kimchee a sm

I just discovered this unique food blog @matthewmidgley, where traditional food writers take photographs of their food or ingredients (which is surprisingly hard, good food photography) this guy draws his meal/ingredients and paints them in watercolour making for an extremely interesting end product. Check out his post “kimchee a sm”:

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Getting Acquainted with the Neighbloggerhood(1)

Happy Friday folks,

First order of business: I realize about four people might have expected a post yesterday based on my announcement last Thursday(2) however after giving it some thought and a change in my work schedule, it seems like a Monday/Friday posting schedule would be more practical.  Now back to the regularly scheduled program.

I’ve been on here for a bit now, found some really cool blogs to add to my reader, and garnered a (very) small following and something I’ve considered is that I don’t really know much about my fellow floggers(3) and I’m really interested in making a personal connection for fun and profit(4).

What’s your favourite book?

House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski I’ll never forget the first time I met this book (yes you can meet books, books are people too #booklivesmatter).  It was the fall of my senior year (high school) and I was in the second most disappointing class of my scholastic career(5), advanced creative writing (it was disappointing because of the teacher I had was…not fit to be teaching sub 18yo individuals).  One of the projects we had was a book-report presentation on our favourite book and this girl I sorta had a thing for but was way too “alternatively cool”(6) for me man.  I was a freak too, still am #freakforlife, but way too fucking shy to be worth more than the last square on a roll of toilet paper.  Anyway she began presenting this book, House of Leaves (HoL) and she was having trouble describing the general story other than “This is a really freaky story, man. Like ‘I couldn’t read it before bed’ scary”.  After class I went to some book store and found the black beauty just sitting there. Last copy.  It took me 3 months to get through the first read. With all the annotations, the extremely dense prose, and the extremely experimental frame-story with in a frame-story with in a frame-story story telling style it was my first real hard read.  Also, looking back, my first post-modernist book.  MZD’s monolith-esque tome was the first book to show me “you can break the rules in writing, it’s a brave new world”.  That was about 10 years ago.  I’ve re-read the book more than 15 times since.

Honourable mentions:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

All the Pretty Horses by Cormic McCarthy 

What’s your favourite body part?

I really like hands. Being a stick figure I’m envious of the banana looking appendages at the ends of human arms.  I don’t know why I like hands however I can remember precisely when I began noticing them.  I was seeing this girl, years ago, who had a knack for knitting and one time I was just watching her knit and I noticed there was something different about how she held her needles.  It’s really hard to explain but I think she was double jointed in every joint of her fingers because her fingers were bending in ways I’ve never seen before and I found that observation to be extremely profound and was deeply attracted to the length of her long artistic fingers and how they gracefully locked string into string onto needle.  Ever since I’ve found my self looking at hands and marveling at their complex beauty.  Nice hands are nice.

Honourable mentions:

Hair (on the head)

Back/torso (like the back of the torso, the front doesn’t do much for me unless you have like really nice obliques…then me might have to be friends)

Legs (specifically calves)

If you were reincarnated into an animal/drink/ice cream flavour, what would you be?*

  • I have to give credit for the ice cream flavour bit. Source

Animal: Dog.  I’ve never fathered a dog(7) but I’ve lived with several dogs and I love them all even the poopy little ones who peed everywhere all the time.  Also, as strange as this may sound, I always kind of identified as a dog but not in the furry way. When I was a kid and I got excited, I would wag my tail and as an adult I enjoy going for walks in the park and rides in the car(8).  I’m also colourblind, smell sensitive, and enjoy getting my head scratched

Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?

This has been like the running joke of my life.  It changes depending on my hair and I change my hair a lot. Also I’m pretty sure I have one of those “generically good looking” faces that is easily forgettable but also easy for people to see who/what they want However, they’ve always been obnoxiously flattering (and not even most of them have been come-ons either) so here’s a list:

Johnny Depp

Orlando Bloom (when LOTR came out and I had long blonde hair)

Matt Damon

Daniel Radcliffe

Jack Kerouac

And more but I really can’t remember.  It’s almost like every single time I meet a new person or group of people, someone says “Hey, did you know you kinda look like (insert celeb)?” or “Hey, come check out this kids face.  Doesn’t he look exactly like (insert friend I’ve never met)?”

At what age did you become an adult?

Never. Fifth grader for life.  Seriously though, I’ve struggled with the question “what does it mean to be an adult to me?” quite a bit in the last few years especially with 30 right around the corner.  I matured early, but entered some form of social arrested development when I started drinking and drugging and have decided in sobriety that it’s time to begin catching up on the parts of my life that I let fall by the wayside for the last 10 year because I was too fixated on being a work-holic/drink-aholic.  So I guess, I began the process of becoming something resembling an adult this year in the eve of my 27th year.

