Challenge #16

Oct. 22nd, 2017 10:32 pm
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[personal profile] picturepromptfun_mod posting in [community profile] picture_prompt_fun
Our Challenge #15 will close today at 11.59pm GMT. We have 5 stories written by four authors. Thanks to everyone for participating.

Challenge #16

Posting period: 23.10.2017 - 29.10.2017 (11.59pm GMT)

Pictures 31 & 32



#31


#32

click on the previews to see a bigger version of the pictures
use the code in the textarea to add the picture into your work (only on DW)


You have three options to work with the pictures.

- choose one picture to write one story
- choose both pictures to write two different stories
- choose both pictures and try to bring them together in one story

Interpret the pictures in which way ever you like. As long as you can explain the connection between the picture and your work everything is fine.

Please visit the FAQ for more information.

We also have an AO3 Collection. Feel free to add your work.


Good luck and have fun!
prisca: (Josh dirty)
[personal profile] prisca posting in [community profile] picture_prompt_fun
Title: Surprise
Fandom: The Faculty
Characters: Casey Connor, Zeke Tyler
Words: 557
Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: Of course, I don't own The Faculty nor the characters

Thought, it might be a nice idea to surprise you. )

Murdered Gods

Oct. 22nd, 2017 01:50 pm
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] books
Murdered Gods by Marina Finlayson

Book #2. Spoilers ahead for Stolen Magic

Read more... )

Murdered Gods

Oct. 22nd, 2017 01:51 pm
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] book_love
Murdered Gods by Marina Finlayson

Book #2. Spoilers ahead for Stolen Magic

Read more... )

(no subject)

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:37 am
baranduin: (pink heart by shalowater)
[personal profile] baranduin
Thinking of dear Mewsie today, one year on. I miss your presence, my friend.

Where has all the candy gone?

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:50 am
shirebound: (Default)
[personal profile] shirebound
I'm thinking about Mews today. How could it have been a year already? I'll always love her.

I'm taking Pippin to meet her new vet tomorrow, and to get her weighed. Hopefully all the squirrel- and mouse-chasing is keeping her in good shape.

Shiremom had her eye surgeon appointment, and she definitely needs cataracts surgery. We haven't scheduled the surgery date yet, but plan to do so very soon. Her quality of life will be so much improved once she can see clearly again!

I need to stop buying Halloween candy so far in advance. I forgot how fond Shiremom is of mini Tootsie Rolls and Kit Kats.

Note to Self: Put "mini Tootsie Rolls and Kit Kats" back on the shopping list.
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Posted by Jill Zeller

Leaving M.C. Escher in Het Paleis, Hannah and I asked for directions to the Mauritshuis, The Royal Cabinet of Paintings, home of Dutch golden age art. It was always “Well, you walk across there and take the first right.” Or, “You walk across there and take the first left”, always with a vague wave of the hand pointing across a square toward a canal.

We passed a cello-maker. Since my husband once played one, I took a photo for him. The canals—of course there were canals—glistened like steel under the gray skies.

Hannah’s gift of navigation paid off, and we found ourselves entering a broad plaza bordered by straight-up Dutch structures housing Holland governmental bureaus. The only problem was, there was no indication of which housed the museum. We wandered through a gate toward a church, reversed directions, and going through an iron gate we asked a security guard standing in front of a lavish, mustard-colored mansion.

Of course, this was the Mauritshuis. (Maurice House is the English translation, according to Wikipedia.) It was originally the house of John Maurice, the Governor of Dutch Brazil. Imagine the Dutch in Brazil. They did get around back in the day.

The entry was to the side, down stairs that sank below the level of the canal. Through a gap in the wall we could look on the water dotted with bits of trash.

After purchasing our tickets, and having our purses scrutinized by a guard, we took the stairs up to the museum. My Belgian colleagues had called out the jewel of the art museum: Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring.

The Flemish school of painters flourished on and off from the 15th to the 17th Century in the Low Countries along the North Sea. Vermeer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Brueghel and more. The best known works are Girl with the Pearl Earring, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (Rembrandt) and Rubens’ Night Scene.

These were all astonishing, but what I found myself obsessed with were the still lifes.

In the dozen or so I studied, all floral arrangements that the Dutch painters were admired for, I discovered an interesting similarity. There was a central vase loaded with oriental lilies, tulips, peonies, roses. On the table top on which the vase was placed, were more objects. As you face the painting, there was always an insect on the table to the right, and a fallen stem or bloom on the left.

