Alphabet 2: 2016 WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge # 3

This week, let the alphabet be your inspiration: find a string of letters.

The Daily Post

Self was inspired by this WordPress blog today:  Love in the Spaces

Below, more from self’s archive of recent pictures.

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Presentation on Manilatown, yesterday at the Listening to the Silence conference at Stanford University

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Graffiti, New York’s Chelsea district

Finally, blurred photo (Self was on Sixth Avenue). Last December was her first winter in New York City in forever.

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Wintry in Manhattan: The partially obscured sign says RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The $40 Burger in San Francisco

OK, you know what, dear blog readers? Self is suddenly so repulsed at the idea of a $40 burger anywhere in San Francisco that she won’t name the place. The San Francisco Chronicle says “it’s a good burger, if nothing life-changing.”

And self thought the $24 she ended up paying for a cheeseburger in Manhattan was outrageous!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Now 3: December 2015

This one’s a no-brainer: Showing now at your local movie theater:

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Also, Christmas trees in all the restaurants, including this one in La Traviata on the Mission. The walls are lined with pictures of famous opera singers. The menu features “Pollo ala Beverly Sills.”

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La Traviata, Mission Street, San Francisco

And, one more holiday pic: from the Columbus Circle side of the Trump Center in Manhattan:

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The Trump Center, New York, December 2015

AND A BELATED MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Reading Laird Barron’s OCCULTAION on Christmas Eve!

Occultation is soooo creepy. The publisher is Night Shade Books of San Francisco. Self bought her copy years ago, from Borderlands on the Mission.

Sorry, dear blog readers, sorry. It is Christmas Eve. Why is self reading horror?

She thought it would give her ideas for writing a Vampire Peeta fan fic of her own.

It’s about annihilation and transformation.

There is a very smart introduction written by Michael Shae in which he says:

To be transformed, to be remade, is not a passive exercise. It is an excruciating eclosion, a branching, fracturing emergence into a much bigger, hungrier universe.

Shae is right. Can anyone imagine that process — even if it’s a familiar trope like turning into a vampire or becoming zombi-fied — isn’t painful?

(About becoming a zombie: to read a story about just how painful it is, read Carrie Ryan’s in the anthology, After: Ninesteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia. In that story, people have discovered a way to un-zombify the zombies. It’s told from the point of view of one of these un-zombified. And the way she describes the process of recovery is awful. So we imagine what it must have been like to turn in the first place)

Self will leave dear blog readers alone now so they can think about holiday good cheer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Now: 2015 Final WordPress Photo Challenge

The Daily Post WordPress Photo Challenge is coming a wee bit early, as Christmas is in two days!

The final WordPress Photo Challenge for 2015 is NOW. As the prompt explains:

  • Sometimes, we get caught up in nostalgia, future fantasy, or both, and we don’t embrace the “now.” For this week’s challenge, take a moment to notice your present, and share a photo of it.

Here are three photos celebrating NOW:

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Chelsea Market, New York City: Hanging from the Rafters Near the Exits: December 2015

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New York City, a Place That Is All About NOW: Edge of Soho, November 2015

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Readings are such fleeting pleasures! InsideStorytime, El Amigo Bar on Mission St., San Francisco: November 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Delly Cartwright, Stalker (Be Forewarned: Fan Fiction)

Yesterday, self did not move at all from her room. First she worked on her Capitol Peeta fan fic, then on her Cheater Peeta fan fic.

Then she fell asleep while watching Law and Order re-runs.

People, she hasn’t even had time to walk to Rockefeller Center to watch the ice skaters!

Anyhoo, Katniss moves out of Cheating Peeta’s house (in San Francisco yet; two blocks from the Mission, right around the corner from Dog-Eared Books). Peeta’s dinners consist of bottles of Maker’s Mark.

He’s opened yet another bottle when — DING DING DING!

The front door!

Peeta rushes to answer it, and in rushes Delly!

Unknown to Cheating Peeta, Delly has been doing the “Fatal Attraction” number on Katniss! Following her to the high school where she teaches (close to Dolores Park)!

