Afloat: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is AFLOAT.

The pictures self chose are from: Venice Beach, a trip she took with Angela Narciso Torres in November; the park two blocks from her house in Redwood City, which holds free weekly concerts every Wednesday throughout the summer; and the Cambridge River, on a visit self paid to ex-Assumption High School classmate Doris Duterte Stanley.

Venice Beach, November 2014

Paragliding: Venice Beach, November 2014

Concert in Stafford Park, Summer 2014

Concert in Stafford Park, Redwood City, CA: Summer 2014

Men's Crew, Cambridge, May 2014

Men’s Crew, Cambridge, May 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ephemera 3: The Trips Self Takes

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is EPHEMERAL

“So looking forward to seeing the fleeting moments you’ll capture.”

Here are a few from self’s trip to the East Coast, a few weeks ago. As dear blog readers can see from these pictures, when self is on the move, she can’t be bothered with such things as alignment.

Taking the Bolt Bus from Boston Into Manhattan, mid-March

Taking the Bolt Bus from Boston Into Manhattan, mid-March 2015

Landscapes Still Blighted With Winter

Landscapes Still Blighted With Winter, March 2015

The occasion for self’s trip east was the performance, by the Symphony New Hampshire, of Drew Hemenger’s The Marife Suite, which was based on a novella self wrote, Marife.

New Hampshire was cold and wet, the night of the performance, on March 14.

Drew's brother drove us to the concert. This is what New Hampshire looked like that night, seen through the car windows.

Drew’s brother drove us to the concert. This is what New Hampshire looked like that night, seen through the car windows.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Self Wrote the Libretto for a Two-Act Opera!

Self wrote the libretto for a two-act opera.

Self doesn’t watch opera. But she is never one to let a little thing like not knowing anything stop her from writing!

Self’s composer/collaborator, Drew Hemenger, is sick, as self was before she left California. A few shots of chili-laced Szechuan soup near Harvard Square and she’s all better!

The world premiere of The Marife Suite is this Saturday, in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Boston is freezing cold. Self tried walking around Harvard Square this morning. CRAAAAP! She didn’t even make it five blocks. The wind and — ugh, ugh, ugh! Lips are chapped! Yikes! Hands look like wrinkled prunes!

She’s switching all her fan fiction (the ones that had Peeta as a Harvard undergrad) to Palo Alto.

So glad. Just so glad she chose to study in Palo Alto, where giant palm trees line the broad avenues etc. May the Heavens preserve us, she just can’t take this bitter Boston cold.

Self brought with her the libretto for The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, the opera by Philip Glass and Doris Lessing. Believe it or not, reading this libretto, six years ago, was what started self thinking that maybe, just maybe, she could pull this one off. Maybe she could actually write a full-length opera.

Lessing’s libretto combines two of self’s most enduring interests: science fiction and terse language. Here’s an excerpt from Act II Scene 4:

BELOW THE WALL

The people stand huddled together, waiting. Beside them is a great heap of insulating material.

The People (variously)
Like coats for houses.
In this new time of ours buildings must wear coats and skins.
Like us.

They sink down into the snow. Sit listlessly. Some go off to sleep.

Reading the above, self wonders how much of her story The Freeze, the one that’s coming out in Bluestem Magazine (It’ll be on sale at the AWP Book Fair. Yeessss!), consists of lingering echoes from The Representative for Planet 8. In self’s story, the temperature drops overnight, everything stops working, every living thing dies — except for huddled bands of starving people, who decide to head south.

Her story follows one intrepid band (teen-agers and one very old woman) who decide to follow Highway 1 to Mexico.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Mercy Mercy Mercy

Listen to Mercy Bell sing: She’s the daughter of dear friends Kathleen Burkhalter Bell and David Bell.

Kathleen was born and raised in Baguio in the Philippines and now lives in New Bedford, MA with husband David Bell: prouder parents could never be.

Kathleen has her own blog, here.

Shiver. Shiver. Shiver.

Stay tuned.

