SWIMMING STUDIES: About Pools

Maybe because self is reading Swimming Studies, she starts looking up information on Land’s End and the Sutro Baths.

The magnate who developed Sutro Baths was named Sutro (Duh, but of course!).

Sutro Baths was the centerpiece of a resort bordering the Pacific. San Franciscans could get there by paying 5 cents for a trolley ride.

In a way, self understands what Sutro was aiming for, because her very own grandfather built a resort, right in the middle of sugar cane fields in Barangay Granada in Negros Occidental in the Philippines.

Self’s grandfather, like Sutro, was a populist. The most loyal patrons of Santa Fe Resort are workers. The entrance fee is still ridiculously low because self’s family understands the demographic: the patrons come from the surrounding fields, workers wanting a break. It was called Santa Fe because her grandfather loved American westerns. In addition, he had a huge crush on the American swimmer/film star Esther Williams, so there’s a statue of her in Santa Fe, in Barangay Granada.

Self’s grandfather built an Olympic-size pool which remains a major draw to this day: It was the first, and possibly still the only, Olympic-size pool in the Philippines.

Who does that? Who has such a crush on Esther Williams that he builds an Olympic-size pool in the middle of an island. Not only in the middle of an island, in the middle of sugar cane fields.

When journalists come to write about self’s island, they never mention Santa Fe Resort. It’s such an eccentric thing, the location. The fact is, it’s nowhere near a beach. Consequently, there is no tourist traffic. There are no Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, American or Europeans. In Santa Fe Resort, you will encounter Filipinos. Just Filipinos.

It is a resort built by a man who only got a high school education. A resort for the people who live within a few kilometers, who are from that place.

Self spent every summer of her childhood there.

Sometimes she wonders if those summers were the reason she is a writer now. Because, her grandfather showed her: you can do anything, if you use your imagination.

It is a terrible thing is to have no imagination, to have your dreams stay small.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Ripper Street: Love

Trigger Warning: Gore. Lots and lots of gore.

Wounds don’t just bleed, they suppurate. Blood comes out in great gouts from cheeks, throats, everywhere.

And there is also one terrific love story.

It may be the final season, but there are five seasons to binge-watch.

YAY!

Stay tuned.

Once Upon a Time in Manila

At the wedding of a good friend in Manila, ages and ages ago, self was seated at a table next to the table of the newlyweds, and found herself being introduced to members of the groom’s family. The younger sister of the groom was a lively, sparkling, intelligent and pretty girl, studying in either Harvard or MIT or any way one of the more prestigious schools in Boston, definitely not a nerd, and she was absolutely great. Self’s first thought was: “This girl would make an excellent date for one of my brothers. I’m going to set them up.”

After many, many back-and-forth messages, which took a huge chunk out of self’s limited time, the blind date was arranged. While this monumental event was being staged, self had a vague thought that the process was complicated. But she was valiant in her resolve to get her brother to go out with this wonderful girl. She would show how self-sacrificing she was! She would show what a benevolent older sister she was! She would never give up! Never!

After the date, self’s brother returned home in a terrible mood. Self means A REALLY REALLY TERRIBLE MOOD. He growled: I thought you said she was pretty.

She was! The only word self can think of to describe her is “spabilada.”

Self’s brother said: “She wore glasses. She was wearing a jumpsuit.”

The image of a jump-suited girl with glasses was truly horrible. Self thought she would die of embarrassment. Plus: All that work — for nothing! The whole situation was like Cinderella in reverse.

As Jamie Dornan’s character the serial killer in the police procedural “The Fall” would go: What? What? What?

Self can’t even.

Speaking of “The Fall” (Self knows: this is a terrible digression), Jamie Dornan makes such a good serial killer. His day job is working as a grief counselor, and it’s absolutely perfect because he can scope out the most vulnerable women, meet with them, and during the guise of counseling, get them to reveal things about themselves that he wouldn’t otherwise get to know. He also does this most outrageous thing, which self has never seen any other serial killer in movies or television do, and that is: when he is chastised for going to a woman’s home, he just mimics everything his superintendent says to him. For instance:

Superintendent: What do you think you are doing?

