Self Discovered A Few Blogs Today

While looking at WordPress blogs that posted on the week’s Photo Challenge, DETAILS, self discovered:

Stay tuned.


Random Thoughts on Summer 2016 Movies


Self swore, way back in January, that she would find joy again in watching movies. And she has! She has! Even when she was in venerable Oxford, UK, she managed to watch “X-Men: Apocalypse” and “Captain America: Civil War”! (Which is probably why she ran out of time before she could drop by the Ashmolean. But she is not a complete Philistine: she did spend time in the Bodleian, and took a one-day poetry workshop at Saint Hilde’s)

So, let’s see, here are the list of summer movies she’s seen so far:

  • Me Before You (Emilia Clarke meets Bridget Jones: Clarke is too adorable!)
  • The Shallows (Blake Lively and her cute butt and her long legs and her killer smile meet a totally focused great white in the wilds of — Latin America? Mexico? Where the pretty Texan encounters very chivalrous men. The only un-chivalrous man who comes within Blake’s orbit gets . . . umm, well, let’s just say: Payback’s a bitch)
  • Love & Friendship (Xavier Samuels: What is her life? AAAARGH. When you put a handsome man in period duds, it’s lights out. At least, as far as self is concerned)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (Let us give credit where credit is due: the only reason self watches anymore is Evan Peters)
  • Captain America: Civil War (American snark rules! Especially in this series! YES!)

She will probably end up seeing Independence Day: Resurgence even though it has Liam. And mediocre reviews (Liam, you need a new agent! Pronto! Someone who can find you movies that convince people you can actually move!)

Of the above, the best ‘summer movie’ movie is, in self’s humble opinion, The Shallows. Any movie that can evoke hoots, laughter, and finally a triumphant YEEEES from a California audience has definitely earned its spot in the Best Summer Movie pantheon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Further Additions to the Reading List

All Jane Austen:

  • Lady Susan
  • Northanger Abbey
  • Mansfield Park

BLUE Again: Sylvain Landry – Week 47 Challenge

This is the first time self has ever posted twice to a Sylvain Landry weekly prompt.

YAY! Things must be looking up!

The theme this week is BLUE.

Self stayed in brother-in-law’s apartment in New York. She ordered out for food and spent a lot of time looking out the windows. Her nephew, Chris, was in and out. It was nice to know she was not alone.


One night, from one of brother-in-law’s living room windows, self peeked out and saw a sliver of moon. She thought: That might make a nice picture.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Admiration 4: A List (Far From Complete)


It happened while she was trying to expand on her reasons for assembling this particular mosaic of images to represent the week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: ADMIRATION.

And she couldn’t find a previous saved version. Gaaaah! And in re-selecting images, she decided to stop at six instead of the eight she originally had. And she also substituted some images. Sorry for the confusion!

  1. Lady in Red: Ger, chef of Cork’s pre-eminent restaurant, Café Paradiso. Such a great chef, and also very direct and witty! Self loves Ger.
  2. Katniss Everdeen: Self-explanatory, really.
  3. Allison Joseph, co-editor with Jon Tribble of Crab Orchard Review. Fabulousness.
  4. The mother-daughter team who cook and manage Chez Mamie, 22 Hanway Street, London. They make London feel like home.
  5. SeaCity Museum, Southampton, England: Thank you to Joan McGavin, who took her here last year. What a great exhibit on the Titanic. While other cities lay claim to having the best exhibits on the tragedy, Southampton’s is so poignant because it focuses on the crew, most of whom were from this city. And therefore, the focus of the displays is on working-class people. Which makes this a much more layered story. In one gallery, there’s a map on the floor with red dots representing the houses of each of the victims. The dots are clustered around the poorer sections of the city.
  6. Last but not least: Nutschell Ann Windsor, Program Administrator for UCLA Extension’s on-line Writers Program. She is the best. She not only handles all requests with Zen calmness, she is a writer herself. And an editor. She’s holding an anthology she edited.

And now self will post before she accidentally deletes something again.

Stay tuned.

Admiration 3: Fort Bragg, CA

Self discovered Fort Bragg, California this year.

