Green Seat

[i] Welcome to Joe’s…

 [ii] Handmade sofa spotted in an antique store/coffee shop.

 [iii] Upstairs. This seat is occupied.

[iv] Look at the floor.

Enjoy this weekend in your favourite hideouts.
x SB

about me fiction

I am talking about books

Julie is a lifesaver. She asked me to answer some questions about my reading habits yesterday afternoon. Her timing was excellent because I tanked a ranty post. Some of you are sick so I would rather cheer you up. I have some options: (a) read this post (b) listen to the music (c) type any off topic comment. Or do all three.

I had to keep my eyes closed for most of the day because of a migraine, so I’m squinting and prepping this. And now, a word from our sponsor. Art of War, performed by Vanessa Mae, courtesy Ionna Pianissimo via YouTube.

(I am) talking about Books
The Q’s & A’s

You have 20,000 books on your iPad. How do you decide what to read next? That is impossible. I have tried to download every work from every classical French poet and novelist but there aren’t that many texts available. I regularly meet for after work tea with a colleague who needs her French poetry fix, so I need to have the works in digital format. Twangent allez tu? (I just made that up).

You’re halfway through a book and not loving it. Do you quit or commit? Toss.

The end of the year is around the corner and you are far from finishing your GoodReads challenge. Do you quit or commit? Why does everything have homework? You know there are textbooks for married couples, so they can get a degree in how to be married? I’ve even read about a girl who has a breakup plan and a two month evaluation clause in her relationship contract with her boyfriend. (I’m not introducing you.)

Painting of Queen Victoria in full regaliaQueen Victoria. Image courtesy article on Victoria’s Scottish secrety,
via The Daily Beast.  Her biography, A Personal History, was a very good read.

The covers of a series you love DO. NOT. MATCH. I usually cover my books. I prefer to read the book rather than judge it by the cover.

Everyone and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings? My subscribers, who are very smart about hating on stuff and are more eloquent ranters. I once used my Amazon account for sharing feelings. However, no one cared that the autobiography of the Arab princess was fake.

You’re reading a book and you’re about to start crying in public. How do you deal? Cry. I like the runny eyeshadow look. I like to mix colours just in case. (Reliq Minerals aubergine and mud pie). Also, I would be completely invisible under sunglasses the size of my face.

Helena Bonham Carter via Vlad Rodriguez @ Pinterest

A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot. Will you re-read the book? Highly unlikely I’ll read a sequel of anything. Unless Alexandre Dumas writes a spicy follow up to The Count of Monte Cristo on his secret blog. I know what you’re driving at and no, I did not make it past chapter six of 50SOG.

You don’t want ANYONE borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people “no”? I don’t mind lending my books out. Many people ask to have my books, so I sign and gift them over. If someone finds my taste in books intriguing, I take that as a compliment. One exception is a Verdi (Requiem) libretto, which is an early edition. It’s stashed away safely somewhere. (I have no idea where it is).

You’ve picked up and put down five different books in the past month. How do you get over the reading slump? I don’t have a slump because I’m a voracious reader.

There are so many new books coming out that you are dying to read! How many do you actually buy? Everything I want to read is so old, I can download them free from the iBook store.

After you’ve bought a new book, how long does it sit on your shelf until you actually read it? You mean, how long do books sit in the box until I stumble over it, while cleaning, only to realise that I bought a box of books and forgot to open the box?

** FIN **

fiction People


Abyss Brain
This meeting will now convene. First on the hit list is Mrs McLeod. Rob?

Thank you. The request to cancel Mrs McLeod came to my attention from a neighbour who is allergic to E. She complained about Mrs McLeod’s cello playing after 21 o’clock on week nights.

Abyss Brain

May I? What are the decibel measurements of each practice session?

Thank you for these questions, H. Well, the neighbour said the sound of E flat on the cello was annoying.

Jarrod C
Pardon me. For section D-17 of the Cancel Request Form, the distance travelled must not exceed 40 km from base. Google Maps says your home base is exactly 41.2 km away from the target. Also, you did not clearly describe your disposal method at C-5 or equipment at C-8 on the form.

