Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: 2 Items

It’s a good day whenever self can participate in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. The week’s Fun Foto Challenge is 2 ITEMS OR THE NUMBER 2.

Here are a couple of pics with ‘2 Items.’

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Whipped Cheesecake, Drury Lane, London, May 2019

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Bridge Near Prague’s Jewish Quarter (No time to look up the name of the bridge, self will just wing it!), May 2019

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These two windows were directly across self’s in Hotel Aria, Prague, May 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Oh Hey There, Arya’s Left Eyebrow

Season 8, Episode 2: A Sort-of Review

Those nasty nasty showrunners knew from Season 2 that we would end up here. The minute Season 8 Gendry stuck his sword into that vat of whatever-sends-up-steam-like-a-veritable-fog-machine, it was Gendrya, all the way. This scene has happened before, only back then Arya was 11 or 12 and Gendry had never been with a woman. Now, Arya is 17 or 18, and post-Melisandre Gendry has apparently not been traumatized for life because he admitted to Lady Arya that he’s been with three women. THREE! (Self loves the moment when Arya oh-so-casually drops the “Was that the first time you’ve been with a woman” and Gendry’s astonished “What???!!!!” Gendry, and all the viewers who’d seen 12-year-old Arya making heart eyes at Gendry’s abs, were STUNNED! STUNNED! But surely we wouldn’t have wanted another unrequited love — like self’s other favorite ship, Brienne and Jaime! — for our Dear Little Murder Child!)

Looking forward to this Sunday. For these specific reasons:

  1. More of Arya’s raised eyebrows. When Arya’s eyebrow goes up, it means she’s ready for business.
  2. More of Gendry, in any shape or form, though preferably hot and sweaty in the forge, with exposed clavicles.
  3. Crypt turning into a foodfest for White Walkers — what can self say, she really likes The Walking Dead! Since no less than six different characters (Gendry, Jon, Dany, Sam, Gilly and Ser Jorah) were made to state out loud (in Episode 2) that the crypts were “the safest place,” the feeding frenzy will probably be worse than an American high school cafeteria at lunch!

Season 8, Episode 2 joins self’s favorite Game of Thrones episodes of all time:

the one where Brienne is about to get eaten by a bear, otherwise known as The Bear and the Maiden Fair

the one where the Kingslayer goes au naturel in a pool with Brienne and then very conveniently faints in Brienne’s arms (Unfortunately this episode marked the high point in their relationship, for Jaime subsequently returned to his sister’s loving arms, and self lost all respect for the character and wished he’d crawl off somewhere and die)

Self knows not why Season 7’s Gendry was so wimpy. In Season 8, he is decidedly NOT wimpy. He’s back at the forge, where he can be observed (by Arya. And the viewers) in the best possible light (steamy, with sparks of metal upon metal: self could go on).

Stay tuned.

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Smooth

Self missed last week’s Fun Foto Challenge. But this week, the Challenge is SMOOTH.

Here are: a sidewalk near Fleet Street, London (smooth sidewalk); a canal in Cambridge (smooth, tranquil boat ride); and sweet potato fries and an assortment of (smooth) dips!

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London, Near Fleet Street: 20 November 2018

And here’s Cambridge University, during last November’s Cambridge Literary Festival:

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Cambridge, England: 25 November 2018

And here’s a dish from Coupa Cafe, whose owner might be Venezuelan because there are a number of Venezuelan items on the menu:

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Sweet Potato Fries w/ an Assortment of Dips: Coupa Cafe, Los Altos, CA

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Deconstructing Swann’s Way

Self has to resort to all sorts of mental tricks to keep reading Swann’s Way.

She makes the decision, after reading to p. 44, that she’ll consider Combray and Swann In Love as two separate works — two novellas, if you will. And thus, she’s reading them simultaneously. Because if she follows the sequence in the book — she’s finished Chapter 1, and finished reading the part about the madeleine — Chapter 2 is a very long reminiscence about the town. While Swann In Love is about socializing, with all sorts of fascinating words to consider: for instance, the word “bourgeois.” Self, who is so easily exasperated these days (which is just another way of saying she is stressed), may get exasperated enough to stop reading Swann’s Way. And she would consider that a regrettable moral failure.

So, to forestall any such feelings of exasperation, she skips ahead to Swann In Love, resolving to return to Ch. 2 of Combray (and using two bookmarks) after she’s finished Part II.

Maybe she’ll even read Part III, Place Names: The Name before returning to Combray.

What a disgustingly eccentric way to read Swann’s Way, but there you have it. Self would love to extract maximum pleasure and understanding from this book, and this is the only way she thinks she can do it.

Stay tuned.

Last Sunday in London

Self is in her room, reading a copy of The Guardian.

The trial of the “man who drove his car into a crowd of activists who  had been protesting against a white nationalist rally, leaving one woman dead and several injured,” has begun in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This morning, self returned to the Royal Academy of Art for a repeat viewing of the Oceania Exhibit.

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Royal Academy of Art: Sunday, 2 December 2018

She liked it even more, the second time around. She stayed watching the video for nearly an hour.

