Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rhubarb Crumble, And Other Matters

Hello, readers.

Two days ago, rhubarb crumble, for me, did not exist. Rhubarbs, yes. Crumble, also yes, and not just in the, "Oh, dear, our castle is crumbling" sense, but also in the, "My goodness, George, this apple crumble is especially crumblicious" sense--and now I'm dreaming of an apple castle crumble with an edible moat, but in any case...

Generally when things do not exist and then exist, they begin existing all over place, and that is what is happening here. Neil Gaiman is blogging about rhubarb crumbles and in the midst of ninjas, death, and creepy, if not mad, scientists, there's a mention of rhubarb crumble with cream in Nick Harkaway's The Gone-Away World.

One expects that when watching the possibly new clips of Whedon's Harvard humanist speech, I will realize that the whole middle part was devoted to the most humane way of crumbling a rhubarb.

But probably not.

In non-dessert related news, the dramatically named event that happened yesterday went okay and if you want an idea of the sort of things that might have been said you can go read this.

Also, I went with the Sad, Wise Woman to a place called The Snackbar. We had oysters on ice and talked about various things not having at all to do with rhubarb crumbles. At one point, the guy who writes that blog stopped by. We decided on a day for our Cat People marathon.

And then I went home, woke up, and watched the Angel where a guy tries to stop time and accidentally almost ends the world. This doesn't have anything to do with anything, except that it's a good episode and I thought I'd mention it.

Happy Friday, readers.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ninjas. Sushi. IHOP.

Hello, readers.

Currently I'm reading Nick Harkaway's The Gone-Away World. It's about the world after some cataclysmic event, and also about the world before it, and also there is gong fu and ninjas. It's also going to be a very sad book. I can tell.

The picture above has nothing to do with the book except that it's awesome.

Yesterday was a day in which everything happened.

One of these things was lunch. I had fried chicken at this lunch. It was brined in coca-cola and good enough that sometimes I was distracted from the three friend girls at my table who were discussing, among other things, monsters and women being shot out of cannons.

After this, I met with the director of my committee at a bar that isn't really a grocery, despite what they say. A committee is the thing you have to impress to graduate with an M.F.A. I defend my collection of stories tomorrow, in fact. This meeting was not really so much to prepare for that as to give us an excuse to lament the lack of awareness among graduate students of Captain Marvel. Also to plan a Cat People marathon.

It turned out that BGF was also at the not-grocery bar. He had a friend there with him who had broken her toe and believes if given a choice between Philip Roth and John Updike, she'd choose John Cheever. I later accompanied this wise woman to a sushi place. We had saki. She told mostly sad stories about dead people and forgotten art. I forgot to warn her that the Volcano rolls were rather warm. It was fun.

And then, I went to IHOP with another group of friends, completely separate from my lunch friends, or my BGF, or the Sad, Wise Woman. It was a goodbye ritual, of sorts, as we had made a similar journey three years ago. We were all new to Oxford, then, and it was after midnight, and we wanted IHOP. At some point in our discussion that night, we realized that the closest IHOP was in Southhaven, which is practically Memphis and almost an hour away. We were not deterred, though, and we drove and made a memory. And so, last night, we made the journey again, except this time we went a different way. We stopped at Sardis Dam and counted falling stars, threw rocks in the water, and texted the member of our IHOP clan who had left us last summer.

On the way back, we sang "Piano Man."

I went to sleep after sunrise.

And that was that.

Happy Day-You're-Reading-This, readers.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Speaking of Love...

Went to a wedding today. A very Catholic wedding, in fact. The bride and groom knelt and many readings were read. There was a surprising amount of call and response. Also, there was the groom's sister, off in a corner, singing quite lovely songs about love and a man named Yahweh. It was rather nice.

Afterwards, there was a reception. This took place not in the church, but in a little house across the street. There was much food. Many various meats and cheeses, some of which were cheddar and from Australia, which is where the bride hailed from. And also there was freshly roasted pig, home-made barbeque sauce, potato salad, actual salad, and various sorts of cake. One kind was a dark, dense fudge cake upon which one added whipped cream and rasberry sauce. Other kinds were strawberry and hummingbird cupcakes. I sampled all of these things. And also drank beer, wine, and coffee.

It was sometime after this that I wore a pair of Blu-Blocker sunglasses and danced with my bitter ghost friend to a techno version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Those two things I didn't actually do at the same time, though. That would've been silly. The sunglasses I wore while dancing to something old and sad, possibly by the Chantelles.

It was, all in all, a fun day in which probably too many cupcakes were eaten and two people pledged to spend the rest of their lives together, no matter what. And I meant at this point to say something funny and/or interesting about faith and indulgence, but instead I'm just going to write this sentence about thinking of those things.

Happy Memorial Day, readers.


Monday, May 25, 2009

All You Need Is Love

Have you ever had one of those days where you may or may not have run over a squirrel? It was that sort of day today.

Perhaps it had something to do with bourbon and yesterday, which was the sort of day where you discuss bitterness and ghosts with a friend at a coffee shop, and then continue said discussion over dinner, and then go to a fellow friend's bachelor party and discuss, among other things, Terminator: Salvation and the Michael Bien-lessness of Predator.

It's possible.

