Existential Crisis of the Day: To See or Not to See Fifty Shades

Fifty Shades Darker or John Wick 2?

Self is a big fan of Dakota Johnson.

Yup, that’s right. DAKOTA JOHNSON.

Plus, the Jamie. Come on. Ever seen this guy’s back blown up on the side of a building?

Well, self has. London, 2015. Somewhere in the South Bank. That back was pretty fine.

She is also a big fan of Keanu Reeves. Yesterday, an NPR reviewer called John Wick 2 the apogee of something: “designer violence” or “designer mayhem” or, anyway, something designer. Niiice!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ambience: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 13 January 2017

  • Ambience has the power to lift your mood. What have you photographed with exceptional ambience? — Jeff Golenski, The Daily Post Photo Challenge

Self presents two contrasting scenes of ambience:

First, the anonymity of the train, the pre-occupation of the passengers:

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Caltrain, Southbound, 2nd Friday in January, 2017

Next, the expansiveness of a California beach town, extraordinarily peaceful in winter:

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Capitola-by-the-Sea

Self chose to spend Christmas here: she had a hunch that she wouldn’t feel as lonely, even though she was alone. She was right. It was such a beautiful experience:

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There is a little inn with units facing the beach: she last visited 20 years ago. Magical.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

#amreading: Sally Potter’s Screenplay for YES

Last year, self saw Sally Potter’s Yes at the London Review Bookshop and the filmmaker herself was present to do Q & A afterwards. Self asked Potter if the screenplay had been published, and when Potter said yes, it was available in the U.S., self almost broke out into a Happy Happy Joy Joy dance.

Can she just tell dear blog readers how she adores this screenplay, the fact that it is written in iambic pentameter from first to last is glorious.


Scene: An Irish woman (played by a luminous Joan Allen) who’s moved to New York returns to Belfast to visit her dying aunt in a hospital. The following passage is the aunt’s interior monologue:

AUNT

No one explained to me when I was young
Why time only goes forward. Hold your tongue
Was what they said when I asked them about
The universe and such and why we can’t
Do all that much about it when we make
A mess of things. If only a mistake
Could be corrected. Wind life back and start
Again. The second time we’d know the art
Of living. But we only get one go;
No dress rehearsals, this one is the show,
And we don’t know it. I don’t see the rhyme
Or reason in this so-called grand design . . .

(A priest enters the ward quietly and rapidly gives the last rites, making the sign of the cross and softly muttering a prayer)

But then I don’t believe. There is no sign
Of him up there as far as I’m concerned.
See . . . if there’s one thing that I’ve truly learned
It’s this: it’s down to me.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2nd Post for the New Year, 1 January 2017: “There For Six Months” (A Re-Post, Because Still Relevant)

A student, Kevin ______, wrote this years ago. The class was Composition & Rhetoric. The assignment was for students to write an autobiographical essay. But self didn’t have the heart to grade the student down for thinking outside the box, especially after he told her it was the first poem he ever wrote.

He was 20. Never wrote another thing.

There For Six Months

Underneath Pink Floyd’s alluring rhapsody
the phone was ringing,
Hey you, out there on your own,
sitting naked by the phone, would you touch me
and my older brother is telling me that
come January, he’ll be in Iraq,
serving his time of duty for six months
in the war
see also: abuse of power, see also: corpses

Meanwhile, people all around are nestled away in their cozy,
unobtrusive shells: human anti-socialism,
one thousand and one bloody bodies, our own an afterthought.
Warming cups of soup, chicken-noodle flavor,
and stacks of crackers on a folded napkin, for dipping.

Hey you, don’t help them to bury the light,
don’t give in without a fight
And my brother is telling me that if he makes it back
there’s a good chance he’ll be based in the west coast,
see also: home, see also: happiness
There’s shake and shiver undertones in his voice
when he keeps saying, Don’t worry,
they trained me how to live, but all I can wonder is
if they trained him how to die.