The arrangement was the same, but the content differed. There were always flowers, but the insect prop could be a beetle, lady bug, butterfly, honey bee. The fallen stem may be a flower, or a leaf, or fruit, but the composition rules were always strictly followed.

Tired but pleased with our trek, we walked back to the train station. The interior of the Den Haag cafes were jammed with folks in the late afternoon. I wished I had stopped in one for dinner, since the Hilton restaurant was getting tiresome. Next time I stay on the train into Amsterdam and find myself a beer hall. Although my Belgian friends tell me Belgium has much better beer.

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A Dragon of a Different Color

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:04 pm
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] book_love
A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron

Book 4, picking up speed so that the volumes are more like divisions in a single story. Serious spoilers ahead.

Read more... )

A Dragon of a Different Color

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:04 pm
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] books
A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron

Book 4, picking up speed so that the volumes are more like divisions in a single story. Serious spoilers ahead.
Read more... )

Xalapa Dos

Oct. 21st, 2017 08:33 pm
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[personal profile] al_zorra
      . . . . We have returned from five hours in the Xalapa - Veracruz Museo de AntropologíaWe had not only one, but two, private guides, one of whom speaks some English -- this is what she is studying at university -- and the other a Ph.D. student in the cultures of this part of Mexico.  They were splendid.   Patriciá was with us as well. Among other things, having these three people taking us through these eras of pre-Columbian and Spanish Mexico meant Ned and I were treated to many unofficial legends and lore that they have received from their own parents and grandparents -- these three were each a descendant of one of these indigenous cultures.


Our little group of five were totally fluent in Spanish with the exception of myself. Yet, sometimes it took all five of us, including me, to come up with the correct word in Spanish and English to express a meaning, particularly of everyday objects and practices. We enjoyed ourselves immensely.  I'm sure they did enjoy themselves as much as we did, because it was five hours and nobody was in the least obligated to be there for five hours.

 

One of the Olmec Great Heads which  date from at least before 900 BC and are a distinctive feature of the Olmec civilization of ancient Mesoamerica.  There are 17 of them; this museum has 9.  This one is known both as #1 (numbered in order of their recovery) and as it was the first one found, The King.  The stone is basalt, which comes from a long distance away from the region where the heads have been dug out. It weighs many tons.

The flat nose is a reflection of the jaguar's nose - face, which animal is of multiple significations of intensity including divinity, and which flows through all these cultures throughout the millennia
.


The museum itself is one of the most beautiful I've ever been in. It's built over a site that was an indigenous village when Cortés arrived, with burial sites, the pyramid, etc. of one of the subject groups of the Azteca. The architectural design deliberately suggests one of these edifices. There are those who claim to feel the power that still remains not only in the contents of the building, but what is under the ground. The museum is so elegantly and intelligently arranged that we go from the earliest eras up through the arrival of the Spanish in chronological order, and are able this way to see the continuations of the cultures across the millennia.


It was a miracle that my back was able to do this.  Fortunately, having private guides who were enjoying themselves, there were no objections to stopping so we could all sit and rest our feet and other parts, while the guides continued giving us stories, histories, legends and instruction.  That was how I managed.  But o do I hurt now!


Patricá, el V and I had lunch in a northern African Mediterranean restaurant afterwards.  Even el V was dragging his tail hard after this marvelous day.  We came back to our neighborhood.


Calle des Diamantes


El V picked up his suit and then we went through the calle des diamantes to look at the jewelry in this long outdoor market.  This being Saturday, all was packed.  But generally the streets and brick and mortar stores are always filled with real people, really interacting with each other and many material objects from roasting corn to be made into masa, and then into tacos! tortillas! and so many other things that are good to eat! to reading newspapers and discussing the contents (as can be imagined, the crisis de Espana and Catalonia is much in people's minds).


What is the most wonderful about being here is the presence of things, from flower markets, husking corn, people talking with each other, playing board games, card games, so many activities, recreational as well as work, that take place in real space and time -- not as pixels.  People have wifi -- many, many public wifi areas (so different from the USA) -- at home, at work, etc.  They have smart phones.  But they are not consumed by them -- at least so far.  They are not living in the internet online-order-and-deliver culture.  The sheer pleasure of stores, filled with attractive goods, good that are necessary to a smoothly running household, adequately staffed by interested, professional people -- the street as economic driver and social, political and cultural space!


