Abaddon’s Gate (Book #3 of The Expanse), p. 13

Last night, she read the last page of Hidden Valley Road, and was so moved. The family imploded, the strain was too much. But running through it all was the indomitable will of three women: the mother who produced six schizophrenic sons, the youngest daughter who endured sexual abuse, and the scientist who studied schizophrenia and kept such meticulous notes that even when her study was shelved, another set of researchers found her observations invaluable. It was such a perfect ending. Self cried!

Self is back to reading about the adventures of Jim Holden and his plucky crew. Must say, it was a relief to be back with the familiar characters of The Expanse. She can now see the absolute value of a fiction series. You get vested in the characters, of course you do. Even though she didn’t admire Caliban’s War as much as Leviathan Wakes, it had a truly thrilling back half.

Anyhoo, this installment begins with a jaw-dropping action prologue (of course) before re-uniting us with the crew of the Rocinante:

Amos had spent thirty grand during a stopover on Callisto, buying them some after-market engine upgrades. When Holden pointed out that the Roci was already capable of accelerating fast enough to kill her crew and asked why they’d need to upgrade her, Amos had replied, “Because this shit is awesome.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

A Lexicon of Filipino Fruits and Vegetables (Just Because)

  • Bamboo shoots – labong
  • Banana – saging
  • Bottle gourd – upo
  • Cabbage – repolyo
  • Calamansi – calamansi
  • Cashew nuts – Kasuy
  • Cauliflower – koliflor
  • Chickpeas – garbansos
  • Chico – chico
  • Chinese cabbage – pechay Baguio
  • “Chinese” peas – chicharo (one of self’s faaaavorite vegetables, growing up in Manila)
  • Coconut – niyog
  • Corn – mais
  • Cucumber – pipino
  • Custard apple – atis
  • Eggplant – talong
  • Fern leaves – pako
  • Ginger – luya
  • Green snap beans – habichuelas
  • Guava – bayabas
  • Lanzones – lansones
  • Lima bean – patani
  • Long cow pea – sitaw
  • Mango – mango
  • Mangosteen – mangostan
  • Melon – melon
  • Mung bean – mongo
  • Mustard – mustasa
  • Papaya – papaya
  • Peanut – mani
  • Pineapple – piña
  • Pomelo – suha
  • Potato – patatas
  • Santol – santol
  • Squash – kalabasa
  • Strawberry – stroberi (lol)
  • Swamp cabbage – kangkong
  • Sweet peppers – sili
  • Sweet potato – kamote
  • Taro – gabi
  • Tomato – kamatis
  • Turmeric – luyang dilaw
  • Watermelon – pakwan (Dear Departed Sister loved chewing pakwan seeds)
  • Yam – ubi (Ubi ice cream is the best!)

HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD, pp. 47 – 48

Kolker’s a very good writer. He has to be, to get the reader through this story. Self has been reading with a sense of growing horror.

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Peter, the tenth son, was born on November 15, 1960. This time, Mimi had a long stay in the hospital afterward with a severe prolapse, along with a blood clot in her left leg. Now there were fewer jokes about how Mimi ought to wear garlic to bed to fend off her husband at night. Her doctor gravely told her that her childbearing years were behind her. Fifteen years of more or less continuous pregnancy, labor, and delivery would seem to be enough for anyone. But Mimi did not seem interested in listening, even when others pleaded with her.

“Really, dear, you should give poor ‘Major Galvin’ a turn at the hospital,” Mimi’s paternal grandfather, Lindsey Blayney, wrote to her. “But, seriously, I am concerned about you.”

* * *

In 1961, mere months after giving birth to Peter, Mimi became pregnant for the eleventh time.

Seriously, she was hospitalized for a long time, and almost the first thing she does after getting home is get pregnant again? So they were Catholic, didn’t believe in birth control etc., but — seriously? Apart from the health problems, who was going to be financially responsible for all these children?

When Mimi’s grandfather received a Christmas card from Mimi showing her 10 children arrayed along a winding staircase, she and her husband at the head, she carrying her eleventh, he said he found the photo “startling.” I’d say!

What is wrong with the husband also? It’s not just his wife’s responsibility!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. And read more books.

