April 18 BRIGHT SQUARES

For today’s BRIGHT SQUARES Challenge, self took pictures at the Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento! Which is just as fabulous as she remembered it being, all those years ago (Then, she was lucky enough to catch a Norman Rockwell retrospective)

(Left to Right):

  • Dale Chihuly (almost identical to the one that hangs in the lobby of London’s V & A)
  • Portrait of the playwright, screenwriter and diarist Christopher Isherwood, by Don Bachardy, American (born 1934). Isherwood wrote the 1964 novel A Simple Man; the movie adaptation won Colin Firth an Oscar.
  • Pacific Ocean, a painting by Jennifer Bartlett, American (born 1941)

What a great museum. Self is so happy she returned to Sacramento for this brief visit. If only the café had been open, she’d happily have lingered the whole day.

For lunch, she stopped at this small pop-up on 16th. The metal chairs had been baking in the sun, which she did not think mattered until she actually sat down. A lady who was sitting at the same table smirked and said, “That’s why I avoided sitting on those.” I took a chair that was sitting in the shade, a bit closer to the lady, and she immediately said, “I’ve had my two shots, don’t worry.”

The lady also told self that there was a “Chinse supermarket” not half a block from where we were sitting, and self got very excited at the thought of loading up on goodies for back home.

In addition to tacos, the pop-up also sold, somewhat improbably, mac’n cheese, and since it’s been forever since she’s had mac’n cheese, she decided to try it. It was good!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

New Photo Challenge: Share Your Desktop

Playing along with Share Your Desktop — March 2021

For the last few months, self’s desktop has been what might or might not be a still from the great TV series The Expanse (based on the nine-book series by James S. A. Corey — Corey is actually the pen-name for two writers: Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). If you haven’t watched, you are missing something. The sixth — and final — season is filming now in Toronto. Air date (on Amazon Prime) TBA.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Ch. 13: Twelve Years a Slave

Now, Solomon Northup is working for a crazy master named Epps. This part was adapted in the movie — in fact, the Epps scenes have lingered longest in self’s memory. Could also be because Lupita Nyong’o plays Patsey, the fastest cotton picker on the whole plantation — no, maybe in the whole American South. (The great Sarah Paulson played Mrs. Epps: she killed in the role)

This Epps liked to make his slaves dance, even after they’ve had a long day laboring in the fields. He wanted them to laugh. He wanted Northup to play the fiddle.

Crazy!

Chapter 11, Twelve Years a Slave

Self was wrong: the good former master is STILL ALIVE! She was so sure the other planters would kill him, since he rescued his former slave, Solomon Northup, from a lynching, back in Chapter 8.

Anyhoo, in Chapter 10, Solomon’s new master has a foreman who tries to split Solomon’s head with a hatchet and Solomon runs through the bayous to escape. He ends up running all the way back to his former master’s plantation. The good man takes him in (even though there was a law on the books at the time, that a runaway slave must be returned to his master).

And this is what happens in Chapter 11: Solomon is walking by the side of his former master, when who should come galloping out of the bayou towards them but — the evil foreman! He comes alongside Solomon’s former master, and the two begin a conversation.

Self is thinking: any minute now the evil foreman is going to take out a hatchet and kill Solomon’s good former master! But self is midway through Chapter 11, and the two white men are still conversing. The good former master says he knows the foreman tried to kill Solomon, then the foreman explains why he was moved to try and kill Solomon, then the good former master tells the foreman that was not the way to treat a slave, then the foreman says his hound dogs aren’t worth their keep, and the good former master tells the foreman it is evident that the foreman will keep trying to kill Solomon, and Solomon will keep running away, and therefore the foreman must sell Solomon. He says: Unless you do so, I shall take measures to get him out of your possession.

Self does not remember this part of the movie at all, so she has to go on the movie’s imdb page and scroll down the cast list. She has to read practically all the way to the bottom to find that Ford (the good former master) was played by Benedict Cumberbatch! Niiiice! The real shock, though, is when self discovers that the evil foreman, Tibeats, was played by Paul Dano!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Voyage: Slaver Ship, 1841

When in sight of the Bahamas Banks, at a place called Old Point Compass, or the Hole in the Wall, we were becalmed three days. There was scarcely a breath of air. The waters of the gulf presented a singularly white appearance, like lime water.

12 Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup, Chapter Five, p. 39

As I read, I keep seeing Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Bravo, what a performance.

