Reward: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is REWARD.

When one has spent a hard couple of days writing, applying to grants, and commenting on student writing, one needs to reward oneself with . . .

Gelato!

Since self’s favorite gelato place is all the way in Palo Alto, however, self has to be content with walking around the Mendocino business district, which has all kinds of quaint businesses, like this one:

Lansing Street, Mendocino

Lansing Street, Mendocino

Her first week here, self heard a woman calling out: “Wif-Fi! No! Wi-Fi!” Turned out Wi-Fi was the name of her pooch. But at first self thought she was bewailing the state of the wi-fi connections here. Then, self had no complaints.

Now, it’s self’s turn to cry, “Wi-Fi! No Wi-Fi! No!” It took her 10 minutes just to upload one picture.

 

Stay tuned.

Submitting to CLARKESWORLD Magazine: Do’s and Dont’s (Well, Actually Just Dont’s)

NO to the following:

  • stories in which a milquetoast civilian government is depicted as the sole obstacle to either catching some depraved criminal or to an uncomplicated military victory
  • stories in which the words “thou” or “thine” appear
  • talking cats
  • talking swords
  • stories where the climax is dependent on the spilling of intestines
  • stories where FTL travel is as easy as it is on television shows or movies
  • time travel
  • stories that depend on some vestigial belief in Judeo-Christian mythology in order to be frightening (i.e., Cain and Abel are vampires; the End Times are ‘a-comin'; Communion wine turns to Christ’s blood, literally; and it’s HIV positive; Satan’s gonna getcha, etc.)
  • stories about rapists-murderers-cannibals
  • stories about young kids playing in some field and discovering ANYTHING: a body, an alien craft, Excalibur, ANYTHING.

Stay tuned.

Express Yourself: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

EXPRESS YOURSELF is this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge.

Since self is doing a residency at the Mendocino Art Center, she thought it would be a good idea to focus on the different forms of artistic expression practiced by her fellow artists-in-residence.

One of them, Mary Ellen Campbell, has a piece in this just-published anthology!

Mary Ellen is a multi-genre artist. Her mixed-media pieces are in the Mendocino Art Center Gallery.

Just Published! An Anthology by Child-Free Women of the 60s in their 60s

Just Published! An Anthology by Child-Free Women of the 60s in their 60s

And there are ceramic artists (like the two who live right next door to self: Mitch and Jessie)

Four artists share this studio in the Mendocino Art Center. These pots were created by Mitch Iburg, who hails from Iowa.

Four artists share this studio in the Mendocino Art Center. These pots were created by Mitch Iburg, who hails from Iowa.

As well as visual artists like Kim Thoman who don’t fall easily into any category (Well, neither does Mary Ellen). Self had dinner with Kim one night, and listening to Kim explain her process was like listening to self’s former Stanford Prof David Nivison discuss Zen Buddhism and the Tao of “Nothingness.” Brilliant. Just. Brilliant.

Visual Artist Kim Thoman's Studio at the Mendocino Art Center: Kim comes to Mendocino every January to work on her art.

Visual Artist Kim Thoman’s Studio at the Mendocino Art Center: Kim comes to Mendocino every January to work on her art.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Xanthopsia” by Maxine Kumin (The New Yorker, July 1, 2013)

In honor of The Daily Post Photo Challenge theme this week — YELLOW — an excerpt from Maxine Kumin’s poem “Xanthopsia” in the July 1, 2013 New Yorker (If you haven’t figured it out by now, yes self does tend to hang on to everything)

It wasn’t absinthe or digitalis
in the Yellow House the two of them shared
that led him to layer the chrome coronas
or yellow the sheets in the bedroom in Arles
or tinge the towel negligently hung
on the hook by the door, or yellow the window,
be it distant view or curtain, yolk-lick
the paintings on the wall by the monkish bed.
No, it wasn’t sunstroke or the bright light
of southern France that yellowed the café terrace
at the Place du Forum, a pigment
intensified by the little white tables, the white stars
in a blue sky, the deep-saffron floor, it wasn’t
some chemical or physical insult that stained
the vase with twelve sunflowers a urinous
yellow, the water in the vase yellow,
also the table under the vase — such
a troubled life of yellow leading up
to Vincent’s hurled wineglass arousing
Gauguin’s rapier to sever his best friend’s left ear

Kumin, a former U.S. Laureate, has written 18 books of poetry.

Stay tuned.

The Daily Beast “Mockingjay, Part 1″ Quote

There are times when all self wants to do is stay in pajamas all day and read Hunger Games fan fiction. And that is the honest truth.

