Sunday, November 13, 2005

offline-blogging at someday cafe in davis square. it's a busy night here in the land of fragrant tea leaves, luminescent bladder lamps, and small-big-talking pretentious-but-charming minding-the-time couples. niknak and i were lucky to find a comfy, striped couch to sink into, with objects of pleasure and business on our laps, cups of green caffeine cooling. nick brought up the point today that someday cafe is the only place for studying in the area with comfortable couches and quaffable treats. 1369? cozy tables and street-watching, but no. diesel? diner booths and hot chicks, but no. starbucks? don't even go there.

that is one of the reasons why we are here tonight. to sink ourselves into cushiony comfort.

this past week has been peculiar. i may have experienced a cosmic wrinkle, as it felt simultaneously endless and immediately over. maybe it was the s t r e t c h i n g of the stars and the moon until monday, where the winds finally coalesced and diffused. a moment of weightless warmth, where you try to hold your breath and find yourself breathing anyway.

narrative interjection: i just espied (over the shoulder, heehee) that garner by kirstin allio was reviewed in mcsweeney's the believer #27: september 2005 issue. this might explain it! the newly instilled mit graduate women's book club (of which i am a member, proudly) conducted its inaugural monthly meeting last week about this book. and it was unanimously hated. consensus: garner 5ux0r3d. while i was reading it on my own, i wondered if i was missing anything. the dialogue, the nonlinear structure, and fussy writing (there were honest pleas for clarity at the book club, like, wait, the guy was was shot? when did that happen?) made it super difficult for me to slog through the book. i was heartened, therefore, when the book generally made everyone's life a little more complicated. in the bad way.

[currently reading the believer's review.... so meta....]

[. . . . . finished.]

hmm, ok. it's a generally positive review, with reservation, but impressive on the way it transports the reader to the history and the mood kinda way. huh.

garner is neither a brisk nor a strictly satisfying read...
i would agree. definitely not brisk! i think i was bored to tears at some places. briskness being interrupted by the occasional nap attack. and i wasn't particularly satisfied by the way the book was written or the way it ended....nope.

i dub garner a masterly, multi-voiced, mood-altering mystery...
'masterly' is probably not the best word i would use. it was truly confusing and a bit disconnected (in style and character development). multi-voiced i would agree with, since the narrative is truly pastiched in structure, told by myriad characters, through flashback, dreams, journals, thoughts, and voices. and mood-altering? is that supposed to be a good thing? moldy bread can also be mood-altering.

a debut so wise, certain, and cleverly empathetic as to seem the work of a sure-footed pro...
kirstin allio teaches creative writing at brown university. that's not a trivial accomplishment, and i respect her for that. but ick, i probably don't want to take her class after reading this.

so that's my truly non-professional and non-tactful book review. but i also have a certain disdain for highly-mannered writing (i could hardly get through the first chapter of wuthering heights) and i'm not the hugest history buff. i don't go crazy or get moved to tears after reading about fallen soldiers and political unrest and white-men-fighting-for-reasons-i-cannot-understand. it's just my thing, i guess.

next month's book: transit of venus by shirley hazzard. i haven't yet begun reading, but i'm quite confident it'll be a much more pleasant selection.

other things i'm currently reading for fun: jude the obscure by thomas hardy (oh, tess!), smashed by koren zailckas, selections from cabinet magazine; and recently finished mary, nabokov's first novel (translated from the russian original). i also have one place after another by miwon kwon and this book on design theory from the mit libraries in the queue.

after an unexplained hiatus, reading feels so good.

[can you believe my mcsweeney's #17 is still intact? the taut clear plastic tempts my poking, curious fingers. i'm waiting for the right moment, i think...]

one thought leads to another. last night we watched sideways, that movie from last year that probably everyone has watched already. late in the game as always. anyway, the 'moment' is like how miles waits for the right moment to drink his 1961 pinot. kinda like that. kinda. maybe. well. no.

onion rings shall be present, in any case.

it was a good movie, but i wouldn't say spectacular. none of the characters were remarkably likeable, except for maybe maya, but then you even start to doubt her judgment when she actually finds miles attractive. that may be cruel, but hey, not everyone is obsessed with pinot noir, either. the cabernet--i.e. jack--is absolute retch. where's the pinot grigio, huh? the pinot grigio just don't get no respect.

one of my favorite moments in the movie was when the two couples eat in the fancy restaurant and keep eating. other than the whole drunk-dialing episode, that looked yummyhappy. another one was when the golf dorks unleashed their suppressed violence. iron-swinging, indeed. i'm sure miles' book sucked nonetheless.

funny how this entry became one largish book and movie review. heehee. more to come, i'm sure. maybe it's the cafe atmosphere (and piped nostalgic hipster pop) that's leeching onto my brain and causing such literary effects in my system. i feel prose running up and down my arms with their relentless tickle. caffeine + silliness + laptop + partner-in-crime + cushion = waxing galactic christine.

it's too distant
they're too intelligent
just like rub knees already


the double-reed might turn me off
it was just too much to deal with


[inspired by the argyle-clad cushioned couple to our right]
[[you'd understand if you were here.]]

oh yeah, i met ezekiel honig of the microcosm label last week. exciting! he and his girlfriend met up with a bunch of us nutty media labbers for dinner at rangzen (delish tibetan!), and he even made a live half-hour mix specially for my radio show. [big shoutout to morgan, christine, zeke, and ondrea! ] ezekiel's been superfriendly in correspondence and makes delicious 'gentle techno.' i guess i'd call it organic electronica... it's very soothing, yet unsettling. it's as if a robot were singing you a lullaby.

anyway, check out the mix and asynchronous interview on sans serif. it's the most recent show, 2005.11.09.

it's 11:33pm, haven't had dinner yet. must be the grape leaves and cheesy omelet i had at brookline lunch this afternoon that's keeping my tummy tidy. that place gets my recommendation without reservation. three pancakes, one egg, and breakfast meat served for $3.95? in cambridge?? and neato lamps, too. you can't lose.

twinkly lights.
softness.
closing time.

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