“Silence is your treasure”

Self is reminded of this again when she reads Diane Gilliam’s essay on “Working in Silence,” on A Room of Her Own Foundation’s website.

The full quote is:  Silence is your treasure.  Do not exchange it for an easy life.

Walking to Annenberg from Littlefield, you pass this meadow. Self doesn't know the name of the artist who made this sculpture, but right in front of the Cummings Art Building is a Henry Moore.

Walking to Annenberg from Littlefield, you pass this meadow. Self doesn’t know the name of the artist who made this sculpture, but right in front of the Cummings Art Building is a Henry Moore.

Last night, self found herself back in Stanford.  Self enjoyed the walk through the still campus.  She remembers thinking:  How quiet it is here.  How peaceful.  And that’s what Stanford gave her:  four years of peace.  Two years in the East Asian Studies Program, with a concentration in Chinese, two years as a Creative Writing Program Fellow.  What an unimaginable luxury.

Self originally meant this post to be about the Rolling Stones.  Specifically, the Rolling Stones as they were in 1972, when Robert Frank made the documentary “Cxxxxsucker Blues” (Self blushes to admit that the x’s are her own.  The early 1970s were still the 1960s. What self means by that is that drug use was still rampant, and so was free love. And Mick wore velvet jumpsuits spangled with sequins and looked vaguely reminiscent of Elvis, only much thinner).  They showed it in Annenberg, last night. Amazingly, the theater was packed, even though at that very moment, the San Francisco Giants were facing off against the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Frankly, it was just painful to see the way women were treated in this movie (like pieces of meat — yes, exactly. Thank you Jennifer Lawrence or whoever): they were either in bed or shooting up or sewing. Yes, sewing.

With one exception:  Bianca Jagger. Who was in no way a groupie. Who Mick treated with affection.

Thank God for Bianca Jagger.

The album “Exile on Main Street” was self’s first ever Rolling Stones album. And the Robert Frank documentary was about the 1972 tour for that album. If for nothing else, self had to see the documentary.

And Mick had this amazing, amazing diffidence (Keith Richards had it too, to a lesser degree). At one point, he stares straight at the camera (presumably being held by Robert Frank) and says, casually contemptuous, “Fuck you.” And it’s not as if Frank caught him in an intimate moment, either.  He’s just standing there, and he decides to turn his head, look at Frank, and without his face changing expression, says “Fuck you.”

Now, that’s a moment.

And now, before self gets too carried away with this post, she needs to get moving. She realizes she hasn’t even connected the dots between the quote “Silence is your treasure” to the Stones documentary.

But, ta-ta, dear ones! To be continued.

Discoveries, First Saturday of September (2014)

Yesterday, while standing at the check-out line in Whole Foods on Jefferson, self saw a CD by Ed Sheeran. She was curious, as apparently he is a great favorite of the writers on fanfiction.net  So she bought his CD and listened to it at home and, you know, it reminds her of old rock. But it’s pleasant. Something new to listen to while driving!

Today was peaceful. She mostly watered.

She’s very much enjoying Dark Star, by Alan Furst. He writes ridiculously well, for someone who writes spy thrillers.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

On p. 52, the hero of the story, Szara, lands in Berlin (after a particularly nasty encounter with some hired assassins — he escapes by the skin of hist teeth). This is what he sees of the city from his hotel room:

Szara stared out a high window, watching umbrellas moving down the street like phantoms. It seemed to him the city’s very own, private weather, for Berliners lived deep inside themselves — it could be felt — where they nourished old insults and humiliated ambitions of every sort, all of it locked up within a courtesy like forged metal and an acid wit that never seemed meant to hurt — it just, apparently by accident, left a little bruise.

Lovely writing, isn’t it?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

And STILL MORE Summer Lovin’ !!!

Why yes, dear blog readers.  Self was able to tear herself away from Miguel Hernandez’s poetry to take her regular Wednesday evening stroll to Stafford Park, two blocks down the street, to listen to the free summer concert.

Self keeps forgetting to note the name of the band.

