Long Journeys: Planning For

Self is reading a very, very interesting article in The New Yorker of two years ago! April 20, 2015: “Moving to Mars” by Tom Kizzia.

It’s about how NASA is planning the make-up for the first crew it will send to Mars. This is sooo important because the crew will be sharing tight space for a long time.

It will take approx. eight months to get to Mars. The crew will stay a year and a half, “waiting for the planets to grow close enough for a quick trip home.” The homeward journey will be even longer.

Factors:

  • Women tend to make a lighter load.
  • Is it wise to mix genders?
  • How do you keep the crew from being bored (because when a person is bored, “energy flags” and “the mind grows stressed and makes mistakes as it searches for new stimulus”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

#amreading MONTCALM & WOLFE: The Decline and Fall of the French Empire in North America

France’s “manifold ills were summed up in the King. Since the Valois, she had had no monarch so worthless. He did not want understanding, still less the graces of person. In his youth the people called him the “Well-beloved,” but by the middle of the century they so detested him that he dared not pass through Paris, lest the mob should execrate him . . .  Louis XIII was equally unfit to govern; but he gave the reins to the Great Cardinal. Louis XV abandoned them to a frivolous mistress, content that she should rule on condition of amusing him . . . Madame de Pompadour . . .  filled the Bastille with her enemies; made and unmade ministers; appointed and removed generals. Great questions of policy were at the mercy of her caprices.

Montcalm and Wolfe, by Francis Parkman, p. 35

AMERICAN GODS, p. 91

“This is the only country in the world,” said Wednesday, into the stillness, “that worries about what it is.”

“What?”

“The rest of them know what they are. No one ever needs to go searching for the heart of Norway. Or looks for the soul of Mozambique. They know what they are.”

“And . . . ?”

“Just thinking out loud.”

“So you’ve been to lots of other countries, then?”

Wednesday said nothing. Shadow glanced at him. “No,” said Wednesday, with a sigh.  “No, I never have.”

#amreading: APE HOUSE

Self’s indecision about Ape House is really annoying. First, she was sure she should skip it for American Gods, which is a very thick book. But time and time and time again she kept going back to Ape House and reading a little more, and a little more, and a little more, and finally she gave up and admitted to herself that she was really intrigued by the book’s premise and wanted to see how it all played out.

She’s on p. 149 (halfway, approx.)

SPOILER ALERT!!!

The apes are kidnapped by a sleazy producer named Faulks and made to star in their very own reality show called, TA-RA: Ape House!

The house is “in a remote area of New Mexico best known for its third-rate casinos and ‘gentlemen’s clubs.’ The house otherwise entirely empty except for a single computer and a stool so the apes could reach it. Faulks installed the apes, switched on the cameras, and had been broadcasting the results live ever since.

After five days, “the show gave every indication of becoming the biggest phenomenon in the history of modern media, and not simply because of the astonishing language and computer skills of the bonobos.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Future Is Cold: Excerpt from Self’s “Ice”

A journal accepted this piece two years ago.

It still hasn’t seen print.

In the meantime, self has been working on it, adding a sentence here, a paragraph there.

Here’a an excerpt.

It was true the boy’s eyes were strange, as if icecaps were growing in the irises. He tried to staunch the spread, but hour by hour the ice seemed to grow. Until, he hated to say it, the boy had gone completely blind. But he still pretended to watch the sky.

Halloooo came the cry across the frozen wasteland.

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Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada: April 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Repurpose: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 27 January 2017

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is REPURPOSE.

“I’m fascinated by birds and their nests. Imagine being able to craft the perfect home for your family with just a beak and twiggy feet?” — Krista, The Daily Post

Self’s friend Mary Ellen Campbell used twigs to represent a forest in a book about wild swans (The book’s language is either Finnish or Icelandic):

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Wild Swans: A Book by Artist Mary-Ellen Campbell

Self saw the artwork below while walking New York City’s High Line, December 2016. Every time she looks at this photo, she thinks of the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.

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3-D Graffiti made of iron re-bar by Artist Damien Ortega: High Line, New York City

Finally, just for fun:

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Christmas Party, Queens, December 2016

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Hillary

“I think that if you live long enough, you realize that so much of what happens in life is out of your control, but how you respond to it is in your control. That’s what I try to remember.”

#amreading: All Day, Poetry

The Sublime

by Joshua Gottlieb-Miller

(An excerpt)

He was worried he was growing
immune to his anxiety
medication when the bank called
to tell him his identity

had been stolen. He did some
quick calculations, then
They can keep it, he said,
and hung up. The sublime

is kindled by the threat
of nothing further happening,
the painter wrote, and he liked that
so he thought about it as he walked

into the woods. Creditors
from other branches of the bank
called to ask when he would put
more money in his checking account.

He was delinquent, they explained,
so he explained it was only
the account that was delinquent.
Not after Zen, not after quiet

determination, or equilibrium —
just a view from the overlook,
and to enjoy it, the forest being new
to him. He keeps going. Leaves

— published in Indiana Review, Vol. 34, No. 2

Joshua Gottlieb-Miller holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Houston, where he was a poetry editor for Gulf Coast.

Graceful: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 20 January 2017

  • Show us something that exists harmoniously with its surroundings.

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

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Albion, California

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Albion, California

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Albion, California

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Liu Xia: “June 2nd, 1989”

June 2nd, 1989

— for Xiaobo

This isn’t good weather
I said to myself
standing under the lush sun.

Standing behind you
I patted your head
and your hair pricked my palm
making it strange to me.

I didn’t have a chance
to say a word before you became a character
in the news, everyone looking up to you
as I was worn down
at the edge of the crowd
just smoking
and watching the sky

A new myth, maybe, was forming there,
but the sun’s sharp light
blinded me from seeing it.

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