Life Imitates Art: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge Week 7

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is LIFE IMITATES ART.

For this week’s theme, find inspiration in a piece of art, and go further: imitate it.

It’s funny: self has a picture of the same subject as Cheri Lucas Rowlands: the statue of writer John Betjeman in St. Pancras Station in London. The statue is mirrored by the tourist with her back turned, taking a picture of — something else in the station.


Statue and Tourist: St. Pancras Station, London: Summer 2015

And these pictures of wedding dresses self took when she was staying with a friend in Minneapolis reminded her so much of a Georgia O’Keefe painting:


Bridal Boutique, Minneapolis

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vibrant 4: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 5

The past week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is VIBRANT. Self has been having so much fun with it. In the past week, she’s posted pictures of Mendocino and Venice. Now, she’s posting photographs she took during an exhibit of Chinese artists that she and her niece, Irene, saw when we were in Florence, November 2015.

The weather was glorious: it never rained. And Florence, self doesn’t need to tell dear blog readers, is enchanting.

We got ourselves a Museum Card (Would you believe, there are 64 museums in Florence?).

As we were walking towards the Duomo on one of our earliest days in Florence, we noticed this museum and went inside.

Now, self can no longer remember which museum it was, but there was an exhibition of Chinese paintings which totally blew self away: International Tour of the Works of the Twelfth China National Exhibition of Fine Arts.

The oil painting below is called “Scenery with Six-Tusked Elephant.” The artist is Lin Jianfeng.


Lin Jianfeng, Artist From China: Seen on the International Tour of Chinese National Artists, November 2015, Florence

The second painting, self has featured on this blog before. It is by Liu Kongxi: “Hello, Birch Forest: The Records of Youth (No. 18):


“Hello, Birch Forest: The Records of Youth (No. 18)” by Liu Kongxi

And the last painting: Wang Ke’s “Passing on Lamp”


Wang Ke’s “Passing on Lamp”

As Jen H. says on The Daily Post, “Let’s wash the web with a rainbow of colors to keep the winter gloom at bay.”

Self thinks these three paintings do fit the bill.

Stay tuned.

Northern California News

The news is all about sinkholes and rain. About escaped convicts and sinkholes and rain and the Superbowl.


She went to downtown Palo Alto to see Anomalisa, which was showing in the Aquarius. It took two grown-ups 20 minutes to sort out who got what at Gelato Classico.

Monster truck parked right next to self in downtown Palo Alto and literally she could not get into the drivers seat. Who does that?

She’s so fed up now, she will never go to downtown Palo Alto.

Not to mention, the Aquarius has morphed into a high-end luxe theatre where the bargain matinee is $9.50 (Discounted from $12.50)

Self’s friend Emily recommended the movie she saw today: Anomalisa. She was fascinated by the cinematography and the screenplay. By how on point it is about all the random, meaningless conversations that make up our lives. Our lives!

We are going to die and all our lives are made up of random misconnections.


Self doesn’t recall ever seeing a hook-up as raw before. It’s between a paunchy middle-aged man and a disfigured young woman in an anonymous hotel in Cincinnati and they achieve surprising intimacy in their dialogue, which then makes what follows seem really sweet. Then the next morning, OMG, the middle-aged man is annoyed by the way in which the young woman eats her omelet.

Unfortunately, she’s not sure if she missed some moments in the very beginning, because the Aquarius usher told her she had only missed the previews but when she walked into the theatre, the plane was landing in Cincinnati — she must have missed the opening credits. She briefly considered going outside and complaining. But since this is California she advised herself to let it go.

And then she walked outside after the movie and saw the monster truck (with rear bumper stickers saying something about never complaining about “Bitch” drivers) had given her six inches of room to squeeze into her seat. Honestly, she couldn’t do it. And if anyone has laid eyes on self in person, they would know she is quite petite. If self could not squeeze into her drivers seat in the space allotted between her and monster truck, then no one, absolutely no one, could have squeezed into that drivers seat.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Vibrant: 2016 Daily Post Photo Challenge # 5

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is VIBRANT.

And oh, how self loves any Photo Challenge that has to do with color.


How green is the grass after much rain!


This vibrant sunflower blooms year-round in front of the Mendocino Art Center Gallery.