Where’s Waldo?

Some say he’s still out there somewhere…

So here’s the rules of the game:

  1. I’m tagging all 4 of my wordpress followers (you are my favourite people on wordpress).
  2. Answer the questions, post on your blog.
  3. Tag some friends(9)

Brittany and Arpil @herestwenty

Don Maciver @donmacieverpoetry

The folks at Royal James Publishing @royaljamespublishing

annette @outsideofacat

Footnotes:

  1. Surprisingly, this word actually works with the prefix “neigh-” meaning “near” and the suffix “-hood” meaning “state or condition being” ergo the new word could be defined as “nearby bloggers” aka “the regulars I see and follow and want to know more about”.  Though the word doesn’t have quite the mouth feel of a viral-prone word like “meh”.
  2. SQUEE! My first self-referential citation!
  3. I tried to combine “blogger” and “follower” into a new word however I think I missed the mark.
  4. Still working on the “profit” part.
  5. The first being Anthropology of Native American Spirituality.  Subject matter and reading material: spot on; the teacher: not so spot on.
  6. She was a hardcore punk with a devil may care attitude and on the verge of burn out because she wasn’t being challenged enough.  She was also really hot.
  7. I’m really against the slavery language we use towards our furry children/friends.  I believe animals are much more intelligent than we give them credit for. Example: Prairie Dogs have such a complex language, they can communicate to their fellow dogs what sort of animal is passing by and if it’s a human whether it’s a human they know or a different human based on the colour of their clothing.  I talk to animals, plants, insects, anything living as if it were an adult human being worthy of my respect.  The only people I talk to like a child are adult humans who demonstrate a necessity for simplistic language.  Show respect to your fellow non-human companions, and see what happens. You’ll be surprised.
  8. Also, like a dog, I don’t drive. So rides in the car are like something I really enjoy, even if it’s just accompanying a friend on an errands run.
  9. Not sure if I’m doing these tags right.

The Moonstone’s Real Life Counterpart? (pt. 1)

This one’s for you, Maltby.

Several months back I read Wilkie Collins’s classic, The Moonstone, for a class I was taking and around the same time on one sleep-challenged night I saw this video

8 Most Terrifying Cursed Objects in The WorldBeyond Science

…and around 6 minutes 55 seconds is when things got interesting:

this stone was stolen during the rebellion [of 1857] out of the temple of Android and comport India way back in eighteen fifty seven and ever since it’s done nothing but strike bad luck in his fortune in the lives of the people that have owned it’s Colonel w Ferris a calorie man was allegedly the first man who owned the stone after in left India almost immediately after returning to England he lost basically everything he owned it is how to even begin to deteriorate(1)

Huh…sounds familiar:

Colonel Herncastle, an unpleasant former soldier, brings the Moonstone back with him from India where he acquired it by theft and murder during the Siege of Seringapatam [1799]. Angry at his family, who shun him, he leaves it in his will as a birthday gift to his niece Rachel, thus exposing her to attack by the stone’s hereditary guardians, who, legend says, will stop at nothing to retrieve it.

Rachel wears the stone to her birthday party, but that night it disappears from her room. Suspicion falls on three Indian jugglers who have been near the house; on Rosanna Spearman, a maidservant who begins to act oddly and who then drowns herself in a local quicksand; and on Rachel herself, who also behaves suspiciously and is suddenly furious with Franklin Blake, with whom she has previously appeared to be enamored, when he directs attempts to find it. Despite the efforts of Sergeant Cuff, a renowned detective, the house party ends with the mystery unsolved, and the protagonists disperse.”(2)

I can’t say without further actual scholastic research but this does provide somewhat compelling evidence that this story may have come around when Wilkie Collins began the first episodes of The Moonstone in the 1860’s.  Better yet, the cursed gem is in the National History Museum of London.  

In part 2, I’ll have a report about the cursed gem exhibit and maybe I’ll pick up a souvenir curse(3).

Footnotes:

  1. 8 most terrifying cursed objects in the world 6.58 -7.22
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moonstone#Plot_summary
  3. I’m not overly superstitious however, I have been procrastinating this post for a while now (even in essay form) for the reason that once I write this I’m compelled to go see the gem in person since I’m going to be going to England anyway and I’m (mostly) irrationally (only slightly…I’m telling myself) afraid of catching a curse by proximity.  Seeing as I don’t know how this curse thing works (if you have to be in possession of the item or being around it is enough or thinking about it too much irks its ire) I figure I have a quasi-legitimate foundation for this concern.  