That last part is so perfect, with the words of Pink Floyd cutting in and out and the “shake and shiver undertones” in the brother’s voice. Self has no words.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Resilient

“. . . let’s close the year on a strong note and celebrate our individual and collective fortitude: it may have been a rough year for many of us, but we’re a tough bunch.”

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

It’s been almost two decades since self was last in Capitola-by-the-Sea. She decided to spend Christmas there, and nothing had changed. Now, that’s resilience:

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A crab carries its home on its back. It is nothing if not resilient. Self is a Cancer, born on the 14th of July. She is resilient:

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To celebrate Christmas, after the year San Franciscans have just had, shows the city’s resilience. Here’s Union Square’s Christmas Tree, with a sign saying “Believe” on a billboard across the street, on Geary:

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Union Square, December 2016: Despite the trauma of the elections, the city will survive.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Link to The City of 10,000 Buddhas

Self went to school with Shari Epstein, who teaches in the City of 10,000 Buddhas. She’s been wanting to see this place, forever and ever.

Last year, when self was staying at the Mendocino Art Center, she called The City of 10,000 Buddhas in Ukiah, and got the number of Shari, and Shari and self spoke!

Happiness!

But self never did make it to Ukiah. Because once you get into Mendocino itself, you enter a different state of mind. It’s like Brigadoon. Everything just floats away, so mesmerized are you by the sight of Ocean! Ocean! Ocean!

Since Rogue One is out, and self is planning to see it, and because she can’t stop worrying about Princess Leia and refuses to give 2016 the pleasure of even one more death, she is wondering whether she should really make one last effort to see Shari Epstein.

This morning, she calls The City of 10,000 Buddhas and is told that if she wants to enroll in a course on the Buddha mind, the course is three weeks. Starts January 8.

Self has known for the longest time that she needs a good mind cleanse. A three-week course on Dharma Buddhism might not be a bad thing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Anticipation 2: SFMOMA, Hometown Creamery, London’s Millenium Bridge

This week, share a photo that says ANTICIPATION. — Michelle W., The Daily Post

Art excites self, it always has. Here, people milling about in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, level 2:

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When you are in Hometown Creamery on Irving Street: Mango sorbet and fig tart excite.

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Hometown Creamery, Irving St., San Francisco: November 2016

And nothing speaks of anticipation more than crossing London’s Millenium Bridge (aka the Harry Potter Bridge) towards St. Paul’s.

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London’s Millenium Bridge: No better approach to Saint Paul’s

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading House of Sand and Fog, p. 129

Progress. Self is almost halfway through this novel.

Her next book will be Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.

It was her sister who made her watch the film version. She remembers certain things:

  • Robert Blake was in it.
  • The murder is seen in shadow, but self was terrified. Especially because in one of the shadowy murders, the victim is shown jerking in fear. To this day, self is haunted by the image.

It is likely this is the book she will be reading on Christmas Day. Why?

Her current reading, House of Sand and Fog, is so beautiful. She read reviews on the web and SOMETHING TERRIBLE IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO SOMEONE. Because the readers refer to it as a “tragedy.”

If self were to take a guess, it would be the lovelorn cop, Lester.

He’s just left his wife for a homeless woman named Kathy (In the film, she is played by Jennifer Connelly, so that is who I keep seeing as I read. In one scene, she is described by the Iranian man who has her house as using too much makeup, which comes as a surprise because whenever the novel is in Kathy’s point of view, she seems so distraught — too distraught, surely, to think of such things as putting on make-up?)

Les to Kathy: You’re a complicated woman, aren’t you?

Kathy: Nope, I think I’m a simple woman, actually. I’m just good at complicating things.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

It’s Not This Time of Year Without Feeling Grateful

Specifically, feeling grateful for these WordPress bloggers who take the time to share their fondest Holiday traditions:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Magic 4: Look, Look, Look Everywhere

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Altar, Old Saint Mary’s, California Street, San Francisco

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Morning, Philadelphia, June 2016

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The Tate Modern, London: It used to be the Battersea power station, now it houses art.

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