Vibrant 2: New York City’s High Line

Whoever was responsible for bringing the High Line into existence, self thanks you. The most beautiful things about New York City last December were:

  • the weather (shirt-sleeve weather)
  • Carnegie Hall
  • Central Park
  • High Line

She has posted many pictures of the High Line in the last two months. Here are the most vibrant ones:

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The tables above are the outdoor seating for Terroir.

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On the High Line: A Message

And the same message, only in context:

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Chelsea (Former Meatpacking District), viewed from the High Line

P.S. Interesting, isn’t it, the predominance of vibrant yellow? Self almost thinks that was deliberate!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Peeta and Johanna Mind-Swap (Fan Fic Of Course)

Do not read if you are squeamish at the thought of a Peeta/Katniss reunion, only with Peeta in Johanna’s body. Hey, if self can buy a tranny Peeta (who borrows Katniss’s clothes; it’s super-fine with Katniss), there can be a Peeta-in-Johanna’s body thing.

So, if you can, just imagine the whole “star-crossed lovers” plot with a body switch, then you will empathize with the below complications:

  • Johanna insists on taking her D-13 shower with the men.
  • Peeta can’t get used to having such small feet (They’re Johanna’s) and keeps stumbling.
  • Peeta to Katniss: “Having boobs is pretty weird.”
  • Katniss doesn’t feel comfortable kissing Peeta because he’s in Johanna’s body.
  • When Peeta is rescued, Katniss goes straight for him and hugs him fervently, not knowing that Peeta is now in Johnna and it’s now Johanna in Peeta. Katniss gets very confused when Peeta (who is actually Johanna now) just stands there without returning her embrace.
  • Gale doesn’t get jealous of all the time Katniss spends hanging out with Johanna, because he doesn’t know that it’s really Peeta inside Johanna’s body.
  • Plutarch asks Peeta to appear in a propo, Peeta just stands there looking bored (Of course Plutarch has no clue that Johanna is inside Peeta, and so forth. Self doesn’t know if she quite buys the Johanna-looking-bored-while-filming-a-propo thing. In self’s mind, a propo would be a perfect opportunity for Johanna to show off her antic nature)

Well, self could just go on and on and on and on and on, but she won’t.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Despite the Pouring Rain

When self left New York City, it was just beginning to get cold. The week before she left, she was still able to walk around Central Park in T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers!

She arrived in San Francisco to rain. Rain and rain and rain. And cold. Rain and cold. And now — storm coming! GAAAAAH!

Nevertheless —

Self dropped a new Everlark fan fic about Cheating Peeta/Stalker Delly in December. Over the past few weeks, it’s generated tremendous amount of discussion on the boards!

Gotten more comments than any fic that dropped in December!

The bare story is this: Peeta cheats on Katniss with Delly. Katniss files for divorce and decides to take time off from teaching to travel around Southeast Asia. And she cheats on Peeta. (The divorce takes a long time because, you know, California lawyers! It might be years!) The two meet in Siem Reap, Cambodia and — Kaboom! — Primal connection fireworks!

Who knew self would be getting comments like this!

  • When I get the new chapter alert in my office, I have to sneak to the comfort room so I can read. I’m very inefficient at work these days.
  • I’m addicted to Fallout 4, but yesterday when I got your story alert, I immediately dropped my controller and reached for my tablet.
  • Every chapter, I cry angry tears, it’s like you’re pounding a nail into my coffin.

Readers list possible ways to deal with the problem of Cheating Peeta:

  • Punch him in the face, Katniss!
  • Shoot him in the nuts with your bow and arrow!
  • Make Peeta grovel!
  • Find yourself some hot, sexy man!

Everlark is self’s be-all and end-all.

Stay tuned.

 

The Guardian: 75 Films to Watch in 2016

Self enjoys reading The Guardian. In particular, their film blog.

Yesterday, she stumbled across a piece called: 75 movies to look forward to in 2016.

75??? Only The Guardian would have the temerity to post such a mind-boggling list of 2016 movies.

Well, self will attempt to take a gander.

Here are her conclusions, after one read-through:

  • Keanu Reeves is back! He’s in at least three 2016 movies.
  • Michael Fassbender is in everything. Michael Shannon is in everything. Ryan Gosling is in at least two upcoming.
  • Matt Damon is back as Bourne (triple somersault YAY!) and Paul Greengrass is directing (Wowowowowowow!!!)
  • Charlie Hunnam Is. In. A. Movie (Oh God. It’s been too long)
  • Casey Affleck is in a movie. Self likes Casey Affleck. More than she likes his brother.
  • They’re making a film of Shusako Endo’s Silence! They’re making a film of Shusako Endo’s Silence! And it’s starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, and Adam Driver. Oh God.
  • Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool (And this one actually seems like it might work)
  • Jennifer Lawrence is mentioned as getting $20 million for the space movie she’s in with Chris Pratt. BTW, people? She’s worth every penny.
  • They’re making a movie (Neon Demon) about “beauty-obsessed women in L.A.” and self loves the cast: Keanu Reeves, Elle Fanning, and Christina Hendricks.
  • Star Wars spin-off Rogue One: Another Brit (Felicity Jones) stars.
  • Anthropoid, about the assassination of one of World War II’s most brutal concentration camp commanders: Reinhard Heydrich. This one stars Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy. These are two gorgeous men, dear blog readers. If self weren’t already cheering about the plot, she’d be cheering at the prospect of seeing these men’s gorgeous cheekbones in close-up on the big screen.