From A History of Negros, by Fr. Angel Martinez Cuesta, Recollect

Chapter II: Discovery and Early Colonization (1565 – 1600)

Captain Martin de Goiti and one-hundred Spanish soldiers arrived in Negros because they had been told by other natives that “rice abounded” on the island:

However, they found the towns deserted and with hardly any provisions since the natives had fled to the hills … They stayed in Tanjay, meaning to make friends …

They found another abandoned town … the Spanish went there and found the natives ready to fight. A skirmish occurred and a native was killed and another captured while three Spaniards were wounded. The inhabitants took advantage of the fight to cross a river and escape. In the meantime, the Spaniards would not cross the river.

 

Mama’s Last Hug, pp. 243 – 244

This has been a most interesting read. She’s almost to the end, she thought author Frans de Waal could say nothing more that would surprise her, but she was wrong.

  • Attraction to meat has shaped our social evolution. The gathering of fruits, which are small and dispersed, is mostly an individual job, but the hunting of large game demands teamwork. One man alone doesn’t bring home a giraffe or mammoth. Our ancestors deviated from the apes by hunting animals larger than themselves, which required the sort of camaraderie and mutual dependence that is at the root of complex societies. We owe our cooperative nature, our food-sharing tendencies, our sense of fairness, and even our morality to the subsistence hunting of our ancestors. Furthermore, since carnivores are on average larger-brained than herbivores and since brains require a great deal of energy to grow and operate, the consumption of animal protein along with effective food processing (such as fermentation and cooking) are seen as driving forces behind our ancestors’ neural expansion. Animal protein provided them with the optimal mix of calories, lipids, proteins, and essential B12 vitamins to grown large brains.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Current Reading, First Friday in May 2020

The things self learns! Her house is a mess. Stacks of books piled everywhere.

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Mama’s Last Hug, p. 41:

  • People who have just fallen in love have more oxytocin in their blood than do singles, and their high concentration lasts if their relationship lasts. But oxytocin also shields pair-bonds from sexual adventures with outsiders. When married men are given this hormone in a nasal spray, they feel uncomfortable around attractive women and prefer to keep their distance.

 

 

Self’s MC Writes a Letter to the Archbishop of Madrid

This self-isolation thing is the gift that keeps on giving. Self is churning out 16th century correspondence like nobody’s business.

Here’s an excerpt from a letter she — or rather, her Main Character — composed about twenty minutes ago. It’s first draft (though self has been reading 16th century for months now, so the voice is definitely something she is used to). Apologies for the lack of transition between paragraphs. Her MC’s a little, shall we say, distracted!

Your Reverence,

This is not the first time the English have resorted to such methods. In fact, I am told there are half a dozen Spaniards held in such manner. The situation of the prisoners is very precarious, for the English say they have no compunction about hanging them if no ransom is forthcoming.

In other news, the Filipinas is much heartened by the fact that two galleons made it unmolested to New Spain. They will shortly be on their return journey, and I have put in an order for two icons of the Blessed Virgin.

Those English blackguards! They’re nothing but mercenaries!

Also, please hurry delivering those Blessed Virgin icons to Isla del Fuego.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 90: DISTANCE

This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is DISTANCE.

These days, everyone’s talking about and hopefully practicing “Social Distancing”. Since it’s something we should all be doing, we thought a challenge focused on DISTANCE might be an appropriate reminder of its importance.

Self visited New Mexico over the holidays. The place still fascinates.

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Cranes in a field near Albuquerque, New Mexico: Late December 2019

Self loves London’s bridges. She loves the view, she loves the bustling river traffic.

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London, November 2019

Finally, self was fascinated by Cornwall, which she visited for the first time last May, to attend the Fowey Festival of the Arts (Traditionally held in May, the festival’s been postponed to late September),

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Sailboat near Fowey, Cornwall: May 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Twitch Upon the Thread: BR Book Three, Ch. 1

My theme is memory, that winged host that soared about me one grey morning of war-time.

These memories, which are my life — for we possess nothing certainly except the past — were always with me. Like the pigeons of St. Mark’s, they were everywhere, under my feet, singly, in pairs, in little honey-voiced congregations, nodding, strutting, winking, rolling the tender feathers of their necks, perching sometimes, if I stood still, on my shoulder; until, suddenly, the noon gun boomed and in a moment, with a flutter and sweep of wings, the pavement was bare and the whole sky above dark with a tumult of fowl.

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: PICK A TOPIC FROM THE PHOTO

Self’s topic is WHITE.

There are many white flowers in her Redwood City garden, blooming now. Such as:

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