Yahoo Maps disagrees by 3 km. And “throw her under the bus” seems clear to me.

Abyss Brain
Keep calm and let’s vote, please. All in favour of cancelling Mrs McLeod … 1, 2, 3… All against … 4, 5, 6… Abstaining… 7, 8, 9… We’re in a standoff.

May I? We should have a playoff. Mrs McLeod versus one of us?

Abyss Brain
Ruth Ann, you abstained. You’re up. Rob? You and V Publica will pick up the target 13 hours prior to the recital.

Not a problem. I have a pair of sequin shorts that will stun her.

Abyss Brain
All in favour…  Unanimous. Good. We reconvene in 14 hours. Now, let us move on to the next target.


Practice session, a few hours later

Bach Prelude from Suite I
Performed by Ruth Ann Scanzillo



(All languish in, sane, his palaces of lore
where truth floats stills by memory’s rigid lane

Indisciplined, he seeks
hot anguish to defeat?
His upswelled heart
burns charcoal at the core!

“You must,” he says,
“my fallacies endure;
feel me everything
then hand me
all your more.”

fiction poetry

Leaving Melancholia

Bingo! A failed attempt, first time ever
Is it a great night if it hadn’t put you in melancholia?
No alternative in your mind
Guess I was delusional but we see
Vodka wasn’t helpful in childhood
Tequila ain’t into you, boss
Scotch really made me smile, at last
Not feeling egotistical
I am too lazy to evolve
But let me know a good reason
Still need some solid part of you to hate


Notes 5/3

There are no rules for blogging and I bear this in mind when visiting blogs. Even though I understand and respect this difference, I need to get something off my chest, so please bear with me. Basically, these notes highlight some things bloggers do to lose readers and alienate supporters.

After printing, reading and rereading (as well as completing an abstract painting inspired by) a lengthy fiction story, the author has not responded to my comment. It’s still sitting there on his blog. I had to defend myself the last time someone got on my case about no feedback. As you can imagine, this is a really frustrating situation to be in. I can’t win, no matter what I do.

One aspect of hygiene I’d hinted at was that at times, authors and supporters might feel that a reader’s attention is romantically motivated.

If I visit a blog, do I want to make out with the author and do stuff, provided they’re over the age of 21, even though we’ve never met in person, have never spent any quality time together and I only know them as aliases? Go ahead, ask me.

But let me comment on the sense making of having a public blog, with tags that are visible in reader, leaving the comments open and like buttons active, expecting people to read, being proud of our work and mislabeling support. If someone supports us, there is no need to rush down what I call the fantasy rabbit hole.

The blogs affected by fantasy rabbit activity have a comparatively low subscriber count; low support per post compared to other bloggers with the same subscriber count; and limited variety in reader interactions. In other words, it is natural that bloggers will avoid hostility. Common sense, you say.

Prude close up
… support from “bras” (as opposed to “bros”) from Prude.

But don’t take my word for it, please experience Interview with Demandire yourself while getting ready for work on a Saturday morning.  What is gained, in actual fact? Approval: One like per him, per post, if he remembers.

Here’s one more way to chase readers from a blog with interesting content, decrease peer support and reduce interactivity. Once, a blogger warned me about his wife because I typed xo at the end of a comment. Misunderstandings are common, but that was taking it a bit too far. I did NOT want to sloppy wet x and o him while moaning.

Another example? I read posts before and after publishing and imagine what readers might think I am saying. Otherwise, if I don’t know what I said, when responding to a comment, I might sound like Tarzan:

Tarzan 2

To me, every reader’s eyeball on my Gravatar is a 25 carat conflict free pink diamond, offered with no strings attached. Continued support is the polished stone, set in white gold.

At this point, I ask myself: What would a professional do?




