Old Delhi, the night market. She has a guide, but everything is just TOO. MUCH. The people, the open vats of food, the crowding, the muddy gutters, the smells.

She couldn’t resist buying food (Someone told her cooked food was okay): she tried some samosas, wrapped in an old newspaper. Delicious!

When she had finished, she looked vainly around for a garbage can. She clutched that oily piece of newspaper in her hand, alley after alley after alley. Finally, she asked her guide where she could dispose of her trash. The guide pointed straight down.

Self was confused. “Where?” she asked, looking at her feet.

“Just throw it,” the guide said. Meaning: anywhere. Throw it anywhere. Right here if you want.

Self looked around, and saw that other people were doing just as the guide suggested: eating and then dropping the containers on the street as they walked, never breaking stride.

She truly felt as if she was in a nightmare. The idea of eating something and then just dropping the wrapping or container ON THE GROUND while walking around. Oh God. She almost heaved.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Daniel Immerwahr’s HOW TO HIDE AN EMPIRE: A HISTORY OF THE GREATER UNITED STATES

p. 104:

  • Captain John Pershing … held a post on the shore of Lake Lanao, a large body of water on Mindanao, around which nearly half the Muslim population of Moroland lived. Pershing made the news during the 2016 presidential campaign when Donald Trump described, with relish, how Pershing (“rough guy, rough guy”) had captured fifty “terrorists,” dipped fifty bullets in pigs’ blood, lined up his captives, and then shot forty-nine of them, letting the last go to report what happened. “And for twenty-five years there wasn’t a problem, okay?” Trump concluded.

Gulls and the Pagophilics

from the Dictionary of Birds (1985):

  • a ‘large, homogeneous, successful group probably at the summit of another evolutionary line.’

from Birds of the Western Palearctic (Unforgivable, in self’s view, that Dee fails to provide a date of publication):

  • ‘Predator, scavenger, food-pirate … taking almost anything available of suitable size, texture, etc’

Self’s horror story The Rorqual (currently 51 pages — self is so out of control!) uses exactly these kinds of dictionary definitions (in self’s case, pages long) to describe her ‘pagos’ and her ‘longnecks’ and her other what-not. She birthed this horror in Tyrone Guthrie. She can’t seem to write any of it until she returns to Annaghmakerrig. California is just too dry, too intensely hot, too savagely suburban.

Stay tuned.

Again, a Shift

Did not finish The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. With only one or two exceptions, the case studies were elderly people. Everyone knows growing old SUCKS. Oliver Sacks is masterful in telling all the different ways. Next!

Diving into Tim Dee’s Landfill: Notes on Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene, a book self began reading a while back, which got pushed back because when traveling, she finds novels easier to digest.

Tim Dee did not always have a fascination for gulls, just as gulls are no longer necessarily seagulls.

pp. 17 – 18:

Calling them seagulls is wrong — that was one of the first things I learned as a novice bird-boy. They are as much inland among us as they are far out over the waves. Yet, in fact, this state of life for them is new. Over the past hundred years, human modernity has brought gulls ashore. They have lived in our slipstream, following trawlers, ploughs, dust-carts . . . They live as we do, walking the built-up world and grabbing a bite where they can.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Challenge # 57: TAKING A BREAK

Self’s current book, Mihaly Czsikszentmihalyi’s FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE is a very, very interesting book.

Her son and daughter-in-law were Psychology majors at Claremont, the school where the author taught. In fact, she read about him in the Claremont Graduate University alumni magazine, The Flame.

She is trying to practice Flow thinking (see graph below). She is trying to achieve “complexity” in her consciousness. This will be her project for the rest of the summer.

She thinks this goal is very much tied in with the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: TAKING A BREAK.

DSCN0233

Today, she walked downtown, which she hadn’t done in two weeks. Courthouse Square was empty. Nevertheless, the trip was not in vain, for she saw a movie: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Is this a ‘Flow’ experience? Self thinks it is. Watching movies is one of self’s most enjoyable activities.

DSCN0234

Mid-Afternoon, Courthouse Square, Redwood City, CA

And, she spends A LOT of time in her garden, where her efforts are repaid with gorgeous blooms like this one, on her Sheila’s Perfume rose:

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Sheila’s Perfume, last week of July 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Dobu Islanders: FLOW, p. 79

. . . the culture of the Dobu islanders, as described by the anthropologist Reo Fortune, is one that encouraged constant fear of sorcery, mistrust among even the closest relatives, and vindictive behavior. Just going to the bathroom was a major problem, because it involved stepping out into the bush, where everybody expected to be attacked by bad magic when alone among the trees.


Strange how self can relate to this mode of feeling, which is a form of “magical thinking” — the idea that one can actively seek to prevent future bad things, by taking inordinately neurotic precautions.

Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: WATER

The prompt is WATER IN NATURE.

Clearly self hasn’t been spending much time outdoors because she had to go all the way back to May, in Prague, to find pictures of a body of water.

So, here are three pictures of Prague’s Vltava River, from the trip she took with her niece, Irene, end of May. All these pictures were taken during one beautiful Sunday. She wouldn’t have thought of posting them (She likes to post her travel pictures IN REAL TIME. Which is to say: as they are occurring) but she was going through her photo archives and, well, a river is a natural body of water.

A local told her that in Prague one could never be lost. And he was right! As long as you see a bridge, you can orient yourself. Luckily, the city’s not that big.

And besides, the city is so beautiful. So why be in such a hurry to get to your destination? Just relax, enjoy discovering new streets.

DSCN0184

DSCN0182

Families Enjoying Sunday on the Vltava River, Prague, Late May

DSCN0170

Hiring Pleasure Boat on the Vltava River

DSCN0163

The Vltava: Giving the Seine a Run For Its Money

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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