Lens-Artists Challenge # 154: One Photo, Two Ways

Love the quote on the Travels and Trifles blog:

“A photographer’s eye is perpetually evaluating.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson

My One Shot, Two Ways is of Avila Beach, on the Central Coast.

I liked the wide angle shot of the beach, but the rescue station had such an interesting mural. I just had to zoom in. It seems to portray a rescue craft, heading away from a ship? I tried to find out the name of the artist, but so far I haven’t been able to find any information. I’ll keep looking.

It was my first post-pandemic beach trip. And it was a gorgeous day.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

I’LL BE SEEING YOU: A Memoir

The author persuades her aged parents to go into assisted living. She tells them to try it, they can always move back home if they don’t like it.

Self will never. Ever. Especially after the past year.

You set foot in a certain kind of river and you know that as soon as you do, the current will have you.

I’ll Be Seeing You, p. 30

What To Read Next

Moving On

The days will grow longer. Then the front yard will die, as it does every summer. Self has never mowed her yard, not once in three years. The grass is a bright green, and all the different things she’s planted are green and lush and it’s beginning to look like an ecosystem. Like a balanced ecosystem. Which is what she wanted to do in the first place, though a year and a half ago, she had only a vague idea.

Onward.

She has briskly dispatched The Butterfly Effect. She skimmed the later chapters, which had a lot to do with industry and man’s ingenuity and how man depends on insects for manufacturing product, yada yada yada. She also skipped the chapter on eating bugs because, while surely fascinating, she doesn’t feel the slightest inclination to experiment in that direction.

She has three library books currently. Two of the books begin in high summer, and the third is about a polar bear in the Arctic. So she’s reading Ice Walker, because it’s cold here in her house. It’s probably best to read about polar bears when it is actually cold.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Eddie’s Boy, Opening Paragraph

Self has made her selection of her next book (High as the Waters Rise is sooooo sad, now she has to write sad fiction to work it out of her system), and it’s neither This Is All I Got or Ice Walker. (Sorreeee!!!)

Sorry for being so indecisive. It seems that what self is in the mood for reading is — not about homelessness, or about the environment — a really good, fast-paced crime novel!

Thomas Perry’s Eddie’s Boy fits the bill. She hasn’t read Butcher’s Boy, but she understands from the reviews that you don’t need to have read the earlier novel to appreciate this one.

  • Michael Schaeffer had not killed anyone in years, and he was enraged at the fact that he’d had to do it again tonight. He drove the big black sedan along the deserted, winding British lane toward the south under the lightless sky, keeping his speed near the limit of his ability to control the car. Strapped upright with the seat belt in the passenger seat beside him was a man with a small, neat bullet hole through the side of his head.

This is, oh my God, so GREAT.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Economist, 25 July 2020

Modest Changes in Behavior leads to “huge rises in coronavirus infections”: The Geometry of the Pandemic, p. 19

This article focuses on a model by Rajiv Rimal of Johns Hopkins University. And it’s a big, fat chunk of the article (maybe a third), longer than she usually manages to quote. But she wanted to share it. Knowledge is power!

When “American states began easing lockdowns . . . their caseloads were three or more times higher than in Europe, in part, argues Jarbas Barbosa of the Pan-American Health Organization, because most states never had full lockdowns. Texas had 1,270 new cases on the day its governor said restaurants could reopen: 44 per million. In Georgia, the rate was 95 per million. Disney World reopened the day before Florida announced a record 15,000 new cases in a day. Just as incredibly, in two-thirds of states, infections were rising when governors started to ease lockdowns. By contrast, France, Spain and Italy had 13-17 new cases per million when they began to re-open their economies and numbers were falling fast.

“On April 12th … 95% of the population was staying at home (leaving the house only for essential visits), with 5% ignoring lockdown rules. Based on those assumptions, his model predicts that Americans would have had 559,400 cases on that day — an accurate assessment (it actually had 554,849). On July 14th, Mr. Rimal assumed that 80% of the population was staying at home, i.e., only a gradual change. On this basis, his model predicts the country would have 1.6m cases, again not far off the actual number and confirming the impact of modest rises in activity. If people really altered their behaviour, the number would rise even further to 5.6m cases if the stay-at-home share drops to 60% and to 9.5m if it falls to 20%. In that worst case, America’s death toll could top 400,000. Such is the dark logic of geometric growth.”