On Tue, 6/9/15, 11:06 AM, She <> wrote:

Bodies taut and tumbled
Clothes mangled in the day
Oh what a sight we were, dear
For tourists on the bay

On Tue, 6/9/15, 11:09 AM, He <> wrote:

So drenched we were in water
Just fiery hot like toast
Now must you run along, dear
The boss might rump your roast

On Tue, 6/9/15, 11:11 AM, She <> wrote:

If only eyes could see us
If ears could hear as well
We’d rumple wrinkly socks off
Let’s write a kiss and tell

On Tue, 6/9/15, 11:42 AM, He <> wrote:

That’s all my time for now dear
My schedule’s got a bloat
Don’t call me back again here
I’ll toss you in the moat

If people heard you talking
Those red flags they would say
She might be lost without him?
Or fifty shades of cray!


art fashion People



Collage, one Saturday morning

x (∿°○°)∿ ︵ ǝʌol
Love is free and I am an equal opportunity ego butterer.
x (。♥‿♥。) 1000%  ( ⋆•ิ ᴈ-ิ(ᵕ❥ ᵕ⁎ ॢ) x

… continued in Notes 5/3 



For you, Zoolanders, for gracing the cover of your own LIFE.
Thank you for your support and have a fabulous weekend.


Envy, as seen from the Halcyon Pond

Guest post by Nadia
Reflections on Halcyon Pond & The World Beyond Halcyon Pond
Remarks on Envy™, The Food Drink of Glampions

Envy is the sin that “looks with grudging hatred upon other men’s gifts and good fortune, taking every opportunity to run them down or deprive them of their happiness. (Dorothy Sayers Purgatory, Notes on Canto XIII)

It is an impoverished soul who seeks to deprive others of their happiness. It’s bad enough that any soul would want to diminish others. The end result should bring them pleasure, but it rarely does.

The soul’s poverty can be so deep that it cannot be filled, at least not from outside sources. They take from others but with no positive returns, the result is a net negative. And that is what I appreciated about your post. First, envy is poisonous and second, it is fed by people’s “twisted opinion of themselves”.

I know sin isn’t everyone’s thing, but I went back to Dante’s work because envy is among the seven cardinal sins. I believe we have lost sight of just how poisonous it is. It took me a long time to understand that much of what others say in conversation is actually a reflection of what they’re saying to themselves. And so much of what a person sees of another is distorted by their image of themselves.

You wrote of the triad of Envy : Insecurity : Defensiveness. There was podcast on This American Life recently that brought this into astonishing focus for me. A female comic was being asked about the comments posted by trolls on her site. The producer found the person posting some of the worst comments. There is a brilliant section where the troll is being interviewed and asked about his motivations. And it all came back to his self-hatred. He was chastened when he realized what he was doing.

I could go on further about this, but it’s the second half of the post that I’m especially drawn to. I think you move off the subject of envy and on to something even more important, and that is shining our own light. I’m going to interpret very loosely here and say it’s about courage.

The courage to try not knowing if you’ll succeed. No, that’s not it. It’s the courage to try, without even having a measure of what success might be. To not even take an accounting of success or failure.

I’ve spent hours in the Picasso Museum (Picasso fascinates me), which has an exhaustive collection of his works. Much of what’s hanging on the walls is awful. But when you walk through and study all his work, you can see how each phase of his art built on the phases before and how he extended himself from an expert representational artist to the crazy, wonderful artist he became by exploring step-by-step without fear and certainly without giving a damn what anyone thought of what he produced.

May I suggest that you consider reposting the second half of this piece focusing on shining our own lights without being distracted by “two dimensional tokens of achievement.” I, like you, “want to thrive in a world of talented, bright shining stars.” For creativity to thrive there is no failure, just trials along the path of discovery. And each trial is a stepping-stone to the next thing to try, to the next idea.