She stayed for a few weeks, and discovered:

  1. An excellent bakery, in the Depot Building. Just look at that sweet, blue nest confection!
  2. An excellent used bookstore called, in typical Fort Bragg self-deprecating manner, The Bookstore. The second floor had a wonderful seating area. And the day self visited, there was a hardbound copy of Cyrano de Bergerac, which she has fond memories of her Dear Departed Dad reciting to her at mealtimes (He was a frustrated actor. Played Hamlet in high school at the Ateneo)
  3. Writers, writers, writers abound in Fort Bragg. Self began reading Norma Watkins, whose beautiful memoir, The Last Resort: Taking the Mississippi Cure, was just published by University of Mississippi Press.

Work-in-Progress: Various Fables

  1. Here hunger seized a hideous, stare-blind creature, speeding over a meadow. There was famine in the village. The grass was scant. The milk that streamed from the udders of the villagers’ cows was thin and poor.
  2. And from that day, the King of Spain was never troubled by visits from the lands of dark-skinned peoples.
  3. She said, “On the night of the next full moon, stand by the lake, and the door to the hillside will open.”
  4. The moonlight seemed to strike a path straight to his sorrowing heart.
  5. The King intoned: “As for your threats against my people, know that they do not want for courage.”

The Lake at Annaghmakerrig



Quotes of the Day: THE FOREVER WAR

“I am talking directly to the kidnappers.” (Ahmad, Shiite, Baghdad freelancer. “For eating, Sir!” was his answer when Filkins asked him why he kept a flock of twenty-five sheep on the roof of his home)

“The best sources are often people of marginal repute.” (Filkins) Ahmad’s fee: $250/day

“Sir, it is very complicated.” (Ahmad)

“Not good man.” (Waleed, Filkins’s driver, referring to Ahmad)

“Jill is at the racetrack.” (Ahmad, referring to American reporter Jill Carroll, kidnapped in the middle of the day, in the middle of the street; her translator, who was with her, had been killed)

“a brunette with a streak of pink dye in her hair” (Filkins, describing Jill Carroll)

“She wasn’t there.” (CIA section chief, two nights after Filkins gave him a tip that Carroll was being held at the racetrack.)

“I was afraid now, afraid of everything I didn’t know.” (Dexter Filkins)

“My dealings with Ahmad . . . had sunk to the level of farce.” (Filkins, after he and a fellow reporter end up pooling $6,000 of their own money to pay Ahmad for information on the whereabouts of kidnapped reporter Jill Carroll)

“Your buddy is just playing you.” (CIA section chief, to Filkins)

Self promises she will finish this book sometime today, then start on Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

Stay tuned.

Quote(s) For the First Sunday of March 2016

First, self started reading “The Wild Swans.”

Then she added a chapter to one of her four Hunger Games fan fics.

Then she began reading World of the Maya, by Victor W. von Hagen (the same copy which, as a 21-year-old, she brought with her to Chichen Itza)

p. 37, The Chapter on “The Lower Men”

Agricultural surplus provided time that was used in the building of temples, palaces, and roads.

Then she looked at how other WordPress bloggers were handling this week’s Photo Challenge, HARMONY.

Here’s one from girl astray:

“Waterfall Hunting in Putumayo”

When in Colombia, you must drink chicha.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Qualities of a Leader

  • Poise under pressure
  • Clarity of intention
  • Courage
  • Conviction
  • Charisma
  • The ability to motivate people

Self pulled the above traits from an article she is reading in Parabola (It’s the POWER issue, Fall 2013 — the last three years have been hectic, okay?), written by Linda Kohanov. It’s an article about horse taming. Or, what horse taming can teach a person.

Kohanov cites several powerful historical examples, including Alexander the Great and Gautama Siddhartha.

Here’s what she writes:

  • Horses embody many of the assets people access through more formal meditation techniques, including the ability to engage fully with reality. What seems so difficult for a grasping, hoarding, controlling, and competitive human being comes easily to these highly social, intensely aware, nomadic prey animals. Horses are actually hardwired for the state of nonattachment favored by the Buddha. In the wild they don’t defend territory, build nests, live in caves, or store nuts for the winter . . . While they react quickly in the face of danger, they also show remarkable resilience in recovering from traumatic events. They don’t ruminate over and over about the injustices of the past, or with ceaseless internal dialogues about how cruel it is that God invented predators.

She lists famous historical people (apart from the aforementioned Alexander the Great and Siddhartha) who have turned skill with horses into leadership skills: Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc, George Washington, Catherine the Great, Andrew Jackson, Elizabeth I, Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Ronald Reagan.

Fascinating, just fascinating.


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