Calle Enriqui, the cathedral.  One of its two towers was destroyed by lightening early in the 19th century -- twice.  so there remains only one tower, the people of Xalapa taking it as a sign to leave well enough alone.  Above the cathedral, in a men's shop two doors down from a Sears (!), el V found his suit.  Some distance up from the cathedral is our Hotel Clare Luna.


I have been missing this so much in the post digital age that is NYC and our neighborhood.  


Our neighborhood is packed with pedestrians and traffic, but this density is meaningless, for most of them neither live there nor work there -- they don't even live in the country.  Oddly, here, I revel in the density of pedestrian traffic, because these are the people who live and work there, and it has meaning.


We have at least been able to carve out neighborhood for us long-time residents along with St. Anthony's and some of the long time businesses such as the Bistro, but generally, it's just -- nada.  Tourists and those who extract their money and that's that.  No culture, so social life, no civil life.  I just hate it. 


In Xalapa, meaning still seems to exist among the younger generations as well. It goes on every day, all day, late into the night.  The amount of night life here, even beyond the cantinas, taco places, restaurants -- high end, low end -- theaters, movies, music -- is tremendous.  By the way, bookstores everywhere!  People sitting and waiting, like Patricá when we have to have meetings, reads a real book.  She doesn't have to -- she's got her smart phone, etc.  (I too read a real book when sitting around waiting.)


We saw it in Mexico City, the few hours we had between getting into the hotel and having dinner, and going to bed.  In the restaurant where we had our dinner, the young hipsters (it was one of those hipster heaven nabes), we were by far the oldest people there.  The other tables were people discussing politics and literature, playing -- monopoly! -- playing cards, playing games that I had no idea what they were, singing and occasionally getting up to dance. 


Like people in Xalapa and all over Mexico do, we take taxis all the time.  The drivers insert themselves into the conversation as a matter of course.  They like to talk. They seem all to speak English, as they seem to have been either born in the USA or lived there for a long time.  They all seemed to work more than one job in the US, had their own businesses and so on.  But all that entrepreneurial energy, that produced taxes for the public good and paid into our social security has gone back to Mexico, where their contributions and spirit may well transform their country into a global powerhouse, while we, with our mean ugly exclusive spirit goes broke while the obscenely wealthy appropriate whatever is left.  Nor is it only Mexicans that the USA is doing this to.  We are cutting our own gdded throats.


Tonight, we're supposed to be taken out by one of the people who has brought us to this festival, to visit an old school pulquería - cantina.  Popular street culture, el V wants, where he can hear Mexican music.  So far -- blues (the international hipster choice), jazz, etc., but no local Mexican music has been heard by him.  


Tomorrow is going to be another long day, as we drive to Veracruz, tour the castle fortress and look at various slave ship markets and other historical locations.
 


My FemslashEx story

Oct. 21st, 2017 05:18 pm
rachelmanija: (Buffy: I kind of love you)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I had tons of fun with FemslashEx, and highly recommend browsing the archive.

My recipient was [personal profile] iknowcommawrite aka Scioscribe, who wrote me two lovely Treats last Yuletide! FemslashEx allows prompts for original fiction, and this is the prompt I wrote for:

Female Revolutionary/Princess

Class issues, identity porn, loyalty kink, and compromised principles: hell yeah. I think ideally I would like this one in a fantasy world, but I’m open to other possibilities. I’d love to see about any variation on this I could think of. Is the revolutionary undercover in the palace, getting ready to overthrow the monarchy while falling for the princess? Is the princess on the run from the revolution, disguising herself, and falling in amongst the rebels? Do either of them begin to rethink their principles or their policies? Is the revolutionary agitating in the open, and the princess is intrigued by her radical ideas? Other things I’m totally here for: wearing a crown while being thoroughly debauched by a revolutionary, hurt/comfort, kneeling, undressing from gowns and corsets, and virgin princess/experienced revolutionary.

Isn't that great? I found it very inspiring.

I wrote Burn, an epistolatory exercise in Ultimate Identity Porn. The revolutionary hides her face to conceal her identity. The princess silences her voice to preserve her purity. They know each other. And they don't...

Forgot to update yesterday. Oops.

Oct. 21st, 2017 07:49 pm
archangelbeth: Woman doing a zombie "braaaaains" pose (Braaains!)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Am in yet a third hotel. Back home, I am informed:
Main roof is all stripped, and half of front part re-shingled. That's the hard part with the dormer over the door. Most of one side of big room is cleared off. Siding is off front of house over big room; roofer said that part seemed in good shape.
Oh, and we have a large underground bee nest in the plant area under library window. They were not happy having shingles dropped in them.


