Stanford East Asian Studies

Self has never been to a Stanford Alumni Homecoming. Not one. Even though her house is only six miles from Stanford.

Today, to honor how her parents supported her through a masters in East Asian Studies, concentration in Chinese, she picks up one of her East Asian Studies textbooks: China’s Imperial Past: An Introduction to Chinese History and Culture, by Charles O. Hucker.

p. 208:

The Buddha won converts in part because it is clear that his was an electric personality. But he also had a superb intellect, and his conception of the human condition was at once breathtakingly brilliant and utterly simple. Its essence is: There is no Brahma; there is no Atman. What keeps you in this world of illusion, propelling you from one life to the next, is no more than your own craving for existence and for self-ness. If you really want to get off the merry-go-round of endless suffering and rebirth, then realize you are on it only because you want to be. To get off, all you have to do is let go!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

A Bookshelf Survey (Tagged by j4mieleigh)

Thanks, j4mieleigh, for tagging self in the Bookshelf Survey!

Here are some of self’s answers:

Find a book on your shelves for each of your initials:

M would be for Mockingjay (Book 3 in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins)

V would be for Victor Klemperer, whose meticulous diary of his days living out World War II in Dresden, Germany are searing and humane and unforgettable.

Count your age along your bookshelves. What do you land on?

Self ran out of bookshelf space. Honest-to-God.

No, actually, most of her books are in Redwood City, California. She only has a dozen books with her right now.

Find a book that takes place in your city or state.

Self has to be tiresome again. She has no “city or state.” Unless you consider Facebook a place. She’s there every day.

Find a book set somewhere you would love to travel to.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare is mostly set in Wales. Apart from one brief stop on the ferry from Dublin to London, self has never been to Wales. Perhaps next year?

Find a book cover in your favorite color:

Self’s favorite color is BLUE.

Here’s the cover to a book she’s almost finished reading:

DSCN0955

Detail, Book Cover: ERAGON, by Christopher Paolini

Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

Break It Down, by Lydia Davis. That collection rocked her world.

Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

The Horse Whisperer? She just wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion. Because the events in it are pretty terrible. Worse, they are true.

Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest sense of accomplishment?

Eldest, by Christopher Paolini. It is 700 pages.

And, to be honest, The Strain, by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Because it is Horror. And because self lives alone. And hears things in the night. All the time.

Do you have a special place at home for reading?

The bed. Hands down.

When do you usually read?

Anytime and all the time, if possible.

Can you read while listening to music/ watching TV?

Umm. No.

What do you use for bookmarks?

Right now, book postcards that were handed out at the most recent Cork International Short Story Festival. The artwork for them is mostly incredible.

Are your book spines creased or unbroken?

No. (To elaborate: None of her book spines are creased or unbroken. Her favorite books have stuff written on the margins. Even, coffee stains)

What is the last book you bought?

Middlemarch, by George Eliot

Self hereby tags Dee Dee Chainey (curator of the Twitter hashtag Folklore Thursday) and Laura Dodge Meyer whose blog is The Second Fifty.

Stay tuned!

 

Memory: Sylvain Landry SL-14

From the prompt: Find “places full of history that explode in our memories” — Sylvain Landry

Self loves exploring, and here’s what she came up with while looking for photos that evoke memory. Not sure this is exactly what Sylvain Landry had in mind. But the flag evokes our shared national history, summer, tradition, nostalgia, pride. It’s a repository of memories.

Redwood City's annual Fourth of July parade -- one of the oldest Fourth of July parades in the nation

Redwood City’s annual Fourth of July parade — one of the oldest Fourth of July parades in the nation

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Joseph O’Connor’s STAR OF THE SEA, Prologue

We had chopped across a filthy-tempered Irish Sea and docked at Kingstown to take on provisions; then crept down the jagged south-east coast, making for Queenstown in the county of Cork (or ‘Cobh’ as it is known in the Gaelic language). Seeing Wicklow glide past, or Wexford or Waterford, seemed to many a bitter taunt, a poultice being ripped from a putrefying wound. A consumptive blacksmith from the town of Bunclody jumped the upperdeck rail near Forlorn Point and was last seen swimming weakly towards the shore, every last shred of his will employed to bring him back to the place where his death was certain.

