Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (CFFC): Week of 22 June

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is:

Ground: sand, dirt, paths, walks, trails, roads

Self woke up this morning in beautiful, calming Paso Robles and decided to explore the paths winding around the gardens of her Inn. It’s in a great location: right in the heart of downtown Paso Robles. Across the street is a public park. This morning, there was a wee farmers market and even though self was not in the least bit hungry, she couldn’t resist buying a few cookies after she found out they were mango-oatmeal cookies.

The footbridge crosses a narrow stream filled with some fat carp.

There is a short “reflexology path.” She would love to walk barefoot along the stones!

A sign explains what a reflexology path is:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Summer 2021 Read # 2: FIND YOU FIRST

Scorching hot day. Downtown, everyone’s in t-shirts. Yes, it is summer. Kids ran madly around the lobby of the Century 20. Self has been sleeping an average of four hours a night, thinking much of Dear Departed Mum. But today, she is determined to keep ambulatory. Hence, the movie (Raya and the Last Dragon), the books. After the movie, a stop at Go Poke. Movies are back, restaurants are back, even traffic is back.

Oak Flat: The Fight for Sacred Land in the American West was a great book. Her next, Find You First, is, according to Stephen King, “the best book” of Linwood Barclay’s career.

For self, all thrillers must be measured against the beginning of Eddie’s Boy, by Thomas Perry. Page one of Eddie’s Boy, there were already three bodies in the trunk of the main character’s Bentley and he hadn’t even broken into a sweat.

This one begins rather slow, with a loser grifter and his pathetic burner phone. Next is a young documentarian in an old folks’ home; sadly, the chapter does not slay. Then we have the millionaire/billionaire with the boring name of Miles Cookson, receiving a diagnosis of Huntington’s which is dementia mixed with Parkinson’s mixed with something else, and next he’s driving 90 in his speedster Porsche and being pulled over. A Porsche, btw, is a really really boring car. Leather bucket seats? So what else is new. She sees a lot of them around here, but it would be better to have a Tesla. Or some sort of hybrid luxury ride, like a Lexus SUV.

That’s all self has read so far. (Maybe the cop will try to kill the millionaire/billionaire? Let’s hope!)

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Lean, Mean, Killing Machine

Jason Statham is back in his own star vehicle, Wrath of Man. The man who The New York Times‘s Michiko Kakutani once called a “bullet-headed looker” is back.

You know who else is back? Josh Hartnett. Yup, that’s right, Josh Hartnett, who self hasn’t seen on the big screen since The Faculty (1998!). When not required to be a heartthrob, the guy can act. Self means, really act.

And you know who else is in this movie? Clint Eastwood’s son Scott Eastwood. Who plays the badest badass she’s ever seen in a movie in a while. The kind of bad guy you’d cheer to see vivisected. Good turn, Scott Eastwood! (From certain angles, she swears she almost thought it was Clint)

The final set-piece, self didn’t think she took a breath once. It was all action, and the action had the remorselessness of a yakuza movie. Or of The Raid.

Who is that actor who plays Jason Statham’s son in the movie? Self has never seen him in her life, but he is well cast. She looks him up later — he has that kind of fey quality some British actors have when very young, but the actor turns out to be from OREGON. Big surprise! Turns out Americans are capable of turning out their own fey, young actors. LOL

There is no “closure,” not really.

Self would say she still liked Mortal Kombat better, since Wrath of Man is so unrelentingly grim. But she liked it ever so much more than Here Today, which put her to sleep.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Angst in All the Devils Are Here

Whew! The angst in this mystery. There’s enough angst here to power a whole galaxy. Everyone in the family is a suspect to Inspector Armand Gamache, including his own son!

Did self mention the angst?

The angst also comes wrapped in a bow in the person of Jean-Guy Beauvoir, former hardscrabble kid (from East Montreal; self never having been to Montreal, or even to Quebec, she can only imagine the horrors of growing up in East Montreal), “found” and made his boss’s No. 2, thereby earning a) the love of the boss’s daughter; b) the hatred of the boss’s son; and c) the curiosity of every reader of Louise Penny’s Inspector Armand Gamache’s series (mostly female, self’s assuming)

Better than the mystery is the suspicion, the miscommunication, the times we worry for Jean-Guy Beauvoir (there’s “something wild” about him, muses a character in this book), the times he’s called stupid by a prissy female colleague (French), the times Inspector Gamache’s son Daniel looks at him with deep hatred, the times Jean-Guy looks at his boss and mentor with fierce protectiveness.

Self doesn’t know if Jean-Guy is as integral to every Inspector Armand Gamache book as he is in this one, but let’s just put it this way: if you do not like the character of Jean-Guy Beauvoir, you will probably not like All the Devils are Here.

Self, it turns out, does like the character, hence she likes this installment (#16!!!) of the Inspector Armand Gamache series, very much.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

One Word Sunday Challenge: SIX

Travel with Intent has come up with a very interesting theme for this Sunday: SIX.

At first, self started browsing her archives and looking for pictures with six objects, six people, six flowers and so forth. But she came up empty.

Instead, she selected pictures of six meals she prepared during the pandemic! Who knew food mattered so much.

Two of the six are Filipino specialties: sinigang stew, and adobo fried rice.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: ATE or EIGHT

Cee Neuner thinks of the most inventive prompts.

This week’s Fun Foto Challenge asks us to photograph something we ATE or something with the number EIGHT.

