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.

Current Everlark Obsession

  • A hundred black-hulled ships, sailing towards the pillars of Hercules.

Takes place in ancient Mesopotamia. Peeta is under the thrall of a goddess named Clove. Katniss is a slave woman he has taken as a wife. Clove tries to create mischief between the two. Annie is a minor goddess, in the thrall of Clove.

omg, the author left it on a cliff-y for over two years. A week ago, self couldn’t believe the notices dropping in her in-box, multiple chapters dropping in one day. There is a God.

The author had re-written everything from the beginning. Who does that? Who has the time? (Pandemic, thank you)

Anyhoo, the characters are the same, but they are slightly less wild (for which self mourns). Peeta was a real lout. At least he was, in the beginning. When he is a lout, his blue eyes turn completely black. Black-eyed Peeta is Katniss’s enemy, because that Peeta destroyed Katniss’s home city of Troy. Blue-eyed Peeta, however, is really something else!

There are so many gods, but Katniss’s god is a woman named Seeder.

The gods do not simply appear and disappear. They dissipate. There is always a slight blurring of the air as they do so.

Hush, now, self has to return to reading.

Monday Read: THE FILIPINOS: PORTRAIT OF A PEOPLE, by Manuel D. Duldulao

p. 13: “the past comes rushing back . . . ”

  • On election day, in full view of more than 700 foreign and local journalists, and millions of concerned citizens, Marcos’s men ripped up ballots, bought others and muzzled voters. As many as three million names were stricken off the voters’ list.

p. 16 features a description of self’s favorite Filipino dessert, halo-halo (Literal Translation: mix-mix):

  • This delicacy, served in a tall sundae glass, contains diced bananas, sweet mango, chickpeas, kidney beans, strands of macapuno (the succulent meat of a variety of coconut) — all of these in syrup — plus pinipig (kernels of crisp and delectable rice), mongo beans, corn, langka (jackfruit), sweet potato, jello, ube (purple yam preserves), and leche flan.

HUNGRY.

Doreen G. Fernandez, Food Writer, Queen

From Hometown Foods: Essays on Filipino Food:

Quiet, bucolic Silay used to have a lot of gambling for high stakes going on behind the walls of those gracious houses. Some, I was told (I never saw them) had sophisticated warning, hiding and escape systems built into them in case of an unlikely raid — unlikely because of pakikisama, because important officials were among the gamblers, because it was an important part of the community lifestyle. Tales were told and zarzuelas were written about jewelry, land titles and car registrations flung on the gambling table; of haciendas lost in a night of gaming; of marriages sacrificed at the mahjong, panguingue or monte tables, or at the cockpit.

For these gamblers, I was told, were developed for kalan-unon (kakanin) for which Silay is famous, and the accompanying institution, the manug-libud (accent on ug and ud). The kalan-unon are portable — they can be eaten without getting up from the gambling table, and they used to be made by the best cooks in Silay — maiden aunts, young wives, mothers, girls, many from the best families. The food was taken around by the manug-libud (“libud” means to take from place to place, usually to sell) to homes with or without gambling, to restaurants and schools, in large round baskets covered with cloth and carried on their heads.

Are there any chefs from Silay in the Bay Area? Are there any Filipino restaurants in Redwood City? How about Half Moon Bay? Just wondering.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

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