Gift me Heaven (Fleurs de Sade)


I’m standing in a crater, boyo
Feel like reading it before
wine skins bookmark my Bible
like conversations with my soul

Our world must have been
spinning out of control
Inner ground shifts
evolving patches of earth

We become addicted to the stillness:
Thoughtful searching for John Lennon
makes me want to booze
I think Jesus was like that

His Lordship has been
kind of amazing to watch
We misunderstood your Master Map, boyo
Cover that heart of you, young boy
Master, lord, master, boyo, master

God morphs in our beautiful retail therapy caves
Dirt happens when you’re making plans
We shall need awe and a little of
that attitude with the grapes, Master Vintner

Sex in the bottle answered those same questions
so we don’t have to deal with them truthfully
Kindred spirits knocked at the wrong sunrise
Breathe fear
Submit reply
unless of course, there’s no audio

Image updated 2020/08/24: Angels by Luigi Boccardo via Unsplash


How to be shaded? Use a PLUG

We’ve all received unprovoked hate: Backhanded compliments and passive aggressive put downs, or “shade.” When people choose to be unkind without provocation, it might be a force of habit or hard wiring. Before I continue, I should say that like Britney, I’m not that innocent. I enjoy throwing shade at human energy drinkers, but only after they start with me.

In case someone you didn’t start something with goes out of their way to stomp on your joy, I wrote this post for you. By now you’re SMART (Sombre, Masterful, Attentive, Respectful, Tyrannical) about being hated. Often, tyranny is not the best option when in combat with Darth Shader. This post introduces a positive, self affirming response. To PLUG, we play, laugh, understand and grow from interactions with H8Rz.

Here we go? Let us PLUG.

Stay calm and PLUG
I love this meme. x SB

Play along
When the shade hits the fan, there are three ways you can play along. If you ignore unwelcome remarks, H8Rz will take this as a sign they’ve struck a nerve and dig in. So first,  keep a neutral expression and ask for repetition. (My neutral expression is a smile). I have a “third time and it’s yours” rule. I ask for repetition two times to see if the person will hear how their words sound.

If the person does not give up after the second repeat, I ask for clarification. Neutral expressions again. Defending yourself won’t work, either. If they haven’t given up at this stage, or try again later, they’ve owned it by default and I can do the third thing: Deliberately misunderstand, or get tyrannical.

For the former tactic, rephrase the statement to mean something positive about yourself. Toss it back. You will hear, “I didn’t mean to compliment you.” Say, “Thank you.” As in, “This interaction is over and thank you for your attention.” If the behaviour is repeated, that is hate and it’s time to put the T in SMART.

Laugh at yourself
Embrace the things that are uniquely you. See “shade” as acknowledgment that someone finds you interesting. Your sense of humour could win you admirers and defenders. One day, someone teased me with, “Hey, you’re walking like a pigeon.” It’s true, but that detail is inconsequential to anything happening in my day.

I played along by pretending this was a compliment. I laughed and said, “Thank you!” A different person piped in with, “Actually, she’s catwalking.” When you laugh at yourself, others may feel encouraged to warm to your side. Shine in confidence and leave haters in the shade.

You “love thyself” and your emotional set points are high. People who put you down without provocation have lower emotional set points. They may feel they’re doing you a favour. They believe that by pulling you off your perch they’ll help you avoid disappointment.

Resist the urge to adjust your emotions or responses to the lower setting. Also understand that H8Rz notice and admire your natural talent. Instead of doing their own work, they sling mud to throw you off your game. Stay focused.

Grow from it
Hanging on to unkind words can set you back. However, reflect on unpleasant interactions and think about how you want to be treated.  Then, set a better example by doing unto others. Make the effort to recognise negative characters and avoid them. Sometimes, you need to shine light on a person to see them for who they are.

I hope you’ll never need this advice. But if someone tosses shade your way, your objective is to firmly push back the disrespectful behaviour while keeping your hands clean. Play along and laugh to yourself but show some compassion and you will grow from the experience.


Loud expatriate talking loudly to his date (20 ft away)

So we went skiing … We went up one side and came down the other side.

(1 Inaudible)

Are you running every day?

(2 Inaudible)

You only run one time a week?!

(3 Inaudible)

How far is your long run? …

(4 Inaudible)

In the bushes? Or… The shade?

(5 Inaudible)

I like to wake up in my house for a change…

(6 Inaudible)

It’s fun and I enjoy it … There’s a huge mess everywhere. All your food is gone… Dishes are in the sink.

(7 Inaudible)

I’m taking a break … We just destroy his house.

