New Photo Challenge: Share Your Desktop

Playing along with Share Your Desktop — March 2021

For the last few months, self’s desktop has been what might or might not be a still from the great TV series The Expanse (based on the nine-book series by James S. A. Corey — Corey is actually the pen-name for two writers: Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). If you haven’t watched, you are missing something. The sixth — and final — season is filming now in Toronto. Air date (on Amazon Prime) TBA.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Getting Through It

It’s been almost a year since the world stopped, plans got thrown out the window, and nothing will ever be the same.

Self thought she’d take a moment to celebrate the things that got her through the past year:

Of course, gardening. Her garden has never looked so great. Every day she watches the oxalis in her backyard get higher and higher. And she just loves it.

Second, books, and her fantastic local library and their curbside pick-up system. She’s been using it since June (Before that, she ordered many books from Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, which is equally fantastic). Also, self would like to thank the AUTHORS of these wonderful books. When self needed to be transported to another place and time, these authors delivered:

Self would also like to thank FREE CONCERTS. The week after everything shut down, St. Bride’s in London began streaming everything. And so did St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, which used to hold free noontime concerts every Tuesday.

She would also like to thank Cal Shakes, whose summertime Shakespeare was a high point of her summer, as long as she was home in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Her first Cal Shakes was Romeo and Juliet. ADAM SCOTT PLAYED ROMEO. Sold!!!) A few days ago, she got a message that they would mount ONE live production this summer (Dates to be announced), with appropriate social distancing, of course: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

Also, FaceTime. Self has actually learned to FaceTime with Dearest Mum. It’s been so great.

And The Economist, which managed to come every week (every two weeks lately, since DeJoy destroyed the USPS)

Finally, she’d like to thank her favorite TV shows, because she’d never have gotten through without them: The Expanse (closing with Season 6), Peaky Blinders (closing with Season 6), The Crown.

A big hand also for Trader Joe’s, for being most sanitary of all the different supermarkets she’s shopped in.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Back to Reading The Relentless Moon, Book # 3 of the Lady Astronaut Series

How is everyone doing? Are we surprised we made it to Saturday?

I like the Lady Astronaut. She has an eating disorder. So does the head of the Space Program. I think it’s called Starving Yourself to Death. Apparently it’s quite a common reaction to things being out of control.

(Some people in space don’t eat. Some, like Bobbie Draper of The Expanse, resurrect sad childhood memories: “I used to have a rat.” — The Expanse S5:E04)

The Lady Astronaut happens to be married to the Governor of Kansas.

The Governor’s Mansion in Topeka used to be an old pile of a Victorian, but after the Meteor, it had been replaced by a bunker with ballrooms. That was before Kenneth was governor, or he would have stopped that foolishness. But people were so scared of another Meteor they just buried everything . . . It was a terrible design that had all the grace of a fart . . .

The Relentless Moon, by Mary Robinette Kowal, p. 95

The Expanse, Season Five (Quick Comments, No Spoilers)

A few things about the first three episodes, which dropped Dec. 15 (and which self has already watched twice)

  • Splitting up the characters creates great narrative drive.
  • The scale of this universe is tremendous. Just the scope of the whole production, the ambition and sweep — not even Battlestar Galactica had that.
  • The actor who played Erich, Jacob Mundell, is amazing. Once again, props to whoever casts this series. Can’t imagine any other actor who could play this role. They apparently found Mundell in Chicago.
  • Drummer’s grief over Ashford broke me.
  • Beltalowda is a thing.
  • Absolutely hate Filip, he is trash. Points to the actor who plays him, Jasai Chase Owens.
  • Monica Stuart, as played by Anna Hopkins, is a lot of fun to watch. Wonder why she never makes a pass at Holden, lol. Even just to worm some information out of him. She seemed pretty ruthless, in the books as well.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 128: And Here Comes the Holiday Season

  • I know many creative plans are being made to make these celebrations work – somehow and anyway. This last LAPC challenge, of the strange year 2020, is all about your Holiday Season. So what will your holidays look like? What are your plans and/or memories? Will you create new traditions or will you just ”survive” this one, looking forward to a ”normalized” celebrating next year? Leya

Self did not expect 2020. Neither did any of us. Right?

Nevertheless, today self was checking out viveka’s blog, my guilty pleasures, and she had the most stunning array of Christmas photos. Inspired, self came up with a few Christmas photos of her own.

Here’s a picture from the night of Dec. 15, when Amazon Prime dropped the first 3 episodes of Season 5 of The Expanse! So exciting! Each succeeding episode is on Wednesday, that means the next ‘drop’ is Wednesday, 23 December. And that is the nicest Christmas present she could have asked for.

She did buy a wreath from Trader Joe’s for $10.99, and fastened a few multi-colored Christmas balls to dress it up a little.

And she put out her lighted angel, that she puts out every year. And brought out a tin angel that was made in the Philippines.

