The Inexorable

Abaddon’s Gate, pp. 116 – 117:

  • The flotilla was coming to the last leg of its journey. They had passed the orbit of Uranus weeks ago, and the sun was a bright star in an overwhelming abyss of night sky. All the plumes of fire were pointed toward the Ring now, bleeding off their velocity with every passing minute.

Self is enjoying Abaddon’s Gate so much more than Caliban’s War. She would rather have space travel and adventure than any other kind of reading, at the moment.

Stay safe, dear blog readers.

The Sea, Our Mother

Self has many thoughts about the sea because … well, she comes from one of the 7,100 islands of the Philippines.

When she visited Venice, some years back, she encountered the Maritime Museum (off San Marco Plaza), and first encountered the Venetian expression “married to the sea.”

In the writings about the sea, the sea is referred to as feminine. Also, mercurial.

Perhaps this is why she chose to write her novel. It’s about the sea, of course. And she’s been reading about seafarers ever since.

Two years ago, she was teaching in Mendocino. One of her favorite hangouts was Gallery Bookshop, corner of Albion and Kasten in Mendocino Village (the most fabulous bookstore, with its own resident cat). She found a book written by a retired US Admiral.

She just started reading it (thank you, Corona Virus). Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans

The Introductory Chapter is called The Sea Is One:

It is worth remembering that each of us is, essentially, largely made of water. When a human baby is born, it is composed of roughly 70 percent water. It has always fascinated me that roughly the same proportion of the globe is covered by water — just over 70 percent. Both our planet and our bodies are dominated by the liquid world, and anyone who has sailed extensively at sea will understand instinctively the primordial tug of the oceans upon each of us when we look upon the sea.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Thirty-Sixth Hole

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family is an extraordinary book. And she didn’t even pick it up because it was an Oprah Book Club selection. She was just working off a list. In between tearing through science fiction, she decided to read nonfiction.

She’s on Chapter 20, in which Margaret, the older Galvin girl, is whisked off, at just shy of 14, to live with a family she barely knows, a family of enormous wealth, who started off on the same economic plane as the Galvins but found luck, such enormous luck.

DSCN0250

Sam Gary was “a natural risk-taker. For years, he had been known around Denver as Dry Hole Sam … In the mid-1960s, when everyone in the oil exploration business was drilling in Wyoming, Sam started drilling just north of the state line in the southeastern corner of Montana. Sam drilled thirty-five dry holes.” — p. 158

  • On June 29, 1967, one of the new wells — Sam’s thirty-sixth try — struck oil in Bell Creek Field in Montana. Sam set up four-hundred new wells, hanging on to 30 percent ownership.

Sam Gary was “about the same age as” Margaret’s father. By the time Margaret moves in with the Garys, they have a house in Denver with a housekeeper, a cook, and various other servants. They own a condo in the main drag of Vail and spend every weekend on their hundred-acre ranch in Montana, just up against Flathead Lake.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Read more books.

 

1641: Nikolaas Tulp, Dutch Anatomist

Self is going back and forth between Caliban’s War (which is all action, which is perfect because reading action is a nice balance to her current state of total inactivity) and Mama’s Last Hug.

Trigger Warning: If the mere notion of dissection makes you ill, do not read. It’s not graphic, but it did make self a tad queasy.

Mama’s Last Hug, p. 66:

  • When a team of behavioral scientists and anthropologists finally tested the idea by carefully dissecting the faces of two dead chimpanzees, they found the exact same number of mimetic muscles as in the human face — and surprisingly few differences. We could have predicted this, of course, because Nikolaas Tulp, the Dutch anatomist immortalized in Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson, had long ago reached a similar conclusion. In 1641, Tulp was the first to dissect an ape cadaver and found that it resembled the human body so closely in its structural details, musculature, organs, and so on, that the species looked like two drops of water.

Also, did you know that there is a type of human smile called the Duchenne smile? The Duchenne smile is “a sincere expression of joy and positive feeling,” and involves a crinkling/narrowing of the eyes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Challenge # 95: ALL WET

  • Maybe you’ve just given your pet a bath, or perhaps the dewdrops on your garden have given you a smile.Tina R. Schell

Here are a couple of images from self’s archives:

DSCN0044

Cistus (Rock Rose) on front porch after rain

DSCN0490

Also After Rain: Clematis Montana Rubens

20190920_163141

Backyard Watering

Stay safe. Stay tuned.

Language, Again

Leviathan Wakes, p. 482:

  • “Dieu! Dieu!” someone shouted. “Bombs son vamen roja! Going to fry it! Fry us toda!”