BTW, saw Joy and enjoyed it. It seemed rather muted for a David O. Russell film, especially one starring his muse Jennifer Lawrence. Self thinks Amy Adams could have handled that part. But Jennifer is truly a force. Self refuses to complain too much about a film that has her in it.

Stay tuned.

In the Dark Future Days of Panem . . .

There is a society where men are slaves, to be led around by leashes at all times!

Into this maelstrom of human dysfunction appears — a very prim and proper young lady named Katniss Everdeen, who doesn’t like using leashes on her personal slave, one Peeta Mellark, who she received as a gift from her aunt Effie Trinket, who procured Peeta at a slave auction!

Sample dialogue:

Peeta (to Katniss): I pray you’re not a leash person.

Katniss: Don’t worry, I’m not. My aunt Effie, maybe. She’s always wanted a puppy to walk.

Peeta: Oh God, I can see it now. Knowing Ms. Trinket it’s probably a hot pink collar studded with little sparkly diamonds.

This is Fan Fiction (Not self’s of course! Self doesn’t write anything this deliciously twisted)

Lord knows why, but just before Christmas, self undertook to write a new fan fiction, forgetting that the fan fiction universe is relentless, and once the “beast” (reader views, favorites, bookmarks, and so forth) is unleashed, it must be fed. Constantly.

For instance, today, self spent four hours re-writing the chapters she had already posted. Which was mighty confusing to her readers.

What is not confusing is the reaction to self’s (cheating) Peeta:

  • I want to reach into the computer and punch him in the face!
  • Someone please give him a black eye!
  • Why is he such a wuss? He needs to grow a pair!
  • He’s nothing but a lying, cheating Mama’s Boy!
  • I hope he and his girlfriend are struck by lightning!
  • Is this going to be Everlark? Cause I just don’t see Everlark happening in your scenario. Katniss should punch him in the face!

OMG, what just happened?

Self had to swear up and down the fan fiction universe that the story would indeed be Everlark, but now that everyone has expressed their utter disgust at “this Peeta,” self is getting second-hand revulsion feels similar to the way she used to receive second-hand smoke from The Man.

Yes, self thinks, you Peeta are nothing but a lying, cheating @@##!! (expletive deleted). The only solution would be for self to end your life (on the page)! Die, Cheating Peeta, die!

Hence, her stumbling across the Slave Peeta fic, which is actually a very interesting trope, though not quite as interesting, perhaps, as Tranny Peeta (Well helloooo, Caitlyn Jenner backwash!) or Peeta having the starring role in an all-queer production of Hamlet.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Chance Meeting, Cebu Airport

In 2010, self gave a reading at a conference in Cebu (central Philippines). From there, she flew to her Dear Departed Dad’s hometown of Bacolod.

While she waited for her Bacolod flight, she decided to get a massage. The massage place was right next to the boarding area, how convenient. The customers are shielded from view (by screens?) of people in the boarding area (but not of fellow customers, there’s a row of beds placed side-by-side), and the strange thing is, there were men and women getting full-body massages right there, mere yards away from where a whole crowd of passengers were gathered. To preserve customers’ modesty, the masseuse draped a thin towel over one’s body.

Anyhoo, the story self wants to tell is: She was freshly massaged, and her hair was standing up on end (from a scalp massage), when a man walked up to her, introduced himself as a fellow writer, and said he had attended her reading.

Self asked him where he was from, and he said Cagayan de Oro. She found out he was a fellow writer. He signed a copy of his book and gave it to her (Self really wishes that she looked more orderly when she walked out of that massage place).

His book was in Bikolano (which self doesn’t speak). It was a collection of plays!

The writer’s name was Carlos A. Aréjola.

Here’s the production notes, setting, cast of characters etc. from his play Unang Yugto:

Tagpuan (Setting): Cottage sa isang resort (A cottage in a resort)

Panahon (Time): Kasalukuyan (The Present)

CHARACTERS:

Edwin – matangkad, guapo (tall, handsome)

Toledo – mestisuhin (mestizo), 18 taong gulang (18 years old)

Dagul – 21, moreno (dark-skinned), medyo pandak (somewhat short), may body piercings.

Falcon – mestisuhin (mestizo), ayos na ayos ang buhok (Hair fussed over; sorry, that’s the best she can come up with)

Dalawang Dalaga (2 girls): college girls, magaganda (beautiful), mapuputi (white-skinned)

Mga Pasahero Sa Airport (Passengers in the Airport)

How self loves that the characters have to be differentiated by whether they are light-skinned or dark-skinned, and that the two college girls are beautiful (magaganda) and mapuputi (white-skinned). To be white-skinned is to be beautiful?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ack! Capitol Peeta, Need Beta!

