Close Up: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is CLOSE UP.

Which is a prompt self finds quite easy to post about, because her camera is always on the macro setting. She loves examining detail.

So, here goes!

While on a “Jack the Ripper” walking tour of Whitechapel, self found herself getting distracted by, of all things, doors! Honestly, there were a number of times self found that the tour group had rounded a corner while she was taking random photos like the one below:

Door, Somewhere Around Whitechapel

Door Knocker, A Street Off Whitechapel

And here is a close-up of a fabulous dessert self had in the town of Rostrevor, in Northern Island. Irish cream (sigh), self could drink it by the bucket!

Dessert! Rostrevor, Northern Island (Self was with poet Csilla Toldy, who was performing at the Fiddlers Green Festival with Irish singer Fil Campbell)

Dessert! Rostrevor, Northern Island (Self was with poet Csilla Toldy, who was performing at the Fiddlers Green Festival with Irish singer Fil Campbell)

And here is a picture she took in St. Stephens Green, last week. She’s always amazed by the water in that lake. It has a very heavy, almost mineral quality. She thought it might have just been a trick of her imagination. But the ripples on that water are so clearly defined. Well, that’s Irish water for you!

It was a sunny day in Dublin (though you'd never know it from the photograph!)

It was a sunny day in Dublin (though you’d never know it from the photograph!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sandra Bland, p. 17 of The (London) Guardian, 23 July 2015

Self is just going to post the excerpt without comment because the article speaks for itself.

(It’s just beneath an article about Jon Stewart and Obama exchanging FEELZ for Obama’s final appearance on The Daily Show)

Bland was arrested in Prairie View, Texas (near Houston). The article was filed from Prairie View by Tom Dart.

Video footage of the arrest of a black woman who died in Texas police custody shows a police officer threatening to “light her up” with a Taser, in an encounter that has sparked national outrage.

The Texas public safety department (DPS) released the footage amid questions surrounding the arrest and subsequent death in a county jail of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old who had just moved to Texas from Chicago to start a new job but died three days after her arrest this month by trooper Brian Encinia.

The video shows an initially routine traffic stop for failing to signal a lane change turn into an aggressive encounter as Encinia, apparently furious that Bland refuses to stop smoking, repeatedly orders her to get out of her car, yells at her, says he will “yank” and “drag” her out, then appears to draw his Taser and shouts, “Get out of the car. I will light you up. Get out. Now.” Once out and restrained, Bland complains off-camera that she is in pain and has been “slammed” to the ground.

Stay tuned.

Gale or Peeta: Who Is a Better Dystopian Boyfriend?

This is a matter of grave import, dear blog readers, for the last Hunger Games movie (Mockingjay, Part 2) is coming out in November, and the fandom is just about to burst.

That now-familiar trope, the Dystopian Boyfriend, is going to have such a field day.

Dear blog readers already know where self lies on this gradient.

This discussion has to do with the movie version of The Hunger Games, not the books! For you lame ones who have never seen a Hunger Games movie, Gale Hawthorne is played by Liam Hemsworth, and Peeta Mellark is played by Josh Hutcherson.

Going in to movie # 1, self had no love for J-Hutch, as she’d only seen him in The Kids Are All Right and he struck her as — all right but he definitely was not her first choice for actor to play Peeta (Her all-time favorite HG character) Now, four years later, after reading the entire trilogy, watching 3 movies, and becoming a fan fiction writer of Everlark (??? Can you believe it ???), self is all like, WHO IS LIAM? WHO IS GALE? There can only be ONE Dystopian Boyfriend! Don’t even mention! Self can’t even!

Let the Decider.com analysis begin! (Ummm, the discussants are both men. Nevertheless. Posted March, 2015)

P.S. It is Friday. Please feel free to be super self-indulgent. No trigger warnings. Definitely the PG version.