My First Advance Uncorrected Proof

This one is for you, Lizz.

I’ve been considering posting twice a week, Monday and Thursday, at least until classes begin the 10th of October(1).

toco shop

My friend took me to a Resale-Recycle Shop on Cherokee st, The Toco Shop, next to the former Melt (R.I.P. Blue Ox waffle, I didn’t try many of Melt’s unique sweet or savory waffles but you, my Blue Ox, with your cornmeal waffle pedestal for 3 thick slices of brisket, covered in brown gravy and freckled with blue cheese will always have a place in my Epicurean heart(2). Yum.) where I found my very first Uncorrected Proof!

THE HAND THAT HELD MINE

By: Maggie O’Farrell

 

I plan to read this book soon(3) and post a review.  I’m now curious about uncorrected proof hunting.  Do you have an uncorrected proof story you want to share or an UP (in order to make uncorrected proof hunting cooler and easier to write about, I’m going to start calling them “UP”s) you’ve been looking for? Please share in the comments below and don’t forget to share if you like this.

Footnotes:

  1. I leave for England the first but classes don’t begin until the 10th.
  2. Not to be confused with epicirious which is a phonetic slang derived from Epicurus’s ethical goal of minimizing harm and maximizing happiness, or as it has been interpreted here and here as a maximizing of pleasure via food and drink.
  3. Currently reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and I have a slowly growing second collection (the first/main is packed away in preparation to leave) even though I really didn’t need Reviving Ophelia, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, or Ray Bradbury (Bloom’s Modern Critical Views) but at $.50 and 1$ for hardbacks, how could I resist? Thanks Toco Shop (I am not being paid to say this, I just really liked the shop)

Up To Us Caravan Coming to St Louis

I watch, what I consider, an ambitious amount of youtube videos(1) and here I’ve listed a few of my favourites.  I’m not interested in expanding into politics on this blog but I was piqued to share the Up To Us Caravan movement because being “sick and fucking tired of the American Political-Economic system” is an increasingly non-polarizing statement and when I heard they’re stopping through St Louis, I knew I couldn’t pass.

Shailene Woodley and Kendrick Sampson are involved with a group called Caravan. They travel around to various communities having conversations to bring attention to major issues. Cenk Uygur, Ana Kasparian, Shailene Woodley, and Kendrick Sampson, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

The Up To US Caravan will be passing and stopping through North St Louis, Ferguson, July 21-22 hosting Community Conversations for Change.  I plan to follow up and find specifically where they’re going to be talking and to attend.

2016 has been, if nothing else, a enlightening year and with this new illumination the complexity of our future paths becomes clear.  The bright side: at least now we have a little more light to glean our way.

Don’t be afraid to change. Everything does eventually.


Footnotes:

  1. I guess-timate, based on my somewhat predictable habits, that I watch (as opposed to using youtube for music) around 100-120 minutes of the tube a day or 11.6-14 hours a week.  I suppose it is a bit less than the average American Male my age range, 25-34, which is closer to 2-3 hours.

“The Stranger” – Camus Review

This one is for you, Maddison.

The Stranger is a French book about a man, Meursault, who looses his mother and in the same week begins a new relationship and kills a man.  Meursault is imprisoned for a year, tried, and, just after the last page, is beheaded via guillotine.

Let’s hear from the cast:

Fin: I really like the character study of the “ever present” man.  Meursault is a simple and complex fellow. He lives in the present so fully that he almost has no capacity to reflect and as he says he has no imagination and when asked by the chaplain “…[the chaplain] wanted to know how I pictured the other life.” to which Meursault replies “One where I could remember this life!”(2).

Meursault has a certain cold morality that is guided by his ever present awareness that everyone dies and nothing matters.  This leads him to make some questionable decisions but never does he ever become cynical nor malevolent.

I struggled with his death sentence.  Meursault wasn’t a good guy. He wasn’t a bad guy either. However, as a reader, his sentence helped give me closure as it was the logical ending we’ve been headed towards since the beginning:

“Then I felt like having a smoke. But I hesitated, because I didn’t know if I could do it with Maman right there. I thought about it; It didn’t matter. I offered the caretaker a cigarette and we smoked.”

A small act of generosity at a vigil, one with no intention, is one of the hinging points in the path that leads to Meursault’s death. From the beginning Meursault was going to die, he knew it, and that was the only conclusion his life can have.