This morning, on a whim, self decided to see if she could find herself a Beta. Maybe then, she thought, she will get to finish at least one of her Hunger Games fan fics.

Self finds a site that lists all the Betas in the known universe, browses by title, finds the one for The Hunger Games, clicks on that, and up pops:

a list of 2,683 names

Yowza! These are people who have volunteered their extra time and/or writing expertise to help you finish your Hunger Games fan fic. And they come from all over the world.

Self is quite amazed. There are Betas for 1984 and A Christmas Carol, Betas for A Farewell to Arms and A Room With a View, Betas for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Alice in Wonderland, Betas for Angela’s Ashes and Anne of Green Gables, Betas for As I Lay Dying and Atlas Shrugged, Betas for Atonement and Beowulf, Betas for the Bible and Black Beauty, Betas for Bleak House and Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Betas for Brave New World and Canterbury Tales, Betas for Catch-22 and Catcher in the Rye, Betas for Cat in the Hat and Charlotte’s Web, Betas for Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Chronicles of Narnia, Betas for Coraline as well as Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

The list never ends. It just goes on and on and on and on and on.

Self can’t even.

Will the hunt for a Beta take self down a Rabbit Hole? Seems like it already has!

Whoever said that the internet would bring about the death of books and reading clearly did not know what he/she was talking about.

Stay tuned.

Mary Gaitskill Convo of the Day (Self Just Can’t Believe the Brilliance)

Still on Story # 4. It is taking her ages. Perhaps, a week from now, she will still be on Story # 4.

Brilliance, Lady, you are brilliance.

Celia to Joel: It’s so interesting. Now that I’m closest to success, I’ve become much less interested in it. I’ve always known that I would be successful, that I just had to work for it. But it was always out of reach, so I obsessed about it all the time. It was a goal. Now it’s more like a natural outcome, another element of my life to be experienced. It’s not even important anymore. There are so many other things in life. It’s silly to be so narrow.

Joel: That’s easy for you to say. Things are always less important once you’re assured of having them.

For years and years, self daydreamed about winning a MacArthur Genius Grant. If only, self would think, if only self had someone who had her back, who would say: As a reward for your immortal contribution to world literature, self, I hereby relieve you of the burden of having to work for a living, forevermore.

Now, after reading that passage from Gaitskill, self feels lucky that she never won. Because it is so much better to be still struggling, to still be looking up towards the goal. Not sliding down the slope on the other side.

But, is it really? If self had won a MacArthur Genius Grant, wouldn’t she be able to afford weekly or even daily massages? (Writers have terrible cricks in their necks. It’s an occupational hazard of the profession. Desk + writing = sore neck). And just think of how many more countries she could visit. Not to mention how much better-looking she would be from having monthly dermabrasions and stomach cleanses.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Are You Ready For This? Vanity Fair’s 10 Best Movies of 2015

And self has only seen three of them.

Time was when self had seen all. All of the movies nominated for 10 Best.

Self is kinda shocked that three of the movies she really liked this year are nowhere: Pawn Sacrifice and Bridge of Spies. And Mockingjay 2!

Starting in reverse order (10th to 1st):

10.  The Martian: YAY for Matt Damon! Absolutely!

9.  Steve Jobs: God, NO! But if you want to see Steve Jobs’s life transformed into a Lifetime movie, complete with angst-ridden assistant played by Kate Winslet in her most painfully sappy performance to date, then this is the movie for you!

8.  Eden: Self has yet to see. YAY that it’s directed by a woman, though. Triple-YAY.

7.  The End of the Tour: Self has yet to see. She’d see it for Jesse Eisenberg alone.

6.  Tangerine: Self has yet to see. A movie about “pimps, johns, donut shops, and laundromats.” (Sounds like a Mary Gaitskill short story. The part about donut shops and laundromats sounds also like self’s current life) Shot entirely on iPhone. YAY for technology!

5.  Ex Machina: Everyone, but EVERYONE says self has to see this. And self loves Alicia Vikander. So, yes.

4.  Carol: Self has yet to see. But — Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett? The twins of serious acting? Will it be boring?

3.  Spotlight: Self has yet to see. One thing she’s never understood about the Church sex-abuse scandal is, she remembers a wave of sex-abuse Church scandals at least 20 years ago. The Archbishop of Boston was forced to resign. Remember him? Bernardin? Do we never learn? 20 years from now, will there be another Church sex-abuse scandal? Judging from the present: YES!

2.  Clouds of Sils Maria: Self has yet to see. But Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart, the twins of really serious acting without being obvious about it. Yes!

1. Mad Max: Fury Road: God, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Tom Hardy playing Max. Charlize playing Imperator Furiosa. Five pretty girls in white dresses. Nicholas Hoult saying Oh what a day. What a lovely daaaaay!

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:

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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!

 

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