Star of the Sea, by Joseph O’Connor: Prologue, page xvi

Photo Credit: Andrew de Jesus

Photo Credit: Andrew de Jesus

It’s a novel of the potato famine and the Irish immigration to America. And self saw the play of it last night in Galway.

Shattering. The woman sitting next to self couldn’t speak afterwards, she was crying so much.

Stay tuned.

Beneath Your Feet: The Sea City Museum in Southampton

Self is posting this as a tie-in to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:  BENEATH YOUR FEET.

The Daily Post says:

Experiment with your angle. Stand as you snap your picture, or get close to the floor.

In July, self visited the Sea City Museum in Southampton, which has a fantastic exhibit on the Titanic.

Until then, self had no idea about:

  1. Where do icebergs come from?
  2. Where are icebergs made?
  3. Which part of the Titanic sank first: the bow, or the head?
  4. Poop decks: what are they?

Here is a floor map of the city of Southampton. The red dots mark the homes of the crew who went down on the Titanic. Apparently, a majority of the Titanic’s crew of 897 were from Southampton. Of the almost 900 crew members, only 212 made it home. Which makes perfect sense when you are reminded (by the exhibit) that the crew bunked in the bowels of the ship, near the engines. They had no chance to escape once the ship hit the iceberg (It took less than an hour for the ship to become completely submerged)

Floor Map of the City of Southampton, part of the Sea City Museum's Titanic Exhibit

Floor Map of the City of Southampton, part of the Sea City Museum’s Titanic Exhibit

Further Areas of Southampton Showing Homes of the Titanic crew who drowned

Further Areas of Southampton Showing Homes of the Titanic crew who drowned

As self said earlier, it’s a floor map.

Here’s her friend Joan McGavin, who lives in Southampton, pointing out other place markers to self.

Joan McGavin pointing to (something?) on the floor map of Southampton at the Sea City Museum: July 2015

Joan McGavin pointing to (something?) on the floor map of Southampton at the Sea City Museum: July 2015

It was a fantastic exhibit. Self highly recommends it to anyone who has heard about the Titanic, watched the movie, or just wants to know about social classes in England in the early part of the 20th century.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What Is a Mestizo?

From J. H. Elliott’s review of Imperialism and the Origins of Mexican Culture, by Colin M. MacLachlan, in The New York Review of Books, 9 July 2015:

Although the racial definiton of a Mestizo is a person born to Indian and European parents, a better definition of a Mestizo is a person who functions within a modified culture drawn from both the indigenous and European historical-cultural experience: in short, those who embrace cultural mestizaje and organize their personal life and behavior accordingly.

Colonial Mexico was “an acutely caste-conscious society, in which the boundaries of each casta would be meticulously delineated in the famous sets of eighteenth-century casta paintings, more than a hundred of which are known.”

And that is all self can post for now, but she is sure dear blog readers will agree that image and reality are so far apart in the matter of race because no one wants to acknowledge any blurring of categories. It is just too difficult. But identity cannot be constructed without taking account of race, so what are we to do?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Why Self Loves Warlocks and Werewolves and What Not: CLOCKWORK PRINCE, Chapter 11 (“Wild Unrest”)

First of all, self didn’t get a wink of sleep last night.

Second, writing is hard work. VERY VERY hard work.

Third, just see how you’d like reading 600 pages of The Third Reich of War (The chapter self is on describes how rich Hermann Goring was: he owned 10 villas, all of which were crammed with expensive artwork, and all of which were subsidized at German taxpayers’ expense. Just a few pages before, self read how a Jewish nurse at Auschwitz accompanied her son voluntarily to the gas chamber, during one of the last waves of gassings at the camp: October 1944)

So self hardly needs to explain why she goes for a little fantasy now and then. (How very forward-thinking of her to bring along her copies of Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess to the UK! She usually isn’t that pro-active!)