Wait, that IS what you did all day today, self! You stayed in your sweats — one step up from pajamas, at least — and read a new fan fiction you’d just discovered, written by c_r_Roberts.

But you also saw Mockingjay, Part 1 for the second time, which means you did get yourself out of the house, even if it was just for two hours.

The Man wisely opted to see some other movie, the one starring grungy Jake Gyllenhaal as an ambulance chaser.

Self has decided that critics who dislike this installment of the Hunger Games movies are Team Gale. Because those like self who are Team Peeta just loooove Mockingjay, Part 1.

And, as if to back up her point, here’s a quote from The Daily Beast, which self likes to read on a somewhat regular basis:

Team Peeta or Team Gale: Why the Hunger Games’ Love Triangle Ruins Mockingjay, Part 1

A lot of people die in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. Unfortunately, Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne are not among them.

In a nutshell:

When the books were being adapted into movies, that romantic element turned the casting of Peeta and Gale into its own Hollywood Hunger Games, with every young actor in Tinseltown clamoring to be the next Robert Pattinson and every fan of the franchise ready to set tracker jackers on any casting that wasn’t up to snuff.

Self has read articles where Team Gale professes to be absolutely crushed by Mockingjay, Part 1, when it becomes clear who Katniss really loves. They feel betrayed. Furiously betrayed.

Actually, this second viewing of Mockingjay, Part 1 started to bring Gale forward more in self’s mind. To the point where she could actually hear herself saying, “Maybe so-and-so has a point, there is something rather appealing about that Gale.”

Self always loved book-Peeta, and to tell the truth she was not enthused with J-Hutch in the first Hunger Games movie. But that beach scene in Catching Fire? Never mind how ridiculous — even tacky! — it is that Peeta shows a picture of Gale to Katniss on a beach the night before they are to engage in what is supposedly a fateful fight-to-the-death. J-Hutch and J-Law sold that scene and turned self into an avid fan of the Katniss/Peeta pairing, ever since.

So she really loves Mockingjay, Part 1.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Gone But Not Forgotten 2: This Week’s WordPress Photo Challenge

For this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, we’re asked to commemorate what’s “gone but not forgotten.”

Straw Angels: They were a present from Ying, who passed away Sept. 11, 2008.

Straw Angels: They were a present from Ying, who passed away Sept. 11, 2008.

Self has a lot of doggie tree ornaments. Once upon a time, she had two beagles.

Self has a lot of doggie tree ornaments. That’s because, once upon a time, she had two beagles.

This last photo shows a bench next to Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. Self has passed that particular bench so many times. She only noticed the sign on the bench a month or so ago.

Memorial Bench, Stowe Lake, Golden Gate Park

Memorial Bench, Stowe Lake, Golden Gate Park

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Yesterday, Second Friday of November (2014): “Interstellar” (Spoiler Free)

The year is almost done.  Incredible.

Yesterday, self watched “Interstellar” in her local Century 20.

Matthew McConaughey was brilliant. Just. Brilliant.

Self also liked Jessica Chastain in the role of the grown-up “Murph.”

Self was likewise pleased about the casting of Casey Affleck. For a rather slight guy, no one (with the possible exception of Ben Foster) can project steely — i.e. unhinged — menace better than Casey Affleck. Wonder how it would have played out if he, not his brother Ben, had been cast in “Gone, Girl.” Self thinks it might have been a more interesting movie. More nuanced.

As usual, Anne Hathaway’s doe-eyed teary moments had self cringing. But, thankfully, her emo scenes were not saccharine enough to derail the movie.

Which means — “Interstellar” was one heck of a good movie! Maybe her favorite movie of the year!

All hail, McConaughey!  All hail, Christopher Nolan!  All hail, sentient rectangular slabs (Take THAT, Transformers!)

Yesterday was also self’s first time to watch “Constantine” the TV series adaptation. She loved it. So creepy.

Last night, Liam Hemsworth, guest on Fallon, visibly much more relaxed (because not in the presence of his two children — er, co-stars), donned high-heeled stilettos and showed the world that he is indeed capable of pulling off some sexy moves. Especially when not feeling/looking like an odd-man-out in a love triangle.

In the meantime, Channing who?