(8 Inaudible)

Yeah… Thanks for having a …

(9 Inaudible)

I was surprised that you were … I was GLAAAAAD.

(10 Inaudible)

Keep in touch alright?

(11 Inaudible)

How about this … Let’s go for a …Don’t be shy… I’ll shop around… Just text me … If I finish shopping and I’m ready to go …

(12 Inaudible)

Don’t. Be. Shy. If I’m ready to go … and it’s too early for you … Don’t be shy. It’s OK. I’ll shop and …

Spearmint Notes
I felt compelled to transcribe this after the volume of the man’s voice interfered with me. This happened one Friday night at the book store. There was elevator music in the background. The ceilings reached to infinity and the floor space is open. That and forty plus simultaneous conversations did not drown him out. When I couldn’t find any music to block him (Rammstein couldn’t even), I stopped reading and started transcribing. At 23.00, on my way out, I walked by him talking LOUDLY in another part of the store. Oi.

PS: I’m not the date police but, dude, did you take the woman on a date to a location where people are lolling about in their pajamas, so you could advertise that you were on a date?

Update @ 13:48: The Beleauguered Servant was sweet enough to complete the conversation so please read it. It’s hilarious.

x SB

about me People

To Whom this May Concern

Bad things can happen when we take shortcuts to judgement. I am reminded of one of my favourite films, Match Point, where a young former tennis pro marries into a wealthy upper class family after carefully playing to their assumptions. I recommend the film to anyone who wants to understand how fixed, ready processed ideas can leave us vulnerable to manipulation. Skyfall‘s villain, played by Javier Bardem, tricked MI6 into handing him their entire database. The ploy was convincing because he was difficult to capture and lives were sacrificed to protect his identity.

A person can deliberately take offence to what was said in order to create dissonance and use the heavy mist of emotions to avoid speaking in truth about the real issues in question. Dramatic cosplays may backfire if the other person is wise to that strategy. Let me explain why that stuff does not work on me. First, consider three non fiction essays I’ve published here: One called GOYA; another about how to act SMART and most recently, one called Bread. Second, notice that in practice, they work in harmony, like this.

I happened on a poem from a writer, in which he identified himself as “racist.” I didn’t accept that he was one. That was me giving someone the benefit of the doubt. Even so, I was stung that he wrote how if a dark skinned male passes by his open garage door, he feels that the person will jump him. I have dark skin, so I felt unfairly judged.

This is how I reacted.

I asked him if the feelings were real. He said, yes. Then, we had a short discussion about the differences between the privileges afforded by his superficial identifying features and the privileges I’ve enjoyed after working hard to earn them outside of my comfort and safety zones. I said something like, I have learned to take control over my environment as a result of not having everything handed to me. I also let him know that even if we don’t have the same ideas, we can be decent to each other. I extended my best wishes and invited him to delete my comments if he found my presence on his blog disconcerting.

His response may surprise you. He thanked me for my comment and said, “I need more dark skinned friends” after inviting me to read and comment on his blog. I accepted his invitation and found out that we both enjoy fine wine. This discovery warmed me and so did his recommendation for a place to sample some delicious wines on my next trip to the United States.

The reason I’m posting this commentary here is to say this. Welcome to my universe. In it, I can make the choice to not jump down someone’s throat, be offensive, unkind and disparaging just to be confrontational just because something seems provocative. On this occasion, I may have met a fascinating person. I still feel some tension but I am willing to give this a try.

To whom this may concern,

When I am aware of an assumption of mine, I test it by asking the other person to present their side. A stranger, who does not know me and could have tossed out my opinion, chose instead to engage in conversation on a sensitive matter.

We could have torn each other to shreds with words. We chose not to do that.

Why not you?

Warmest regards,


Boola Boola

Ninety five.

Okay, how many more grids left? And we haven’t covered the north side.

I now understand that GIS is really sucky. There’s too much data, and none of it is live. We need access to several satellites and military grade software if we are ever going to get this done in time.

Not necessarily. We could use drones and do the physical search that way. I mean, do you know anyone who could lend us a few drones?