I think that those are not bees, but rather the wasps that I saw the other day. Yellowjackets, probably, building underground nests for the larvae to overwinter in. Probably drove out the chipmunks, or the chirpmunks had moved out of those holes earlier.

The roofers and the yellow-jackets will just have to cope with each other.

I got some editing done, but no writing at this time. Too sleepy.

Made it to hotel breakfast, yay. Not enough sleep, boo.

So far, first hotel has been best hotel. Kitchenette suite for the win! This one is okay (beats out the second one overall, primarily by having breakfast be open till 10 and not 9:30), but the chair in front of the desk is way low, and it's kind of impossible to use a computer at it. How long do they think my torso is?? ...maybe they didn't set it up for humans.

Hotel breakfasts at mid- and upscale places have waffle-makers now, it seems. I can live with this. (This place only has scrambled eggs as the Egg Dish (well, and hard-boiled), though, and no cheese omelets, like Hotel 1 had for one day, and Hotel 2 had the day that I made it down there.)

...I am so judging hotels now. -_-

Havva Quote
Kid: "Senya, No! Your attempts to tank are interfering with my tanking! Stop Guarding me! I can't guard when I'm being guarded!"
--The kid is playing the Star Wars MMO...


I am not near my other computer that has all the book data so I can't update that at the hotel. Tomorrow e come home, though.

Shadow Unit: Down the Rabbit Hole

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:25 am
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
[A/N: So I wrote this for Lewis Carroll's birthday in 2009. It's an AU (alternate universe) of Shadow Unit, in which one of the main characters, Chaz Villette, is imagining what his life would be like in an alternate reality where he wasn't quite who he is, and since it currently exists only on LiveJournal in Chaz's blog, I'm posting it here as well, so that it doesn't get lost. I'm very fond of it.

[If you don't know anything about Shadow Unit: (1) this stands on its own; (2) go check it out! Buckets of free fiction from me & Elizabeth Bear & Emma Bull & Amanda Downum & Leah Bobet & Will Shetterly & Steven Brust & Chelsea Polk.]
***
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Subversion

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:36 am
nancylebov: (green leaves)
[personal profile] nancylebov
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gnpCqsXE8g

Ex-KGB guy lecturing about subversion in 1983.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Bezmenov

The beginning is ... amusing. He claims that the Soviet Union is immune to subversion because it's closed off from outside influences. It might also be amusing that he claims religion is the only thing which holds a society together, but fails to notice that the USSR tried to weaken religion.

However, his claims that it's possible to take a society down by amplifying its internal disruptive influences might be true.

The part that catches my attention is that cultivating no-compromise attitudes among people is very destructive. And that if you're looking to punish the other guy rather than get a good solution for the both of you, you're heading for trouble.

Unfortunately, it takes two to cooperate.

I'm wondering whether the world is worse than it needs to be, not so much because people are personally rotten as because there are organizations encouraging bad behavior for reasons which have nothing to do with the self-interest of the obvious culprits.

I suggest that malice is not adorable. Even if it's from people you agree with against people you don't trust. And that tear-it-all-downism might actually be bad for you.

There's a challenge here because hunting for negative foreign influence can also be a destructive force.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Look for people of good will. Don't make things worse.
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Posted by Sara Stamey

Note: Since my 4-month backpacking trip around Greece too many years ago, I have been longing to return to this magical land of myth, history, and dramatic landscapes. I recently made a fabulous 3-week return trip there, to research additional settings for my novel-in-progress, THE ARIADNE DISCONNECT. My first post in the new series, on September 30, gave an overview of my rambles with my husband Thor from Athens to the islands of Rhodes, Santorini, and Naxos, and finally a pilgrimage to the ancient center of the world at Delphi.

With only two and a half days in Athens, Thor and I could barely dip our toes into the attractions of this bustling city, and we plan another trip soon.  I’m happy that Thor has fallen as much in love with Greece as I am! Athens, now cleansed of the eye-burning smog I was breathing 35 years ago, casually blends the ruins of 3000-year-old Classical and older Greece with later Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and modern buildings. The top photo we snapped from the Acropolis over the ancient Agora (gathering-place and possibly the first shopping mall) shows the blend of ancient Greek, Byzantine, and modern city.