Excerpts of choice:

  1. Pro-Liam: The chiseled Hemsworth jaw. The woodsy hunter look. The delicate, elderly aunt’s name. (Self didn’t know that Gale was an aunt’s name? Does Collins say this in the books?)
  2. Pro-Josh: I could probably carry him around on trips with a little Glad container of hummus.
  3. Pro-Liam: “Hey, babe, calm down. No one is thinking about this nearly as hard as you are. Let’s go hunting.”
  4. Pro-Josh: I’m very attracted to tiny boxes of feelings that are likely to explode like a pressure cooker.
  5. Pro-Liam: Peeta would come back after the seventh time I fake-break up with him, while Gale would call my bluff . . .
  6. Pro-Josh: I’m gonna snatch it/him right up! And then carry him around on my back, like a human Yoda.

Had enough, dear blog readers?

A long, loooong time ago, when self was still having meaningful discussions with Niece Georgina (who was at Stanford), she declared herself unable to see the attraction in J-Hutch and Georgina said “No. It’s Josh. Definitely. Hotter.”

And the rest is history.

How self could ever have considered Liam Hemsworth anything more than a limp dishrag when contrasted with the all-over hotness of J-Hutch (His miniscule height strangely adds, rather than detracts, from the appeal — people, don’t ask self to explain, it just IS) is simply confounding.

Self is also still reading Howard Jacobson’s hilarious and heartbreaking novel, The Act of Love (Set in London, today. His main character spends a lot of time on Great Russell Street)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Announcing: The First Annual Margarita Donnelly Prize for Prose Writing (Deadline for Entries: Sept. 30, 2015)

Margarita Donnelly's Last AWP, Seattle 2014. Pictured: Margarita and Brenna Crotty, Calyx Senior Editor

Margarita Donnelly’s Last AWP, Seattle 2014. Pictured: Margarita and Brenna Crotty, Calyx Senior Editor

She was indomitable, that is all.

Met her first at: Bookstore in the Mission

Self read her story “Ginseng.”

Margarita went up to self afterwards and asked, “You got more like those?”

(Yes, sitting in a file cabinet; Four years past the Stanford University Creative Writing Program, and self was such a coward that she never sent the manuscript out:  WHEEE!)

What better way to honor her legacy than a prose contest? Calyx, the press Margarita co-founded, launched the Prize on July 1. Here’s the link to their website. The contest is open to both fiction and nonfiction.

  • Deadline for Entries: Sept. 30, 2015
  • Reading Fee:  $20 (check payable to Calyx)
  • Maximum Length of piece:  10,000 words

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

DOORS 4: San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, Redwood City CA, Negros Museum Bacolod

This week’s Photo Challenge is proving quite tricky, for some reason. Self has to search a long time before she finds pictures of DOORS.

Well, here’s the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers Main Entrance:

Front Entrance, San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park

Front Entrance, San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park

Redwood City, California:

The Humble Abode, Redwood City, California

The Humble Abode, Redwood City, California

Front Entrance of the museum of Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines

Negros Museum, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines

Negros Museum, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s “The House on the Coast” (Crab Orchard Review, Vol. 19, No. 2: THE WEST COAST & BEYOND)

Crab Orchard Review: In its 20th year of publication, an Icon of Literary Publishing

Crab Orchard Review: In its 20th year of publication, an Icon of Literary Publishing

Self is starting with the first short story, by Lucy Jane Bledsoe, “The House on the Coast.”

SPOILER ALERT!

Backstory: Narrator breaks into a nice house on the coast, decides to raid the wine supply. While she’s resting, a visitor comes by, who turns out to be the estranged daughter of the house’s owners. The daughter, whose name is Henrietta, tells the narrator about the recent death of her three-year-old.

“I’m a perfect candidate for a crystal meth habit. I’ll do anything to interrupt the — ”

“Pain,” I said.

“Yeah,” she said.

She did that hand-waving gesture of hers. “What do you think is the next step? Call my parents?”

I didn’t have a clue how to answer.