You mean, my father? If he agrees to lend us drones, which he won’t because this is just a game to promote Luke St James’s new blockbuster movie, how can we use them effectively, if we have only two sets of eyes?

I have an idea. Come with me.

….. ….. …..

Hello, bitches.

What up.

Drop everything and come with me.

All of us?

Yes, all of you.

Yes, Princess.

I’ll give you a free pass Heath, because you’re seriously into me. And I might throw some at you later.

What’s this all about?

The new interactive game, “Find the Martian Spaceship” with “Find the Martian Boy” for Lamda Six. My darling, St Lucas, apparently came up with the concept himself.

Bad ass concept. I mean, it’s so simple and so state of the art. It’s got 3D animated aliens and did you see the ship designs? Too cool.

Yeah, Icelandic runes were an unexpected artistic touch. I liked how they draw in all the world cultures we normally don’t get to see in movies.

Guys! I’m in charge of the presentation.

The Martians’ face tattoos resemble Maori, which is extremely cool in itself.

Bart and I are playing right now. We’re betting on the North Pole.

We’re sharing the two hundred thousand dollar grand prize. I mean, Icelandic runes means, Lapland, et cetera. Big clue. Winners!

I have Nero’s econ mock exam tomorrow.

Pssht! He’s hot for you. Just do a strip tease to calm him down, and he’ll pass you with flying colours.

You know, you should really…

Is anyone here going to listen to me?

I’m listening.

I was thinking, we pool our human resources and split the prize money equally. Not that this is about money. This is about pride, people. Hansel! Join us.


I was saying, everyone is playing this new game “Find the Martian Spaceship”. You have heard of it.

I have, and so has everyone who’s breathing. I just read that the launch announcement got thirty eight million retweets in the first four hours. The Lamda Six website’s crashed now, by the way. There are mirror sites popping up by the minute. This game is literally breaking the Internet.

Take that, Kim Kardashian’s butt! Although, physically, it’s like literally looking for a needle in a haystack. I meant the game, not her “asset.”

Can I please just get on with my presentation? It is seriously like a preschool in here. As I was saying, luckily, I have a brilliant idea. Lulu and I have been using GIS software we borrowed from the lab to analyse the terrain in specific locations. We haven’t been able to come up with anything because, and this did not occur to us before, but we’re looking at archived images of terrain.

Right…that makes sense. But we can’t like, use satellites.

No. We can use drones. Lulu’s Dad owns the world’s largest drone manufacturing company. She is on the phone with him right now. I don’t know what she’ll say to convince him, but we have to assume that she will get permission. Plus, we’re both geography majors, so it’s like, educational. It’ll be fine.

I admire your confidence.

Don’t condescend. Alright. Are we all together?

Isn’t it like, not cost effective to use drones? I mean, they’re expensive and the cost of operating them would be more than the prize money.

Get over yourself, Josh. You’re still an under graduate. Who cares about the cost, people? We can’t let the Oxford team steal our glory. I found out this morning that they’re seriously organised. They have taken over a whole dormitory and are using it as a command centre.

No way!

Yes way.

How do you know that?

A certain geography professor has a crush on me from my short summer studies there last year. I think he was trying to impress me. We, on the other hand, are all over the place. Don’t you have any pride in your school? For the next seventeen hours, we will sweat and bleed to win the game. We use our superior assets, which are my brains, and your eyes and forefingers. It’s the perfect combination.

Yes, Princess. So, how does this work?

First, let me explain why satellites won’t work. Remote sensing applications, that is the technical term for how satellites “see” things on the ground, have limitations. These are overpass frequency, timing and clear daytime skies. However, with drones, we can overcome all these limitations. Here’s how we will do that. While Lulu’s getting her Dad’s drones online, we need to become experienced observers. Let’s use the archived images to have an idea of what the terrain looks like normally. Then, we can see immediately what’s different about the location over the time period. We are looking at specific spatial patterns and how they change in time.

What you’re saying is that while the Oxford team is wasting time looking at stale footage of the ground, we will be looking at the fresh, raw, real time information?


Let me grab my laptop. You guys in?

Josh, Rori, Bart
Hell, yeah!