This is incredibly surprising, but self actually did find herself wiping away a few tears towards the end of “Interstellar.” In fact, “Interstellar” may just have become self’s favorite Christopher Nolan movie. That scene on the watery planet? It just may be the BEST moment of suspense you’ll see in any movie this year, dear blog reader. And, before self forgets — Topher Grace was in the movie, too! Self loooves Topher Grace! Where’s he been hiding all these years? Topher is a participant in the second-most-suspenseful scene in “Interstellar.” Thank you, Christopher Nolan, for bringing this fine actor to the attention of the film-going public once more.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

More of That Minimalist Esthetic in Ojai

From the WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge prompt for the week (which, alas, self only decided to read after she’d already selected this particular trio of photographs):

Minimalist photography is characterized by a large portion of negative space, a fairly monochromatic color palette . . .

Bedding, Motel Room, Ojai

Bedding, Motel Room, Ojai

Motel Room Curtains

Motel Room Curtains

The Motel Room Esthetic, Rule # 1:  ALWAYS put a jacuzzi next to the bed.

The Motel Room Esthetic, Rule # 1: ALWAYS put a jacuzzi next to the bed.

Self was able to catch four movies at the 15th Annual Ojai Film Festival. And she even got to sit in on the Q & A with the directors of two of the films, Bis Gleich and Care.

She watched a really cool science fiction animated short called Abiogenesis.  The art was beautiful.

There was a movie from Spain (Democracia) she really wished she could have seen. And a Swedish film about space travel (Into the Silent Sea) that sounded a lot like Gravity only with a man playing the Sandra Bullock role. And a movie about “one of the first same-sex couples in the world to be legally married,” a Filipino-American and an Australian (Limited Partnership).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Denzel Bloody Denzel: Thoughts on “The Equalizer”

Isn’t Denzel getting too old for this kind of stuff?  Nope.  Assuredly not.  No one is too old to try becoming Charles “Il Bruto” Bronson.

Isn’t Chloe Moretz too young to be playing a hooker?  Nope. Because Jodie Foster showed the way. Next to play a hooker should be Abigail Breslin.

Was the movie theater full or not full? Self can always predict whether a movie has legs from the size of the audience of the first screening on opening weekend. The theater was 3/4 full.

Why did this movie remind her (sort of) of Training Day?  Because it had the same director, Anton Fuqua. (What a name. Self thinks it was inevitable that the boy born Anton Fuqua would turn into Movie Director Anton Fuqua)

How We Know Denzel’s Character is an Upstanding Citizen:  He never once tries to flirt with Chloe Moretz’s character. Even though she is pretty darn cute.  Instead, he talks to her about his ex-wife. And about Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Which clearly proves he is celibate. And noble. Has only the best interests of Chloe Moretz at heart when he engages her in light banter.

In addition, he helps a colleague during a hold-up — helpfully emptying her till for her and urging her to comply with the hold-upper’s demand for her ring.

When Denzel Makes His Intense Glare, we know that it is curtains for whoever is on the receiving end of said Glare.

Self only closed her eyes about four times. Not out of boredom but out of I-Can’t-Take-All-This-Gore responses.

The Hit Man in this movie was from Bourne 2. An elegant, dapper gent with a mournful countenance. It always helps when the Hit Man looks like he might have stumbled in from a GQ ad. This time, he did not have a British accent.

Note to Future Hit-Men:  Never pick on someone who works at Home Depot or places similar. Just think of the array of weapons the target will have at his/her disposal:  Hammers, all sizes; chainsaws, both battery-operated and not; screwdrivers, both electric and non-electric; nails. If the Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction had been working in a Home Depot, he wouldn’t have been so limited in his choice of revenge weapons. If the Transporter’s Jason Stathan had Home Depot instead of a limo at his disposal, he’d have been prancing down the aisles with wild abandon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

White Whale Review

This evening, self decides to re-visit some of the literary journals who’ve solicited and published her work.

There is a reason why, on this blog, self begins to list her publications only starting from 2007: that was the year when she began getting published again.

Yes indeed, dear blog readers:  Just because one has two books under one’s belt is no guarantee of your survival as a writer. And for a period of several years, self received not one single acceptance.

But she hung on.  For which, thank God.

In the meantime, while she was suffering through the acute discomfort of many-years-not-getting-published, she started a blog. This blog. She was writing, but purely for entertainment. Slowly, editors began to write her, leaving comments on the blog.

And that’s how she came to be published in White Whale Review. One of the editors contacted her.  Her story, “Dumaguete,” appeared in Issue 1.2

It’s been a while since she dropped by; she decides to visit this evening, and finds out, Holy Cow, they’re now on Issue 6.2.

So they did not fold.

It’s almost a miracle.

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