The Economist concludes that “to drive the level of infection down to perhaps a tenth of what it is now (closer to European or Asian levels) … seems to require full lockdowns.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The British Stiff Upper Lip on Full Display

p. 232 of Lady in Waiting:

Three years after their eldest child became hooked on heroin, the Glenconners decided to dis-inherit him. The boy was 19. He had to sign a contract, agreeing to relinquish all rights to the British properties (there were substantial properties also in the Caribbean, but the contract only covered Britain. Because the British properties were more important to the family name?)

Darn, even at 19 the kid had enough savvy to require two conditions: a) a bigger monthly allowance; b) an agreement that his parents “cover his future medical bills.” (Did he, self wonders, hire his own lawyer?)

The parents’ fear was that, if anything happened to them, and their ‘seat’ fell to the eldest, he would sell it for drugs. The contract protected the property for future generations. The decision must have been very painful. But — three years? They reached that decision when their son had been addicted for just three years? That was a business decision.

Stay tuned.

AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE, by Tayari Jones

Self was going to read The Overstory after finishing The Parasites (five stars, five stars, six stars if that were even possible) but decided she needed a less angst-y read (!!!) So she decided to start An American Marriage, then she read reviews on goodreads which said it was about a love triangle, and she’d had enough of those for a while and was about to put the book aside when she decided to read the first page, and that first line was simply amazing:

  • There are two kinds of people in the world, those who leave home, and those who don’t.

Stay tuned.

Reading List 2019: Adding Travel Books

Excited to be adding these wonderful books to self’s 2019 Reading List. Self loves travel books. It’s been a year since she devoted a reading year to them:

Alan Booth

  • The Road to Sata

Alexandra David Neel

  • My Journey to Lhasa

Alison Wearing

  • Honeymoon in Purdah

Ann Jones

  • Lovedu

Anthony Doerr

  • Four Seasons in Rome

Best Women’s Travel Writing series

Bill Bryson

  • The Lost Continent
  • Walk in the Woods

Blair Braverman

  • Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube

Bruce Chatwin

  • In Patagonia

Dervla Murphy

  • Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle

Ellen Meloy

  • Raven’s Exile: A Season on the Green River

Gabrielle Hamilton

  • Blood, Bones and Butter

Gretchen Legler

  • On the Ice: An Intimate Portrait of Life at McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Isabella L. Bird

  • Six Months in the Sandwich Islands: Among Hawai’i’s Palm Groves, Coral Reefs and Volcanoes

Isabelle Eberhardt

  • The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt

Jamaica Kincaid

  • A Small Place

Jan Morris

  • Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere

Julia Child

  • My Life in France

Katrina Kittle

  • The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America

Kira Salak

  • Four Corners: A Journey Into the Heart of Papua New Guinea

Mary Henrietta Kingsley

  • Travels in West Africa

Melanie Bowden Simon

  • La Americana: A Memoir

Peter Mayle

  • A Year in Provence

Rebecca Solnit

  • A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Robyn Davidson

  • Desert Places

Stanley Stewart

  • In the Empire of Genghis Khan: A Journey Among Nomads

Suzanne Roberts

  • Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail

 

 

 

 

 

Deconstructing Swann’s Way

Self has to resort to all sorts of mental tricks to keep reading Swann’s Way.

She makes the decision, after reading to p. 44, that she’ll consider Combray and Swann In Love as two separate works — two novellas, if you will. And thus, she’s reading them simultaneously. Because if she follows the sequence in the book — she’s finished Chapter 1, and finished reading the part about the madeleine — Chapter 2 is a very long reminiscence about the town. While Swann In Love is about socializing, with all sorts of fascinating words to consider: for instance, the word “bourgeois.” Self, who is so easily exasperated these days (which is just another way of saying she is stressed), may get exasperated enough to stop reading Swann’s Way. And she would consider that a regrettable moral failure.

So, to forestall any such feelings of exasperation, she skips ahead to Swann In Love, resolving to return to Ch. 2 of Combray (and using two bookmarks) after she’s finished Part II.

Maybe she’ll even read Part III, Place Names: The Name before returning to Combray.

What a disgustingly eccentric way to read Swann’s Way, but there you have it. Self would love to extract maximum pleasure and understanding from this book, and this is the only way she thinks she can do it.

Stay tuned.

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