The Expanse, Season Five (Quick Comments, No Spoilers)

A few things about the first three episodes, which dropped Dec. 15 (and which self has already watched twice)

  • Splitting up the characters creates great narrative drive.
  • The scale of this universe is tremendous. Just the scope of the whole production, the ambition and sweep — not even Battlestar Galactica had that.
  • The actor who played Erich, Jacob Mundell, is amazing. Once again, props to whoever casts this series. Can’t imagine any other actor who could play this role. They apparently found Mundell in Chicago.
  • Drummer’s grief over Ashford broke me.
  • Beltalowda is a thing.
  • Absolutely hate Filip, he is trash. Points to the actor who plays him, Jasai Chase Owens.
  • Monica Stuart, as played by Anna Hopkins, is a lot of fun to watch. Wonder why she never makes a pass at Holden, lol. Even just to worm some information out of him. She seemed pretty ruthless, in the books as well.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 128: And Here Comes the Holiday Season

  • I know many creative plans are being made to make these celebrations work – somehow and anyway. This last LAPC challenge, of the strange year 2020, is all about your Holiday Season. So what will your holidays look like? What are your plans and/or memories? Will you create new traditions or will you just ”survive” this one, looking forward to a ”normalized” celebrating next year? Leya

Self did not expect 2020. Neither did any of us. Right?

Nevertheless, today self was checking out viveka’s blog, my guilty pleasures, and she had the most stunning array of Christmas photos. Inspired, self came up with a few Christmas photos of her own.

Here’s a picture from the night of Dec. 15, when Amazon Prime dropped the first 3 episodes of Season 5 of The Expanse! So exciting! Each succeeding episode is on Wednesday, that means the next ‘drop’ is Wednesday, 23 December. And that is the nicest Christmas present she could have asked for.

She did buy a wreath from Trader Joe’s for $10.99, and fastened a few multi-colored Christmas balls to dress it up a little.

And she put out her lighted angel, that she puts out every year. And brought out a tin angel that was made in the Philippines.

So, very simple decorations this year. Not even half of her usual lay-out. Usually, she gets a big, fresh-cut fir, and hangs about 100 ornaments on it. And she scatters greenery on every available surface. Last year, her neighbor Wendy dropped by, and the first thing she said when she crossed the threshhold was: WOW.

But, Christmas is in her heart, even though this year was a very hard one.

Shout-out to Restless Jo for her great Christmas gallery, to don’t hold your breath’s Four Views of Panchgani, and to Bend Branches’s lovely Christmas ornaments.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

New York in The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War

Three people self knows have COVID. And she found out just today. She was going to get more stamps at the Post Office, but after she got the last text, she turned right around and went back inside.

Which means, she’ll have to rely on her books to carry her through, like she did in the start of this pandemic, when she blazed through the first five books of The Expanse (and discovered the TV series).

The book she’s just starting is The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War, by Jonathan Daniel Wells, whose main setting is early 19th c New York.

The last time self was in New York, she stayed in the Bowery. The pictures below are from that time.

Wells does a very good job at evoking the setting. Here’s a description from Chapter One:

  • Most streets were unpaved, so dirt and mud were everywhere, and horses provided the main means of transportation. The city would have smelled different than it does today, with wafts of horse manure mixed with the smoke from burning hearths and factories and the stench of an inadequate sanitation system. The loud shouts of the stevedores, bricklayers, lumber merchants, and others working in the city added to the noisy movement of railroads and omnibuses, not to mention the constant whinnying of horses pulling people or goods.

A book like this rewards immersion.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Expanse, Season 5

Self has nothing new to add, except that she hopes the season gives us a lot of James Holden, Naomi Nagata, Chrisjen Avasarala, Amos Burton, Camina Drummer, Bobbie Draper and . . . okay, Marco Inaros because she is much taken with maniacs, she doesn’t know why. So many maniacs, too little time.

Today is also the end of another week. And Emily Murphy, Mother of All Toads, is still employed at the GSA, self knows not why.

Book Holden: Cibola Burn

Self is on Book #5 of The Expanse, Nemesis Games. Finally! This was one of the first books she ordered during the pandemic. But she didn’t read it because she didn’t want to know what happens in Season 5 of the TV series.

Now, The Expanse Season 5 trailer has dropped, and self is finally, FINALLY starting to read Nemesis Games. As well as simultaneously re-reading Book # 4 (Cibola Burn), whose events were covered in Season 4.

p. 447:

“We need to get you inside,” Elvi replied, throwing his left arm around her shoulders and guiding him to the door. “I think you’ve been awake for something like four days.”

“It’s okay,” Holden said. “I took a lot of speed.”

LOL! Book Holden is so disarming!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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