Everywhere you look are the reminders of its long, rich history, and it seems that every time a new building or street repair gets underway, an historic remnant is discovered. Strolling along, you’ll often see the accommodations built around such finds to preserve them:

Since we were walking around the baking steets during an early September heat wave, Thor was grateful for the natural springs found everywhere in this country of porous limestone. Like the Italian vapas that saved us from heat stroke in Rome, these streetside fountains offer fresh, cool water to the weary traveler:

We took the recommendation of friends and stayed at a centrally-located hotel, named appropriately The Central Hotel, so we could walk the neighborhood or take the excellent underground to sites of interest. We never thought we’d enjoy their rooftop cold jacuzzi tub, but in the late-afternoon heat it was refreshing. From the rooftop deck and restaurant, we also enjoyed a wonderful sunset view of the Acropolis and Parthenon:

Again on the advice of friends, we found a quirky restaurant, “Tzitzikas keh Myrmikai” (I think I got that right), translated as  Cicada and Ant, with wonderful fresh salads and creative entrees like the lamb in flavorful sauce over a pasta nest that we enjoyed. The decor mimicked a retro general store, with shelves of dry goods and old ads papering the walls:

On our walk through the evening streets, we heard brass band music approaching and were soon in the midst of what looked like a parade winding through the cobbled lanes. We followed and realized it was a funeral procession bearing a casket, led by the uniformed band, then priests in their black robes and high hats carrying flower-trimmed icons and other sacred objects, then a lot of people following. They circled the block twice and ended up at a tiny old chapel with its foundations below the level of the present street, with a modern hotel built over the top of it, the sleek square lobby/porch posts straddling the old church with its tile roof. (I apologize for the blurry photo.) Apparently these processions are common, even in the modern city.

There are Byzantine and newer churches everywhere in the country, reflecting the culture of 98% of the population officially registered as Greek Orthodox. This one is a large, modern church near our hotel, still decorated with traditionally-styled icons:

And there are many shops selling religious items:

We spent a half day at the amazing Archeological Museum, and I wish I had had more time to appreciate its treasures like this Archaic Period (around 1200 BC to 500 BC) Kouros. Precursors of the more lifelike statues of later periods, they have stylized features and standard poses probably influenced by Egyptian culture:

You can see the difference in style and realism in this Hellenistic period (around 330-150 BC) or possibly Roman Period (around 150 BC to 300 AD) statue of Aphrodite, the marble carving so delicate that it almost seems you are seeing through the diaphanous garment draping her body:

And I had to revisit one of my favorite small bronzes, this jaunty phallic satyr. Again, I apologize for the blurry photo; visitors are allowed to take photos without flash, but this was through display case glass.

The many displays of small household items, such as painted ceramic ointment jars and spindles, give intimate glimpses of daily life in antiquity. These parts of a reconstructed chariot were also fascinating:

A favorite place from my earlier trip, which unfortunately I didn’t have time to revisit this time, is the Athens Central Market, a sprawling neoclassical edifice built in 1875 near the Ancient Agora where Socrates and Aristotle taught among the bustle of vendors of every kind. Several large archways open to corridors of fish sellers, a meat market, fruits and vegetable stalls, and crafts vendors.

In my novel THE ARIADNE CONNECTION, my near-future Ariadne is feverish and near collapse as she’s pursued by relentless mercenaries, and she flees through the streets of a post-earthquake Athens. She stumbles onto the still-intact central meat market:

*****

A clear alley magically opened to her right. Ariadne ran down it, hand pressed to the ache in her ribs as she sobbed for breath. Shouted commands rang out behind her. She bolted through traffic for the cavelike dark mouth of a building across the street.

Sunlight glare, and then shadow falling over her. Forcing her way through a wall of heat, bodies, and voices, she fell through into dimness. She faltered, blinking, numbly registering cavernous walls opening up before her. Overhead, a high ceiling of curlicued iron grillwork in flyspecked peeling white, flecked with red. Blood everywhere.

Slabs of meat dripping blood. Headless poultry hanging. Severed tongues piled. Rows of hearts, livers, brains. She staggered forward, eyes glazed, deeper into the meat market. Convoluted twists and turns carried her on through swarms of buzzing flies, between racked carcasses lining the passages. She was jostled by hungry figures haggling over the meat, mouths shouting as they jabbed fingers at the raw red cuts.