Or maybe there were lingering effects of having actually watched Terminator: Salvation on Friday. It was not disappointing, in the sense that I wasn't expecting much beyond familiar noises, robots, and nostalgia. Went with a friend, different than the bitter ghost friend. We'll call them Willie because I like pseudonyms and boys' names for girls. After the movie, we sat through the credits and the lights dimming, and we remained there, in the dark--talking about how we humans tend to like stories which say humans are better than machines, but really, there's not all that much evidence either way--until the man with the flashlight came and shooed us away. That part was actually quite fun.

Or it may have just been that I watched an episode of LOST this morning.

In any case, it was a Sunday and it rained a lot and, on one of the walls of Faulkner's Alley*, there was a sketch of a girl with long hair and next to her, the title of a Beatles song. I took a picture with my cellphone, but, at the moment, have no way of uploading that picture here. You'll have to use your imagination.

The bit with the squirrel came after this. He seemed a sturdy fellow. I'm sure he's okay.

ttfn, readers.

*Faulkner's Alley is a thoroughfare between two bars located on the Oxford Square. There's no particular reason I know of that it's called Faulkner's Alley, except that it's in Oxford and located between two bars.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Simon Pegg Is A Time Travelling Leprechaun

Hello, readers.

It's been awhile.

Things which I have seen or done while away:

Watched movies, including I *Heart* Huckabees (a thing I'd seen and enjoyed, more or less. Especially the bit with the blanket and Infinity) and Star Trek, which was very cool and shiny and, thankfully, not nearly as much like that episode of Felicity where Noah drank too much coffee and thought he was a Vulcan, as I'd feared. It's possible that was a dream. The Felicity episode, I mean. Star Trek was real, and I'm fairly certain Simon Pegg is a very tall leprechaun sent back in time to save us all from taking things too seriously.

Also, I drew for a bit yesterday. Started sketching the outside of Square Books. Was interrupted by friends waving to me from the balcony.

Also, my dad died and I read a thing at his funeral.

And there were books read. Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, for one, which was brilliant and not at all something to avoid no matter how well you think you understand comics. And, for two, there was Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory.

*Begin Review Speak*

There is a moment, near the end of Everyday Matters, when Mr. Gregory speaks of overcoming his discomfort of drawing in public. It was awkward he said, to have strangers approach and ask to see his drawings. He felt pretentious, shy, inadequate, etc. Gradually, though, he began to allow others to see what he drew, to see as he saw. In return, these people would generally talk to him about themselves. They would tell of how they saw New York, of missed subways and late night pizza and occasional tragedy. "They were giving me the gift of themselves," Mr. Gregory says.

Everyday Matters is a sketchbook. There are drawing of shoes, medicine cabinets, and tins of ravioli. There are watercolors of Death Valley and Paris. Doodles of cows and farmers. Drawing, Mr. Gregory tells us, is not simply a matter of making marks on a page, but a way of seeing. A way to appreciate things as they are. That is all and everything.

Everyday Matters is a diary. It happened that one day Mr. Gregory's wife fell on the tracks of a Subway. The train did not stop in time. She survived, paralyzed. Confined to a wheel chair. Life, as Mr. Gregory knew it, was over. Things were tough on Patti, too. Everyday Matters tells of Mr. Gregory's thoughts regarding the revolution of his world, the bitterness at chance, the weariness of condolences from friends and family, and the impossible necessity of moving on. Patti is still his wife, after all. They still have a son called Jack. Things are what they are and that is the way, he knows, they will stay.

Everyday Matters is an exercise in recovery. Recovery of love, of life, of the world. Mr. Gregory has written another book I've read, The Creative License, in which he instructs his readers how to see. To look at a tree, for example, and not see a "tree", but see something gnarled and wavy and very much unique unto itself. This book, Everyday Matters, it would seem, tells of where the motivation to see came to Mr. Gregory. There's a remarkable sort of poignancy to his drawings, whether they be of cityscapes, of Big Ben or Sixth Avenue, or of the small objects that surround him, of, yes, everyday matters: toothpaste or ravioli. His son. His wife. There is a quiet urgency throughout. An unspoken need to hold onto what reality there is, and to somehow learn to appreciate it simply for the miracle of it existing at all.

And it is that need, born out of tragedy, which is Mr. Gregory's gift to us, if we'll only take the time, a moment, to see the world as he sees it.

*End Review Speak*

Happy Friday, readers.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Thursday Things I'm Currently Excited About

Hello, readers. Here are clickable things in no particular order.

1) The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.

2) Joss Whedon, musical guest.

3) A short film with in which there are monsters and also a zombie. It's called "I Love Sarah Jane", and it's directed by Stephen Susser. He's got a new, longer, apparently zombie-less, movie coming out in which there will be Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, and Rainn Wilson. All of this I discovered at Aintitcool, which is also where my fervor for Parnassus was reawakened.

4) Aint It Cool News. I find it's noble stand against coherent, rational thought endearing. Once, Hercules gave me and my sister a ride in his convertible. He is very tall and blond and reminded me, a little bit, of Egon from Ghostbusters.

5) The Guardian. Because of its blogs, global perspective, and imagined British accent.

6) The Mystery of the Vanishing Eels. Adult eels are called elvers. Which makes me wonder what it means exactly to elve.

7) Lists.

8) ttfn, readers.