Serial K: What do you think you are doing?

Superintendent: Do you realize the seriousness?

Serial K: Do you realize the seriousness?

Superintendent: Why did you go to the client’s home?

Serial K: Why did you go to the client’s home?

Almost the whole way through, Serial Killer Jamie does this, and his boss can do nothing but stare. Self knows what the boss is thinking: Has this man gone absolutely bonkers?

Well, of course he has! Don’t just sit there! Do something!

But of course the boss does nothing. Because he is so confused.

Who wrote this screenplay? Self would like to shake her/his hand!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Mornings in Cork

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is MORNING:

  • For this week’s photo challenge, publish a new post with an image that means morning to you.

Self’s idea of a perfect morning is waking up in Café Paradiso in Cork.

It means a good, hearty Irish breakfast with scones and croissants and butter and cream and jam and yogurt:

DSCN1158

One of the great pleasures of staying in Café Paradiso is, in addition to the great FOOD, the selection of art books in the rooms.

And dear blog readers know about self’s fascination with windows, right? These are the windows in the Blue Room:

DSCN1152

The Blue Room, Café Paradiso, Cork

DSCN1150

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Olympics Coverage: Monday, 8 August 2016

Forget Gisele. What everyone watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony wants to know is: Who was the Tongan guy?

Did you see the US Swim team take the gold in the Relay?

Who was the Tongan guy? What was that on his body making his skin shine? Some extra-special high-gloss coconut oil?

Who was the Tongan guy? Close-ups, please!

He’s competing in Tae-kwon-do. When’s that event? Are they going to televise it? What time?

Who was the Tongan guy?

All over the morning news shows, dear blog readers.

LOL LOL LOL

Stay tuned.

#amwriting: Novel-in-Progress, WILDERNESS, Chapter 1

  • The old servant woman placed before each of them a white plate on which were artfully arranged four thin, golden slices of ripe mango.

Novel got her into the 2015 Banff Literary Studio, where one of her mentors was so scrupulous he marked sentence by sentence. Things like: WHO IS THE SPEAKER HERE?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwriting: Another Fable

It happened this way: a father fell in love with his daughter’s servant.

The World Is Beautiful: This Week’s Photo Challenge Is “The Cherry on Top”

More explorations on The Daily Post Photo Challenge this week — The Cherry On Top — brought self to discover three interesting WordPress blogs:

Enjoy!

Stay tuned.

 

Simeon Dumdum, Jr: “Cattle Egret”

Excerpt From CATTLE EGRET

— by Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

You’re riding on a carabao
(Oh, what a day and what a life)
As birds would settle on a bough

Light cuts the sky with a long knife
And morning drops its load of dew
(Oh, what a day and what a life)

— from the collection If I Write You This Poem, Will You Make It Fly (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2010)

Simeon Dumdum, Jr. is a judge in the central Philippine island of Cebu. His other poetry collections are The Gift of Sleep, Third World Opera, and Poems: Selected and New (1982 – 1997)

The white Cattle Egret is found throughout the Philippines. It perches on grazing cattle and rids them of lice. Its native name is: talabong, tabong, tagak kalabaw.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Really Delightful: Hanna in Anne Enright’s THE GREEN ROAD

The following excerpt could be either funny or sad, depending on your mood. Hanna is an aspiring actress with a drinking problem:

. . .  that evening, somehow, the baby got hold of her little Innocent bottle and spat the stuff out, spilling it all down his front and, never mind the hole in the fucking universe, when Hugh smelt the alcohol off the baby’s Breton striped Petit Bateau, the world as Hanna knew it came to an end.

. . .  The thing was through the washing machine on the instant, so Hugh had no hard evidence. But he had the baby. He was sleeping in the baby’s room. He would not fight with Hanna, he said, but he would not leave her alone with the baby. And when it came to Christmas he would take the baby home.

Hanna said, “That’s a relief. No, really. Childcare at last. Fucking fantastic.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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