She was lost in the maze, gagging in the reek of blood. She stumbled past slashing knives, muscle and guts tossed on the scales, thrown dripping over the heads of the buyers to be wrapped. She came up short, staring at trestles of twisted pale intestines, numbly tracing the convoluted kinks until someone pushed her aside. She tried to find a way out, but the passages kept turning and twisting back on themselves. Voices shrilled, ringing in her ears, and she could hear the distant shouts of her pursuers.

The flecked white walls swayed, closing in. She looked up, straining for escape, stretching for the distant rafters and a thin slice of sunlight shimmering through them. Grisly joke high overhead, crucified on a butcher’s hook, a life-sized pink naked baby doll smirked down at her.

Ariadne screamed her fear and confusion, exhaustion and despair, up at that empty leering face.

More faces turned toward her—accusing eyes and mouths—and she was running again, tripping, hands scrabbling over the slippery stained floor, scrambling up to run on.

*****

And, yes, at the time of my visit there really was a baby doll impaled on a butcher’s hook overhead. Join me next Saturday as we visit the Ancient Agora and then pack up for our next destination: the fabulous island of Rhodes!

*****

You will now find The Rambling Writer’s blog posts here every Saturday. Sara’s latest novel from Book View Cafe is available in print and ebook: The Ariadne Connection.  It’s a near-future thriller set in the Greek islands. “Technology triggers a deadly new plague. Can a healer find the cure?”  The novel has received the Cygnus Award for Speculative Fiction. Sara has recently returned from a research trip in Greece and is back at work on the sequel, The Ariadne Disconnect.

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(no subject)

Oct. 20th, 2017 07:27 pm
baranduin: (Default)
[personal profile] baranduin
Hello! I'm locked out of my Yahoo email account and probably won't be back on it until tomorrow. Sorry for being slow to replying to any email!

(I left my ipad at work but have my work laptop with me at home so was using that. But I had to log in to my Yahoo account, which I never have to do on my ipad and many tries later I was locked out. Will go in to work tomorrow morning to retrieve my ipad. I was planning on working on performance appraisals this weekend at home but maybe will just stay at work for a few hours instead.)

Xalapa!

Oct. 20th, 2017 08:31 pm
al_zorra: (Default)
[personal profile] al_zorra
      . . . . I've finally gotten it straight, probably because we are on the ground here We are in the state of Veracruz, in its capital, Xalapa.  This is not the port city of Veracruz, which is on the Gulf Coast, about an hour and a half away by car.  Xalapa also functions as kind of the equivalent of the Xalapa county seat: the muncipality government, which isn't the same as 'municiple'.




It is also the university town -- 20,000 students enrolled in Veracruz.  So government and students are its chief economy (and agriculture!) -- very like Austin, TX.  It also has three connected lakes, that to unknowing eyes appear to be a river, as does Austin.


But this is very Spanish, as the non-indigenous settlement began in 1519 with the arrival of Hernán Cortés, most definitely not Tex-Mex.  The city twists and winds, goes up, and goes down along steep grades.  Only the most dedicated here bicycle.


We came from Mexico City yesterday, via the Ardos bus line's Platinum (Platino) bus service.  The steps up to the coach, like the coach floor itself, is of polished wood.  There is enormous leg room.  The seats are double or single. The seats recline.  The footrests are adjustable from high to low.  The wifi is free, if one signs in with fb, linked in or twitter.  The movies, etc. are also free, and one does not need to sign in with anything.  One can charge all ones devices right there as well.  A lunch is provided.  The coach was filled up, but it felt otherwise, there is so much room.  Excellent, since the trip was 4 1/2 hours, of which most of it felt as though attempt to escape Mexico City.


I read Diana Gabaldon's Voyager, but mostly looked out the window.  The state of Veracruz is endlessly varied: volcanic mountains rising abruptly from the plains and valleys, forests, farming of all kinds from corn (lots of corn) to produce and fruit.  Lots of horses, cattle and even sheep.  The mountains are very high. It was like flying, one's ears were constantly stopping up and unplugging.

We were met at the station by Patriciá (how she pronounces it), a student who first studied architecture, graduated and started law school, and now is in the arts.  She decided she wanted art, not law, not architecture.  She's smart and nice, and our faciliator.