Such a thrill to have a policeman stop traffic while she crosses the street.

She buys a hot dog with chips and a can of orange soda.

Listens for a while.

Walks back to the house.  Resumes reading poetry.

In the Philippines, they would describe her thus:  Ang babaw ng kaligayahan.

Which means: Cheap. Thrills.

But that’s why she loves summer.  Because cheap thrills abound.

Stafford Park, Redwood City: There are free concerts every Wednesday throughout the summer, starting at 6 p.m.

Stafford Park, Redwood City: There are free concerts every Wednesday throughout the summer, starting at 6 p.m.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Contrasts 7: Light and Shadow, Annual Redwood City Fourth of July Parade (2014)

Citi Pub, Broadway Ave., downtown Redwood City:  We always go there for a beer after the Fourth of July Parade is over.

Citi Pub, Broadway Ave., downtown Redwood City: Self and The Man always wind up here after the Fourth of July Parade is over.

There’s more of the light-and-shadow thing going on in the next two shots.  In the one just below, self focused on the feet of the members of the Leland Stanford, Jr. University Marching Band.  They participate in the Redwood City Fourth of July Parade, every year.

The Leland Stanford, Jr. University Marching Band! Self loves that every year, they participate in the Redwood City Parade and play "All Right Now."

Self loves when the Stanford Band plays “All Right Now,”  their signature song.  Compared to the other bands, they sport VERY casual attire.  She once heard someone describe them as “a bunch of hooligans.”

Another parade regular are the horses.  These are city officials, self thinks.

Another parade regular are the horses. These are city officials, self thinks.

Self is having so much fun with “Contrasts.”  Turns out that’s what summer light is all about.  In summer, and particularly in mid-day, the difference between sunlight and shade is very dramatic.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Contrasts: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The theme for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is CONTRASTS.

Red and yellow are contrasting colors, aren’t they?

The Optimists Club of Redwood City sells chips and franks at the weekly concerts that run all summer in Stafford Park, two blocks from self's humble abode.

The Optimists Club of Redwood City sells chips and franks at the weekly concerts that run all summer in Stafford Park, two blocks from self’s humble abode.

These were the back-up singers for one of the bands at Ozzfest, June 10, at the Button Factory in Dublin’s Temple Bar (held, appropriately enough, on what would have been Judy Garland’s 92nd birthday).  There are all sorts of contrasts in play here:  one signer is dark-haired, the other is a platinum blonde.  The women are illuminated, the stage behind them is shadowy.  While one woman sings, the other waits for her cue.

At the Button Factory in Dublin's Temple Bar:  June 10

At the Button Factory in Dublin’s Temple Bar: June 10

And another shot self took at the Button Factory.  The contrast lies in the use of red and green spotlights —

The Audience at Ozfest in the Button Factory, Temple Bar:  June 10, 2014

The Audience at Ozzfest in the Button Factory, Temple Bar: June 10, 2014

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Extra Extra 5: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

All these shots were taken at the Button Factory in Dublin, Tuesday, 10 June 2014:

Jaime Nanci Barron & the Blue Boys at the Button Factory in Dublin's Temple Bar District:  June 10, 2014

Jaime Nanci Barron & the Blue Boys at the Button Factory in Dublin’s Temple Bar District: June 10, 2014.  The “Extra” in the shot is the lone photographer at one side of the stage.

Still Jaime Nanci Barron's set.  The "Extra" that makes the shot interesting -- at least in self's humble opinion --  are the two people standing and speaking casually in front of the stage.

The “Extra” that makes the shot “different” — at least in self’s humble opinion — are the two people standing and speaking casually in front of the stage. Jaime’s band was just starting to do warm-ups.

The "Extra" here is the way the lighting throws individual members of the audience's silhouettes into sharp relief.

The “Extra” here is the way the lighting throws individual members of the audience’s silhouettes into sharp relief.

Self had a blast at the concert last week.  The occasion was the launch of a fund-raising CD, on what would have been screen legend Judy Garland’s 92nd birthday.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

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