Fresh 3: Landscapes with Snow

Being in the East Coast during a heavy snowfall is just . . . magical!

Some pictures of freshly fallen snow, to go with this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, FRESH:

Spring 2015 on the Northeast Coast

Spring 2015 on the Northeast Coast

Chilly scenes of Spring 2015

Chilly scenes of Spring 2015

Fresh Snow: Spring 2015

Fresh Snow: Spring 2015

Still reading Roberto Bolaño’s 2666. Since it’s over 800 pages long, and self’s only got as far as p. 148, she wonders if she’ll ever get to finish it. But anyhoo, here’s an excerpt from the page self is on:

I stopped in front of a kind of landscape, a Surrey landscape from John’s earlier period, that looked to me at once sad and sweet, profound and not at all grandiloquent, an English landscape as only the English can paint them. All at once I decided that seeing this one painting was enough . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Further From the Latest Chapter of Self’s Hunger Games Fan Fiction

Self loves fan fiction. Especially, right now, Katniss Everdeen, Demon Hunter. Yaaaas!

Katniss is 500 years old (but, obviously, doesn’t look it). She’s on a quest to kill every last demon on the face of the Earth.

Peeta is a Demon. Ooops!

Katniss has a magic bow that vibrates when Demons are near. But with Peeta, it never vibrates. Never. So, several times, he’s slipped through Katniss’s fingers. She chases after him, over the rooftops of Manhattan. Then she ends up in Hoboken, New Jersey, where . . . there is the best Cuban restaurant in the whole United States, lol. Self is going there, if she can just manage to get on the correct PATH train.

In the meantime, here is a further scene from the latest chapter of self’s Hunger Games fan fiction. She loves this chapter so much, she can’t bear to write anything else. It’s been two weeks, what can she say? She used Haruki Murakami as her inspiration.

“Enough!” Snow says. “I know all about the rebellion Mr. Odair’s been planning. For years, it seems. And since you and he are the best of friends, I thought most likely you were in on it, eh? He wouldn’t leave you dangling in the dark all this time, would he? Especially after he found out how badly you wanted to return to your family business — that preposterous bakery in 12! Like I’d fall for that stupid drama. You underestimate me, my dear Victor.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being a baker. You make it sound like it’s some sort of — disease,” Peeta says.

“Ha! Ever the silver tongue,” Snow barks. “From you, I would expect nothing less. Let me see: between your not knowing and your knowing, I’m rather inclined towards the latter.”

Peeta swallows. “Finnick’s a friend. Nothing more.”

“Pardon me if I find that rather hard to believe,” Snow says.

“He’s all talk, if you know what I mean,” Peeta says. “There was no rebellion.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.

Wall 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Walls are the canvas of our lives.

WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge

Queenie's Road House, Elk, California

Queenie’s Road House, Elk, California

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino

Visual Artist Kim Thoman's Studio at the Mendocino Art Center

Visual Artist Kim Thoman’s Studio at the Mendocino Art Center

More Rewards in Mendocino

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is REWARD.

The prompt, in its entirety, reads:

Reward is filthy with possibility: it could be your third grader’s beaming smile after reading her first chapter book, a steaming mug of chicken soup after a long run in the cold, a photo of your brand-new baby — your reward for patience during nine months of construction, or your extended family gathered the dinner table.

Food is its own reward. Right? Right?

First, Queenie’s Road House in Elk. Worth driving 20 miles from Mendocino for.

DSCN8766

Strawberry waffles rule!

DSCN8765

Saturday brunch: The Mendocino Café on Lansing:

Thai Hotpot at The Mendocino Café, Saturday Feb. 28

Thai Hotpot at The Mendocino Café, Saturday Feb. 28

Everything yummy.

Stay tuned.

The Metamorphosis Generator

From A Work-in-Progress:

The Jaguar I know is a bit much. Especially for the country. But Wolfgang must have his toys. The Jaguar, the helicopter, the espresso/ice cream machine, the Jacuzzi with 20 different spurt settings, the 80-inch flat-screen HDTV, the four-foot Bose speakers, the laser wrinkle removers, the Do-It-Yourself Botox injectors and hair implantation devices, the state-of-the-art dollar-printing mechanism, the 3D Alternate Universe Hologram, the foot-high platform shoes with the massage feature, the metamorphosis generator . . .

Once, he trapped a fly in the metamorphosis pod, and what emerged was a woman with wondrous, bulbous dark eyes and gossamer hair.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Still More Rule of Thirds

“This week, compose your subject off-center.”

(WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, Week beginning Friday, 20 February 2015)

Masonic Temple (c. 1866), Lansing Street, Mendocino

Masonic Temple (c. 1866), Lansing Street, Mendocino: January, 2015

Stairs at Night, Mendocino Art Center

Stairs at Night, Mendocino Art Center: January, 2015

Venice Beach, November 2014

Venice Beach, November 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Masters of Style: A List

Self is teaching a two-day class on travel writing this weekend.

The great thing about teaching is, it makes you ponder your own predilections.

Because unless you yourself are very clear about the kind of writing you favor, you will never, in self’s humble opinion, be able to communicate anything worthwhile to your students.

These are the writers whose books have stayed longest in self’s head and heart. Some have only written one book. Doesn’t matter. The point is, their names have become part of self’s font of inspiration.