  • Katniss opened her car door and threw in her messenger bag. Out of it spilled her checkbook, her lipstick, her pens, and a small wad of kleenex. Suddenly, from the corner of her eye, she caught a flash of pink. She’d sensed someone watching her for the last couple of days. She wondered if it was that crazy bimbo, Delly, again. Katniss whipped her head around, but whoever had been watching her had disappeared.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Treat: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is Halloween-themed!

Here are self’s ideas of TREATS:

Hot Chocolate and Peanut Butter & Jelly Square, Joaquin Torres, Broadway & 72nd

Hot Chocolate and Peanut Butter & Jelly Square, Jacques Torres Chocolates, Broadway & 72nd

Being surrounded by books: such a treat! Extraordinary. The best form of indulgence:

Borderlands, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Bookstore, Valencia Street, San Francisco

Borderlands, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Bookstore, Valencia Street, San Francisco

Finally, watching plays is such a treat. On the same level of pleasure as reading a good book.

Here’s one of her favorite venues: the Bruns Amphitheatre in Orinda, where Cal Shakes presents Shakespeare through the warm months of summer and early fall. The last play she saw here was “King Lear,” with Anthony Heald. Superb!

Bruns Amphitheatre, Orinda, California

Bruns Amphitheatre, Orinda, California

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Careful 3: Borderlands, San Francisco; Whitney Museum of Art, New York; a Street in Cork, Ireland

Selection requires care. Here’s a shelf of staff picks from Borderlands, a science fiction and fantasy bookstore on Valencia Street in San Francisco:

Borderlands, San Francisco: Staff Picks

Borderlands, San Francisco: Staff Picks

Another example of CAREFUL: Alexander Calder’s whimsical miniature “Circus”, at the Whitney Museum of Art near New York’s High Line. All art requires care. Calder’s miniatures are tops in this regard:

The pieces move. A video accompanying the exhibit shows how.

The pieces move. A video accompanying the exhibit shows how.

Cork, Ireland: Self loves this particular street, only a block or so from the bookstore Vibes and Scribes. Ireland is justifiably proud of its rich literary heritage. Faces of the greats adorn the side of a building on a small side street:

Great Irish writers, commemmorated on a mural in the beautiful city of Cork

Great Irish writers, commemorated on a mural in the beautiful city of Cork

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Careful 2: The Habits of a Writer

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is CAREFUL.

Careful, according to The Daily Post prompt, can refer to many things: a photograph taken with care, a person being careful, or a task or detail requiring care.

The way this week has gone — dinner with Drew in Koreatown; a reception for Chamber Music Artists; Asian American Writers Workshop double book launch of Luis Francia and Midori Yamamura; and Penny Jackson’s play “Louise in Charlottesville” — and the pouring rain yesterday, self had absolutely not a spare moment. GRRRR.

But here are three pictures of what “Careful” means to self.

First, she never goes anywhere without her journal. She uses it primarily to make random observations.

Last night, on the train, a conductor seemed anal about the passengers’ “dirty feet.” Over and over, he admonished the passengers NOT. TO. PUT. DIRTY. FEET. UP. ON. THE. SEATS. Nearly drove self mad.

Upper West Side, New York City: Taking Notes in a Chocolate Shop on Broadway

Upper West Side, New York City: Taking Notes in a Chocolate Shop on Broadway

Her friend has a beautiful apartment on the Upper West Side. She is a writer, of course.

You can always tell the quality of a mind by the quality of that person's bookshelves. These belong to a friend who lives in the Upper West Side.

You can always tell the quality of a mind by the quality of that person’s bookshelves. These belong to a friend who lives in the Upper West Side.

Finally, Dog-Eared Books in Valencia. This is one of the mainstays, along with the science fiction bookstore Borderlands, that have called the Mission District of San Francisco their home for many years. With the loss of other mainstays, like Modern Times Books, self cherishes these last hold-outs before the yuppie deluge:

Dog-Eared Books, Valencia St., San Francisco: Murals on the exterior walls are painted with books.

Dog-Eared Books, Valencia St., San Francisco: Murals on the exterior walls are painted with books.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Self’s Speculative Fiction: Short on Science, Long on Speculation

Self’s science fiction may be a little short on the science, but it has everything to do with story-telling.