So, very simple decorations this year. Not even half of her usual lay-out. Usually, she gets a big, fresh-cut fir, and hangs about 100 ornaments on it. And she scatters greenery on every available surface. Last year, her neighbor Wendy dropped by, and the first thing she said when she crossed the threshhold was: WOW.

But, Christmas is in her heart, even though this year was a very hard one.

Shout-out to Restless Jo for her great Christmas gallery, to don’t hold your breath’s Four Views of Panchgani, and to Bend Branches’s lovely Christmas ornaments.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

2020: The Sea Inside

No commentary, just pictures that moved self as she looks back on the year ending. Most of the pictures are ones self took, except for: the still from Tenet; the still from The Expanse; the still from Black Panther; the ballet dancers in front of a Confederate monument (which she thinks is from AP)

The Expanse, Season 5

Self has nothing new to add, except that she hopes the season gives us a lot of James Holden, Naomi Nagata, Chrisjen Avasarala, Amos Burton, Camina Drummer, Bobbie Draper and . . . okay, Marco Inaros because she is much taken with maniacs, she doesn’t know why. So many maniacs, too little time.

Today is also the end of another week. And Emily Murphy, Mother of All Toads, is still employed at the GSA, self knows not why.

2020 Reads: The List So Far

The books below took her through a tumultuous year. Books are listed in the order in which she read them:

  • Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, by Jia Tolentino
  • Stories of Your Life and Others, by Ted Chiang
  • Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory, by Rafael Bob-Waksberg
  • The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
  • I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
  • The Run of His Life: The People vs OJ Simpson, by Jeffrey Toobin
  • TheChildren of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
  • Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty
  • Leviathan Wakes, by James S. A. Corey
  • Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us, by Frans de Waal
  • Caliban’s War, by James S. A. Corey
  • Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, by Robert Kolker
  • Abaddon’s Gate, by James S. A. Corey
  • The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, by David Wallace-Wells
  • Cibola Burn, by James S. A. Corey
  • Her Protector’s Pleasure, by Grace Calloway
  • The Snakes, by Sadie Jones
  • The Shadow King, by Maaza Mengiste
  • First: Sandra Day O’Connor, by Evan Thomas
  • Colonel Chabert, by Honorée de Balzac
  • The Charterhouse of Parma, by Stendhal
  • In West Mills, by De’Shawn Charles Winslow
  • Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, by Larry Tye
  • Your House Will Pay, by Stephanie Cha
  • Heaven, My Home, by Attica Locke
  • Bread and Salt: Stories, by Valerie Miner
  • The Prince of Mournful Thoughts, by Caroline Kim (Winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize)
  • Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy, by Edward Ball

Book Holden: Cibola Burn

Self is on Book #5 of The Expanse, Nemesis Games. Finally! This was one of the first books she ordered during the pandemic. But she didn’t read it because she didn’t want to know what happens in Season 5 of the TV series.

Now, The Expanse Season 5 trailer has dropped, and self is finally, FINALLY starting to read Nemesis Games. As well as simultaneously re-reading Book # 4 (Cibola Burn), whose events were covered in Season 4.

p. 447:

“We need to get you inside,” Elvi replied, throwing his left arm around her shoulders and guiding him to the door. “I think you’ve been awake for something like four days.”

“It’s okay,” Holden said. “I took a lot of speed.”

LOL! Book Holden is so disarming!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

NEMESIS GAMES: Realism

Self is still reading Heaven, My Home (which is FAN-TAS-TIC), but as she’s a fan of The Expanse, and they just released the trailer for Season 5 (which drops on Dec. 16 — self can hardly wait), she’s also started reading Book # 5 of the series, Nemesis Games.

She read the first four books early in the pandemic — big, big thanks to James S. A. Corey for helping her power through those first mind-numbing weeks.

MILD SPOILER

Each book starts with a pulse-pounding prologue, and Nemesis Games is no exception. Here’s a description of an attack on the Martian shipyards at Callisto, an attack carried out by a fifteen-year-old. More than anything, self loves the realism of the action scenes:

  • At zero, the second strike came. Filip didn’t see the rock hit. As with the tungsten slugs, it was going much too fast for mere human sight, but he saw the dust cloud jump like someone had surprised it, and then the vast shock wave, blooming out so powerfully that even in the barely extant atmosphere it was visible.

Chapter One is “a year after the Callisto attacks … ” Holden is overseeing repairs on the Rocinante. YAAAAS! Self has missed Holden, this most unusual of heroes, a space slacker who nevertheless lavishes attention on his ship and his crew. Three years have elapsed since the last book: Is Holden in his late 30s now? From here on out, they’ll have to start aging up Steven Strait, the actor who plays him in the series. He started doing Holden when he was 28.

She’ll try not to share so much of Nemesis Games. Next posts will be all Heaven, My Home.

Stay tuned.

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