Debra Ginsberg * Kyoko Mori * Chang-rae Lee * Annie Ernaux * Tim Parks * Ron Carlson * Alison Moore * Mo Yan * Thomas Lynch * V. S. Naipaul * Gish Jen * Deborah Digges * Paul Theroux * Kathryn Harrison * Jason Elliott * W. G. Sebald * Nina Berberova * Peter Hessler * Michael Herr * Ruth Reichl * Tony Horwitz * Elmore Leonard * Brian Hall * Nicholson Baker

(Aaargh, list is getting long! Perhaps she’ll do a Part 2 later)

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Monday Reading: Crane Wife Everlark (Hunger Games/Fairy Tale Mash-Ups are Self’s Kryptonite)

It matters nothing if one is born in a duck-yard, if one has only lain in a swan’s egg.

– Hans Christian Andersen, “The Ugly Duckling”

(It’s Christmas Eve. The baker’s lame youngest son is sent by his cruel mother to the woods to gather kindling. There he finds a little duck)

*     *     *     *     *

When he entered the bakery with a partial load of pine boughs and a small shivering duck to show for his time in the woods, his mother shrieked her dismay. “At least we shall make a meal of the duck,” she said, and made to take the duck from him, but the boy clasped the little duck to him with both hands and limped back from his mother’s reach.

“You shall not!” he cried. “I plucked her for the ice, and I mean to save her.”

His mother shook her head, but the family had food aplenty for that night, and many nights to come. “Try and save her then,” she allowed. “But if she dies, it’s the stewpot for her, and no mistake.”

The baker and his elder sons exchanged grins and chuckles at her threat, for they knew well: once the youngest had the care of anything, be it a rosebush or a kitten or a pot of soup, it could not help but thrive, and he had taken a particular interest in this duck.

 

“American Sniper”

Just saw American Sniper.

You know what? Just go ahead and nominate everybody: Bradley, Clint, even Sienna. Particularly Sienna. Honest, self did not recognize her at all. In the movie she’s thin and colt-ish and might even be a stand-in for Michelle Monaghan. It’s the best self has ever seen her.

SPOILER ALERT!

Oh Clint. She hates your movies generally. They’ve been mostly “message” movies, in the past decade. This one was good, though. She’s so glad the movie included the manner of Kyle’s eventual demise. Mother of all ironies.

Self’s favorite line in the movie was uttered by a bit actor (The same tall dude who’s a colleague of Simon Baker in The Mentalist, the one who’s having a relationship with the sexy redhead. For the life of her, self can’t remember his name). Here’s the line (There is profanity — ha!)

Right side. Damn. Legend. FUCK.

That’s because Kyle just took out an enemy sniper and gave away the SEAL’s position, and the back-up units are still 20 minutes away. Can you imagine if the commander had instead said something like:

You gave away our position, meathead!

or

You’re going to be court-martialed for this! I don’t care if you’re a so-called ‘legend’.

or

You went against a direct order! You think you have all the answers?

And who is that guy who plays a buddy of Kyle’s in the SEAL unit? With his helmet on, he’s a dead ringer for a young Peter Sarsgaard. With his helmet off, not so much. But self loved his insouciant affect.

And Bradley. What can self say? He deserved that Oscar nomination, man! Self was skeptical when it was first announced he’d be playing the lead role, but — that focus! That intensity! That reluctance to “emote”!

She doesn’t have a TV in Mendocino. Alas, she wishes she could camp out in someone’s living room for the night.

BTW, self caught the preview for Mad Max: Fury Road. Hardy, Theron, Hoult. Oh, self can hardly wait.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Still Reading “After the Cure”

It’s just one short story. But self is dragging it out, sentence by sentence.

Apparently they’ve found a cure for zombies that restores them to their human selves. They then call these rescued the “rehabilitated.”  That doesn’t help the narrator, a “rehabilitated” zombie who makes one friend, a boy named James.

He’s the reason she’s even contemplating attending school.

He visits her in her dwelling, an abandoned house on the edge of the city, the one with the floating body in the pool.

And – guess what. This boy drags a scent of human for the zombie pack to follow him.

What I don’t tell him is that I can already hear the pack pushing against the air outside the house. They know there’s someone pure inside.

I can already feel the way their mouths water for him.

At night, when they race past the house, is the loneliest I’ve ever felt. Except for now.

Oh Heavens to Mergatroid, please don’t let the pack eat James!

SPOILER ALERT — DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU ARE DENSE AND/OR NEVER INTEND TO READ CARRIE RYAN’S STORY!

Self is so slow on picking up clues. Even after she took that Hunger Games “How Long Would You Last as a Tribute” quiz that told her she’d last a day, self keeps forgetting how dense she is. So it comes as a total shock when the narrator decides that it’s too late to evade the rampaging zombie pack, she has to turn James into a zombie. In other words, she has to kill him herself.

Nooooooo !!!!!!!!!

Suddenly James is showing the narrator that he really really likes her (Self, is Twilight simply a distant memory? Apparently so) and — please believe self when she says that this scene is very very poignant, and not the least bit confusing, though she wishes the couple would address the immediate problem! Which is that a zombie mob is in the process of tearing down the door!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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