Louie: The premise of the character is something I can identify with, being a ghost., is that he is a man living a life waiting to die and in that recognition of his own impermanence he can see positive aspects of every situation and person from befriending his neighbor Raymond who, I’m sure from how he treats his mistress, has no other friends to his own death as an opportunity to “…[open} myself to the gentle indifference of the world.”(3)

The Stranger is always present, like a ghost, but more often felt rather than directly interacted with and is more like a presence rather than a person.  This theme of having almost no control over his own fate is accentuated during his trial.

“In a way, they seemed to be arguing the case as if it had nothing to do with me.  Everything was happening without my participation. My fate was being decided without anyone so much as asking my opinion.”(4)

Overall, we enjoyed it.  Well worth a recommendation.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s review of “The Stranger” and I apologize for the late posting. Feel free to let me know if you like this format of reviews, point out all the issues with my mad drawing skillz, or whatever else in the comments below.  Also if you enjoyed, please like and share.

Next book on my reading list is an old classic and dear friend:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy omnibus!

One of the few sci-fi books/series to make my list of favourite books and a damn good one to add to your collection if you have not.

 

Footnotes:

  1. The first line from the Vintage International translation by Matthew Ward. The choice in choosing to let Maman remain untranslated is a not-surprisingly hotly debated subject.
  2. p. 119-20
  3. p. 122
  4. p. 98

Lean into the Pain

george-michael-bluth-sadwalk

Source: Arrested Development S02E04 “Good Grief!”

I’m depressed today. Lean into the pain they tell me.

I remember I didn’t celebrate the 4th that year, 2014.  She said she needed space the weekend before and went to stay with her cousin. All week I was alone with her things in our apartment. July 4th was a Friday. She met me at home after school. I wanted to propose.  It was the day before our three year anniversary.  We talked for so long.  Neither one of us could remember what we had fought or said about seven days prior that made her pack up. We sat and talked for so long.  Then we cried together. Holding each other, getting the other slimy with our snot.

We moved from the couch to the kitchen table. I think she had some food she needed to take home with her. The apartment was no longer our home. It became her temporary storage unit; it became my open cell.

I walked her out to her car.  We hugged.  She slipped, from habit, and said “I love you”.

“I know.” my inner Han Solo replied for me.

I went out, after she drove away in her red convertible, and bought a 1.75L bottle of Bacardi white rum & juice (grapefruit iirc).  Two liters of juice. I drank all the rum, one liter of grapefruit juice, and woke up on my kitchen floor the next mourning.

I kept drinking like that for the next six months until December 5th, her birthday.  I didn’t celebrate my birthday(1) that year. My George Clooney with lots of tattoos looking boss made me work, and bitter about his own life, while guilt tripping me about how he couldn’t remember the last birthday he had and how his wife left him and generally showing me how much bigger his saddness boner was.  Everyone forgot my birthday that year except for me.  I was trying to forget by the end though.

By December: I had lost my job, I dropped(2) out of school, and I had accumulated $5.000 in credit card debt.  On the fifth, a grey and wet mourning, I walked 1.8 miles or 2.897km to the nearest Schnucks off Grand and Gravois. On the way, I passed a forgotten a 2 foot or 60.96cm sub sandwich that was still in its package and untouched off Grand.  At the store I bought two 1.75L bottles of cheap clear booze and 2 gallons or 7.571L of cheap orange juice(3).  I checked out precisely at 7am(4) and the cashier lady gave me a look.  I couldn’t tell if it was envy or pity.  I wasn’t looking too closely.  It was a Friday.

On the way home, I took the sub with me.  I drank and slept and ate and drank and slept until late in the evening when, apparently, I called a couple friends of mine, as in a couple whom I was friends with, and they took me to get some tacos.  I was violently shaky.  Couldn’t eat.  Mentioned wanting some bam bams.  Got pulled aside and threatened with violence. They left me at my place.  Told them I was going to drink and pill myself.  They yelled at me, from the safety of their vehicle, “Get back in the fucking car.”

So cold and shaky.  I couldn’t hold a drink.  I vomit on my laptop.  I ran a bath to warm my self up.  I fell asleep in the tub naked and alone.

Two year later and I’ve sobered up but the pain pulses weakly still.

 

Footnotes:

  1. 23, September 1988
  2. Technically, I graduated early but I was one absent day from being kicked out.  Also my grades were piss.  However it was a technical school so I guess technicalities count.
  3. I’m not even sure if the stuff is real orange juice or if it is its like that stuff from the cardboard tube that you add water to that tastes like orange water.
  4. The earliest legal time one can purchase alcohol in St Louis, or earliest that I was aware of at the time.  It might have been moved back to 6.30am.