Art on New York City’s High Line: Self walked it on a gloomy December day; few people about. Colors really popped.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Optimistic: 2016 WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge # 4

This week, the WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge is OPTIMISTIC.

“How do you fuel the fires of optimism?”

Self’s answer is: by traveling. Because traveling makes self rely on a very specific skill set: adventurousness, curiosity, and determination.

And every time she goes on a trip, she has reason to confirm that she still possesses each of those qualities, in spades.

Here, a picture from a recent trip self and her niece, Irene, took to Italy.

The entire trip was Irene’s idea. Self cannot thank her enough. We used Florence as home base and explored outward.


San Marco Square, Venice: November 2015


Irene and Self! San Gimidgiano, Italy, November 2015

It never rained, not once. The weather was perfect: sunny and warm. Almost T-shirt weather!

Irene is a woman of great energy and positive drive. A great traveling companion.


Oh what a perfect time was had by all! Florence, Italy, November 2015

That trip was surely one of self’s best trips, ever!

Stay tuned.


Self’s Very Own Wolf Story

One cold February night, Gabe’s wife began to howl.

He thought of a movie he’d seen a long time ago, a movie about a boy who turned into a wolf. The boy-animal became furtive, but fierce. In his wife’s eyes, now, were an animal intensity.

Beginning THE STRAIN, by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Why, self, why?

She is such a Fraidy Cat she gets spooked by every breath of wind.

The stairs leading up to her unit are high and creaky. The wood is slick with rain.

And yet she reads horror.

Truly, self is a masochist of the highest order.

The Strain begins very prettily, with a fable about a giant by the name of Master Sardu.

Master Sardu surpassed everyone around him in height by the age of nine. He was a giant, but humble.

Yet his malady — if gigantism can be said to be a malady, in self’s humble opinion it is not — is deemed a pox on the family name. The only thing that can cure it is eating wolf meat. So off the Sardu men go in search of this wolf meat. And here is the setting of the fable:

  • When they arrived in the dark forest, the woodlands felt alive around him. Packs of animals roamed the woods at night, almost like refugees displaced from their shelters, their dens, nests, and lairs. So many animals that the hunters were unable to sleep at night in their camps.

What a cunning way to begin a horror story.

Stay tuned.

ALPHABET: 2016 WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge # 3


San Francisco Literary Magazine ZYZZYVA publishes only West Coast Writers. It was one of the first to publish her speculative fiction. And this of course is a much-worn tee-shirt.

Self-explanatory, really.


Snapped this from her train window while stopped at a station from Galway to Dublin, September 2015


Cryptic: Self saw this in the middle of a Jack the Ripper Tour of Whitechapel, London, July 2015.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Weight(less): 2nd WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge of 2016

Self is very intrigued by this week’s WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge: WEIGHTLESS.

“Show us the effects of gravity in your photo this week.”

Funny, she actually thought the theme meant the opposite: to show us the things that exist in defiance of gravity.

Anyhoo, here’s a building in New York’s Soho district. Self has been fascinated by buildings for a long, long time. The small black cube within the larger edifice — all self can think of when she looks at this picture is: JENGA!


Weightless 1: New York skyscraper, Soho

And here’s a longer view of the same subject, showing how it fits in with the surrounding cityscape:


A longer view of Weightless 1

The third picture is a detail of the facade of the Cathedral in the beautiful Italian town of Siena, where the Palio horse races are held every year. Siena is divided into 17 districts, each represented by a different animal. Animal effigies like this lion (in mid-roar: fabulous!) are carved into the facade of the Cathedral. Since this lion is made of stone, the fact that it’s jutting out of the Cathedral wall like that is, in self’s humble opinion, awesome:


Weightless 2: The Cathedral of Siena. The facade features carvings of animals representing each of the districts that make up the city. The districts compete against each other every summer, in the Palio horse races.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Mendocino Has Circles, Too

Walked around Mendocino Village yesterday morning. Good thing self didn’t wait, for there was a deluge in the evening, and the loud blast that sounds like a foghorn went off. She remembers hearing it last year, during the big February storm. And the sound is so very eerie, an end-of-the-world kind of sound (Only, last year, during the storm, it was also terrifying)

So, this week’s Photo Challenge is CIRCLES. And self took pictures during her walk, and these are the two pictures she thinks fit the theme best:



Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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