We're staying in the lovely and well-located Clara Luna Hotel, which has been refurbished and renovated to hark back to its heyday -- Mexico, the Caribbean's and South American's heyday, the 1930's and 1940's.  This was the musicians' hotel back then, so there is a lot of that sort of memorabilia but its integrated into the decor and furnishings, not something to look at.  Out room is huge and the bed is very comfortable.  This is good as we need to sleep a lot because we are still quite high above sea level, and our sea level systems are not used to this, particularly with all the going long stretches down steep grades and up steep grades.


The food is as wonderful as expected.

 

Luis Mario Moncada

And, now the most important thing.  We have been to a rehearsal of The American Slave Coast with the director, Luis Mario Moncada, who is Mexico's most respected adapter of English into Spanish language productions, as well as her most famous director.  His theater group is the oldest in modern Mexico, founded back in the 19th century.  He's on the faculty here, and the theater group's home is here, when not on tour.

 

Part of this morning's university's route to the rehearsal.

It is wonderful what they have done with Slave Coast.  We couldn't be more pleased and TASC couldn't be better served.  The actress who reads the letter from enslaved Virginia Boyd to the slave trader who is sending her and her pregnancy to Texas to be sold does it (in Spanish) with grace, pathos and just tears the heart out of one's body.

 

 

Everyone is so nice to us!  It's embarrassing as we're aware at all times of how intensely mean, nasty and contemptuously the USA is treating Mexico and Mexicans.  Paul Krugman gave a lecture in Mexico City the night we arrived (that was only Wednesday, two days ago!), which, hugely attended, got written up in all the media.  The gist, that all the newspapers (real newspapers and books are everywhere visible in Mexico!) stressed, of what Krugman said was -- very roughly translated:


The system of the US was designed by men who assumed that it would only be in the charge of sane men.  If someone was elected who turned out to be mad or a criminal, he would be impeached.  Thus the system would survive.  However, the system cannot survive a madman when all the powers of wealth and politics are being served by the madman.


After the rehearsal, and then lunch (4:30 PM, was lunch) Ned and I went back to what is one of the main shopping districts.  He bought and Italian suit for less than $300 in US money.  This morning we got the news a check is waiting for us back in the US, the last installment of our share of the profit for investing in the items from Morocco that DH brought back last year.  So a suit, that is altered in the shop for trouser length, etc. for less than $300 -- and gorgeous – El V looks so good in it! -- seems about right.   


El V would never have gotten it though, if I wasn't with him.  He picked out trousers first, that I thought were not of the quality he should be getting.  The young sales person was terrific, he kept bringing jackets.  I’d say the jacket, though very nice, its fabric didn’t harmonize with the fabric of the pants.  In the end we got a suit!  About damned time!


I'm skipping the music tonight.  Lunch was so late, I doubt I'll be hungry for dinner, which comes after the music, which will be around 10 PM, but maybe I'll join them.  This is all so Spanish -- and  different from Cuba, Puerto Rico, the DR, or the French Caribbean or even New Mexico.  But it isn't Spanish either, not quite -- it's Mexican, and one can see and feel it, though the differences are subtle and I haven't been here long enough to understand in any kind of detail.


I'm fortunate and privileged to have this experience, even as difficult as the last few days of getting ready and traveling have been.  For people with our infirmities mixed into the TSA regs and the airlines' determination to make it as ugly for the average person as possible, and then the wreckage of urban sprawl and traffic to get to and out of the airports, it is increasingly difficult but we're always treated so well when we arrive, and we learn and experience so much.


I'm still running at least 24 hours behind, in attempting to process and remember everything since arriving in Mexico.  It's a lot -- for one thing, it just suffered a terrible earthquake, and I don't forget that.  Here in Xalapa, they had weeks and weeks of rain and flooding -- then a hurricane.


This end of summer has been awful for so many.  Hopefully things finally may settle some for a while -- at least weather-wise . . . .

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Oct. 20th, 2017 12:23 pm
baranduin: (dragon from semyaza)
[personal profile] baranduin
So at work here we do something called Reflections at the start of meetings. My understanding is that it used to be more weighted toward explicitly Christian prayer. Fortunately it's not that slanted though occasionally someone will start praying to almighty father, at which point I stop listening.

So anyway! I've been waiting all the time I've been working here (about 4 years now) to use this bit from Council of Elrond: "I have not called you to me, strangers from distant lands ..." But now I have the opportunity. Am leading a project to launch a new company intranet site and have a kick-off meeting next week. Cyril says, sweet!

Happy Froday. Cannot wait for the weekend to start :-) Am eating a chili dog with leftover chili from yesterday. Yum.

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