Self truly thinks there is nothing that can make this book any better. Her favorite read in 2020 so far, for sure.

Book 2, Caliban’s War, which she ordered almost two weeks ago, never arrived. What the heck, she paid extra for shipping, Books Inc.

So she’ll move to the next book on her list: Outlander (She has so far avoided watching a single episode of the TV series; she might begin after reading the book)

Stay tuned.

 

Poetry Monday: T’ao Ch’ien

On Returning to My Garden and Field

— translated by Wu-chi Liu

(1)

When I was young, I did not fit into the common mold,
By instinct I love mountains and hills.

(2)

I plant beans at the foot of the southern hill;
The grass is thick and bean sprouts are sparse.
At dawn, I rise and go out to weed the field;
Shouldering the hoe, I walk home with the moon.

DSCN0430

Side yard: Self placed the Chinese character for longevity beside the gate.


Self studied Chinese poetry under Prof. James J. Y. Liu at Stanford University, who became her advisor.

T’ao Chi’en (365-427)

Popularly known as Tao Yuan-ming, he was born the son of an official’s family near what is modern-day Kiangsi. During his youth, the family fortunes declined, and after several frustrating attempts to find an appointment, he gave up all worldly ambitions and retired to his home and gardens while he was still in his early forties.

Your Emergency Response Team of the Day: Mercedes-AMG

from The Economist, 4 April 2020:

The seven Formula-1 teams in Britain have high-tech engineering centres stuffed with the latest production equipment. And they employ hundreds of staff with the talent to use this gear to design, test and manufacture parts rapidly, in the days between races. With the season suspended, they have been collaborating on ways to help produce ventilators, which are needed urgently to treat patients suffering from covid-19. This week, one team, Mercedes-AMG, obtained approval for a device which it can quickly manufacture by the thousands.

The first 100 devices have now been delivered to University College Hospital and other London hospitals for clinical trials.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 91: SIMPLICITY

Love this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge!

P. A. Moed:

This week . . . we’re getting back to basics.  Show us what simplicity means to you. 

Is it stepping back to a time when luxuries were scarce and people were content with less?

In these times of self-isolation, self turns back to the comforting presence of her old books:

DSCN0042

There’s a date in self’s handwriting on the flyleaf: February 1984

And she’s planting tomatoes:

DSCN0029

And she vows that as soon as she can travel to London again, she will visit Chez Mamie on Hanway Place, the place where she’s spent so many hours, enjoying Julie’s fabulous cooking:

20191116_160344

Chez Nous (Formerly Chez Mamie), 22 Hanway Place, London: Self has been eating here since 2014.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Spores”: Part I

This story, originally published August 2016 in decomP, is one of self’s favorites. decomP is no more, so self will post the story here, in sections. The story’s about violence, how it roots. How there are classes, even in the future. Earthstar is top class, and they can mate with Silverleafs. The bottom of the class hierarchy are Common. And the worst thing you can call another person is “lousy hedgehog.” (lol)

She was reading a book on mushrooms at the time. Which is how she got the idea for the story title. Because it’s about reproduction. In a world where humanity is dwindling.

Self loves playing with language. She wrote this story in Dublin. She’ll post Trigger Warnings in the later sections.


K thinks the boss is in love with her.

She looks like a mosaic puffball, her skin covered with checkered patterns.

The boss was born Earthstar. He’d never look her way. His spores were meant to go else: to a Silverleaf. Or a Shag. Not K that smelled like wet rot. All scaly cap and throat gills. She belonged with other Common.

Varnish and varnish. I’ll say this for K: she is tenacious. Especially about her delusions.

“Me mum’s a thick,” she said once. “A focking thick.”

“Hmmm,” I said.

“She a root rotter,” K said.

“Hit brew and all?” I asked.

“Twelve pints one go. Honest,” K said.

K silent the rest of the day.

I’m weary of K. We have the worst job: growing giant polyphores, thousands and thousands of them, in little paper fans studded with 4-micron ova. The fans burn our fingers. Burn like sulphur. We have to wait hours for the new skin to grow back. Fingers never feel the same, after.

We can’t leave the room until Growing’s over. That means days. We’re the slowest team in the whole White Zone, the boss says. Probably even the slowest in the whole planet.

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack. Where those words come from, I don’t precisely know.

“We be needing foxes,” I say once.

“You lousy hedgehog,” the boss says, giving me a good one. My right eye swells up almost immediately.

“You not be asking me to fetch, you lousy Common!” He gives me another good one on the way out.

K trembling there in the corner.


Part 2 posted here.

« Older entries

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor by Catherine Hamrick