She is thinking about her stories today because last week she was in San Francisco and popped into Borderlands, the Science Fiction Bookstore on Valencia. So wonderful to browse! Self saw many, many books she wanted to read. There were new books from China Mieville, Joe Hill, and Jo Walton, to name a few.

Borderlands, Valencia Street, San Francisco: All Science Fiction, All Fantasy, All the Time

Borderlands, Valencia Street, San Francisco: All Science Fiction, All Fantasy, All the Time

This is the problem with going to a bookstore: self ends up leaving with loads of books that she then has to pack into a suitcase and then haul that suitcase around on her travels and the experience is just painful.

Anyhoo, self had been thinking for quite a while of starting to put together a new collection, and is leaning more towards having it all be science fiction. She might lead off with “Spores,” which her friend Morgan Cook turned into an MP3 Audio File, early this year.

This excerpt is from “Spores” (Trigger warning: profanity)

“Me mum’s a thick,” K said once. “A fecking thick. A root rotter.”

“Hit brew and all?” I asked.

“12 pints one go, honest,” K said. She silent the rest of the day.

I grew weary of K.

Self’s story “First Life,” published by Juked in July, is again “nothing but strange,” to quote from FictionFeed.net. The first sentence:

Ever since they moved our colony from Tonle Sap to the Philippines, my mind hasn’t been the same.

And then there’s “Thing,” which came out in the New Orleans Review in 2012, about Animal Rehabilitation Center, Sector 6, where the results of heinous lab experiments are tended to by a rag-tag group who are barely human themselves.

And “Magellan’s Mirror,” which J Journal published and nominated for a Pushcart (The Philippines populated by a race of giants)

And “Vanquisher,” which self wrote as a sequel to “Magellan’s Mirror,” in which Juan de Salcedo turns into a kind of vampire.

And there’s “The Forest,” about a man whose wife has just let him, and whose sister offers, out of the kindness of her heart, to turn him into a spotted deer or an eagle.

And there’s “Ice,” which is set in a future Earth whose surface is covered with ice:

Out there, ice caps, cold as knives.

Steam from her mouth, his mouth, none from the boy who lay between them. She knowing what but not able to bear it.

And of course, “The Freeze,” in Bluestem Magazine early this year, in which a woman loses her entire family when a catastrophic freeze descends on the planet (The rumor is that the Russians started it) and decides to walk to Mexico.

And “The Departure” (2011 Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow’s annual Best of Horror list), in which a woman looks up at the sky just in time to see a giant hand appear and go left to right, the gesture of a teacher erasing a blackboard. Next thing she knows, her face has sprouted glass.

And her short short “The Ark,” in which Noah is unbelievably cruel to the animals under his care.

And “Sofia,” in which a woman is visited by her great-great-grandfather, to tell her she is . . . (No spoilers here)

And her piece in Witness, about a man who is the last living person on Earth to have actually tasted a mango.

And she has other stories: stories about “breeder” sweaters (Women wear the sweaters to help them conceive) and lonely Cyclops (“I Am Cyclops,” published in Lillian Howan’s Nimbus Cat)

And another about the lost city of Atlantis, discovered 1715 (“Residents of the Deep”)

And another story called “The Great Emptying of the Three Triangles” which is a Power Point presentation on desertification.

And another called “Harvest” in which a young girl’s mother walks around all day dressed in nothing but a mink coat and her best friend vanishes from a field during an insect harvest.

And another called “Eating” in which a girl’s mother forces her to eat and eat and eat until the girl feels she is about to die.

And another called “Appetites” in which a girl sends her nanny off into the wide, wide world to search for a particular delicacy the girl wants to taste (This one’s published on Café Irreal)

And “Isa,” which is about the last two remaining islands on Earth (published by Rogue Magazine in their Bacolod issue).

And one in which a Fetch appears to a father mourning the loss of his daughter.

And one about a dictator’s Special Research Project (This one’s included in her first collection, Ginseng and Other Tales From Manila)

Phew! Too many stories to list.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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