April 6 BRIGHT SQUARES

Every day this April, a BRIGHT SQUARE.

Learn more about the challenge here.

Self took the pictures below in Afterwards, a vintage clothing and furniture store in Menlo Park. She was on her way to the Rodin Sculpture Garden at Stanford, but her attention was caught by the big globe hanging in the window. So she decided to investigate.

The store is huge! And full of one-of-a-kind pieces. So much more fun than shopping in a department store.

Self and the woman there had a nice conversation about Louise Penny.

Squares in Picture # 1: the McDonald’s awning? The shape of the building?

Squares in Picture # 2: The chair back is sort of — squar-ish?

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The “Fishwife Call”

If Lamorna Ash had written about nothing else except the pubs of Newlyn and the eight days on a fish trawler with six (or was it seven) Cornish fishermen, this book would have been worth the read. But we are only on p. 40, so one can only imagine what other Cornish memories lie in store!

So far, on this eight-day fishing trip, Ash has made reference to Moby Dick and something by Conrad, this interspersed with anecdotes about the crew (Kevin, a flaming redhead and the youngest of the crew is, naturally, the cook. First night’s dinner is “chicken burgers and lovely fucking peas.”)

Speaking of Moby Dick, self read that book for the first time in her first quarter as a Creative Writing Fellow at Stanford. Everyone else was reading Raymond Carver but, self being so obstreperous, she read Moby Dick. It took her, she thinks, something like three months, and she was in pain the whole time.

The trawler’s name is the Filadelfia –why? Next thing self knows, she is trolling her archives for pictures of Philadelphia, her favorite American city next to her own, the city where Dearest Mum attended Curtis (Dearest Mum was only 11 when admitted, and became super-famous, a famous like Britney Spears! For winning the New York Times International Piano Competition, at 14. Her teacher at Curtis was a Madame Mengerva, who told Dearest Mum she should never get married, which is why, when Dearest Mum was 21, she eloped and ended up having five children with Dear Departed Dad)

On p. 40, self reads about the Fishwife Call, that lovely seafaring tradition where “whoever is on watch puts the kettle on, makes mugs of coffee and then heads down to wake the snoozing crew for the next haul” with a hearty ‘Alrightfuckers!’

So interesting.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Stanford Alumni Letter to SAA Board of Directors Regarding Senator Hawley

If you are a Stanford Alumna, you may sign your name here. Currently, 1244 former students have signed.

To: Board of Directors of the Stanford Alumni Association, Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center, 326 Galvez Street, Stanford, CA 94305 – 6105

January 7, 2021

Board of Directors:

We, the undersigned alumni of Stanford University, call upon the Stanford Alumni Association (“SAA”) to immediately expel United States Senator Josh Hawley ‘02 from SAA.

Senator Hawley’s words and actions on, and prior to, January 6, 2021 are a direct and unprecedented assault on our constitutional and democratic form of government. His baseless objection to the electoral results of Arizona and Pennsylvania, his overt support for the violent mob that swarmed the Capitol, and his relentless deceit in pursuit of power all demonstrate that Senator Hawley represents not merely a different political viewpoint, but a growing fascist threat to the United States. In light of such danger, SAA must deny Senator Hawley the privileges and benefits of SAA membership, and not allow Stanford alumni and resources to become complicit in advancing his harmful and unconscionable agenda.

Senator Hawley’s statements and conduct are also in direct violation of SAA’s Code of Conduct, which states in relevant part that “Stanford reserves the right to warn, suspend or ban any person from access to constituent resources and events whose behavior does not uphold the values of respect, integrity, honesty, and fairness.”

We, therefore, demand that the Board of Directors take action and expel Senator Hawley from the SAA without delay, including a ban on his attendance and participation in SAA events and activities.

Signed,

1,244 names as of January 7, 2021

Alcina: To Replace a Murdered Priest

From A History of the Bisayan People of the Philippine Islands, by Francisco Alcina, S.J.