The little handout that accompanies the exhibit starts with:

Two-hundred and fifty years ago, in August 1768, four months before George III founded the Royal Academy of Arts, Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook left Plymouth in command of the HMS Endeavour.

She remembers reading a book by Tony Horwitz: Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before and, well, that book must have made quite an impression because it fixed Captain Cook’s voyage forever in her memory and now, 15 years later, here she is, in London, having seen the Oceania exhibit twice!

As she left the Royal Academy (still in a daze of cultural overload), she happened to notice that there was a store across the street called FORTNUM & MASON. And the display windows were so Christmas-y! She decided to check it out:

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Fortnum & Mason: Sunday, 2 December 2018

Self entered through a revolving door and promptly found herself in the middle of a mob scene the like of which she has never experienced in London. What she means: people were grabbing blue boxes of chocolates off shelves directly in front of her, and pushing them into shopping carts. Yes, dear blog readers. English people were pushing shopping carts around a store, the contents consisting entirely of chocolate. There were boxes of dark chocolate, boxes of milk chocolate, boxes of assorted chocolate, boxes of chocolate with nuts, boxes of chocolate with creamy centers — you name it.

Self decided then and there that she would not leave the store without sampling some of this delightful chocolate. A shopgirl told her to take a number. She was # 19. She then asked the shopgirl what were the most popular chocolate purchases, and the girl replied, without any hesitation: TRUFFLES. Caramel Salt.

OMGGGGGGG

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Chocolate Counter, Fortnum & Mason: Sunday, 2 December 2018

She wanted to buy a box of chocolates for son and daughter-in-law, but didn’t know what kind they liked: milk chocolate or not? And this is when self bitterly regretted that her Verizon phone does not work. Has not worked for two months. In fact, Verizon just e-mailed self that she would not be able to avail of their international services. Thank you, Verizon, FOR TELLING SELF WHAT SHE ALREADY KNOWS.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Re-reading Robert E. Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power

An emotional response to a situation is the single greatest barrier to power, a mistake that will cost you a lot more than any temporary satisfaction you might gain by expressing your feelings. — Robert Greene


Plus, from one of her old journals:

  • Today I had a massage . . . lol

Written, of course, in Bacolod. In Bacolod, self was always so mellow. She was never angry. A one-hour massage averaged 500 pesos, about $9. She had daily massage, over there. Heck, she could even have had two massages daily, if she felt like it. All the masahistas had strong, unerring hands. They seemed to know by instinct. Only once did self ever have a bad message in Bacolod: the woman just moved her hands skimmingly over the skin, didn’t really knead it. Ugh, self felt she’d spent a full hour just being tickled.

One night, during a massage, self kept hearing the distant, popping sounds of what she thought were gunshots. It made her so uneasy. The masahista said it was Firecrackers. Oh, it was New Year’s Eve? It had completely slipped self’s mind.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Bourdain: Ugly Crying

Not real. Not real. Not real.

In celebration of food, community, and life, all the food pictures self can pull from her archives in 15 minutes:

  1. Cherries, Belmont Farmers Market, May 2018
  2. Leeks, Palo Alto Farmers Market, April 2018
  3. Giant Tomato, Mendocino Art Center, March 2018
  4. Buko Pie, Philippine Airlines, January 2018
  5. Dearest Mum’s Lunch, Manila, January 2018
  6. UP Town Center, Diliman, Quezon City, January 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

George Saunders! Such a Card!

There is something about reading George Saunders that makes self want to laugh in irrepressible delight (Sorry. There was a time when only self knew the two words: George Saunders. She decided he would be her secret indulgence, for the rest of her life. Then he became quote unquote famous. Now, when she shares her love for a George Saunders sentence, she sounds overly enthusiastic, like a groupie)

Nevertheless! Here she is reading Lincoln in the Bardo Page One:

On our wedding day I was forty-six, she was eighteen.

. . . .

I proposed that we should be . . .  friends. Should behave outwardly, in all things, as if we had consummated our arrangement.

(Har Har Har)

Page Two:

She is here, still here.

(Har Har Har again!)

I was not an inexperienced man — had been wild when young; had spent sufficient time (I am ashamed to say) in Marble Alley . . .

(Har to the nth!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Twisted: Belmont, CA Farmer’s Market

Bought $11 worth of cherries.

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The Warriors won last night. All’s right in the world.

Stay tuned.

“Blood, Romps, and Lashings”: The Guardian Review of VERSAILLES, Season 1

Self is watching Versailles Season 2. She is so happy the series was renewed! It has proved extremely addictive.

The Guardian: With ladies in milky baths, ocular torture and piles of flesh, Versailles returns for more pre-revolution rumbustiousness (Shouldn’t that be rambunctiousness? Whatever). But is there depth beneath the bling?

Where were we then in Versailles, which returns for a second series? The palace is still under construction, and 1,000 workers have died so far. Versailles was clearly the Qatar of its day, and those gold gates are very Gulf State chic, no?

The writer is Sam Wollaston.

Self bows to your wicked wit, Sir. She bows.

From her visit to Versailles, May 2017:

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Versailles, 28 May 2017: It was too bloody hot.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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