“They never met her,” she said. “They did ask. I just never thought they asked genuinely enough. I have to live with that, that I kept her from them. I’m sorry.” She looked up at me, her eyes flashing and her thin-lipped mouth open with grief. “The two most stupid words in the language.”

The next short story in this issue of the Crab Orchard Review is Alex Colin-Shotwell’s “Strike-Slip.” It begins:

You’re up on the roof of a house in the Hollywood Hills and you’re surrounded by a darkness so palpable you can almost wear it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Felix Landau’s Diary: Cracow, 1941

Alternating between Clockwork Prince and The Third Reich at War, be forewarned.

Events in Cracow from the diary of Felix Landau, part of the SS’s Task Force C:

Landau watched Jews forced to dig their own graves, mused in his diary:  “What on earth is running through their minds during those moments? I think that each of them harbours a small hope that somehow he won’t be shot. The death candidates are organized into three shifts as there are not many shovels. Strange, I am completely unmoved. No pity, nothing.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

How DARE You, Mr. Ragnor Fell!

Self may be getting ahead of herself, but life is short.

There are two choices open to her when she leaves Ireland:  Yorkshire or Wales.

Yorkshire because a crucial scene in Clockwork Prince takes place there. P. 169:

Ragnor Fell, High Warlock of London: “What’s on the carpet, then, Charlotte? Did you really call me out here to discuss dark doings on the Yorkshire moors? I was under the impression that nothing of great interest happened in Yorkshire. In fact, I was under the impression that there was nothing in Yorkshire except sheep and mining.”

Oh la-di-dah, Mr. Fell. Yorkshire isn’t that boring. She was there when she was 11. She was sent to summer camp, somewhere in Yorkshire Dales. She saw the magnificent cathedral.

And Wales?

Something so alluring and romantic about Wales. Aside from the fact that Wales is where Will Herondale was born and lived until he was 12.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#fridayreads: Because It Is Impossible to Try and Quote Shakespeare in 140 Characters

Henry IV, Part One, Act One Scene Two (Self is so inspired after watching the Globe production of “King John” two days ago, with poet Joan McGavin!):

Prince Henry:  Good morrow, Ned.

Poins:  Good morrow, Sweet Hal. What says Monsieur Remorse? What says Sir John Sack-and-Sugar? Jack, how agrees the devil and thee about thy soul that thou soldest him on Good Friday last, for a cup of Madeira and a good capon’s leg?

Prince Henry:  Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have his bargain, for he was never yet a breaker of proverbs; he will give the devil his due.

Poins:  Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil.

Prince Henry:  Else he has been damned for cozening the devil.

Poins:  But my lads, my lads, tomorrow morning, by four o’clock early at Gadshill. There are pilgrims going to Canterbury with rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat purses.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ROY G. BIV: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Self learns today that ROY G. BIV stands for the following colors:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Indigo
  • Violet

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge involves sharing “an image that contains all the colors of the rainbow.”

Quite Easily Done!

Self has currently been partaking of the glories of the United Kingdom. Naturally, she’s been taking photos like crazy. London and Dublin are extremely colorful places.

Somewhere near Blackfriars Bridge, South Bank, London

Somewhere near Blackfriars Bridge, South Bank, London

A few days ago, self was invited by her friend, poet Joan McGavin, to participate in a demonstration for action on climate change. The gathering took place near Lambeth Bridge on Wednesday, 17 June 2015. Self noticed a young woman wearing the most beautiful jacket.  She asked where the woman had bought her jacket. The response: Camden Market. It only cost 20 pounds.

A Demonstration Calling for Action on Climate Change: Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A Demonstration Calling for Action on Climate Change: Wednesday, 17 June 2015

And finally, a shot from the day self spent in Cambridge, visiting ex-classmate Dodo Duterte Stanley:

Cambridge, UK: Punting boats waiting for passengers on the River Cam

Cambridge, UK: Punting boats waiting for passengers on the River Cam

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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