De La Lengua Bisaya; Si Es, Acaso, Alguna de las 72 Primitivas y de la Primera Confusion; de su Elegancia, Abundancia, Propiedad Y Calidades Particulares

(Concerning the Bisayan Language; whether perhaps it is one of the seventy-two original ones after the confusion of tongues; about its elegance, richness, propriety and special characteristics)

When Alcina was sent to the central Philippines, he was very young. He was sent to replace a murdered priest. How he came to write a multi-volume work on the Bisayan people (in addition to finding ways to keep himself alive, and founding a mission, and harvesting souls) self has no idea.

They have Alcina’s seminal work (published 1668?) in Stanford’s Green Library, but the library’s been closed most of the year. A Stanford librarian looked it up and said the text was available on-line and gave self the link.

What’s truly amazing about Alcina is that the Bisayan (Hiligaynon — there’s more than one Bisayan language but Alcina studied the one that’s used in Dear Departed Dad’s home province) words are ones she knows: words for ugly, beautiful; hot and cold; brother and sister. The language stayed intact, uncorrupted, even after three centuries of Spanish colonization. Or perhaps it was the translator who chose the modern equivalents of early Bisayan language? At any rate the language is in full use today: all self’s relatives speak it and literature is still being written in that language.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

KUWENTO (Stories), Self’s First Book

A copy is in Green Library.

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World War II Memoirs, Hoover Archives

When Stanford libraries were still open, self used to go there just to read. Her favorite thing was to read World War II memoirs. There were also transcripts from the war trials conducted by the Americans in Los Baños. These memoirs are all in the bowels of Hoover Archives. She once bumped into the writer Karen Tei Yamashita there! We were surprised, to say the least. She was leaving the archives and self was just entering.

General Yamashita was tried, convicted, and hung within three days. Self remembers reading that his young American lawyer was very green and CRIED when the verdict was announced. He apologized to Yamashita for not defending him better. The lawyer attended the hanging, as a sign of respect. That must have been hard.

Self did photocopy a handful of memoirs, from the single copy machine in the Hoover Archive reading room. She stashed them in her closet and had so many adventures, so many travels, that she did not read them again until today.

First memoir: “Sometimes it seems that you just can’t be doing the things that you find yourself continuing to do.”

This from a memoir written by the wife of an American mine executive. Her husband chose to stay with the mine, but he sent his wife away, and she caught passage on a boat headed up the Agusan River, a boat packed with fleeing Filipino families. Never once does she bring up the fear and sadness she must have felt at leaving her husband. But she describes seeing the dawn break, day after day after day, so her insomnia must have been terrible. “Someone else made the coffee . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. 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.

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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.

Stanford Spokes: A Summer 2020 Learning Project

One Summer. 6 Students. 6 Bikes. 10 States.

This summer, six Stanford students will spend three months biking from San Francisco to D.C., teaching hands-on educational workshops to local middle school and high school students along the way.

Read all about the project here.

Map+Final

Stay tuned.

A Photo a Week Challenge: In the Neighborhood

Love this week’s Photo a Week Challenge.

Self is heading home soon. Here are three pictures she took just before she left on her latest trip:

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Kepler’s Books and Magazines, Menlo Park, California: Self read here when her first book came out, ages and ages and ages ago.

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Courthouse Square, Redwood City, California: This has been her home for almost as long as she’s lived in America. It’s one of the most vibrant, ethnically-mixed places on the Peninsula.

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Stanford University, which made of self a writer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Things People Play With

It’s been several weeks since self participated in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, so she’s more than happy to participate today.

The prompt is: THINGS PEOPLE PLAY WITH

  • The London Eye seen from Waterloo Bridge, 7 October 2018:

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  • The Leland Stanford, Jr. University Marching Band in the Annual 4th of July Parade, Downtown Redwood City: The band’s known for its goofiness.

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  • The Stanford Tree Leading the Leland Stanford, Jr. University Marching Band in the Annual 4th of July Parade in Downtown Redwood City. The Tree is an enduring emblem:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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