Anyhoo, Clockwork Prince, which most readers seem to think is “Jem’s book.” NOT!

While our boy Will Herondale is dreadfully discomposed, or disoriented, or whatevers, by the events therein, he is most decidedly NOT out of the picture entirely!

From the Oxford Dictionary of English in Cottage # 2 at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre

From the Oxford Dictionary of English in Cottage # 2 at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre

In a side-story, a Downworlder named Ragnor Fell is sniffing around Yorkshire to dig up information for the Clave on what exactly the Herondale family is doing in Ravenscar Manor, which is owned by the Magister (aka Mortmain aka Evil Person Who Has Been Trying to Abduct Tessa Gray Since FOREVER). Ragnor reports his findings to Charlotte in a very circumlocutious (but charming) letter which reads, in part, thus:

Ravenscar itself is near a small village. I set myself up at the local inn, the Black Swan, and posed as a gentleman interested in buying property in the area. The locals have been most forthcoming with information, and when they were not, a persuasion spell or two helped them to see the matter from my point of view.

It seems the Herondales mix very little with local society.

It’s now raining! OMG, it was hot as all get-out all day. Thank you for the rain!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Courts of the Third Reich: September 1943

German prisons were getting extremely overcrowded, by 1943. To alleviate the situation, “the time that was now allowed to elapse between sentencing and execution was often no more than a few hours, certainly not long enough for appeals for clemency to be prepared and considered.”

Part 5, Chapter II of The Third Reich at War (“The Beginning of the End”) p. 515:

On the night of 7 – 8 September 1943, the Ministry of Justice ordered the immediate hanging of 194 prisoners in the Plotzensee Jail in Berlin to reduce the overcrowding, which had become worse since an air raid had damaged a number of cells in the prison. After 78 had been killed, in batches of eight, it was discovered that the wrong files had been taken out of the prison office, and six of the prisoners executed had not been sentenced to death at all. Characteristically, the Ministry officials focused not on dealing, even if retrospectively, with this injustice but on finding the six other prisoners who should have been executed.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Goebbels’ Speech at the Berlin Sports Palace: 18 February 1943

And self is back to reading The Third Reich at War!

At first glance, the below text might seem like something out of a play. Mebbe Tamburlaine the Great, or Richard II.

Oh no, on second thought, the writing is just too bad. It’s just one long, hysterical shriek of racial hatred. It may be considered an example of exhortation, a rhetorical device. Delivered with a very blunt instrument.

Self will reproduce it here, minus editorial comment:

  • Behind the onrushing Soviet divisions we can already see the Jewish liquidation squads, which loom behind terror, the spectre of millions going hungry and total anarchy in Europe. Here international Jewry is once more proving itself to be the devilish element of decomposition . . .  We have never been afraid of Jewry and we are less afraid today than ever! The aim of Bolshevism is the world revolution of the Jews . . .  Germany at least does not intend to quail before this Jewish threat; rather, to meet it with the timely, if necessary total and most radical exclusion of Jewry!

— p. 280, The Third Reich at War, Part 3 (“The Final Solution”)

Victor Klemperer, Dresden, 1942

On 14 February 1942, Klemperer, aged 60 and in less than perfect health, was ordered to report for work clearing snow off the streets. He was married to a non-Jew; his wife was called a “Jew’s whore.”

They ransacked his house, taking away everything of value. Except for — the diaries.

“Desperately worried that the Gestapo would find his diaries (one is murdered for lessser misdemeanors), Klemperer started to get his wife to take them” to a “non-Jewish friend” for safekeeping.

“But,” he wrote, “I shall go on writing . . . This is my heroism. I intend to bear witness, precise witness!”

— from The Third Reich at War, Part 3 (“The Final Solution”), p. 252

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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