Since food is constantly on self’s mind, she decided to do a gallery of recent fare. Clockwise:

  • Fondue with a friend in Left Bank, Menlo Park (outdoor dining is absolutely packed, all the time).
  • Steamed pork buns from the Belmont Farmers Market
  • Self loves mushrooms and pasta. The mushrooms were from the Menlo Park Farmers Market.
  • Last night’s dinner: broccoli, pineapple, and orange chicken, which self’s friends tell her is just gross (but which self found dee-lish!).
  • Self just discovered this ice cream (the maker is a family in Santa Cruz, just south of here) and LOOOVES it.

NOTE: Self is always masked, always. And whenever she returns from “outside,” she spends a good long time washing her hands.

Thanks ever so much for doing such a Fun Foto Challenge, Cee!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Here It Comes!

SUPERBOWL! Of course self has to observe the day. All her friends are off watching too, so it’s like a big Superbowl party, only . . . in different countries.

She went to the Belmont Farmers Market early this morning and came back with pork buns, which she’s going to have with cold beer. She bought a big bag of chips yesterday, but she ate the whole bag . . . yesterday.

Anyhoo. GO CHIEFS!

Only A Handful of 2020 Sundays Left — Praise Be

So, what did self do today? It was very chilly (She’s never raising the heat. It’s a test: to see how chilly the house gets). She wanted to go to the Palo Alto Farmers Market, because it’s been nearly three months. But she was nice and cozy under the blankets, so instead she tried to form alternative plans. Then, about 10 a.m., she decided to go. Even though, usually, at this time the lines in front of certain vendors get really long.

It’s a good thing she decided to go, because she had to try and get into a pair of jeans, for the first time in two weeks. And it was quite a struggle. Which was when she realized she’d been in denial all these past few weeks, telling herself it was okay to get a small cheesecake from her favorite cheesecake store, Namesake Cheesecake in Menlo Park, telling herself eating rice for breakfast was a good idea.

Anyhoo, she did go, and it was not crowded, and she was able to get dimsum and Indian food. On the way there, she noticed that the parking lot next to Yumi Yogurt was fenced in, and there were a lot of shopping carts filled with clothing inside the enclosure. Then, she passed Stanford and saw there was a line of RVs parallel parked on El Camino — very broken-down looking RVs. Then, she was able to find parking right away, which is saying something for Palo Alto.

She’s back now, in bed again, not watching CNN because she’s tired of people wondering why 45 won’t wear a mask. Because after four years, you’re really delusional if you think Clown will ever do the right thing. She can’t wait for him to vacate the White House, and her consciousness.

She’s reading a book of short stories called Birds of a Lesser Paradise, by Megan Mayhew Bergman. The stories are so moving. The story she’s on, Saving Face, is about a beautiful young woman whose upper lip is torn off by “a wolf hybrid,” four weeks before her wedding. And she cancels everything: her wedding, her fiancé, her looks, and her life. A year later, she’s endured several surgeries to “fix” her appearance, but she’s still very down on herself.

Which reminds her that Jason Bateman’s monologue for Saturday Night Live had a long segment about *almost* getting his face mauled by a chimpanzee, when he hosted SNL fifteen years ago. That was pretty entertaining — Jason Bateman has really, really large hands, has anyone noticed? But large hands are better than tiny hands. Where was she?

Oh yeah, the Megan Mayhew Bergman story. She hasn’t finished it yet. Will update when she does.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Gendrya: HOARFROST IN HER EYES, Ch. 1

  • She turned on Gendry with an expression of such shock, such anger he knew he should start running. She inched toward him and said in that same high, cold voice from before “Gendry Waters …. Baratheon now apparently. Gendry Baratheon.” He backed away slightly, like you might try to escape from an enraged wild animal. The courtyard seemed to quiet. Maybe Jon was saying something to Arya but she unsheathed Needle and held it at her side, advancing faster now. He took out his loaned longsword and held in front of him. It wasn’t his hammer but he’d take anything in this moment. Their weapons clanged and he just stopped her from slashing his face. She was so fast. She parried and started dancing around him while he frantically tried to block her. “Gendry” she said with a laugh and nicked his shoulder. “Gendry who know ‘Arry.” Slash. “Gendry who would never work for a lord.” Slice. “Gendry who wouldn’t serve those overgrown high-borns.” Slash. “Gendry the smith. Gendry the bull-headed fighter. Gendry who couldn’t stand the thought of subservience to a Stark brother.” She was laughing now, manically, laughing with a smile that did indeed reach her eyes. They shone with bloodlust. She disarmed him. His sword flew. She lauched herself at him, jumped on his back, wrapped her legs around his throat and brought him down. She pinned him and continued laughing saying “Gendry, Gendry, Gendry, the bastard smith. Gendry the bull-headed, bastard son of a whore.” Jon was yelling now, but Gendry didn’t make out what he was saying. Arya leaned in and whispered “Gendry wouldn’t have come here. Even the bull wasn’t that stupid. I know what you are,” and then she brought something hard and heavy down upon his head.

Four Movies

Since the downtown Century 20 re-opened, self has seen four movies. The largest audience — 10 people — was for The New Mutants. The smallest — two people — for Yellow Rose. Here are the four, ranked:

  • Tenet
  • The New Mutants
  • Yellow Rose
  • Infidel

It is a real, real pleasure to see movies on a wide-screen. Self will keep going, as long as the Century 20 is open.

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